Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Perhaps it's better to have love and lost

than to never have loved at all

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

HAPE: Don't Die at Altitude

HAPE: Don’t Die at Altitude

Martin Kuprianowicz April 24th, 2019                 

PC: Climbing Magazine

High altitude pulmonary edema – otherwise known as HAPE– is the number one killer among mountaineers. With a mortality rate of over 50 percent, HAPE is definitely something to consider and prepare for when entering high altitude terrain. Here’s what modern medicine knows about HAPE:

According to the Official Journal of the Wilderness Medical Society, High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is defined as a life-threatening form of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema occurring in otherwise healthy people at high altitude (altitudes greater than 8,000 feet). It occurs when fluid enters the lungs and prevents blood from oxygenating. This fluid in the lungs blocks oxygen flow and causes a sense of breathlessness that can lead to loss of consciousness and in severe cases, death. Symptoms of HAPE include breathlessness, elevated resting heartbeat, coughing/wheezing, fatigue, confusion, chest tightness or congestion, and a central blue skin color. Typically, healthy individuals who have been at altitudes above eight-thousand feet for extended periods of time are susceptible to HAPE.  “It is never normal to feel breathless when you are resting - even on the summit of Everest. This should be taken as a sign that you have HAPE and may die soon,” said Dr. David Slim, a physician and avid mountaineer. HAPE can also cause a fever and coughing up frothy spit.
PC: Mayo Clinic
In normal lungs, air sacs (alveoli) take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. In high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), it's theorized that vessels in the lungs constrict, causing increased pressure. This causes fluid to leak from the blood vessels to the lung tissues and eventually into the air sacs.

Luckily for mountaineers, HAPE is preventable and it is relatively easy to spot early indications of the sickness. Allowing time before a high-altitude ascent for acclimatization decreases that probability of contracting HAPE by 50 percent. There are also preventive medicines such as nifedipine (commonly used to treat high blood pressure), tadalafil, dexamethasone, or acetazolamide that will aid in HAPE prevention. However, awareness of HAPE and knowing what to do in the event that you or a member of your team has contracted HAPE are the best methods for preventing deaths on the mountain. If you or a member of your team appear to be showing symptoms, the best thing to do would be to descend to a lower elevation immediately. At lower altitude, the body will absorb more oxygen and a quick decision for a rapid descent just may save someone’s life. So whatever you do, do it quickly. Symptoms of HAPE progress extremely fast and hesitation to make a decision on the mountain could mean someone’s life. Once the affected individual has been taken to a lower elevation and is showing signs that they are stable, they should be given medical attention as soon as possible.

            HAPE is fatal but is preventative. Know the risks of HAPE before you enter high altitudes and do your best to prevent it. Have a plan ready in the case that you or someone you are climbing with begins showing symptoms of HAPE and above all act QUICKLY.

PC: USA Today

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Theory of Pings!

Imagine that you-- the vast sum of your decisions, thoughts, sentiments, and cognitive processes that make up the brain's biochemistry that is ultimately YOU -- as a pinball in a pinball machine. The player who starts the game and flips the flippers sending the pinball flying is the driving force that guides us, call it whatever you will -- consciousness, desire, free will, God, nihilism, the machine elves, etc. But from the moment you were born a.k.a the moment that you entered this game of pinball, your life has been a series of actions or events that make up one large, stretched out event that is a game of pinball. Like a pinball, you are constantly bouncing around the machine and each time you hit one of the bumpers that go "ping!" you are shot off in a completely different direction only to go forth and hit another bumper and "ping!" off in a different direction. The pinging continues until the pinball gets sunken in the pit and the game is over. All of this is analogous to your life.

Just as you are born into this world you are shot off like a pinball in a pinball machine. Action or will determine where you go and every time something happens in your life it's like that little pinball hitting a bumper and going "ping!" BUT there's a catch. All of your decisions that have made up your personal narrative are an interdependent sequence of events that could not have existed without each and every "ping!" having occurred. In other words, because you did something that one time it led you to do another thing that next time. It's a classic butterfly effect of "pings" sending you off toward other "pings" and so on until you die.

SO if you stop and try to think way back down the line -- back to that one influential "ping" that sticks out in your mind -- that one that shaped who you are -- you may wonder what your life would look like now if it hadn't happened at all. And then you may find yourself asking questions like what rabbit hole you may have gone down if it had gone down differently and if a different "ping!" had sent you off on a different life path with different life acquaintances and different life happenings. Or if you'd even be the same person. Yet the remarkableness of how you came to be who you are stands as a testament to the living masterpiece of that combination of pings that got you to where you are now. You are nature's own artwork individualized by your experience -- a mirror reflection of a cosmic mosaic. And for those fortunate enough to still be playing the game, that pinball is still tumultuously flying around in that machine headed for the next "ping!"

