Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dolphin Diving in Zanzibar

Another very late Africa trip post but I want to get the last of the trip photos up before a whole new year begins.

We took a dive off the coast of Zanzibar in an area that was supposed to be too far north to sight dolphins but still a great dive site. After we completed our first dive, having seen loads of amazing colourful fish, a large family of dolphins came swimming into our area!

Our captain turned the boat and told us to get our masks and snorkels on. We dove off the side of the boat to intercept the school and got some really amazing up close experience with the grey bottlenose dolphins!

After touring the islands we stopped in Stonetown. In the days of tall sailing ships, Stonetown was a huge trading port for spices grown in the area.

The winding narrow streets are filled with people instead of cars and the huge wooden doors have large spikes embedded on them to keep the elephants from busting in for a drink of water!

We also had a completely random encounter with two people that we met on Kilimanjaro, Steffi and Daniel from Germany!

We had met these two on our very first day at the bottom of the mountain, getting prepared to climb. We ran into them again in the Ngorongoro crater on Safari just by chance at a hippo pool. Incredibly, we saw them again at the very end of our trip in Stonetown on Zanzibar!

We had a fantastic dinner together. It was an excellent way to round off the African leg of our trip!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Safari on the Serengeti

Procrastinate? Nooo not me, never! October wasn't all THAT long ago was it?

Our Safari in Tanzania (in October) took us from the base of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti with a final stop at Lake Manyara. The pure abundance of wildlife was astounding.

We were extraordinarily lucky. Many visitors never see a single Cheetah, we saw two. Many people never get to spot a Leopard in a tree protecting its kill; we could have yanked the tail on one, and again, we saw two! It eventually got to the point where we would actually say "Hey, another big male lion with three or four females over there... but I'd have to use the zoom lens so... carry on."

Of the roughly 2600 photos from our Safari in Tanzania, we've managed to pair it down to a "top 100". Here's a small sample:

If you'd like to see the rest, just drop me a line and I'll send you a link to the album.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thought-controlled prosthesis

Rome, Italy | AP
"A group of European scientists said Wednesday they have successfully connected a robotic hand to an amputee, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb and control it with his thoughts.

The experiment lasted a month, and scientists say it was the first time a patient has been able to make complex movements using his mind to control a biomechanic hand connected to his nervous system.

'The approach we followed is natural,' Rossini said. The patient 'didn't have to learn to use muscles that do a different job to move a prosthesis, he just had to concentrate and send to the robotic hand the same messages he used to send to his own hand.'

It will take at least two or three years before scientists try to replicate the experiment with a more long-term prosthesis, the experts said. First they need to study if the hair-thin electrodes can be kept in longer.

Read the whole article here:

Thanks for this Todd!