Archive for July 11th, 2011

July 11, 2011

Tamagotchi

tamagotchi

The Tamagotchi [tom-uh-gotchee] is a handheld digital pet, created in Japan by Akihiro Yokoi of WiZ and Aki Maita of Bandai. It was first sold by Bandai in 1996 in Japan. As of 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis have been sold world-wide. Most Tamagotchis are housed in a small egg-shaped computer with an interface usually consisting of three buttons, although the number of buttons may vary for different variations. According to Bandai, the name is a portmanteau combining the Japanese word ‘tamago,’ which means ‘egg,’ and the English word ‘watch.’

Upon removing the tag of a Tamagotchi unit, an egg will appear on the screen. After setting the Tamagotchi unit’s clock, the Tamagotchi will hatch, after which the player will be told of its gender and will be given the opportunity to give it a name. From then on, the player is given the task of raising the Tamagotchi to good health throughout its life and attending to its needs, such as feeding it, playing games to make it happy, and keep it at a healthy weight, cleaning up its excrement, punishing or praising the Tamagotchi based on its actions, returning it to proper health with medicine if it gets sick, and shutting off the lights when it goes to bed.

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July 11, 2011

Domestic Cat Hunting and Feeding

stalking

Cats feed on small prey, primarily birds and rodents. Feral cats and house cats that are free-fed tend to consume many small meals in a single day, although the frequency and size of meals varies between individuals. Cats use two hunting strategies, either stalking prey actively, or waiting in ambush until an animal comes close enough to be captured.

They often ambush outside burrows, but tend to actively stalk birds. Most breeds of cat have a noted fondness for settling in high places, or perching. In the wild, a higher place may serve as a concealed site from which to hunt; domestic cats may strike prey by pouncing from such a perch as a tree branch, as does a leopard.

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July 11, 2011

MiniDisc

minidisc

A MiniDisc (MD) is a magneto-optical disc-based data storage device initially intended for storage of up to 74 minutes and, later, 80 minutes, of digitized audio. In the form of Hi-MD, it has also developed into a general-purpose storage medium. MiniDisc was released in 1992, first in Japan, and then in Europe and the U.S. The music format was originally based exclusively on ATRAC audio data compression, but the option of linear PCM recording was later introduced to attain audio quality comparable to that of a compact disc.

Sony’s MiniDisc was one of two rival digital systems introduced in 1992, that were both targeted as a replacement for the Philips analog cassette audio tape system: the other was Digital Compact Cassette (DCC), created by Philips and Matsushita. Sony had originally intended for Digital Audio Tape (DAT) to be the dominant home digital audio recording format, replacing the analog cassette. Unfortunately, due to technical delays, DAT was not launched until 1989, and by then, the U.S. dollar had fallen so far in relation to the yen, the introductory DAT machine Sony had intended to market for about $400 in the late 1980s now had to retail for $800 or even $1000 to break even, putting it out of reach for most users. Relegating DAT for pro use, Sony immediately set to work to come up with a simpler, more economical digital home format.

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July 11, 2011

Chinese Typewriter

shuangge typewriter

The Chinese typewriter was invented and patented by Dr. Lin Yutang in 1946. One of Lin’s intentions was to help modernize China. The typewriter was called ‘MingKwai’ (‘clear and quick’). Lin had a prototype machine custom built by the Carl E. Krum Company, a small engineering-design consulting firm with an office in New York City. That multilingual typewriter was the size of a conventional office typewriter of the 1940s. The typefaces fit on a drum. A ‘magic eye’ was mounted in the center of the keyboard which magnifies and allows the typist to review a selected character. Character selection is accomplished by first pressing  two keys to choose a desired character, which is arranged according to a system Lin devised for his dictionary of the Chinese language. The selected Chinese character appeared in the magic eye for preview, the typist then pressed a ‘master’ key, similar to today’s computer function key.

The typewriter could create 90,000 distinct characters using either one or two of six character-containing rollers, which in combination has 7000 full characters and 1,400 character radicals or partial characters. The inspired aspect of the typewriter was the system Lin devised for a Chinese alphabet. It had thirty geometric shapes or strokes (somewhat analogous to the elements of a glyph). These became ‘letters’ by which to alphabetize Chinese characters. He broke tradition with the long-standing system of radicals and stroke order writing and categorizing of Chinese characters, inventing a new way of seeing and categorizing. The typewriter was not produced commercially. According Lin’s daughter, the day she was to demonstrate the machine to executives of the Remington Typewriter Company, they could not make it work. Although they did get the machine fixed for a press conference the next day, it was to no avail.

July 11, 2011

Hot Pot

hot pot

Hot pot, less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. In many areas, hot pot meals are often eaten in the winter.

The Chinese hot pot boasts a history of more than 1,000 years. While often called ‘Mongolian hot pot,’ it is unclear if the dish actually originates in Mongolia, though Mongolian warriors had been known to cook with their helmets, which they used to boil food. Hot pot cooking spread to northern China during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 906). Today in many modern homes, particularly in the big cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, gas or induction cooker versions.

