Blogger News

So please tell me what there's to complain about

Read More:

Your Daily Health Tips

Rock Climbing Gear Guide

Rock climbing is one of the most popular and addictive sports nowadays. Climbing either indoors or outdoors demands skill, concentration, balance, good body shape and of course, the proper climbing equipment. The appropriate gear will keep you safe allowing you to fully enjoy the thrill or reaching the summit of the rock formation.
In particular:
1. Ropes
There are generally four different types of climbing ropes; statics, dynamic singles, dynamic doubles and dynamic twins. All four types have different uses and abilities. Specifically:
- Statics
Statics ropes are exclusively used in rappelling and rigging due to their unique ability not to stretch. Especially in abseiling, statics ropes are the only appropriate type. On the other hand, statics are harshly forbidden for guide climbing.
- Dynamic Singles 
As the name implies, dynamic singles are an excellent choice for either natural rock formations or artificial ones. Their ability to stretch under any load and absorb the impact force of a possible fall makes them your number one friend. Thin dynamic singles are highly suggested mostly due to their light weight and longer lifetime.
- Dynamic Doubles
Professional climbers recommend the dynamic doubles for double rock climbing or difficult courses. Dynamic ropes are in fact double ropes making it easier for you to cover longer distances. Additionally, they maximize protection mostly because they are significantly stronger comparing to single ropes.
- Dynamic Twins
Dynamic twins are generally used in ice climbing. Being extremely solid, the dynamic twins ropes promise prolonged lifetime as it is rather hard to get cut by sharp rocks.
- Dry Ropes
All climbing ropes come into two major types; customary and dry ones. When climbing indoors, it is best to purchase the customary ropes but for ice or difficult outdoor courses, it is highly suggested to choose the dry ones. Dry ropes are waterproof preventing water to turn into ice in low temperature.

How+to+Use+Dynamic+Ropes -- powered by LIVESTRONG.COM
2. Climbing Harnesses
Choosing the right harness may be a daunting task but it is essential as it provides protection to the climber. There are three major types of climbing harnesses; sit strings, chest harnesses and full-body harnesses. Professional climbers suggest the sit strings as they offer full body motion and flexibility. Nevertheless, if your backpack is full, then you should choose the chest harness transferring all loads to it. Full body harnesses are ideal for climbing with children. Rescuers also prefer the full body harnesses as they offer full control.
Important tip: try before you buy! Make sure that the harness you will choose fits you properly being neither too tight nor too loose. A tight harness may block circulation and a looser one may end up extremely dangerous.


3. Helmet
The climbing helmet is essential as it can literally save your life during a fall. Moreover, it protects you from falling rocks keeping you safe and in track. As with harnesses, it is vital to try a helmet before purchasing it. Lighter helmets are usually preferred without tiring you up or causing headaches. Make sure it made out of quality and durable material able to protect you in all cases. Again, ensure that it fits you properly and it does not slip off your head. Finally, many climbers choose the head torch helmets providing efficient light for night courses.
4. Belay Plate
The belay plate is generally used in rappelling. Made out of aluminum, it is ideal for carrying a heavy load without breaking. Most important, it can absorb vibrations and the impact force of a fall making it easy for you to control the rope that holds your partner. If you are both an indoor or outdoor climber, then the double-rope plate is ideal for you.
5. Rock Climbing Shoes
Purchasing the right pair is critical; in case of a bad choice, you may severely harm your toes and feet. If you are new to rock climbing, avoid purchasing a cheap pair as they definitely will not provide you the safety and comfort you need. Professional climbers usually suggest all-around climbing shoes able to protect you for cuts and abrasions. Make sure they feel totally comfortable and allow full motion without tiring you up. Visit a well-known mountain shop and ask everything you need to know. Try the shoes before you buy and make sure they fit you properly. Some stores have artificial rock formations enabling you to try equipment while in action. This way, you will be sure that you have made the right choice.
The basic rock climbing equipment is crucial to boost your climbing experience. A mistaken choice may put your and your partner's life in danger. If you are a rookie and wish to save money, subscribe to a rock climbing school. This way, you will be sure that you wish to keep on climbing before purchasing your own equipment. Moreover, you will know which type of equipment fits you the best saving you from expensive mistakes. Rock climbing is an addictive sport; choose wisely and enjoy the thrill it has to offer!

