Archive for March 27, 2013

Beach resort inside German hangar surrounded by snow


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Source : Ben Draper – Canada

Ben April 2012

 Beach resort inside German hangar surrounded by snow

This huge hangar had been built by the East German Communists years ago……so?  Put it to use!

No chance of a tropical storm here then! Incredible pictures show luxury resort complete with sandy beaches, palm trees and clear blue water… inside enormous German hangar surrounded by snow

With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular and luxurious sun-kissed resort.

With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular and luxurious sun-kissed resort.


Fun: Despite appearances, not everything is as it seems at Tropical Islands


Odd: The ‘resort’ is actually located on the site of a former Soviet military air base in Krausnick, Germany

Tropical Islands is inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo. And despite it looking like temperatures are through the roof – outside the giant hangar it is actually snowing.

As these incredible pictures show, the resort contains a beach, a lagoon , water slide and adventure park.

Guests can enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and can also relax in a sauna.

Indoor: Tropical Islands is located inside this giant hangar – with the actual weather a far cry from the conditions inside


Cold: Snow surrounds the giant hangar which houses Tropical Islands


Relaxing: Tropical Islands is inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo.

Visitors can be seen swimming in the lagoon at the resort

Holiday: The resort contains a beach, lagoon, water slide and adventure park.

Guests can also enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and saunas

A range of options are available for stays, from the basic to luxury. Accommodation includes quaint looking cottages and even beach tents.

As well as flamingos, free-flying canaries also fly around the site.

It is believed that the hall which Tropical Islands is located in is the biggest free-standing hall in the world.

Popular: Tropical Islands attracts up to 6,000 visitors a day and in its first year attracted 975,000 visitors

Accommodation: A range of options are available for stays, from the basic to luxury.

Accommodation includes cottages, pictured, and even beach tents


Simple: Guests can also stay in one of the beach tents

It has a maximum capacity of 6,000 visitors a day and in its first year attracted 975,000 visitors.

As well as the thousands of visitors each day, approximately 500 people work at the site. Tropical Islands opened to members of the public in 2004.

Incredibly, the hangar, which is 360 metres long, 210 metres wide and 107 metres high, is tall enough to enclose the Statue of Liberty.

Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing

Posted in Antiques Corner with tags on March 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Source  : Ben Draper – Canada

Ben April 2012


Singing bird PISTOLS- Amazing

Simply incredible …you have to hang in there for a minute before you see what this is all about. Amazing.

This is a short video on a pair of 200+ year-old mechanical singing bird pistols;whether or not you are an antique gun aficionado, you’ll be glad you took a moment to   watch. They are like great paintings. .. . only on a much grander scale.  These pistols sold for $5.8 million




I Donated My Body to Medicine


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I Donated My Body to Medicine

By Annalee Newitz

In early February, I walked through a light drizzle to visit the anatomy lab at UC San Francisco. Of course I wanted to see the medical school’s new high-tech Anatomy Learning Center, with its iPad textbooks and surgery telepresence room. But I was also there to hand over possession of my dead body. And I wanted to know what that would mean.

The UCSF medical center sits atop one of San Francisco’s steep hills, Mount Parnassus, which overlooks Golden Gate Park’s fat band of trees, a long rectangle of green dividing the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods from each other. If you look to the east, you can see the Haight, and if you look really far to the west you can see the ocean.

I looked at those views a lot over a decade ago, when my mother was here in the ICU, dying of a sudden bacterial infection that literally ate the lining around her heart over a period of several weeks.

When you are watching somebody die, you focus on trivia. That way you can forget the big thing, your mother’s tiny body hooked up to a heart pump the size of a dorm room refrigerator. And what I remember most are snatches of conversations I had with all the doctors and surgeons who came by to offer insights into my mother’s unusual case. One was a thin, talkative man who told me how much he wished he had a DNA microarray that would allow him to instantly diagnose my mother’s ailment. Another was a woman with her hair in geeky disarray, who explained how heart pumps work while troubleshooting the one whose rubber tubes were threaded inside my mother’s chest. UCSF is a teaching hospital, and they were trying to learn things from this death.

