Tornadoes, Thunder, and Lightning Oh My

By Reece Lamppa
I was outside the other day enjoying the weather when all of
a sudden I heard the eerie scream of the severe weather
warning system come over the air. The weather was near
perfect outside—sunny and 70 degrees—so it was obvious that
there was testing going on to make sure our warning system
was in optimum shape and able to do what it was made for.
But the blaring horns heard on April 16 all over the
southern United States was not a test.

A band of fast moving storms brought reports of more than
100 tornadoes, which toppled trees, broke power lines, and
killed 17 people in two days. Many counties in the southern
states of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi have been
declared in a state of emergency in the wake of the storms.
The people in these states have experienced firsthand the
sometimes deadly consequence of a powerful storm that
produces multiple tornadoes with minimal warning.

About 1000 tornadoes hit the United States yearly, according
to the National Severe Storms Laboratory, and people are
constantly told to go to a safe place when they strike. But
for people in Tornado Alley, the sound of a warning siren is
the prompting to go outside and watch the destruction. And
this isn’t the worst of it. Many people from other parts of
the country (and world) are now making their way to Tornado
Alley to chase tornadoes alongside professional storm
chasers. I guess vacation to some means putting themselves
in a life-threatening situation.

Carla Barbieri, an associate professor at the University of
Missouri, is researching this phenomenon.

“With the help of movies like Twister, storm-chasing has
become an international phenomenon," Barbieri told Science
Daily. "While more than half of the surveyed travelers lived
in North America, 11 percent came from Australia and nearly
a third traveled from Europe to get a close encounter with a

Experienced meteorologists are now becoming tour guides on
the side, guiding “tornado tourists” into harm’s way so they
can get their thrills.

I don’t know about you, but watching the storm chasers on
the television is close enough for me. If you have ever been
through a tornado you know how scary it can be. I wonder if
this is affecting death tolls from severe storms across the

What happened to a nice relaxed vacation on a sunny beach?

Strange Deaths

By Reece Lamppa
I know you are already salivating as you start to read this
blog post, just anxiously reading to find out what kind of
useful information Reece has for you today. But I’m sorry to
say that I must break your fragile hearts. I have decided to
deviate from the path for a moment as I write this post.

During my laborious hours of researching for this blog I
have come across some pretty interesting death stories.
Although these are all pretty strange—and sometimes morbid—I
find them very interesting (I don’t know if I’m a sicko or
if I’m just curious). Anyway, here are some of the
strangest ways to die that I have come across during my time
here at Flatline.

Too Funny
Alex Mitchell, a 50-year-old bricklayer from England, was
watching his favorite TV sitcom—The Goodies—one night and
started laughing. Mitchell found the sketch entitled “Kung
Fu Kapers” so comical that he laughed for over 25 minutes
straight, until his heart stopped and he died. After his
death, Mitchell’s wife sent the show a letter thanking them
for making her husband’s last moments so enjoyable.

Looking Fore his Ball
Many, including myself, have spent numerous broken clubs and
angry hours on the frustration that is Golf, but not many
die as a result. In 1997, Irishman David Bailey was
retrieving an errant shot from a ditch when a rat was
frightened, ran up his leg, and urinated on him. The rat
didn’t bite or claw Bailey, so he didn’t think much of the
encounter and finished the round. Two weeks later, his
kidneys failed and he died. They found out that the cause
was leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that is spread by
rodents, dogs, livestock, and sometimes bugs. It is usually
a mild condition but has been known to cause meningitis,
pneumonia, liver disease, or in Bailey’s case, kidney

Fantasy or Reality
A couple of my friends are hard to get ahold of because they
are constantly in their video game lair playing online video
games like World of Warcraft. Sometimes I don’t blame them,
the real world can be pretty harsh at times. But there is
definitely a line that cannot be crossed. Lee Seung Seop, a
South Korean repair technician, quit his job so he can spend
more time playing online video games. He set up his base at
a local internet café and played the game for nearly 50
hours straight, taking only small breaks to go to the
bathroom or stretch. Exhaustion, dehydration, and heart
failure caused Lee to collapse while playing. He died
shortly after at the age of 28.


By Reece Lamppa
I watched a man die right in front of me. He was a good man
too. He loved his family, especially his nieces and nephews,
whom he routinely drove to the local convenient store on hot
summer days and spoiled with ice cream.

