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June 4, 2013

Experts' Expert: How to stack pots and pots and not ruin them


Bruce Mattel, the Culinary Institute of America's associate dean for food production, told Bob Tedeschi in a May 29 New York Times story that "many people... stack their pans after cleaning them, without accounting for the scrapes that can result from metal-on-metal contact. 'It's best if you don't stack them, but if you do, just put a cloth between them,' he said."


June 4, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Coleman LED Mini Lantern


From A Must Need




Years ago it took lots of electricity to generate a decent amount of light.


That meant that battery-operated lanterns were often dim, ran through batteries fast, or both.


Of course, those lanterns used incandescent bulbs.


LED lights use far less electricity than incandescent bulbs and are much more resilient.

In addition, they have an incredibly long lifespan.

That makes them the perfect choice for a lantern like this.

This Coleman mini lantern makes great use of that LED lighting technology to provide long lasting light with just three AA batteries.

Additionally, the LEDs stay cool to the touch.

Six settings are available via a dial control.

A frosted globe produces a pleasing beam pattern.

This lantern weighs just a little over half a pound without batteries.

That makes it easy to carry and very portable.

It's also durable and weather resistant.

The Coleman brand has been around for over a hundred years.

They're known for their camping equipment and lanterns. A

Add in modern LED technology and this is a 21st century lantern with a rich camping history backing it.




June 4, 2013 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak — Dr. Danielle Ofri speaks about the unspeakable: When doctors makes mistakes that kill patients, and how they live with themselves thereafter


I found her brave New York Times Op-Ed page essay remarkable.

I have long carried within me a haunting memory.

Not a single other soul on the planet knows what really happened that day in the late summer of 1974 at Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, when I was two months or so into my internship and called STAT to a room that housed perhaps 10 or 15 patients (yes, that was how it was there back then).

And no one ever will.

But I digress.

Below, the Times piece.


My Near Miss

It was probably our eighth or ninth admission that day, but my intern and I had given up counting. I was midway through my medical residency, already a master of efficiency. You had to be, or you'd never keep up. This one was a classic eye-roller: a nursing home patient with dementia, sent to the emergency room for an altered mental status. When you were juggling patients with acute heart failure and rampant infections, it was hard to get worked up over a demented nonagenarian who was looking a little more demented.

The trick to surviving was to shuttle patients to another area of the hospital as quickly as possible. This patient was a perfect candidate for the intermediate care unit, a holding station for patients with no active medical issues who were awaiting discharge. First we just had to rule out any treatable medical conditions — get the labs, head CT scan and chest X-ray. But the docs at the intermediate ward left at 5 p.m. and it was 4:45. I quickly scanned through the labs, called the ward's doctor and ran through the case — demented patient, still demented, return to nursing home tomorrow.

I remember the doctor's voice so clearly: "You're sure the labs and everything are normal?" Yes, yes, I said, everything is fine. She hesitated, then said O.K. The intern and I high-fived each other, and bolted back to our other admissions.

The next afternoon the doctor tracked me down. Without mincing words, she told me that she'd been called overnight by the radiologist; the patient’s head CT showed an intracranial bleed. The patient was now with the neurosurgeons, getting the blood drained from inside her skull.

My body turned to stone. An intracranial bleed? You couldn't do much worse than miss an intracranial bleed.

How had I let my craze to decrease my patient load overtake proper medical care? I had failed to check the head CT! I was appalled at myself, mortified by my negligence. I stumbled through the rest of the day, an acrid mix of shame and guilt churning inside me.

I never told anyone about my lapse — not my intern, not my attending physician, certainly not the patient's family. I tried to rationalize it: the radiologist had caught the bleeding, and no additional harm had come to the patient.

But what if I had discharged the patient? What if I had started her on a medication like aspirin that could have worsened the bleeding? My error could easily have led to a fatal outcome. The patient was simply lucky.

In hospital lingo, this was a "near miss." But a near miss is still an error, just one in which backup systems, oversight, or sheer luck prevent harm.

A near miss, like any error, is an opportunity to examine how mistakes are made and what changes might prevent them. Yet we have no idea how many near misses there are. Many experts feel that near-miss errors dwarf the number of known errors, a number that is already too high for comfort. (According to a 2006 report, medication errors alone injure an estimated 1.5 million patients a year.)

But the instinct for most medical professionals is to keep these shameful mistakes to ourselves. For the past two years I've been interviewing doctors about the emotional experiences that have molded them. Though I was interested in the full range of emotions, nearly every single one brought up a medical error that they had been party to during their careers; many of them had never spoken about it before. The shame of their errors — including the near misses — was potent, even decades later.

Much attention has been paid to reducing medical errors. Electronic prescriptions avoid penmanship mistakes. Bar codes on wristbands ensure that medications go to the right patient. Checklists and timeouts before surgeries help prevent common oversights. But we can stop only the errors we know about. There remains a black hole of near misses, of uncharted errors — a black hole of shame that prevents caregivers from coming forward.

Medical culture is less overtly punitive than it used to be, but the guilt and blame are internalized, often savagely, by its practitioners. How can we ease the shame and help doctors and nurses come forward with their near misses?

