February 4, 2016

RIP, Maurice White

Filed under: General,Lucid Links,Marvels — Tom @ 11:35 pm

Mauric White (bottom row, center), the leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, who orchestrated some of the best music ever made, has died:


Listen (more here).


That’s the Way of the World:

Can’t Hide Love:

Shining Star:

Maurice White’s music will shine on forever.

January 19, 2016

Positivity: How to Quickly and Safely Remove Frost From a Windshield

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Holy moly, where has this idea been for the past ****** (will not disclose) years?

From WATE in Knoxville (HT Daryn Kagan):

January 12, 2016

Positivity: Miami Doctors Use Cardboard Virtual Reality Tech To Save Baby’s Life

Filed under: Health Care,Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Miami (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

December 22, 2015 5:30 PM

A baby girl is her parents’ gift this holiday, for more reason than one.

Four-month-old Teegan Lexcen was facing a grim prognosis. She was born with only one lung and half a heart.

Doctors in Minnesota, where the family lives, said there was nothing they could do.

“The family was given the worst prognosis and told she was inoperable,” said Dr. Redomond Burke, a cardiovascular surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “That’s a word we hate here.”

The family found doctors in Miami willing to try something new.

The pediatric surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital took computer scans of Teegan’s heart and lung and uploaded the images to a smartphone. They were then able to look at 3D images of her tiny heart and lung using Google Cardboard.

“The old VR images we used to get were just too grainy not specific enough for the fine detail you need to do open heart surgery on a baby,” said Burke.

With the clear images in hand, they then performed a seven-hour lifesaving operation.

“Finding out after the fact that that helped save her life, that’s phenomenal,” said Teegan’s mother, Cassidy Lexcen.

Little Teegan is now recovering with her parents, her twin sister Riley and the cardboard tech by her side. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 29, 2015

Positivity: Maryland Woman Credits Search-and-Rescue Dog Heidi With Detecting Her Lung Cancer

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 5:40 am

And her doctor agrees — From Halethorne, Maryland (video at link):

Dec 18, 2015, 1:59 PM ET

A Baltimore-area woman and her oncologist believe her search-and-rescue dog “sniffed out” and detected her lung cancer early enough to possibly save her life.

Her 9-year-old shepherd-Lab mix, Heidi, has helped save several people’s lives and find over 2,000 missing pets during her work as a search-and-rescue dog for over seven years, Anne Wills told ABC News today.

Wills and Heidi work for Wills’ nonprofit Dogs Finding Dogs, which has professionally trained dogs that can sniff out drugs and find missing pets and people.

But Wills never expected that Heidi would ever save her life, she said.

“Around February this year, every time I would sit down, Heidi would start barricading me and literally not let me get up,” Wills, 53, said. “She would scratch my arm, and she was very panic stricken and panting a lot.”

Heidi continued doing this for about a week when she suddenly became “more upset and insistent” and “started taking her nose and stuffing it in my chest and keeping it there and breathing in really deeply,” added Wills, who lives in Halethorne, Maryland.

She said Heidi continued the behavior for weeks.

Wills thought something was wrong with Heidi, so she took her to the veterinarian. But when the vet said Heidi was fine, Wills realized Heidi could be sensing something wrong in her, so she went to the doctor.

“I was sent for a CAT scan, and 9 a.m. the next morning, I get a call saying that I have three spots of cancer in my lungs and that I have to get it taken care of right away,” Wills said. “And so the journey begins.”

Had Heidi not been so persistent in trying to alert Wills, the cancer may have spread to other parts of the body, likely making it incurable, according to Dr. Enser Cole, Will’s oncologist and chief of medical oncology at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore.

“When you meet Heidi, you feel like you’re in the presence of dog with a couple of PhDs,” Cole told ABC News today. “This dog diagnosed the cancer before the doctors did, and it’s justly something to marvel at.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

December 6, 2015

Positivity: Adele Impersonates an Adele Impersonator

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Priceless (HT Daryn Kagan):

October 23, 2015

Positivity: College Students Create Nail Polish That Changes Colors When Exposed To Date Rape Drugs

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From North Carolina State University — wish it wasn’t necessary, but because it is, this is neat. Also, it’s been a years, and I don’t think the word has spread very widely:

Aug 25, 2014 • 10:18am

Four male students at North Carolina State University are attempting to put an end to date rape with their own hands. More accurately, they’re ending it with the hands of their friends, girlfriends and female supporters.