He was also a hard worker. It was a trait you could
distinguish from his thick, rough hands. He was a bricklayer
by trade and ran the family masonry business with his
brother, which was passed down to them after their father
passed away years ago.

But that was before everything changed; before he got sick.
On his birthday, January 20, 2008, he lied struggling and
shaking in pain as the small-cell lung cancer multiplied
feverishly into the rest of his body. He suffered that night
in front of his nieces and nephews, whom he spoiled so many
times before. And this time, instead of a warm summer night,
it was a below zero night of lifelessness and pain. He died
that night with sobbing loved ones by his side.

John Kodada was my uncle. John Kodada was a smoker.

Nowadays, it’s no secret that smoking is hazardous to your
health. We get lectured about it numerous times during
health classes and see the anti-smoking commercials on
television. And yet, people still damage their lungs and
throats with tar and other harmful chemicals.

Is it because many of us think we are beyond the boundaries
of common sense and reason?

The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account
for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five
deaths, each year in the United States, according to the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And still
we believe death will not find us, or that we’ll find some
way to beat the troubling facts that stare us in the face.

According to the CDC, Smoking leads to the more deaths every
year in the United States than by all deaths from human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use,
motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

This statistic is astounding, troubling, and hopeful at the
same time. I say hopeful because the biggest cause of death
in our communities is preventable. With more education and
accountability from the health community we might be able to
cut down on loss of life from smoking.

So if you’re in the habit of sucking down cigarettes, stop.
You’re acting like an idiot and being reckless with your
heath (Sorry, this is some tough love). If you can’t stop
for your own sake, stop for the loved ones around you who
would like to enjoy your presence for many years to come.

We need to learn from the mistakes of so many people before
us whose lives ended early because of choosing to smoke. I’m
sure there will be a time in your life when you will be
impacted by the effects of smoking.

After seeing its impact with my own eyes, and learning about
its affect on the body, there is no doubt that smoking can
kill you.

Running With Bulls

By Reece Lamppa
Every year from July 7-15 thousands of people pack the
streets of Pamplona, Spain to begin the country’s most
famous bull running extravaganza to honor Navarre capital’s
patron saint, San Fermin. There are over 3,000 festivals
every year in Spain, and the Running of the Bulls is by far
the most popular.

Early on July 7, nervous runners—which are mainly young men—
gather at the bottom of Santo Domingo, which is the starting
line of the bull run. As a rocket goes off, the angry bulls
are released from their pens to wreak havoc on the streets
of Pamplona. A second warning rocket is then shot off to
let people know that the bulls are loose, and that in the
next couple minutes they will soon be trying their best to
avoid their death (Doesn’t that sound like fun).

According to, the runners are supposed to
start running when the bulls are quite a ways behind, but
the rampaging bulls always catch up. Daniel Romero got a
little too close.

Romero was gored in the neck and lung by a 1,130 pound bull
named Capuchino (That’s right, like the sweet little drink
you get from your neighborhood Starbucks coffee shop, only
this is a Trenta with horns).

Although it is common for runners to be gored or injured,
death is uncommon during the event. Romero’s death was the
first in almost 15 years for the Pamplona event and the 15th
in the running’s history (Since they have been keeping track
since 1924). But with any event this dangerous, it’s bound
to happen.

A bull’s horn can grow more than a foot in length, and can
cause internal injuries that are several inches deep. But
the good news is that you are only within death’s grip if
the horn damages a major organ. Most people (Smart people I
should add) are running away from the bulls, and the most
common injury is a gore to the backside, which is a lot
better than a horn to the heart or lung. It’s also better
to get tossed in the air rather than get stuck against the
wall because the toss negates the impact of the gore.

The most common kind of gore is what Spanish newspapers call
las partes honorable, aka the groin region. The recovery
time from this kind of injury could be from a couple days to
a couple months. People have also reported being gored in
the rectum.

So, it turns out that if you don’t get stabbed by a horn in
any vital organs or get trampled to death by the stampeding
bulls, you have little chance of being killed. Of course,
there are always strange accidents, and a participant in the
running should always expect a little bit of pain.

Quit Stressing Man (or woman, for our politically correct friends out there)

By Reece Lamppa
You may think you are doing everything right in order to
make sure you are as healthy as you can be, but like
numerous Americans, you are probably overlooking one very
important factor, stress.

Most Americans are too stressed out, whether it’s running
the kids to soccer practice or cramming for the final
semester exam, people are feeling the affect of a stressed
out lifestyle. But most people don’t know how stress is
affecting their body, and it turns out, stress may be having
more of an impact than we think.

