The Dangers of Gastritis

For the uninitiated, Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach that is similar in many ways to a mild ulcer. While sometimes caused by alcohol and aspirin, it can also be caused by high levels of stress and from bacteria present in the system. In terms of pains, the illness is related to a highly acidic stomach so you will experience strong stomach pains, located on the left side of your belly typically. These pains can be reduced by eating, making for a twist compared to most stomach disorders which are worsened by eating.

However, a big warning for people suffering from Gastritis is that the things that often will help with upset stomachs can make the pains from Gastritis even worse. As such, you need to be very careful in treating yourself as you will often be walking the fine line between making yourself feel better, and experiencing intense pains.

The best way to avoid exacerbating the pains are by avoiding acidic items. For instance, when sick, you need vitamin c. However, do not dink orange juice with gastritis as its citric contents could make your stomach feel even worse. Likewise, while soda is great for an upset stomach, helping you get out the gas, it is awful for Gastritis. With this disease, the acidity of the soda will make you experience even worse pains.

And worst of all, as I found out the hard way, is Aspirin. I had a terrible headache while suffering from Gastritis and after taking an Aspirin without thinking, I immediately felt my stomach explode. It felt like my stomach was boiling as the medicine wrecked havoc on my vulnerable stomach.

In the end, it is important to differentiate between Gastritis and an upset stomach. The treatment for the two issues are very different, and trying to treat one with the other can be very painful. In the end, your best solution is to just see a doctor and let them help you out.

Know Your Heart and its Disease

There are a variety of ailments related to the heart and providing information on all the types of cardio vascular disease that could be quite a task. Yet a look at conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels can give you a broad view of cardiovascular disease.

You hear many terms like coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis or some other term and are left wondering as to what exactly all these terms mean. Medical information could confuse you. Triglyceride is simpler when mentioned as fat in your body. It is essential that you read and stay informed on some basic terminology. You could watch a few programs related to the heart and its working before going to your doctor. The word give the meaning as well; 'Cardio' is related to the heart and 'vascular' is related to the blood vessels.

Diseases of the heart are many. Some specific types are

Coronary artery disease

Arteries supply the heart muscle with blood. Obstructions in the artery is a condition called atherosclerosis, is a leading cause of coronary heart disease. Coronary artery disease causes angia (chest pain) and myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is a more comprehensive term. It collectively refers to coronary artery disease and its disease that are a result of the coronary artery disease like angia and myocardial infarction. Women and heart attack is another important aspect with the sunset of menopause.

Cardiomyopathy

This reflects to all diseases of the heart muscle. It deals with loss of heart muscle (ischemic), enlargement of heart muscle (dilated) and thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophic). Another type of cardiomyopathy is an enlarged heart without a known cause (idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy).

Valvular heart disease

The heart consists of valves that direct the flow of blood into and out of the heart. Diseases of the heart valves are due to conditions like narrowing of heart valves (stenosis), leaking of a heart valve (regurgitation) and if the closing of the valve is not proper (prolapse).

Heart valves can also be damaged by other conditions. Rheumatic fever, connective tissue disorders, medications or treatments for cancer and even infections (infectious endocarditis).

Pericardial disease

Pericardium is a sac that encases the heart. This can get inflamed (pericarditis), stiff (constrictive pericarditis) or accumulated with fluid (pericardial effusion). These may occur together after a heart attack or may vary due to conditions.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease develops in the womb of the mother, before the birth of the baby. Narrowing of the aorta (coarctation), holes in the heart atrial or ventricular septal defect are some congenital diseases. Detection may be at the time of birth or later in life.

Heart failure

Heart failure may occur as a result of other cardiovascular conditions. It is a condition where the heart can not pump enough blood to the organs and tissues in the body. Due to this other vital organs do not get enough blood; causing shortage of breath, fluid retention and fatigue. Congestive heart failure is used if the heart failure as led to a 'fluid build up' in the body.

Blood Vessels

These are especially hollow tubes that carry blood to the organs and tissues. The types of blood vessels are Arteries, Veins, Capillaries and Lymphatic cells. Disorders related to blood vessels that affect the heart are Atherosclerosis, Arteriosclerosis, Hypertension, Stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic), Aneurysm, Claudication with peripheral arterial disease, Vasculitis, Venous incompetence, venous thrombosis, varicose veins and lymph edema.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is based on a series of tests. Simple procedures are listening (stethoscope) to your heart, measuring the heart rate and the blood pressure.

o The systolic and diastolic blood pressures are measured and are around 120 and 80 respectively for a normal heart.

o Blood test to check for high cholesterol levels

o Other tests are CPR testing which gives the state of inflammation of treaties.

o ECG and EKG tests are where the electrical activity of the heart is tested to assess blood flow and heart rhythm. It is also done under stress at times to find out related Cardiac Arrhythmia ailments.

o X-Rays are used to look at the structures of the chest (lungs and heart) to evaluate proper functioning.

o Head-up tilt test is used to evaluate the causes of false spells.

o Ultrasound / Echocardiograms give pictures of the heart chambers and its valves.

A few other test methods are Cardiac Catheterization / coronary angiogram, Electrophysiology, Electron Beam (ultrafast) CT or EBCT, Cardiac biopsy (Myocardial biopsy), MRI scan and Pericardiocentesis. It is also important to take a look at high triglycerides as well as this often companies high cholesterol.

Salt Causes Water Retention

Salt Can Cause Water Retention

One of the most common causes of water retention is too much salt in your diet. Too much salt in the diet may cause brief episodes of water retention. By lowering sodium content in your diet you can reduce your water retention, also known as Edema. You should not completely reduce sodium, but keeping sodium intake at small amounts by avoiding processed foods is often very helpful. Salt is a natural way to help the body retain water, which it can store and later use; so it's an important element in diets, but should not be overused.

A normal person can consume small or large quantities of salt in the diet without concern for developing salt depletion or retention although some people retain water more easily. The removal of salt from the body is accomplished by the kidneys. The kidneys have a great capacity to control the amount of salt in the body by changing the amount of salt eliminated in the urine. The amount of salt excreted by the kidneys is regulated by hormonal and physical factors that signal whether retention or removal of salt by the kidneys is necessary.

Conditions that Affect Salt in the Body

When the blood flow to the kidneys is decreed by an under condition condition such as heart failure, the kidneys react by retaining salt. This occurs because the kidneys perceive that the body needs more fluid to compensate for the reduced blood flow. A kidney disease that impairs the function of the kidneys also triggers the body to retain salt. In both conditions, the amount of salt in the body increases, which causes the patient to retain water and develop edema.

Ways to Reduce Water Retention

People who experience a disturbance in their ability to normally excrete salt may need to be placed on a diet limited in salt, take a diuretic medication or take a natural supplement such as Capisette. Diuretics work by blocking the re-absorption and retention of salt by the kidneys, thereby increasing the amount of salt and water that is eliminated in the urine.

Dietary Changes that can help reduce Edema:

  • Reduce the amount of table salt that you eat. Ask your doctor if you can use salt substitutes.
  • Reduce the amount of salt that you use while cooking. Cook with other seasonings like lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, and pepper.
  • Eat small, frequent meals if you have swelling in your stomach or abdomen.
  • Eat a diet that gives you enough protein, calories, and carbohydrates. Ask your doctor or dietician for help choosing the right combination of foods.
  • Continue to drink the same amount of water and fluids as normal. Your doctor may have you limit this amount if you have severe edema.

Natural Supplement that Help Reduce Edema – Capisette

Whether your borrowing is caused by an underlining condition, or simply from sitting or standing too long on a regular basis, Capisette provides you with an effective means to control your edema.

A variety of nutrients have been shown to address the underlying causes of fluid retention, including those found in Capisette. Capisette goes above and beyond replenishing the system with the nutrients it needs to combat fluid retention. By regulating your body's delicate fluid balance with Capisette, your body becomes balanced, and subsequently, helps you to feel normal again.

A few ingredients in Capisette are:

  • Potassium – One of the three major electrolytes in your body which may be helpful for edema by regulating the flow of fluids into and out of your tissues and cells.
  • Uva Ursi Ext. – Has been used worldwide as a diuretic while also supporting the kidneys and urinary tract.
  • Dandelion Ext. – Has diuretic properties that may be helpful with edema. It is one of the few diuretics that do not create a potassium deficiency.
  • Horse Chestnut – Studies report that horse chestnut may be able to reduce leakage of fluids from the capillaries caused by edema while promoting overall circulatory health.
  • Buchu Ext. – A mild diuretic.

