January 26, 2012
Planet Earth in Hi-Def
The image up top features 64 million pixels (8,000 x 8,000), all of which you can see (not at one time, though) by clicking on the picture.
From NASA: "A 'Blue Marble' image of the Earth taken by the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA's most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012. The image combines four passes of the satellite over the planet, which are then digitized to look like a single photo taken from about 1,200 miles above the point at 20 degrees north and 100 degrees west. VIIRS captured light in four wavelengths, most of which were in the visible spectrum, and added them together."
Talking Bird Bag Clip
"No more sneaky snackers. The Talking Bird Bag Clip makes tweeting sounds when opened."
Wait a sec... what's that music I'm hearing?
Still Life — Scott Garner
"Years ago I had the idea of a still life painting that wasn't so still, but could never quite wrap my head around how to build it."
"After various experiments and explorations, I settled on Unity 3D as the ideal tool to make it happen."
"On the hardware side is a custom-framed television connected to a rotating mount. Attached to the back of the television is a spatial sensor. On the software side is a simple C application to communicate with the sensor and feed the data to a Unity 3D scene."
"The scene itself consists of a camera tied to the sensor data with all lights and objects parented to it so they rotate in unison."
Dress Pant Sweatpants — "Boardroom style, bedroom comfort"
What's not to like?
"First batch sold out in 48 hours!"
"Super-soft French terry fabric."
"Double-layer knee patches."
BehindTheMedspeak: You really can die of a broken heart
The emotional pain of losing a loved one can take a toll on the heart, at least metaphorically. But can it trigger an actual heart attack?
In a large new study, scientists have confirmed what the medical world has long suspected: The so-called broken-heart syndrome is real. The study, published on Monday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, found that a person's heart attack risk is 21 times higher than normal the day after a loved one dies.
Over time the risk of an attack declines, but it remains elevated within that first month. In the first week after a loved one's death, for example, the risk was six times higher than normal.
Other studies have uncovered greater heart and mortality risks in the weeks and months after the loss of a spouse, a child or another loved one, but the new study is the first systematic look at the immediate effect. The researchers interviewed nearly 2,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks over a five-year period and controlled for variables like health and history of disease.
Those with previous heart risk factors were more vulnerable, but the odds increased even for those with no coronary history.
"21 times higher" — that's astounding and frightening, and reason enough to make certain a loved one is never left alone the day after a significant death.
Here is the abstract of the Circulation paper.
Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction After the Death of a Significant Person in One's Life
Background: Acute psychological stress is associated with an abrupt increase in the risk of cardiovascular events. Intense grief in the days after the death of a significant person may trigger the onset of acute myocardial infarction (MI), but this relationship has not been systematically studied.
Methods and Results: We conducted a case-crossover analysis of 1985 participants from the multicenter Determinants of Myocardial Infarction Onset Study interviewed during index hospitalization for an acute MI between 1989 and 1994. We compared the observed number of deaths in the days preceding MI symptom onset with its expected frequency based on each patient's control information, defined as the occurrence of deaths in the period from 1 to 6 months before infarction. Among the 1985 subjects, 270 (13.6%) experienced the loss of a significant person in the prior 6 months, including 19 within 1 day of their MI. The incidence rate of acute MI onset was elevated 21.1-fold (95% confidence interval, 13.1–34.1) within 24 hours of the death of a significant person and declined steadily on each subsequent day. The absolute risk of MI within 1 week of the death of a significant person is 1 excess MI per 1394 exposed individuals at low (5%) 10-year MI risk and 1 per 320 among individuals at high (20%) 10-year risk.
Conclusions: Grief over the death of a significant person was associated with an acutely increased risk of MI in the subsequent days. The impact may be greatest among individuals at high cardiovascular risk.
You can read the paper in its entirety here.
Dr. Jerome C. Wakefield of New York University told Benedict Carey of the New York Times in a story published on yesterday's front page, "An estimated 8 to 10 million people lose a loved one every year, and something like a third to a half of them suffer depressive symptoms for up to a month afterward."
That's a lot of people at elevated cardiac risk along with their emotional devastation.
What are they?
Answer here this time tomorrow.
Also in pink:
Does that help?
Experts' Experts: NSA's tips for travelers
Excerpts from Al Kamen's "The Fed Page" column in yesterday's Washington Post follow.
We recalled some instructions we got a while back from the National Security Agency — the super-secret cryptography operation at Fort Meade that monitors international communications — explaining the do's and don'ts of "defensive travel."
The agency reminds super-spooks that even "if you plan to travel ... for vacation" you’ve got to submit a "UFT" — Unofficial Foreign Travel — request, which is Form K2579.
Once you've gotten approval and are off on vacation, you’re advised to "vary your routine as much as possible. Predictability equals vulnerability!" After all, "If an adversary doesn’t know your next move — it makes their job much tougher!"
Okay. So, if you’re in, say, Beijing, don’t go out to the Great Wall. In Shanghai, avoid the Bund and the early-morning ballroom dancing.
"Try to avoid crowds and demonstrations," we’re told. That means forget going to Tahrir Square in Cairo and most any city in Syria.
Finally, "internationalize your appearance." No paisley burqas, for example.
Most of all, remember that "reporting contact with foreign nationals is a requirement you agreed to when you were indoctrinated."
So you've got to "report the following," we're told:
• Close and continuing association with non-U.S. citizens.
• Contact with an employee or representative of a foreign government.
• Sexual contact with a non-U.S. citizen.
[photo at top via Roderick Mallen]
ePillow for iPad
In a veritable rainbow of color combinations.