Friday, June 30, 2006

Midnight Fight Club

Yesterday, my friend and I went sparring (fight training) on the university sporting grounds at midnight. We chose to do it after closing time so that nobody could see two fools kicking each others ass for fun. It wàs great fun though !
The day before, we went shopping for sparring gear. We both bought a chest guard, some shin protectors and light gloves. The next day at about midnight, we took off for the training grounds. We started by slowly repeating some parry moves, and then gradually sped up the pace. Then, we threw in some attack moves and did a lot of circling and legwork exercises, while trying to hit/parry each other. The cool thing was that we both have a totally different style to rely on. My friend studies karate, so he was always keeping a very long distance, with sudden attacks. His kicking techniques are much greater then mine. I study KungFu so my style was very different from his. In KungFu you try to get very close to your opponent while constantly keeping as much contact to the ground as possible (rooting). It is a more fluid style, that uses the technique of 'sticking' to follow your opponents moves very closely so you can react quicker. We talked a lot during the training, constantly trying out new things and learning the advantages and disadvantages of each others style. I think this is extremely useful in real combat. And so much fun! In short : I can't wait 'til our next appointment!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Kyrie Eleison

Silly event of the week : I was sitting in my room and I heard someone outside on the street whistle a vaguely familiar melody. At first I couldn't place it, but suddenly it got to me : some kind of freak was happily whistling a Gregorian 'Kyrie'... while walking down the street. That's why it was so difficult to place. I only know that melody from a couple of masses I had to attend with the choir I'm singing in : a rather different setting. Anyway, I've posted along the sheet music of the part he was whistling, in Gregorian notation of course.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kelly watch the stars

I was just outside, humming the Air song 'Kelly watch the stars' while testing my parents new bird spotter (yes, in the middle of the night...). It is mounted on a stand, which brought me to the idea of using it to watch some stars. It's a clear, windy, starry night right now. I was able to locate Jupiter quite easily, targeted the scope and when I looked into the objective, I really could see the giant orange disc of Jupiter, along with three of its four moons orbiting around it in the same plane! I rushed inside to get my mom's digital camera, but by the time I figured out how to connect it to the scope, Jupiter was slowly disappearing behind the treetops. I think I was about 20 seconds too late... Bummer! I will certainly try and make some nice pictures again, and I'll make sure I'll post them here if I succeed. But for now... good night!


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Grumpy Old Man

Some of my friends warned me already. "You will see. You're going to use this blog mostly as a forum to whine about the many things that annoy you." Well, it is true that I can get annoyed with something/someone very easily, but (I think) I always stay polite and open for changing my mind. I do like to complain about stuff to my friends and family, but most of the time I don't mean it at all. And I also like to exaggerate. Always, and in everything.
Anyway, I can feel that I'm about to write a little something on an annoyance of mine very soon, so I guess it's better to prepare ourselves: in order to recognize all the grumpy posts in the future (that doesn't mean there will be many), I will add a little picture of Grumpy everytime, so you guys can skip them if you're not interested in me whining (can't blame you).


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Crime Scene Investigation

Next wednesday, I will have to do an exam on Forensic Medicine. So I will be studying this kind of 'weird' subject for the next 3 days. The course syllabus is full of interesting facts and figures that I think would appeal to a very broad group of people, not just (future) doctors. And that's why I'm planning to post such 'little facts' everytime I stumble upon them from now on. I will add them in this post by editing it, so if you're interested, be sure to check it out once in a while.
Let's roll.

D A Y...O N E
09:10 PM
: Our first 'interesting fact' was found in the 'early corpse phenomena'- section of the syllabus. Probably, most people know that when a person dies, discharge of faeces and urine may occur immediately after death. However, what I think most of you don't know, is that a seminal discharge is also possible. This is sometimes mistaken for a sign of sexual activity just before death, thus leading to the wrong conclusions about the cause of death.