Would you like to learn more about water retention?

A Brief Overview on Gas Liquid Separators

Gas liquid separators are considered to be the most efficient solution for separating moisture from a stream of gas or vapor. The clean and dry steam that results from the use of such separators has the ability to improve process efficiencies and decrease the overall maintenance and repair costs.

Manufacturers generally offer such separators in a horizontal configuration and they are installed in-line. Once seamlessly installed, these machines and components can be expected to improve the performance of gas pipelines as well as steam distribution lines. If you are on the lookout for such a separator, it is advisable to choose one that is compact yet high on features. It should be able to effectively eliminate around 99% of steam and moisture or contaminants that are entrained in the steam.

Here are some important aspects to look for in gas liquid separators:

Look for equipment that is available in standard specifications, but can be easily configured to custom specifications if and when the need arises.

Typically, manufacturers offer two classes of units: one that offers a 150 psig at temperatures of 500 degree Fahrenheit and another that offers 500 psig at 650 degree Fahrenheit. While these are the standard dimensions, it is also possible to customize the separators to suit your requirements.

Another important aspect to ensure would be that the units are stamped with the ASME code. The ASME Section VIII Division I is applicable to this particular class of separators.

It is imperative that the internal elements of the separators are manufactured using high quality stainless steel so as to prevent problems arising from corrosion and wear. Components that are manufactured using high-grade materials will exceed most other types of components.

If you have a customized requirements for flows and pressure levels in your steam-driven or steam-operated process, your chosen manufacturer should be able to cater to these requirements.

The other critical components of the units such as nozzles, valves, flanges, and couplings need to withstand heavy usage. Here, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer if they are being manufactured using high-quality carbon steel.

And, if you need the gas liquid separators to be manufactured in any other alloys or materials, an experienced manufacturer will be able to honor your request.

No matter what your requirement, it is highly recommended that you partner with a reputable manufacturer to procure the desired separator units. They should conform to the prevailing national and international codes if the units are likely to be used at an international facility. Gas liquid separators broadly find use in large and small nuclear reactors, industrial boilers, gas turbines in geothermal plants and other turbine systems, as well as steam locomotive engines.

About Warning Signs And Symptoms In Heart Attack

Heart attack or acute myocardial infarction occurs when one of the heart's arteries is blocked so the blood supply in nutrients and oxygen is cut off, in the respect coronary the blood flow may be stopped and blood clot are formed, the territory irrigated by the relative artery suffers of miocardial infarction. Because people do not take into consideration their symptoms the heart injury may be irreversible, this could be avoided if medical care is received immediately.

American Heart Association and other experts suggest that we should pay attention to the following signs: pain, squeezing, fullness in the center of the heart, pain radiating in the shoulder and arms, burning, pressure, heavy weight. Other symptoms may be: falseing, nauseating, sweating, shortness of breath, anxiety, irregular heart rate, pallor, anxiety, nervousness. If you notice any of these symptoms you should address immediately to the emergency medical services at 911 or begin the CPR.

The doctor will diagnose the heart attack after studying several tests: EKG a device that gives the graphical record of the heart's electrical activity, a physical examination and knowing the complete medical history of the patient, high enzymes in the blood appear in heart attack, those steps are also helpful.

Cardiac enzymes may be determined later in the intensive care unit and urgent care setting so they confirm or infirm the suspicions. So if you address as quickly as possible to a medical emergency or service you have greater chances of receiving the corresponding treatment and the doctor will have the ability to establish exactly what you suffer from, sometimes heart attack symptoms are very similar to other diseases and may be mistaken.

Often heart attack is slowly with mild pain and the person in cause does not understand what's happening, on the other hand the heart attack might be intense and movie-like. The most common signs are: chest discomfort which may be felt as pain, pressure, squeezing, fullness and which may last for minutes.

Other symptoms are: pain in both arms, neck, stomach, back, shortness of breath, nausea, cold sweating. In 4-6 hours from the fatal heart attack your heart has suffered irreversible damage and you may not even realize you just had a heart attack your life is continuing in the same way and when you have the second heart attack and a larger part of the heart muscle is not supplied with oxygen because of the artery blockages. Not ignoring the pain is may be vital for you because it's the only warning that you'll soon be in a condition condition.

During the so called silent heart attack you are suddenly stricken by the attack without any symptom the heart attack is seen on the EKG, this condition appears in the silent ischemia which is caused by atherosclerosis. Those who survive to another heart attack are susceptibles of congestive heart disease, cardiac cripples, arrhythmias heartbeat irregularities. If you have more than three risk factors you should undergo a screening for silent ischemia.

How Does Tuberculosis Manifest?

Tuberculosis can give a lot of symptoms to a person but there are cases in which patients came to the doctor for other problems and they are discovered this disease too. Sometimes tuberculosis gives only night sweats and the patient will not go to the doctor only for such a mild symptom. Generally extrapulmonary tuberculosis is encountered in those who have a weakened immune system and have other important diseases associated too.

The most affected of extrapulmonary TB and military TB are the patients who have AIDS. In those patients symptoms vary from chest pains and night sweats to morning coughing with blood. In those who are in a bad status loss of weight may be encountered along with these other symptoms. At the physical exam the doctor will hear with his stethoscope diminished breath sounds and coarse crackles.

It is not easy to diagnose tuberculosis as the symptoms can be found in other diseases too, like: lung cancer, asperigollosis, pneumonia, sarcoidosis, pneumoconiosis, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and mediastinial lymphadenopathy.

The doctor will ask for a thoracic X-ray. If tuberculosis is present on the thoracic X-ray cavitation, calcification and nodes will be seen. Other tests must me done to be sure the disease is tuberculosis. A biopsy is indicated also, and if it shows granulomas and caseation then there is a confirmation of tuberculosis. Sputum can also be tested to see if it contains the Koch bacteria. If the tuberculosis is not localized in the lungs then the urine can be taken as a sample and analyzed or the LCR or even the blood. The lymph noses biopsy can be made because tuberculosis can shed there too. If the doctor thinks the tuberculosis affected some other organisms he will take a sample of liquid from the pleural space, the pericardial space, or the peritoneal space.

In those patients in which the sputum test got negative the bronchoalveolar lavage can be tested too to eliminate any possibility of misdiagnosing. This is done with an optic bronchoscope which is passed from the mouth or the nose towards the trachea and then the lungs. This procedure is not painful as the doctor uses a lidocaine spray to locally sedate the patient. With the bronchoscope a sample will be taken from the alveolar space as a saline solution will be entered the lungs to flush out bacteria and loose cells. This solution will be collected and tested in the end of the procedure.

With the help of the bronchoscope biopsy can be performed from small tissue samples from the bronchi. These samples will be analyzed in the laboratory to see if they are infected with the Koch bacilli.

Thomas Russell & The Early English Watchmaking Industry

Thomas Russell ‘s name is synonymous with the Lancashire watch making industry and he is an icon for watch purists and enthusiasts around the world. But how he came to become a watchmaker and why Lancashire played such an important role in the watchmaking industry is a fascinating story.

In the 17th century farmers and agricultural workers who needed to supplement their income during the winter months undertook much of the work of watchmaking. In and around Lancashire this was particularly important and the proximity of metalworking, the availability of fine metal tools and the port of Liverpool aided the growth of the industry. By the 18th century watch parts were being sub-contracted to small farms and cottages throughout the region.

Another factor in the growth of this cottage industry were the significant lower overheads that the farmers enjoyed as part-time workers in their own homes. Elsewhere wages were the largest contributor to the total cost of watch manufacturing with the cost of raw materials, apart from gold and silver used in the making of expensive cases, relatively small.

One commentator notes that, “From Prescott to Liverpool, eight miles as the crow flies, the countryside was dotted with the cottages of spring makers, wheel cutters, chain makers, case makers, dial makers – every speciality that went into the making of a watch.” By the end of the 18th century between 150,000 and 200,000 watches a year were being produced by this system, satisfying the national need for accurate timekeeping as the industrial revolution took hold.

The Lancashire sub-contracting system allowed the production of watch movements at such low prices that by the end of the 18th century, the Lancashire manufacturers were supplying most of the great watch firms in London, Coventry and Liverpool. All that these firms needed to do was to make or source their own case and dial, and then assemble the watch.

Thomas Russell joined this hive of activity in 1848 when he moved his business as a watch manufacturer to Slater Street in Liverpool. The city was a major seafaring port and the manufacture of ships’ clocks and chronometers became an important revenue stream for the business.

