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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Healing Power of Guitar Hero

While the Nintendo Wii continues to garner headlines for its many alternative uses, an occupational therapist at the Select Specialty Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana is investigating the potential of Guitar Hero in physical rehabilitation.
Certified occupational therapy assistant Kelly Colwell first noted the healing potential of Guitar Hero while working with a patient who had injured his elbow and lost range of motion in his arm.

Doctors had told the patient that he would never regain full flexibility and rotation of his arm--motions that are heavily utilized when playing with Guitar Hero's plastic guitar.

"We'd been doing a lot with range of motion, but he was still lacking in pronation and supination in his forearm," Colwell informed Shacknews. Pronation and supination refer to the twisting and flexing motions of limbs. "Guitar Hero really helped out a lot with that, especially the supination because he had to hold that pose."

Apart from a patient's increased willingness to participate in therapy, other possible benefits of Guitar Hero noted by Colwell include improved abdominal, lower back, and wrist strength, sitting balance, fine motor skills, and general endurance.

"I hadn't [used video games in therapy] before, but I'll do it again," Colwell remarked.

"The gaming industry is just now becoming aware of the benefits their products can be provide in health care, but has yet to tap into its full potential," said chiropractor and licensed acupuncturist Steve Alter, who runs his own practice in Fort Wayne.

"Stroke victims in particular would really benefit from [a specialized video game]," Alter observed, explaining that software designed to stimulate both halves of the brain could aid in stroke recovery.

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How Wii Can Help You Stay Younger

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Ain't It the Truth?

All sizes
Gotta love Banksy

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My kind of town

No words

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10 of the most Amazing Sand Sculptures from around the World


As a kid you probably enjoyed making sandcastles on the beach but did you ever think sandcastles could be so big, so elaborate or intricate? Some take it seriously, very seriously. Amateurs, artists and businesses from around the globe compete to win the prestige, prizes and press attention from their sandcastles AKA sand sculptures, the more accurate term for this peculiar endeavour. Even the corporates at companies such as eBay take a good sandcastle seriously, eBay commissioned a monster 75 tonne sand sculpture for their 10th anniversary. These sand sculptures are typically made using river sand, which is a finer material when compared with beach sand and therefore more suited to being sculpted. Unlike your puny childhood attempt at sand castle glory, some of these oversized sandcastles withstand weeks of erosion before disappearing. Here are some of the finest examples of sand sculptures from around the world!

Lifesize Skoda, Sydney

Lifesize Skoda

Lifesize Skoda: Who would have thought it? For many long years the humble Skoda bore the brunt of a near-constant stream of contempt and abuse from the western car-owning world. Derided and written off as a poor man’s car (and a poor car for most), Skoda was bought over by Volkswagen in 1991 and like a Czech Phoenix has been transformed into a reliable and respectable brand with sales figures to match. Part of their renewal has been a successful viral marketing campaign, like when Skoda introduced their vehicles to Australia in a manner in which Aussies can relate - a life-sized car on Sydney’s Palm Beach scultped using 60 tonnes of sand. Since then Skoda have gone on to create a replica Fabia cake!

Neptune’s Sandcastle, Virginia Beach

Neptune's Sandcastle

Neptune’s Sandcastle: Neptune’s Sandcastle is the largest sandcastle in the world, which was sculpted for the 2006 Virginia Beach Neptune Festival. This 37ft, 4 storey tall sandcastle easily trumped the previous 32.5ft world record. Neptune’s Castle kept six, skillful, sand sculpters from Team Sandtastic busy moving and shaping over 3,000,000lbs of fine sand until it was completed. Check out the video for a timelapse of how they do it.

Rapunzel’s Castle, Fraser Valley

Rapunzel's Castle

Rapunzel’s Castle: As the old story of Rapunzel goes, the fair lady was trapped in the tower by an evil witch until her Prince came along. This stunning castle was sculpted for the annual sand sculpting competition at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort in the Fraser Valley of BC Canada.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Boracay Island

Boracay Island: Boracay Island in the Philippines is a tropical paradise famed for crystal blue waters, thriving marine life and palm-fringed whiter-than-white sand beaches. Tourists from Australia and Europe are drawn to Boracay Island for all these reasons and while they are there they might see an intricate shoreline creation such as this one! Castles like this have stiff competition on Boracay. This place seems to be the center of the sand sculpting world!

The Sandcastle Group, Myrtle Beach

The Sandcastle Group

The Sandcastle Group: The Sandcastle Group are holders of the World’s Longest Sand Sculpture, which stood at 16.39 miles long on Myrtle Beach, Florida. Reyelt and his team mobilised 8,000 volunteers to help construct it, all of whom are Guinness world record holders. The same poeple who were responsible for this monstrous sand castle recieved Guinness World Records in the past for the 25,000 tonne ‘Blue Beard’s Castle’ in 1985 and the five-storey high Lost City of Atlantis in 1986.

Sandsation, Berlin


Sandsation: Martin Tulinius created this small piece of paradise on earth back in August 2007 for the fifth annual Sandsation event in Berlin, Germany. And around 100,000 germans filed through to enjoy some of the best sand sculptures in the world.

