Good luck Pammie!

While I’m not lazing in bed on Sunday, 6000 miles…regular and blogrollee, Ordinary Life (aka Pamie Jane), will be spending (she hopes) around 14½ hours swimming, cycling and running around and around the sleepy village of Port Elizabeth in the Ironman South Africa triathlon.

For those of you who are wondering, that’s:

  • 3.8km swim (through shark-infested waters, nogal!)
  • 180km bike ride, and then, just because you do,
  • a full (42.2km) marathon.

Nuts. Completely and utterly nuts.

If you want, you can track Pamie LIVE on the day via the ATHLETE TRACKER link on ironman.com.
Her race number is 875.

Good luck Pamie, from all of us at 6000 miles…

Note: regular readers will be aware of my dislike for large-scale athletic events which disrupt the daily lives of local residents. This event, however, is completely fine by me as it is some 750kms away in PE.

Coconut Crab

Couldn’t resist. This is great.

The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is the largest land-living arthropod in the world and is probably at the limit of how big terrestrial animals with exoskeletons can get under the prevailing conditions. Their body is divided into four regions; the cephalic lobe, forepart, trunk, and opisthosoma. It is a highly apomorphic hermit crab and is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers in order to eat the contents.

crab1
Bin raider (credit)

And should you have the misfortune to get pinched by one of these monsters (and assuming you’re still conscious), you’d do well to remember this gem, from Victorian naturalist Thomas Hale Streets:

It may be interesting to know that in such a dilemma a gentle titillation of the under soft parts of the body with any light material will cause the crab to loose its hold.

Yep. Tickle it. Either that or just batter it with a rock. Quick as you can.

Sofa danger

There are a plethora, a myriad, a lot of different things in your home which can do you harm. Your iron may scald you, your oven may burn you, you may plunge from your ladder while trying to rescue the cat from the roof – your cat may scratch you on the way down, your wife may chastise you as you lie, broken, in your hospital bed.
And then there are the soft, safe things in your house: your bed, your newly declawed cat, your sofa.

But you’ll soon scrub that idea, as you read of the terrifying reality of the woman ‘made ill by toxic sofa’.

A woman from Oxfordshire has spoken of the injuries she says she sustained from a toxic chemical left in a leather sofa.
Wendy Preston, 67, from Chipping Norton, is still recovering from the burns and rashes she says she received after buying a new sofa from an Argos store in July 2007.

Can this be for real? Well, yes it can.

Mrs Preston said she noticed the itching a few months after buying the furniture.
She said: “It was very intense and burning. Then it spread up my back, down to my toes and into my hair.”

Hairy toes are considered very attractive in some parts of the world, I’m told.

Mrs Preston was prescribed antibiotics by a doctor – but the itching did not go away. 
“My doctor asked me if I had started using a new detergent,” she explained.
“That’s when I remembered hearing something about toxic sofas.”

Ah yes. Of course – the old “toxic sofas” thing. I often recall it (usually after a couple of beers, to be fair) when I’ve just bought a new sofa and then I start itching up my back and on my hairy toes.
Yes, it’s at those times, when I’m really struggling to work out what it is that’s making my hirsute podial digits so very uncomfortable that it comes to me, like a flash of light in a less light place: it’s probably “something about toxic sofas”. Trouble is, you can never work out where you heard that sort of thing though, even though it should be pretty obvious. I can’t remember every conversation I’ve had about football – there have been millions of them. Or microbiology stuff – cos I do a lot of that, too. But I can’t imagine that I’ve ever really spoken at length with anyone about poisonous lounge furniture.  
But somehow, like Wendy Preston, I do remember hearing something about toxic sofas. And I always bring it up when someone asks me if I’m using a new detergent.

I’m sure you can see the link there, too: New detergent/Toxic sofas. Clear as day.

We’ll leave the last word to Mrs Preston though, bless her blotched and scaly skin:

“It was very frightening. When you buy a new sofa you don’t expect this kind of trouble.”

Well, no. Of course not. I mean, you may expect a little rowdiness from some of the three-seaters, obviously. And some whining and moulting from some of the corner-units, perhaps. But certainly not frightening toxicity.
That’s way out of line.

BIOPRO i-H2O

I was just looking into the benefits of activated water via the BioPro Technology site:

When age-old secrets from Mother Earth are combined with cutting edge technologies, a new generation of wellness solutions is born that is bound to change the energetics of the planet as we know it.

Ja right.
Frankly, I’m amazed that given the amazing benefits and the bargain price of just R8,145.61 (+VAT) per BIOPRO i-H2O™ System, South Africa isn’t laden with the patented system devised by (no joke) Dr Igor Smirnov. 

Following the disastrous nuclear radiation leak at Chernobyl, the brilliant Russian Scientist Dr. Igor Smirnov and his team were called in by the Soviet government to research the healing effects of certain mountain springs on victims of the radioactive fallout.  Through Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Tests and Infrared Spectroscopy, Dr. Smirnov discovered the water’s healing secrets, an unusual configuration and high-energy activity of water molecules.
Following that amazing discovery, Dr. Smirnov focused his efforts on a technology that could replicate this amazing natural process. The result, MRET®, a proprietary, patented noise field technology that closely resembles the natural geomagnetic field found near healing water springs, which effectively activates and structures water molecules.