Growing A Greener World

The Veterans Farm...

PBS Garden TV Show | Green Living Ideas | Garden Videos


Airs nationwide on public TV! Host Joe Lamp'l and Chef Nathan Lyon host the series featuring green gardening & more! See local listings or watch online
Growing a Greener World is an award-winning gardening and green living television show airing on US public television! On our website you'll find full episodes, cooking clips and how-to's, behind-the-scenes stories and photos, Joe's blog "Compost Confidential" and lots of articles!
Plot Outline
Joe Lamp'l (of "joe gardener") and Chef Nathan Lyon of "A Lyon in the Kitchen" host this groundbreaking new series showcasing the people, organizations, and events that are making a difference in the world today! Topics include green gardening, sustainable living, urban farming & more! Airing nationwide on public television. Presented by UNC-TV, distributed by APT. See local listings or watch full episodes online.

Basic Info

The Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

Inspiring Stories: The Heroes of Hurricane Sandy

Inspiring Stories: The Heroes of Hurricane SandyWhen Sandy hit the East Coast, these American heroes sprang into action, proving that spirit can survive any storm.
By Alison Caporimo and Caitlin O'Connell from Reader's Digest Magazine

Read More Here:

Food Digest | Nutrition: Eat To Beat... Hay Fever

Food Digest | 5 Things To Take Out Of Your Fridge

Tech Digest | Unplug And Calm Down

Creepy Crawly Cures - Reader's Digest

PTSD - Prevention & Cure

How the Science of Fear Makes Soldiers Stronger

The U.S. military turns to science as it seeks new ways to create more resilient fighters and prevent PTSD.
By Kathryn Wallace from Reader's Digest | February 2013
How the Science of Fear Makes Soldiers StrongerIt’s 2 a.m. on the Navy destroyer USS Trayer, and the air is thick with the smell of fuel and 350 sweaty recruits who have been working too many hours. It’s another long, monotonous shift of routine maintenance when, suddenly, the night is ripped open by the piercing wail of an emergency alarm.
The Trayer is under attack. Explosions rock the ship as fires burn and the anguished cries of the injured fill the air. To escape the flames, the flooding, and the thick smoke, the men and women of the crew scramble through mangled compartments past gruesomely torn bodies. Lights flicker, turbines whine, metal rips, and the relentless scream of the alarm tells everyone what they already know: This is war.
Except it’s not.
As the recruits battle flame and rising waters and treat the wounded, Naval petty officers stand by, observing and evaluating the performance. The officers can remain almost eerily unflustered amid the chaos because the attack, and the ship itself, are simulated.
Dubbed the unluckiest ship in the Navy, the USS Trayer is under siege nearly every day at its mooring in a 90,000-gallon tank inside a cavernous building at the Recruit Training Command in Illinois. This long night of fire and flood—the exercise lasts 12 hours and runs through 17 different scenarios—is the elaborate and exhausting culmination of eight weeks of training. Every year, 37,000 recruits are subjected to the high-tech terror of the Trayer.
“This is supposed to feel real,” says Michael Belanger, PhD, a Navy senior psychologist, who headed the team that designed the $60 million landlocked ship. “This is supposed to scare the recruits.”
Mission accomplished. After his night in hell, Seaman Recruit Colt Bailey emerges from the Trayer weary and streaked with soot. “We were all scared and stressed out,” says Bailey, who boarded the Trayer for training last summer and panicked when he had to step into smoke so thick, he couldn’t see. But the 20-year-old from Eagle, Idaho, fought through his fear and kept going. Weeks of study—how to fight fire, how to move the wounded—had left him more prepared than he knew. “I learned I can trust my training,” he says. “I know there will be other times when it’s real, when it goes a step further, and I’ll be scared. In that moment, I hope I do what I did on the Trayer.”
The military counts on it. Each branch uses high-tech simulations: Battlemind (now called Resilience Training) is an Army and Marine Corps exercise in which troops inside a Humvee experience an IED attack and firefight. These exercises do more than train scared recruits to function amid the chaos and destruction of combat. They also serve as a kind of boot camp introduction to the potentially damaging effects of fear and anxiety. Among the worst of these, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—the crippling constellation of flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and other symptoms—today afflicts some 300,000 combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“PTSD is the signature wound of these wars,” says Paul Lester, PhD, an Army research psychologist. And the Department of Defense (DOD) has been waging an all-out offensive against it. Much of the multibranch, billion-dollar effort is focused on developing effective treatments for those already diagnosed. But the DOD also wants to prevent PTSD and has turned to brain science for answers. The ultimate goal: to create more mentally resilient soldiers and sailors, combatants armed with what one DOD-funded researcher calls warrior brains.

