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November 15, 2014

Dutchman has Bitcoin wallets injected in hands

Filed under: Gadgets,Health,Technology by Branko Collin @ 1:44 pm

bitcoin-key-fob-btc_keychainAmsterdam-based entrepreneur Martijn Wismeijer had two NFC chips injected into his hands earlier this month, The Telegraph writes.

The chips are to act as encrypted Bitcoin wallets. Wismeijer is the owner of Mr. Bitcoin, a company that distributes and operates ATMs for the currency.

Wismeijer told The Telegraph, “Most doctors will not want to install the implant so a body manipulation artist (preferably not just tattoo artist or piercer) will be your next best bet. Make sure they work according to strict hygiene codes and know what they are doing.”

Parool adds that Rockstart in Amsterdam (a start-up accelerator) hosted an implant session yesterday where one could have a sub-dermal NFC chip injected for about 130 euro. Wismeijer told the newspaper that currently about 2000 people have such implants.

It’s not clear from the articles whether Wismeijer uses the chips to store Bitcoins, keys to unlock Bitcoins or something else.

Check the Telegraph for a video in which the question “does it hurt” is answered. Too scared / don’t want to? Martijn Wismeijer told Parool: “They were the biggest needles I’ve ever seen.”

(Photo by BTC Keychain, some rights reserved)

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November 14, 2014

Sharp rise in euthanasia of psychiatric patients

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 6:38 pm

euthanised-psych-patients-24orangesLast year 42 people with a psychiatric disorder were euthanized in the Netherlands.

This is a sharp increase from 14 deaths in 2012 and is in fact more than all euthanasia deaths for psychiatric patients combined since euthanasia was legalised in 2002.

According to Edith Schippers, the Minister of Health, the increase of deaths is caused by a greater willingness of psychiatrists to grant a patient’s request for euthanasia, De Correspondent writes. The committee that checks euthanasia deaths for due care expects the numbers to settle at this level. Several doctors questioned by De Correspondent believe there was a taboo on euthanasia in the field of psychiatry that is now slowly ebbing away.

The six criteria for due care state, amongst others, that sufferers must be of sound mind and without hope of getting better in order to be euthanized. These criteria make it extra difficult for sufferers of psychiatric disorders to have their wish for euthanasia granted.

Some of the problems that are either unique to psychiatry or just more prevalent than in other fields of medicine:

  • The death wish can be part of the disorder.
  • Patients are often younger, making it harder to determine that their situation is without hope.
  • Psychiatric disorders are rarely lethal and treatment, even if only palliative, is often possible.
  • Conditions like depression can make a patient’s own estimate of their chances more pessimistic than warranted.

See also: Dutch death clinic working at full capacity.

November 8, 2014

The magic potion of the Hangover Information Center

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Orangemaster @ 3:09 pm

HIC

This fall Amsterdam opened a Hangover Information Center (HIC) in the Red Light District. Besides being very well lit but not too bright, it actually offers party-goers serious scientific information about how to prevent a hangover.

The HIC also sells RESET drinks at 5 euro a pop.

“After drinking alcohol the body needs additional water and food supplements, including vitamins and amino acids. RESET contains a combination of selected vitamins and amino acids as well as choline, which supports the liver’s clearing activity.”

Parool says the drink tastes bitter and the extra powder that needs to be added tastes salty. As long as you drink the product together with the same amount of water and alternate, it should do the trick. However, it does seem a lot to ask of someone before they go to bed drunk. You could also try and drink less, as the effects of a hangover are your body trying to send you a clear message about what you’re pouring into yourself.

(Link: www.amsterdamredlightdistricttour.com, Photo: Hangover Information Center)

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November 4, 2014

Ambulance drone could drastically reduce response times

Filed under: Health,Science by Orangemaster @ 11:29 am

Belgian engineering student Alec Momont, a graduate at the Delft University of Technology, has developed an ‘ambulance drone’, a defibrillator which can fly at 100 km/h able to reach heart attack victims very quickly. It uses the GPS of emergency calls to navigate.

This drone or ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’ (UAV), can get a defibrillator to a patient within a 12 km2 zone within a minute, reducing the chance of survival from 8 percent to 80 percent. Momont explains that it is the relatively long response time of emergency services of around 10 minutes, while brain death and fatalities occur with four to six minutes, which makes the fatality rate so high.

I’m easily convinced. It reminds me of an evening in the pub recently chatting outdoors and watching an ambulance trying to find an address in Amsterdam West with their GPS but having to ask us for directions. The police was following them, got lost as well and asked us for those same directions. I’m sure that wasted at least 10 minutes.

One drone is expected to cost around 15,000 euro and could also carry other medical tools.

(Link: phys.org)

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June 13, 2014

Girls don’t do enough sports, too often aimed at boys

Filed under: Health,Sports by Orangemaster @ 7:30 am

roller_derby_rdam_01

Sport experts from the University Medical Center Groningen and the University of Groningen have concluded that girls between the ages of 13 and 19 don’t do enough sports at school. The problem is that the emphasis is on sports that require balls (football, basketball and volleyball, etc.) and not on what girls actually would like to be doing like dancing, zumba or horseback riding (not all that posh here). Schools seem to be pushing competitive group sports and the girls seem to want individual sports, at least in this article.

What do some experts suggest? Separating the boys and the girls for gym class, which goes against many principles and proper social integration.

Here’s a crazy idea: what about offering something girls would actually like and making the boys follow suit for a change? Is pushing an outdated agenda that makes girls unhappy but keeps boys busy really a proper option?

If I had my way, I’d get all the girls and the boys who want to join on roller skates because it’s super fun and trendy. Or more skip rope, if that is not already being done because boys can pretend they are training to be boxers and girls can show off and even play in groups like at recess.

