Friday, December 19, 2014

Quantum Teleportation Reaches Farthest Distance Yet

Do~DO! Do~DO! Do~DO! Earth to cyberspace! Oh there you are...instantly teleported even as I speak (sort of). Just in time, too. Coffee's hot in the pot and the virtual quantum muffins are waiting for you. Did I say Quantum? Read on...

A new distance record has been set in the strange world of quantum teleportation. The pictured crystals captured and stored quantum information at the end of the teleportation.

In a recent experiment, the quantum state (the direction it was spinning) of a light particle instantly traveled 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) across an optical fiber, becoming the farthest successful quantum teleportation feat yet. 

Advances in quantum teleportation could lead to better Internet and communication security, and get scientists closer to developing quantum computers. About five years ago, researchers could only teleport quantum information, such as which direction a particle is spinning, across a few meters. Now, they can beam that information across several miles. [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

Quantum teleportation doesn't mean it's possible for a person to instantly pop from New York to London, or be instantly beamed aboard a spacecraft like in television's "Star Trek." Physicists can't instantly transport matter (yet, I say), but they can instantly transport information through quantum teleportation.

Quantum information has already been transferred dozens of miles, but this is the farthest it's been transported using an optical fiber, and then recorded and stored at the other end. Other quantum teleportation experiments that beamed photons farther used lasers instead of optical fibers to send the information. But unlike the laser method, the optical-fiber method could eventually be used to develop technology like quantum computers that are capable of extremely fast computing, or quantum cryptography that could make secure communication possible.

Physicists think quantum teleportation will lead to secure wireless communication — something that is extremely difficult but important in an increasingly digital world. Advances in quantum teleportation could also help make online banking more secure.

Beam me up, Scotty!

See ya, eh!


Note: I cut out a lot of the technical info in this post. If you want to read more about it, go here:


Thursday, December 18, 2014

This Muscle Could Save Your Life!

Hello there! I’m delighted that you’re here. I put on a fresh pot of coffee and got some delectable virtual treats for you to try so help yourself to a Christmas cookie, muffin or double double butter tart, why don’t’cha?  I just made up the double double butter tart name but it sounds like something I’d like to try a double double coffee-flavoured butter tart, eh. I’ll report back to you after tested them. 
I just received an email from my pal Dr Al and thought I’d share it. We’re all getting older and especially with the icy conditions we get here in the frozen north, falling down can be hazardous to your health. With that in mind, here’s what Dr Al has to say about it:

Dear Bob,

You probably know someone who’s fallen and broken a hip. But what you may not know is that it’s not just elders who fall.

The risk for breaking a hip doubles every five years after you turn fifty.

And 30% of people who fall and break a hip develop complications and die within a year.1

The good news is you can use the power of your muscles to avoid falling and breaking your hip, starting today. The fact is falling down doesn’t have to be a part of aging. You just have to decide that you’re not going to take it lying down.

It involves strengthening your quadriceps muscles.

You see, the signals to your muscles start to slow down as you get older, making it harder for your muscles to respond.

Researchers looked at how muscles respond when the brain cells that activate them – called neurons – send out electrical signals for the muscles to move.

They found that as you age, not only do muscles respond more slowly, but neurons fire less frequently.

You might think this confirms the conventional wisdom – that “slowing down” is an inevitable consequence of aging.

But it’s not true.

Studies show that quadriceps muscle strength is the number one predictor of how active, healthy and mobile you’ll stay as you get older.2

Studies also show that if you strengthen your quad muscles, it can significantly improve both neuron and muscle response.3

That means you can turn back the clock on what you were told was a feature of aging, and stay mobile and healthy as you age.

And, if you think you’re too old to get these benefits, think again. Researchers at Tufts University’s Human Nutritional Research Center studied the effects of training for power on a group between the ages of 63 and 98. Most needed hearing aids or wheelchairs.

