Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 16 September 2013

South Florida Doctor Uses New Technology To “Re-Grow” Man’s Finger - 

It’s being called a medical marvel. A south Florida doctor used a unique procedure to actually grow back a man’s finger that a horse bit off.

According to Dr. Eugenio Rodriguez, Paul Halpern, 33, arrived in Delray Beach with his finger in a zip lock bag.  The insurance company wanted the rest of the finger amputated. However, a doctor wanted to try a unique procedure.

“This one right here, my index finger,” said Halpern.

Halpern was feeding his prized, hungry horse when it confused it for a cookie.

“After the treat it made a mistake. It’s a difficult horse and is had history using our training methods,” Halpern recalled.

The mistake cost him a third of his index finger.  “One of the guys that worked with me reached his hand in the horse’s mouth, took the fingertip out, and I jumped in the car, grabbed the rest of my finger wondering what we should do,” said Halpern.

On the way to the hospital, Paul put his fingertip on a popsicle, but it wasn’t enough to save the extremity.

Then, he heard about a Deerfield Beach doctor that might have a way to fix the finger.

“He really wanted to have his finger healed, and fast,” said Dr. Eugenio Rodriguez.

Advanced, cutting edge, and without any surgery or amputation, general surgeon Eugenio Rodriguez said he could make the finger grow back.

“This is something, that there actually is no experience into this,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

Using the bladder tissue of a pig, Dr. Rodriguez made a template of Halpern’s finger and attached it to what was left.

The result was astounding.

The finger’s cells, bone, soft tissue, even nail grew into the mold.  “It’s very interesting to see a patient heal. That’s my passion, wound healing.  It is fascinating to have the new results,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

It’s a procedure both Dr. Rodriguez and Halpern agree could pave the road for other more complex injuries.

“I’m really grateful. I think it’s fantastic  I think in the future there’s going to be other uses for it but it wasn’t a life threatening injury to me it was something that was an accident,” Halpern added.

The doctor says it will be nine to twelve weeks for a full recovery.

Read more -
FTC to examine ‘sponsored content’ online advertising - 

The Federal Trade Commission will examine the growing field of “sponsored content” in digital media, the organization announced Monday.
The agency will hold a workshop in December on the ads, which look similar to stories posted on news and social websites and have become increasingly common as media look for new ways to make money.
The FTC, which has the authority to bring charges against companies that deceive consumers, now has nonbinding guidelines on the use of the sponsored content ads. The workshop could be a first step toward expanding or strengthening them.

“Increasingly, advertisements that more closely resemble the content in which they are embedded are replacing banner advertisements — graphical images that typically are rectangular in shape — on publishers’ websites and mobile applications,” the FTC said Monday.
“The workshop will bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government regulators to explore changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers’ recognition and understanding of these messages.”
In advance of the Dec. 4 workshop at the agency’s New Jersey Avenue satellite building in Northwest D.C., the FTC asked stakeholders to consider how ads are presented alongside non-sponsored content in the desktop and mobile environments. It also asked stakeholders which entities control those presentations, how consumers understand the differentiation between sponsored and non-sponsored content and what can be done to effectively differentiate between the two.
Concerns about how advertising in news and social media is made distinct from other content are not new.
Whether it’s deceptive infomercials or native advertising, “it’s all part of the same discussion: Is the distinction between regular content and advertising clear to consumers?” Lesley Fair, senior attorney at the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in agency blog post on Monday.
John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project, said the workshop is likely the first step toward an agency report. In March of this year, the FTC released its updated DotCom Disclosures, which explained that “clear and conspicuous” disclosures must accompany online ads, regardless of platform, to avoid violating commission standards.
In the report, the agency suggested adding the word “Ad” to a tweet to indicate that it is an advertisement. Simpson said it “seems likely” that the agency will update its guidelines based on what it learns through the workshop.
A representative of the trade group that represents online advertisers welcomed the FTC’s move. The workshop will provide the online advertising industry with “a great opportunity to raise the awareness level of key Washington decision makers about this evolving format,” Interactive Advertising Bureau Senior Vice President Mike Zaneis said.
“The FTC has provided previous examples of ways to provide consumer notice in a variety of native advertising categories ... and we look forward to working with the Commission to further educate industry on best practices,” Zaneis said.