Thomas Russell’s father, also named Thomas Russell (1780-1830), the founder of this watchmaking dynasty, was born in Eskdale a small village in Cumberland. He served his time in watchmaking in New St. Broughton-in-Furness Lancashire under William Bellman, he then served his journeyman time with William Wakefield in Market St Lancaster where he later started a business of his own in the same street.

He had two sons; one named Thomas was married to Mary in 1831. They also had two sons, Thomas Robert (1833-1894) born in Lancaster and Alfred Holgate Russell (1840-1893). In about 1840 the family moved to Halifax setting up a watchmaking business in Lord St. It was here that Alfred was born.

By 1848 the family had moved once more and records show that Thomas Russell was a watch manufacturer with premises at 20 or 22 Slater Street, Liverpool and later at number 32 in the same street. It was here that Thomas Russell became arguably Liverpool ‘s finest watchmaker and the business produced quality watches and clocks, including the celebrated Russell Hunter pocket watch. Thomas Senior and his oldest son Thomas Robert were granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria indicating their rapid progress in watch manufacturing.

Around 1859, Thomas handed over control of the business to his sons Thomas Robert and Alfred Holgate and the company changed its name to Thomas Russell & Son. Following Thomas Russell’s death in 1867 the business was divided into two; the trade side continued under the same name and was run by Alfred and Thomas ran Russells Limited. The retail business became importers of Swiss watches and music boxes.

By 1877 the company had moved the business once more, this time to Cathedral Works, 12 Church Street, Liverpool, with additional offices at Piccadilly in London and Toronto, Canada. It was now known as the Russell Watch and Chronometer Manufactory and was listed in 1880 as “watch and chronometer manufacturers and machine made keyless lever and jewellery merchants” and additionally, “by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen and HRM the Duke of Edinburgh and the Admiralty”.

After Queen Victoria’s death, Thomas Russell still signed their watches “Makers to Queen Victoria” even though officially the warrant had ceased with the Queens death. This was tolerated for a time before they removed this from their watches.

Following the deaths of Thomas Robert and Alfred Holgate, Alfred’s son Bernard Holgate Russell and his cousin Thos Townsend Russell took over the company and the name of the business was changed in 1894 to Russells Limited. From this date it appears that they continued as retail jewellers with several branches in Liverpool and, by the early 1900’s, Manchester and Llandudno as well.

Bernard married and had a son Thomas Graham (1906-1999). In 1915 Bernard and Thos Townsend Russell invited Joseph Wright to become a fellow director of Thos Russell & Son. Joseph had extensive trade knowledge, travelled extensively and had business contacts in Switzerland and working experience with the famous American Illinois Watch Case Co.

The sons of these directors all seemed to have worked in and run the business in later years. During WW2 Joseph Wright kept the firm going despite wartime shortages of materials and men until the sons returned from the war. In about 1994 both the retail Liverpool Russells Ltd and the workshops and offices at 12 Church Street closed their doors for the last time.

Uterine Tumors Or Fibroid Tumors Do Not Mean Cancer!

Tumor can be a scary word. When a woman hears she has a tumor, even a benign tumor, she immediately thinks about the possibility of cancer. The fear of cancer is strong and very real. However, fibroid tumors and uterine tumors are NOT cancer!

If you have fibroids, you are not alone. Uterine tumors or fibroid tumors are found in about 40% of women between the ages of 35 and 55.

The risk that a benign fibroid tumor will develop cancerous cells is extremely low. In fact the chance that any tumor growing in the wall of the uterus is cancer is incredibly small.

By definition, fibroids are not malignant, they are not cancer, and they do not cause cancer, and they do not even increase the risk of having cancer. They are benign growths that appear in the uterus and can cause various symptoms, from mild to unbearable.

Fibroids can cause pain, put pressure on organs adjunct to the uterus (bladder, bowel) causing constipation and frequent urination, heavy menstrual bleeding, anemia, painful intercourse, infertility and complications during pregnancy. The most common and frightening symptom of fibroids is heavy bleeding.

So, the most important factor to consider when choosing between treatment options is the severity of the symptoms that they are causing. If there are no symptoms or they are not troublesome, no treatment is necessary.

In the past hysterectomies were often recommended for women with fibroids, but today various new treatments are available to control uncomfortable symptoms without surgery.

In fact, the risks and side effects of medical treatments for uterine fibroids usually outweigh the benefits, especially since there are many things that you can do to shrink your fibroids and restore your periods to normal with simple lifestyle modifications, especially nutritional changes.

Although the specific causes of fibroids are unknown, it is known that they are estrogen dependent, and hormone levels can affect their rate of growth to some extent. That is why fibroid tumors usually shrink during menopause. So adopting a healthy, anti-estrogen diet will help you shrink fibroid tumors and treat the symptoms.

If you think you can not possibly be eating foods full of estrogens, think again. Most conventional food is estrogenic. Meat and dairy products are loaded with hormones, and fruits and vegetables are sprayed with toxic pesticides. Once inside the body, they all mimic estrogen, which causes various hormonal disorders, that lead to fibroids, breast cancer, and other serious problems.

Exercise is another lifestyle factor that may lower your risk of getting fibroids.

Natural Pneumonia Treatment – Part 2

Young children (especially infants), older adults, and people who have compromised immune systems are very vulnerable to the potentially life-threatening effects of this illness. Pneumonia is now the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. No matter what the cause, pneumonia usually leaves the sufferer with the weakness that persists for four to eight weeks after the acute phase of the infection has resolved.

Unless otherwise specified, the dosages recommended here are for adults. For a child between the ages of twelve and seventeen, reduce the dose to three-quarters the recommended amount. For a child between six and twelve, use one-half the recommended dose, and for a child under the age of six, use one-quarter the recommended amount.

NATURAL HERBS FOR PNEUMONIA TREATMENT

– Astragalus gains the immune system.

– Clear Lungs from Ridgecrest Herbals is an herbal combination that helps provide relief from shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and wheezing due to bronchial congestion. It is available in two formulas: one with ephedra and the other without. They appear to be equally effective.

– Echinacea gains immunity.

– Ginger is an effective antimicrobial agent and is helpful for fever.

– Goldenseal and licorice root are antibiotics

Caution: Do not take goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than one week at a time, do not use it during pregnancy, and use it with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. Do not use licorice on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row, and avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
Lung Tonic from Herbs, etc. contains a variety of herbs that support the lungs.

MORE RECOMMENDATIONS

– See your health care provider if you suspect pneumonia. This is a potentially dangerous disease.
– Eat a diet consisting of raw fruits and vegetables.
– Take a protein supplement from vegetable source, such as a free-form amino acid complex. Amino acids are the building block proteins. Soy is excellent source of non-dairy protein.
– Drink plenty of fresh juices. Liquids help to thin the lung secretions. Fast on pure juices, fresh lemon juice, and distilled water.
– Include "green drinks: in your diet or take chlorophyll in tablet form. Earth Source Greens and more from – Solgar is a good green drink product.
– If you are taking antibiotics, take acidophilus capsule or liquid form three times each day.
– Exclude dairy products, sugar, and white flour products from your diet.
– Do not smoke.
– Use a cool mist from a humidifier or vaporizer to help ease breathing.
– Place a heating pad or a hot water bottle on your chest to tie pain.
– Consider using device called Air Supply from Wein Products. This is a personal air purifier that is worn around the neck. It kills and deactivates airborne viruses, bacteria, molds, and spores.
– To avoid passing the infection along to others dispose of secretions properly. Sneeze and / or cough into disposable tissues. Flush used tissues to discard them.
– Children with pneumonia have to be carefully monitored. If you suspect that your child may have pneumonia, seek medical advice immediately.

Effective natural pneumonia treatment recommended by almost European doctors is the self-administered oxygen therapy. The claim is so simple, microbes, harmful bacteria, and viruses such as pneumonia, cancer heart disease and even aids, do not cause the disease by themselves. They just thrive and spread in their natural habitat the oxygen – depleted body. The moment our body is depleted of oxygen it becomes acidic and normally all kinds of viruses and harmful bacteria thrive and reproduce exponentially. The body with sufficient supply of oxygen is uninhabitable by all kinds of diseases and viruses. Therefore, the recommended first line of defense is to keep the body always oxygenated. Take the time to explore and study this effective and controversial therapy

Contagious Nature Of Bronchitis – 16 Important Medical Facts

Bronchitis mans the chronic or acute soreness of our mucous membrane or the swilling in the tracheobronchial tree of our respiratory system. Tracheobronchial tree refers to the trachea or the windpipe & the bronchial tubes. This disease might or may not be contagious, depending on some circumstances.