00:05 AM : Time for a little information on 'late corpse phenomena'. During lifetime, our bodies are colonized by millions of bacteria, mostly located in the oral and nasal cavities and in the large bowel. The body needs those bacteria, for example to assist in the digestion process. Those bacteria are harmless because they are closely guarded and under control by our immune system. But when you die, these defensive mechanisms exist no more, and the bacteria that you once so kindly hosted, are now able to multiply incontrollably. They just go berserk on your body. They are even the main actor in the decaying process! So when a person took a lot of antibiotics just before he died, killing most of the bacteria, the decay process goes slower. On the contrary, when one dies of a serious infection (e.g. burst appendix), putrefaction occurs blazingly fast! Cheesy huh.

01:12 AM : The deadly poison that rotting corpses were thought to discharge, sometimes referred to as 'dissection poison' or 'ptomain' is just a fable. It doesn't really exist. The putrid liquids discharging from a corpse are just made up of molecules resulting from protein degradation. It should however still be handled with caution due to the fact that it might be contaminated with bacteria or viruses.

02:55 AM : Sarggeburt (German, literally 'coffin birth') : Forensic term to describe the phenomenon of a female corpse giving birth to a child that it was carrying. This grotesque event can occur even a few days after the moment of death, hence the grim term 'coffin birth'... It can be explained by the rotting gases that build up pressure inside the corpse, thereby pressing organs and other internal structures - in casu an unborn child - towards natural openings in the body.

D A Y...T W O
07:30 PM : The most dangerous room in your house is ... the bathroom. You can die in all kinds of stupid accidents but more important, you can kill yourself in the largest amount of ways. Let's just make a quick inventory of all the dangerous elements present in your bathroom and you'll agree : large amounts of water (drowning), boilers (CO intoxication), electricity - especially in combination with all the water (electrocution), hard edges and a slippery floor (blunt traumata), drugs (self-poisoning), sharp objects (razorblades, scissors to cut your wrists) ... You see?

01:24 AM : Analyzing the data of several autopsy studies, forensic experts assume that for every discovered murder, another one stays unnoticed. This is largely due to the fact that, according to these experts of course, way too little autopsies are performed.

D A Y...T H R E E
08:30 PM : When somebody drowns to death, he doesn't get killed just by the water in his lungs preventing O2 - CO2 exchange. Drowning in fresh water is totally different from drowning in salt water. In the first case, the fresh water arriving in the lungs is quickly sucked into the bloodstream (via pulmonary capillaries) due to its low salt concentration compared to the blood (this is a law of nature called osmosis). This sudden extra load of volume entering the blood stream, causes the heart to fail. Also, the important dilution of the blood makes the red blood cells suck up more blood (osmosis again) then they can take, resulting in bursting of the red blood cells. The potassium they contained enters the bloodstream and can cause dangerous heart arrhytmias. These two conditions (heart failure and potassium induced arrhytmias) cause death in about 5 minutes.
Now let's take a closer look at the mechanisms involved in salt water drowning. When the salt water enters the lungs, the opposite happens : osmosis causes the blood from the pulmonary capillaries to be sucked into the lungs, due to the higher salt concentration in the lungs. As a result, the lungs get filled with a mixture of blood and water. This condition causes death in approximately 10 minutes. Gulp!

11:24 PM : When you hang yourself or get strangled to death, you don't get killed by compression of your airways, but because the blood supply to your head is cut off. I think a lot of people don't know that. Correct me if I'm wrong.

00:54 PM : Not a single scientist or forensic expert knows exactly how long it takes to strangle a person to death. Of course not! However, estimations have been made based on killer testemonials. For instance, the testemonial of serial killer Richard Speck, bragging : "Strangle a person? It ain't like you see on TV. You have to go at it for about 3 1/2 minutes!"

D A Y...F O U R..:..E X A M
It went very well. First I had to describe CO intoxication, and then I had to 'solve' a rather clear cut case of an old lady, found in a deep coma at the bottom of the stairs (cerebral haemorrhage). So you see there's also a (much bigger) lot of boring stuff in the syllabus...


Thursday, June 15, 2006

I want a Blog, and another one!

- But no one's going to read it!
- Yeah I know.
- And your English sucks!
- Yeah I know. But I still want one.

That's kind of the main reason I am starting this Blog, so no big deal. Don't expect useful content or quality time while hanging around here.