Ohio State University Psychologist, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser,
and her husband Ronald Glaser, am OSU virologist and
immunologist, have spent the better part of 20 years
researching the affects that stress has on our immune
system. During their research, they have come across some
startling discoveries.

One such discovery comes from their work with caregivers
(people who look after chronically ailing loved ones). For
this experiment, they administered flu vaccines to the
caregivers and the control subjects and compared the number
of antibodies they produced as a response. Suprisingly, only
38 percent of the caregivers produced what is considered an
adequate antibody response compared to 66 percent of the
relaxed control group, according to their study. This
suggested that the caregiver’s immune systems were not
working at their best level, and that the stress of their
caregiving lifestyle was putting them at a higher risk for

Kiecolt-Glaser believes that stress makes our immune systems
less effective because it elicits a direct immune system
response. Stress causes the body to release pro-
inflammatory cytokines, immune factors that initiate
responses against infections. When the body is forced to
produce these cytokines for a long period of time because of
stress, a lot of bad things can happen. And it doesn’t just
keep our bodies from fighting infection and wounds, but the
chronic inflammation also increases the risk for heart
disease, osteoporosis, and autoimmune diseases including
type 2 diabetes.

So if you are anything like me, you are going to have to cut
down on daily stress levels in order to stay healthy and
alive. Personally, I like to listen to music and sing to
reduce stress levels, but it’s up to you to find out what
makes you relax. Take a vacation or go to the cabin this
weekend, but don’t let stress levels kill you.

Plane Crash

By Reece Lamppa
John Denver purchased a plane the day before his life ended.
It was a two seated fiberglass plane that had originally
been built from a kit a few years earlier. On a particular
day in October, Denver decided that he wanted to take the
plane for a test drive off the coast of southern California.
He first practiced three touch and go landings before the
tower let him take the plane for a test run.

It was around 5:30 p.m. and Denver was about 150 feet from
shore and 500 feet in the air above the ocean when people
below heard a popping sound come from the aircraft. A couple
seconds later they watched in horror as the plane plunged to
the water and broke apart on impact. They found parts of
John Denver floating to the shore 20 minutes later, his body
mutilated and now the dinner of a flock of seagulls (Not the
band, literally, a flock of seagulls).

Although most of us will never fly our own two-seater plane
(because it can be quite dangerous, and most of us will not
have the kind of money needed to keep and maintain one), we
will most likely be a passenger on a bigger commercial
flight at some time in our lives. And for many good reasons,
flying in a plane is some people’s biggest fear.

But is this fear misplaced?

Although commercial airlines around the world now carry over
2 billion passengers a year, the odds of being in a plane
crash is a dismal 1 in 9 million. And according to, 68 percent of accidents either happen
within 30 minutes of takeoff or within 30 minutes of
landing. So, after looking at the facts, we must come to the
conclusion that although dying in a plane crash is highly
unlikely, it’s still possible.

But I don’t want to only be the bearer of bad news and tell
you that there is a chance you could die in a horrible plane
accident. I want you to survive like Bruce Willis’s
character in the movie Unbreakable (If you haven’t seen it,
I can’t say it’s a great movie but it’s a time killer).

So if you ever find yourself in a hunk of metal in the sky,
and your pilot comes on the intercom and states—in too calm
of a voice—that you are going to have to make a crash
landing, here are some tips to survive the tragedy.

Know the Five Row Rule
According to Ben Sherman, who wrote The Survivors Guide: The
Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life, an accident
victim moves an average of five rows in order to make their
way out of a burning, sinking, or mangled aircraft. Sitting
more than five rows away from an exit greatly reduces your
chances of surviving a crash. He also mentions that sitting
in the back of the airplane could improve your chances of

Pay Attention
This may seem like I’m treating you like a little first
grader with a massive ADHD problem, but it’s common sense.
Pay attention to the planes safety instructions and make
sure you listen to the pilot’s safety speech. If you are one
of those people who automatically falls asleep when someone
starts giving a speech, have a family member or friend
attempt to hold your eyelids open, because it’s important.

Meeting Someone Off Of Craigslist

By Reece Lamppa
Disclaimer: This post is a lesson on common sense. If you
don’t have any, you definitely need to keep reading. If you
do, you can never get enough, so keep reading.