Some people might feel like a statistic in the hands of doctors like these, but I felt cared for. I liked it when people who were doing studies would stop by my mother’s room and ask permission to include her in their work. I found myself hoping that her death would wind up in a medical journal as a piece of evidence — a data point that would one day become part of a hypothesis that could prevent somebody else’s mother from dying.

And so, as I walked into the bright hallway of the anatomy lab from the rain last month, I thought about how I wanted to do what my mother had done. I wanted my death to be something that people could learn from.

Why Do People Donate Their Bodies?

Not surprisingly, most people who donate their bodies to UCSF have personal reasons for it. When I met with Kimberly Topp, who runs the anatomy lab, she said she was donating her body because she wanted to “give back.” So many people had given their bodies to help her students learn that she couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. A physical therapist with curly hair and an open smile, Topp helped design both the physical layout of the new anatomy lab and the teaching philosophy underlying the classes students take there.

The entire lab, built into the upper floors of one of UCSF’s tall buildings, is designed to be open and full of light — just the opposite of what you’d expect from a place where medical students learn their craft on corpses. And this openness extends to the classroom style, too. Here, medical students work alongside physical therapy students, dental students, and nursing students. Topp emphasized that part of what students learn in the anatomy lab is how to relate to their colleagues, as well as how to make an incision or locate important leg bones.

She and I talked in one of the lab’s meeting rooms at a broad table. Flanking of the table were two large, wall-mounted monitors that could be used to livestream a surgery happening next door or across campus. Students meeting in here have a chance to witness important surgeries up close, and even ask the surgeons questions, without ever having to scrub in.

We were joined by Andrew Corson, director of UCSF’s Willed Body Program, a tidy, soft-spoken man who looked more like the manager of a startup than a person who helps people donate their bodies to medicine. It’s very simple to fill out the forms, which are available online. It’s a lot harder to commit to handing over your body — even if you know rationally, as I do, that you’ll hardly care when the time comes.

Corson said one of the main questions that people have for him is what will happen to their bodies or the bodies of their loved ones. The answer is that almost all of them wind up in that top-floor anatomy lab, which we were about to visit.

Where Deaths Become Lessons

UCSF’s anatomy lab reminded me of the starship Enterprise, circa Next Generation. It was all muted colors, curved surfaces, and chrome, its walls punctuated by monitors on one side and enormous windows on the other. Though the windows looked out on the park instead of a local nebula, you still got the feeling of a vast and gorgeous world ready to be explored just outside.

Adding to the starship feeling was the room’s perfectly-calibrated ventilation system — very important when people are working with preserved bodies — that constantly draws air downward and out of the room through a series of vents running along the baseboards. Though there was a faint aroma of formaldehyde, mostly the place had that new consumer electronics smell, plastic and polystyrene.


And of course, there were the bodies.

The anatomy lab is a classroom where groups of students cluster around stainless steel tables topped by corpses. That day, class was not in session. Each body was carefully covered by a thick, white plastic sheet. Shelves beneath each body occasionally held big plastic containers, one of which was labeled “pelvis” in permanent marker. The tables were completely networked, with their own small monitors for watching video or broadcasting. Every student here works off an iPad, which holds textbooks as well as tools for accessing data on the progress they’re making in anatomy lab. All that was missing were medical tricorders.







As high-tech as the place was, there were a lot of unexpected human touches. Paperwork was stored on music stands next to each table, and instruments were kept clean in an industrial dishwasher in an adjoining room where non-embalmed bodies are kept in refrigerators. Some procedures, Topp explained, require bodies that don’t have the rigidity of embalmed ones.

Embalmed bodies like the ones I saw under wraps in the classroom will last for an entire year. Students at UCSF who take the year-long anatomy course are assigned to one body, which they stick with. Topp and Corson talked about how attached the students get to their subjects. “Often, it’s their first everything,” Topp explained — their first dead body, their first surgical procedures, their first view into the realities of a career in medicine.

