Jake's Tech Blog

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guy Farts During Operation and Bursts into Flames!

Apparently, a New Zealand man farted during an operation to get his hemorrhoids removed, and the methane in the "exhaust gas" caused a fire that interrupted the operation and caused him burns.

"This was thought to be flatus containing methane igniting," a health source commented. "There was a sort of flashfire and that was it, but it was fairly alarming at the time."

The surgeon who performed the operation said of the fire: "It was dramatic."

Well, I hope I don't have to get operated for hemorrhoids anytime soon.

Full text below:

---------------------- Quoted Text ---------------------

'Gas' leak causes fiery end to surgery
Flatulence is being blamed for bringing a hospital patient's operation to a fiery end.

The man suffered minor burns in a brief but "dramatic" operating theatre fire. He had gone into the Southern Cross Hospital in Invercargill to have haemorrhoids, or piles, removed and was singed in the "exceedingly rare" incident involving his own gas.

"This was thought to be flatus containing methane igniting," a health source told the Weekend Herald. "There was a sort of flashfire and that was it, but it was fairly alarming at the time."

Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lining of the anus. If they protrude outside the body and become troublesome, they can be removed by surgery, which in the Invercargill case employed an electrical "diathermy" machine. A hand-held tool for cutting tissue and cauterising to stop bleeding, it produces heat and can spark.

Southern Cross is releasing little detail other than confirming an "electrical fire" occurred on March 22 and that it commissioned an independent forensic scientist to investigate.

The incident follows two cases of patients being burned in Auckland hospitals in 2002 when, it was thought, diathermy machines accidentally ignited alcohol-based skin disinfectant.

A man having his appendix removed suffered burns to 5 per cent of his body and a woman undergoing a caesarean operation suffered more severe burns, although her baby boy was unharmed. After an investigation, hospitals were warned to tighten controls on the dangerous mix of alcohol disinfectants and electrical gear.

Southern Cross Hospitals chief operating officer Terry Moore said the Invercargill patient had made a good recovery from the fire, which lasted just a few seconds. He suspected a number of factors came together to cause the fire and he wanted to prevent any repeat.

The surgeon who performed the operation said of the fire: "It was dramatic." It remained unexplained and he hoped the investigation would shed more light.

"Hopefully we will get an answer because the fear is it could happen again."

Another surgeon said patients were usually given a small enema to empty the bowel before haemorrhoid surgery. Their gas exploding during surgery was recognised as a risk but was "exceedingly rare"; precautions were considered unnecessary.

"Normally the operation is done with the sphincter relaxed with some sort of medicated ointment and therefore you get a common cavity with the rectum and the atmospheric air.
"So you wouldn't normally see a problem and nor would it be considered as a contra-indication or that you need to do anything particularly."

Traditional haemorrhoid surgery is done with scissors or diathermy.

From the New Zealand Herald:


Saturday, May 06, 2006

The best web design in the whole world...NOT

At least...for the designer.

I wish I would get paid for a design like the design on


Why would anyone leave a page blank intentionally? It's one of the dumbest things I've seen, personally. Back in the days of print, they were leaving pages blank out of necessity, because they needed a particular number of odd or even pages. But making a page online and leaving it "intentionally blank"? Come on! I'm sure there's something in the universe that might be more edifying than that.

The way I see it, it's a pretty pathetic way of calling attention to themselves, when they cannot find any other way for doing so. But hey, even if it's attention that you want, find a better way than starting a this-page-intentionally-left-blank club. Pul-lease.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cool Split Keyboard-Mouse!

Cool Mouse...or is it keyboard?

I had a hard enough time using the Natural Keyboard when it first came out. Imagine using this one now!

You use both hands to type, and on the right hand side, you can select some keys to function as mouse buttons when you're in mouse mode.

While this seems to be useful in reducing workplace fatigue by being more anatomically-minded, I find that having to switch between the mouse/keyboard modes is a pain in the butt.

The scroll wheel, however, is rather well placed, for my tastes. You operate the scroll wheel with the left thumb, and in my few hours of use, it proved to be a rather easy way of scrolling through documents while dividing up the workload between my left and right hands. My right-hand middle finger is now fully dedicated to the often-abused right "mouse button".

The design itself isn't bad, but I cannot escape the feeling that it seems more like a geek-oriented gizmo than a practical business appliance. We'll see if it works with the test of time.

If you really want to get one, visit


You can also see videos and more detailed explanations there.