In April 2009 in Boston, Philip Markoff was looking through
the erotic ads on Craigslist and found someone that
interested him. It was 25-year-old Julissa Brissman, an
aspiring model from New York City. She was to meet him in a
room at a prestigious Boston hotel. When she got to the
room, she realized she was in for more than she advertised

When she opened the door, Markoff immediately pulled a gun
on her and forced her to lay face down on the floor while he
attempted to tie her hands with a zip tie. After Markoff got
the first hand under control, Brissman fought back in what
would be her final moments. During the struggle, Markoff
pulled the trigger and shot her in the head. Hardly in the
door when she was attacked, she fell dead into the hallway
as Markoff scurried away down the hall.

A guest from New York City was staying just down the hall
from where the attack took place. She told Paul Larosa, the
“48 Hours Mystery” producer, what she saw and heard that
night of the murder. They decided to give the alias “Jill.”

"Jill was in her room reading a mystery novel and all of
the sudden, she starts hearing a commotion down the hall.
Eventually, she poked her head out the door. And what she
saw down the hall was a woman who was half in and half out
of the doorway; she wasn't moving. Jill decided at that
point, she was going to call security. The guard bent over,
started moving the hair away from the woman on the floor and
he saw a lot of blood," LaRosa said.

"Once he saw the blood, the guard said, 'Get in your room.'
[Jill] stayed in the hallway and watched to see what was
happening. The security guard started talking into his
walkie-talkie. He said, 'This is an emergency. We need

Less than an hour later, Brissman was pronounced dead at
Boston Medical Center.

This has been a common way for murderers and bad people to
get in touch with their victims all around the country. I
remember reading a story similar to this in the Minneapolis
Star Tribune as well. Although these ladies were relying on
Craigslist to get into contact with clients for their
“business,” they displayed poor common sense and were stupid
for meeting someone alone in a room. With the recent
prostitute killings and the danger of meeting strange people
in strange places, maybe these ladies should pursue another
career path.

So in conclusion, don’t meet people off of Craigslist or any
other website because the danger is real. And don’t be a
prostitute. It’s not just high risk job because of STD’s.
You also might get murdered.

Killer Pets

By Reece Lamppa
So I was Internet surfing—just looking around to kill some
time—and I came across a couple stories that would strike
fear into any pet owner (at least exotic pet owners).

I have an Alaskan malamute for a dog (You know, the sled
dogs. Just watch the movie Eight Below or the Disney movie,

I have never thought twice when feeding him dinner or
challenging him to a wrestling match, but who knows, maybe
he is secretly thinking of a time in the near future when he
will catch me by surprise and maul me to death. Maybe not,
but it does make you think.

I have compiled a couple of these tragic pet stories I read
online. Here they are:

Horse from Hell
16-year-old Lauren Bryant suffered fatal head injuries after
her horse kicked her to death in her family stables. She was
found in a field by the stables with blood pouring from her
wounds, and she died on the way to the hospital. She
received the horse as a birthday gift.

Murderous Python
This one is rather disturbing, but maybe it’s just because
snakes freak me out.

A 2-year-old girl was strangled by her family’s 8-foot-long
pet Burmese python in the middle of the night while she
slept. After finding that the python had escaped his
enclosure, Jason Darnell, the owner of the python and the
boyfriend of the girl’s mother, found the snake wrapped
around the young girl and biting her head. After he stabbed
the snake repeatedly with a knife, the snake let the girl
go. He then called 9-1-1 and in the famous recorded phone
call yelled “The baby is dead!”

Everything in Australia

By Reece Lamppa
This past weekend I was channel surfing and stumbled upon
the movies Crocodile Dundee and Quigley Down Under. They are
great flicks, and they had me entertained for quite a while,
but the overarching theme I got from these movies is that
almost everything in Australia can kill you.

So I have compiled a list here of a few of the many dangers
that are down under. For many people who have encountered
these dangers, “down under” is just another saying for hell.

1. Poisonous Snakes
Snakes are the number one fear of outback travellers, and
it’s for good reason. Some of the world’s deadliest snakes
reside in this over-sized island in the Pacific. Most of the
time, these snakes won’t harm you if you leave them alone.
Almost all of the people who have died from these deadly
snakes have been herpetologists (people who like to play
with snakes), people who think they are herpetologists
(mostly drunkards who want to impress the ladies), and
people trying to kill the snakes.

2. Crocodiles
Reading about this more, I have learned that there are two
types of crocs (Not the shoes) that call Australia home,
freshwater crocodiles and saltwater crocodiles.