The guys — Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tyler Confrey-Maloney and Tasso Von Windheim — have invented a nail polish called Undercover Colors that changes shades when touched by date rape drugs.

They aim to protect their loved ones and women who may not have anyone present to watch out for them, according to Undercover Colors’ Facebook page. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 20, 2015

Positivity: Woman gives back to people who saved her life

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Tampa Palms, Florida:

Published: October 7, 2015

Growing up, Carmen Malouf Florek was the epitome of someone who, by all accounts, appeared to be in excellent health.

Raised in a household with three brothers, she played and excelled in a variety of sports and even earned the distinction of being the first female in her home state of Mississippi to join a traditionally all-male baseball team.

“Carmen was very intelligent and very much of a tomboy,” said her mother, Salwa Malouf. “In her senior year in high school, she won the Bruin Award for being the smartest and most athletic person in her class.”

Florek went on to attend the University of South Florida, where she played on the women’s soccer team, performed on the track and field team and in 2000 earned a degree in mass communications.

Nothing could have prepared her for what occurred while back in her hometown of Jackson to attend a family wedding shortly after her graduation.

Before the ceremony, Florek went for a run in one of the city’s parks when suddenly she felt nauseous and subsequently fainted. The following day a doctor at a nearby walk-in clinic surmised she was asthmatic.

But when she returned to Tampa and sought the medical advice of other physicians, including USF Health cardiologists, she received an entirely different diagnosis.

At age 23, Florek learned she has a genetic arrhythmic disorder, a condition in which her heart beats irregularly.

She immediately underwent surgery in which she which received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator able to monitor and detect an abnormal heartbeat and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to restore it to normalcy.

Thanks to medication and her ICD manufactured by Medtronic — a major producer of medical devices with operational headquarters in Fridley, a suburb of Minneapolis — Florek is back to living an active life.

Florek’s youngest brother, Matthew Malouf, who was in Tampa before her surgery and accompanied his sister on many of her doctors’ visits, describes her as a person who is always game for trying new things and is also good at everything she does.

“She’s always doing something, and I often tell her to slow down,” he said.

Two years ago, the now 39-year-old Carmen married Brian Florek, and they are expecting their first child.

She continues to work out, teach a Pilates class and travel with few limitations.

In fact, Carmen and Brian just returned from Minneapolis-St. Paul, where she joined 24 others from throughout the world who earlier this year were named 2015 Medtronic Global Heroes.

She and the others — both men and women who all have implanted Medtronic devices — were invited to participate in the 2015 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and/or the Medtronic TC 10-mile walk.

Florek opted to only take part in the latter event.

But her main focus was on the following day’s opportunity to tell her story during a Medtronic cardiac division symposium.

“They are the people who are creating the equipment that saved me,” said Carmen, who about two years ago contacted the company and volunteered to be a spokesperson for the four Medtronic ICDs she’s had placed in her chest since her diagnosis. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

October 14, 2015

Positivity: Jaxon Taylor Injury — Toddler’s Head Reattached After Internal Decapitation (‘It’s a Miracle’)

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From New South Wales, Australia (video at link; reproduced in full due to relative brevity; HT to Julie Prince at PJ Media):

A toddler in Australia is smiling and learning to walk again after surgeons reattached his spine to his head following a high-speed car accident.

The 16-month-old boy, Jaxon Taylor, was riding in a car with his mother and 9-year-old sister last month when they collided head-on with another car at about 70 mph in northern New South Wales. The force of the impact tore apart Jaxon’s upper vertebrae, leaving his head internally severed.

“The second I pulled him out, I knew that he — I knew that his neck was broken,” Jaxon Taylor’s mother, Rylea Taylor, told 7 News Melbourne.

Jaxon was airlifted to a hospital in Brisbane, and ended up in the care of spinal surgeon Geoff Askin.

“A lot of children wouldn’t survive that injury in the first place,” Askin said. “And if they did and they were resuscitated they may never move or breathe again.”

In a six-hour operation, surgeons used a fragment of one of Jaxon’s ribs to graft the severed vertebrae together, 7 News Melbourne reported.

He will have to wear a neck brace for a couple months to allow the tissues and nerves connecting his head to his spine to heal, according to the channel.

But the boy seems to be making a remarkable recovery, kicking a balloon, laughing and hugging his parents.

“It is a miracle,” Rylea Taylor said.

September 27, 2015

Positivity: The Martian — How a self-published e-book became a Hollywood blockbuster

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

The UK Telegraph has a long and entertaining article about self-published author Andy Weir (HT Daryn Kagan).

