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September 10, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Dashboard glucose alarm for diabetics — 'Driving with low blood sugar can be even more dangerous than driving drunk'


Ranit Mishori's story in yesterday's Washington Post Health section has the details; it follows.

    Device helps Keep Diabetic Drivers Under Control

    You might have a Global Positioning System device in your car's dashboard, showing you where to go. You might have a data screen, showing what gas mileage you're getting. Now, if you're a diabetic, particularly one with an extra sensitivity to insulin, you might soon have a device that monitors your blood sugar and warns if you're in danger of blacking out.

    Created by Medtronic Diabetes, the device shown above was unveiled in June. It's aimed at a subset of diabetics, mostly Type 1, whose blood sugar levels fall unusually quickly, resulting in dizziness, confusion, possible seizures or worse.

    Driving with low blood sugar can be even more dangerous than driving drunk, says Daniel Cox, director of the Center for Behavioral Medicine Research at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, "because you can go unconscious, which is not likely to happen with intoxication."

    The dashboard device connects wirelessly to the driver's glucose monitor, a sensor worn on the body that checks blood sugar levels every few minutes. If the reading drops to a dangerous point, a verbal warning is issued through the car's audio system. Then it's up to the driver to take appropriate action: Stop the car, eat a snack and wait — sometimes up to 30 minutes — for the reading to go back to normal.

    September 10, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Waterproof Camera Floater


    Might be nice to have before you drop your waterproof camera in the drink.

    If your camera's not waterproof don't waste your money 'cause it's toast once it hits the agua.

    From the website:

      Waterproof Camera Floater

      Save your new digital camera from going to the bottom.

      You just spent hundreds of your hard-earned $$ on your new camera — spend another $9.99 for cheap insurance!

      Soft foam-filled neoprene wrist lanyard easily attaches to most waterproof cameras and accessories.

      Test your own camera in shallow water before use!

      Bright yellow color makes it easy to spot.

      (Camera not included).


    September 10, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    Cat Among Stones — by James Richardson

    Little more, but that paths contrive
    dangerously to slide and how,
    with softness of tread, it can draw their urge
    through the lash-thin channel of its spine
    in a counterflick of the tail, dissipating,
    it knows. In a field, erratic in deliberation,
    it tends along an isotherm,
    or skirts, exactly, the lake of an odor,
    as if openness itself were tortuous,
    desire impassable. If it stepped across your back
    you would deepen, limbless as a pond,
    and go dark, all your thought
    a match flame at the end of the hall,
    wavering, stretched, righting itself.

    September 10, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburgers


    "This was lunch at Google's NYC cafeteria to celebrate the birthday of the head of the cafe staff."

    You could look it up.

    September 10, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Would you buy a can of oxygen from this man?


    He sure hopes so.


    Long story by David Segal, which appeared on the front page of Monday's Washington Post Style section, short: Kevin DelGaudio (above), a 45-year-old entrepreneur and former hardware store manager, wants to change the way you breathe.

    And if enough people are willing to spend $16 for a light blue 8-ounce can of Instant Oxygen, why, he'll be exhaling all the way to the bank.

    Here's the Post article.

      O Pioneer: He Aims to Pull Money Out of the Air

      A little more than a month ago, Duane Reade pharmacies here started selling light blue aerosol cans containing "99 percent breathing oxygen." The product comes with a mask, a set of instructions — basically point at your nose and inhale — as well as some chirpy promises: "Refresh! Revive! Rejuvenate!"

      No doubt a certain percentage of jaded New York shoppers have looked at this seemingly empty, eight-ounce tube of pressurized air and thought, "Why would I spend $16 for something I'm getting for free right now?" Or: "This is some kind of joke, right?"

      Kevin DelGaudio, the creator of Instant Oxygen, would like to field those questions. A 45-year-old entrepreneur and former hardware store manager, DelGaudio is sitting on a bar stool at the Tribeca Grill, waving his hands a lot and speaking in a thick Brooklyn accent as he evangelizes about the benefits of canned oxygen.

      "It's a very misunderstood gas," he says without a trace of humor.

      If the third-most-abundant element in the universe ever had a Johnny Appleseed, here he is, although there are some notable differences between DelGaudio and the famous 19th-century planter. Appleseed was long and reedy and extolled a nutritious fruit. DelGaudio is small and plump and would like you to pay 16 bucks for what you can get gratis by breathing. Appleseed walked barefoot around the Midwest; DelGaudio commutes to New Jersey in a Volvo. Appleseed emphasized charity and altruism, while DelGaudio would like to make a killing.

      Which he confidently predicts he will make — although that hardly seems like a sure thing, at least with this particular item. DelGaudio belongs to that singular class of American schemer-dreamers who either retire rich or wind up with the word "cockamamie" in their obituaries.

      "About 80 percent of Americans are oxygen-deficient," DelGaudio says, citing the first of several statistics that he claims to have found on the Internet. "Now, how can that be if there is enough oxygen in the air?"

      DelGaudio came up with Instant Oxygen in Las Vegas in 2004, after he spent 30 minutes at an oxygen bar stationed near a trade show he was attending. At the time, he worked for a company that imports light bulbs, but he was looking for a new venture. Not long after huffing away at that oxygen bar, he knew he'd found something special.

      "I literally bounced out of bed, which I don't usually do," he recalls. "I felt great, and the only thing different is that I'd been breathing pure oxygen the day before."

      DelGaudio spent days rummaging around the Internet and found a couple of smallish companies selling oxygen cans online, but their products didn't impress him — one cost $50 per can; the other you breathe in through your mouth, which he found uncomfortable — and neither was in stores. Whenever someone argued that the canned-oxygen market was tiny because oxygen in cans is a lousy idea, DelGaudio had two words: bottled water.