The freshwater crocs are usually pretty laid back and only
go after fish. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother

However, saltwater crocodiles are a different story. They
eat people and they are sneaky, cunning, mean,
unpredictable, and constantly act like they have a major
toothache. They only live in the northern parts of
Australia so if you are taking a trip to the southern part
of the Aussie land than you won’t need to worry. If you do
trek the northern part of the country though, a little
common sense will go a long way to keep you safe.

3. The Sun
If I were traveling in Australia the biggest things on my
mind would be snakes, crocodiles, and spiders. But there is
one more obvious—and sometimes more deadly—thing to be
worried about and that’s the sun.

The sun in Australia is quite brutal. It’s important not to
underestimate Mother Nature and cover up when you can.
Letting the sun hit some loose clothing will keep you cooler
when you find yourself out and about on those steamy Aussie
days. You should also wear a hat, put on sunscreen, and
bring plenty of water with you when you are outside for long
periods of time.

Although everything I have listed here can kill you, the
biggest killer in a place like Australia is a lack of common
sense. Use common sense to avoid putting yourself in a
possible life-threatening situation.

Drug Overdose

By Reece Lamppa
On January 22, 2008, actor Heath Ledger was found dead in
his New York apartment. After an autopsy, it was found that
he had six different prescription drugs in his system (pain
killers and sedatives).

The 28-year-old died of “acute intoxication” from an
intoxication of strong pain-killers, two anti-anxiety
medications, and two sleeping aids, according to the medical
examiner that did the autopsy.

One drug found in his system were oxycodone—a painkiller
sold as OxyContin and used in other pain relievers such as
Percodan and Percocet. Other drugs found in his system
included anti-anxiety pills Valium and Xanax, which are

Both the doses of these drugs and the fact that they were
taken together were the likely causes of death.

Although it seemed as though Ledger’s death was given more
media attention than even other celebrities (probably
because he was at the pinnacle of his career), this is an
all too common occurrence in the entertainment industry and
in society in general.

Since the beginning of our society’s advancement into
prescription drugs, incidents of fatal overdoses have risen.
Prescription drugs cause a better part of the 26,000 fatal
overdoses each year, according to the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention.

"The biggest and fastest-growing part of America's drug
problem is prescription drug abuse," Robert DuPont told Time
magazine. DuPont is a former White House drug czar and a
former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

And it’s getting worse. With more and more prescription
drugs becoming more available to the average Joe, doctors
are sometimes having a hard time keeping track of what their
patients are taking on a daily basis.

So, next time you are talking to your doctor make sure you
are letting them know about all the prescriptions you are
currently on. And for life’s sake, consult a doctor before
you start mixing drugs.

Drinking Too Much....Water

By Reece Lamppa

For years, our coaches, teachers, parents, and personal trainers have been
forcing water down our throats. They say “you can never get enough H2O,” or
to “hydrate” yourself as much as you can during a sporting event or activity.

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint our binge drinkers out there, but it turns out you
can drink too much water.

Hyponatremia—as it’s officially called—is when someone drinks excessive
amounts of plain water, which causes a low concentration of sodium in the
blood. It used to be a rare occurrence at sporting events, but as our thirst for
competition has increased so has participation in strenuous events like long
distance running and cycling. With more and more beginners attempting to
squirm into yellow tights and compete like Lance Armstrong, more and more
have been excessively drinking and driving (their bikes, silly), and
consequently, they’ve been dropping like flies.

How does it happen?

It all starts with Sodium, an electrolyte that regulates water levels in and
around your cells. Chugging too much water causes your sodium levels to
diminish, and with that, your body’s ability to regulate water also goes down
the drain. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise, and your cells
begin to swell like an overblown balloon. This swelling—especially when it
happens in your brain—can be deadly.

Are you at risk?

According to the Mayo Clinic staff, there are a number of href="">risk factors
that may contribute to water intoxication
including age, diet, intensive physical activities, climate, ability to excrete
water, and certain drugs.

The bottom Line

The bottom line is that it is possible to drink too much water, but unless you
are competing in a strenuous physical activity and swallow water at an
unbelievably quick rate, you shouldn’t worry about water intoxication. It’s a
rare ordeal, but one to be aware of.

Devastation by Radiation

By Reece Lamppa

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple months, I’m
sure you have heard of the earthquake-tsunami in Japan and the devastation
it left behind. Although many worst-case scenarios have unfolded there, the
scariest issue to the people of Japan—and to many others in the world—is the
meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant on the east coast of the nation.

