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July 25, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: 'After a person's pulse and breathing stop, how much later does all cellular metabolism stop?'


On the Scientific American website, Arpad Vass, a forensic anthropologist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, answered the question above as follows.

As best as anyone can gauge, cell metabolism likely continues for roughly four to 10 minutes after death, depending on the ambient temperature around the body.

During this time period, oxygenated blood, which normally exchanges carbon dioxide with oxygen, is not circulating. Thus, cell respiration — which uses oxygen to make cellular energy while creating carbon dioxide as a by-product — creates carbon dioxide that is not transported out of the cell. This lowers the pH of the cell, resulting in an acidic intracellular environment. This acidic environment causes intracellular membranes to rupture — including those around the cell's lysosome, which contains enzymes for digesting everything from proteins to fats and nucleic acids. Once the membranes have burst, these enzymes are released and begin to digest the cell from the inside out. This process is known as autolysis (or self-digestion).

The rate of autolytic spread throughout the body is dependent on the quantity of enzymes present — the dispersion in liver tissue, which is rich in these proteins, would take place much more rapidly than it would in lung tissue, which has a smaller reserve. This progression also depends on the amount of water present in a tissue. (The brain, being very high in water content, would degrade faster than, say, muscle tissue.) Autolytic spread, however, is most intimately tied to environmental temperature. In cold surroundings, the autolytic process slows down, while warm conditions speed up the progression. This is why people who have drowned in very cold water and are not recovered for an hour or so can, in some circumstances, be completely revived. The cold temperatures have slowed down the autolytic process to the point that no permanent damage has occurred in the tissues.

Autolysis will eventually affect all the cells of the body, although those on the surface of organs will show self-digestion's visual effects first — in the form of very small, fluid-filled blisters. Once these rupture, the nutrient-rich fluids present within the blisters then fuel the onset of the second major phase of decomposition, called putrefaction, which is the process where microbiological organisms (in the body, on the body and in the environment) feed on the nutrient-rich fluids produced during autolysis.

July 25, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jane — Episode 2: Closure


On July 2, 2007 Episode 1 featured a portable john for women called "Jane."

The one problem with it that I saw was that it couldn't be closed and sealed.

Now comes a solution.

From the website:

    Portable Urinal

    Provides discreet convenience for travel, camping, boating or anytime one is bedridden or restrooms are unavailable.

    Our portable urinal includes a ladies' adaptor so it's easy for anyone to use.

    Designed in unbreakable plastic with handle and spillproof cap.

    Holds 28 ounces.



With planes more and more often sitting on runways for hours at a time, sometimes with overflowing toilets, it's only a matter of time till someone breaks one of these out and passes it around....


July 25, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

To You — by Kenneth Koch

I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut
That will solve a murder case unsolved for years
Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window
Through which he saw her head, connecting with
Her shoulders by a neck, and laid a red
Roof in her heart. For this we live a thousand years;
For this we love, and we live because we love, we are not
Inside a bottle, thank goodness! I love you as a
Kid searches for a goat; I am crazier than shirttails
In the wind, when you're near, a wind that blows from
The big blue sea, so shiny so deep and so unlike us;
I think I am bicycling across an Africa of green and white fields
Always, to be near you, even in my heart
When I'm awake, which swims, and also that I believe that you
Are trustworthy as the sidewalk which leads me to
The place where I think of you, a new
Harmony of thoughts! I love you as the sunlight leads the prow
Of a ship which sails from Hartford to Miami, and I love you
Best at dawn, when even before I am awake the sun
Receives me in the questions which you always pose.

July 25, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wireless Digital Doorbell — 'I hear you knocking, but you can't come in'


Boy, what fun I could've had with one of these back in the day in high school — put it in my locker, then occasionally push the button for a second or two.

I'm so very easily amused.

Which is actually quite a good thing, considering the quality of what passes for humor here.

But I digress.

