Friday, May 6, 2011

Gadgets for a Happy Geeky Mothers' Day

Space-Age fridge courtesy of the Electrolux Bio Robot

Microwave Cooker and Lamp combined into one!
What do I want for Mother's Day?

Though I'm the type who normally doesn't ask for anything, I do enjoy browsing the web for interesting gadgets to use at home.

There are tons of new home products that will surely make any Mom drool. Who wouldn't want a nifty gadget that can make working at home so much easier? Housework can be like a dream!

Take a look at some cool home and kitchen gadgets of the future. They may be concept designs today, but who knows? They might be coming to an appliance store near you.

For starters, I found this knife and fork set that turns into chopsticks, as well as these giant coffee mugs with easy to hold handles.

If you still haven't decided on a gift for mom, then these 5 cool concept gadgets for geeky moms can give you a few ideas.

Source: Walyou 
            Futuristic Mothers' Day Gifts

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Give a Long Distance French Kiss

Thanks to mobile technology and email, we can easily communicate with our loved ones wherever in the world they may be. But this interesting Japanese invention may soon make it possible to French kiss your loved one -- over the internet!

Researchers from Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications came up with this device that simulates the feeling of a real kiss, with tongue of course. Controlled by the movements of the kisser's mouth and tongue, a receiver on the other end can feel the same thing, and kiss back!

You can learn more by viewing the product video demo here.

Source: DigInfo TV
            How to Send a Real Kiss over the Internet

Savor the Best Steaks Ever at Braham's

If you love steak and happen to come by Tarlac City, then keep your eye open for this special treat!

Braham's is a hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant which offers a pleasant surprise for steak connoisseurs. You wouldn't expect this small restaurant to serve you one of the best meals you'll ever have -- at an affordable price, too!

The restaurant seems like a carinderia with air conditioning. There is a small counter, with a see-through refrigerator showing bottles of soda and iced tea. Behind that is a curtained door leading to their kitchen. There are only a handful of tables and chairs, and the floor is not tiled but is of dusty concrete. Yet Braham's has a homey feel that keeps you curious about what's in store.

According to former clients, before you decide to eat at Braham's, be sure you call in about an hour or two before. They will only prepare the ingredients and your meals when they are sure that customers will come in to eat. It takes away your common perception of the busy carinderia wherein meals are prepared by the bulk.

Somehow that made us feel like VIPs, not just because we were the only family there, but because the steak meal was expecting us as we walked in the doors.

First up, the waiter served us small bowls of soup. It was a simple beef broth with onion leeks and a few vegetables, enough to warm your palate before you dive into your main course. Served soon afterwards was a slice of homemade buttered bread, mashed potatoes, and a cup of gravy.

Then came the steaks! They were served in sizzling plates instantly filling the table with that burnt fatty delicious aroma. And the meat cuts were huge! You instantly think, "Can I finish this by myself?" After I took my first bite, I had my answer. I might even want second servings, too.

The steaks were smoking, thick and juicy, seared just right, and so tender they almost melt in your mouth. Eaten with their special Braham's sweet gravy and every bite is perfect. Even the fatty portion of the beef was flavorful and required no heavy chewing! I knew the whole cut of meat was a sin against dieting, so I opted not to order rice, especially with the potatoes, soup, and bread, filling enough already.

A little later, the waiter served us individual cups of dessert. It was a cool homemade melon sherbet, which the kids absolutely loved.

SO HOW MUCH FOR EACH MEAL? Only Php 385, inclusive of all the fix-ins, but not including the drinks. It kind of makes you think about how much you normally spend for steak dinners in Metro Manila, or in labeled restaurants like TGIF, Tony Roma's, and the like.

THE VERDICT? We are definitely coming back to Braham's. A little too far from Manila, though, but the restaurant is quiet, almost private, and is great for the family. Food is absolutely excellent, the steaks are incomparable in flavor, and the price unbeatable!

WHERE TO FIND BRAHAM'S? Come to Tarlac City, and locate Tarlac State University, the small restaurant is by the southern river banks along Aquino Road.

