Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Scientists claimed to have developed a slimming pill that can burn off as many calories as 80 minutes of walk or a 25-minute jog, while you sit.

The pill -- Capsiplex -- which is made from hot peppers and capsicum, utilises the weight-loss potential of red-hot peppers.

Chilli and capsicum help speed up the metabolism, thus, helping people lose weight more rapidly. However, consuming these chillies or their extract in large quantities causes irritation as these are unbearably hot.

The scientists overcame this problem while developing the capsule. The pill eats up the calories without causing any irritation, the Daily Mail reported.

"For decades, scientists have known about the weight-loss potential of red-hot peppers. The problem has been the ability to consume such a highly concentrated amount, but we have overcome this by putting a protective coating on the ingredients which stops any gastric irritation," a spokesman for Capsiplex said.

"At last we have a safe and healthy supplement to help weight loss," the spokesman added.

Trials of the pill conducted at University of Oklahoma in US showed adults taking Capsiplex burned off 278 more calories before, during and after a bout of exercise than those on placebos.

The pill is already in use in the US. Hollywood stars like Jennifer Lopez, Brad Pitt and Britney Spears are known to have used the pill.


Who could have thought that there would be a survey to prove people guilty of giving in to temptations! But here it is and it has marked December Dec 29 people ‘most guilty’ about their indulgences.

29 as the day when people feel most guilty about giving into their indulgences over the last 12 months.

Loan Underwood, a health expert at Fitness TV which conducted the poll, asked a panel of 2,000 adults to pinpoint a moment of maximum embarrassment over their excesses, including eating, drinking and times spent in front of the TV.

More than 40 per cent felt that the day in the middle of the festive season i.e. four days after Christmas and three days before New Year was the ‘guiltiest’ time of the year.

"This year has been a difficult one for many so Christmas has been a real opportunity for people to let their hair down and indulge,” the Telegraph quoted Underwood as saying.

"And with the festive season starting even earlier, the constant invites for post work drinks, parties and treats at home mean exercise routines go out the window.

"This has left people feeling that they have a mountain to climb to get back in shape in 2010, making December 29 the day we feel most guilty about our indulgences.

"Exercise is the perfect way to ditch those feelings of remorse and feel great again," Underwood added.


A US court has ordered shutdown of three H-1B opposition Web sites -- ITgrunt.com, Endh1b.com, and Guestworkerfraud.com.

According to a news report in ComputerWorld, a New Jersey judge has also sought information about the identity of anonymous posters on the sites.

The Judge James Hurley also ordered firms that register domains and provide hosting services -- GoDaddy Inc, Network Solutions, Comcast Cable Communications and DiscountASP.Net, to disable the three sites. Facebook was also asked to disable ITgrunt's Facebook page.

Hurley's order was reportedly made in response to a libel lawsuit filed by IT services and consulting firm Apex Technology Group, based in Edison, New Jersey, against the three Web sites opposing the H-1B visa programme.

The company is seeking the identity of a person who posted an Apex employment agreement on Docstoc.com, that has since been removed. A link to the document and comments critical of it has been posted on a variety of Web sites, including at least one in India, on Desicrunch.com says the news story.

The comment is said to claim that employees will find it difficult to leave Apex because of its contract terms. Apex, in one legal filing, said the allegations by the anonymous posters are false and defamatory, and are hurting the company. In the filing, Apex is said to have mentioned that it has had three consultants refuse to report for employment as a result of these postings. Apex said it is also seeking "contact details of the individual who posted this legal agreement without permission since we are the copyright owner of the legal document."

Saturday, December 26, 2009


China on Saturday started operation on its fastest rail link in the world with a high-speed train connecting the modern cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan at an average speed of 350 kilometres an hour.
The super-high-speed train reduces the 1,069 km journey linking Guangzhou, a business hub in southern China near Hong Kong, with the capital Beijing, to a three hour ride and cuts the previous journey time by more than seven-and-a-half hours, Xinhua news agency said.

Test runs for the rail link began earlier in December during which it recorded a maximum speed of 394.2 km per hour and the operations officially began today, said Xu Fangliang, general engineer in charge of designing the link, according to Xinhua.

By comparison, the average for high-speed trains in Japan was 243 kilometres per hour while in France it was 277 kilometres per hour, he said. The network uses technology developed in co-operation with foreign firms such as Siemens, Bombardier and Alstom.

The work on the project began in 2005 as part of plans to expand country's high-speed network, Xinhua added.

China unveiled its first high-speed line at the time of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.


A new research has determined that Earth's north magnetic pole is racing toward Russia at almost 40 miles (64 kilometers) a year due to magnetic changes in the planet's core.

The core is too deep for scientists to directly detect its magnetic field. But researchers can infer the field's movements by tracking how Earth's magnetic field has been changing at the surface and in space. According to a report in National Geographic News, newly analyzed data suggest that there's a region of rapidly changing magnetism on the core's surface, possibly being created by a mysterious "plume" of magnetism arising from deeper in the core.

"It's this region that could be pulling the magnetic pole away from its long-time location in northern Canada," said Arnaud Chulliat, a geophysicist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France.

Magnetic north, which is the place where compass needles actually point, is near but not exactly in the same place as the geographic North Pole.

Right now, magnetic north is close to Canada's Ellesmere Island.

Navigators have used magnetic north for centuries to orient themselves when they are far from recognizable landmarks.

Although global positioning systems have largely replaced such traditional techniques, many people still find compasses useful for getting around underwater and underground where GPS satellites can't communicate.

The magnetic north pole had moved little from the time scientists first located it in 1831.

Then in 1904, the pole began shifting northeastward at a steady pace of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year.

In 1989 it sped up again, and in 2007 scientists confirmed that the pole is now galloping toward Siberia at 34 to 37 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) a year.

A rapidly shifting magnetic pole means that magnetic-field maps need to be updated more often to allow compass users to make the crucial adjustment from magnetic north to true North.

