Are you a blood donor?

blood-donation1I became a blood donor in my last year of high-school. My blood-type is O-positive so I’m a universal donor which means I’m in demand, well, my blood is anyway.

Luckily I don’t have a problem with big, long needles being stuck into my veins or blood pouring out of thin little tubes into an anti-coagulant laced blood-bag.

If they’d allow me I’d donate every month as I think my body generates way more than I actually need but alas they say at least 57 days between donations. Okay, I can wait. I donated as regularly as I could before I moved to the UK. When we returned in 2002 I donated once or twice but everywhere I found to donate had irregular times they were there and when I arrived at the proposed scheduled dates they never arrived. Moving a couple times since returning to South Africa didn’t make it easier.

Anyway, 10 years later and I find myself having joined a company whose offices are in the CBD with a permanent blood donation clinic literally one block from the office! Convenience deluxe. 

At least now I know where I can go once every 2 months and know they’ll be there and willing to take my donation. They’re so eager to get my donations now that they even gave me a ring this morning on my way to work to remind me that I was due to donate another pint. 

As long as you’re healthy, not on any serious medication, drug- and HIV-free, at least 17 years of age and over 55kg in weight you’re a likely candidate to becoming a donor. They need all blood-types but since the O-type is a universal blood-type, meaning it can be given as a transfusion to all other blood-types as they’re high in demand. 

wpbts-logoSo now I’ll be a regular donor again, doing my part to help. I even recruited a colleague today who came along for his first donation, which went down without any problems.


If you want to know more about becoming a donor, in South Africa, visit the Western Province Blood Transfusion Service website.

Go ahead do your part, it’s just so easy.

Food for thought – Physics Question

barometerI just spotted this account on Demonicious and thought I’d share it with you – oh and before people start ranting in the comments about its authenticity, yes I did check for it on Snopes. In any event I like the thinking – out of the box. Enjoy.




The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:
“Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer.”

One student replied:
“You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building.”

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.
The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer that showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.
For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought.

The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn’t make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

“Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g * t squared. But bad luck on the barometer.”

“Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper’s shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.”

“But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sqr root (l / g).”

“Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.”

“If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.”

“But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor’s door and say to him ‘If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper’.”

The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane to win the Nobel Prize for Physics.

“An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.” – Niels Bohr