The Brain on Fear
“Fear is the enemy,” says Comdr. Eric Potterat, PhD, a Navy Special Warfare group psychologist. The mental stress of war has claimed more casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan than bombs and bullets. “Psychological trauma can have profound negative effects on brain function,” says James B. Lohr, MD, who spent 12 years as chief of psychiatry at the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in San Diego.

Fear should be our best friend. It’s a chemical reaction, a signal to pay attention to a threat. It’s our brain alerting us to danger, triggering the classic fight-or-flight response—sweaty palms, dry mouth, an increase in breathing and heart rate, a jolt of adrenalin—to help us survive. But when the brain doesn’t return to normal after a stressful incident, or when there are too many incidents, this hormone-driven alert system can turn toxic. The nature of our post-9/11 conflicts—enemy combatants embedded among civilian populations, using unconventional tactics and weapons like IEDs—has been especially hard on soldiers, says Lester: “They are in combat more frequently, with an enemy that uses terror as a weapon.” To Lester, recent military practice—like troops serving multiple combat tours with little time in between to recover—is practically a formula for creating PTSD.
The Inner Warrior
To understand what goes wrong in the brains of combat veterans who develop PTSD, and to try to prevent it from happening to others, neurobiologist Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, PhD, has spent years tossing volunteers with sensors all over their bodies out of airplanes. Her Navy-funded research measures physical fear responses, comparing sheer fright factors to the results of mental-processing tests she administers before, during, and after the skydiving flight.
Mujica-Parodi has discovered that in most cases, the brain does some predictable things when a human jumps out of a perfectly good airplane. Stress hormones flood the fear-response system, and thoughts narrowly focus on one thing: getting out of the air and onto the ground.
There are, however, the unflappable few subjects who don’t experience this wild swing of mental and physical reactions. They demonstrate some of their clearest thinking in the middle of a plunge, and when it’s over, their fear-response systems quickly return to normal.
“You don’t want someone without a fear response at all,” Mujica-Parodi says. “That’s not brave; that’s just abnormal. But a high stress response is also unhealthy.” The optimal fear response, she says, accurately assesses risk, saves room for cognitive thought, and rapidly returns to baseline when the danger passes. Brains that can do this are a gift of DNA, according to Mujica-Parodi, what she calls warrior brains. The soldiers who possess them benefit from an ideal balance of neurological and biological responses.
Using brain scans, Mujica-Parodi has seen how the fear-response system “cools down” faster in warrior brains than it does in the brains of more vulnerable subjects.
While her research is still experimental, Mujica-Parodi maintains that it’s now possible to identify someone with either a warrior brain or a vulnerability to stress disorders with the same certainty that we can diagnose an increased risk for diabetes. She envisions a day in the future when a brain scan will be part of military training, though there are no plans in any branch for such screening, which would surely raise a host of ethical issues. “You wouldn’t accept someone in Special Forces if he had weak legs,” she says. “Soon we’ll be able to screen people for emotional weaknesses. A person with an incapacitating fear response is a danger to himself, his team, and the mission.”