      "The analogies are amazing," he says. "When that started, people said, 'You think someone is going to spend $2 for water when they can get 10 and a half gallons for a penny out of the tap?' " He opened a fabrication plant in Spotswood, N.J., where oxygen he buys in bulk from a company in Delaware — yes, it's Delaware oxygen, not New Jersey oxygen — is packed into cans. All told, it took a year and a half and "just over $1 million," he says, to get this business started. He has three investors and a number of employees, though he won't say how many for competitive reasons. He won't discuss sales figures, either, nor would a spokeswoman for Duane Reade, the first and so far only chain to carry the product. (A distributor is trying to cut deals with more stores.) Aside from claiming that sales have "exceeded expectations," DelGaudio won't elaborate.

      "Have you seen the product?" he asks, pulling a can out of his shoulder bag. He removes the cap, twists the top 90 degrees and puts his nose into the face mask. Then he presses down on the top. Pffft goes the can.

      "If you hold it down continuously," he says, now holding his breath like a stoner who's just hit a bong, "it's about four and a half minutes of oxygen."

      Once DelGaudio exhales, he explains the benefits of canned oxygen, which he says include an increase in energy and a cure for hangovers. But it's bigger than that. DelGaudio's case for oxygen spans history and disciplines, and it includes a claim that the atmosphere of Earth — which is 21 percent oxygen — contains much less oxygen than it did even a few hundred years ago. He blames this on deforestation and the rise of the industrial economy, or as he succinctly puts it: "More factories, less oxygen. More processed food, less oxygen in your body. You don't need a doctor to figure that out."

      Asked for some citations for this remarkable claim, DelGaudio referred to the work of an author and chiropractor named Kurt Donsbach, whose many brushes with the law include pleading guilty to practicing medicine without a license and allegations of fraud by the New York attorney general. So, just to be on the safe side, we decided to run all this by Martin Feuer, a physician and the former chairman of the pulmonary medicine department of Beth Israel Medical Center. He listened to a description of Instant Oxygen and then let out a somewhat contemptuous sigh.

      "There just aren't any physiological benefits to breathing oxygen," he said. "If you don't have enough oxygen in your brain for even a minute, you're in bad trouble. So the body has an amazingly efficient system to keep the flow of oxygen going."

      Doctors are dismissive, to put it mildly, of canned oxygen. Some will say it can help athletes catch their breath, which is why you'll see football players on the sidelines breathing oxygen. And oxygen is used to treat such illnesses as asthma and emphysema. But if you're healthy and not trying to recuperate from a sprint or two, breathing oxygen for recreational purposes, for a few minutes, won't have any effect, good or bad.

      "Your blood is 96 percent saturated with oxygen," says Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "If you breathe a couple minutes of pure oxygen, maybe you'll get that to 97 percent, 98 percent, but it's not a difference you'll notice."

      Edelman thinks it's unlikely anyone will get hurt sniffing four minutes of oxygen. He just thinks it's pointless.

      "It's all placebo," he says. "People are just wasting their money."

      DelGaudio has heard from the skeptics, but they don't convince him. He thinks doctors are simply uninformed when it comes to the benefits of oxygen, noting that few spend any significant time on the subject in medical school. But more important — and he underscores this a few times — he isn't making any health claims about his product.

      Actually, it might be more accurate to say that he'll kind of hint that Instant Oxygen is good for you, then he'll immediately disavow that idea. Then he'll re-hint and re-disavow. There's a practical reason for this cha-cha, since a health claim would invite the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration, which would then vet and regulate the product. Instant Oxygen is "not for medical use," as it says right on the can.

      But does it even "refresh," as it promises on the label? There is only one way to find out, so this reporter purchased a can of Instant Oxygen from a Duane Reade. The spray has a mildly bad-breathy scent — from the aerosol spray, one hopes — and after a minute or two of inhaling and breath-holding, there was a mild sensation of lightheadedness. Which is what you get when you inhale and hold your breath, right?

      "Some people aren't going to have any reaction to this product," DelGuadio warns. "Other people will tell me, 'I just ran three miles, and I never have run more than two.' "

      Still others will feel like that creepy Dennis Hopper character in "Blue Velvet," who gets high from a tank of gas and carries on like a lunatic. Instant Oxygen makes you feel like you're doing something faintly illicit, something inappropriate, but there's no payoff. Not for this consumer anyway — unless you count the giggle-inducing thought that someone in The Washington Post's accounting department will soon get a $16 receipt for a rather insubstantial meal.


    Video here.

    Price break: $10.99.

    I wonder what the Rolling Stones would ask for the right to use Jumping Jack Flash" — "it's a gas gas gas" — in his advertising?

    September 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    What is it?


    Answer here this time tomorrow.

    September 10, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    Glassdoor.com — 'Access all salaries for any company absolutely free!'


    Right here.

    Once you find out the idiot in the next cubicle makes twice what you do, things will never be the same.

    Fair warning.

    Lisa Belkin's August 19, 2008 New York Times article on the rise of salary transparency


    spurred by the Internet makes for interesting reading.

    September 10, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    Tukaani — 'Handmade eating device for Asian food lovers in the West'


    Created by Helsinki-based designer Lincoln Kayiwa.


    From his website:




    It may be held as traditional chopsticks.


    But unlike disposable wooden chopsticks, Tukaani is hand washable and much easier to set on and use at table.


    The matte surface and taut movement afford steady grip in the hand.


    The curl at the business end creates an easy and secure grip on food and effortless delivery to the mouth.


    The loop allows easy hanging, storage and display.


    The toucan’s bill provided inspiration for this cutlery project.


    Apply within.

    [via Milena]

    September 10, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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