Initially you must understand that there are two types of bronchitis – Chronic or the long term one and acute bronchitis or the short term one.

Here are some essential medical details of the bronchial disease:

1. The solemn features of acute bronchitis are productive cough, fever, hypertrophy and / or increased mucus secreting tissues, chills, sore throat, headache, runny nose, back aches and general malaise. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is the incapacitating ailment that is often caused by the persistent coughing along with a lot of production of phlegm and / or mucus by our glands of bronchi & trachea. In order to be called as the chronic bronchitis, the cough along with phlegm must persist continuously for nothing less than 3 months to two successful years.

2. Bronchitis both acute and chronic occur due to infections arising from bacteria, virus, and the environmental pollution (like chemical fumes, cigarette smoking, etc).

3. In order to diagnose bronchitis in a patient, the physician primarily notes down the health history of the patient. Then they make note of the signs of this disease. Further, the medical professional would auscultate and / or listen to the chest of the patient with the help of a stethoscope, to hear sounds of inflammation, wheezing in the lungs. The sounds vary greatly as these could be – crackling, moist wails and wheezing.

4. Wheezing is the sign of the narrowing of your air passages. Sound produced by the hair being rubbed with one another is called crackling. Moist wails are heard when bubbling of fluid secretions in our bronchial tubes takes place.

5. The sputum culture is ordered by the medical experts when they observe a suspicious color and / or streaks of blood. This test helps to identify the kind of infection and the type of bacteria and / or virus present in the patients' respiratory tracts. This way they are able to plan the treatment of the patient in a better way. To collect the sputum for this test the lab personnel tell the patient to breathe deeply. Then the patient has to cough out that phlegm in to a container. It is best done right in the morning prior to having breakfast and / or any sort of food intake. The results of this test come form the lab in about three days.

6. In case of the chronic bronchitis patients sometimes the doctors use bronchoscopy. This is a method of collecting sputum for testing but in an advanced manner. In this method, the patient is given a local anesthesia. Then a tube is inserted in to the respiratory tract of the patient in order to collect his / her sputum.

7. Further, the medical expert may also suggest to for chest x-ray done followed by blood tests.

8. With the results of these test the medical experts determine the right type of treatment for the patient and that his bronchitis is contagious or not. In case it is contagious, the medical experts there on on employ the precautionary measures.

9. Bronchitis of both the types acute as well as chronic can be contagious depending on their cause of occurrence. When bronchitis is caused due to some virus or bacteria, it becomes contagious.

10. The commonly known viruses that make bronchitis contagious are adenovirus, influenza virus, and mycoplasma pneumoniae.

11. Bronchitis can occur due to 2 types of influenza strains. These are – influenza A & influence B. Both these strains are avoidable in case the patient takes an annual doze of the influenza virus vaccine. This helps the individual become immunized against the virus.

12. Adenovirus can be one among the 49 medium sized viruses that belong to the family of Adenoviridae. These are pathogenic (that is disease causing) for the human body. These pathogens not only cause ailments in the human body's respiratory tract, but also become the reason for conjunctivitis, cystitis, and gastro-intestinal infections.

13. Mycplasma pneumoniae is known for being the most contagious for young children & adults.

14. Antibiotics are not effective by any means when the bronchitis is caused due to the virus. The viral infections are self-limiting. These might clear out with in 14 days only if the bronchitis has not yet become complicated.

15. In case the bronchitis is caused due to some underlying bacterial infection, the physician would most likely prescribe the antibiotic so as to kill the bacteria and prevent it from spreading towards the neighboring organisms. Usually, the patients take the anti-biotic medications just as prescribed by the doctor and readily accept the side effects.

16. It is always possible to keep away form such contagious ailments with a simple trick – live a healthy & hygienic lifestyle. The individuals must take the appropriate amount of nutrition in their diet. Take rest when you feel low, especially in the cold season. Wash your hands more often and regularly as this would prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. You must have very clean and hygienic surroundings to avoid bronchitis.

How To Formulate The Right Gift Certificate Wording

Wording for a gift certificate (also known as gift voucher) is difficult to get right. There are a few mandatory elements and some optional elements you want to include in a gift voucher. In addition to these standard elements, you might consider a few legal mentions to include in order to force certain restrictions on the usage of your gift voucher.

Mandatory elements

When you’re filing a gift certificate template, don’t forget to include the following elements:

  • name of your company
  • recipient’s name
  • voucher value (in dollars or your local currency) or service provided. This is the most sensitive element of the certificate. In particular, you don’t want for the customer to easily change the amount! So it’s better to have it printed rather than manually written.
  • certificate serial number. A serial number is important for multiple reasons, in particular to fight against fraud and to keep track of gift vouchers you’ve issued. By giving every gift voucher a unique number, you can easily verify that it has not been modified when the customer wants to redeem it. For example, you can have a tracking log associating serial number with its value, issuance date and customer name.

A few optional elements

  • purchaser’s name: probably a mandatory element for most vouchers!
  • personal message: this is a very nice way to personalize a certificate, by giving the possibility to the purchaser to add a custom message for the receiver.

Legal mentions

  • restriction for a certain type of service/product: if you want to offer a certificate for a specific service, mention “valid only for service X” or “to be used towards the purchase of X”.
  • no cash value. This will protect you against customers willing to redeem the certificate for cash (people will try to do that!). Mention “no cash value” or “not redeemable for cash” on the certificate.
  • non-transferability: if you want the certificate to be redeemed only by the person whose name is mentioned on the certificate, mention “non-transferrable” on the certificate.
  • certificate expiration: this might not be legal in your state/country. Check your legal regulations or an attorney for this. If it is legal, you might want to include a certificate expiration date, to avoid having certificates out in the open for years. One year from now is a good default. Mention “expiration date: 2012-03-17″.

Now you know what elements are important to come up with for a good gift certificate wording, so work your way through a gift certificate template and mix and match the different elements until you’re satisfied with the result!

Chronic Knee Dislocation – When Things Do not Line Up Right – Knee Braces That Can Help

How is your kneecap (patella) doing? Do you have problems with it being unstable?

Chronic knee dislocation is a term often used to describe a dislocation or displacement of the knee cap. It is different from a traumatic dislocation, which is a very serious matter, usually caused by severe trauma to the knee. With a traumatic knee dislocation, the upper and lower leg bones are separated at the knee, and significant damage is usually sustained to the structures both in and around the knee joint (ie torn ligaments, vascular injury, etc.). A traumatic dislocation is extremely painful, generally requires immediate medical attention, and often requires surgery to repair the damage to the joint. If you have any reason to suspect that you have a traumatic dislocation, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A chronic knee dislocation, on the other hand, is also quite painful, but in many instances, can be treated more conservatively.

With chronic knee dislocation, the knee cap (other called the patella) slips out of place and generally causes irritation, inflammation and a sensation that the knee is weak or "giving out." Basically, the triangular bone we know as the knee cap is designed to move smoothly over the top of the femur (upper leg bone), staying within a certain groove which nature designed for that purpose. When chronic knee cap dislocation occurs, the caprays outside of that groove, adversely affecting the other structures (ie muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) in and around the knee. Consequently, the knee does not bend properly, feels stiff, achy or painful, and may appear swollen. Your knee may also make a "popping" sound upon movement. This condition may come and go as the cap slips in and out of the groove, and the pain from chronic knee dislocation may vary in intensity.

Generally, if the condition becomes quite sufficient and if it significantly interposes with your activities, you may need to discuss your options, including possible surgery, with your physician. However, in the interim, the use of a brace may help relieve the condition and allow you to function more normally without experiencing frequent chronic knee dislocation.

Knee braces come in a variety of styles and types. Generally, though, one of the main purposes of a knee brace in this instance, is to keep your knee cap in its proper position within the femoral groove. A knee brace can also help lend support to the knee joint so that the pressure and stress that may contribute to chronic knee dislocation are somewhat relieved, making it less likely that the knee cap will be pulled out of alignment. Knee braces do allow for movement, and you can likely perform most, if not all, of your usual activities while wearing one. They are adjustable to fit most knee, are easy to use, and are relatively affordable, especially when compared to other treatment options, such as surgery or extensive therapy.

Cerebral Palsy Types

Cerebral palsy has affected over 500,000 children and adults throughout the country. Unfortunately this disorder has no cure. There are some treatments that will help to relieve some of the symptoms but for the most part it is not going to make it go away entirely.

Cerebral palsy affects the muscle tone, movement and motor skills. Generally the main cause of this disorder is brain damage that occurs during birth. But there are some instances that it has happened after birth.

