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B-List Archive

May 2005

Postings to the B-List.

Subject: B-List: Backyard Engineering Projects
Date: Wed, 18 May 2005 10:23:53 PM

The B-List is back after a bit of a break.  The time I would usually
devote to preparing B-List posts has been taken up by other things,
such as updating the look of my website:
   < >
For some reason the proxy at work blocks my site :(  But luckily some
of us have browsers that can bypass the proxy (e.g. Netscape).
Anyway, without further ado, today's B-List...

1. "Farmer builds helicopter from scratch"
   < >
"With directions from the Internet and an old Russian truck motor, a
 Vietnamese farmer fulfilled his dream of making his own helicopter.
 The job took two friends, seven years and $30,000"

2. "Pensioner builds plane in garage"   [expired link]
   <,4057,9956080^13762,00.html >
  [archived at:]
   < >
"A Slovak pensioner has spent three years building his own plane in
 his garage, using only a model plane as guide, local agencies reported

3. "Rocket man ready for DIY space race"
   < >
"Intrepid Canadian computer designer-turned-astronaut Brian Feeney
 plans to strap into his red 4.88 metre Wildfire rocket later this
 year and soar to a height of 24,000 metres while strapped to the
 world's largest helium balloon"

4. "Student satellite almost ready for space"
   < >
"Building a satellite takes years and costs millions. Well, not always.
 Nearly one hundred students from all over Europe have been working
 hard on SSETI Express. From the drawing board to launch in less than
 one year, all the while keeping costs to a minimum"

5. "Eastford man making his own energy"
   < >
"Rick Mackowiak's passion for power has resulted in a 13-year project
 to turn a river and a dam on his property into a hydro-electric plant"

Subject: B-List: Medical Mishaps
Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 11:25:05 PM

1. "All that glitters"
   < >
"An undercover Florida policeman says he went to hospital for sinus surgery
 that required a shot of painkiller, but instead the syringe was filled with
 make-up glitter"

2. "Fire burnt patient during op"
   < >
"A hospital patient suffered burns to his backside during an operation after
 a cloth soaked with disinfectant caught fire"

3. "Dream holiday turns to nightmare"
   < >
"A German professor who went on a dream holiday to Costa Rica woke up in an
 airport departure lounge to find his leg had been amputated... 'When I got
 to the hospital they put me on a bed and I heard the word amputate. I tried
 to protest, but before I knew it they had given me drugs to black me out,
 and when I woke up I was at the departure lounge'"

4. "Mexican doctor 'amputates wrong foot'"
   < >
"A doctor at a Mexican public hospital mistakenly amputated the right leg of
 an elderly patient who had sought treatment for an infection in his left
 foot, the patient's family said today"

5. "Swab in stomach caused pain"
   < >
"A German woman who suffered stomach pains for nearly 20 years, found doctors
 had left a six-inch gauze swab in her stomach after an operation"

6. "Surgical wire left in woman's body"
   < >
"A Belgian woman is to undergo an operation to have surgical wire removed
 from her chest"

7. "Swallowed penny found after eight trips to doctor"
   < >
"On previous visits, doctors diagnosed 15-month-old Erin Spaletta's breathing
 problems and persistent coughing as a respiratory infection and prescribed

8. "Doctor missed 45 stab wounds"
   < >
"A doctor called to the death bed of an 87-year-old man failed to notice he
 had been stabbed 45 times"

9. "Dentist pulls 14 teeth in surgery mishap"
   < >
"A dentist has 'unreservedly apologised' to a patient for removing 14 teeth
 - instead of just four - in a surgical blunder"

10. "Acupuncture patient left in the dark"
   < >
"A German woman suffered a bad case of pins and needles when staff at an
 acupuncture clinic forgot about her and went home"

Subject: B-List: The Art of Improvisation + Two Questions
Date: Mon, 23 May 2005 11:31:11 PM

First, some interesting examples of improvisation ...

1. "Doctor uses store drill for brain surgery"
   < >
"Lacking the proper instruments, a Peruvian doctor at a state hospital in the
 Andean highlands has used a drill and pliers to perform brain surgery on a
 man injured in a fight"

2. "Doctor 'told to use spoon in op'"  [expired link]
   <,4057,6017863%5E13762,00.html >
"British hospital managers gave a surgeon a dessert spoon to use in a hip
 replacement operation, prompting him to spend £150 ($405) of his own money
 to buy the proper instrument"

3. "Woman uses gas to get rid of unwanted guests"
   < >
"A woman who tried to get rid of unwanted guests by turning on gas, was taken
 to hospital after being overcome by fumes"

4. "Man peed way out of avalanche"
   < >
"A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking
 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it"

5. "Fireman use snowballs to quench flames"
   < >
"Romanian firefighters managed to put out a fire in an apartment by throwing
 snowballs through the window"

6. "Dairy container slows traffic"
   <,2933,145621,00.html >
"At pickup and drop-off times, he walks out by the road -- and points an
 empty plastic milk jug at cars going by. The drivers think he's a cop
 holding a radar gun, and they slow right down"

Two questions:
1. Does anyone have a recipe for a delicious carrot and walnut cake?
2. Has anyone got any suggestions regarding buying a Personal Video Recorder
   (PVR), i.e. a digital set-top box with hard disk?  I'm only interested in
   something very basic that does the job.