Go there. It’s worth every minute.

August 31, 2015

Positivity: Siri ‘butt dial’ to 911 brings rescuers to trapped victim

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Murfreesboro and Nashville, Tennessee (HT Daryn Kagan):

Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, 10:40 AM

A Vanderbilt patient who survived the unthinkable has brought a whole new meaning to the term “butt dialing” and believes that prayer, along with a little help from Siri, saved his life.

Sam Ray, 18, was never a fan of Siri, the hands-free virtual assistant on Apple iPhones, until he found himself pinned under his truck with Siri as his only way to call for help.

On July 2, the recent high school graduate was working under his truck, which was lifted up on a jack in the driveway of his family’s Murfreesboro, Tennessee, home. Needing a little advice, he called his father, who encouraged him to stop what he was doing until they could look at the truck together. Sam put his phone in his back pocket and proceeded to slide out from under the truck when the jack gave way, causing the nearly 5,000-pound vehicle to fall on him.

“I just kept praying out loud, ‘Lord, get me out of this,’” Sam said. “I kept reciting Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”

He yelled for help, but no one could hear him. Helpless and alone, he suddenly heard the familiar sound of Siri activating in his back pocket and realized that this iPhone feature could possibly allow him to call for help.

His arms were trapped, making it impossible to access his phone, but he was able to push up on his hip to activate Siri in his pocket and request that his phone call 911. After several attempts, he heard a voice on the line and realized he had gotten through.

“When I heard a woman talking from inside my pocket, I just started shouting,” Sam said. “I didn’t know if she could hear me or not, but I heard her say that help was just around the corner.”

Responders with Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department, the Rutherford County Fire Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to Sam’s call. They were able to move him out from under the vehicle and then transported him to the Vanderbilt LifeFlight base in Murfreesboro, where he was then flown to Vanderbilt.

“We’re always concerned with crush injuries, and the longer a patient is trapped, the more problems they can have,” said Kirk Krokosky, one of Sam’s flight nurses. “He could have been there for hours, but as fate would have it, Siri was sort of his guardian angel.”

During the estimated 40 minutes that Sam was under his truck, he sustained three broken ribs, a bruised kidney, a cut on the forehead, and second- and third-degree burns to one arm that was under the exhaust pipe.

However, an accident like this could have easily had a very different outcome, said his doctor, Richard Miller, M.D., Chief of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt.

“A tool like Siri is a modern-day rescue item that we didn’t have in the past and potentially saved him from more serious or long-term complications from his crush injury.”“He’s very lucky. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

July 1, 2015


Filed under: Business Moves,Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

This is from October of last year. I became aware of it by reading Michelle Malkin’s June 24 column:


State-of-the-art heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system highlighted at Vatican Museums cultural heritage event

Carrier announced Wednesday the completed installation of an innovative heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) solution for the Sistine Chapel, developed to help preserve Michelangelo’s masterpieces against deterioration caused by increasing numbers of visitors.

The new Carrier HVAC system design will be presented over the next two days to an international audience specializing in cultural heritage preservation at a Vatican Museums event, “The Sistine Chapel 20 Years Later: New Breath, New Light,” in Rome. Carrier, the world’s leader in high-technology heating, ventilating and air-conditioning solutions, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).

The new system uses two Carrier AquaForce® 30XWV water-cooled chillers with Greenspeed® intelligence, each with 580 kilowatts of capacity. It leverages specially designed software and components, as well as patented, energy-saving technologies to maintain optimal climate conditions for the protection of the paintings within the chapel. An intelligent system of controls, linked with an advanced video application from UTC Building & Industrial Systems, enables the HVAC system to anticipate visitor levels and adjust its performance intuitively. The new system delivers twice the efficiency and three times the capacity of the former system, which was built and installed by Carrier in the early 1990s. To ensure the smooth operation of the new system, the Vatican has chosen to enter into a five-year maintenance contract with Carrier Distribution Italy SpA.

“Our aim now is not restoration, but conservation. This is why we have chosen Carrier, because a masterpiece like the Sistine Chapel needs a comparable masterpiece of technology,” said Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums.

The company’s expert global team of AdvanTE3C engineers developed the solution, working in close collaboration with the Vatican’s technical teams and using leading-edge computer modeling and simulation techniques. The engineering team overcame several challenges to meet the chapel’s unique requirements. The system carefully manages the flow, humidity, quality and temperature of the air; maintains sound at “church-quiet” levels; is virtually invisible to visitors; and uses pre-existing duct openings in a protected, historic landmark setting. It was also designed to be adaptable to future needs.