Lessons from the SEALs
Identifying the most resilient members of the U.S. military has been the business of the Navy SEALs for the past 50 years. Just to earn the right to try out for the legendary program, a candidate must be exceptionally tough, in body and mind. The chosen few must then survive up to 18 months of training so physically and mentally arduous that nearly 80 percent of this superior group of sailors never get past the fourth week.
So who makes it, and who washes out? The answer lies not in biceps size or speed but in a cognitive test the would-be SEALs take on induction day. The test measures 24 different personality traits, but the results of the “adversity tolerance” section, which explores how the candidates respond to extreme stress, are what best predicts who makes the cut.
“There are people who make a negative loop about the situation they are placed in,” says Potterat, the SEAL psychologist. “Those are people who can’t cope.” It’s the people who take control of stressful challenges “in any environment,” he says, who will eventually wear the SEAL uniform.
“Clearly something Darwinian is happening with the SEALs,” adds Potterat. “These are exceptional human beings.” Nevertheless, it’s the intense stress-management training, he says, that turns a tough sailor into a SEAL. Weeding out the less resilient candidates is just the first step.
Potterat describes the classified SEAL training program as highly mental. It uses techniques you can find in self-help books, such as breathing exercises that reset the fear system, calming self-talk, and compartmentalization of trauma until the job is done. Of course, SEAL candidates have to apply these methods while sleep-deprived and physically exhausted, during live-fire combat exercises; and much of the SEAL training is performed underwater, with instructors intentionally creating obstacles and cutting off the air supply to panic the recruits.
“Our training is all about worst-case scenarios and pushing us to the limits,” says Lu Lastra, director of mentorship for Naval Special Warfare and a 30-year veteran of the program. “You stand a much better chance of mentally withstanding war if you can visualize it and prepare your brain for it than if you’ve never thought of it, never been able to picture it.” The proof is in the numbers; it’s very rare for a SEAL to be diagnosed with PTSD.
Testing Stress
While some brains are naturally more resistant to stress than others, recent research on Marines diagnosed with PTSD suggests that vulnerable and even traumatized brains can be trained to manage fear more effectively. Martin Paulus, MD, a psychiatrist at UC San Diego who has studied the optimal stress responses in SEALs and elite athletes, wondered if resilience was akin to a muscle in the brain that, like all muscles, could be strengthened.
“People who have resiliency respond to stressful events in a positive way,” says Paulus, who also works at the VA Healthcare System in San Diego. Paulus developed a mental fitness program for a test group of 20 Marine combat veterans with damaged stress responses. Rather than trying to blunt the fear they still carried from their battlefield experiences, Paulus intentionally stressed them, restricting their breathing and showing them unpleasant images, such as close-ups of angry faces, while observing their brain functions with a scanner. He likens this to testing knee reflexes with a hammer; the only way to test the fear system is to swing the hammer and apply some stress.
Paulus makes the combat vets uncomfortable to help them relearn that anxiety does not equal mortal danger. “The big issue with PTSD,” he says, “is that the brain still links up strong emotional responses to that experience of battle, triggering a cascade of stress responses that were helpful in battle but not now, in real life.”
After initial brain scans showed the Marines “overresponding” to the negative images and other stressors, Paulus put them through an eight-week mindfulness course. The program included “refocusing exercises” in which the vets were taught to mentally recast their traumatic battlefield memories and treat them simply as feelings or as obstacles to overcome. They also learned controlled breathing, meditation, and other relaxation techniques.
Early results from follow-up testing and scans point to improved resiliency among the Marines, or something closer to the warrior brain response, with a less reactive stress circuit and more control from the cognitive part of the brain. “This isn’t a new idea,” Paulus says, citing a historical precedent. “Samurai warriors famously used meditation, likely to balance the experiences of war.”
Science Makes Soldiers
While some of the research the U.S. military has commissioned suggests that there are those who simply do not belong in the armed forces, it adamantly believes that good soldiers and sailors are made, not born. That’s why it has spent millions rebooting boot camp and basic training to include high-tech simulations like the Trayer and Battlemind that closely mirror the chaos of the battlefield. “We have always been of the mind-set that we can make a good sailor out of anyone who comes through that front gate,” says Michael Belanger.
And science supports the idea. Huda Akil, PhD, who studies the neurobiology of fear and anxiety for the Navy at the University of Michigan, has coaxed resilience and “hardiness” from the most timid animals. Akil works with rats, which have a stress response somewhat similar to our own; they either cower and hide or become aggressive and proactive. “This is genetically predetermined,” Akil says. “We can breed curious, brave rats or timid, anxious rats. And after a few generations, they are very predictively one way or the other.”
But Akil found she could make an anxious rat braver by slightly stressing the animal. Making males fight or enriching the environment, with a toy, for example, can change them from timid to curious. “The brain is very plastic,” she says. “We found we can’t encourage a timid rat to be a high-risk taker, but we can move him off the timid side of the scale into average territory.”
The War on Fear
Back on the Trayer, the attack continues. Operating from a command center in the belly of the vessel, special effects engineers orchestrate the sights, sounds, and smells of naval warfare, pressing buttons to create explosions and fires and to trigger the screams of the wounded. Ceiling fans blow ocean-scented breezes, and recordings of gull cries echo above the bridge. Inside the ship, scattered around a blasted hull modeled after the real-life bombing of the USS Cole, mangled mannequins, wired for sound, call for help in the eerie red glare of the emergency lights.
It all seems so real, as if it were an actual maritime siege. But it’s not. Except for the enemy, that is. The enemy—fear—is real.