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Friday, April 19, 2019

How to be more creative

Three ways to harness creativity based off of neurological research by Dr. David Eagleman
1. Try new things
2. Push boundaries
3. Don't be afraid of failure

Trying new things increases the connections between neurons in your brain and provides perspective.

Pushing boundaries will take you out of your comfort zone and into the creative space. Uncomfortable situations are just situations you are not used to and can be learned from.

We tend to run from failure but it is trial and error that provides us with the best learning experiences. Failure will actually come to our aid in the creative process.

We live in an age of unparalleled human creativity. There's no telling what the world will look like twenty years from now. We don't even have names for the types of jobs that will exist by then. So as we enter the rapidly changing future with limitless creative potential, how will you contribute?

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David Eagleman, neuroscientist 

As above so below

The Egyptian god of wisdom as well as their scribe god -- Thoth -- was believed by the Egyptians to know just about everything. The dude invented writing according to them. When pondering the inner workings of the universe, Thoth told the egyptians that everything is the same from the small scale to the large scale. "As above, so below," as he put it. Well, there may be some validity to this statement if you humor it.

SO I'm no physicist, but I know from my 12th-grade physics class that at the quantum level, we got protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, and all that jazz. Protons, neutrons, and electrons follow a system of orbits, so to speak. An electron orbits a nucleus consisting of a proton or a neutron at its smallest scale. This orbital path consists of all these things called electrons. It is their universe. But does the universe end there? No, of course not, it only gets bigger. 

A group of electrons now orbit a group of protons or neutrons that come to form a molecule. When you start putting more of these molecules that are made up of these orbits together in unison, you may even get an organism, like an ant. This ant lives in an anthill and goes its whole life orbiting around that anthill. It will never go beyond a certain radius from that hill. This is like the ant's universe. But just because this ant can't see beyond its own parameters around the anthill that is its relative universe, this begs the question -- is the universe limited to the scale of the ant?

 Let me ask you, what do you get when you get a bunch of organisms living all together in the same place? You get an ecosystem. What do a series of ecosystems in conjunction make up? Planet Earth. But what does the Earth do? The Earth orbits around the sun. Which is part of the Milky Way, which is spiraling around in outer space with its own orbit. You try to get bigger than that and you will find that the entire universe in itself is constantly in motion and arguably on an orbit of its own. Everything is a universe in itself, just on relative terms. 

A seagull probably can't picture that its actually living in a galaxy among trillions of other galaxies, but does that mean it stops there on the seagull's level? No, because the universe is forever expanding along with our imaginations. It has no end or at least none that we are aware of.

So what is the big difference from an electron orbiting a proton on a small scale, and a planet orbiting a star on a large one? Just the relative size of the scale. But if you think about it its all really a part of the same order of operations, you know, the one Thoth was probably talking about. As above, so below.

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Thoth the Egyptian scribe god or god of wisdom 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The 5th Annual Wasatch Mountain Film Festival

In 1965, Jim Whittaker – the first American to climb Mt. Everest – led Senator Robert Kennedy to the first ascent of a remote mountain in the Yukon named after the late president, John F. Kennedy. Fifty years later, the sons of the original climbing team—a raucous band manager, a candidate for governor, and a young mountaineer—embark on an expedition to the mountain to celebrate the special bond that connects them all. That is the summary of the feature presentation, “Return to Mount Kennedy,” that premiered at the 5th annual Wasatch Mountain Film Festival in Park City on the 1st of April.
 For an overcast Monday evening in a sleepy Park City neighborhood, the event had a better than expected turn-out. The support from the local outdoors community was prevalent as most of the seats in the Jim Santy Auditorium were filled with young adults with goggle tans and Patagonia puffys. The event lasted a total of about three hours. A colleague and I arrived to the auditorium five minutes prior to its commencement. We signed up for the raffle that was to be held and conversed at the bar about a local whiskey blend from a Park City distillery that was marketing its product with drink vouchers purchased at the entry to the auditorium. The event kicked off at 7 p.m. sharp as my colleague and I took our seats. Immediately, teenagers in blue event t-shirts commenced the raffle for an assortment of Yeti and REI products ranging from water bottles, bags, and the grand prize of a large Yeti cooler. After the raffle, the lights shut off and the projector lit up to show the first of the two movie premiers that were the 5th annual Wasatch Mountain Film Festival.
The first was a six-minute mountain bike film that had a playful tone and was skillfully edited. Distant and high speed drone shots that followed a professional mountain biker as he bulleted down the trail at neck-break speeds gave this film its pop and overall appeal. But the film felt like more of an advertisement than an independent showcase of one’s own artwork. A quick six minutes passed by followed with an applause. Now we were presented with Eric Becker: an early thirties aged man with a large ego that was the director of “Return to Mount Kennedy.” He got up in front of the audience, cracked a couple jokes, and introduced his film before the lights shut off once again and the showing began.
The film itself was touching and informative and is subject to many different reviews and opinion. It was the Q-and-A session that was of the most interest to my colleague and I who were determined to catch a glimpse of the world of independent film directing. Eric Becker is an Emmy Award winning director based out of Portland who jokes and loves to talk about himself. He is confident and was not reluctant to answer the questions thrown at him during the Q-and-A session after his film.
“What was the project’s genesis, or what inspired you to make the film?” a middle-aged man with dark flowing hair asked the director. Becker went forward to tell us that Bob Whitaker, a key character in the film, approached him after watching the premier of his previous film, asking him to direct a film that he himself would produce. Becker said that he was initially wary and somewhat creeped out by the man, but also told us that “Bob is just a man who needs a movie to be filmed after him.” Becker stayed in Whitaker’s cabin in Eastern Washington after having invited him to spend a weekend in the mountains. Becker told us that he agreed to film Bob’s movie after getting drunk with him in the woods.
Another woman who was genuinely curious in the subject asked Becker what the editing process was like for the film. Becker said that it was grueling and miserable. He joked by saying, “I would like to thank whiskey and cold brew.” He explained to us that over a thousand hours of editing work was put into the film by just him and a handful of other individuals.
A few more questions were asked about the overall process of production as well as some questions about the story’s plot. Becker thanked the audience again and we all calmly dispersed into the mountain night from which we came.