“Supporting the Vatican with our advanced technologies to preserve the extraordinary heritage of the Sistine Chapel was a remarkable opportunity,” said Geraud Darnis, President and CEO, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “We put our world-class engineering and design resources into this project and are exceptionally proud of the outcome.”

In 1993, Carrier designed and installed the Sistine Chapel’s first air-conditioning system to accommodate a maximum load of 700 simultaneous visitors. Today, with daily visitor traffic of approximately 20,000 people, the new system is designed to accommodate up to 2,000 visitors at one time in nearly any weather condition. …

Go here for the rest of the company’s press release.

July 30, 2014

Positivity: Ring of Fire, A Capella

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

The musicianship here is special (HT The Blaze):

But I like the passion (restrained, but there) in the Johnny Cash version a bit more:

May 12, 2014

Positivity: Aaliyah Rose’s Performance at Radio Disney Music Awards

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Watch — wow:

Let It Go – Aaliyah Rose Performance – RDMAs 2014 on Disney Video

May 1, 2014

Positivity: Breathtaking Picture of 21-Week Unborn Baby

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

Here it is:


Here’s the story (paragraph breaks added by me):

(The) following picture began circulating in November. It should be “The Picture of the Year,” or perhaps, “Picture of the Decade.”

It won’t be. In fact, unless you obtained a copy of the U.S. paper w hich published it, you probably would never have seen it. The picture is that of a 21-week-old unborn baby named Samuel Alexander Armas, who is being operated on by surgeon named Joseph Bruner. The baby was diagnosed with spina bifida and would not survive if removed from his mother’s womb.

Little Samuel’s mother, Julie Armas, is an obstetrics nurse in Atlanta. She knew of Dr. Bruner’s remarkable surgical procedure. Practicing at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, he performs these special operations while the baby is still in the womb.

During the procedure, the doctor removes the uterus via C-section and makes a small incision to operate on the baby. As Dr. Bruner completed the surgery on Samuel, the little guy reached his tiny, but fully developed hand through the incision and firmly grasped the surgeon’s finger. Dr. Bruner was reported as saying that when his finger was grasped, it was the most emotional moment of his life, and that for an instant during the procedure he was just frozen, totally immobile.

The photograph captures this amazing event with perfect clarity. The editors titled the picture, “Hand of Hope.

Little Samuel’s mother said they “wept for days” when they saw the picture. She said, “The photo reminds us pregnancy isn’t about disability or an illness, it’s about a little person” Samuel was born in perfect health, the operation 100 percent successful.

Now see the actual picture, and it is awesome…incredible….and hey, pass it on! The world needs to see this one!

April 28, 2014

Positivity: Speed Reading — The Next Frontier in Email

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Mailbird, the company I first mentioned in early February (HT TechCrunch):

From TechCrunch’s coverage:

Mailbird Brings Speed Reading Technology To Email

Mailbird, a PC email client bearing resemblance to popular Mac app (and Google acquisition) Sparrow, is introducing an interesting feature in the hopes of helping users save time when reading long emails. The company has now added a “speed reader” option, which, when clicked, lets you read emails in a similar way to reading other text in other speed reading apps, like those powered by technology from Spritz, Spreeder, Velocity and others.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this trend, a number of apps have emerged recently, allowing users to read everything from books to news articles more quickly, using a technique that flashes words one at a time on the screen. This lets you to consume text faster than if you were reading by moving your eyes across the page. Speed reading startup Spritz is one of the more high-profile players in this space, having developed its own technology in stealth since 2011, and last month closing on $3.5 million in seed funding.

Now that same type of technology is available for reading emails. …

… Mailbird’s speed reading option is different from those designed for book-reading or news-reading, the company also notes. Many emails have headlined sections in the body of the message, for example, and its technology adjusts the speed when it encounters this type of text, allowing you to read the headline or section break for a slightly longer period of time than the rest of the message.

Mailbird CEO Andrea Loubier says she hopes the introduction of the speed reading technology into the software will increase its potential with those in the SMB/small teams space. Currently, the company has over 10,500 users for its email software, and is growing its paid user base at 50% month-over-month, with free to paid conversions at 25%.

… Mailbird is a bootstrapped team of 8, based in Indonesia. The company is now raising a small, $800,000 seed round.

More on Mailbird is here.

This is the first time in 29 years as a Mac user that I ever recall being jealous of something Windows users can have that Mac users can’t.