Archive for October, 2007

Vibrators and exercise for strength among the frail

There has been additional research into vibrating platforms as a means to improve bone and muscle health. An earlier post is here,

  • Vibrating beds as osteoporosis exercise
  • These platforms may be similar to one manufactured by Soloflex and one about to come out by Nintendo Wii. The Wii will have a game console attached for using video games as an exercise on a balance board. The news reports don’t mention how the human tests are done.

    Other Wii games mentioned earlier–

  • Ideas to exercise in small cold places
  • The SoloFlex would be easy to set-up as a study in a senior center. See the news story (Boston Globe) Vibrating machines are studied for health benefits. A home machine called Soloflex Whole Body Vibration Platform is smaller and less powerful, generating more of a massage sensation at the lowest setting. More and stronger vibration doesn’t mean faster results and could be dangerous as the article points out. There would have to be modifications for those with balance problems. However, measures of muscle strength, balance, and coordination are easy enough to set up.

    Here’s a cautious review from epinions.com– It is considered a class 1 Medical Device by the FDA. Those who shouldn’t use this are recovering from surgery, have heart disease, neurological conditions, pre-existing deep vein thrombosis, joint implants or are pregnant.

    No one has yet tested vibrating motel beds (don’t forget your condom amulets http://www.alittleredhen.com/a_little_red_hen/2007/09/safe-sex-alerts.html or http://www.alittleredhen.com/a_little_red_hen/2007/10/jenna-bush-wear.html

    Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat (National Public Radio)

    Morning Edition, October 29, 2007 · Standing on a gently vibrating platform for 15 minutes a day can build bone mass and reduce fat in mice, according to a new study. The changes are due to a stem cell in bone marrow that can become muscle, bone or fat. Testing has begun in humans…. Scientists are about to launch a similar study in humans. Douglas Kiel works at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston, where subjects will soon get 10 minutes of jiggling a day.

    Gathering of Alaska Native Wisdom Bearers

    I wish there were more extensive notes on the talks. But the audio/video and maybe a transcript will eventually be available.

    Ethel Lund said she was a bit taken back about being called a “Wisdom Bearer.” “I feel that with gray hair, wisdom doesn’t come automatically, so I’m still in the stage of learning myself. My grandmother said you’re always learning until the day you leave and I find that to be true,” she said.

    Words of Wisdom
    By Robinson Duffy, Published October 25, 2007

    Since 1968, the University of Alaska has awarded honorary doctorates to 43 Alaska Natives. At a meeting Wednesday morning, dubbed the Gathering of Alaska Native Wisdom Bearers, many of the surviving holders of honorary doctorates spoke in the Davis Concert Hall to an audience of high school students, visiting Alaska Natives in town for the Alaska Federation of Natives annual conference, and other community members.

    The nearly four-hour meeting was recording on audio and video and will be archived by the university… More than a dozen elders spoke during the meeting. What follows are brief gems of wisdom gleaned from some of those speeches.

    …The Rev. Walter Soboleff, the first Alaska Native to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska… was born in 1908 in Killisnoo.

    At least two are nonagenarians. Unfortunately, Rev. David Salmon did not live long enough to give his address.


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    Reverend David Salmon, Athabascan nonagenarian

    The first link to the audio story is quite good. Father Salmon and Peter John (another nonagenarian) were extraordinarily accomplished.
    Rev. David Salmon

    Flags are at half-staff across Alaska today, following the death of an Athabascan elder and leader. The Reverend David Salmon died yesterday. He was the first traditional chief for the Tanana Chief’s region, and the first Athabascan ordained to the Episcopal ministry.
    Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks
    http://aprn.org/2007/10/12/alaska-remembers-tanana-elder-david-salmon/

  • The 95-year-old cherished Gwich’in elder has been first traditional chief since August 2003, following the passing of Chief Peter John of Minto. The position is … held in high esteem.