More On The USS 
Trayer (Battle Stations 21)

Does junk food make your kids dumb?

Can You Eat Your Way to Dementia?

An unhealthy diet not only is bad for your waistline--it may also trigger Alzheimer's disease
Reader's Digest
February 2013
p. 116

New findings show that insulin resistance is linked to loss of cognition and memory
Research on rats is revealing a connection between Alzheimer's disease and diabetes symptoms.
When given a diabetic drug that interferes with the brain's ability to respond to insulin, the rats could not remember where they were and could not navigate their way around.
Poor sensitivity to insulin typically is associated with Type 2 diabetes and it plays a key role in brain signaling.

Some researchers are investigating whether Alzheimer's disease may be a version of diabetes that targets the brain, and have renamed it Type 3 diabetes.
Since sugary, calories foods have been known to impair the body's response to insulin, the question becomes whether a poor diet poisons the brain.

The role of beta-amyloid
For more than a century, scientists blamed beta-amyloid plaques that collected in the brain as the cause of Alzheimer's disease.
Beta-amyloid is a portion of a larger protein that helps form brain cell membranes, and is thought to carry out important functions that include: fighting microbes, transporting cholesterol, and regulating certain genes.
It is a mystery what causes the protein to release toxic fragments that clump into Alzheimer's plaques; the new research seeks to determine if a diabetes-like illness is the trigger.

The role of insulin
In the past, insulin was considered the regulation of blood sugar--signalling muscle, liver, and fat cells to extract sugar from the blood and use it for energy or to store it as fat.
It now is known that the hormone is a master multitasker.
In the brain, insulin takes up glucose for energy and regulates the neurotransmitters necessary for memory and learning.
Insulin also promotes plasticity--the process by which neurons make new connections.
Insulin also is important for blood vessel functions, the transporters that supply the brain with oxygen and glucose.

Reducing the level of insulin in the brain immediately impairs cognition.
Spatial memory is especially affected when insulin uptake is blocked in the hippocampus.
A boost of insulin improves functioning.

Developing brain diabetes
When binges of fatty or sugary food are consumed, insulin levels spike repeatedly.
Muscle, liver, and fat cells cease responding to the hormone and no longer absorb excess glucose and fat in the blood.
In response, the pancreas works overtime to make more insulin to control the glucose, resulting in high levels of both insulin and glucose.
The constantly high levels of insulin overwhelm the brain, and it becomes less responsive to the signaling hormone.
This impairs the ability to think and form memories, then leads to permanent neural damage.
It has been confirmed that a disrupted insulin system can lead to Alzheimer's symptoms.
Other research shows that triggering diabetes in rabbits creates brain changes.