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"Nightcrawler" Movie Review

The scariest thing about the Jake Gyllenhaal film, “Nightcrawler,” is Jake Gyllenhaal. His sunken in eyes, skeleton pale skin, and obsessive demeanor tie together in an unnerving cocktail that is the gritty nocturnal thriller, “Nightcrawler.”  Jake Gyllenhaal stars as the perfect creep, an extremely high functioning petty thief with apparent sociopathic tendencies named Lou Bloom, the film’s leading role. Lou doesn’t really get people nor like them, but he knows how to use them, leverage them, and creep them the hell out.
 Written and directed by Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler” is a drama, mystery, and suspense thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of Los Angeles about a freelance videographer who records violent events late at night and sells the footage to a local television news station. The film scored an overall rating of ninety-five percent on Rotten Tomatoes and casts Gyllenhaal along with Rene Russo who stars as ‘Nina,’ and Bill Paxton as ‘Joe,’ Bloom’s competition. The movie starts with Gyllenhaal lurking around in the darkness of industrial Los Angeles looting for scrap metal. The film only gets grittier and more disconcerting from there and viewer discretion is advised, just like the gruesome recordings of car crash and homicide victims that Bloom sells to news director, ‘Nina,’ at KW2 News. The relationship they have is somewhat grotesque and the date they go on about halfway through the movie has you either cringing or feeling a mix of sorry and scared for Nina, Bloom’s collegue and crush who is blackmailed into sleeping with him. At one point in the movie we see the two having a heated, almost romantic moment after Lou shows Nina his most disturbing and bloody video footage yet. As a viewer, the scene pisses you off or confuses you but also adds to the overall strangeness and power of the film. The film has a sense of Film Noir and the progressive evolution of the debauchery of Lou Bloom escalates rapidly, starting from looting scrap metal yards and progressing towards moving around dead bodies at accident scenes for better camera angles before the cops arrive. Gyllenhaal’s performance is as powerful as the overall creepiness he exerts into the film that would be characterized as somewhere in the middle between intoxicating and fearsome. You just don’t know when this guy Lou is going to snap or what he’s going to do next but man, does he make it interesting to watch.

            Film Noir fans or those looking to watch something on the darker side of film will enjoy watching the nail-biting performance that Gyllenhaal delivers and the feeling of uneasiness that comes along with it. “Nightcrawler” is an excellent choice for thrill seekers, suspense lovers, and even action fans as it involves car chases and gun fights. It is bloody and leaves you with no idea what will happen next and I liked it, especially for Gyllenhaal’s performance which left me equally captivated and disgusted. The film’s soundtrack does leave room for improvement as much of the music is redundant and not exactly common tracks you would hear in a suspense film, often sounding upbeat or energetic. Yet aside from the lacking sound track and the relationship between Lou and Nina that confuses many and heightens the anxiety levels of most, “Nightcrawler” will not disappoint the viewer as a thrill-seeking, suspenseful movie about an enticingly creepy man and his new found, obsessive line of work in the underworld of nocturnal Los Angeles.

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Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom in "Nightcrawler"