Tracking Devices Could Save a Life

trackrThis last winter was one of the harshest in my short life of 46 years on this planet. While most people were hiding from the cold in their homes some lost their lives because of the extremely low temperatures.

A young man was found dead next to his wheelchair on the side walk, another senior was also found dead in the cold, and they are both hear breaking if you imagine their suffering while freezing to death unable to save their own lives.

There is victim though that I consider to be the most heart breaking. It’s the loss of the toddler Elijah March. This is the one that gives me the worst feeling I’ve ever had for my whole life, although I had to prepare and bury my own son and a lost my father without having the chance to say goodbye or be by his side in his last days.

The toddler left his grand mother’s residence at around 4:00 am and wandered in the open at -40-something degrees wearing a diaper, a T-shirt and a pair of boots. Just by writing about it now 4 months later I am fighting my tears because I am in a public place. And no matter how long I will write about my feelings I am sure I’ll never be able to explain it. It’s like living Elijah’s suffering with him every time I remember, like right now.

Thanks to my neighbours I got some time off the writing before I start crying (Yes Men Cry! Live With It!).

In my faith nothing happens without the permission of the Almighty God, and I am sure that the Merciful God made it go easy for the Elijah without the suffering that I am imagining as He is more merciful with us than we imagine.

I also believe that nothing happens without a good reason. Immediately after the incident some safety experts showed up on TV and started a series of tips on how to child-proof your home so that other children will not have the chance to leave their beds and the whole building without their parents noticing.

Two things I may add to their tips though. One is going to be a high enough lock that can not be reached by a the toddler standing on a chair on top of a coffee table (this is my view based on how my home is furnished, you modify it based on your circumstances).

The other one is a tracking device. You know those tracking devices scientists use to track endangered species in nature installed under the skin or in the ear of the animal? Why don’t we have some of those for children as well?

They don’t have to be permanently installed on the body of the child, they can be warn in something like a bracelet around the child’s ankle every time they are going to be out of sight, like when they are in bed or in the play area.

As a marketer I have access to all kinds of products that need my marketing help, and I found this tracking device, TrackR Bravo, that can be used to track pets, keys, cars, wallets … basically anything. And the way it works is exactly what I was looking for.

This tracking device can be used via an iPhone or Android app that uses GPS to locate the item this device is attached to, giving you a sound warning when this item goes as far as 100 feet away from you, and you can track it directly with your app within 150 miles range, and if it goes further and another smart phone with the app installed on it comes as close as 100 feet to it you get a signal with a precise map location.

It is not only for toddlers and young children, even teenagers and adults could use this kind of technology. The number of kidnaps that end up with murder is scary to any parent. The kidnapper might make sure to get the phone from your kid, but they might not recognize a tracking device in the belt or bracelet.

This tracking device has been shipping out since March, so you can order it now without any waiting time.

You can order TrackR Bravo here.

It’s the kind of products I would recommend to my sister to track her kids and would be proud to say I do marketing for this product.

And if you do pray to God please keep it in your prayers to save all the children in the world from any kind of harm.

CPH4: Does it exist?

lucy-CPH4brain killing foods CPH4In one of the rare occasions that I decide to waste 2 hours of my time watching a movie I decided to watch Lucy by Luc Besson. I saw the banner on a bus last year and it caught my eyes. You know, I am into marketing and advertising is part of what I do.

And I am glad I did. This movie is genius. Although there is some criticism to the science behind it, still it is a movie that deserves to be watched.

The whole idea of synthesizing a compound that is naturally produced by the a pregnant woman’s body and introduce it to adults as a hallucination drug and turns out to be at larger doses a brain enhancer … it just got me.

The next time I have enough time to spend on watching a movie with company I will go for this one.

Now back to the CPH4 thing.

First of all I am a scientist and I hold a PhD in biology. So I think I qualify to talk about this issue.

Basically this chemical compound with this name (or abbreviation) is not known to scientists. The director says that it does exist and that he changed its name.

Although there is research about the chemistry behind the cell development in embryonic phases, to my knowledge so far there is no such a chemical compound, CPH4 or otherwise, that single-handedly pushes the cells to develop into bones.

To make it easier to understand, this power of a compound that controls the development of a group of cells in a certain part of the undifferentiated mass of cells is only given to hormones. Ahormone is like an orchestra conductor. It tells certain cells in certain locations what to do, including differentiation into other types of cells.