Former NSA Director Advocates Chinese-Style Internet - “The problem I have with the Internet is that it’s anonymous” -

Former NSA Director Advocates Chinese-Style Internet - “The problem I have with the Internet is that it’s anonymous” - 

During a speech at St. John’s Episcopal Church yesterday, former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden advocated a move towards a Chinese-style world wide web where users are forced to identify themselves before posting online content.

Comparing the Internet to the wild west and Somalia, Hayden indicated that he would like to see the United States adopt a system of web policing similar to that used in Communist China, where users are mandated to submit to real name registration before they can use services like Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“The problem I have with the Internet is that it’s anonymous,” remarked Hayden.
Although the implementation of the real name registration system in China has been fraught with technical difficulties, its ultimate intention is to prevent social network users from “spreading rumors” about the ruling Communist Party, or in other words, it’s all about crushing dissent against the state.
Prominent micro-bloggers who attracted millions of followers as a result of criticizing the Chinese government are now being arrested and forced to “confess” their crimes as part of a return to a “Mao-era style of justice,” one that Michael Hayden apparently thinks America should adopt by following China’s example of banning Internet anonymity.
While defending mass NSA spying on the American public via the recently revealed PRISM program, Hayden also claimed that Gmail was the email service of choice for terrorists.
“Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide,” he stated, presumably unaware that Gmail is merely an email service and not an ISP, adding, “I don’t think you’re going to see that in a Google commercial, but it’s free, it’s ubiquitous, so of course it is.”
In reality, as a Bloomberg report highlighted, the “(NSA) surveillance systems are best suited for gathering information on law-abiding citizens,” and not actual terrorists, who are extremely unlikely to use Gmail, Skype or iCloud.
This is by no means the first time that Michael Hayden has uttered statements about the Internet rich with controversy yet poor on facts.
Last month, Hayden compared hackers, cyberactivists and transparency groups to Al-Qaeda terrorists, labeling them, “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years.”


Spot The Odd Edition Out - highlight just how 'in control' the media is -

Spot The Odd Edition Out - highlight just how 'in control' the media is -  

While Miley Cyrus, Twerking, and X-Factor remain record-breakers on every social media platform, the following covers of Time Magazine's four regional issues this week, perhaps more than anything else, highlight just how 'in control' the media is - and how important it is to keep the "exceptional" US public on message. Or off as the case may be.

COPS: Bank Robber Caught After Leaving Keys to Getaway Car in Bank... -

COPS: Bank Robber Caught After Leaving Keys to Getaway Car in Bank... - 

Police say a suspected serial bank robber is in custody after leaving the keys to his getaway car in the bank he allegedly just robbed.  According to police spokesman, Sgt. Pete Simpson, 57-year-old Frank Laviguer robbed the Wells Fargo branch on 11th Ave. in Portland last Monday but had to flee on foot after leaving his car keys inside the bank.  Simpson also said Laviguer showed tellers a gun during the robbery, but later determined that it was a replica.
Investigators, in conjunction with the FBI, now suspect the flat footed Laviguer is responsible for a string of robberies that includes two other banks and two motels in the Pacific Northwest.
Laviguer is being held at Multnomah County Jail. 


Your secret Wi-Fi password is no secret to Google -

Your secret Wi-Fi password is no secret to Google - 

You know that home Wi-Fi network you have? The one with the super-complicated password you came up with to keep your neighbors from jacking your connection? 

Chances are, Google knows that password.

If you've ever logged on to your network with an Android device, or even if it was just a friend logging on just once, chances are Google has your password stored in their servers. In fact, it's very possible that Google knows just about every Wi-Fi password in the world.

It's not a secret, exactly, as Michael Horowitz at Computer World points out in a recent blog post. The issue has been covered by several prominent blogs, but during the current privacy backlash against tech companies, the collection of millions of Wi-Fi passwords has mostly flown under the radar.

But it's a notable issue. As Horowitz points out, an estimate 748 million Android phones will be sold in 2013 (a figure that does not include tablets). And most of these devices are backing up Wi-Fi passwords as part of their default settings. 

"Many (probably most) of these Android phones and tablets are phoning home to Google, backing up Wi-Fi passwords along with other assorted settings," he writes. "And, although they have never said so directly, it is obvious that Google can read the passwords."