Geologists think Earth has a magnetic field because the core is made up of a solid iron center surrounded by rapidly spinning liquid rock.

This creates a "dynamo" that drives our magnetic field. Scientists had long suspected that, since the molten core is constantly moving, changes in its magnetism might be affecting the surface location of magnetic north.

Although the new research seems to back up this idea, Chulliat is skeptical whether magnetic north will eventually cross into Russia.

"It's too difficult to forecast," Chulliat said.


Reducing caloric intake, specifically in the form of glucose, can extend the life of human cells and speed the death of pre-cancerous cells, a new study has found.

This discovery by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham could help lead to drugs and treatments that slow human aging and prevent cancer.

"Our hope is that the discovery that reduced calories extends the lifespan of normal human cells will lead to further discoveries of the causes for these effects in different cell types and facilitate the development of novel approaches to extend the lifespan of humans," said Trygve Tollefsbol, a researcher involved in the work from the Center for Aging and Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"We would also hope for these studies to lead to improved prevention of cancer as well as many other age-related diseases through controlling calorie intake of specific cell types," Tollefsbol added.

To make this discovery, Tollefsbol and colleagues used normal human lung cells and precancerous human lung cells that were at the beginning stages of cancer formation.

Both sets of cells were grown in the laboratory and received either normal or reduced levels of glucose (sugar).

As the cells grew over a period of a few weeks, the researchers monitored their ability to divide, and kept track of how many cells survived over this period.

They found that the normal cells lived longer, and many of the precancerous cells died, when given less glucose.

Gene activity was also measured under these same conditions. The reduced glucose caused normal cells to have a higher activity of the gene that dictates the level of telomerase, an enzyme that extends their lifespan and lower activity of a gene that slows their growth.

Epigenetic effects (effects not due to gene mutations) were found to be a major cause in changing the activity of these genes as they reacted to decreased glucose levels.
The study has been published online in The FASEB Journal.

Monday, December 21, 2009


James Cameron's science fiction Avatar may become fact in the coming years, says a leading US astronomer who believes there is every chance a real-life version of habitable alien moons like the one depicted in the movie exists and will soon is found.
The 3D blockbuster shows a race of blue skinned giants inhabits an Earth-like moon called Pandora, which orbits a gas giant planet similar to Jupiter that cannot support life. "If Pandora existed, we potentially could detect it and study its atmosphere in the next decade," said Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer from the Harvard Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kaltenegger, who has conducted research showing that a planned new space telescope will be able to identify nearby "exomoons" and discover if they are habitable, said hundreds of Jupiter-sized gas giants orbiting stars have already been spotted, but none have conditions suitable for Earth-type life, The Telegraph reported.

However, a rocky moon orbiting a gas giant could harbor life if it was in the parent star's "habitable zone" -- the region where temperatures are just right for liquid water, she said.

"All of the gas giant planets in our solar system have rocky and icy moons. That raises the possibility that alien Jupiter’s will also have moons. Some of those may be Earth-sized and able to hold onto an atmosphere," she said.

A Pandora-type moon could be identified when its planet "transits" across the face of the parent star. If the moon has an atmosphere, it will absorb a tiny amount of light from the star, leaving a spectrographic fingerprint of its composition.

Dr Kaltenegger calculated that Alpha Centauri A, the star featured in Avatar, would provide an excellent target for astronomers hunting habitable moons.

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Sun, being only 4.37 light years away. It consists of three stars, the largest being Alpha Centauri A, which is slightly brighter than the Sun.


In an effort to harness the energy, imagination and initiative of the world's young denizens in overcoming the challenges facing humanity, the United Nations (UN) has declared 2010 as the International Year of Youth, starting Aug 12.

'The International Year is about advancing the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society,' UN Focal Point on Youth, Nicola Shepherd, said in a statement Monday.

'We encourage all sectors of society to work in partnership with youth and youth organizations to better understand their needs and concerns and to recognize the contributions that they can make to society,' she added.

The announcement was made on Dec 18.

In its resolution proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly called on governments, civil society, individuals and communities worldwide to support activities at local and international levels to mark the event.

Under the theme 'Dialogue and Mutual Understanding', the Year aims to encourage dialogue and understanding across generations and promote the ideals of peace, respect for human rights, freedom and solidarity.

It also encourages youth to dedicate them to fostering progress, including the attainment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek to remove a host of social ills, ranging from extreme poverty and hunger to maternal and infant mortality to lack of access to education and health care, by 2015.

Several international events are already scheduled throughout the year, including the Fifth World Youth Congress from July 31 to Aug 13 in Istanbul, and the World Conference for Youth in Mexico City from Aug 24-27.

Both gatherings will focus on youth and sustainable development in the context of the MDGs.
From Aug 14 to 26, Singapore will hold the international Youth Olympic Games, the statement added.

Friday, December 18, 2009



The marathon talks on World Climate Pact at Copenhagen lurched into overtime with world leaders deadlocked on a deal to tame global warming. Some of the world’s most powerful countries were embroiled like in a game, where the stakes were hundreds of billions of dollars and the welfare of future generations.
The tense haggling capped two years of deadlock over crafting a new UN treaty from 2013 that would reduce global warming from mortal threat to manageable peril.
Negotiations have revealed deep divisions between rich and poor, entrenched in a textual battlefield.
That left it on a summit of around 130 heads of states to struggle for at least a basic accord that would set a few targets and chart further action towards a final pact next year.
A new draft text gave few details. It contained a call to prevent a rise in global temperatures of more than 2.0 degrees Celsius. The figure fell way short of the demands of threatened island nations.


The industrialized countries are cheating the world. A confidential document of the UN Frame Convention on Climate Change secretariat prepared on December 15 shows, contrary to what the rich nations might claim, even if they come true on their current pledges to reduce emissions the world is headed towards a 3 degree temperature rise by 2050, not two degree Celsius – the tipping point.

