Archive for February 3rd, 2011

February 3, 2011

Poken

poken

Poken is a device that utilizes a proprietary Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow the exchange of online social networking data between two keychain accessories. The primary information exchanged via the poken is a ‘social business card,’ a digital replacement for a physical business card. By touching two devices together, a unique ID is exchanged that links to contact information on the Poken website. Users of the Poken website can use a ‘social dashboard’ to manage, and interact with their contacts.

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February 3, 2011

Endorphin

pituitary hypothalamus

Endorphins (‘endogenous morphine’) are proteins that are similar to opioids. They are hormones made by the endocrine system of many vertebrates. When they are released into the body, they cause a sense of well-being. They also act as analgesics, and are sometimes named ‘natural pain killers.’ Endorphins were first found in 1970s. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus during exercise, excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. The sudden release of endorphins during strenuous exercise is sometimes called a ‘runner’s high.’

The term endorphin rush has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress, supposedly due to the influence of endorphins. When a nerve impulse reaches the spinal cord, endorphins are released which prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals. Immediately after injury, endorphins allow animals to feel a sense of power and control over themselves that allows them to persist with activity for an extended time.

February 3, 2011

Defenestration

defenestration

Defenestration [dee-fen-uh-strey-shuhn] is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. The term originates from two incidents in history, both occurring in Prague. In 1419, seven town officials were thrown from the Town Hall, precipitating the Hussite War. In 1618, two Imperial governors and their secretary were tossed from Prague Castle, sparking the Thirty Years War. These incidents, particularly in 1618, were referred to as the Defenestrations of Prague and gave rise to the term and the concept. The word comes from the Latin de- (down or away from) and fenestra (window or opening).

The act carries the connotation of forcibly or peremptorily removing an adversary, and the term is sometimes used in just that sense; it also suggests breaking the windows in the process (de- also means removal). Although defenestrations can be fatal due to the height of the window through which a person is thrown or throws oneself or due to lacerations from broken glass, the act of defenestration need not carry the intent or result of death. Self-defenestration (autodefenestration) is the act of jumping, propelling oneself, or causing oneself to fall, out of a window.