In one classroom, there are posters and cards that the students created in the spring of last year for the people whose bodies they learned on in anatomy class. “We have a ceremony at the end of the year where students talk about their experiences, and some play songs,” Topp said. “It gets very emotional.” After the ceremony, the anatomy lab bodies are cremated and their ashes scattered at sea. Every person who donates their body to UCSF gets two funerals: One from their loved ones, and one from the students whose education would have been impossible without the donation.

Though UCSF will promise to handle all body donations with respect, one thing they won’t promise is that a body will be put to a specific use. “We don’t want to promise what we can’t be certain about,” Corson emphasized. The university needs the flexibility to place a body where it is needed most by the students. A body donation may wind up embalmed in the anatomy lab, or in the non-embalmed area. It may become the year-long companion of dental students, or physical therapists who need to understand how joints work. In some cases, people developing new medical devices for healing bones may test them on the body.


That said, UCSF always cremates the bodies and scatters them to sea when they are finished. The donor’s ashes don’t go back to loved ones. In fact, Corson warned that it’s often a red flag when a group taking body donations promises to return the ashes. Given the nature of the medical procedures, it’s almost impossible to insure that such remains are from a specific person. It’s better to be transparent and promise what is possible: That your donation will help medical students become better doctors, and will eventually be scattered to sea.

The Legal Gray Areas

Whole body donations are not regulated by very many laws, and these vary from state to state. Most of the laws, like the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, are broadly focused on things like how people can will a whole body to medicine, as well as issues like transplants and organ trafficking. There are also a handful of health regulations that focus on tissue and organ donors(partial body donations), and are intended to ensure that these donations are kept clean and healthy before they are implanted in another living person. So how can you be sure your body will be used wisely?

Corson told me that UCSF and many other medical schools have adopted a set of best practicesgoverning how bodies will be used. These recommendations come from the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA), and include rules about forming oversight committees to make sure bodies are shipped and disposed of appropriately, as well as used only in the ways that the institution has described to the donors or their families.

One of the big concerns that Corson and his colleagues have is with the practices of “third party brokers,” or intermediaries, companies that acquire bodies and then sell them to medical device companies or other businesses. (Just search online for “donate my body to medicine,” and look through the sponsored links for these groups.) Often, such brokers make outlandish promises to donors, claiming that their bodies will be used for specific fields of research and that their ashes will be returned. Then, they sell the bodies to the highest bidder and make a tidy profit. There is no way for loved ones to verify that the bodies were used in the ways they hoped, or that the ashes they receive are authentic. Because there are so few laws regulating whole body donations, none of this is strictly illegal — just unethical.

Brandi Schmitt, councilor and co-chair for Anatomical Services group of the AACA, told me via email:

The AACA’s concern with intermediaries . . . primarily has to do with the potential for loss of oversight of anatomical materials that can jeopardize the reputation of the donation program and may betray the trust of our donors. Whole body donations are valuable resources, integral to the advancement of medical and scientific education and research . . . The AACA is concerned that these third party interests in donation are about profit rather than about the advancement of medicine and science. This type of altruism is often the reason people choose to gift their bodies in the first place and we want to honor their wishes and uphold their trust.

The difference between donating your body to an intermediary, or to a place like UCSF, is knowing that your gift will be used for educational purposes. Nobody is accusing intermediaries of doing things like selling organs on the black market. And it’s not as if medical device and biotech companies shouldn’t have access to whole body donations. But when there’s a profit motive, sometimes ethics get a little gray.

There are many good reasons to donate your body to medicine, often personal ones. I picked UCSF because I know it can fulfill its promise to make my donation into something that is educational. But there are many other places to donate, and all of them will benefit enormously from it.