The document, an authoritative assessment by the UN itself, still kept a secret from the 192 country delegates presently at Copenhagen says, “Unless the remaining gap (of the emissions required to be reduced) is closed and parties (countries) commit themselves to strong action prior and after 2020, global emissions will remain on an unsustainable pathway that could lead to concentrations equal or above 550 ppm (parts per million of carbon dioxide in air) with the related temperature raise around 3 degree Celsius.

The UN global group of scientists – IPCC – has long ago warned that if the global temperatures go more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial era the world would tip over into irreversible natural calamities.

The 2 degree target is considered the beacon for how much emission cuts the industrialized countries and others should undertake. The industrialized countries, such as US and Europe have made some offers and claimed it is enough to prevent disaster. The UN secret document now shows that the targets the rich countries have unofficially claimed they could take are just not enough.

The rich countries have even 12 hours before the heads of the states meet at Copenhagen, refused to put even these numbers as part of their official positions.

The rich countries have taken commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their emissions to keep temperatures stable. While the rich countries are not on track to meet their targets even in the first phase that ends in 2012 they have so far refused to commit to deeper action as required by science in the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol starting 2013. They, instead, want the Kyoto Protocol to be killed completely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Developing countries are saying that the developed countries needed to come up with ‘ambitious’ targets for themselves on reduction of emissions of green house gases. These figures are the ‘heart’ of the negotiations and ‘critical’ to the Copenhagen outcome.
The developing countries say the numbers put up by the developed nations on the table so far are unfortunate and disappointing.
Developed countries did not appear to be prepared for a ‘comprehensive outcome’ that would bind them to fulfill their emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
One member of the developing countries said “it seems the developed countries are working towards a political agreement and not a legally-binding pact that would cover immediate and strong action on climate change”, indicating that developing countries were not expecting a successful outcome from the conference.


China and the US were placed at the bottom end of a worldwide national ranking of performance on climate protection published Monday.

Compiled by Germanwatch, a think tank, and the Climate Action Network (CAN), an alliance of environment pressure groups, the annual Climate Change Performance Index ranks countries based on their climate protection performance, comparing 57 industrialized countries and emerging economies.

This year's edition was published on the sidelines of key UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, which are due to come to a head Friday.

Brazil was the biggest upward mover in the rankings, making it to fourth place with an overall score of 68 and knocking the traditionally strongest player, Sweden, into fifth place.

No country made it to the top three spots, while China and the US were ranked 52nd and 53rd respectively.

'Since no country is thus far adequately on the path toward halting dangerous climate change, the three top spots are empty once again this year,' said Jan Burck of Germanwatch.

Brazil was rewarded for its ability to cut its deforestation rate by 50 percent in the last year. But the study's authors said it was unclear whether the cut was solely the result of falling demand for products such as soy and palm oil owing to the global economic crisis.

'It's great to see emerging economies like Brazil moving up the rankings, sending a clear signal during these negotiations that they are more and more committed to combating climate change,' said Matthias Duwe, director of CAN Europe.

Burck, one of the study's authors, explained that countries are ranked against one another as well as against the criteria of keeping average temperature increases below the dangerous level of two degrees Centigrade.

The poor performance of China and the US was explained by the fact that, while each country is responsible for about a fifth of global emissions of carbon dioxide, its leaders have announced what most experts describe as insufficient greenhouse gas emission targets.

'There are a number of climate policy proposals going through (the) US Congress at the moment, but nothing yet on the books. A bill which really reduces emissions and a strong performance in Copenhagen would improve their ranking,' Christoph Bals of Germanwatch said in explaining the US ranking.

Saudi Arabia was by far the worst performer with a score of 28.7, ranking a distant last behind 59th-place Canada (40.7).

The oil-exporting country has sided with the sceptics in the row over whether global warming poses a real threat or not, while Canada was punished for delaying the announcement on any major new climate policies.

Among the Europeans, Sweden, Britain, Germany and France all made it to the top 10 spots, while Poland, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg were given a 'very poor rating'.


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on back foot once again on Monday struggling to counter a top think-tank's report that the UK could drop out of the world's top ten economies by 2015.
India, Brazil and Russia will overtake Britain by 2015, according to analysis released on Monday by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

"In 2005, the UK was the 4th largest economy in the world. China overtook in 2006, France in 2008 and Italy in 2009. The official figures suggest that we have dropped to No. 7. Projecting forward, the combination of economic growth and population growth, plus a likely rising real exchange rate mean that Brazil and Russia will overtake the UK sometime soon, perhaps in 2012," CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams said.

India will almost certainly overtake as well, though probably not till 2015, he added. The analysis also predicted that Canada could catch up and surpass UK GDP around 2015 and Australia by 2020.

Mr Brown, who is facing attacks from the Opposition over the state of economy and dragging on of recession, on Monday announced plans to deliver "savings in excess of £12 billion over the next four years, including £3 billion of new efficiency savings since the budget. He said senior civil service pay bill will be cut by up to 20 per cent over three years to release savings of £100 million a year, Whitehall spending on consultancy will be halved to get annual saving of £650 million, and 123 government bodies will be merged or abolished to save £500 million a year. He also announced that more government staff would be relocated outside London.

Monday, December 14, 2009


As prospects of a political pact brighten at the Copenhagen climate change meet with the US, India and China setting emission reduction targets, the 12 day jamboree opened. They will chalk out a new plan to tackle global warming and its impacts beyond 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.
With leaders of some 100 countries present at the climate talks, including the US and China signs of a likely pact.
At the same time, concerns remain over the contentious Danish proposal that sets 2025 as deadline for all nations to cap emission. Analysts’ say the draft proposal prepared by the host nation removes the distinction between the developed and the developing countries and would be disastrous for developing countries. Developing countries have maintained that given the fact that emissions from industrialized developed nations over the last century have been the primary cause of global warming and they should shoulder greater responsibility for carbon cuts.
1) UNITED STATES………..19.10
2) CANADA……………...........17.37
3) RUSSIA……………….........11.21
4) SOUTH KOREA……........10.09
5) GERMANY…………............9.71
6) JAPAN…………………..........9.68
7) BRITAIN……………….........8.60
8) SOUTH AFRICA…….........7.27
9) FRANCE………………..........5.81
10) CHINA…………………..........4.57

Twitter has `out-twitted' Obama and H1N1 to emerge as 2009's top word, according to a survey by a group that analyses word usage.
The other words in the top ten in the list prepared by Global Language Monitor (GLM) include stimulus (the $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy), vampire and the near-ubiquitous suffix 2.0.