After just ten weeks, these “elders” saw an increase in muscle strength, stamina, and stability. Many were able to walk unaided by the end of the study.4

So here’s something you can do starting right now to boost the power in your legs and hips. It’s my favorite leg workout, and the only one I do every day. They’re Dr. Sears’ Modified Hindu Squats.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Extend your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground with your hands open and palms facing down.
  • Inhale briskly and pull your hands straight back towards you as if you’re rowing.
  • As you pull back, turn the wrists up and make a fist.
  • At the end of the inhalation, your elbows should be behind you with both hands in a fist, palm side up.
  • From this position, exhale, bend your knees and squat.
  • Let your arms fall to your thighs.
  • Continue exhaling and let your arms swing up as you stand back up to the starting position

Repeat at the pace of one repetition every four seconds. Once you are comfortable with the form, you can increase your speed to one squat per second. Repeat until you feel winded. Rest, recover and do two more sets.

It’s important to keep in mind that increasing your power is what makes the difference. With more strength, you’ll do a lot more for yourself than avoid injury. You’ll also boost your immune system, elevate your mood, increase your stamina, burn more fat, and even prevent chronic pain.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Thanks, Dr Al! With my balance sometimes not at its best, I do a modified squat. In the kitchen, I grasp the edge of the sink with both hands and use that to keep my balance as I bend my knees. 10 reps is a good start. I also use the edge of the sink to help with arm muscles and by putting one foot about 18 inches ahead of the other, stretching my calf muscles (alternating after 10 seconds or so with three reps).

Just thinking about it is getting me tired. Think I’ll have another coffee, virtual treat and a nap!

See ya, eh!


1. Thorell K, Ranstad K, Midlöv P, Borgquist L, Halling A. "Is use of fall risk-increasing drugs in an elderly population associated with an increased risk of hip fracture, after adjustment for multimorbidity level: a cohort study." BMC Geriatr. 2014;14(1):131.
2. Swallow, Elisabeth B., et al, “Quadriceps strength predicts mortality in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Thorax 2007;62:115-120
3. Cristopher A. Knight and Gary Kamen, “Modulation of motor unit firing rates during a complex sinusoidal force task in young and older adults,” Journal of Applied Physiology, 102(2007): 122-129.
4. Klatz R., Hormones of Youth, American Academy of Anti-Aging, Chicago 1999 p. 47–48.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Newly-Opened Chinese School of Arts Is a Real-Life Hogwarts

I waved my magic wand and KAZAAM!... you appeared out of the cybersky. Good to see you. Help yourself to a steamingly refreshing mug of arabica juice and a magical virtual muffin while I tell you about an interesting college in China.

Young Potterheads in China are in for a real treat – they have the chance to study at their very own Hogwarts! Well, it isn’t really a school of magic – the building is a part of the Hebei Academy of Fine Arts and will house the school’s animation students. But who cares as long as you get to spend hours inside a magnificent castle that strongly resembles Harry Potter’s famous school, right?

Images of the impressive school went viral as more and more netizens began to notice that its various turrets and towers are a lot like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But the designers of the structure insist that they weren’t inspired by J. K. Rowling’s magical world; they simply modelled the castle after European architecture in general. They actually prefer to call it ‘Cinderella Castle’, since it features a gigantic clock tower.

Sadly, there won’t be any shifting staircases or talking portraits inside the castle. But it still is a pretty awesome place for a college. “We want our students to be inspired and this impressive fairytale architecture is exactly what they need for working in a creative environment,” a spokesperson for Hebei Academy said. “It’s important for the students and for the staff that they feel part of something special, and that is enough magic to ensure what we have created is a fine institution for furthering interest in the study of arts.”

Pretty neat place to study the fine arts, don't'cha think? Anyone up for a game of Quiddich?

See ya, eh!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Artist Turns Human Bodies into Living Canvases

A splendiferous day to you wherever you are... cyberspace or elsewhere. Mind the coffeepot as you spiral down for a mugful. Grab a virtual treat ot twain while you're here. You know I'm attracted to artistic endeavours, right? Well here's a pretty foxy artist!

There’s more to the animal portraits painted by Florida-based artist Shannon Holt than meets the eye. If you look carefully, you’ll notice the canvases are actually human bodies contorted into just the right position.