Cerebral palsy has different types, the three different types are spastic cerebral palsy, athetoid cerebral palsy, and ataxic cerebral palsy.

Each of these types will affect you differently. Spastic will cause stiffness and make movement very difficult, they will be jerky moves rather then smooth. Athetoid causes random and involuntary movements through your entire body, including your face. Ataxic cerebral palsy will cause poor coordination of movements, and your balance and coordination will make it difficult to walk. This type of cerebral palsy is rare, but it does affect more then enough people.

No matter which type of cerebral palsy you have it will affect muscle control and coordination making the normal routines very difficult to do such as breathing, going to the bathroom, or eating. Living with cerebral palsy is extremely difficult, and it's also hard for the caretaker as well. It can easily become very frustrating, but it should be kept in mind that it's also very hard for the person that is dealing with the disorder. Someone suffering from cerebral palsy is not necessarily dumb, they just can not articulate themselves because of the part of their brain that the cerebral palsy has affected. Imagine if you all of a sudden was unable to speak that that mean you should be considered dumb. No you should not just because you all of a sudden was unable to communicate verbally does not mean that you are dumb. Keep that in mind.

It's important that you look into the many different treatments for cerebral palsy, because they will help to alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder. Some of these treatments will include physical therapy, speech therapy, and botox injections. I understand you may feel like what the point of doing therapy if it is not going to completely get rid of all the symptoms, but if you were given the chance to be able to function a bit easier would not you want to take advantage of it, and this is what some of these therapy treatments will do for you.

Unknown Sleep Paralysis Symptoms

Sleep paralysis is a state of awareness that a person enters before falling asleep or before waking. Shortly before entering the sleeping state your mind paralleled the body from 3 seconds to a few minutes. Also, during REM sleep, our body is equally imbalanced so that we do not act out our dreams and "fall off trees". There are 2 different entry points.

Hypnagogic or Predormital

Hypnagogic sleep paralysis occurs when a person tries to fall sleep. After relaxing all muscles and about to enter the "sleep state" that person becomes aware that he or she is paralyzed.

Hypnopompic or Postdormital

Hypnopompic sleep paralysis occurs after a person's REMs. Often occurring after lucid dreaming, a person becomes aware that he or she is paralyzed before leaving the REM state. This can cause numerous things from hearing & seeing strange things to a "chocking sensation."

There are numerous symptoms pointing to sleep paralysis. This page will confirm whether or not you have or may have it.

The first and most obvious symptom is having the sensation of being paralyzed without being able to wake yourself up. Often times people wake up and discard it as being some crazy dream without realizing that they in fact were paralyzed. An episode may last anywhere from 5 seconds to 3 minutes, maybe even longer if you fail to exit properly. During the longer episodes you gain consciousness of what's going on yet your senses are not 100% clear; your eyes can be blurred a little, your hearing is altered, and it still feels to some degree like a "dream".

The 3 most common symptoms are 1) consciousness of what's going on, 2) realization of the paralyzed state, 3) extreme horror.

It's difficult to control it because of the intensity of the horror that sleep paralysis sufferers experience is unbearable. In fact, when undergoing sleep paralysis, the person does in fact think that he or she is going to die. Of course, only after you know about and the causes of sleep paralysis that you can actually try to treat.

Here's a list of other reported symptoms:

* Buzzing noise in your ears
* Seeing the old hag, cartoon characters, and dream objects come to life in their room
* Shift gravity
* Sensation of something pressuring you
* Levitation
* Inability to speak / call out for help
* Choking sensation

This contributed to many of the night stories ancient cultures spread ranged from the old hag to demons, the devil, and other "evil" religious figures like witches. We have our own share of alien abduction stories many of which begin with "suddenly I could not move". Now you know that aliens are not probing you – during an episode superstitious religious people will see demons, alien believers will see aliens, and others will see cartoon characters, people, strange animals, and pretty much anything that your mind can come up with . Get more sleep paralysis symptoms information.

The Metaphors of the Net

I. The Genetic Blueprint

A decade after the invention of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee is promoting the "Semantic Web". The Internet hitherto is a repository of digital content. It has a rudimentary inventory system and very crude data location services. As a sad result, most of the content is invisible and inaccessible. Moreover, the Internet manipulates strings of symbols, not logical or semantic propositions. In other words, the Net compares values ​​but does not know the meaning of the values ​​it so manipulates. It is unable to interpret strings, to infer new facts, to deduce, induce, derive, or otherwise comprehend what it is doing. In short, it does not understand language. Run an ambiguous term by any search engine and these shortcomings become painfully evident. This lack of understanding of the semantic foundations of its raw material (data, information) prevent applications and databases from sharing resources and feeding each other. The Internet is discrete, not continuous. It resembles an archipelago, with users hopping from island to island in a frantic search for relevancy.

Even visionaries like Berners-Lee do not mean an "intelligent Web". They are simply suggesting to let users, content creators, and web developers assign descriptive meta-tags ("name of hotel") to fields, or to strings of symbols ("Hilton"). These meta-tags (arranged in semantic and relational "ontologies" – lists of metatags, their meanings and how they relate to each other) will be read by various applications and allow them to process the associated strings of symbols correctly (place the word " Hilton "in your address book under" hotels "). This will make information retrieval more efficient and reliable and the information retrieved is bound to be more relevant and amenable to higher level processing (statistics, the development of heuristic rules, etc.). The shift is from HTML (which tags are concerned with visual appearance and content indexing) to languages ​​such as the DARPA Agent Markup Language, OIL (Ontology Inference Layer or Ontology Interchange Language), or even XML (which tags are concerned with content taxonomy, document structure, and semantics). This would bring the Internet closer to the classic library card catalog.

Even in its current, pre-semantic, hyperlink-dependent, phase, the Internet brings to mind Richard Dawkins' seminal work "The Selfish Gene" (OUP, 1976). This would be doubly true for the Semantic Web.

Dawkins recommended to generalize the principle of natural selection to a law of the survival of the stable. "A stable thing is a collection of atoms which is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name". He then proceeded to describe the emergence of "Replicators" – molecules which created copies of themselves. The Replicators that survived in the competition for scarce raw materials were characterized by high longevity, fecundity, and copying-fidelity. Replicators (now known as "genes") constructed "survival machines" (organizations) to shield them from the vagaries of an ever-harsher environment.

This is very reminiscent of the Internet. The "stable things" are HTML coded web pages. They are replicators – they create copies of themselves every time their "web address" (URL) is clicked. The HTML coding of a web page can be thought of as "genetic material". It contains all the information needed to reproduce the page. And, exactly as in nature, the higher the longevity, fecundity (measured in links to the web page from other web sites), and copying-fidelity of the HTML code – the higher ones chances to survive (as a web page).

Replicator molecules (DNA) and replicator HTML have one thing in common – they are both packaged information. In the appropriate context (the right biochemical "soup" in the case of DNA, the right software application in the case of HTML code) – this information generates a "survival machine" (organism, or a web page).

The Semantic Web will only increase the longevity, fecundity, and copying-fidelity or the underlying code (in this case, OIL or XML instead of HTML). By facilitating many more interactions with many other web pages and databases – the underlying "replicator" code will ensure the "survival" of "its" web page (= its survival machine). In this analogy, the web page's "DNA" (its OIL or XML code) contains "single genes" (semantic meta-tags). The whole process of life is the unfolding of a kind of Semantic Web.

In a prophetic paragraph, Dawkins described the Internet:

"The first thing to forgive about a modern replicator is that it is highly gregarious. A survival machine is a vehicle containing not just one gene but many thousands. disentangle the contribution of one gene from that of another. A given gene will have many different effects on quite different parts of the body. many others … In terms of the analogy, any given page of the plans makes reference to many different parts of the building; and each page makes sense only in terms of cross-reference to numerous other pages. "

What Dawkins neglected in his important work is the concept of the Network. People congregate in cities, mate, and reproduce, thus providing genes with new "survival machines". But Dawkins himself claimed that the new Replicator is the "meme" – an idea, belief, technique, technology, work of art, or bit of information. Memes use human brains as "survival machines" and they hop from brain to brain and across time and space ("communications") in the process of cultural (as distinct from biological) evolution. The Internet is a litter day meme-hopping playground. But, more importantly, it is a Network. Genes move from one container to another through a linear, serial, tedious process which involves prolonged periods of one on one gene shuffling ("sex") and gestation. Memes use networks. Their propagation is, therefore, parallel, fast, and all-pervasive. The Internet is a manifestation of the growing predominance of memes over genes. And the Semantic Web may be to the Internet what Artificial Intelligence is to classic computing. We may be on the threshold of a self-aware Web.

