Monday, 24 September 2012

Seeing The World By 'Numbers': Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is the author of three books, Born on a Blue Day” , Embracing the wide sky”  and “Thinking in Numbers” , Daniel Tammet, suffers  from “high-functioning autistic savant syndrome”. For him, everything from Shakespeare to snowflakes makes him think about numbers. The Brothers Grimm story about the magic pot of eternal porridge sends him into a discussion of the nature of infinity. Proverbs remind him of the times tables. A discussion of rhetoric leads to Pythagoras. He was born with congenital childhood epilepsy. Experiencing numbers as colors or sensations is a well-documented form of synesthesia, but the detail and specificity of Tammet's mental imagery of numbers is unique. In his mind, he says, each number up to 10,000 has its own unique shape and feel, that he can "see" results of calculations as landscapes, and that he can "sense" whether a number is prime or composite. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and pi as beautiful. Tammet not only verbally describes these visions, but also creates artwork, particularly watercolor paintings, such as his painting of Pi. 

“Savantism” which he was suffering with is a rare condition in which people with 'developmental delays' of the brain (notably autism spectrum), and/or brain injury, demonstrate profound and prodigious capacities and/or abilities far in excess of those considered normal. He is also familiar with a number of foreign languages, including French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Lithuanian, Romanian, Estonian, Icelandic, Welsh and Esperanto, as well as his own invented language, "Mänti", which has about 1,000 words.Tammet learned Icelandic in a week, in front of the cameras. The culmination of the challenge was a live interview on Icelandic TV, which he coped with brilliantly. Tammet set a European record on March 14, 2004, when he recited the mathematical constant pi (3.141...) to 22,514 decimal places from memory in a time of 5 hours, 9 minutes. Tammet shows how mathematical proofs mirrored the use of reasoning in law. We learn how a nine-year-old coined the term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros – "googol", inspiration for the ubiquitous search engine's monicker. He also surveys the likelihood of life on other planets as viewed by mathematicians and astronomers.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Nick Vujicic: A true inspiration 'to' life

A life without arms and legs –HARD TO IMAGINE but this was not what came in the path of Nick Vujicic’s perception for life. Nick Vujicic was born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterised by the absence of all four limbs. Without any medical explanation or warning, Nicholas Vujicic (pronounced 'Vooy-cheech') came into the world with neither arms nor legs. Having had an uneventful pregnancy and no family history to expect this condition, indescribable shock filled the hospital room that pivotal 4th of December day. A limbless son was not what nurse Dushka Vujicic, and her husband Pastor Borris Vujicic had been expecting. When Nick was born his father was so shocked he left the hospital room to vomit. His distraught mother couldn't bring herself to hold him until he was four months old. His disability came without any medical explanation - a rare occurrence called Phocomelia - and Nick and his parents spent many years asking why this cruel trick would happen to them. ‘My mother was a nurse and she did everything right during pregnancy but she still blamed herself,' he said. ‘It was so hard for them but right from the start they did their best to make me independent. ‘My dad put me in the water at 18 months and gave the courage to learn how to swim.

Throughout his childhood Nick dealt not only with the typical challenges of school and adolescence such as bullying and self-esteem issues; he also struggled with depression and loneliness as he questioned why he was different to all the other kids surrounding him; why he was the one born without arms and legs. He wondered what was the purpose behind his life, or if he even had a purpose. After a lot of frustration and feeling like the odd one out in school, at seven years of age Nick tried out some specially designed electronic arms and hands, in hopes that he would be more like the other kids. He began to master the daily tasks of life. He learned to write using the two toes on his left foot with a special grip that slid onto his big toe. He learned to use a computer and type using the "heel and toe" method. He learned to throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, get himself a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone and shave.

In Year 7 he was elected captain of his school and worked with the student council on fund-raising events for local charities and disability campaigns. When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group, and eventually started his non-profit organisation, Life Without Limbs.In 2005 Vujicic was nominated for the "Young Australian of the Year" Award. Today, this young man has accomplished more than most people even twice his age. Nick recently made the massive move from Brisbane, Australia to California, USA, where he is the president of an international non-profit organization, and also has his own motivational speaking company; Attitude Is Altitude. Since his first motivational speaking engagement back when he was 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people and speaking to a range of different groups.