The expert body-painter spends between 6 and 12 hours instructing the models to adopt the right stance and painstakingly painting every little detail of the animal she brings to life through her art. 

After experimenting with various mediums, Holt decided the skin was the perfect medium to express her talent. “The body was the final surface I tried before I decided skin was the key to making my work successful,” she said. “I love it because it happened automatically and beautifully with no planning – it’s a perfect creative example of how cool body painting can be. It can transform into two different images with the repositioning of the model’s arms and hands.”

Remarkable. I suppose the artist would either start with an animal sketch and see how human shapes could be worked into it - or see a human shape and think about how it resembled an animal part. Either way, it's quite ingenious, don't'cha think?

See ya, eh!


Monday, December 15, 2014

The Floating Basket Homes of Iraq

As-salam alaykom! Greetings! Kayfa ḥālak? Good...I'm glad you are well. Coffee? Virtual treat? Of course, eh! Time to relax, kick back and chat a little. Here's something I doubt you know much about. I could be wrong, of course, but...

Little is known to the world about Iraq’s Tigris-Euphrates marshlands – an area that, at one time, covered over 9,000 square miles – bigger than Venice’s lagoon and Florida’s Everglades combined. The marshland was inhabited continuously for over 5,000 years and at its peak, it was home to half-a-million ‘Marsh Arabs’ or ‘Ma’dan’.

The Ma’dan consisted of several tribes that had developed a beautiful, eco-friendly culture that centered on the marshes’ natural resources. One of the truly admirable aspects of their lifestyle was their beautifully elaborate dwellings – floating houses made entirely out of reeds that were harvested from the open water.

These architectural wonders, strongly reminiscent of the ‘casoni’ of the Venetian fishermen, were called ‘mudhif’. They were temporary structures built of reeds in only three days, without the use of nails or wood. Even the islands that the houses would rest on were made of complicated arrangements of mud and rushes.

Aha! Interesting, no? ensuite in the master bedroom? Hey, get that goat outta here! Where is the toidy? Oh, off the back end, is it. That's where it usually is, right?

See ya, eh!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time may run backwards in a mirror universe

Hey there, cyberpuppy! How's she going, eh? Great to think that you do take time to spiral on down to keep track of what is really happening in the universe. This universe, I mean. Speaking of which, I'm going to tease your mind a little so you'd better load up on coffee and a virtual treat or two, okay?
Scientists have proposed that there is a universe parallel to our own in which time runs in reverse. Say what?

There is still much to understand about the concept of time, the every present chronological continuum which drives ourselves and the rest of the universe eternally forward.

Now however scientists conducting a new experiment designed to better understand how the cosmos came in to being have proposed that when our own universe was created, so too was a corresponding mirror universe in which time runs backwards. (I may need something stronger than a double espresso!)

The idea was born from the concept that all the fundamental laws of physics work just as well if time is in reverse as they do forward and that this is exactly what is happening in this mirror universe.

While it would effectively be the same universe as our own, events there would likely happen differently and would not simply be the mirror image of what is happening here.

An observer in one universe however would see events in the other going backwards.

"Time is a mystery," said Dr Julian Barbour. "Basically, all the known laws of physics look exactly the same whichever way time runs, and in the world in which we live everything goes in one direction."

Whether we would ever be able to visit this mirror universe however remains to be seen.

Aha! A most thought-provoking idea! Hmmm... the possibilities. What events in our universe happen, they automatically move into that other universe somehow? Don't ask me how. I'm an amateur astrophysicist not an astro-engineer but I’d be interested in knowing what you think about these concepts!

See ya, eh!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Names in the News

Well, hi there. How're things with you today? Going according to plan? Well go get yourself a mug of coffee and a virtual treat then come join me at the VIP table as I enlighten you as to how names can have a significant impact on a person's career... by association.

Arrested in October for burglary of a Kohl's department store in Alhambra, California: Ms. Josephine Crook, 49. 