"In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon (Michael Jackson), the word Twitter stands above all the other words. Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters," says GLM's chief word analyst Paul J.J. Payack.

"Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku. One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds," he says. The top words were culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers. The analysis was completed in late November using GLM's predictive quantities indicator.

British surgeons have found that playing popular games machine, Nintendo Wii, can lead to fractured limbs and damaged knees.
In an editorial in the Royal Society of Medicine, the experts warned that `Wii injury' is very common as the popular game causes many brow raising and unusual injuries. "Gaming is certainly not without its dangers and as the technology has evolved, those dangers seem to become ever more tangible," warned Thomas Fysh and John Thompson from the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

"Upon the advent of the Wii, Playstation thumb and Nintendintis were eclipsed by altogether different problems," they said.

The Wii has been praised for encouraging players to be more active by mimicking the actions involved in many sports and earlier this year a study even suggested that the machines could be helpful for preventing weight gain.

Saturday, December 12, 2009



Previous research predicted sea levels would only raise by a couple of feet (59 cm) by the end of the century; however this does not include melting ice from the South Pole.
The most comprehensive steady into the impact of global warming on the region by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) found ice is already melting in the West Antarctic region due to an increase in temperatures.
The centre of the huge continent that has been protected from the warming effect until now because of a hole in the ozone layer is also due to warm in the feature.
By the end of the century the water flowing into the oceans from Antarctica, as well as from Green land and land glaciers like the Himalayas, will cause a sea level rise of more than four feet (1.4m).
If temperatures continue to increase in the next two to five hundred years, sea level rise could go up by 20feet (6m) as more of Antarctica melts.
Dr. Colin Summer Hayes, Executive Director of SCAR, said coastal cities could be affected although they should be able to build defenses like sea walls. He said developing countries, where millions of people live in low-lying areas, are more likely to suffer.
“Anybody who lives in coastal cities needs to be slightly worried by projections of one metre or more,” he said.
The previous study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did not include Antarctica, as scientists believed it was impossible to measure melting ice in the region.
However new information from satellites, ice cores and innovative studies, including putting temperature gauges on elephant seals, have allowed scientists to model the effects of warming on the Antarctic.
A key part of the study is the effect of the hole in the ozone layer on the Antarctic region.
The hole developed in the 1970s after damaging chemicals known as CFCs were released into the atmosphere. This caused wind patterns to change and a cooling of the region.
Climate “sceptics” said the cooling of the centre of the continent and the growth of sea ice was evidence that global warming is not affecting the region.
But Professor John Turner of the British Antarctic Survey said the hole in the ozone layer has only temporarily protected Antarctica from warming. Since new rules outlawing CFCs have come into force the hole should “heal” and temperatures are likely to rise.
“For me the most astonishing evidence is the way that one man-made environmental impact – the ozone hole – has shielded most of Antarctica from another – global warming,” he said, “But it stands to heal and will no longer be protected.”
The study found that temperatures in the Antarctic peninsula around the base of South America are already rising, causing non-native like huge stone crabs, beetles and seaweed to invade.
In the long term Antarctica will become more “green” as temperatures rise and mosses and grasses grow and it may even become more suitable for human habitation……as per the reports appearing in


Researchers found that social isolation raises levels of a hormone which helps to trigger tumor growth.

Loneliness significantly increases the risk of developing breast cancer, American scientists have claimed.
Researchers from the Yale University and the University of Chicago found that social isolation raises levels of a hormone which helps to trigger tumor growth.
"This study offers insight into how the social world gets under the skin," said author Gretchen Hermes from Yale University.

Co-author Martha McClintock from the University of Chicago added: "We need to use these findings to identify potential targets for intervention to reduce cancer and its psychological and social risk factors".

"In order to do that, we need to look at the problem from a variety of perspectives, including examining the sources of stress in neighborhoods as well as the biological aspects of cancer development," they said.

Reducing feelings of loneliness could potentially cut the numbers affected, the team behind the study believes, Telegraph said.

Their findings show that levels of a stress hormone called corticosterone increases in isolation and this hormone affects how cells grow, creating tumors.


It might be frustrating for the partner, but it seems snoring is actually good for health. That's the controversial suggestion emerged from a recent study on sleep apnoea.
For years, the condition, which causes interruptions in breathing during sleep, has been linked to high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. But the Israeli study of 600 people over the age of 65 has claimed that the risk of early death in people with moderate sleep apnoea was less than half that of people with no history of snoring, the Daily Mail reported. The study also found that the risk of early death for those with a severe form of the condition was the same as a healthy control group, when it was expected to be higher.

"One theory is that the constant breaks in oxygen and blood supply to organs, caused by the pauses in the breathing, somehow strengthen the heart and brain; this means that if a heart attack or a stroke occurs, the body is better able to deal with it," said the report.

However, Professor Jim Horne, head of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, said: "It is better to get heavy snoring treated rather than assume it will prolong life."

Sleep apnoea can result in the airways in the throat collapsing, cutting off the air supply for about 10 seconds a time. The distinctive rumbling sound of snoring is produced when the muscles in the nose, mouth and throat relax during sleep.

There are a variety of factors that exacerbate snoring, including sleeping position, being overweight, having a blocked nose, or physical features such as a large soft palate or long uvula (the bit of tissue that hangs down at the back of your mouth).

Saturday, November 28, 2009


If the Earth's global s surface temperature goes up by a mere two degrees, Chennai and Mumbai could be submerged undersea THE GLOBAL WARMING ISSUE HEATS UP AGAIN.

