Try, try again.

In recent news, a polar bear at a zoo fell into the moat surrounding his enclosure.  He was not injured, due to some netting rigged to protect from just such a fall.  Zoo workers cut him out of the netting so he wouldn’t hurt himself, but left him in the moat.  Eventually they think he’ll wander out of his own volition when he gets hungry enough.  And really, who wants to think of a polar bear starving himself to death?

But the facts of the case leave me puzzling (according to the town of Ravensburg, it’s a verb).  Evidently this same polar bear has fallen into the moat before.  Perhaps that’s why the netting was put in place.  Perhaps this particular polar bear has balance issues.  But the question still remains as to why the moat is there in the first place.  Is it cheaper than two sets of fences separating the bears from zoo goers by the necessary distance?  Is it there to provide shade?  Is it there for drainage purposes, or some technical aspect not readily apparent to the casual eye?  Because, to me, it looks like a waste and a danger to young, precocious polar bears.

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My shoe: iShoe

People who know me know that I am a klutz.  It’s a reality of life that has left me as the last pick for most athletic teams and has caused numerous injuries to others in any sport that involves throwing, catching, or hitting.  I’ve fallen seamlessly to the ground while walking, half-fallen while simply standing, tripped my way up the stairs, and fallen out of my chair (literally).  Well, ok, that last one was on purpose.

Still, these early balance and co-ordination issues are only a taste of what I’ll face as an older adult.  What happens when these easy falls become serious injuries?  What happens when my bones are brittle and my joints inflamed?  Do I break both hips all the time and need consistent knee replacement surgery?  Am I confined to a wheelchair?

Fortunately, help is on the way.  While my serious balance problems will probably never have a cure, there are early warning systems being developped as we speak.  Yessir, I’m talking about the iShoe.  This lovely little rig of shoe insides and sensors was MADE for me.  Basically, you hook it up and it measures the pressure against the bottom of your feet, reading when such pressure is greater in one side or another and may lead to a fall.  it’s an early warning system designed to eventually read when someone is overbalancing themselves on their feet.

Yes, there’s still quite of bit of data to be gathered regarding what kind of pressure changes actually result in a fall.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction.  Someday soon, when I’m about to take a dive, there’ll be sirens, lights, and a klaxon going off, to warn me of the imminent fall – and to get innocent bystanders out of the way.