The Future of Anatomy Labs

Topp said she thought a lot about the future of medical procedures when planning the design of the new anatomy lab. At some point, people may actually be conducting surgeries remotely, using robots, and this facility could easily be retrofitted to help prepare students for that kind of experience. Already, they are learning how to do surgeries by looking at a 2D screen and guiding a laproscope. In ten years, they might be looking at 3D screens and guiding a robot.

Anatomy labs and surgical suites are going to look more and more like the Enterprise over the coming years. A surgical robot could download the latest information on a procedure in real time, while the surgery is taking place, to avoid complications. Or a surgeon in India could use video conferencing to guide a surgeon in Canada through a difficult tendon repair.

Already, UCSF’s new anatomy lab seems almost impossibly futuristic, with every student’s desk converted into a multimedia research station. But there will be no incredible breakthroughs, no new therapies without one, old-fashioned ingredient: altruism. The kind of altruism that’s required to donate your extremely analog, extremely low-tech body to the doctors of tomorrow. Sign me up.

Are you considering a whole body donation to medicine?

Your local medical school will probably have a body donation program or willed body program, just like UCSF (usually medical schools prefer to take donations only from their local area, to cut down on transportation costs). The University of Florida has a good list of body donation programs. You can also call your local medical school, or search their website, to find out if they have a body donor program.

Nolo Press has a good article on the legal ins and outs of donating your body to medicine.

Top illustration by CLIPAREA l Custom media via Shutterstock. All other images courtesy of UCSF Anatomy La


The bizarre copycat architecture of China


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The bizarre copycat architecture of China


We all know that Chinese companies love to clone everything from sneakers to smartphones, but that’s not all. In the last few decades, architecture firms in China have started to copy iconic buildings and even whole cities from other countries. Here are some of the strangest copycat monuments, including the Eiffel Tower and the entire city of Venice.

Little Paris or Tianducheng, near Shanghai, China



It’s a gated community with an Eiffel Tower, some Parisian houses and the Champ de Mars. It was built in 2007 by a big real estate developer company. There is enough space to house at least 100,000 people, but its population is around 2000, which adds a ghost town-like feeling to this place.

(via Matthew NiederhauserTussauds Studios/RCA and Olivier Chouchana)

Copy of Hallstatt, Austria in Huizhou, China, 2011-2012


The wonderful, UNESCO-listed Upper Austrian village was copied by a Chinese mining company named China Minmetals Corporation. The project cost $940 million.

(via News China Mag and Flickr/Kopernikus1966)

Copy of Manhattan in Tianjin, China


The 15th century fishing village was demolished and the Chinese are building Manhattan with the Hudson river there. It will be completed in 2019.

(via wilderutopia)

Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp Chapel appeared in Zhengzhou, China


The Chinese copy was built in 1994, but demolished in the late 2000s, thanks to Fondation Le Corbusier.

(via bikesandbuildings)

Shanghai Minhang People’s Court, China

Mix the characteristics of the White House and the Capitol Building in Washington, and name it Shanghai Minhang People’s Court.

(via Wikimedia CommonsPanoramio and Destination360)

Window Of The World, Shenzhen, China


The theme park has more than 100 reproductions of the famous places around the world, including the 1:3 scale version of the Eiffel Tower, the Christ the Redeemer statue from Rio De Janeiro and the wonderful Taj Mahal.

(via Wikimedia Commons and filigallery)

Little London or Thames Town, near Shanghai, China



Thames Town is a gated community, just like Little Paris. Opened in 2006 with some Tudor-style houses, a fake Thames and an almost Gothic church. Because of the high prices, it’s a ghost town too, but a really fantastic background for wedding photos.

(via Thames Town)

Florentia Village, a district of Wuqing, Tianjin, China



It was a corn field few years ago, but now this area has a grand canal, lots of Italian houses and a Colosseum-like shopping centre. The total project cost about $220 million, financed by a mining company.

(via Florentia Village)

Huaxi, the Village Of Knockoffs, China


The richest city in China has a copy of the Great Wall, the Sydney Opera, the whole Tiananmen Square, the Arc de Triomphe and some of the world’s best tourist destinations. The local inhabitants work 7 days a week, and they haven’t got any time to travel, so they’ve spent almost 2 million dollars to copy them.