This is not the type of thing we can orchestrate with a quality-improvement initiative and a zippy slogan. It has to come from inside the medical world, and it helps to start at the top.

When the chief of medicine or the director of nursing stands up and talks about his or her biggest medical error, it will get noticed by the rank and file. Hearing how a person in authority handled the emotional fallout and the feelings of incompetence may give others the courage to come forward. Until we attend to the culture of shame that surrounds medical error, we will be only nipping at the edges of one of the greatest threats to our patients' health.

June 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

R2D2 Heels


Wrote the designer at Instructables,


"The wide heel of these shoes was removed and replaced with a steel bolt to provide strength and support, but at a fraction of the size."


"An R2D2 toy covers the heel bolt, and the toes have been decorated with lenses, blue accents, and a blinking red LED to let everyone know just how this droid rolls."


[via DVICE, LikeCool, and Iseebitarou]

June 4, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robodiptera — "An insect-like robot, no bigger than a fly, takes to the air"

You know all the posturing by politicians and ethicists about outlawing drones?

Too late.


The horseflies are out of the barn and they aren't going back in.


If anything, they're going to get smaller and smaller and smaller until the particles of "smart dust" Michael Crichton featured in his 2002 thriller "Prey" seem positively gargantuan.


Below, excerpts from a May 4, 2013 Economist story which might help focus your attention on the shape — and size, or relative lack thereof — of things that have already come and will soon be arriving.


Some people are convinced they are already out there: swarms of tiny flying drones discreetly surveying the world on behalf of their shadowy masters. In 2007 anti-war protesters in America claimed they were being watched by small hovering craft that looked like dragonflies. Officials maintained they really were dragonflies. Whatever the truth, robotic flies actually are now getting airborne.

This week the successful flight of what are probably the smallest hovering robots yet was reported in Science by Robert Wood and his colleagues at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. These robots (pictured above) are the size of crane flies. Most small flying robots are helicopters — kept aloft by one or more rotating wings. These, though, are ornithopters, meaning their wings flap. Wingtip to wingtip they measure 3cm and they weigh just 80 milligrams. Like true flies (those known to entomologists as Diptera), and unlike dragonflies or butterflies, they have but a single pair of wings.

Dr. Wood, as he is quick to point out, is not trying to build a military drone. Rather, it is the basic science behind flying insects that he and his team are interested in. No doubt the armed forces are taking a keen interest in this sort of work. But civilian applications such as search and rescue, he thinks, are likely to be as important as military and security ones. Indeed, the idea that inspired the study was that of using swarms of robotic flies to pollinate crops.

Flies, as anyone who has tried to swat one knows, are the most agile of flying creatures. Dr Wood and his colleagues considered it impossible, even with the best miniaturized mechanical and electrical parts currently available, to build an artificial version of one that would show anything like that level of aerial prowess. They therefore had to come up with a new form of manufacturing, which they call smart composite microstructures (SCM), to do the job. SCM employs lasers to cut shapes from extremely thin sheets of material and then bonds them together and folds them to make components. The materials' properties come from their layered structures.

The robot's wings, for example, are powered by artificial muscles. These are made from layers of a piezoelectric material — one that deforms when an electric current is applied to it. Correct alignment of these layers creates a structure analogous to an insect’s flight muscles, which it contracts and relaxes in order to flap its wings.

Dr. Wood's robots are modelled on a hoverfly called Eristalis. They have a long way to go before they can mimic the precision of such a creature's flight. They can, nevertheless, hover. They can also carry out simple maneuvers. These include turning by flapping one wing harder than the other.

These acrobatics are possible because of the flight-control system Dr. Wood has designed. Like jet fighters, flying insects are inherently unstable. And so are Dr Wood's robots. Insects have nervous systems to deal with this. Fighters have computers. Dr Wood's flies are similarly computer-controlled — and this, for the moment, is where the illusion breaks down, because the computer is on a desktop and is connected to the robot by a thin copper wire.

That could be fixed with a suitable chip. But the wire also carries electric power: 19 milliwatts, which is equivalent to the power consumed by a flying insect of the same size. Batteries light enough to fly with do exist. But they would keep the robot going for only a few minutes.

Dr. Wood's robot is not the only experimental tiny flying machine around. The others, though, are bigger and heavier than most insects. Some, such as the DelFly Micro, a robot with a 10cm wingspan build by Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, are also ornithopters. Others are helicopters. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated how a swarm of palm-sized devices with a rotor on each corner can fly together in formation. And Seiko Epson, a Japanese firm, has built an 8cm-tall robot that uses contra-rotating blades mounted on the same shaft to achieve stability.

What is really needed is a breakthrough in battery technology. In the meantime, though, Dr. Wood says there is plenty of research to get on with, in order to improve the flying abilities of his new robots and the way they are made. And eventually, like real insects, they will have to fly outdoors. Buzzing around a cozy laboratory is one thing. Coping with rain, gusts of wind, and even predators that cannot tell the difference between a robot and the real thing is quite another.

June 4, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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