Tuesday, May 10, 2011

See what happens when I get sacked? BWA HA HA HAAAAA!!

Taken from the Ottawa Citizen

All roads lead out of Rome as earthquake prediction empties Rome

Italians will evacuate Rome on Wednesday over fears that a giant earthquake is coming following a seismologist's 1915 prediction that "the big one" would hit the capital on May 11, 2011.

Businesses have reported requests from one in five people to have time off work and many are also keeping children away from school and heading to the beach or country for the day. Romans are taking it so seriously that local newspapers have even been publishing survival guides with tips of what to do if the ground starts to tremble.

The panic has been fanned by Facebook, Twitter and text messages about the 1915 prediction by Raffaele Bendani, who also forecast other earthquakes that have hit Italy in the past 100 years.

Massimo La Rocca, the headmaster of a school in the Trastevere district, said: "We have had quite a few parents calling in and saying they will not be sending their children in. I've told them the school will remain open and there is nothing to be scared about but they are adamant - although this is not a justifiable absence for a pupil."

Bendandi, who died in 1979, believed the movement of tectonic plates and therefore earthquakes were the result of the combined movements of the planets, the moon and the sun and were perfectly predictable. In 1923 he predicted a quake would hit central Italy on Jan 2 the following year. He was wrong by two days.

He was even honoured by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini - and ordered not to make any more predictions on pain of exile because officials feared he would cause panic. Modern-day seismologists have been quick to say his theories are without any scientific proof. Alessandro Amato, of Italy's National Geophysical and Volcanology Institute, said: "There is absolutely no evidence to say that an earthquake will hit Rome on 11th May and we have told that to the hundreds of people who have called. There is a possibility that on the day in question the country will have an average of 30 or so tremors but that is normal."

An estimated 20 million people live at risk from earthquakes in Italy. Two main fault lines cut across the country and memories are still vivid of the 2009 earthquake in the city of L'Aquila, north of Rome, which killed 300 people.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Man shows off first U.S. full face transplant

Taken from the Ottawa Citizen

Holy crap that's incredible!

Left: Before, Right: After

BOSTON, Massachusetts — A Texas cherry picker who burned his face off after his head touched an electrical wire showed off his new face on Monday as doctors presented the first U.S. full face transplant recipient.

Wearing black sunglasses and a dark goatee beard, Dallas Wiens, 26, appeared at a press conference alongside doctors who performed the operation at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the northeastern city of Boston.

"To me the face feels natural, as it if has become my own," said Wiens, acknowledging that he still feels numb in some places and needs to continue rehabilitation work to rebuild nerve function.

"I can never express what has been done, what I have been given," he added, thanking the donor family who wished to remain anonymous.

Wiens was injured in November 2008 when his head touched a high voltage electrical wire, causing dramatic facial deformities and burning off his nose and lips.

Plastic surgeon Bohdan Pomahac led the team of physicians, nurses and anesthesiologists for more than 15 hours to replace Wiens's nose, lips, facial skin, nerves and muscles.

The operation was done in March by a 30-strong team at Brigham and Women's Hospital, which said it was "the first full face transplant" performed in the country.

"He was quite literally a man without a face," said Pomahac.

The world's first full face transplant took place in Spain, and was unveiled in July 2010 by doctors at Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona.

The 31-year-old recipient, identified only as Oscar, reportedly suffered injuries in a shooting accident and spoke at a televised news conference with considerable difficulty. He could not close his mouth and his face appeared swollen.

The first successful partial face transplant was performed in France in 2005 on Isabelle Dinoire, a 38-year-old woman who had been mauled by her dog.

Since then face transplants have been carried out in China, the United States and Spain, which carried out its first such operation in August 2009.

Wiens, who lost his eyesight in the accident, also spoke with some difficulty, but said he has already begun to regain his sense of smell.

"The ability to breathe through my nose normally, that in itself was a major gift," he said.

Now he is considering university education and is looking forward to leading a more normal life with his young daughter, who was enamoured by his new look.

"She actually said 'Daddy, you're so handsome,'" he said.