New 911 Call Center Services Suggested

Arlington locals may soon be able to text 911 in order to receive emergency help. Yesterday, public safety leaders held a press conference with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to discuss possible changes in 911 services.

Genachowski pointed out that 70% of 911 calls now come from mobile phones, and explained that “the current 911 system is efficient and reliable…but it doesn’t support tomorrows communications tools. With today’s advances in commercial mobile broadband technologies, consumers are texting and sending pictures more through their phones. But right now, you can’t text 911. It’s time to bring 911 into the digital age.” He used the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 as an example of why this is a good idea. He explained that frantic students and witnesses has attempted to text 911 during the emergency, but their messages never went through. Genachowski added that the systems can help in other situations as well. He explained that new-generation 911 options would enable a witness to send a photo of a car leaving after an armed robbery, or allow a deaf person to communicate with an emergency call center without difficulty. Automatic equipment like highway cameras or personal medical devices would be programmed to text 911 during emergencies.

Currently, no countries are implementing these ideas. The development and utilization of the system will demand a lot of effort and cooperation. The new system will also require an increase in staff at emergency call centers.

The Sun is Our Natural Clock

The secrets of how our body’s biological clocks adjust to the shorter days of winter, can give us insight into the mechanism behind jet-lag and the effects of shift-work. Researchers are studying plants and the daily cycle of activities, called circadian rhythms. They are discovering precisely fine-tuned processes which allow the plant’s genes to change their responses as the hours of dawn and dusk change each day. The plant’s genes apparently also able to respond to the length of the daylight in each day.

This amazingly delicate system allows plants to make the needed adjustments each and every day. The plants daily reset their internal clocks in response to the seasonal variations in daylight. This is what allows the plant to control the timing of crucial activities including growth and flowering.

These findings bear relevance to the same rhythms found in humans. People’s rhythms also respond to variations in amounts of daylight, interruptions in the rhythms, etc. International travel in high speed airplanes can wreak havoc with the delicate balance of our circadian cycles.

National Opt-Out Day

TSA ScannerNew security measures are being placed at airports around the U.S. – and they are meeting with major protests by travelers. Many people are complaining about the new full-body scanners, which visualize the passenger without clothing, as well as the “pat-down” that is provided for those who refuse to pass down the scanner. Some passengers have complained that the new, more aggressive body search is a violation of their personal space.

Yet, despite the huge publicity they’ve received, most passengers will not be subjected to full-body scans or pat-downs during their travel during this Thanksgiving season, as there are now just 400 body scanners at 70 U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration spokesman. This means that fewer than one-fifth of the 2,200 security lanes in the nation’s 450 commercial airports are already equipped with the machine.

In those places where the scanners are in place, however, there may be some delays due to protests of the new equipment. An online movement is encouraging people to adopt the day before Thanksgiving as National Opt-Out Day, in which they “opt out” of the new scanners and slow down the screening process by opting for a pat-down search instead. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is among those support the opt-out initiative. But organizations such as the Air Travelers Association oppose the protest, saying it will just cause difficulties and delays for the passengers it is ostensibly meant to help.

Mosquito Bites

What are mosquito bites? Why do they itch? How can you get rid of them? These are common questions for a common issue. Most everyone has suffered from mosquito bites in their lives.

Mosquito bites are generally harmless. They appear as pale, itchy bumps on the skin. They become pink or red once scratched, and may only begin to itch two days after the bite. They can result in an allergic reaction, which can cause hives, swelling of the throat and wheezing. In rarer cases, mosquitos can transmit dangerous diseases, which must be treated immediately. If fever, severe headaches, confusion, one-sided weakness of the body, nausea or vomiting occur as a result of mosquito bites, consult a doctor.

These bites are caused by female mosquitos. They itch because while sucking your blood, the mosquito deposits saliva into your system. The saliva contains proteins that often trigger your immune system, resulting in the bump and itchiness.

Scratching the skin can cause infections, and will increase the irritating feeling. Instead, try rinsing the areas with warm water and soap, and applying a hydro-cortisone or antihistamine cream or calamine lotion. Oral antihistamines are also effective at eliminating mosquito bite symptoms.

Healthy Snacks Part II

whole-grainsThe more hectic your schedule the easier it is to indulge in getting a quick bite without thinking about how healthy it is. Ironically, the busier your schedule the more important it is to eat healthy snacks to keep your energy level up and keep your body running like the fine-tuned machine that it can be.  This is especially true if you are young and growing fast. You need the best nutrients available. The best to way to get them is by eating a lot of small meals throughout the day. Make them healthy snacks. Here’s how.

Always go for the most complex carbohydrates that you can find. Stay away from simple carbs like sugar. Complex means whole grains, veggies and fruit, in that order.  Eat your whole grains with protein rich foods like low-fat cheeses, yogurt or peanut butter. Watch out for products that advertise themselves as ‘natural.’ This is a catch-word that is only on the package to make a sale. Look on the label for trans-fats, a very unhealthy additive to many processed foods. Another trick food producers use is to take away the fat, but add extra sugar to make up for the loss in taste.

Staying healthy with a good diet can be a challenge. But when you see the results of good health, high alertness, and weight control, you will be thankful you did it.