Video: Christmas Tree Napkin Folding

Watch video at You Tube (2:09 minutes) . . . . .

Braised Beef with Red Wine


l kg beef blade steak, chopped
all-purpose flour, for dusting
1/4 cup olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red wine
2-1/2 cups beef stock
400 g can crushed tomatoes
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
sea salt and cracked black pepper
mashed potato, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Place the beef and flour in a bowl and toss to coat, shaking off any excess.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add the meat and cook for 3-4 minutes or until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Gradually add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes or until reduced by half.
  5. Return the beef to the pan and add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and cook in the oven for 1-1/2 hours or until the beef is tender. Serve with potato mash, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Donna Hay magazine

Infographic: What Too Little Sleep Does to Your Body

See large image . . . . .

Source: Business Insider

In Pictures: Foods Served at Lunches in Restaurants Around Kanagawa, Japan

Asian and Western Dishes

Opinion: The Future of Medicine Is An Information Revolution

With healthcare costs skyrocketing in the United States, many people are wondering what the future holds when it comes to medical innovation. In a recent Financial Sense podcast (see here), we spoke with Dr. Eric Topol, a practicing cardiologist and professor of genomics on his latest book, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands.

Dr. Topol describes the medical industry facing a “Gutenberg Moment,” where information technology is revolutionizing modern medicine in ways similar to how the printing press changed society in the 1400s. Before the printing press came along, no one except the elite and priests could read or access treasured information records (in this case religious manuscripts), Dr. Topol noted. The printed word allowed average people to learn to read, and civilization was transformed.

“Basically, that’s what we have now in the medical sphere,” he added. “Until now, the consumer and the public really were ill-informed. It was hard to get information, and they certainly weren’t generating the information.”

Now that’s all changing, as smartphones and digital infrastructure are allowing individuals to gather and control their own medical information, and this is really going to shift healthcare in a major way, Dr. Topol said. There are 12 similarities between the introduction of the Gutenberg Press and the smartphone, he noted in his book.

Both technologies caused an explosion of knowledge and innovation. Both promote individualism and revolution, and both form the basis of many social networks. The Gutenberg Press and smartphones also spread ideas and creativity, promote a do-it-yourself mentality, and lead to a marked reduction in time and costs (copying manuscripts by hand was extremely time-intensive), among other benefits and disruptions, Dr. Topol discussed in the interview.

“When you unleash information – in this case medical information – you spawn innovation,” he said. “That’s what we’re seeing now. We’re seeing an amazing amount of sensors capturing data that was previously unobtainable, such as your blood pressure, oxygen while you’re sleeping, brainwaves … you name it.”

Inexpensive chips are making it possible for consumers to have access to technology in new ways. Different types of sensors, including wearables, semi-wearables that can be used intermittently, and even non-contact sensors are allowing tracking of various health metrics on multiple levels, Dr. Topol said. Ingestible sensors are becoming available that allow for tracking medicine usage, for example.

Because these sensors are so common now, nearly every condition can be tracked in a way we’ve never been able to do before. But that’s just the beginning, and sensors are only one aspect of the revolution that’s unfolding.

“There’s also the ability to do all routine labs through a smartphone … with a droplet of blood,” he said. “There’s also the ability to do most of the physical examinations through smartphone attachments. So much of medicine is being changed by having mobile devices, and these … extraordinary digital capabilities that we have today.”

The biggest issue Dr. Topol sees is the public’s general lack of awareness regarding these changes. He believes we have a ways to go before the new technologies take hold.

Interestingly, major technology companies are already behind this new trend, he added. Dr. Topol actually advises many players in the field regarding technology changes. He pointed out that the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, Facebook, IBM, and others are already involved in the burgeoning sector.

“That has never happened before,” he said. “We’re seeing this conversion of tech and medicine, and we need it. We need the big titans to help make this happen.”

Medicine is morphing into a data science, he stated, with Big Data, predictive analytics, machine learning, augmented reality, and neuromorphic computing coming into play to change the field.

Some people prefer traditional medical practice where doctor knows best, he added, but he feels that the vast majority of people want to have a more active role in tracking their health.

“It’s an opt-in story,” he said. “Not everyone will want it, but the fact is this is going to be highly popular for a majority of people, who will be not just engaged, but driving their healthcare for the first time.”

The preventive aspect of this type of data collection is also important to consider. This is something current medicine hasn’t done very well, Dr. Topol noted. There are somewhere around 12 million serious errors and medical mistakes now, and the fourth leading cause of death is adverse effects from medications, he said.

“We’ve got a lot of problems,” Dr. Topol added. “We’re spending 3 trillion dollars a year, and look what we have to show for it. The United States is ranked 37th … in terms of quality of healthcare.”

This represents a revolution in medicine, and it will hopefully lead to vast improvements in outcomes for patients, but also reduce the overall cost of healthcare, he said. He’s most excited about new technology allowing us to predict and preempt illnesses.

For example, we will be able to at some point to look at an individual’s data and warn them of an impending asthma attack, seizure, or even a heart attack. Sensors are now available that are capable of capturing nearly any type of physiological data, from blood pressure and heart rhythm, to respiratory rate, oxygen concentration in the blood, and cardiac output, Dr. Topol noted.

Technology is leading to the development of a sort of physiological information system for humans, similar to what geographic information systems have done for understanding physical spaces and underlying interactions on a large scale.

“You can look at various layers of information … and we can do that now with the human body,” he said. “We (can create) … a medical map … where we look at the external features, the physiology through sensors, the anatomy through scans, the DNA sequence and along with that all proteins and metabolites of each individual … When you have all these layers of information for each individual, it’s a new day.”

Source: Financial Sense

Today’s Comic