Subject: B-List: Close Shaves
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 11:03:46 PM

1. "Tank crushes passenger car"
   < >
"Knut Okkenhaug, 57, had a startling brush with death when an errant tank
 flattened half of his car... Okkenhaug was extracted with the help of a
 group of refugees that were being driven past in a bus"

2. "Homeless man compacted in garbage truck survives"
   < >
"A homeless man who fell asleep in a commercial trash bin was dumped into
 the back of a garbage truck Friday and compacted - but escaped serious

3. "Woman in Dumpster picked up with trash"
       407020364/1002 >
"The unidentified woman was searching for her keys in a Dumpster on
 Wednesday morning when a dump truck picked up the garbage at her
 Ridgeland apartment complex - with her inside - and carried her about
 two miles"

4. "Baby's miracle escape"
   < >
"A baby escaped without a scratch after her pram was pushed 100 metres
 down the road by a lorry"

5. "Granny left dangling from 100ft drawbridge"
   < >
"A 79-year-old woman had an amazing escape after she was left dangling
 100 foot in the air from a drawbridge"

6. "Driver plunges into icy Chena"  [expired link]
   <,1413,113~7244~2576478,00.html >
"he decided to take a shortcut across the Chena River to the Princess
 Hotel, or maybe Pike's Landing. About 20 feet onto the ice, Voorhis'
 1994 Ford F-350 pickup broke through and sank up to its headlights in
 the Chena"

Subject: B-List: Messing with your Head
Date: Thu, 26 May 2005 10:38:15 PM

1. "'Info-mania' dents IQ more than marijuana"
   < >
"Far from boosting productivity, a constant flow of email and phone messages
 impairs an office worker's ability to focus, a study suggests"

2. "Going on holiday 'lowers your IQ'"
   < >
"Fourteen days of complete rest can be enough to bring your IQ down by 20

3. "Too much knowledge can be bad for some types of memory, study finds"
   < >
"As people become smarter, they start to put things into categories, and
 one of the costs they pay is lower memory accuracy for individual

4. "Romance health alert splits sexes"
   < >
"Researchers found that men who get hitched are more likely to suffer
 mental health problems than those who simply live with their partners.
 The opposite is true for women - but they do best without any relationship"

5. "Marriage may tame genius"
   < >
"Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are
 turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children"

6. "Pretty woman ... Yeah, yeah, yeah!"
   < >
"Men's minds may be so rattled by the sight of a pretty woman that they
 behave irrationally, Canadian psychologists have shown"

7. "Researchers say having babies alters mother's brain"
       B2CC-43530E09C68A >
"Motherhood doesn't just change your life. It also changes your brain"

8. "Rejection really hurts finds brain study"
   < >
"The brain scans reveal that two of the same brain regions that are
 activated by physical pain are also activated by social exclusion"

9. "As temperature drops, so does brain function"
   < >
"After a while, the blood turns slushy; brain cells become stiff;
 frost forms on the synapses. These changes produce brain numbing,
 followed by dumbing"

10. "Lying makes brain work harder"
   <,1286,65871,00.html >
"Brain scans show that the brains of people who are lying look very
 different from those of people who are telling the truth"

11 "Mobiles 'make you senile'"
   < >
"Mobile phones and the new wireless technology could cause a 'whole
 generation' of today's teenagers to go senile in the prime of their
 lives, new research suggests

12. "Internet delusions"
   < >
"A report in the medical journal Psychopathology notes that psychotic
 delusions increasingly concern the internet, suggesting high-technology
 can fulfil the role of malign 'magical' forces often experienced in

Subject: B-List: Tricks of the Trade + Medical Slang
Date: Sun, 29 May 2005 6:57:02 PM

1. "Tricks of the Trade"
   < >
"For every occupation, there is a catalog of secrets only its employees are
 aware of - such as how waiters with heavy platters know to look straight
 ahead, and never down. Armed with a bag of reader mail, Matthew Baldwin
 unfurls a whole lot more true insider knowledge"

* Butcher: In Australia, the butchers have a secret language called
  'rechtub klat' that they use to gossip about customers without getting
* Nurse: Patients will occasionally pretend to be unconscious. A surefire
  way to find them out is to pick up their hand, hold it above their face,
  and let go. If they smack themselves, they're most likely unconscious;
  if not, they're faking"

A blog inspired by the article, which collects "tricks of the trade":
   < >

2. "Doctor, doctor, I'm pumpkin positive"  [expired link]
   <,4057,7031676%5E13762,00.html >
"These and other terms are part of a secret language, indecipherable to
 outsiders, that doctors use with each other to convey a truth that is
 otherwise unsayable, especially to the patient"

* "General practitioners may use LOBNH ('Lights On But Nobody Home') or
   the impressively bogus Oligoneuronal to mean someone who is thick"
* "Then there is DBI, for 'Dirtbag Index.' This is a formula which
   multiplies the number of tattoos on the patient's body by the number
   of missing teeth to estimate the total of days he has gone without a
* "If a doctor is stumped for what is wrong with his or her patient, they
   may record GOK, for 'God Only Knows'"

Archived at:
   < >

"Medical slang"
   < >
The paper referred to in the article.


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