This has been the default setting for Wi-Fi passwords since version 2.2 of the Android operation system. It's been presented as a positive feature for users, one that makes it easier to save data and configure a new phone. But for those who don't want the feature, it can be tricky to change. Depending on which version of the Android platform you have, you either have to go to "Backup my Data" or "Backup and Reset" to do the necessary configuration.

But it's not just your home Wi-Fi account. Android phones are set to automatically remember the passwords of any Wi-Fi network according to the Register:

"The list of Wi-Fi networks and passwords stored on a device is likely to extend far beyond a user's home, and include hotels, shops, libraries, friends' houses, offices and all manner of other places. Adding this information to the extensive maps of Wi-Fi access points built up over years by Google and others, and suddenly fandroids face a greater risk to their privacy if this data is scrutinised by outside agents.  

These revelations are troubling for privacy advocates who fear all this information is ripe for government cherry picking if any U.S. intelligence agency were to compel Google to give up information on one of its users. As Micah Lee of the Electronic Frontier Foundation blogged, its reasonable to expect that these passwords are not secure in Google's servers, readable by anyone.


Creature with interlocking gears on legs discovered -

Creature with interlocking gears on legs discovered - 


Gears are ubiquitous in the man-made world, found in items ranging from wristwatches to car engines, but it seems that nature invented them first.
A species of plant-hopping insect, Issus coleoptratus, is the first living creature known to possess functional gears, a new study finds. The two interlocking gears on the insect's hind legs help synchronize the legs when the animal jumps.
"To the best of my knowledge, it's the first demonstration of functioning gears in any animal," said study researcher Malcolm Burrows, an emeritus professor of neurobiology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Burrows and a colleague captured the gears' motion using high-speed video. As the young bug prepares to leap, it meshes the gear teeth of one leg with those of the other, like cocking a gun. Then, the insect releases its legs in one smooth, explosive motion. [See Video of the Insect Gears in Action]
Hopping in sync
Each leg sports a curved strip of 10 to 12 gear teeth that attach to the trochantera on the insect's legs. These structures were described in 1957, but no one had demonstrated that the gears were functional, Burrows told LiveScience.
Insects' hind legs can be arranged in two ways. The legs of grasshoppers and fleas move in separate planes at the sides of their body, whereas those of champion jumping insects, such as planthoppers, move beneath their body along the same plane. Thus, planthoppers' legs need to be tightly coupled.
"If there were to be a slight timing difference between the legs, then the body would start to spin," Burrows said.
The gears synchronize the movement of the hind legs to within about 30 microseconds of each other much faster than the nervous system could achieve, according to the study findings, detailed in the Sept. 13 issue of the journal Science. [The 7 Most Amazing Bug Ninja Skills]
Sometimes, Burrows observed that the gears slipped past one another, but when they finally engaged, the two legs became synced.
Burrows did an experiment with a dead planthopper: When he pulled one of its legs, both of them extended rapidly. Thus, the mechanics of the skeletal system alone can synchronize the legs, he said.
Gears are for kids
The cogs are only found in immature planthoppers, or nymphs, and are lost during the final molt. Adult planthoppers use friction between their legs to achieve the same effect as the gears.
Adults may ditch their gears partly because gear teeth can break, jeopardizing the insect's survival, Burrows said. Nymphs shed their exoskeleton five or six times before reaching adult size, and could correct the damage, whereas adults are stuck with one body.
Adults also have larger, more rigid bodies, so friction could be a more effective way to sync up their legs.
"It's very exciting to see one after another component of human mechanical engineering being discovered in the living world, too," said Alexander Riedel, curator of the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe in Germany, who was not involved in the research.
Riedel suggested another reason the adult insects lack gears could be that unlike nymphs, adults have wings, which could help direct their flight.
There are a few other animals that possess structures resembling gears. The cogwheel turtle, as its name suggests, has a gear on its shell, which is purely decorative. Some reptiles have cogwheel heart valves that increase the resistance to blood flow. And some insects have gearlike knobs that are used to produce chirping sounds. But none of these structures functions as a gear, per se.
Burrows originally came across gear-legged insects in a colleague's garden in Germany. He searched in vain for them at home in England.
"Then, I asked my 5-year-old grandson if he could find them, and he found some in the garden," Burrows said.