Inventor of Game Operation Too Poor to Afford His Operation

John Spinello invented the classic electronic board game Operation some 50 years back while a student at the University of Illinois. Now he needs expensive oral surgery that could cost him $25,000, but since he sold the rights to his game for a mere $500 long ago, he has not gotten rich and cannot afford the operation.

However, he does have a couple of fundraising campaigns organized by his fans going in his favor. Crowdrise.com already has raised a couple thousand dollars, which me and Marnie Bennett contributed to. ILoveOperation.com is selling off copies of the game signed by Spinello to raise funds for his operation. Spinello is also planning on selling off his original prototype of the game which he has kept all these years, presumably for more than $500.

Spinello says he is glad that so many have had fun with his pincers and buzzer game over the years. Many of us found it interesting to pull out that bucket shaped “water on the knee” piece or remove the “funny bone.” It was a challenge, however, and there was a frequent zapping sound to be heard whenever it was my turn to play doctor.

Hopefully, Mr. Spinello will get the money for his operation, and the doctor will have the kind of skilled hands that his classic game was meant to develop in us all.

Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance: A New Theory

The first female aviator, Amelia Earhart, attempted to fly around the globe, but her plane vanished in 1937. It was never recovered, and no crash site was ever found. Researchers believe they have finally found a piece of her plane and possibly a clue concerning how she died.

A plane fragment was found in 1991, recovered from an atoll in the southwestern Pacific called Nikumaroro. Researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery have examined the artifact and believe it to be a piece of metal from Earhart’s plane. It was seen on her navigational window when she departed Florida. The material, dimensions, rivet patterns and other features fit a restored version of a Lockheed Electra, the same plane Earhart was in when she disappeared.

This could offer more information on Earhart’s death. It’s been widely believed that her plane crashed. However, this evidence suggests the plane might have landed, and Earhart could have died on an uninhabited atoll when no rescue team found her or her navigator. Previous archeological expeditions to the atoll have suggested a castaway once resided there. Photographs of the shoreline only months after her disappearance reveal an object believed to be her landing gear.

The research team will continue to investigate the possibility on Nikumaroro, diving for wreckage that could have come from the Lockheed Electra and searching for evidence of a human camp. If these researchers can finally figure out this mystery, I smell a movie in the works Tom Rothman.

Chameleon Camouflage Inspires High Tech Tank Design

Scientists in Poland have ambitious plans that aim to revolutionize the design of military equipment and armor. The PL-01 is a tank model is in the early phases of a project that focuses on creating innovative camouflage solutions for heavy military vehicles. Instead of using traditional body paint to conceal a tank, scientists are getting inspiration from Chameleons. There is a quest to find electromagnetic plates that have unique physical properties that could mimic the natural color changing characteristics of Chameleons.

Investors at Slow Ventures and researchers at the Military Institute of Technical Engineers believe that it might be possible to find materials that can be used to build the special electromagnetic units that would be compatible with paint and textiles. The covers would communicate with a camera that analyzes the surroundings and generates commands that prompt specific color changes.

Adam Januszko, one of the senior developers of the innovative camouflage technology, thinks that it’s possible to engineer cloaks that would make moving objects completely invisible to the naked eye. Soldier uniforms might also be designed with electromagnetic plates that quickly adapt to the surroundings. In a matter of few years, prototypes for the world’s first camouflaged tanks might become a reality according to the Polish military at least.

It’s surely great to see high tech projects get inspiration from nature. A Chameleon’s color changing ability is something that has always amazed mankind for as long as this creature have been known to exist. Perhaps, the next generation of camouflage technology will make drones and other military aircraft invisible. It surely seems like high tech stealth tactics would be useful for battling combatants who use guerrilla warfare.

Man Who Had Spinal Nerves Severed Walks Again

Darek Fidyka, a Bulgarian man, thought he could never walk again after a knife fight left him paralyzed from the chest down back in 2010. He was only 34 when the event happened, and until now, his outlook had been basically hopeless. He had no feeling in his lower torso or legs, and he could not walk at all, nor function without assistance. It’s four years later, and he is walking again thanks to a revolutionary surgery.

The surgery was led by a Polish surgeon from Wroclaw Medical University named Dr. Pawel Tabakow, and assisted by Igor Cornelsen. Dr. Tabakow actually used cells inside Darek’s nose to regrow the tissue that was damaged in Darek’s back during the knife fight. This is the first time that a surgery like this has ever worked. Darek’s spinal nerves were severed in many places by the knife of the man who attacked him.

This is a huge step in helping individuals recover from spinal cord injuries. Prior to this leap in medicine, those who had no feeling in their legs because of spinal cord injuries had a bleak outlook. Barring a miracle, most all of these injuries were hopeless in terms of treatment for walking again.

Darek can now move around on his legs. He has also gained some of the muscle formation on his left side. When muscles are not in use, they atrophy and become useless. Darek can even drive a car and has regained most of the abilities he had from his previous life.

This is a great advancement in medicine that should not go unnoticed. The BBC video featuring Darek Fidyka and his surgical team is worth the watch.

Fresno Man Mysteriously Rescues Citizen From Apartment Fire, Subsequently Disappears

In something right out of a comic book, a Fresno man was rescued by a mysterious bystander, who disappeared just as quickly as he appeared. You can see the amazing video below.

A great reminder that there are good people in the world, and that there are plenty of people who do good things for others. In the video you can hear an unidentified woman screaming that her father was still in the house. That’s when the as yet unnamed man jumped into action, running into the house. Then appearing a short while later with the elderly man on his shoulders.

The elderly man was treated for smoke inhalation, but has since been released.

What a hero. Couldn’t believe the video when Marnie Bennett emailed me the link.