Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Baby Bladerunner Ellie Joins Olympic Hero Pistorius

Ellie Challis as an infant
We recently introduced you to Olympian Oscar Pistorius, now please meet an even younger miracle who is also sure to inspire.

Ellie Challis, who lost her hands and lower legs to meningitis as a baby, has now become the youngest person in the world to be fitted with the flex-run feet. These prosthetic legs are also the ones used by athlete Oscar Pistorius, also known as the Blade Runner. She used to walk with conventional prosthetic limbs, but found them to be painful and uncomfortable, so her parents, Paul and Lisa, contacted the world-renowned prosthetic limb center Dorset Orthopaedic. Although worried she would not be able to balance properly on them, managing director Bob Watts agreed to to make a junior version of the carbon-fibre blades. 

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At just 16 months old Ellie was struck with meningitis. Her heart stopped and her parents were called in to say their last goodbyes to their infant daughter.
Blade Runners: Ellie and Oscar
Mother Lisa Challis says, 'We thought we were going to lose her, but amazingly she pulled through and her heart started again.' Despite the restarting of her heart, things were not looking up for the Challis family when over the next four days Ellie's legs and arms started to turn black and doctors said they would have to be amputated. After a six hour operation, Ellie was left without hands or her lower legs. 

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The blades have proven to change her life, as they did for Oscar Pistorius. Despite initial concerns, the blades have shown no negative impacts on Ellie -- who is now walking twice as fast on her new legs. Much of her inspiration and motivation comes from Pistorius, as well as her twin sister Sophie. People like Oscar Pistorius as well as baby blade runner, Ellie, are incredible demonstrations of the beauty and resilience of the human spirit. 

2012 Olympic Foils: Morganella 2nd Olympian sent packing after South Korean Racism

Following Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou, Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella, has also been kicked out of the Olympics for a racist tweet. He was stripped of his Olympic accreditation shortly after Switzerland lost to South Korea when he tweeted that South Koreans can "go burn" and referred to them as a "bunch of mongoloids." The 23-year-old athlete later apologized at a news conference. He stated that he is "sincerely sorry for the people of South Korea, for the players, but equally for the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general. It's clear that I'm accepting the consequences. After the disappointing result and reaction for Korea that followed, I made a huge error." 

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Regarding the tweet, Swiss Olympic team chief Gian Gilli commented that Morganella "discriminated against, insulted and violated the dignity of South Korea football team as well as the South Korean people." He further explained that he felt Morganella had been provoked by comments sent to his Twitter after the game, but under terms of the International Olympic Committee's code of conduct, they had no alternative but to send him home. South Korean fans were very angered, commenting that they felt looked down upon by Morganella. 

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Coach Pierluigi Tami stresses the importance of remembering the spirit of the games and not getting to wrapped up in the drama in his statement, "We have to focus on the game. The other stuff we don't want to think about. Maybe we shouldn't read any newspapers for the next two days." 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Firefly Squids set to attract Thousands of Tourists to Toyama Bay

Each year from March to June, thousands of tourists are attracted to the shores of Toyama Bay to witness the light show of the Firefly Squids. This period is the spawning season of the squid, when millions of squid come together to fertilize and drop their eggs in the bay, located in the central Japan Sea. Normally they live at 1200 feet underwater, but around this time of year waves in the Toyama bay pushes the squid to the surface in massive numbers. In Japan they are considered a delicacy, fished by tons during the spring and summer season, but many prefer to simply admire their beauty. 

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The Firefly Squid is a bioluminescent squid that grows to a length of only three inches. The gathering of the squids at the bay is so special and beautiful due to a unique characteristic possessed by the firefly squid, the light-producing organs called photophores, which emit a deep blue light. Tiny photophores can be found throughout the body of the squid, giving it the ability to emit light along its whole body. The flashing lights of millions of Firefly squids create a brilliant show with endless numbers of animated patterns. Firefly squids use these lights for several reasons. They can be used to communicate with rivals, attract potential mates, or to attract prey. Their lights are also thought to be used as a method of protection, confusing predators enough to allow the squid to escape. 

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Setting the uses of the lights aside, they create a breath-taking view for tourists and the people of Japan alike. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Romance in the Social Media Generation: Do's and Don'ts

Once upon a time, all a person needed to worry about was how long to wait after a date to call him or her next. Now, with advances in technology, have come new matters to consider when entering the dating or relationship world

These include when not just to call the person next, but when to text them or how often. These considerations are no longer limited to phone calls or text messages anymore either, now a dater must consider when the appropriate time to send a Facebook friend request or follow your crush on Twitter, without appearing like an internet stalker. 