2. The Internet as a Chaotic Library

A. The Problem of Cataloging

The Internet is an assortment of billions of pages which contain information. Some of them are visible and others are generated from hidden databases by users' requests ("Invisible Internet").

The Internet exhibits no discernible order, classification, or categorization. Amazingly, as opposed to "classical" libraries, no one has yet invented a (sorely needed) Internet cataloging standard (remember Dewey?). Some sites indeed apply the Dewey Decimal System to their contents (Suite101). Others default to a directory structure (Open Directory, Yahoo !, Look Smart and others).

Had such a standard implemented (an agreed upon numerical cataloging method) – each site could have self-classified. Sites would have an interest to do so to increase their visibility. This, naturally, would have eliminated the need for today's clunky, incomplete and (highly) inefficient search engines.

Thus, a site which number starts with 900 will be immediately identified as dealing with history and multiple classification will be encouraged to allow finer cross-sections to emerge. An example of such an emerging technology of "self classification" and "self-publication" (although limited to scholarly resources) is the "Academic Resource Channel" by Scindex.

Moreover, users will not be required to remember reams of numbers. Future browsers will be akin to catalogs, very much like the applications used in modern day libraries. Compare this utopia to the current dystopy. Users struggle with mounds of irrelevant material to finally reach a partial and disappointing destination. At the same time, there are likely web sites which exactly match the poor user's needs. Yet, what currently determines the chances of a happy encounter between user and content – are the whims of the specific search engine used and things like meta-tags, headlines, a fee paid, or the right opening sentences.

B. Screen vs. Page

The computer screen, because of physical limitations (size, the fact that it has to be scrolled) fails to effectively compete with the printed page. The latter is still the most ingenious medium yet invented for the storage and release of textual information. Granted: a computer screen is better at highlighting discrete units of information. So, these varying capacities draw the battle lines: structures (printed pages) versus units (screen), the continuous and easily reversible (print) versus the discrete (screen).

The solution lies in finding an efficient way to translate computer screens to printed matter. It is hard to believe, but no such thing exists. Computer screens are still hostile to off-line printing. In other words: if a user copies information from the Internet to his word processor (or vice versa, for that matter) – he ends up with a fragmented, garbage-filled and non-aesthetic document.

Very few site developers try to do something about it – even fewer succeed.

C. Dynamic vs. Static Interactions

One of the biggest mistakes of content providers is that they do not provide a "static-dynamic interaction".

Internet-based content can now easily interact with other media (eg, CD-ROMs) and with non-PC platforms (PDA's, mobile phones).

Examples abound:

A CD-ROM shopping catalog interfaces with a Web site to allow the user to order a product. The catalog could also be updated through the site (as is the practice with CD-ROM encyclopedias). The advantages of the CD-ROM are clear: very fast access time (dozens of times faster than the access to a web site using a dial up connection) and a data storage capacity hundreds of times larger than the average Web page.

Another example:

A PDA plug-in disposable chip containing hundreds of advertisements or a "yellow pages". The consumer selects the ad or entry that she wanted to see and connects to the Internet to view a relevant video. She could then also have an interactive chat (or a conference) with a salesperson, receive information about the company, about the ad, about the advertising agency which created the ad – and so on.

CD-ROM based encyclopaedias (such as the Britannica, or the Encarta) already contain hyperlinks which carry the user to sites selected by an Editorial Board.

Note

CD-ROMs are probably a doomed medium. Storage capacity continuously increases exponentially and, within a year, desks with 80 Gb hard disks will be a common sight. Moreover, the much heralded Network Computer – the stripped down version of the personal computer – will put at the disposal of the average user terabytes in storage capacity and the processing power of a supercomputer. What separates computer users from this utopia is the communication bandwidth. With the introduction of radio and satellite broadband services, DSL and ADSL, cable modems coupled with advanced compression standards – video (on demand), audio and data will be available speedily and plentifully.

The CD-ROM, on the other hand, is not mobile. It requires installation and the utilization of sophisticated hardware and software. This is no user friendly push technology. It is nerd-oriented. As a result, CD-ROMs are not an immediate medium. There is a long time lapse between the moment of purchase and the moment the user accesses the data. Compare this to a book or a magazine. Data in these oldest of media is instantly available to the user and they allow for easy and accurate "back" and "forward" functions.

Perhaps the biggest mistake of CD-ROM manufacturers has been their inability to offer an integrated hardware and software package. CD-ROMs are not compact. A Walkman is a compact hardware-cum-software package. It is easily transportable, it is thin, it contains numerous, user-friendly, sophisticated functions, it provides immediate access to data. So does the discman, or the MP3-man, or the new generation of e-books (eg, E-Ink's). This can not be said about the CD-ROM. By tying its future to the obsolete concept of stand-alone, expensive, inefficient and technologically unsustainable personal computers – CD-ROMs have sent themselves to oblivion (with the possible exception of reference material).

D. Online Reference

A visit to the on-line Encyclopaedia Britannica demonstrates some of the tremendous, mind boggling abilities of online reference – as well as some of the obstacles.

Each entry in this mammoth work of reference is hyperlinked to relevant Web sites. The sites are carefully screened. Links are available to data in various formats, including audio and video. Everything can be copied to the hard disk or to a R / W CD.

This is a new conception of a knowledge center – not just a heap of material. The content is modular and continuously enriched. It can be linked to a voice Q & A center. Queries by subscribers can be answered by e-mail, by fax, posted on the site, hard copies can be sent by post. This "Trivial Pursuit" or "homework" service could be very popular – there is a suitable appetite for "Just in Time Information". The Library of Congress – together with a few other libraries – is in the process of making just such a service available to the public (CDRS – Collaborative Digital Reference Service).

E. Derivative Content

The Internet is an intense reservoir of archives of freely accessible, or even public domain, information.

With a minimum investment, this information can be collected into coherent, theme oriented, cheap compilations (on CD-ROMs, print, e-books or other media).

F. E-Publishing

The Internet is by far the world's largest publishing platform. It incorporates Frequently Asked Questions (Q & A's regarding almost every technical matter in the world), e-zines (electronic magazines), the electronic versions of print dailies and periodicals (in conjuction with on-line news and information services), reference material, e-books , monographs, articles, minutes of discussions ("threads"), conference proceedings, and much more besides.

The Internet represents major advantages to publishers. Consider the electronic version of a p-zine.

Publishing an e-zine promotes the sales of the printed edition, it helps sign on subscribers and it leads to the sale of advertising space. The electronic archive function (see next section) saves the need to file back issues, the physical space required to do so and the irritating search for data items.

The future trend is a combined subscription to both the electronic edition (mainly for the archive value and the ability to hyperlink to additional information) and to the print one (easier to browse the current issue). The Economist is already offering free access to its electronic archives as an introduction to its print subscribers.

The electronic daily presentations other advantages:

It allows for immediate feedback and for flowing, almost real-time, communication between writers and readers. The electronic version, therefore, acquires a gyroscopic function: a navigation instrument, always indicating deviations from the "right" course. The content can be immediately updated and breaking news incorporated in older content.

Special hand held devices already allow for downloading and storage of vast quantities of data (up to 4000 print pages). The user gains access to libraries containing hundreds of texts, adapted to be downloaded, stored and read by the specific device. Again, a convergence of standards is to be expected in this field as well (the final contenders will probably be Adobe's PDF against Microsoft's MS-Reader).

Currently, e-books are dichotomously treated either as:

Continuation of print books (p-books) by other means, or as a whole new publishing universe.

Since p-books are a more convenient medium then e-books – they will prevail in any straightforward "medium replacement" or "medium displacement" battle.

In other words, if publishers will persist in the simple and straightforward conversion of p-books to e-books – then e-books are doomed. They are simply inferior and can not offer the comfort, tactile delights, browseability and scanability of p-books.

But e-books – being digital – open up a vista of hitherto neglected possibilities. These will only be enhanced and enriched by the introduction of e-paper and e-ink. Among them:

  • Hyperlinks within the e-book and without it – to web content, reference works, etc .;
  • Embedded instant shopping and ordering links;
  • Divergent, user-interactive, decision driven plotlines;
  • Interaction with other e-books (using a wireless standard) – collaborative authoring or reading groups;
  • Interaction with other e-books – gaming and community activities;
  • Automatically or periodically updated content;
  • Multimedia;
  • Database, Priorities, Annotations, and History Maintenance (archival records of reading habits, shopping habits, interaction with other readers, plot related decisions and much more);
  • Automatic and embedded audio conversion and translation capabilities;
  • Full wireless piconetworking and scatternetworking capabilities.
  • The technology is still not fully there. Wars rage in both the wireless and the e-book realms. Platforms compete. Standards clash. Gurus debate. But convergence is inevitable and with it the e-book of the future.