Often, these “pseudo-science” technologies are dismissed as frauds and quackery. But it’s not nonsense. Honestly. Because there are a multitude of scientific papers proving the benefits of MRET and i-H2O in killing germs, enhacing red cell morphology, increasing plant growth and more, including:

  • Smirnov, I.V. (2007) “The Anomalous Low Viscosity and Polarized-Oriented Multilayer Structure of MRET Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.16, No.4: 37-39, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2007) “MRET Activated Water and its Successful Application for Preventive Treatment and Enhanced Tumor Resistance in Oncology” European Journal for Scientific Research, Vol.16, No.4: 575-583, Germany
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2006) “The Physiological Effect of MRET Activated Water on Patients Suffering from AIDS” Explore Magazine, Vol.15, No.2: 37-40, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. and Peerayot, T. (2006) “The Physiological Effect of MRET Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.15, No.1: 38-44, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2006) “Clinical Observation by Peerayot Trongsawad, M. D., Using MRET-Activated Water as Additional Treatment” Explore Magazine, Vol.14, No.6, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2005) “The Possible Effect of MRET Activated Water on Diabetic Patients” Explore Magazine, Vol.14, No.2: 49-54, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2004) “The Effect of a Specially Modified Electromagnetic Field on the Molecular Structure of Liquid Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.13, No.1, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2003) “Mechanism of Activated Water’s Biological Effect on Viruses” Explore Magazine, Vol.12, No.4: 34-36, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2002) “Activated Water” Electric Spacecraft Journal, No.33: 15-17, USA
  • Smirnov, I.V. (2002) “Activated Water” Explore Magazine, Vol.11, No.2: 49-53, USA

Bit Smirnovvy yes, but surely no conflict of interest? But check that penultimate one: the Electric Sparecraft Journal. I’m impressed. Getting published in the ESJ takes a whole lot of tinfoil. And while we’re on that subject, better put on your protective tinfoil helmet just in case Dr Smironoff’s 1994 invention comes after you:

Igor Smirnov from Moscow Academy of Medicine demonstrated for the U.S. secret services and FBI experts a device which was capable to subliminally implant thoughts in peoples minds and in this way control their actions.

The rest, as they say, is history. (i.e. we’ve not heard of it since).

Of course, there’s a serious side to this nonsense as well – it concerns me that he’s suggesting that his special water can benefit AIDS patients. We have experienced the infamous quack Mathias Rath preying on vulnerable HIV+ individuals in South Africa with his “vitamins cure AIDS” bullshit and while the BioPro website does come with a disclaimer, it’s tucked away very neatly right at the bottom. I wonder how many disclaimers their “direct marketing” staff give?

I don’t know why this sort of  thing is allowed. It’s basically fraud and let’s face it, we have enough issues around fraud in the country right now. All I can advise, as a scientist with [number] years experience, is that you could find a whole lot better stuff to buy if you just happen to have R9,286 lying around.

Dan Power wastes energy

VOTE FOR ME IN THE 2009 SOUTH AFRICAN BLOG AWARDS!

We’ve all had it up to here [indicates height of rising sea level at about neck level] with eco-whiners whining about the eco, haven’t we? 
It’s not that I don’t recognise the need to be kinder to the environment, it’s just that I’m getting annoyed with constantly being told about it – like the utterly pointless Earth Hour this weekend. Switching off my lights on Saturday evening  won’t raise any awareness amongst my neighbours, because they’ll all be watching TV with their lights on and their curtains closed. And then when all the treehuggers switch their power back on, there’ll actually be a bigger power demand with the “spike” as appliances start up again. Possibly.
Who can forget the embarrassing fiasco of Energy Saving Day in the UK last year, when power consumption actually increased 0.1% above average. Oops.
Anyway, I utilise about 8 hours of power saving each night when I switch all my lights off and go to bed. It’s like 8 Earth Hours in one go. Brilliant.

If the upcoming Earth Hour has made the festering boil on the neck of humanity come to a oily, oozing head, then step forward Dan Power – because he’s the man to squeeze the pus out and ease the pressure with his Energy Wasting Day on April 1st.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1_O6NDTbvw]

Embarrassingly cheesy amateur British comedy at it’s best. Yes, I’m cringing too.

Of course, it’s all in a good cause: namely treehugging and eco-awareness via together.com. But what a refreshingly not in-your-face way of going about things. Because you can easily make a bit of a difference every day, without gimmicks like Earth Hour. At Chez 6000, we already institute a wide range of energy saving practices, we recycle and we only fly long-haul when we need to be somewhere far away from the place where we currently are. But I don’t go round constantly telling people about it (apart from just now) and I don’t go round forcing them to do the same.

What I do around constantly telling people about and forcing them to do is voting for this blog in the 2009 South African Blog Awards. It won’t save the planet – hell, it won’t even win me the award – but it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like a high-quality brandy on a cold winter’s day. Which we won’t be having many more of if global warming kicks in, anyway.