TAKE A CLOSE look at the map of India and its coastline as it stands today. In the not-so-distant-future, only a fraction of the land space constituting Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata might remain.
These cities are among the international danger zones that face the threat of submersion if global temperature rises at the present rate. Studies say that even an increase in the warmth of the planet by two degrees could spell catastrophe.
Climate change resulting from global warming has become the biggest ecological and social challenge faced by the Indian subcontinent. The Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its recent report predicted that if the Earth's global surface temperature goes up by a mere two degrees, Chennai and Mumbai could be submerged under sea and up to seven million residents might have to shift to other cities, which means a citizen could become a refugee in his own country.

In recent times, the country has seen unprecedented and extreme weather conditions.

Landslides (in Assam) and flooding (the recent Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka deluges) have been attributed to global warming.

In contrast, in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka the very same m o n s o o n wrecked havoc with devastating human and economic repercussions. Scientists estimate that the Himalayan glaciers are melting the fastest in the world and it is most dangerous given that more than a billion people are dependent on glacier-fed rivers in the Himalayan-Hindu Kush-Tibetan region. The South Asia zone is projected to be the most vulnerable in the world to agricultural failure as a result of warmer temperatures, reduced rainfall and lower soil fertility.

She goes on to add, "The Indian land mass has already warmed by 0.5 degrees over the 20th century -- and this is only an average; we have seen spikes in temperature rise across the country. A rise in one degree Celsius results in approx 10 per cent loss in our agricultural security. Almost 60 per cent of our children suffer from malnutrition -- this additional agricultural burden signals severe health and social stability consequences for India. At a regional level, in some places, such as central Andhra Pradesh, we are seeing a 10 degrees Celsius rises -- reaching almost 45 degrees Celsius in the driest parts."

Experts believe that temperature rise in already dry areas will lead to evaporation of water and groundwater will go down further. Rivers could go dry and there would be widespread hardship for people and wildlife as well.

But all hope is not lost. Environmentalists say going back to the basics holds the key for reversing the damage done. There are several ways in which organic farming helps reduce carbon footprint and even contributes to the reversal of climate change. For instance, composting allows the release of carbon dioxide back into the soil rather than into the atmosphere.
Similarly, organic farming does not depend on fertilizers and pesticides. It also cuts down pollution occurring due to `food miles', which the distance is taken for your food to reach your plate from the garden where it is grown. As all our organic products are sold in local markets, the food miles are significantly lower when compared to inorganic products.


Solving puzzles is not only a good exercise for your brain, it also helps burn 90 calories within an hour, a research claims. "Our brains require 0.1 calories every minute simply to survive. When we do something challenging such as a puzzle or a quiz we can burn through 1.5 calories every minute," said lead researcher Tim Forrester from cannyminds.com.
"Doing puzzles burns an average of 90 calories every hour," Forrester was quoted by Daily Mail.

He said that the brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons which produce neurotransmitters -the chemicals used to relay signals to transmit messages to the body. Neurons extract three-quarters of sugar, calories and a fifth of oxygen from the blood to create neurotransmitters, he said.


A cure for coughing is in the offing, thanks to scientists who have identified the process that leads to the reflex.
Coughing has largely remained a mystery to science. Now, a UK team has found that the problem actually lies with receptors on nerve endings in the lungs which react to irritants. For victims of persistent coughing in which no useful purpose is being served, the receptors on these nerve endings are repeatedly prompting the cough reflex.

If those receptors are blocked, coughing could be stopped, according to scientists from Britain's National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and Hull University.

Lead scientist Prof Maria Belvisi of the National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College said: "For some people, chronic coughing can be annoying and uncomfortable, but for others it can be distressing and can have a severe impact on their quality of life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The hormone melatonin, secreted only at night and in the dark, may be implicated in triggering seizures.

There may be something in the centuries-old superstitions about the influence of the moon on epilepsy and seizures, says a new study.
Scientists at University College London have discovered that the number of epileptic seizures -- which are related to electrical activity in the brain -- goes down when the moon is at its brightest.
For their study, the scientists examined the record of seizures in a dedicated epilepsy unit, in which every seizure in each 24hour period is logged for patients.
They compared the timing of each seizure with the brightness of the moon.
Their results showed that during the brighter phases of the moon's cycle there were fewer epileptic seizures in the corresponding 24-hour period, the Daily Mail reported.

"These findings suggest that epileptic seizures are at less likely to occur on brighter nights," lead scien tist Dr Sallie Baxendale of Institute of Neurology at University College London, was quoted as saying.
Experts believe the effect of the hormone melatonin, which is secreted only at night and in the dark, may be implicated in triggering be implicated seizures


Good news for chocoholics trying hard to resist their favorite sweet treat: a chocolate that helps people slim has been invented. Called Lola, the chocolate has chemicals that suppress hunger, while tasting as rich and satisfying as regular chocolates.
It has a slight green tinge because of its unusual ingredients, which promote weight loss. The chocolate, made by Spanish manufacturer Cocoa Bio, contains the dietary supplement spirulina, a microscopic algae with high level of nutrients like vitamin A and B12, which have weight loss benefits.


The world could well run out of Internet addresses next year, unless urgent action is taken to switch to a new generation of net addresses, the European Commission has warned.

According to the commission, businesses urgently need to upgrade to Internet protocol version six or IPv6, a new version of the Internet's addressing protocol, which will hugely increase the number of available addresses.

The IPv6 system has been ready for over a decade and is providing 340 trillion, trillion, trillion web addresses. But, not many companies are actually ready to migrate to the new platform.

In fact, a survey, conducted by the Commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported. The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which web addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as, which are then given a user-friendly web address to make them easier to remember.

The IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses while IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses.

The EC survey found that of the 610 government, educational and other industry organizations questioned across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, just 17 per cent have upgraded to IPv6.