Passed away on Oct. 15 in Marietta, Georgia: Ms. Ida Gbye,81.


 Arrested in October and charged with stabbing two men in Regina, Saskatchewan: Ms. Danielle Knife, 24 

Charged in Mississauga, Ontario, in October with sexually assaulting three male patients: psychologist Dr. Vincent Hung Lo

Arrested in November in Gainesville, Florida, on sexual assault charges but then exonerated three days later when accuser Jeremy Foster was caught lying: Mr. Phuc Kieu, 58


Sources: [KNBC-TV (Los Angeles), 10-26-2014] [Marietta Daily Journal, 10-23-2014] [CTV News (Regina), 10-16-2014] [The Star (Toronto), 10-7-2014] [First Coast News (Jacksonville), 11-26-2014] 

Just call me 'Bloodhound Bob'! I track down and sort through a slew of interesting tidbits and decide which ones I think are worthy of passing along to my ever-increasing (he said hopefully) faithful readership.

This reminds me of the name of a Chinese Funeral Home on Spadina Ave. in Toronto that I saw long ago. It is called 'Wing On'...which I thought was quite appropriate.

See ya, eh!


Friday, December 12, 2014

BLK – The Black Spring Water That’s Causing a Stir in the World of Natural Supplements

Well hello there! Wassup? Everything okay with you...aside from the usual aches and pains? Why not sit down - take a load off, so to speak - pour yourself a fresh mug of coffee and nibble away on a virtual muffin, doughnut or pastry while I tell you about some weird water...

Organic foods are generally good for you, but there are some really weird products out there that make you wonder, “Who buys this stuff?” Like this black coloured water that is supposedly better for you than plain old regular water. It’s called ‘BLK’ and it is being promoted by Albie and Chris Manzo, sons of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo.

According to the product’s official website, “BLK is powerful electrolytes and a high pH. BLK is serious hydration. BLK is a delicious beverage without any sugar, carbs, or calories. BLK is here and it will defy expectations.” They’re calling it the perfect innovation of nature and science. 

BLK is essentially Canadian spring water infused with fulvic acid, which is a natural nutrient-rich compound that has been used in alternative therapies for centuries. When fulvic acid reacts with water the resulting beverage is black in colour, which adds to the drink’s attraction. 

“The colour is what gets people listening in the first place,” Albie admits.

You've no doubt heard the expression "Once you've tried black, you'll never go back." Maybe this new drink is what that is referring to, huh?

See ya, eh!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Beard Baubles?

Tis the season to get crazy! Hey, how're you doing today? Good to see you. Thanks for stopping by. One good thing about cyberspace... you don't have to worry about snow, rain and freezing rain, snowplows and all the idiots on the road. Don't they know it's MY road?! Dang! Pour yourself a delightfully perky mug of coffee and bite into a virtual treat, why don't'cha? Say... here's a brand new fashion trend...

A London advertising agency has been selling beard baubles - for the man wanting to add an extra festive touch to his chin fuzz.

The company claims that the Yuletide facial hair accessory - which retails for £5.00 ($7.80) a packet - has been flying off shelves, with customers from as far as Australia placing orders. 

Ollie Dearn, who works at the agency behind the accessory, Grey London, said: 'The product has been particularly popular with Brits. 

We've sold more than we ever 
'But Aussie, American, Kiwis, German and French customers have been purchasing Beard Baubles too.'

Each pack contains 14 multicoloured baubles to attach to the bristles - ten large balls and four small ones.

The success of the product is a happy accident - the business makes a Christmas card every year to send to clients and friends and this year decided to add a present to their message of seasonal cheer.
Ollie said: 'Each year, Grey London make a Christmas card to send out to clients and other agencies.'

He continued: 'This year, the two designers Mike Kennedy and Pauline Ashford went one step further and came up with a festive gift idea to feature on our cards - Beard Baubles. It was a striking image.'

The craze isn't just a hit with humans either.

Ollie says: 'We've heard about hairy dogs wearing Beard Baubles too.'