Cool Concept: Sign Language Translator

Funamizu's concept is intended to be worn around the neck
For persons with normal hearing to understand the hearing impaired and vice versa, sign language is the medium of communication. According to statistics, over 2 million people worldwide use the American Sign Language (ASL) to convey thoughts and words with each other. That leaves about 6 billion or so on the planet who are unable to understand ASL. 

Thanks to imaginative designer Mac Funamizu, sign language may soon be universally used, via the Sign Language Translator. This cool concept device aims to interpret hand gestures and convert them to audio – as if the signer is speaking directly to the listener.

How does it work? The Sign Language Translator is worn around the neck of the listener, and it has a small camera sensor that captures the hand gestures of the person directly in front. As the signs are interpreted by the device, a voice from the mini-speaker translates them. According to the conceptualizer, there is a wide range of voices to choose from. One can even pick a familiar voice like a Hollywood celebrity to do the interpreting for them!

Simple yet brilliant, this future Sign Language Translator will be about the size of a pinkie finger. To switch the device on, one just has to pull out the bottom to reveal the speaker. The volume can be adjusted by sliding the bottom up or down, much like a small trombone. The Sign Language Translator switches off when the bottom is clicked back in place.

Mac Funamizu is known for coming up with smart futuristic designs – ranging from mobile phones of tomorrow, to artistically modern digital music players. If this concept device is actualized, it is projected to effectively bridge communications among people on a global scale. In a modern age where new devices are created by the minute, it won’t a long shot to say that soon the understanding of language will be easier and hassle-free.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Age as a Risk Factor for Miscarriage

As defined by the National Institutes of Health, there are many factors that can lead to a miscarriage. Some of these include hormonal imbalance, smoking, drinking, drug use, and obesity, among others. About 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies may end up in miscarriage.

I had a miscarriage in my 11th week of pregnancy a few years ago and had to undergo a dilation and curettage. Though I was not traumatized by the experience, I did wonder how it could have happened. This baby was supposedly our second child, and I had no complications during my first pregnancy and delivery. My body weight was normal and I didn’t have any health problems. On top of that, I was a woman in her mid-20’s who didn’t drink or smoke.

I had just found out that the age of the woman has something to do with the possibility of miscarrying. I also wrote about these findings in my entry for The Wellness Today Blog. Related research explains that miscarriages can occur more frequently with older mothers. However, there is a critical step during the egg cell’s division wherein chromosomes fail to arrange properly.

In a recent study by Washington State University’s Dr. Patricia Hunt, it was found that the age of the mother can affect her egg cell’s rate of division, thereby adding to the risk factor for miscarriage. In summary, Dr. Hunt says that women in their 20s produce about 10 percent of eggs that have abnormal chromosomes.  For women in their 40s, this number increases to about 50 percent.

These findings were obtained using mouse egg cells manipulated to replicate the normal cell division of the human egg cell. The results of the study are to be published in the May 2011 issue of Current Biology.

So in some way I come to realize that a physically fit body does not always guarantee that a pregnancy will go smoothly. Then again, in life nothing goes as smoothly as planned, nor does life come with a guarantee.

This also made me think about some traditional beliefs that women in other countries associate with miscarriages. For instance, in my home, the Philippines, the elders said that taking pictures of the pregnant mom will result in a miscarriage. In China, moving the married couple’s bed within the bedroom can lead to a miscarriage. In addition to that, Chinese women who are in their early trimester should not work or even walk around!

I guess in a way, folk traditions use these superstitions as a means of safeguarding the mom-to-be’s health. It is possible that for those who don’t normally turn to science, these beliefs can explain why some women end up having a miscarriage, regardless of their health condition or age.

A couple of years after that miscarriage, we now have a happy and healthy second baby. Looking back, I don’t feel regretful about that experience, but I learned much from it. A part of me was telling myself that it probably wasn’t the right time back then. A part of me also understood that if I needed answers, there is always a medical source that can help explain it.

The Wellness Today
How Age Affects the Rate of Miscarriage
National Institutes of Health
Washington State University