The Commission has warned that the timely deployment of the protocol is vital to the growth and stability of the Internet. Detlef Eckert, Director in Commission's information society and media directorate-general, said: "In the last 10 years, the Internet has become hugely important worldwide from a socio-economic perspective.”Only by ensuring that all devices connected to the internet are compatible with IPv6 can we stay connected and safeguard sustainable growth of the Internet and the global digital economy, now and in the years to come."

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Drinking eight cups of tea daily might sound a bit too much for some people, but health experts say the intake can help fight heart disease, improve brain power and also boost longevity.

Independent dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton''s research on caffeine at King''s College, London, saw her review 47 published studies to reach the conclusion that caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cocoa have positive effects on mental function, increasing alertness, feelings of well-being and short-term memory.

Previous studies have already linked the drink's healthy antioxidant properties and high flavonoid content to preventing heart disease and cutting the risk of some cancers.

Dr Ruxton has supported earlier reports by claiming that an optimal intake of 400mg of caffeine a day leads to "key benefits in terms of mental function and heart health."

She assessed three studies, accounting for almost 90,000 patients, to find that drinking four cups of tea or coffee a day reduced chances of cardiovascular disease.

She referred to another study of 26,500 middle-aged smokers, which hinted that men who ingested more than two cups of tea a day pulled down the probability of getting a stroke by 20 per cent.

Dr Ruxton insisted that she aimed to "debunk" false beliefs surrounding caffeine.

Moreover, she asserted that people who avoid drinking tea might be doing more harm than good.

"People who cut out caffeinated drinks may miss out on the potential health benefits of the compounds they contain," the 'Daily Express' quoted her as saying.

She further suggested that there was "no need" for parents to stop children from drinking tea and coffee. In fact, she claimed it was better than juice in some regards.

Also, Dr Catherine Hood, of the Tea Advisory Panel, agreed to Dr Ruxton's claims.

She said: "Caffeinated drinks have been unfairly demonized. Black tea, in particular, contains polyphenols, which are natural plant antioxidants. These have beneficial effects on many biochemical processes in the body because they protect cells against harmful free radicals."

"Flavonoids are thought to be especially useful, with a number of studies reporting a link between them and lower risk of heart attack," she further added.


Drinking untreated rainwater is safe for your health, according to an Australian study.
Researchers from Melbourne's Monash University looked at 300 homes that used rainwater collected in water tanks as their primary drinking source in what they described as a "world first" study that comes amid growing criticism of bottled water.

All of the homes were given a bench top filter and told it would remove any potential gastroenteritis causing organisms from their water, but half of the devices did not contain filters.

Families recorded their health over a year and the researchers found that the rate of gastro cases recorded by these two groups were very similar and also matched the broader community who drank treated tap water.


An eminent US neurosurgeon has lambasted World Health Organization for scaring people by terming swine flu a "pandemic". "A group of scientists and vaccine manufacturers were doing all they could to fuel the fear and they were quietly making deals with WHO to be among the companies selected to manufacture the pandemic vaccine for the world.
Being anointed by WHO would guarantee tens of billions of dollars of profit," said Dr Russelle Blaylock, neurosurgeon, researcher and educationist.
According to Dr Blaylock, swine flu was not as dangerous as common flu. Quoting from studies conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the respected New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Blaylock has pointed out that H1N1 virus is neither dangerous nor contagious.
"The H1N1 virus is no more pathogenic than the ordinary seasonal flu. It is no way matched the pathogenicity of the 1917-1918 H1N1 viruses. It also did not infect other tissues or brain," writes Dr Blaylock in an e-mail message to his peers and colleagues.

He said an unpublished study by the US Department of Health's CDC has found that swine flu has very low communicability. "A study in New York State proves that only 6.9 per cent of the population had contracted the virus from others." This is far below the 50 per cent predicted by the President's Council of Advisors on science and Technology. In fact, the death rate due to H1N1 was much below the usual seasonal flu death rate, especially in New Zealand.

Dr Blaylock has blamed the media, doctors and Parma companies for blowing out of proportion the deaths attributed to swine flu. "Surveys and studies have proved that all deaths attributed to swine flu were caused by underlying health problems before the infection. He said it was those who were affected with obesity and asthma who lost their lives.

"The US studies have proved that vaccinating pregnant women resulted in babies with more health problems," said Dr Blaylock.
The rRT-PCR test for diagnosing swine flu was devised by the pharma company that holds the rights for selling the much publicized drug Tamiflu and Relenza all over the world. Neither the test nor the drugs have had the mandatory human studies before being let loose on the gullible public!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The dream of every Harry Potter fan of owning an "invisibility cloak" seems to be soon coming true, with British scientists developing such a garment which will render the wearer invisible to the human eye.

A team at Imperial College hopes to create a cloak from a new material that can manipulate light. Normally, when light hits an object, it bounces off the surface and into the eye, making the object visible.

According to the scientists, the invisibility cloak made from "meta-material" would work by "grabbing hold" of light waves and making them flow smoothly around an object; in the same way that water in a river flows round a stick.

Putting the cloak on will allow the wearer to move around unseen, the Daily Mail reported. In fact, the scientists say the meta-material could have a range of other applications, including creating super-sensitive microscopes and airport security sensors that can spot tiny amounts of chemicals.

However, they admit the Harry Potter cloak is likely to generate the most interest. Sir John Pendry, who is leading the project, which is being funded by the Leverhulme Trust and will be carried out with the University of Southampton, said: "We've shown that an optical invisibility cloak is theoretically possible - the big challenge now is to build it."


Rutgers computer scientists are testing a new tactic that could strengthen online security by making it harder to crack security questions.

“We call them activity-based personal questions,” said Danfeng Yao, assistant professor of computer science in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

“Sites could ask you, ‘When was the last time you sent an e-mail?’ Or, ‘What did you do yesterday at noon?’” she added.

Yao and her students have been testing how resistant these activity questions are to “attack,” – computer security lingo for when an intruder answers them correctly and gains accesses to personal information such as e-mails or to do online shopping or banking.