(via Travel Wire Asia and China Hush)


These spectacular images show why they call it the ‘OMG’ microscope


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These spectacular images show why they call it the ‘OMG’ microscope

Back in 2011, GE unveiled DeltaVision OMX Blaze, a state-of-the art microscope that uses a combination of optics and powerful computer algorithms. Using a technique called 3D structured illumination microscopy (SIM), OMX can see objects as small as 100 nanometers across and more than doubles the resolution in all three dimensions. Here are some of the most mind blowing super-resolution images taken by the microscope to date.

All images courtesy GE Reports and reproduced with permission. Above: Cancer: Metaphase epithelial cell in metaphase stained for microtubules (red), kinetochores (green) and DNA (blue). Credit: Jane Stout.


Cancer: Interphase human cervical cancer cell stained for microtubules (green), pericentrin centrosome protein (red) and DNA (blue). Credit: Steffen Lawo


Immunology and infection: CACO-2 intestinal epithelial cells stained to label the apical actin cytoskeleton. Credit: Matthew Tyska


Cancer: Mitotic spindle in a PTK1 cell stained for tubulin (green) and Ncd80 (red). Credit: Keith DeLuca


Developmental biology: Human keratinocyte cells expressin GFP labeled keratin-14 (green) stained for DNA (blue). Credit: Graham Wright


Deafness: Sound detecting sensory cells of the inner ear. Credit: Nicolas Grillet


Cancer, neurological disorders: Drosophila Melanogaster ovary labeled for microtubules (green), actin (purple) and DNA (blue). Credit: Timothy Weil


Cancer: Prometaphase human cervical carcinoma (HeLa) cell with GFP-histone labeled chromosomes (blue) stained for tubulin (yellow). Credit: Markus Posch


Cancer: Mitotic human cervical cancer cell stained for microtubules (green) and DNA (blue). Credit: Steffen Lawo


Deafness: Motion detecting sensory cells of the inner ear. Credit: Nicolas Grillet


HIV: Tissue section stained for CD4+ cells (red), stroma (green) and nuclei (blue). Credit: Ann Carias


Developmental biology: Spermatocyte in meiosis with chromosomes stained for synaptonemal complex-3. Credit: Graham Wright


Cancer, neurological disorders: Drosophila Melanogaster ovary labeled for microtubules (green), actin (purple) and DNA (blue). Credit: Timothy Weil


Cancer: Yeast expressing fluorescent fusion proteins marking nucleoli (red), centromeres (yellow) and the nuclear envelope and plasma membrane (cyan). Credit: Marc Green


Deafness: Toe section stained for tubulin and merkel cell cytokeratin (green also), S-100 (red) and DNA (blue). Credit: Nicolas Grillet.

Malaria is just one disease in the sights of scientists using the new technology, which GE calls DeltaVision OMX Blaze. They are using it to study bacterial cell division to develop a new generation of antibiotics, observe the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy, and the cell to cell transmission of HIV and other viruses. Scientists can even watch mitosis in living cells, the process of chromosome separation into two identical sets.

The tool’s results have been so extraordinary that Jane Stout, a research associate at Indiana University recently, dubbed the OMX the “OMG.” Stout said that the microscope allowed her to “see details inside the cells at previously unprecedented resolution.”

Read more about this remarkable super-resolution microscope at GE Reports.

Gorgeous, Strange and Intense Propaganda Posters from China in the 1950s

Posted in Relaxing Corner with tags , on March 27, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Gorgeous, Strange and Intense Propaganda Posters from China in the 1950s

Propaganda posters, like advertisements, are often strikingly beautiful and moving. After all, they are designed to be persuasive. And the 1950s, the height of the Cold War between communism and capitalism, were a heyday for propaganda all over the world. Here are some of the most incredible works of propaganda from the Chinese government during this period.