Even in long-term relationships, when not done appropriately or when the couple is not on the same page, sites such as Facebook or Twitter can cause problems in the relationship. Couples can be upset by certain pictures or friend requests by the opposite sex, say the ex girlfriend or boyfriend. 

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Social media can cause problems when one person is constantly updating their Twitter or checking their Facebook page while the other doesn't feel the need to even have a Facebook page. 

Many people believe that social media sites only cause strain on a relationship, but wife and mother Alexandra Samuel, Ph.D., will tell you otherwise:   Self-described Internet geek, Samuel truly believes the Internet sustains and builds a relationship, not strains it.

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She says that the presence of social media allows her and her husband of twelve years to connect while they are apart. She furthers Twitter allows for a busy couple to keep in touch throughout the day as well as have an idea of what their partner is doing while at work. She says the key to avoiding conflicts over Internet use is with open communication between a couple on what aspects of the relationship is okay to post online, how much time online is appropriate, and so on. 

Dr. Samuel stresses the importance of drawing a line between what is private information and what is okay to share. These guidelines are especially important for couples whose social media preferences are off balance. Helpful online tips for couples include taking down your old dating profile once you become serious about someone, don't post information or pictures online that you wouldn't want your partner to know or see, ask before posting information that mentions the other person, and most importantly; keep your arguments private and off the Internet. It is crucial that every couple has space, both online and offline. Fight the urges to constantly check their page, it is important to avoid obsessing over their whereabouts or what they are doing when you have your own things to do. Not cyber stalking your partner demonstrates trust and that you are comfortable with each other's independence. 

So what about with someone new? Meeting someone new is exciting, but experts say that being able to read their Facebook and Twitter profiles may take away from some of that excitement. A Facebook request or Twitter follow appears harmless, but may result in hurt feelings or drawing conclusions. Relationship experts say to avoid connection on social media sites all together when a relationship is new. It is recommended that the new couple wait at least a few weeks to a month before connecting online, depending on the couple. 

Social media sites can either help or hinder a blossoming or already developed relationship. Whether social media will help the relationship thrive or tear it apart all comes down to how you use it. Balance is the key to successful use of social media within a relationship. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yukifumi Murakami leads Japan as Captain at 2012 Olympics [VIDEO]

Javelin star Yukifumi Murakami, who was the captain for Japan at the Asian Games in China two years ago, has once again been selected to lead Japan at this summer's London Olympic game. He seems cool under the pressure, as he says he is very much looking forward to his role as a captain. He has participated in the games for the last three consecutive Olympics and welcomes this challenge excitedly. 

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Earlier this month, Murakami's 12-year reign as the national javelin champion ended when Waseda University studen, Genki Dean, passed Murakami's 83.95 meter throw. Murakami, who injured his right elbow during the national championships, still received a place on the team and was named captain, while Dean found himself an automatic spot in the London Games for his performance. Despite the previous rivalry, Murakami says he is thrilled to have Dean by his side for the games. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

K-pop's Blush performs in Seoul, Exciting [VIDEO]

K-pop fans rejoiced when the group Blush recently performed in Seoul to showcase their fifth album. Often referred to as the "Asian Spice Girls", the five member all-girls group performed at a private hall near Dosan Park in Southern Korea, featuring some of their big hits, including "Dance On", "Holding to a Dream", "Electric", and "All Star"

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Yoon Do-hyun, a judge and mentor of Project Lotus, also appeared as a special guest, performing his song "I Am A Butterfly", while playing the acoustic guitar. Project Lotus, was a 2010 TV audition which selected the members of the newly forming Blush group. When Yoon spoke about the girls in Blush he says he was worried about their outcome, but feels they are very professional and is glad to see their progress. With members from the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea, Blush made their debut in 2011 with the hit "Undivided" which featured Snoop Dogg. 

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Their second single, "Dance On", also became a hit, even being placed on the top of the Billboard Dance Chart. With their killer dance moves and energetic spirit, the group is continuing to flourish. They are currently working with famous record producer Eliot Kennedy. Kennedy is widely known due to his history of working with artists such as Celine Dion, Spice Girls, Robbie Williams, and Gary Barlow. 

Blush is continuing to promote their new album with performances in Seoul, Hong Kong, Japan, China, and the United States. They are also expected to make appearances on TV shows to familiarize them with Korean fans.