  • Last Modified: October 12, 2007 at 02:43 PM
    Athabascan traditional chief Salmon dies at 95

    FAIRBANKS — The first traditional chief for the Athabascan people of the Interior died Thursday at his home in Chalkyitsik. The Rev. David Salmon was 95. “He was sitting in his favorite chair when he passed,” Salmon’s granddaughter, Patricia Salmon”

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/story/9374481p-9287881c.html

    Father Salmon’s biography is here, from the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments,

  • http://www.catg.org/gallery/elders/DavidSalmon.html
  • and another one is here, Tanana Chiefs Conference–

  • Chief Salmon, who was first made Chief of Chalkyitsik at the age of 29, helped shape the community and was instrumental in building a school and starting a store. He introduced the first Christmas tree and potlatch, and built the church by hauling 90 logs at the age of 70, using only a chainsaw.
  • Chief David Salmon – “My father saved my life”
  • He received an honorary degree from the University of Alaska.

    “Athabascan elder Rev. David Salmon, traditional chief of Chalkyitsik and second chief of Interior Alaska villages with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, just celebrated his 90th birthday, was the first Gwich’in to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church where he served for more than 42 years.

    Salmon has had a life-long interest in education and sharing his cultural knowledge with others through programs such as UAF’s Elder in Residence program and the Academy of Elders, an intense immersion program for certified teachers intent on developing K-12 curriculum and teacher training programs. Salmon has collaborated extensively with UAF’s anthropology department and has been a Geist lecturer at the University of Alaska Museum for the past five summers. Salmon is considered a master toolmaker and his tools, fish traps and canoes are on display at the museum and in other university buildings. Salmon is a founding member of Denakkanaaga nonprofit elders’ organization. In January, the David Salmon Tribal Hall was opened in Fairbanks and dedicated by TCC in recognition of a lifetime of service. Salmon will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws.”
    http://www.uaf.edu/commencement/2002/hdr.html

    Chief David Salmon 2006
    Chief David Salmon Traditional Athabascan Tool Collection, a new art acquisition purchased jointly by Doyon, Limited and the Doyon Foundation.

    “I knew that if I didn’t make the tools, that they would just stay back there to be forgotten… How can the young people learn without seeing the tool? The Athabascan way is to teach by showing you; then when you see, you will learn. That is why when I speak about a tool, it must be in my hand. That is how it always was; that is how it should be.” — Chief David Salmon

    … in the summer of 1994, Chief David Salmon began to craft a collection of tools, illustrating the pre- and early post-contact technology of theAthabascans of Alaska’s Interior. Most of these tools were used in the Athabascans’ subsistence lifestyle into the 1920s.

    http://www.doyon.com/pdfs/news_august04.pdf

    Both Chief Salmon and Chief Peter John spoke widely about their religious faith.
    “The history of this country is not known,” Salmon explains his reasons for doing that book, plus another on the oral history of his people. “Young people do not know it. Old people die with it. Well, I don’t want to die with it. I want the young people to have it.”O’Brien, Thomas A. 1997. Athabaskan implements from the skin house days as related by Reverend David Salmon. Thesis (M.A.)–University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1997. OCLC: 42066842

    The Gospel according to Peter John
    # Publisher: Alaska Native Knowledge Network (1996)
    # Language: English
    # ASIN: B000BSFGQY

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    Supercentenarian from Yakutia believed oldest person

    From Circumpolar Musings at Yukon College, an excellent source of nordicite news.

    Yakutia is an important province for Russian America and Alaska. The Evenks are an important EurAsian-American cultural influence. See for example, http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1220/p14s02-bogn.html “It’s no accident, Vitebsky explains, that we associate reindeer with flying.”

    [Seems to me that there ought to be a separate term for those in their second decade of centenarianism. Any suggestions? My Latin isn’t good.]

    Friday, October 5 2007, 04 PM
    Woman from Yakutia Is Believed to Be the Oldest Person of Earth
    Varvara SEMENNIKOVA, who is 117 years old, received a letter from the upper House of the Russian Parliament

    VLADIVOSTOK, October 4, vladivostoktimes.com On Wednesday the 117-year old native of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic Ms. Varvara SEMENNIKOVA, who is thought to be the oldest person on the Earth, received a certificate of honour from the Federation Council of Russia, the Yakutia Republic Committee for family and children reports.

    Ms. SEMENNIKOVA (nee DYAKONOVA) is an Evenk. Her age has been verified by the National archive of Yakutia.

