Archive for March, 2010

The Fierce Honey Badger

Source: The Wild Source

The honey badger (also known as the ratel) is a creature that has gained great fame for its fearless and relentless nature. One of the amazing characteristics of the honey badger is its propensity to devour poisonous prey including many of Africa’s most deadly snakes, scorpions and bees …

Snakes feature prominently as a large prey item that can provide most of the daily food requirement in one meal and the honey badger is not deterred by those that are considered to contain deadly venom. Cobras, black mambas and especially puff adders are regularly on the menu. The honey badger will attack at the head to make the kill and then consume it rather quickly from the head to tail. Even though the honey badger is a master snake killer sometimes the snake gets in a hit that should be deadly. In one of the continuing mysteries of the honey badger they have a certain immunity to venom that is not fully understood. Their very thick, rubbery, and loose skin probably is a help and they have been observed being bitten with no visible effects. Other times it appears very serious and the honey badger will curl up into a deep slumber but in two to three hours the badger will pop back up and consume the dead snake before trotting off. If the physiology behind this immunity could ever be deciphered it could provide a miracle drug for humans following dire snake bites.


March 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm 1 comment

Dodging Bullets

Source: Aikido Shugyo – Gozo Shioda’s Autobiography, via The Aikido FAQ

Avoiding the concentrated fire of revolvers

Talking about weird things, let me talk about an extremely strange event. This is also something I actually witnessed with my own eyes.

One time an official from the munitions department of the army, together with 9 military personnel, came to visit the Ueshiba Dojo. They came to watch the wonderful art of Aikido that they had heard about. These people were arms inspectors. They tested new weapons and judged whether the sights were accurate or not. Their shooting ability was Olympic level, and I noticed that they hit the target every time.

Ueshiba Sensei, who had done a demonstration before these people that day, had claimed “Bullets cannot reach me.” I had, of course, previously heard that when he was in Mongolia he had avoided the bullets of horse-mounted brigands, but this was quite different.

The inspectors’ pride was hurt and they were quite angry.

“You’re sure that the bullets won’t touch you?”, they asked.

“Oh, no, they won’t.”

“Then would you like to try?”


March 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Jospeh of Cupertino, the Flying Saint

Source: Wikipedia

On October 4, 1630, the town of Cupertino held a procession on the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Joseph was assisting in the procession when he suddenly soared into the sky, where he remained hovering over the crowd. When he descended and realized what had happened, he became so embarrassed that he fled to his mother’s house and hid. This was the first of many flights, which soon earned him the nickname “The Flying Saint.”

March 25, 2010 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Acupuncture at the Olympics

Source: The Acupuncture Handbook of Sports Injuries & Pain, by Whitfield Reaves

During the 1984 Olympics, I was treating [with acupuncture] a rather famous patient suffering from frozen shoulder, with a student observer at my side. I remember so vividly the precise fascial plane—about 3 inches of insertion [of the needle] in the deep tissues of the muscle group. Every time the needle would penetrate that level, the shoulder would release and normal function restored. I demonstrated to the student that needle technique several centimeters deeper or more superficial would not have the same effect on range of motion.

We used no other point than Stomach 38, and continued stimulating the needle with active movement of the arm every three minutes. The patient left quite satisfied after 25 minutes of treatment.

I then felt inclined to explain the needle technique to the student, only to see a glazed-over face as she exclaimed, “He was my childhood hero!” The student was overjoyed, but missed the entire teaching event, and hopefully didn’t have to wait five years to see it again!

March 24, 2010 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

Get Off the Train Right Now

Source: Reddit

I was sitting on a subway later than I should have in NYC, and one other guy (a stranger) and I were the only people on. Two guys walk on to the train supporting a woman between them who I assume is passed-out drunk.

The guy who was originally on the train with me immediately turns to me and (as discretely as possible) says, “Get off the train right now.” I don’t know what the hell was going on, but something in the way he said it made me just obey and get off.

Once we were off the train he turns to me and says, “I’m a paramedic and that girl was dead.”

March 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

Diamond in the Rough

Source: Reddit

She had just turned 23 years old. She had dropped out of high school in the tenth grade due to pregnancy. She was married to some guy who had been a friend, mostly to give her child a name. She’d had another child. She was drinking as much as her father had and her mother was. Almost classic backwoods Tennessee hillbilly white trash. She didn’t want to live that way. She hoped there was, somewhere, some way, something better. She knew she had to start with herself.

She came into our Chemical Dependency Treatment Program because she thought it had helped her mother.

She took the program and herself seriously.

She got her GED.

March 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

A Day in the Life of a Med Student

Source: Reddit

This happened to me yesterday. I’m in my last year of med school and am spending a month in an outpatient internal medicine clinic working with “Dr. Jones.”

Dr. Jones told me that the next patient, a 75 year old lady named “Mrs. Smith,” was undergoing chemotherapy for a really early grade lymphoma. Not a big deal. Nowadays it’s a chronic disease… you’ll die with the lymphoma, not from it. Anyway, Mrs. Smith was presenting with a cough that was unrelated to her lymphoma. I went in to see Mrs. Smith.

“So Mrs. Smith, how long have you had this cough? any other symptoms? You coughing up anything?” etc. Then I say “So I understand you just finished chemotherapy. Is that correct?”


“and that was for…?”

(no response)

“that was for…?”

(no response)

“that was for a lymphoma. Correct?”

“wait. I have lymphoma?”

[oh shit]

March 5, 2010 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

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