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July 11, 2011

Addiction Medicine

ABAM

asam

Addiction medicine is a medical specialty that deals with the treatment of addiction. The specialty often crosses over into other areas, since various aspects of addiction fall within the fields of public health, psychology, social work, psychiatry, and internal medicine, among others. Incorporated within the specialty are the processes of detoxification, rehabilitation, harm reduction, abstinence-based treatment, individual and group therapies, oversight of halfway houses, treatment of withdrawal-related symptoms, acute intervention, and long term therapies designed to reduce likelihood of relapse. Some specialists, primarily those who also have expertise in family medicine or internal medicine, also provide treatment for disease states commonly associated with substance use, such as hepatitis and HIV infection.

Physicians specializing in the field are in general agreement concerning applicability of treatment to those with addiction to drugs, such as alcohol and heroin, and often also to gambling, which has similar characteristics and has been well described in the scientific literature. There is less agreement concerning definition or treatment of other so-called addictive behavior such as sexual addiction and internet addiction, such behaviors not being marked generally by physiologic tolerance or withdrawal.

July 11, 2011

Melanotan II

melanotan ii

Melanotan II, developed at the University of Arizona, is a synthetic analog of the naturally occurring melanocortin peptide hormone alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) that in usage has been shown to have melanogenesis (tanning) and aphrodisiac effects in preliminary studies and clinical trials.

No compound incorporating the melanotan II peptide has ever been approved for use by any governmental drug regulatory bodies outside of clinical trials. Unlicensed and untested powders sold as ‘melanotan II’ are found on the Internet and are reported to be used by thousands of members of the general public.

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July 11, 2011

Shulgin Rating Scale

shulgin

The Shulgin Rating Scale is a simple scale for reporting the subjective effect of psychoactive substances at a given dosage, and at a given time.

The system was developed for research purposes by the American biochemist Alexander Shulgin and detailed in his book ‘PiHKAL’ (‘Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved: A Chemical Love Story’).

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July 11, 2011

Alexander Shulgin

pihkal

tihkal

Alexander Shulgin (b. 1925), known as Sasha, is an American pharmacologist. Shulgin is credited with the popularization of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially for psychopharmaceutical use and the treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In subsequent years, Shulgin discovered, synthesized, and bioassayed over 230 psychoactive compounds.

In 1991 and 1997, he and his wife Ann Shulgin authored the books ‘PiHKAL’ and ‘TiHKAL’ on the topic of psychoactive drugs. Shulgin discovered many noteworthy phenethylamines including the 2C family. Additionally, Shulgin performed seminal work into the descriptive synthesis of compounds based on the organic compound tryptamine.

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July 11, 2011

Designer Drug

mdma

Designer drug is a term used to describe drugs which are created (or marketed, if they had already existed) to get around existing drug laws, usually by modifying the molecular structures of existing drugs to varying degrees, or less commonly by finding drugs with entirely different chemical structures that produce similar subjective effects to illegal recreational drugs.

The term ‘designer drug’ was first coined by law enforcement in the 1980s, and has gained widespread use. However the first appearance of what would now be termed designer drugs occurred well before this, in the 1920s. Following the passage of the second International Opium Convention in 1925 which specifically banned morphine and the diacetyl ester of morphine, heroin, a number of alternative esters of morphine quickly started to be manufactured and sold.

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July 11, 2011

Synthetic Cannabis

spice

Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product which, when consumed mimics the effects of cannabis. It is best known by the brand names K2 and Spice, both of which have largely become genericized trademarks used to refer to any synthetic cannabis product. A type of synthetic cannabis sold in Australasia is known as Kronic.

Professor John W. Huffman who first synthesized many of the cannabinoids used in synthetic cannabis is quoted as saying, ‘People who use it are idiots. You don’t know what it’s going to do to you.’ Heavy Spice users who cut back are known to experience withdrawal symptoms, similar to those associated with withdrawing from the use of narcotics. The lack of an antipsychotic chemical, similar to cannabidiol found in natural cannabis, may make synthetic cannabis more likely to induce psychosis than natural cannabis.

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July 11, 2011

Telepsychiatry

telepsychiatry by Doug Boehm

Telepsychiatry is the application of Telemedicine to the field of Psychiatry. It has been the most successful of all the telemedicine applications so far, because of its need for only a good videoconferencing facility between the patient and the psychiatrist, especially for follow-up. There are sub-specialties like forensic telepsychiatry, in which the patient is typically an inmate accessing the psychiatrist who is from a supporting institution, and home-based telepsychiatry, whereby the patient is in his own home or office, accessing the physician via webcam and high-speed internet. Another common application is for patients in rural or under served areas, and there are a large number of grassroots telepsychiatry programs springing up in the United States and elsewhere to address this problem.

A recent innovation is the development of the subspecialty of emergency psychiatry via telemedicine. Research is currently on-going to develop the unique guidelines required to provide consultation for emergency psychiatric patients such as the evaluation of the suicidal, homidical, violent, psychotic, depressed, manic, and acutely anxious patient. Emergency telepsychiatry services are being provided to hospital emergency departments, jails, community mental health centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, and schools.