Judgement day for American Imperialism (Ni Gengye, 1954)

(via chineseposters)

Shanghai No. 1 Department Store (Chen Fei, 1955)


For many years, this was the largest department store in Asia, and here was China’s only escalator – pictured above.


While Douglas MacArthur is committing war crimes in Korea, an American airplane bombs a Chinese factory. (Xu Ling, 1950)


Our Motherland’s airspace is inviolable. (1951)

(via maopost)

The life of the peasants is good after Land Reform (Jin Meishing, 1951)


Protect our children: Utterly destroy American imperialists’ bacterial warfare! (1952)

(via maopost)

Boosting production and ensuring quality show that you love your Motherland (1953)


(via maopost)

Do not disturb daddy while he is using his head (Shao Jingyun, 1955)

(via I am a child)

Consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the international unity of the proletariat! (1956)

(via maopost)

Insurance for pig-rearing (1958)


(via IIC)

The future of the rural village in China (1958)


(via Laboratoire Urbanisme Insurrectionnel)

People from all over the world, unite and protect peace! (1959)


(via law007)

An airplane sprays chemicals (Wang Weirong, 1964)

(via chineseposters)

Let’s go and save our money in the bank for the sake of building a happy life! (1964)

(via ekoooo)

Permanent revolution for life, read Chairman Mao’s book for life. (1966)



We must liberate Taiwan! (1969)


(via 3dmgame)

If the enemy sharpens his knife, we shall sharpen ours. (1969)


(via Baidu)

The Most Astounding Steam-Powered Vehicles in History


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The Most Astounding Steam-Powered Vehicles in History

From the velocipede (pictured above) to buses, vehicles powered by steam were being beta-tested throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The results were pretty weird, and hint at a steam-powered future that never happened.

The Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede from 1867-1869


A small steam engine was attached to a velocipede – it was the first motorcycle.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

A Sentinel Steam Bus, built by the British Sentinel Waggon Works Ltd. in the 1920s






(via John Burke/Flickr)

Steam trucks and tractors from the early 20th century




The colorful steam trucks and tractors were common in the first years of the 20th century.

(via monoblog.suHanks Truck PicturesNick’s Steam Page)

Woggle Bug, by Louis Ross, 1904

The twin-engines (by Stanley Steamer) weren’t syncronized, so the driver, Louis Ross himself had to operate two throttles simultaneously.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Hornsby chain tractor from 1905

The world’s first fully-tracked vehicle was built in the first years of the 20th Century. Later the company has sold its patent rights of the “chain track” to the American Holt Tractor Co., which is now called Caterpillar.

(via Ray Hooley’s Ruston-Hornsby Engine Pages)

Steam Wheel Tank, 1916-1917


The three-wheeled steam tank with a Doble 2-cylinder 75 hp steam engine was built by the Holt Manufacturing Company (now Caterpillar), based on the British “Big Wheel” Landship concept. Only one prototípe was built.

(via Wikimedia Commons and WWI Artwork)

Steam car for the children – the Olds’ Mobile, 1930


(via Modern Mechanics/Feb. 1930)

The Besler steam biplane prototype, 1933


The biplane based on a Travel Air 2000 flew several times at Oakland airport in 1933. Had a two-cylinder, 150 hp Doble engine.

(via Stewart Archive and Wow! Really?)

Chevrolet Chevelle SE-124, 1969

In 1969, the company developed a concept vehicle with a 50hp Bresler steam engine, which was based on the 1920 Dober steam engine concept. The original small block Chevy 305 engine was sawed in half to make place to the boiler and the other new parts. The modified car had a two minute warm up time: it took 30 seconds to make steam and another 90 seconds to warm up the other parts.

(via Kimmelsteam)

Inspiration (2009)

This steam-propelled Batmobile-like car holds the World Land Speed Record for a steam powered vehicle with a 148 mph (239 km/h) record. It broke a 103 years old record. The Inspiration is powered by a two stage turbine, which receives the steam from 12 boilers full with distilled water.

(via British Steam Car)