All proceeds from the baubles go to Beardseason, an initiative to raise awareness for the fight against Melanoma that is encouraging men to grow their beard during the month of December.

Hey...I'm all for new fashions...but as Jeff Hutcheson of CTV says, "These are just 'foodcatchers'!" Ah well! 

See ya, eh!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

These Evangelicals Believe They Can Raise the Dead

Praise the Lord and pass the coffee! Hey there. Great to see you. Thanks for clicking by. Fill your mug. Grab a virtual muffin or doughnut and let me fill your ears with the news...

Dead Raising Team (DRT) is a team of evangelical Christians who boast that they can raise people from the dead with their prayers. Tyler Johnson, the group’s charismatic leader, claims to be responsible for bringing 13 corpses back to life!

The DRT story was covered in the 2013 documentary film Deadraiser. It depicts various miracle stories where DRT members pray for dead people and witness them come alive. 

Some of the people who allegedly came back from the dead claimed to have seen hell and the demons who were torturing them. But they were ultimately saved and pulled back to earth.

Mark DeDio, for instance, used to be a troubled drug user who actually claims to have died in 2006 as a result of an overdose. The next thing he knew, “there was screeching, torment, screams. The smell was just like vomit, sulphur.” But he was eventually saved by DRT member TJ Aderholdt, who happened to pass by the ambulance in which Mark’s corpse lay.

Although the man had no pulse, TJ began speaking in tongues as soon as he spotted Mark. Within minutes, Mark’s eyes popped open, he stood up and started telling everybody how he went to hell and was pulled back. “It was like a grab on my collar,” he recalled. “Jesus pulled me out.”

Uh-huh. These stories surface from time to time. Whether there is any truth in them or not is one thing. Whether you choose to believe them is another. All I will say is that the world is full of strange happenings. Nice t-shirts!

See ya, eh!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scottish University Creates Fabric That Always Smells Like Whisky

Hey mukker! Hou's aw wi ye? Me? A'm fine, slainte! Do ye no speak Scottish, then? Help yourself ta a beaker of coffee and a wee bridie or Scottish tart (nah...leave the waitress alone!) Some interesting news from Scotland...

Johnnie Walker Whiskey and Harris Tweed Hebrides, two of Scotland’s most iconic brands, teamed up with Heriot Watt University to create a new smart fabric that permanently smells like whiskey. Because who doesn’t want their clothes smelling like booze all the time, right?

Recently launched in Berlin, the smelly fabric is said to have key notes of malt, vanilla, red fruits and dark chocolate tones, which closely resemble the aroma of Johnnie Walker Black Label.  

“The unique scent, inspired by the nose of our liquid, echoes the masterful whiskey production process. The key notes of rich malt, golden vanilla, red fruit and the trademark dark chocolate tones have been layered onto the fabric to achieve the unique final nose and finish of the Johnnie Walker Fabric of Flavour”, the famous spirit maker declared in a press release.  

The colors of the fabric match the colors of the Johnnie Walker label (that is, black, gold, and off-white).

"Och, that's just great. Now  when ah get pulled over and the officer says, "Have ye been drinking tonight, sir? Say...what's that smell I detect?

And you say..." Nay, I've no been drinking, officer. Ma kilt smells like a bottle of whiskey!"

And he says... "Did ye say ye kilt a bottle of whiskey? Step out of the car, would you, please, sir. I'd like ye ta wa' in a straight line fer me..."

Guid cheerio the nou eh!



Monday, December 8, 2014

Poop Poop-a-Doo-Doo!

Happy Day! It is always a happy day when you stop by. Doing alright,are you? Not too pooped today? Good. Coffee's in it's usual place and the double chocolate cream doughnuts are exceptional so using your thumb and forefinger, nudge one or two of them onto your plate, why don't'cha?'ll remember that every December (fifth year now, I believe!) I bring you the latest poop from Catalonia in Spain. This area is famous for its pooping statues. They have hundreds if not thousands of them and bring out (I could say 'poop out'  but won't stoop to that!) new ones every year just before Christmas.