So no it is not the CPH4 synthase you found (or will find) on Wikipedia. That’s an enzyme, not a hormone. This enzyme synthesizes CPH4 (6-carboxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydropterin), which is one step in a pathway that produces queuosine (a modified nucleotide found in tRNA both in bacteria and eukaryotes like you and me). Again this can not single-handedly do anything major. tRNA is a molecule involved in the translation of genes into the functional (enzymes or structural) proteins. Nothing extra.

A hormone has more power and a wider range of action that an enzyme that facilitates only one reaction, which is a part of a pathways among tens others that lead to one event in the life of a cell.

There is a synthetic compound known as CPh4 or C(Ph)4 or tetraphenylmethane (Ph stands for Phenyl, it has 4 of those, attached to one carbon atom). This is not a naturally occurring chemical, it’s a synthetic hydrocarbon that has been synthesized in the lab back in 1898. It is available from chemicals companies like Sigma and is cheap, so it can’t be it. Also it doesn’t dissolve in water and is not blue (there is a blue derivative though). The one in the movie was dissolved in water and introduced to Lucy intravenously.

CPh4 above and its derivatives have a biological activity affecting cell membrane permeability through hole transport of electrons and ions (that’s electricity, hence the electrical impulses that cells exchange as a communication method as mentioned at the end of the movie, probably this is where Luc got his idea).

With all the respect that Luc deserves as a genius director, I can not rely on his understanding of the scientific literature.

However, he said in an interview that he has changed the name of the compound to CPH4 in the movie, and that it is a substance produced in tiny quantities by the pregnant woman’s body at the 6th week of pregnancy. The effect on adults is his movie-director thing, not science.

Certainly there must be some roots for his idea. He must have read about one of the known hormones that govern embryo development, then he used his artistic creativity to make CPH4 out of it.

The movie is fun to watch, and the idea is both smart one and at the same time touched something in me. It gave me both hope and motivation. Hope in the future in the dark world we are living in right now and a motivation to use all of my resources to the maximum limit, and push it even beyond my current abilities to get the most out of my limited time on Earth.

The moral I got from the movie is to “pass it on”.

You can watch the movie online legally (not a pirated copy) here.

Driving Anxiety

Stress Behind the Wheel: Driving Anxiety

driving-anxiety

My wife (we’re separated, but still married) has fear of spiders. Well … all kinds of bugs to be honest. Yet she has no fear of flying, cars, guns, knives … and all of the really dangerous stuff you can imagine. I never understood the psychology behind her fears of those tiny harmless critters (to the contrary, they’re very helpful to us and the environment), but I do understand the driving phobia and related driving anxiety.I used to have it since I was a teenager until I had to own my first car at the age of 28 when I moved to a smaller town where there’s no reliable public transit. It started with an accident I had when I was driving my dad’s car that took place at the entrance of our house after a long drive home from out of town.
It was so bad that I couldn’t drive even when a friend needed to be taken to the hospital, I had to call for help and wait.I mentioned having to own my first car around 10 years after my accident. I overcame my driving anxiety with the help of really good friends who supported me through the whole thing. I had to learn driving allover though. Those 3 friends of mine allowed me to train on their own cars, although they knew about my fear of driving. I owe it to them.The funny thing is that after a year of having my new license I was driving on a freeway with one of those friends when we barely avoided being crushed by a speeding careless truck driver, the car fish-tailed for a what felt like a minute before it came to a full stop right before we hit the side fence and fall of the road. Couple of seconds later I was checking my mirrors and blind spot before I pull out to the road again, only this time my friend is the one who had a panic attack and it took me 5 minutes to calm him down before we could pull out again :-).

Helpful Tips to Eliminate Your Fear of Driving a Car

Driving fear solutionWhen I had the fear of driving I didn’t even know that I had it. I just couldn’t get behind the wheel. Later I learned that there is a condition called driving anxiety and that many people have this kind of phobia. I was lucky I came over it easily, probably because I didn’t even know it is a condition. Imagine how this kind of fear will affect the quality of life of someone who has to drive every day to drop the kids at school, then off to work, then back to pick up the kids and go home, then for grocery shopping on the weekend, then to drop his wife at the mall and come back after a whole day of shopping to pick up the family and the cargo they collected using my credit card ….. grrrrr!Anyway … here are a few tips to help over come the driving anxiety, or any anxiety in this matter:
1. Slow and deep breathing: When you notice any of the anxiety signs showing on you, like sweating, nervousness, maybe some stomach pain and nausea, start inhaling deeply from your belly not from your chest, and allow the air to go out of your nose slowly. Keep repeating that slowly and calmly.You know, there is a meditation technique that’s all about breathing, and the beginners start with just that. It helps relax and clear your thoughts so that you can focus on the driving itself and ignore the fear. It also helps stabilize your heart beating rate, which counteracts anxiety.