This wouldn’t be that big of a deal if the plant was just a candle you could let
burn out, and then pick up the ashes when you get to it. But in case you
didn’t know, a meltdown of a nuclear reactor produces radiation, which in
high doses will have you pushing daisies.

High radiation doses, which the workers at the plant may be at risk of, tend to
kill cells and damage tissues and organs immediately. Low doses of radiation
are not as deadly up front but will damage or alter your genetic code and
make things like cancer a bigger possibility in the future. So to put it in
simpler terms, the higher the dose of radiation, the sooner the effects of
radiation will appear and lead to a quick death.

This was tested on numerous atomic bomb survivors in 1945 and emergency
workers responding to the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown of 1986.
Approximately 134 plant workers and firefighters battling the fire in the
power plant received high radiation doses and suffered from acute href="
sickness/DS00432">radiation sickness
, according to the United States
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S.NRC). Of these, 28 died within the first
three months from their radiation injuries and two more patients died during
the first days as a result of combined injuries, which included radiation.

According to the U.S.NRC, there is no way to tell what dose will be deadly to
any one person because every person is able to handle radiation in a different
way. The best thing to do is to stay away from areas—like a nuclear meltdown
—so you never have to find out.

There are over 100 operating nuclear reactors in the United States, mostly
located on the east coast. Since the Japan situation has unfolded we have
taken a look into the emergency response readiness of our nuclear reactors
here in the United States, and it’s not looking too good. CNN took a poll of
the nation’s top nuclear reactors, and came to the conclusion that most are
not ready for an emergency situation.

Although this may be frightening news to most people, we have now been
prompted—through the Japanese situation—to take a closer look at our own
nuclear program and assure that a meltdown will not happen in the future.

Dangerous Household Products

By Reece Lamppa

You would never try to cross a busy highway, take a walk down a mysterious
alley by yourself late at night, or encourage your kid to jump in the car with a
stranger to be home on time for dinner. So why do we let toxic, harmful, and
cancer-causing chemicals into our house every day?

Most people don’t think twice about purchasing the stronger astringent to
save time on cleaning, but the power and timeliness of our modern household
products comes at a price.

Household products like air-fresheners, disinfectants, and other cleaners
don’t just dig into your wallet; they have the potential to attack your health as

For example, mixing bleach with ammonia will give you a toxic fume cloud
used by the military in WWI, and they were doing darker things than cleaning

Here are a few products that you should oust from your home as soon as
possible, and keep them from hopping into your cart on your next shopping

1. Conventional Cleaning Supplies

If you do your research, you will find that these kinds of products make up
some of the most dangerous products you can have sitting on your shelf.
Most often, these cleaning supplies contain ammonia, a strong irritant that
has been linked to kidney and liver damage. And if that wasn’t enough, they
also contain bleach, which can burn the skin and eyes. Oven cleaners are also
a big danger because they can cause chemical burns and emit toxic fumes
that attack your respiratory system, which could lead to death. More than
120,000 children under the age of five were harmed because of household
cleaners in 2006, according to The American Association of Poison Control
Centers. To avoid the dangers of numerous cleaners choose natural cleaners
when attempting to make the toilet seat spotless.

2. Non-Stick Cookware

Over the past many decades we have learned that the ease of cleaning comes
at a steep price. The slick coating that makes Teflon pans non-stick is called
polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short. When PTFE heats up, it releases a
toxic gas that has been linked to cancer, organ failure, reproductive damage,
and other possible harmful effects. Most of the danger from the Teflon pans
seems to come when the pans reach a high temperature, according to
researchers. But the best thing to do is to avoid non-stick cookware
altogether. Use aluminum, stainless steel, or cast iron pans instead.

From Choke to Croke

By Reece Lamppa

The New Year period is one of Japan’s biggest holidays, and it’s traditional to
cook a soup that contains sticky rice cakes called Mochi. This year, during the
New Year celebration, six people choked to death in Tokyo alone after the
sticky rice cakes got wedged in their windpipe. I guess you could say the
remarkable Mochi took their breath away.

But choking is no laughing matter (quite literally, it’s hard to laugh while you
are choking on your mom’s homemade meatloaf, just take my word for it). It’s
a serious situation whenever someone is choking. It’s one that requires
immediate assistance by anyone available, or it could take a life.