G. The Archive Function

The Internet is also the world's largest cemetery: tens of thousands of deadbeat sites, still accessible – the "Ghost Sites" of this electronic frontier.

This, in a way, is collective memory. One of the Internet's main functions will be to preserve and transfer knowledge through time. It is called "memory" in biology – and "archive" in library science. The history of the Internet is being documented by search engines (Google) and specialized services (Alexa) alike.

3. The Internet as a Collective Nervous System

Drawing a comparison from the development of a human infant – the human race has just completed to develop its neural system.

The Internet fulfils all the functions of the Nervous System in the body and is, both functionally and structurally, pretty similar. It is decentralized, redundant (each part can serve as functional backup in case of malfunction). It hosts information which is accessible through various paths, it contains a memory function, it is multimodal (multimedia – textual, visual, audio and animation).

I believe that the comparison is not beneficial and that studying the functions of the brain (from infancy to adulthood) is likely to shed light on the future of the Net itself. The Net – exactly like the nervous system – provides pathways for the transport of goods and services – but also of memes and information, their processing, modeling, and integration.

A. The Collective Computer

Carrying the metaphor of "a collective brain" further, we would expect the processing of information to take place on the Internet, rather than inside the end-user's hardware (the same way that information is processed in the brain, not in the eyes) . Desktops will receive results and communicate with the Net to receive additional clarification and instructions and to convey information gathered from their environment (mostly, from the user).

Put differently:

In future, servers will contain not only information (as they do today) – but also software applications. The user of an application will not be forced to buy it. He will not be driven into hardware-related expenses to accommodate the ever growing size of applications. He will not find himself wasting his scarce memory and computing resources on passive storage. Instead, he will use a browser to call a central computer. This computer will contain the needed software, broken to its elements (= applets, small applications). Anytime the user desires to use one of the functions of the application, he will siphon it off the central computer. When finished – he will "return" it. Processing times and response times will be such that the user will not feel at all that he is not interacting with his own software (the question of ownership will be very blurred). This technology is available and it provided a heated discussion about the future shape of the computing industry as a whole (desktops – really power packs – or network computers, a little more than dumb terminals). Access to online applications are already offered to corporate users by ASPs (Application Service Providers).

In the last few years, scientists have harnessed the combined power of online PC's to perform astounding feats of distributed parallel processing. Millions of PCs connected to the net co-process signals from outer space, meteorological data, and solve complex equations. This is a prime example of a collective brain in action.

B. The Intranet – a Logical Extension of the Collective Computer

LANs (Local Area Networks) are no longer a rarity in corporate offices. WANs (wide Area Networks) are used to connect geographically dispersed organizations of the same legal entity (branches of a bank, daughter companies of a conglomerate, a sales force). Many LANs and WANs are going wireless.

The wireless intranet / extranet and LANs are the wave of the future. They will gradually eliminate their fixed line counterparts. The Internet offers equal, platform-independent, location-independent and time of day – independent access to corporate memory and nervous system. Sophisticated firewall security applications protect the privacy and confidentiality of the intranet from all but the most determined and savvy crackers.

The Intranet is an inter-organizational communication network, constructed on the platform of the Internet and it, therefore, enjoys all its advantages. The extranet is open to clients and suppliers as well.

The company's server can be accessed by anyone authorized, from anywhere, at any time (with local – rather than international – communication costs). The user can leave messages (internal e-mail or v-mail), access information – proprietary or public – from it, and participate in "virtual teamwork" (see next chapter).

The development of measures to secure server routed inter-organizational communication (firewalls) is the solution to one of two obstacles to the institutionalization of Intranets. The second problem is the limited bandwidth which does not permit the efficient transfer of audio (not to mention video).

It is difficult to conduct video conferencing through the Internet. Even the voices of discussants who use internet phones (IP telephony) come out (though very slightly) distorted.

All this did not prevent 95% of the Fortune 1000 from installing intranet. 82% of the rest intended to install one by the end of this year. Medium to big size American firms have 50-100 intranet terminals per every internet one.

One of the greatest advantages of the intranet is the ability to transfer documents between the various parts of an organization. Consider Visa: it pushed 2 million documents per day internally in 1996.

An organization equipped with an intranet can (while protected by firewalls) give its clients or suppliers access to non-classified compliance, or inventory systems. Many B2B exchanges and industry-specific purchasing management systems are based on extranets.

C. The Transport of Information – Mail and Chat

The Internet (its e-mail function) is eroding traditional mail. 90% of customers with on-line access use e-mail from time to time and 60% work with it regularly. More than 2 billion messages traverse the internet daily.

E-mail applications are available as freeware and are included in all browsers. Thus, the Internet has completely assimilated what used to be a separate service, to the extent that many people make the mistake of thinking that e-mail is a feature of the Internet.

The internet will do to phone calls what it has done to mail. Already there are applications (Intel's, Vocaltec's, Net2Phone) which enable the user to conduct a phone conversation through his computer. The voice quality has improved. The discussants can cut into each others words, argument and listen to tonal nuances. Today, the parties (two or more) engaging in the conversation must possess the same software and the same (computer) hardware. In the very near future, computer-to-regular phone applications will eliminate this requirement. And, again, simultaneous multi-modality: the user can talk over the phone, see his party, send e-mail, receive messages and transfer documents – without obstructive the flow of the conversation.

The cost of transferring voice will become so negligible that free voice traffic is conceivable in 3-5 years. Data traffic will overtake voice traffic by a wide margin.

The next phase will probably involve virtual reality. Each of the parties will be represented by an "avatar", a 3-D figurine generated by the application (or the user's likeness mapped and superimposed on the avatar). These figurines will be multi-dimensional: they will possess their own communication patterns, special habits, history, preferences – in short: their own "personality".

Thus, they will be able to maintain an "identity" and a consistent pattern of communication which they will develop over time.

Such a figure could host a site, accept, welcome and guide visitors, all the time bearing their preferences in its electronic "mind". It could narrate the news, like the digital anchor "Ananova" does. Visiting sites in the future is bound to be a much more pleasant affair.

D. The Transport of Value – E-cash

In 1996, four corporate giants (Visa, MasterCard, Netscape and Microsoft) agreed on a standard for effecting secure payments through the Internet: SET. Internet commerce is supposedly to mushroom to $ 25 billion by 2003. Site owners will be able to collect rent from passing visitors – or fees for services provided within the site. Amazon instituted an honor system to collect donors from visitors. PayPal provides millions of users with cash substitutes. Gradually, the Internet will compete with central banks and banking systems in money creation and transfer.

E. The Transport of Interactions – The Virtual Organization

The Internet allows for simultaneous communication and the efficient transfer of multimedia (video included) files between an unlimited number of users. This opens up a vista of mind boggling opportunities which are the real core of the Internet revolution: the virtual collaborative ("Follow the Sun") modes.

Examples:

A group of musicians is able to compose music or play it – while spatially and temporally separated;

Advertising agencies are able to co-produce ad campaigns in a real time interaction;

Cinema and TV films are produced from disparate geographical spots through the teamwork of people who never meet, except through the Net.

These examples illustrate the concept of the "virtual community". Space and time will no longer hinder team collaboration, be it scientific, artistic, cultural, or an ad hoc arrangement for the provision of a service (a virtual law firm, or accounting office, or a virtual consultancy network). The intranet can also be thought of as a "virtual organization", or a "virtual business".

The virtual mall and the virtual catalog are prime examples of spatial and temporal liberalization.

In 1998, there were well over 300 active virtual halls on the Internet. In 2000, they were frequented by 46 million shoppers, who shopped in them for goods and services.

The virtual mall is an Internet "space" (pages) wherein "shops" are located. These shops offer their wares using visual, audio and textual means. The visitor passes through a virtual "gate" or storefront and examines the merchandise on offer, until he reaches a buying decision. Then he engages in a feedback process: he pays (with a credit card), buys the product, and waits for it to arrive by mail (or downloads it).

The manufacturers of digital products (intellectual property such as e-books or software) have begun selling their merchandise on-line, as file downloads. Yet, slow communications reasons, competitive file formats and reader standards, and limited bandwidth – constrain the growth potential of this mode of sale. Once resolved – intellectual property will be sold directly from the Net, on-line. Until such time, the mediation of the Post Office is still required. As long as this is the state of the art, the virtual mall is nothing but a glorified computerized mail catalog or Buying Channel, the only difference being the exceptionally varied inventory.