Castle to the Sun, Casco

Castle to the Sun

Castle to the Sun: It took 40 dump truck loads to get the 1,000,000lbs of sand needed for the Castle to the Sun sculpture. Project leader Ed Jarrett spent his summer building this colossal 31.5ft tall sandcastle at Camp Sunshine with help from the kids staying at the camp and community volunteers. The sandcastle was to raise funds to benefit the camp for children with life threatening illnesses. You can see a time elapsed series of photos documenting the building process.

Zadanyuk & Varano, Fraser Valley

Zadanyuk & Varano

Zadanyuk & Varano: Winners of the World Championships of Sand Sculpture 2007 at Harrison Hot Springs, BC were sculpting masters Pavel Zadanyuk of Moscow and Richard Varano from Florida. The duo created Beauty and the Beast which won the Gold Medal with 1,951 votes of over 10,000 cast.

Sandology, Byron Beach


Sandology: You could have walked past this beautiful yet modest sandcastle creation and missed its significance. This sandcastle was created by Steve Machell of Sandology in 2005 on Byron Bay beach specifically for a marriage proposal. I wonder if Sarah said yes?

Here’s the Church, Fraser Valley

Here's the Church

Here’s the Church: Here’s the Church, a sculpture that garnered 1855 votes to win the Silver Medal also at the World Championships of Sand Sculpture 2007 Harrison Hot Springs. Sculptors Michael Velling of Federal Way, Washington and John Gowdy of Venice, Italy had to settle for second best.

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Mental Note: Do Not Print Stuff From The Internet In Afghani

The US backed government in Afghanistan has sentenced a 23 year old internet user to death in a secret trial based on a document he printed off the internet.

Sayad Parwez Kambaksh’s crime was printing a document from the internet that allegedly “violated the tenets of Islam.” Kambaksh then allegedly took the printout to Balkh University, where he discussed the contents with his teacher and classmates, resulting in a complaint to the US backed Government.

According to a CBC Report, members of a clerics’ council had been pushing for Kambaksh to be punished by death.

The head of a journalists group and family members denounced the secret trial and claimed that Kambaksh was not represented by a lawyer. The case can now go before two appeals trials until the death sentence is carried out.

What exactly are Americans and coalition forces (including British and Australian troops) fighting for in Afghanistan again? Feel free to remind me in the comments.

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Worlds Largest Swimming Pool 3500 Ft Long!

If you like doing laps in the swimming pool, you might want to stock up on the energy drinks before diving in to this one.

It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

Yesterday the Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world.

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Acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest swimming pool, the lagoon measures 1,013 metres in length and covers an area of eight hectares

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But if you fancy splashing out on one of your own – and you have the space to accommodate it – then beware: This one took five years to build, cost nearly £1billion and the annual maintenance bill will be £2million.

The man-made saltwater lagoon has been attracting huge crowds to the San Alfonso del Mar resort at Algarrobo, on Chile's southern coast, since it opened last month.

Its turquoise waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom even in the deep end.

It dwarfs the world's second biggest pool, the Orthlieb – nicknamed the Big Splash – in Morocco, which is a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. An Olympicsize pool measures some 50 yards by 25 yards.

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The saltwater pool contains 250,000 cubic metres of water and is navigable in small boats

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Children play in the clear waters of the 3,323 ft long pool

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Chile's monster pool uses a computer- controlled suction and filtration system to keep fresh seawater in permanent circulation, drawing it in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out at the other.

The sun warms the water to 26c, nine degrees warmer than the adjoining sea.

Chilean biochemist Fernando Fischmann, whose Crystal Lagoons Corporation designed the pool, said advanced engineering meant his company could build "an impressive artificial paradise" even in inhospitable areas.

"As long as we have access to unlimited seawater, we can make it work, and it causes no damage to the ocean."

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A Chapel Converted Into a Modern Apartment [ Pics ]

The decline in church attendance over the last several decades has meant that countless churches across the Netherlands have lost their function. They are crumbling, are demolished, or are put to new uses. Their specific architectural features often fall by the wayside in this process. Not every church can be turned into a municipal exhibition hall, and if, for example, a residential use is chosen, the original spatial qualities are usually lost. A dutch firm named Zecc has converted an old chapel into an apartment, carefully respecting and enhancing the character of the original building. The chapel was part of a large housing complex of the Friars of Utrecht, which at its height, around the mid-20th century, housed 217 residents. The remaining 13 elderly friars, however, moved to a nursing home in 2005, and the complex was divided up and converted into about 40 apartments.

This was the church before ZECC Architects started the work.

And this is how the church looks now …modern and stylish.

The design team chose to keep many of the original features like the high gothic stained glass windows and the original choir organ. To allow more light to enter the space, they cut a Mondrian-inspired glass window into the front of the house facing the street perhaps paying homage to Rietveld’s nearby infamous Schroder House. The entire living area has been whitewashed, while the private spaces above were painted dark. In conclusion this place might be controversial, but it looks very modern and stylish.


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