    Employees of the National archive found a record in a church book of the Bulun Spassk Church (on the shore of the Laptev Sea) on Varvara’s birth on May 10, 1890 to “a native of the second Haltyn Nasleg of the Zhigan Ulus of the Vilyuisk District Konstantin Stefanov DYAKONOVA, lawful wife Maria Konstantinovna, both of Orthodox confession.”

    http://www.vladivostoktimes.ru/show.php?id=15337&p=


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    More on computer accessibility: let your uvula do the browsing

    The notice of the Vocal Joystick for accessibility comes from

    Opera browser uses voice commands. Now I’ll have to actually test it to see how well it works. The Vocal Joystick would work on all software that uses a mouse device. I thought something like Dragon Naturally Speaking can command more than the voice recognition software? Somewhere in the back of my mind is a little piece of software I’ve seen that also does voice commands ➡ not a mouse substitute but nevertheless slick and free (for Firefox) (originally noted at Paul Hamilton’s FREE online resources and downloadable programs for learners and their teachers.

    University of Washington researchers are developing a new “Vocal Joystick” interface to make software more accessible for people who don’t have use of their hands or arms. The software converts simple vowel sounds and other intonations into cursor movement. The louder the sound, the faster the cursor moves. Saying “K-Ch” represents a mouse click and release….

    “A lot of people ask: ‘Why don’t you just use speech recognition?'” (electrical engineering professor Jeffrey) Bilmes said. “It would be very slow to move a cursor using discrete commands like ‘move right’ or ‘go faster.’ The voice, however, is able to do continuous commands quickly and easily.” Early tests suggest that an experienced user of Vocal Joystick would have as much control as someone using a handheld device…

    “The tool’s latest developments will be presented this month in Tempe, Ariz. at the Assets Conference on Computers and Accessibility.

    Vocal Joystick detects sounds 100 times a second and instantaneously turns that sound into movement on the screen….

    Versions of Vocal Joystick exist for browsing the Web, drawing on a screen, controlling a cursor and playing a video game. A version also exists for operating a robotic arm, and Bilmes believes the technology could be used to control an electronic wheelchair.” […] http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=37134

    Video demonstrations and publications are available on the group’s Web site,


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    Boris Chertok, nonagenarian, and Sputnik, quinquagenarian

    It’s pretty amazing to have outlived the Soviet Union and been able to recall how science is actually conducted (gosh, it’s a human activity!)

    Boris Chertok, Oct 2006 photo click photo to view Voice of America article

    the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the Space Age.

    And that winking light that crowds around the globe gathered to watch in the night sky? Not Sputnik at all, as it turns out, but just the second stage of its booster rocket, according to Boris Chertok, one of the founders of the Soviet space program.

    Chertok couldn’t whisper a word about the project through much of his lifetime. His name, and that of Sergei Korolyov, the chief scientist, were a state secret. Today, at age 95 and talking to a small group of reporters in Moscow, Chertok can finally speak about his pivotal role in the history of space exploration.

    “Each of these first rockets was like a beloved woman for us,” he said. “We were in love with every rocket; we desperately wanted it to blast off successfully. We would give our hearts and souls to see it flying.” …

    The satellite, weighing just 184 pounds, was built in less than three months. Soviet designers built a pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy with two radio transmitters and four antennas. An earlier satellite project envisaged a cone shape, but Korolyov preferred the sphere.

    “The Earth is a sphere, and its first satellite also must have a spherical shape,” Chertok, a longtime deputy of Korolyov, recalled him saying. […]

    I hope the story stays up on the news site. It is an interesting read.


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    Seniors’ And Elders’ Month Proclaimed In Manitoba

    October 1, 2007

    The province has proclaimed October as Seniors and Elders Month in Manitoba and today, on the International Day of Older Persons, Health Minister Theresa Oswald celebrated the accomplishments and contributions of seniors at the MTS Centre during a Seniors’ and Elders’ Day Community Committee of Winnipeg event with the theme Older Manitobans: Pioneers of our Times.

    Seniors and Elders Month is an opportunity for all of us to recognize and celebrate the past, present and ongoing contributions of older Manitobans throughout the province, said Oswald. Manitoba is committed to assisting older Manitobans in improving their quality of life and remaining a part of the communities they have built.

    see last year’s post,


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    O’Folks (off their rocker)

    Old age isn't a disease.

    Arctic sunset

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