From the website:

    Wireless Digital Doorbell

    Wireless digital doorbell goes with you!

    Whether you are cooking out in the backyard or up in the attic, you'll never again miss your guests.

    Adheres anywhere in seconds — no electrician required!

    Digital doorbell is programmable, functions up to 260 feet away and features sixteen different chimes and melodies.

    Transmitter requires one 12V battery and doorbell requires three AA batteries (not included).

    4-1/2" x 2-1/2".




July 25, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Nuts.com Pumpkin Seeds — Official Pumpkin Seed of bookofjoe


Up until last week the coveted accolade above belonged to Planter's.

The king is dead, long live the king.

Besides which, Planter's have for months now been unobtainable in Charlottesville as well as disappeared from online commerce.


So like a phantom ship on a phantom ocean, I've wandered from port to port looking, seeking, until finally in a chance act of desperation I ordered a pound of Homestyle Salted-in-the-Shell Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from Nuts.com.

A revelation for the following reasons:

1) The salt level is minimal, always my biggest issue with pumpkin seeds. Indian Brand's are like eating pure salt; David's also have way too much salt, such that the next morning my tongue's still all sore and raw. Planter's were perfect in their low salt quotient.


2) The majority of Nuts.com's seeds are big, fat and perfect, unlike the trolls and rejects that make up perhaps 25% of those in bags of Indian, David's and Planter's.

$4.49 for a 1-lb. resealable bag just like the one up top, which happens to be on my left this very yoctosecond.

July 25, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cap Carrier Case


From the website:

    Storage Case For Caps

    Protect your collection of caps from dust and grime with this see-through storage case.

    It's made of durable nylon and plastic with a wraparound zipper for easy access.

    An amazing alternative to a hat rack or storage bags.

    Fits easily on a shelf, in a closet or under the bed.

    Two web handles let you carry it easily.

    23"L x 6"W x 8"H.


$5.99 (caps not included).

July 25, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why won't my shoelaces lie flat? joe demonstrates why you'd best not be the first to test drive his soon to be completed UFO


Jeepers — I wasn't supposed to mention that, was I?

Oh, well.

Yesterday I received from Zappos my new running shoes (above).

New Balance discontinued my current shoe, the M815, which I purchased back on April 1, 2006.

Even with the not-very-impressive mileage I put in, I knew it was past time for a fresh pair of foot limousines.

New Balance's M816 is the successor to the M815 (now why did I think that was the case just by seeing the model # — huh? You're not dealing with some idiot off the street here, you know — I'm on the treadmill... but I digress) and the reviews looked pretty good so I sprang for a pair.

Then it came time to take them out for a spin.


As I laced them up I noticed that the laces were all twisted.

What's that about? I wondered.


So I spent about 15 minutes trying to get them to lie flat — it's something I always do with laces that aren't cylindrical (round in your language) from the get-go.

They just look nicer that way.

Plus it's a way to delay the boredom and pain of running.


Long story longer: I failed to get them to lie flat — they stayed twisted.

The heck with it, I figured, so off I went.

Then today as I put the shoes on I noticed something: the laces were not only still twisted but also appeared to have variable width, in a repeating pattern running their entire length.

What could be the reason for this?

Because we all know there are no accidents.

After much cogitation, the penny dropped: the helical shape makes the knot more secure, by preventing it from slipping as happens with a lace of uniform shape and caliber.

If I'm so smart, how come I'm not rich?



July 25, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

SensorFresh Meat Sniffer


It's like having a dog's nose in your hand.

From the website:


    By using sensor technology developed for the military, this unique device "sniffs" uncooked meat to measure bacteria counts and determine whether it's still safe to eat.

    Its sophisticated microprocessor takes over 2,000 readings in less than a minute and uses complex algorithms to determine the freshness level with just one push of a button.

    Comes with one replaceable sensor card for up to 200 uses.

    Runs on 2 AA batteries (not included).


July 25, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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