 For more motivational videos:

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Keenan Cahill- The Fame Boy

Keenan Cahill is who is on everybody’s lips these days. The videos of the YouTube phenomenon Keenan Cahill, also known as “the strange kid” (on the first videos which was posted on YouTube), singing/lip-syncing everything from Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which Katy Perry herself tweeted about as it reached her Cahill has Maroteaux–Lamy syndrome, which in his case and some other cases result in individuals developing an appearance much like that of people suffering from dwarfism (Cahill is 4' 2" tall), including thickening of the Dura (the membrane that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord), shortened trunk, crouched stance, and restricted joint movement, and enlarged hands. To many, he appears to be developmentally disabled, but this is not true. The misconception stems from the disproportion of his small body. Many with Maroteux-Lamy also have umbilical hernia or inguinal hernias. Diagnosed at the age of one, Cahill was treated with a bone marrow transplant in 1997 to slow down the progression of the disease, and he has had multiple surgeries, including surgery to relieve intracranial pressure. . "I started three years ago, when I got my Mac with a webcam in it," Cahill, who is a sophomore in high school, told "I did it to put myself out there and to see what would happen and where it would go."And where it has gone is viral. Cahill's YouTube channel boasts nearly 200,000 subscribers and has been viewed tens of millions of times. The teen has even appeared on E!'s program "Chelsea Lately" and his taping of 50 Cent's new song "Down on Me" featured a cameo of none other than the famed rapper himself. “It was a total surprise," said Cahill of 50 Cent's drop-in. "Now this is what I'm known for."

The latest video (posted on the 8th of November 2010) was shown in parts (45 seconds) on E!'s late-night half-hour sensation Chelsea Lately, and after this appearance the YouTube video saw a spike in views, rising from 9000 to an incredible 3.2 million views within two days. Keenan Himself does a four minute interview with Chelsea, and he comes off as a charming, self-confident youngster, well worth all the attention which he is currently seeing. At one point he evens calls the programme host Chelsea Handler, a cougar and hands her his phone number; open season Keenan, open season! This disorder, which affects one in 25,000 people, has no known cure. Keenan suffered from a very rare disorder those with the disorder usually stop growing at about age 8 and are characterized by a shortened trunk and restricted movement. Still he never allowed his disease to dominate his life and hence he chose a path which few people ever think of getting into after suffering all this.He rose to fame with a series of hugely entertaining self-produced videos of himself lip-syncing the hottest top 40 hits.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

New Definition to body Building: Baron Babineaux, Jr.

We all talk about Arnold’s muscles and the efforts he puts into all this ,but here is a story of a kind of individual who crossed all barriers to prove himself . Bodybuilding takes work, and a lot of it. Figuring out the best type of training and diet and the right trainer might seem difficult enough. But, Baron Babineaux, Jr., much like Shelley Beattie and Lou Ferrigno, had even more difficulties to overcome. At age 12, Babineaux was diagnosed with Usher’s syndrome, which means he is deaf and legally blind. Baron’s Usher's Syndrome  was not an obstacle, but a catalyst (something that causes an important event to happen) to begin his body transformation. This motivation kept him focused in and out of the gym.

Sliding his hands over and around gym equipment, Babineaux chooses a machine, straddles the seat and starts his workout in preparation for his first competition. Trainer Josh Sonnier stands behind him and taps on his shoulder indicating when to start and when to stop. Baron did not train his whole life to be a bodybuilder, in fact he only started training from 2009 . He has, instead, grown up playing other sports like baseball and football. He went to a mainstream school for the deaf and later graduated from the University of Louisiana. For the first 10 years of his life, said Karen Babineaux, the family did not sign as a means of communication. Then he started losing his sight, leading to the Usher’s diagnosis.After years of playing baseball, Babineaux had to walk away from his pitcher’s mound at age 13 because he could no longer see the ball.

Babineaux’s concern as he trained for the competition has been his size at 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, but Sonnier said the judges will look for definition, leanness and proportion.
Those qualities, said Sonnier, are some of Babineaux’s strongpoints.
Babineaux’s drive toward his goal opened Sonnier’s eyes, said the trainer, and inspired his tattoo, “Never take it for granted.”

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Rare Customs Declaration by the Triumphant's of Apollo 11 Mission

The Apollo program was the third human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the United States' civilian space agency. Conceived during the Presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower as a follow-on to Project Mercury, which put the first Americans in space, and Project Gemini, which developed the space travel techniques needed, Apollo succeeded in landing the first humans on Earth's Moon in 1969 through 1972. Apollo began in earnest after President John F. Kennedy proposed the national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s in a May 25, 1961 address to Congress.