File this in your collection of unusual Christmas traditions: the figurine of a pooping peasant appearing in Catalonia’s crèches.

Catalonia, in Spain’s northeastern corner, is a region with a strong cultural pride and ancient traditions. The Caganer (the pooper), which has been appearing in manger scenes since the 18th century, is one of them.

The figurine is a favorite among local children, who squeal with delight when they spot it behind a tree, a wall, or under a bridge, modestly hidden from the scene’s otherwise holy surroundings.

Among adults, however, the Caganer donning the barretina (the traditional Catalan red cap) is emblematic of the region’s cultural independence from Spain.

These days, the Caganer with the red cap is the top seller in Catalonia’s Nativity fairs.  During November and December of every year rows of stands spring up in towns across the region selling materials for manger scenes. Barcelona’s biggest and oldest fair, the Fira de Santa Llúcia, celebrates its 225th anniversary this year.

The Caganer’s popularity has inspired new interpretations, much to the dismay of Lliteras’ association. “We defend the traditional Caganer with his traditional red cap and peasant attire,” he said.

The new interpretations began in the 1980s with figurines of squatting clerics as a Catalan reaction against the bishop’s rejection of the pagan character, according to Marc Alós, whose family’s business has propelled the popularity of the Caganer.

Marc Alós holds his firm’s most recent creation: the Caganer waving Catalonia’s independence flag. (Photo by M. Schnabel)

Twenty years ago the Alós family bought the artisan business that made the squatting nun, priest and bishop interpretations, in addition to the more traditional Nativity figures.  

Every year since then, the firm,, has introduced new figurines representing the year’s top personalities.  Its collections feature the world’s most notables (including U.S. presidents), local politicians, soccer players, artists, and even the members of the British and Spanish royal families. Thus, the little Christmas-time poopers serve as a reminder of our shared humanity, no matter how powerful a person may produces some 40,000 figures a year with a staff of three family members, outsourcing some of the hand painting to special-needs organizations. Prices range from five to 17 euros ($6.6 to $22.4).

Asked whether he receives any complaints from individuals featured in such an undignified pose, Alós said it’s quite the contrary:  The popularity of the Caganer is such that he often gets requests from agents and promoters suggesting their clients be featured as a figurine.

I suppose one has to be famous, rich, or otherwise notable in order to have a statue produced. Anyone you would care to suggest? Forget the obvious... they have probably already been done! 

See ya, eh!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

How learning a new language changes your brain

Buon giorno! Konichi wa! Cho san! Salamat detang! Mabuhay! Sawatdee, krup! Comment ça va? Do you like languages? I love listening to other languages. On that note, here’s some new info on how learning a new language stimulates the brain... 

Learning a new language improves both the brain’s structure and its function, whatever your age, new studies find.

Scientists now think new language learning causes surprising anatomical changes in the brain — much greater than was previously thought.

Professor Ping Li, who led the study, published in the Journal of Neurolinguistics, said:

“Learning and practicing something, for instance a second language, strengthens the brain.

Like physical exercise, the more you use specific areas of your brain, the more it grows and gets stronger.”

In one study, researchers followed 39 English-speakers as they tried to learn some Chinese over six weeks (Yang et al., 2014).
Their brains were scanned before and afterwards to measure anatomical and functional changes in the brain.

These scans were compared with those of a control group.

The results demonstrated that those who successfully retained the information had more efficient neural networks across important functional areas (below).

A second study, which Professor Li was also involved in, found that second language learning resulted in changes in the brain across all age-groups (Li et al., 2014).

Whether children, adults, or the elderly, learning another language causes rapid improvements in gray matter density and white matter integrity.

Professor Li said:

“A very interesting finding is that, contrary to previous studies, the brain is much more plastic than we thought.

We can still see anatomical changes in the brain [in the elderly], which is very encouraging news for aging.

And learning a new language can help lead to more graceful aging.”

A friend of mine wanted to learn Japanese but he said it was too difficult. I said, “Can’t be that difficult. Even the little kids can speak it!”

See ya, eh!... a la prochaine... ciao!