Early studies suggest that questions about recent activities are easy for legitimate users to answer, but harder for potential intruders to find or guess, according to Yao.

“We want the question to be dynamic,” she said. “The questions you get today will be different from the ones you would get tomorrow,” she added.

Yao said she gave four students in her lab a list of questions related to network activities, physical activities and opinion questions, and then told them to “attack” each other.

“We found that questions related to time are more robust than others. Many guessed the answer to the question, ‘Who was the last person you sent e-mail to?’ But fewer were able to guess, ‘What time did you send your last e-mail?’” she said.

Yao explained that it should not be difficult for an online service provider to formulate these kinds of security questions by looking at its users’ e-mail, calendar activities or previous transactions.

Computers would have to use natural language processing tools to synthesize understandable questions and analyze the answers for accuracy.

Yao is proposing further studies to determine the practicality of the new approach and the best way to implement it.


Children who are raised with "tough love" by their parents are likely to do well in life, a new report has found.

The report, by think tank Demos, suggested that experiencing a combination of warmth and discipline means youngsters are more likely to develop skills such as application, self-regulation and empathy than those with laissez-faire, authoritarian or disengaged parents.

These characteristics boost children’s life chances, social mobility and opportunity and were profoundly shaped in pre-school years, according to the report.

The Building Character report, which analyzed data from more than 9,000 households in the UK from the Millennium Cohort Study, showed that kids with "tough love" parents were twice as likely to develop good character capabilities by the age of five as children with "disengaged" parents.

The report also looked at factors such as family structure and income, reports the Daily Star.

It found that kids from the richest backgrounds were more than twice as likely to develop crucial characteristics as the poorest.

Children with married parents were twice as likely to show the traits as children from lone parent or step-parented families, the study found.

The researchers of the study said that when parental style and confidence were factored in, the difference in child character development between richer and poorer families disappeared; indicating parenting was the most important influence.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Sporting a new mobile phone may be fashionable in these well-connected times, but the discarded old handsets could poison the environment, as a whopping 8,000 tonnes of cell phone waste is estimated to burden the earth by 2012.

As per a whitepaper by global consultancy Deloitte, there is a growing need to better manage the rising cell phone waste, as it is posing a threat to the environment.

Replacement sales predict that more cell phones would be retired every year with rapid changes in technology and product designs discouraging mobile repairs and increasing demand for new mobiles and disposal of old ones.

"With the absence of a proper recycle and reuse program, about 8,000 tonnes of toxic cell phone components are estimated to be dumped in landfills by 2012. The resulting contamination will have far reaching consequences for the environment and all living beings," said Parag Saigaonkar, Deloitte consulting India regional managing director.

The problem begins when retired handsets end up in landfill sites or if they are dumped illegally, leading to toxic substances seeping into the groundwater, making disposal of old cells a problem for the world, the report revealed.

"As India is one of the fastest growing markets in the world in terms of mobile phone subscribers, India need to be more aware of the threat, which these gadgets pose to the environment and strict government guidelines should be created to deal with it," Mr Saigaonkar added.

The Deloitte report stated that mobile phone waste globally is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about nine per cent between 2008 and 2012, with more than 80 per cent of the cell phone waste being hazardous.

The main contributors to cell phone waste are those who upgrade and replace their handsets regularly.

About 65 per cent of subscribers in Asia, Europe and the Americas replace their cell phones at least once in two years. This means every 2 years, about 100 million cell phones reach landfills if they are not recycled or reused, it added.

Elaborating on the ways to minimize the growing cell phone waste, the report stated that recycling and refurbishing of used cell phones is necessary.

Refurbishing extends the lifetime of used phones and recycling reduces the need for the raw materials used to make new products. The inclusion of recycling or refurbishing would change the traditional view of the cell phone life cycle.

"In this new life cycle model, every stakeholder will have to play a role in reducing the environmental footprint of cell phones," it added.


Here's some good news for figure conscious people, weight-loss noodles will soon hit the shelves.

Researchers from the University Sains Malaysia (USM) have innovated a dry yellow noodle that allows consumers to sustain a feeling of fullness for longer and lose weight.

"The noodle was the first such product in Malaysia to be tested clinically for its Glycaemic Index prior to commercialization," Chief researcher Assoc Prof Azhar Mat Easa said.

This noodles release sugar slower than regular ones and is more suitable for those who are sensitive to the sugar content in food and those with a weight problem.

"The product was specially formulated and prepared to encourage the formation of cross-linked proteins that can trap starch, and is fortified with additional starch that blocks digestion," he said.

He said the product's ability to block digestion allowed the noodles to remain in the digestive system and keep dieters feeling full for longer.

"If the noodles are consumed in the morning, a person will feel full until night, and consumers can now enjoy yellow noodles without worrying about excessive increase in their sugar blood levels."

The product is expected to hit the markets in February, he said, adding the taste is similar to that of regular noodles and can be cooked in any way.


A quarter of a million kids might lose their lives next year due to adverse effects of climate change, warns a charity.

Save the Children insists that figure could rise to more than 400,000 by 2030.

Its report 'Feeling the Heat' claims that climate change is the biggest global health threat to children in the 21st century.

Experts believe that almost 175 million children per year are likely to suffer the consequences of natural disasters like cyclones, droughts and floods by 2030.

They further say that more than 900 million children in the next generation will be affected by water shortages and 160 million more children will be at risk of catching malaria - one of the biggest killers of children under five - as it spreads to new parts of the world.

Ultravox star Midge Ure, a Save the Children ambassador, recently returned to Ethiopia 25 years after the 1984 famine, and created Band Aid with Bob Geldof.

"Climate change is no longer a distant, futuristic scenario, but an immediate threat," the Daily Express quoted him as saying.

"We've all heard about the East African food crisis but I've been in Ethiopia seeing firsthand the impact it's having on children's lives.

"I've seen how vulnerable children are to the effects of climate change," he added.


People are likely to sleep better after they retire, a new study has found.

