Lifestyles:

Health and Medicine, Travel, Gardening, Pets, Automotive

Biomarker tests could someday help improve outcomes for organ transplant patients

Biomarker tests could someday help improve outcomes for organ transplant patients
Organ transplants save lives, but the story doesn’t end when a patient emerges from the operating room. Rejection episodes, in which the immune system rallies against the new organ, can occur. According to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, researchers are turning to biomarkers to help them get a better idea of which patients are more likely to have an episode.

The Right Answers about Flu Could save Your Life

The Right Answers about Flu Could save Your Life
“Get the shot”, is the message now the flu season is here. But how effective is the vaccine? What is the chance of a mismatch? Are there serious complications? Should you get your shot at the local pharmacy? Or treat yourself with over-the-counter products? Should you rely on natural remedies? The right answers could save your life.

How Effective is the Vaccine?

Australia’s flu season, during its winter and our summer, usually predicts what happens in North America. And during Australia’s past winter, there were 215,280 cases.

Conscientious objection twisting in the wind in Canada

Conscientious objection twisting in the wind in Canada,
For years bioethicists of a utilitarian cast have argued that conscientious objection has no place in medicine. Now Canadian courts are beginning to put their stamp of approval on the extinction of doctors’ right to refuse to kill their patients.

The Superior Court of Justice Division Court of Ontario ruled this week that if doctors are unwilling to perform legal actions, they should find another job (see report in BioEdge).

What can you get in a great sports car for under $35,000?  Quite a lot!

What can you get in a great sports car for under $35,000?  Quite a lot!
What would you do if you found yourself with an extra $35,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Would you give it to charity, buy stocks or other investments, or maybe just blow it on a four wheeled toy?

A good friend of mine, Blair, posed that query to me a couple of days ago and it got me thinking about what I’d do in such a situation if I didn’t have to consult with anyone about how (or if…) it should be spent.

I don’t know if Blair has an extra 35 grand burning a hole in his pocket or if he was merely "goal setting," but his challenge was: "you have $35K and want to buy a sports car for occasional use. What would you choose?" He also mentioned I didn’t have to use the full 35 grand of "play money" but I imagine that by the time all is said and done I’d have spent that amount and maybe a little more.

By Jim Bray - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - -- Automotive

Panasonic combo oven worth getting steamed over

Panasonic combo oven worth getting steamed over,
Don’t tell my wife, but I’ve just spent a couple of weeks with a new “grill friend.” It’s a kitchen appliance that could clean up some precious shelf space because it blends the duties of disparate appliances into one unit.

Panasonic’s Combination Oven NN-DS58HB, despite its $699.99 CAD retail price, is a pretty compelling piece of equipment, though it isn’t without its issues. Heck, depending on your lifestyle and food habits, it could do a lot, if not most, of your cooking all by itself.

By Jim Bray - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

January Hortic Birthdays

January Hortic Birthdays
A tip of the garden hat to a few of those who have improved our gardens, health and lives in general: “Whoever could make two ears of corn grow where only one grew before would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.” Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

Ganapathi Thanikaimoni 1 January 1938—5 September 1986

A leading Indian palynologist, who studied contemporary and fossil pollens, killed age 48 during a military assault after terrorists hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 from Karachi. He was reportedly helping a child when hit by fragments of a grenade set off by the terrorists.

Johann Heinrich Heucher 1 January 1677—22 February 1747

German physician and natural scientist, professor of medicine at Wittenberg, physician to King Augustus the Strong of Dresden; if you have Heuchera in the garden, the genus is named in his honour.

By Wes Porter - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

8 ways augmented and virtual reality are changing medicine

8 ways augmented and virtual reality are changing medicine
Spine and heart surgeons will use augmented reality (AR) to simplify complex procedures. Autistic children will get relief from sensory overload with a calming virtual reality (VR) system.

These and other scenarios are made possible by Israeli innovations tapping into the tremendous potential of AR and VR for healing and wellbeing.

Auckland Harbour Bridge Transformed by Lights

Auckland Harbour Bridge Transformed by Lights
Auckland’s iconic harbour bridge has been brought to life in a world-first battery and peer-to-peer powered light show.

The six-minute specially-composed light show sequence wowed crowds in New Zealand’s largest city watching and listening from different vantage points throughout the city on January 27, 2018. The bridge, which connects central Auckland and the suburbs of the North Shore lit up the Waitemata Harbour creating an audio-visual spectacle

By Travel New Zealand - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - -- Travel

Which is Worse - False Prophecy or No Prophecy?