Kennedy's goal was accomplished with the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their Lunar Module (LM) on the Moon on July 20, 1969 and walked on its surface while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command spacecraft, and all three landed safely on Earth on July 24. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. In these six spaceflights, 12 men walked on the Moon.Collins was originally slated to be the Command Module Pilot (CMP) on Apollo 8 but was removed when he required surgery on his back and was replaced by Jim Lovell, his backup for that flight. After Collins was medically cleared, he took what would have been Lovell's spot on Apollo 11; as a veteran of Apollo 8, Lovell was transferred to Apollo 11's backup crew, but promoted to backup commander.
The triumphant Apollo 11 astronauts were greeted with a more mundane aspect of life on Earth that was going for the customs before landing to Honolulu ,Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins have to declare? Moon rocks, moon dust and other lunar samples, according to the customs form filed at the Honolulu Airport in Hawaii on July 24, 1969 - the day the Apollo 11 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean to end their historic moon landing mission. The customs form is signed by all three Apollo 11 astronauts. They declared their cargo and listed their flight route as starting Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral) in Florida with a stopover on the moon.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Robert Wadlow - World's Tallest Man

Robert was born on February 22, 1918, and weighed a normal eight pounds, six ounces. He drew attention to himself when at six months old, he weighed 30 pounds. A year later at 18 months, he weighed 62 pounds. He continued to grow at an astounding rate, reaching six feet, two inches and 195 pounds by the time he was eight years old. While Wadlow was a giant, he was far from being a freak. In fact aside from his remarkable height he was beyond normal. He was a kind, intelligent man who is still remembered as a gentleman some 60 years after his passing. In high school Robert was popular and active in many extracurricular activities, even serving as theadvertising manager for the yearbook. He was completely accepted by his peers. However, when he attended college he lost that acceptance and struggled with the stares. It bothered him so much that he dropped out and returned to his parents quite penniless.

His great size and his continued growth in adulthood was due to hypertrophy of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death. His height of 8' 11.1" qualifies him as the tallest person in history, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records. At the time of his death he weighed 490 pounds. In the centre of the town of Alton stands a statue commemorating Mr. Wadlow. A great photo of Mr. Wadlow is the opportunity tourists can stand beside the bronze statue and get some perspective on how tall this man really was. The absence of patina on his right hand shows just how many people take this opportunity.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dede Koswara : Better known “The Tree Man”

The story of Dede’s condition begins 30 years ago when he was 10 years old. Whilst out in the forest near his home on the island of Java in Indonesia, Dede cut his knee whilst out in the forest. Shortly afterwards, small warts sprouted around the wound, which eventually spread to his feet and hands.
As he grew older, his warts continued to grow. Eventually the sheer number and size of them meant that his ability to carry out his job as a tradesman suffered, and though the warts didn’t hurt or itch, they gave off a sickening odour. At 28, Dede’s wife of 10 years left him as he became unable to work to support her and their two children.

Dede ended up travelling with a circus to earn a living. It was whilst he was there, that a photo of him posted online attracted the attention of a group of documentary makers who sought the advice of dermatologist Anthony Gaspari, about what was causing his condition.
The cause of the condition is an inactivating HP mutation in either the EVER1 or EVER2 genes, which are located adjacent to one another on chromosome 17. The precise function of these genes is not yet fully understood, but they play a role in regulating the distribution of zinc in the cell nucleus. It has been shown that zinc is a necessary cofactor for many viral proteins, and that the activity of EVER1/EVER2 complex appears to restrict the access of viral proteins to cellular zinc stores, limiting their growth.

 Dede suffered from a tongue-twister of a disease known as Epidermodysplasia verruciformis. What this means is that he has an abnormal susceptibility to human pappilomaviruses. Human pappilomaviruses (HPVs) are extremely easy to contract, and it has been suggested that up to 80% of people may be infected, though they show no symptoms. There are around 200 known types of HPV, but the majority have no noticeable affect. In rare instances, it can lead to certain forms of cancer, but the most common result of an HPV infection is your simple, everyday wart.
For 20 years, the case has baffled doctors. While scientists understand the cause of his problem, nobody has been able to truly cure it yet. In 2007, Dede made international news when he hit the Internet and was featured in “My Shocking Story” on the Discovery Channel and TLC. (This show is “Extraordinary People” in the United Kingdom.) Later, in 2008, he was the subject of an episode of the popular program “Medical Mystery” as well.
The "Tree Man of Java" is now able to send text messages and eat from his hands after operations to remove growths from his hands and feet.