In the back of your mouth there are two openings. One is the esophagus,
which leads to the stomach, and the other is your trachea, which is the
opening that air must pass through to get to your lungs. When swallowing
occurs, the trachea is covered by a flap called the epiglottis to prevent food
from being lodged in the windpipe. But as we know, sometimes that little
epiglottis can disappoint us, and let food—or objects—into our trachea,
causing us to choke.

In adults, choking is most often the result of food that was not chewed
properly. Talking or laughing while eating can also cause food to go “down
the wrong pipe.” In children, choking is often the result of trying to eat too
much food at once or eating a piece of hard candy (life-savers, what a cruel

Children can also choke on foreign objects like coins, marbles, Barbie doll
heads, or Legos. In the United States, almost 200 kids die each year from
choking, most of them under four years of age, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. It is estimated that nearly 17,500 children 14
years old and younger are treated in U.S. emergency rooms annually for

How to Save a Life

It’s best not to do anything if a person is coughing forcefully, and not turning
a bluish color (Like a Smurf). The next step is really quite easy. Ask the person
if they are choking, and if they are able to answer you by speaking, then it’s
just a partial airway obstruction. At this point, stay with the person and
encourage them to keep coughing to clear the obstruction. Do NOT give the
person something to drink. The fluids may push the object deeper into the
airway and cause the person to lose their breathing ability all together.

The treatment of a choking person who is turning into a Smurf is different
depending on the person’s age. Abdominal thrusts or the “Hemilich
Maneuver” should be attempted if the person is an adult or a child older than
a year of age. The thrust generates an artificial cough, and hopefully it’s
forceful enough to clear the obstruction.

Visit for more information and detailed illustrations on how to
administer abdominal thrusts.

Unprotected Text

By Reece Lamppa

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all checked our fancy cell phones while
weaving in between traffic or trying to merge onto a busy highway. Many
times we get ugly scowls and animated middle fingers while angry drivers
speed by us on the road, and when I think about it more, I don’t blame them.

Who wouldn’t yell and scream when someone on the road is putting everyone
else’s life in danger? If you looked at the driver next to you and he was
downing a six-pack of beer while swerving, wouldn’t you get off the road as
quickly as possible? I know I would. I don’t understand how texting while
driving is any different.

In fact, a recent study done by Car and Driver says that texting may be worse
than driving drunk. The study compared reaction times while texting to
reaction times while under the influence of alcohol. Two men—one 22 years
old using an iPhone and one 37 years old using an Samsung Alias—were the
subjects of the study. They were asked to text a certain message with their
phone all while trying to stop as quickly as possible when a red light above
the dashboard turned on.

The study shows that texting greatly impairs your driving ability more than
driving with alcohol in your bloodstream. And that means more opportunities
for a fatal crash. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that
texting while driving can kill you.

Facts on Distracted Driving. (Brought to you by

• 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted
driving. (NHTSA).
• Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved
reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related
crashes). (NHTSA)
• In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated
additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported
to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
• The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the
under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in
fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
• Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into
crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety)
• Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-
free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol
concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

A Fabulous Introduction

by Reece Lamppa

We all see, touch, smell, feel, hear, step on, step over, walk into, talk to, and
even taste things—like my girlfriend’s cooking—in our lifetime that could
possibly kill us.

It could have been the cigarette you puffed today on break, the angry woman
you cut off in the grocery line, or the rattle snake that decided to snack on
your ankle during your annual family hiking trip. All of this could end you.
This blog is dedicated to such things.

Every post will be committed to bringing you an in-depth look at something
that could have you facing your maker—not to scare you or anything. This
blog isn’t intended to make you a cautious mess; afraid to live your life in the
fullest way possible, but to inform you of the many dangers this world can
pose on your well being.

I’ve been forced many times in my life to be open about death and its many
grievances. Whether it was my uncle dying in front of me of lung cancer, or
my cousin who blasted himself with a rifle in the chest, I’ve had to deal with
death and its affects on family and loved ones.

I believe that an open discussion about death and its causes is necessary and
important for us as we attempt to live a fruitful life, because that is exactly
what I want for you. I hope this blog is about supplying you with crucial
information that helps you live the best life possible.

So come with me, Reece, as we explore the many possibilities of a life’s end.

They’re not pretty. They’re not nice. They’re the Things That Can kill You.


Copyright © 2011 Flatline Magazine. All rights reserved. | last edited 02/25/2018