Friday Four

Friday, November 15, 2013

1. Thanks to a clever insight and lots of hard work, a parlor trick will soon ease many otherwise difficult baby deliveries. An Argentine auto mechanic who saw an Internet video of a cork being removed from a bottle with an inflated plastic bag woke up one night with a brilliant idea:

[T]he same parlor trick could save a baby stuck in the birth canal.

Mr. Odón, 59, an Argentine car mechanic, built his first prototype in his kitchen, using a glass jar for a womb, his daughter's doll for the trapped baby, and a fabric bag and sleeve sewn by his wife as his lifesaving device.
There is another round of safety testing in the works, but the World Health Organization has endorsed the device, which Becton Dickinson will manufacture. Physicians see the inexpensive device reducing the number of Caesarian births in wealthy countries and saving babies outright in poorer ones.

2. With antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, it is good to hear that a researcher has made a significant advance applicable to the problem.
... Kim Lewis from Northeastern University has now found an exciting way of killing persisters [bacteria that elude antibiotic activity by remaining dormant --ed], with an antibiotic called ADEP4 that forces these cells to eat themselves in their sleep. He hasn't tested it in humans yet, but it can completely clear severe and long-lasting infections in mice. It even kills persisters that are also resistant to traditional antibiotics, such as MRSA. "It's a very important milestone," says Lewis. [bold added]
The method, which pairs the antibiotic with another drug, also kills biofilms.

3. Our son, now five months old, has been returning smiles for some time now, and has started laughing. One evening, as I was preparing dinner in the kitchen, Mrs. Van Horn was holding him while our daughter played on a pile of rubber mats we had there for cleaning. The boy paid rapt attention to his older sister's antics, and would frequently laugh at them. Pumpkin eventually reciprocated his fandom with a hug.

The new conventional wisdom holds that such moments are made for videocams, but I am not so sure. Kids know when their parents are distracted, and my daughter, at least, doesn't care to be posed or choreographed. I am glad that we simply let events unfold and enjoyed that precious, unique moment for what it was. The hug was the best part, but hindsight suggests that we might have prevented that moment in trying to "save the moment".

4. This week, I could have easily made this entire list by thinking about my kids, but I'll stop at two items.

Yesterday, my daughter said, "I need a haircut", and we ended up playing "barber". She had said that a few other times before, always out of the blue, but I had always taken her literally. I'd either tell her she was right, and that she would have one soon, or that she'd just had one. A couple of times, after such replies, she'd say, "I don't need a haircut."

How did I figure what she meant this time? Because she supplied me context: We were in her playroom when she proceeded to give me a "haircut", using a thin book as the scissors. Then, when she was done, she said she needed a haircut. (My guess is that this is a game she has picked up at the daycare she attends three days a week.)

I was also impressed in other ways with how imaginative she can be. We used a rattle as a "shampoo" bottle once, but when this was missing later, she suggested her milk bottle before I came up with anything. Her hair tangles very easily, but she apparently doesn't realize that bristle brushes don't get caught the way stiff wire brushes do. So when I saw a bristle brush nearby and suggested we use it, she looked horrified -- and immediately suggested a long Duplo block instead.

Oh, I'll sneak another one in today: Pumpkin told me or the first time this week that she has a friend. I met her the next time I dropped my daughter off to "school". Little "Mia" came straight over and greeted her.

-- CAV


Grant said...

Wait a minute, that Mr. Odon guy is a car mechanic from a relatively poor country like Argentina? According to President Obama in his famous "you didn't built that" speech, unless people are furnished - via taxation - with first-rate public services, they can never come up with first rate improvements to the human experience. The only reason why wealthy, educated people achieve amazing things is because poor, uneducated people sacrifice in order to make the public infrastructure that deterministically catapults these people into their accomplishments... so how in the heck is this possible? This guy was supposed to be the type of person who needs the likes of Obama to get rich people to "give back" to him, and yet here he is, improving his life (and other's lives, not incidentally) without government help. I don't believe it. This must be a made up story from the corporate media propaganda machine, designed to make the economic theories of our exalted leader seem silly.

Gus Van Horn said...


How could I have fallen for such claptrap?

Perhaps it's because I attended non-government schools from K-PhD, missing out entirely on the educational "infrastructure" that churned out Obama's winning margins...

I guess I am a walking advertisement for the complete government takeover of all citizens.