More co-ed suggestions? Boxing, kick boxing, aerobics, yoga, capoeira, ice skating, you name it.

But for the love of future generations experts have to stop acting like what boys do and want is normal and what girls want is some sort of problem to be solved. I won’t even get into the boys who would rather do something else for a change, either.

(Link: www.bndestem.nl)

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April 23, 2014

Young democrats to distribute free ecstasy pills

Filed under: Health,Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:42 pm

The youth wing of the Democrats 66 (aka D66) has announced plans to hand out free ecstasy (XTC) pills in some big cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht over the next two weeks. The goal is to demonstrate that it is better to take XTC freely, as in, still illegal but turning a blind eye to it like with marijuana and other ‘soft drugs’ than ingest bad quality pills. Since XTC often needs to be tested, some of us are thinking, ‘well just don’t use it then’, but the reality is people will continue to do so and some will die.

With King’s Day around the corner and festival season about to kick off, D66 wants to make drug use safer and have it regulated rather than remain illegal and hazardous even deadly for people’s health. Since everything has a price, these free pills will be covered by excise taxes, or duties.

If anyone out there gets pills from D66, we’d love to know because that’s a bold move. I bet some people are going to try it for the first time or sell them.

UPDATE: Reading more sources, the pills are fake ones, but D66 first reported as if they were real.

(Link: frontpage.fok.nl, Photo: DEA)

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April 4, 2014

Netherlands ordered to retro-actively pay pregnant freelancers

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 1:27 pm

pregnant-frank-de-kleineThe Dutch state owes 20,000 women who were self-employed and pregnant between 2004 and 2008 maternity leave benefits. NRC wrote yesterday that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has ordered so.

The committee was the last court of appeals for the Clara Wichmann legal fund, having first been denied by all Dutch courts including the Supreme Court. Like most countries in the world, the Netherlands has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women which includes an article on the right to paid maternity leave.

The Clara Wichmann fund tries to improve the position of women in society through test cases. According to Volkskrant, until 2004 the self-employed had obligatory insurance against income loss because of pregnancy and illness and since 2008 the unemployment office pays out so-called ZEZ benefits (Zwanger En Zelfstandig, meaning ‘pregnant and self-employed’).

(Photo by Frank de Kleine, some rights reserved)

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March 23, 2014

Nina Hoekman, draughts champion despite cancer

Filed under: Health,Sports by Branko Collin @ 1:52 pm

draughts-florian-schroiffLast week Nina Hoekman became a record-equalling 11-time Dutch draughts champion.

The former number two of the world had to have all her moves physically performed by an official as 17 cancer tumors in her brain had made it difficult for her to move. The cancer was discovered in 2011 and the then-44-year-old Hoekman (born Nina Jankovskaja in Ukraine) was told she had six months to live. She survived those odds and in 2012 she won the rapid draughts tournament in Lille, France, in between radiation therapy sessions.

Another tumor was discovered last September and Hoekman was told she had two weeks to live. Doctors suggested she stop her treatment. Hoekman told Volkskrant yesterday: “Even if chemotherapy is only one percent effective, if it gives me a spark of hope, then who should deny me that therapy? I got the feeling that the doctors were pushing me to the exit. I had to accept death, that is what they told me. But I am a champion, I have competed for the world title several times, I never give up.”

At one point during the championship in Zoutelande, Zeeland, Hoekman got nauseous and dizzy, which cost her a point. In the final round against real estate agent Jacqueline Schouten she needed to score a point more than the number two of the competition, Vitalia Doumesh. The latter drew and Schouten lost, earning Hoekman an eleventh Dutch title. With that title she equalled the record of Karen van Lith.

(Photo by Florian Schroiff, some rights reserved)

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February 23, 2014

Quack causes ‘run’ on coffee grinders in bible belt

Filed under: Health,Religion by Branko Collin @ 2:35 pm

coffee-grinder-suzette-pauwelsAfter getting the local press to write about him, Ton van Wingerden, 74, managed to cause a run on coffee grinders at the local Blokker (household goods shop) in Goeree-Overflakkee. An employee told Hart van Nederland they’re “selling six coffee grinders a week, which is a lot for such a device.”

Van Wingerden’s miracle cure is the powder of ground oyster shells. It’s not quite clear from the original article what the powder is supposed to heal, as with all alternative medicine it appears to heal everything the sufferer believes it will heal. Also unclear is why the national press is picking up on this now considering the original story ran last spring. Other methods for crushing oyster shells as reported to Van Wingerden were walking over them in clogs, squashing them between the jaws of a vise or wrapping them in a tea cloth and then hitting them with a hammer.

Goerree-Overflakee is one of the staunchest Christian bulwarks in the Dutch bible belt and is the southernmost part of the province of South Holland. It also borders on Lake Grevelingen where oysters are cultivated.

(Photo by Suzette Pauwels, some rights reserved)

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February 7, 2014

Banning weed smoking legal despite weed being illegal

Filed under: General,Health by Orangemaster @ 2:27 pm

In 2011 Amsterdam challenged and eventually won in high court the right to designate certain areas as as non-pot smoking zones. Rotterdam recently challenged the law as well and has also won its case. If smoking pot in these areas is deemed unsafe, then it becomes a matter of public order and can be legally enforced, as long as the cities take this up in their local public ordinance.

The reason why this wasn’t cut and dry was that the Opium Law governing soft drugs basically states that marijuana is illegal, again something many people still don’t know because the law is willfully ignored. And since marijuana is illegal you can’t forbid it again, as that would be crazy talk.

However, due to the oddness of the Dutch situation both cities now have a workaround. Stopping people from smoking altogether is often enough, but in many places people are allowed to smoke outside, regardless of how funny their cigarette smells.

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of No-blow (and no drinking) sign by Erik Joling, some rights reserved)

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