Which is Worse - False Prophecy or No Prophecy?
The 100% accuracy rate of Messianic prophecies (First coming of Christ) makes ignoring the premillennial prophecies (Second coming of Christ) the single greatest folly in the history of mankind. That would include the church or anyone who dismisses these warnings out of hand.

As to the question of which is worse; it is like finding that there is no exit door available when someone cries fire in a crowded room, or conversely, having someone pointing to a door that does not lead out of the burning building. It is a lose-lose situation.

By Rev. Michael Bresciani - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

You’ll Love Flying The Pup

You’ll Love Flying The Pup
Inflated egos are dangerous. When my flight instructor certified that I was a licensed pilot, my ego and I were flying high … too high, as was made terrifyingly evident the day I flew the Pup.

Elliott, a student pilot, was constructing an ultra-light, tube-and-fabric, aircraft known as the N3 Pup, and asked me to go with him to look at one that was completed.

The Pup resembled my airplane, a J-3 Piper Cub, but was much smaller — indeed tiny. After discussing its construction, Elliott asked Susanne, the owner, about its flight characteristics.

By Jimmy Reed - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

Alice Eastwood, Canadian-American Botanist

Alice Eastwood, Canadian-American Botanist
Toronto’s Necropolis is the last resting place for many a distinguished person. One such is Alice Eastwood, acclaimed Canadian-American botanist credited, amongst many other achievements, with building the botanical collection at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.

Her path to a successful botanical career was not an easy one. Born in Toronto on 19th January 1859 her father was a steward at the Toronto Asylum for the Insane on Queen Street. His wife died when Alice was but six, so she spent some time living with a physician uncle, an ‘avid gardener and amateur botanist’ who introduced her to botany and scientific terminology. At eight, she and her younger sister were sent to board at a convent in neighbouring Oshawa. This was another stroke of good fortune since there she met a young priest who was another amateur botanist as well as naturalist.

By Wes Porter - Monday, January 29, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

Bad Beatles musical looks and sounds great in 4K - while Geostorm blows

Bad Beatles musical looks and sounds great in 4K - while Geostorm blows
Somewhere, Ken Russell looks down (or is it up?) and smiles.

That’s because director Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe” is arguably as much a tribute to the late Mr. Russell’s visually excessive style of filmmaking than it is a tribute to the Beatles. To me, the film felt like they took Ken Russell’s interpretation of The Who’s Tommy and put it into a blender with Milos Forman’s Hair, but the result - other than looking and sounding fantastic in its 4K incarnation - was less satisfying to me than either of those other films.

By Jim Bray - Monday, January 29, 2018 - -- Lifestyles

Americans’ most reliable cars are mostly Japanese - and Canada’s best new car gets a step closer

Americans' most reliable cars are mostly Japanese - and Canada's  best new car gets a step closer
What do Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen all have in common? They were named to the list of the 15 cars that American consumers keep the longest before putting them out to pasture.

The news comes courtesy of iseecars.com,  which bills itself as "an automotive data and research company that helps consumers find the best car deals by providing key insights and guidance."  I’d never heard of them before learning about this study, but after checking out their site they seem to be kind of like AutoTrader in their focus.

By Jim Bray - Monday, January 29, 2018 - -- Automotive

The Nitric Oxide Key to Prevent Heart Attack

The Nitric Oxide Key to Prevent Heart Attack
Ask anyone what causes a sudden coronary attack and they will say it’s the result of high blood cholesterol, lack of exercise, obesity or smoking. Now, a report in the publication “LifeExtension” says doctors must start thinking “endothelium”. I’d bet few readers could even spell this word. So why is it so vital? And what natural remedies make it healthy?

The endothelium is the ultra-thin, one cell thick, innermost lining of arteries. It produces nitric oxide. And it’s ironic that just this single layer of cells, if unhealthy, results in decreased blood circulation, hardening of arteries, and is a major cause of the big killers, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

Vatican Standing by its Decision to Award Dutch Abortion Advocate

Vatican Standing by its Decision to Award Dutch Abortion Advocate
Early this month, Catholics throughout the world were outraged upon learning that Pope Francis awarded abortion advocate Lilianne Ploumen with the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory, an honor traditionally conferred upon those who demonstrate outstanding service to the Holy See or to humanity. Ploumen, who boasted in a video broadcast that she had received a “high distinction from the Vatican” was granted the award in June 2017 when she assisted the Dutch Royals in their visit to the Holy Father.

In the wake of conservative backlash, the Vatican is not backing down from awarding Ploumen with the Pontifical honor, but is doubling down on the action. A Vatican official recently told NCR reporter Edward Pentin that this was “a very traditional procedure” for such a “historic occasion” and was really meant as a way of “honoring the king.” If that’s the case, why didn’t the king get the award?

By David Martin - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - -- Lifestyles