Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I Dream About

Thanks to anonymous source that sent me this, I've posted for you all to see. For those that obviously don't know, I work at the Cheetah Conservation Fund of Otjiwarongo, Namibia. Which makes something like THIS so enjoyable... Behold, the things dreams are made of.

"Professor Sangbae Kim designer of the Stickybot and a Robotic designer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Is trying to understand how he can replicate natural animal mechanisms by creating a robot inspired by the cheetah.

The idea is to build a prototype robot from a construction of lightweight carbon-fiber-foam that will then be able to match the cheetah's speed of 70 miles per hour.

Over the next 18 months, Kim and four other MIT graduate students are going to start constructing the prototypes. Starting with a computer model of the robotic cheetah to establish the optimal limb length, weight, gait and torque of the hip and knee joints.

It's an ambitious project. Current wheeled robots are efficient, but can be slow in rough terrains. For instance, iRobot's PackBot, which is used by the U.S. military, can only travel at speeds of up to 5.8 miles per hour."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have to turn my head and WHAT?

So I sat and documented and took inventory of my first aid kit. The important reason why I’m posting it, is that hopefully someone could suggest something they think would be beneficial or something important that I’m forgetting. Got it? Good. I also plan on bringing a book on first aid, as well as the U.S Army Survival manual given to me by Professor Urcuyo. Thanks! Here we go, please make comments and suggestions.

Instruments / Applications
- Latex Exam Gloves
- Surgical Tweezers
- Adhesive Tape
- Bandage Scissors
- 2 Instant Cold Compresses
- Single Use Thermometers

Bandages / Wraps
- Sterile Dressing Pads
- Trauma Pads
- Sterile Eye Pads + Patch
- Fabric Bandages
- Ace Bandage
- SteriStrip Skin Closures
- New Skin Liquid Bandage

Wound Dressing/Ointments
- Neomycin Ointment
- Equate/Neosporin Ointment w/Pain relief
- Burn Cooling Gel w Antibiotic
- Sterile Swabs
- Alcohol Prep Pads
- Athletes Foot Cream

Water Purification
- Silver Dihydrogen citrate (Chemical)
- Steri-pen (UV light)

Antibiotics + Fever reducers
- Tylenol Liqui-gels
- Extra Strength Non-Aspirin
- Doxycycline (Also my anti-malarial)
- Ciprofloxacine
- Vigamox Eye Antibiotic

Thats it. Any suggestions would be incredibly useful. Thanks Guys.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Its the beginning!!!

So we've ended the last lap - I've got a little of a month over until I finish my Peace Corps experience and begin something a little different. I've begun packing, which I will keep everyone updated on, so hopefully, someone can give me advice on something I'm forgetting or should bring along.

To begin us off, I've got the first thing packed. let's kick start this - I've packed my towel. Why? Well, theres a quite a list on the usefulness of towels. In fact, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels...

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

One thing, Down. Next - I'll probably post the current state of my first aid kit.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random Quidbits

So little funny things I wanted to share. The first could be my letter. You see, each PC volunteer has to write themselves a letter in the future. You write it at Reconnect, (3 months in,) to be opened at COS. Since I went to my Completion of Service meeting last month, I got my letter. Here it goes:

Dear Future Nick,
Congrats. If you're reading this, you've survived Peace Corps. I'm impressed. Really, not even I thought you would make it all the way through. But you survived it. Since you've heard about Peace Corps for long enough, I'll not be like everyone else and write down what you want to get done, cause let's face it, what are the odds of that? I don't really have any words of encouragement, because now the hard part begins. Grad school? MCATs? Foreign Service exams? If Karen hasn't found someone better than you, at least you have her going for you. Good Luck figuring it out - I'm just glad I'm not you. Cheers,

Past Nick

Man, I'm such a wiseguy - even to myself. My past self is such a dick. I wish I could be like Calvin and go back in time to beat up my former self.

The second thing is that I have a conversation with my father couple days ago on the phone, when I admitted a problem. I think I have an addictive personality.

Me: "Dad, here's the issue, I think I have an addiction.
Dad: How so?
Me: I've always wanted adventure. And each time - the experience gets much bigger and more erratic. First one was Road trip across America with Shannon and Amy. Then came wet caving with Ish and Karen. Then Skydiving. Then Bungee jumping. Then two years in Sub-Saharan Africa. And Now I'm gearing up for another one!! Backpacking and Hitchhiking across Africa.
Dad: Well, you WERE always like that. Whats going to be next after that, you think?
Me:At this rate? The next adventure would have to be.....The Moon
Dad: Well thats....wait, what?!?

Not going to lie - starting to get nervous. I found this quotation from Mark Jenkins I love.

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

I've been there before. And I'll be there again very soon.