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January 5, 2013

BehindTheMedspeak: Noisy breathing sometimes trumps silence

As a rule I much prefer a perfect, silent airway when I'm controlling or assisting a patient's ventilation with a bag and mask during anesthesia and surgery.

There is one major exception: The case of someone whose airway is problematic and difficult to maintain, particularly an overweight or muscular patient.

In such cases, it's hard to know sometimes whether you're delivering oxygen to the lungs or stomach.

When that happens, it's comforting when each breath is accompanied by high-pitched wheezes or low-pitched growls or grinding sounds.


Because sound means gas is passing between the vocal cords, and the vocal cords are located at the top of the trachea.

That's real good news to me, that noise.

I can live with an imperfect airway — and more importantly, so will the patient.

Perfect the enemy of good.

Think like an anesthesiologist.

January 5, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2-Gauge Jumper Cables — Optimize your chance of actually starting your car


I thought I was really on top of things, carrying as I do a set of jumper cables in a bespoke bag with instructions for the precise order of cable placement prior to turning on the juice.

Little did I know that I could be doing better in terms of making an emergency start likely to happen.

The scales were removed from my eyes earlier today when I read an item in Cool Tools about jumper cables.

Here's Thomas Z's review as it appeared there.


I've had these jumper cables for over a year. At least four times that I can recall (probably more) when someone was already being jumped — and all they could get was a click or it barely turned over but wouldn't go far enough to start — I've just put these on instead of the wimpy cables they were using and the engine fired up instantly. Even from a smaller car to a larger one.

If you need to get hundreds of cold-cranking amps over several feet of cable, the voltage drops by the resistance times the current. So even a tiny fraction of an ohm matters when you need that many amps, since you can halve the voltage at the starter. You might barely get enough to the point of connection of the other car, then there are thinner wires to the alternator — and a thirsty battery. Your battery and alternator probably provide more than enough — but it doesn't help if it doesn't get there and instead just warms the jumper cables. Once when I didn't have these I managed to get a car to barely start by putting a second pair of the thinner cables in parallel.

Forget anything under 6-gauge. 4-gauge can work most of the time. These 2-gauge cables work every time even though they are 20 feet long.


Just ordered a set to replace the 4-gauge iteration I've been packing for decades.


January 5, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Hawke's Laws of Survival in the Wilderness


Pictured above as found in Mykel Hawke's book (below).


Wrote Kevin Kelly in Cool Tools: "Let's get this straight: you will not have your wilderness survival guidebook during a survival emergency. That's not how emergencies work. A great survival guidebook will a) assume you won't have it with you, and b) prepare you to survive bookless by providing real details beforehand. Out of the many dozens of survival guidebooks in print today, this is the only one that accomplishes this, and this is the only one that I would recommend. It can get you thinking about real solutions to real problems. Survival is all about priorities, and I think this book lines them up in the right order. It will still be up to you to rehearse them beforehand: you won't have this book with you."

More from the book:

Last Resort: You Can Drink Urine!

The rules for urine drinking are straightforward:

• Drink it as soon after you urinate as possible — the first time you urinate is usually fine to drink

• You can drink the second pass in dire circumstances

• After the second pass you won't be urinating again anyway if there is no more fluid going in — there simply won't be any fluid left to be passed

Myth: You will not die or get sick if you drink urine. It is not poisonous. It is actually sterile the moment it leaves your body, and only contact with the air allows for bacteria to grow. This is why you should not urinate and store it for later.




How To Choose a Survival Stick

• Choose a stick slightly taller than you — if the stick is too short, it may jam into your neck if you fall

• It can serve as a measuring device — how deep is a river? Could you jump over that chasm?

• If the stick is strong enough it might even serve as a small bridge

• It can be used as a rafting pole, crutch, spear, reaching tool, digging tool, etc.



More excerpts from the book:

"Affect: If you can hear a person yelling and screaming, they're OK for the moment. The noise means they're conscious, breathing, awake, and talking. It's a good sign their mind and body are stable enough that all systems are still functioning."

"Try to concentrate your power-based communications in the first 24 hours, as this is when most search parties will be initiated. Broadcast your signal continously during this window if you're able to. But consider delaying your all-out 24-hour broadcast period for a day or two if you have reason to believe it will take folks that long to begin looking for you."

"The Rule of Threes: There are 3 dots and 3 dashes in the 3-letter Morse code for SOS. That's no accident: The universal distress signal is anything in threes."


Got fish?


The book costs $10.20.

January 5, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Epilog Zing 16 Laser Engraver


Wrote Lizzie Wade in the November 2012 issue of Wired: "Being the office Halo champion feels good. Engraving the words "HALO CHAMPION" onto a brass plaque and displaying it on my desk feels even better. All I have to do is upload the phrase to the Zing 16 and hit Go. (It recognizes a multitude of file formats, including PDF, EPS, even Word docs) The $7,995 device uses a 30-watt infrared CO2 laser to smoothly etch my input into almost any material — wood, plastic, aluminum, stone, meat — as long as it's less than 4.5 inches thick and 12 by 16 inches across. The Zing 16 has endless practical applications. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm go to go chow down on a piece of beef jerky that's been scorched with the visage of George Lucas."


January 5, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Delayed Gratification — The Magazine


First it was a mindset, only now has it come into print.

Building on what was wrought by the Slow Food Movement, the Slow Journalism Company has brought forth its flagship publication — "A new perspective on the events that mattered."

They need to keep in mind that history is written by the victors.

Last man standing tells the story that lasts.

Just sayin'.

Love the cover.

May 2011 (below)


wasn't bad either.


January 5, 2013 at 04:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Radiation-Proof Banana Phone Handset


Don't wanna wear a tin-foil hat?


Besides which, even if you're wearing a tin-foil hat and talking on your phone, the phone's inside the hat so you're not gonna get a whole lot in the way of protection.


For you, there's this nifty number.

No cellphone radiation gonna turn your brain to tofu, no ma'am.

3.5mm audio jack works with most phones.


[via FancyCravetechnabob, and LikeCool]

January 5, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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