Further investigation confirms that the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease are insulin resistant; insulin signaling becomes paralyzed.
Insulin and beta-amyloid are both broken down by the same enzyme.
Normally, the enzyme can handle both, but if too much insulin is present, the enzyme is overwhelmed and the beta-amyloid is neglected and begins to accumulate--possibly into the toxic plaques that kill brain cells.
It has been found that clusters of the toxic beta-amyloids attack and destroy brain tissue covered in insulin receptors; the result is immediate cognitive impairment.
The insulin resistance encourages cells to make addition beta-amyloid, which harms more brain cells--triggering a vicious cycle.

Diabetes in the United States
This result of this research is of concern, because in the United States 19 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 79 million are considered pre-diabetic,showing signs of insulin resistance.
Even if a person does not develop diabetes, an unhealthy diet may set the stage for brain degeneration.

A therapy in which insulin is delivered to the brain through the nose shows initial promise.
The glucose metabolism in these patients improved, and memory and attention span were increased.

Maintaining a healthy diet and weight control seems to be a path to ward off cognitive degeneration.
Restricting harmful fats and sweet foods may help reduce Alzheimer's disease.
Increasing omega-3 fatty acid in the diet may help the brain manage insulin efficiently.
Exercise can promote the body to overcome insulin resistance; regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40%

Type 1 diabetes.
Only 5% of those with diabetes have Type 1, which typically is diagnosed in children and young adults.
The body attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas--making it unable to regulate blood sugar.
Insulin therapy is needed for these patients to survive.

Type 2 diabetes
This is the most common.
Either the pancreas does not produce insulin--or the muscle, liver, and fat cells ignore insulin.
This leads to high blood sugar levels and increased risks of heart disease, stroke, blindness, nerve damages, and amputation.

Type 3 diabetes
This new category refers to Alzheimer's disease,which may arise when brain tissue becomes insulin resistant.
It is similar to Type 2 diabetes, but primarily targets the brain.

The Secret to Rock Climbing: It’s in the Gear


A rock climber can never get to the top of the wall without gear or equipment. They either assist the user in the climb or provide a safety net for him or her. Here is an introduction to what you need if you’re thinking of persuing this sport:

Rock climbing shoes
This is essential to the climber as it provides enough traction to grip rock surfaces when climbing. The type of shoes will depend on two factors: what type of climb it is and what kind of rock wall you are climbing. When purchasing shoes, always research beforehand or consult the sales person get the right pair for your needs.

rock climbing gear

Belay devices
These are used to ensure the safety of climbers. Manufacturers nowadays are constantly improving the design of their repelling and belaying equipment to increase the security of devices. Always make sure you have this handy and never scrimp on cheap ones! It’s often the difference between life and death.

Climbing ropes
Ropes are another form of equipment that is used for safety. It helps protect climbers from falling. Only use those that have been tested to meet the standards of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA). Never compromise on the quality of the ropes, just like the belay devices.

Climbing harness
A harness attaches the climber to the climbing ropes. It is sometimes known as a diaper sling because it is worn just like a diaper. Make sure you get one that is comfortable and sturdy.

Climbing holds
Made of fiberglass, silica sand and epoxy, climbing holds are available for different purposes such as handles, slopes, side pulls, edges, jugs, jibs and crimpers. So ensure you get the right type for your climb.

rock climbingCrash pads
Similar to gymnastic mats, crash pads are used as a protection from falling. Some are produced with features like hiking shoulder straps and pockets. These come in handy in cushioning slips and falls.

Chalk bags
Chalk absorbs moisture from sweaty palms and provides the friction needed for a climber to ascend the wall. The bag is strapped around the climber’s waist near the rear for easy access during the climb.

Climbing helmets
As always, head protection is important. When climbing, loose rocks and other debris may give way and fall on you. Protect your head with a climbing helmet as even the smallest rock can cause an injury. Your eyes should also be protected by goggles or sports sunglasses as getting dust or sand in your eyes can prove not just irritating, but dangerous.


Live Feed

Popular Posts



View My Stats