Websites which started as "specialty stores" are fast transforming them into multi-purpose virtualalls. Amazon.com, for instance, has bought into a virtual pharmacy and into other virtual businesses. It is now selling music, video, electronics and many other products. It started as a bookstore.

This contrasts with a much more creative idea: the virtual catalog. It is a form of narrowcasting (as opposed to broadcasting): a surgically accurate targeting of potential consumer audiences. Each group of profiled consumers (no matter how small) is fitted with their own – digitally generated – catalog. This is updated daily: the variety of wares on offer (adjusted to reflect inventory levels, consumer preferences, and goods in transit) – and prices (sales, discounts, package deals) change in real time. Amazon has incorporated many of these features on its web site. The user enters its web site and there delineates his consumption profile and his preferences. A customized catalog is immediately generated for him including specific recommendations. The history of his purchases, preferences and responses to feedback questions is accumulated in a database. This intellectual property may well be Amazon's main asset.

There is no technological obstacles to implementing this vision today – only administrative and legal (patent) ones. Big brick and mortar retail stores are not up to processing the flood of data expected to result. They also remain highly skeptical regarding the feasibility of the new medium. And privacy issues prevent data mining or the effective collection and usage of personal data (remember the case of Amazon's 'Readers' Circles ").

The virtual catalog is a private case of a new Internet off-shoot: the "smart (shopping) agents". These are AI applications with "long memories".

They draw detailed profiles of consumers and users and then suggest purchases and refer to the appropriate sites, catalogs, or virtual malls.

They also provide price comparisons and the new generation cannot be blocked or fooled by using differing product categories.

In the future, these agents will cover also brick and mortar retail chains and, in conjunction with wireless, location-specific services, issue a map of the branch or store closest to an address specified by the user (the default being his residence), or yielded by his GPS enabled wireless mobile or PDA. This technology can be seen in action in a few music sites on the web and is likely to be dominant with wireless internet appliances. The owner of an internet enabled (third generation) mobile phone is likely to be the target of geographically-specific marketing campaigns, ads and special offers pertaining to his current location (as reported by his GPS – satellite Geographic Positioning System).

F. The Transport of Information – Internet News

Internet news are advantaged. They are frequently and dynamically updated (unlike static print news) and are always accessible (similar to print news), immediate and fresh.

The future will witness a form of interactive news. A special "corner" in the news Web site will accommodate "breaking news" posted by members of the the public (or corporate press releases). This will provide readers with a glimpse into the making of the news, the raw material news are made of. The same technology will be applied to interactive TVs. Content will be downloaded from the internet and displayed as an overlay on the TV screen or in a box in it. The contents downloaded will be directly connected to the TV programming. Thus, the biography and track record of a football player will be displayed during a football match and the history of a country when it gets news coverage.

4. Terra Internetica – Internet, an Unknown Continent

Laymen and experts alike talk about "sites" and "advertising space". Yet, the Internet was never compared to a new continent whose surface is infinite.

The Internet has its own real estate developers and construction companies. The real life equivalents derive their profits from the scarcity of the resource that they exploit – the Internet counterparts derive their profits from the tenants (content producers and distributors, e-tailers, and others).

Entrepreneurs bought "Internet Space" (pages, domain names, portals) and leveraged their acquisition commercially by:

  • Renting space out;
  • Constructing infrastructure on their property and selling it;
  • Providing an intelligent gateway, entry point (portal) to the rest of the internet;
  • Selling advertising space which subsidizes the tenants (Yahoo!-Geocities, Tripod and others);
  • Cybersquatting (purchasing specific domain names identical to brand names in the "real" world) and then selling the domain name to an interested party.
  • Internet Space can be easily purchased or created. The investment is low and getting lower with the introduction of competition in the field of domain registration services and the increase in the number of top domains.

Then, infrastructure can be erected – for a shopping mall, for free home pages, for a portal, or for another purpose. It is precisely this infrastructure that the developer can later sell, lease, franchise, or rent out.

But this real estate bubble was the culmination of a long and tortuous process.

At the beginning, only members of the fringes and the avant-garde (inventors, risk assuming entrepreneurs, gamblers) invest in a new invention. No one knows to say what are the optimal uses of the invention (in other words, what is its future). Many – mostly members of the scientific and business elites – argue that there is no real need for the invention and that it substitutes a new and untried way for old and tried modes of doing the same things (so why assume the risk of investing in the unknown and the untried?).

Moreover, these criticisms are usually well-founded.

To start with, there is, indeed, no need for the new medium. A new medium invents itself – and the need for it. It also generates its own market to satisfy this newly found need.

Two prime examples of this self-recursive process are the personal computer and the compact disc.

When the PC was invented, its uses were completely unclear. Its performance was lacking, its abilities limited, it was unbearably user unfriendly. It suffered from faulty design, was absent any user comfort and ease of use and required considerable professional knowledge to operate. The worst part was that this knowledge was exclusive to the new invention (not portable). It reduced labour mobility and limited one's professional horizons. There were many gripes among workers assigned to tame the new beast. Managers regarded it at best as a nuisance.

The PC was thought of, at the beginning, as a sophisticated gaming machine, an electronic baby-sitter. It included a keyboard, so it was thought of in terms of a glorified typewriter or spreadsheet. It was used mainly as a word processor (and the outlay justified solely on these grounds). The spreadsheet was the first real PC application and it demonstrated the advantages inherent to this new machine (mainly flexibility and speed). Still, it was more of the same. A speedier sliding ruler. After all, said the unconvinced, what was the difference between this and a hand held calculator (some of them already had computing, memory and programming features)?

The PC was recognized as a medium only 30 years after it was invented with the introduction of multimedia software. All this time, the computer continued to spin off markets and secondary markets, needs and professional specialties. The talk as always was centred on how to improve on existing markets and solutions.

The Internet is the computer's first important application. Hitherto the computer was only quantitatively different to other computing or gaming devices. Multimedia and the Internet have made it qualitatively superior, sui generis, unique.

Part of the problem was that the Internet was invented, is maintained and is operated by computer professionals. For decades these people have been conditioned to think in Olympic terms: faster, stronger, higher – not in terms of the new, the unprecedented, or the non-existent. Engineers are trained to improve – seldom to invent. With few exceptions, its creators stumbled across the Internet – it invented itself despite them.

Computer professionals (hardware and software experts alike) – are linear thinkers. The Internet is non linear and modular.

It is still the age of hackers. There is still a lot to be done in improving technological prowess and powers. But their control of the contents is waning and they are being gradually replaced by communicators, creative people, advertising executives, psychologists, venture capitalists, and the totally unpredictable masses who flock to flaunt their home pages and graphomania.

These all are attuned to the user, his mental needs and his information and entertainment preferences.

The compact disc is a different tale. It was intentionally invented to improve upon an existing technology (basically, Edison's Gramophone). Market-wise, this was a major gamble. The improvement was, at first, debatable (many said that the sound quality of the first generation of compact discs was inferior to that of its contemporaneous record players). Consumers had to be convinced to change both software and hardware and to dish out thousands of dollars just to listen to what the manufacturers claimed was more a authentically reproduced sound. A better argument was the longer life of the software (though when contrasted with the limited life expectancy of the consumer, some of the first sales pitches sounded absolutely morbid).

The computer suffered from unclear positioning. The compact disc was very clear as to its main functions – but had a rough time convincing the consumers that it was needed.

Every medium is first controlled by the technical people. Gutenberg was a printer – not a publisher. Yet, he is the world's most famous publisher. The technical cadre is joined by dubious or small-scale entrepreneurs and, together, they establish ventures with no clear vision, market-oriented thinking, or orderly plan of action. The legislator is also dumbfounded and does not grasp what is happening – thus, there is no legislation to regulate the use of the medium. Witness the initial confusion concerning copyrighted vs. licenced software, e-books, and the copyrights of ROM embedded software. Abuse or under-utilization of resources grow. The sale of radio frequencies to the first cellular phone operators in the West – a situation which repeats itself in Eastern and Central Europe nowadays – is an example.

But then more complex transactions – exactly as in real estate in "real life" – begin to emerge. The Internet is likely to converge with "real life". It is likely to be dominated by brick and mortar entities which are likely to import their business methods and management. As its eccentric past (the dot.com boom and the dot.bomb bust) recedes – a sustainable and profitable future awaits it.