2. Have a company

As I mentioned above in how I did it, I had friends with me who let me train on their cars, and two of them were going with me as passengers for a while after I got my own car. They did that, whether purposefully or just for fun, to help me gain confidence. And I can tell you it worked.

Later when I had to start driving alone I was a little hesitant, and sometimes I would rather walk than drive, but it all subsided until it’s all gone. I told you the incident when I was the confident one while my supporter friend lost it.

3. Listen to something

When I had my first car it was before the CDs and mp3 players, and definitely before the i-life that came later. So I was using the radio or the cassette to keep some background noise, just like the one I used to have at home when I wake up in the morning and tell the time from what program is running in the radio. This helps take your attention away from the anxiety. Also if you have a favorite song or music it helps relax you, which is again the counterpart of anxiety.

4. Baby steps

You don’t have to start off driving on the freeway for an hour and a half the first time you drive after overcoming your fear of driving. Start with driving around the block, then to the mall or the school, then to your friend who lives 5 miles away, then after you master driving daily for a couple of weeks in the city take a friend on a your first freeway trip. It doesn’t have to be a long one either, maybe 5-10 minutes of driving at first, and after a while start taking it further.

More help from professionals

What worked with me is that I went through the cure without knowing that it is a cure for a condition I didn’t know I had. It just happened to me. This strategy might now work with someone who’s aware of the condition and/or have tried the above strategy and had no success with it.In that case a professional help from a psychiatrist could be the next step. Or you can read more about the issue and try to find your triggers and block them.

Fear of Driving for the First Time

If this is your first time driving then the fear is normal and is predictable. It’s the fear of the unknown. You can overcome this fear with driving in an empty parking lot. Driving off the road will help you avoid a lot of hazards and distractions so that you can focus on controling the vehicle. The second time you’re behind the wheel will feel totally different and you’ll be eager to do it.

Here is a video that says it all.

I am a living proof, you can do it

After I overcome my fear of driving I reached a point when I enjoyed driving to the point that when I get stressed from work, life, or whatever reason my relief was in taking the car and driving aimlessly until I relax then I turn around and go home.

My driving wasn’t 100% accident free though. I had my share, but they were all minor accidents that didn’t leave any damage to the car nor to myself. Confidence is the key, once you get it work on keeping it by driving as frequently as possible until it becomes a second nature to you. You’ll be surprised at how you’ll act when in a situation when you have to act fast to avoid a collision.

Also remember that you’re not driving alone. You’re sharing the road with other experienced drivers, less experienced ones, and some careless drivers who might as well drive under influence. Drive safely and resist becoming over confident. It’s arrogance that leads to dropping your guards and consequently accidents.

Your comments

Your contribution is much appreciated, especially when you put your deepest thought and nicest words in it 🙂

What to do at gun point

The first thing that came to my mind when I was asked this question is that I froze. And quite possibly I’ll freeze at gun point as well if I was alone, but as a parent almost all the time accompanied with my daughter I might just through myself on her for protection. But how effective is that? And how is she going to do at the age of 8 without me if the attacker decides to shoot? And how is my body going to keep the bullets away from her at a close distance?

An even worse question for me would be: what to do when a your kid is at a gun point? Knowing me I would just comply with the attackers and give them all what they want to buy my daughter’s safety.

Money and valuables don’t represent any real value to me. However, this situation is not going to pass without a scar in my daughter’s mind. As a parent it is my responsibility to ensure my daughter’s growth is on the right track, whether it is psychological, physical, cognitive … etc.

I started searching around the Internet for answers. I found some videos but they don’t really teach anything. They only show some Krav Maga experts doing some stuff. I even searched for Krav Maga classes near me. Too expensive, but my daughter’s well being is priceless. But still I kept searching.

I have some military training and some Karate under my belt, but I know it’s worthless now given the fact that I am not young and fast anymore, besides my fragile bones, arthritis, and many other diseases that make me a weakling rather than a self defender. Besides, I know first hand that all of what I learned in the military school has little application in a street fight when you are unarmed and attacked by an armed gang.

So I continued to search for something I could learn that doesn’t involve using hurting my bones in the process of learning how to defend myself and my family.

I listened to this presentation by Frank Bell. It sounded like the man is ready my thoughts and just saying them back to me. I decided to give it a try. I placed my order and will come back to write more about what I found inside to let you know whether it is worth your investment or not. But it costs less than one Krav Maga lesson in a local place.

You can have a look at the presentation yourself by clicking here.