The findings suggest that this general improvement in sleep is likely to result from the removal of work-related demands and stress rather than from actual health benefits of retirement.

Results show that the odds of having disturbed sleep in the seven years after retirement were 26 per cent lower than in the seven years before retiring.

Sleep disturbance prevalence rates among 14,714 participants fell from 24.2 per cent in the last year before retirement to 17.8 per cent in the first year after retiring.

The greatest reduction in sleep disturbances was reported by participants with depression or mental fatigue prior to retirement.

The post-retirement improvement in sleep also was more pronounced in men, management-level workers, employees who reported high psychological job demands, and people who occasionally or consistently worked night shifts, the website Eurekalert reported.

Lead author Jussi Vahtera, professor in the department of public health at the University of Turku in Finland, noted that the participants enjoyed employment benefits rarely seen, including guaranteed job stability, a statutory retirement age between 55 and 60 years, and a company-paid pension that was 80 per cent of their salary.

"We believe these findings are largely applicable in situations where financial incentives not to retire are relatively weak," said Vahtera.

"In countries and positions where there is no proper pension level to guarantee financial security beyond working age, however, retirement may be followed by severe stress disturbing sleep even more than before retirement."

The study involved employees from the French national gas and Electricity Company, who retired between 1990 and 2006 at a mean age of 55 years.

The study includes data from 11,581 male and 3,133 female workers who reported sleep disturbances at least once before and once after the year of retirement. Around 35 percent of participants had worked night shifts, and 17 per cent reported having depression.

Participants completed questionnaires concerning health, lifestyle, individual, familial, social and occupational factors.

The authors conclude that in the present time when people are expected to live many years beyond the traditional age of retirement, consideration should be given to the restructuring of working life to enable older workers to remain economically active without compromising their future health.

The results were published in the November issue of the journal 'Sleep.'

Friday, October 30, 2009

The non-profit body that oversees Internet addresses has approved the use of Hebrew, Hindi, Korean and other scripts not based on the Latin alphabet in a decision that could make the Web dramatically more inclusive.

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN voted on Friday to allow such scripts in so-called domain names at a meeting in South Korea's capital.

The decision was widely expected and follows years of debate and testing. It clears the way for governments or their designees to submit requests for specific names, likely beginning November.

Internet users could start seeing them in use early next year, particularly in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts in which demand has been among the highest, ICANN officials say.


A website asking people to give information on a mysterious man that thousands of people across the globe claim to have seen in dreams has become an instant hit.

The site, thisman.org, says that a woman first drew the face of the mystery man during a session with her psychiatrist three years ago, after he repeatedly appeared in her dreams, reports the Sun.

The site also claims that the woman confessed to have never seen or met the man.

When another patient saw the sketch on the psychiatrist's desk, he also claimed to have dreamt of the man.

When the doctor sent the picture to his colleagues, some of their patients too recognized the man.

And now the picture that was posted on the Internet just two weeks ago has become a phenomenon - the traffic on thisman.org has suddenly skyrocketed.

Although, thousands of people around the world claimed to have seen the face in their dreams, critics have dubbed it as a complete hoax.

The year 2010 will see your beloved pooches teaching you yoga, thanks to a new Yoga Dogs Calendar. Texan couple Dan and Alejandra Borris has come up with the 2010 calendar, which features dogs in various yoga positions.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The Internet is set to undergo one of the biggest changes in its four-decade history with the expected approval this week of international domain names — or addresses — that can be written in languages other than English, an official said on Monday.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — the non-profit group that oversees domain names — is holding a meeting this week in Seoul. Domain names are the monikers behind every website, e-mail address and Twitter post, such as ".com" and other suffixes.

One of the key issues to be taken up by ICANN's board at this week's gathering is whether to allow for the first time entire internet addresses to be in scripts that are not based on Latin letters.

That could potentially open up the web to more people around the world as addresses could be in characters as diverse as Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Hindi and Cyrillic — in which Russian is written.

"This is the biggest change technically to the internet since it was invented 40 years ago," Mr Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the ICANN board, told reporters, calling it a "fantastically complicated technical feature."

He said he expects the board to grant approval on Friday, the conference's final day.

The internet's roots are traced to experiments at a US university in 1969 but it wasn't until the early 1990s that its use began expanding beyond academia and research institutions to the public.


Kiwi fruit has been labeled as the best source of vitamin C, which can have wonderful health benefits, according to an expert.

Professor Robin Fraser, of Otago University’s Christchurch School of Medicine, has said that the furry fruit could be the key to living longer as it appears to be the perfect food for preventing all sorts of liver problems, as well as keeping white blood cells health.

Fraser, who has seen many unhealthy livers in his time as a pathologist, is a convert to the benefits of the fruit.

"It just seems as though it works. I’m so convinced that I eat kiwifruit every morning for my breakfast," Stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.

Fraser compared the liver to a sieve that when working properly effectively filtered the carrier of cholesterol.

But, he said, those holes could be closed because of excess drinking, an overly fatty diet, smoking, illicit drug use and stress, which could lead to atherosclerosis— a major killer through heart failure, strokes, gangrenous feet and aortic aneurism.

But he pointed out that a daily dose of kiwifruit, along with a healthier lifestyle, appeared to be able to reopen those holes in the liver which, in his opinion was an exciting development.

He said kiwifruit was the most efficient way of getting the recommended dose of vitamin C, the active ingredient that appeared to fix the liver.

Dr Margreet Vissers, the dean of research at Otago University in Christchurch, said that vitamin C was also needed by white blood cells to kill bacteria and ensured they did not kill off everything else in the process.

Fraser presented his findings at the annual scientific meeting of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia in Christchurch.


Cheeseburgers and fries might look tempting, but eating some broccoli or leafy greens first could help people battle obesity and heart disease, says a new study.
Eating more plant-based foods, which are rich in substances called phytochemicals, seems to prevent oxidative stress in the body, a process associated with obesity and the onset of heart disease, according to the study.
To get enough of these protective chemicals, researchers suggest eating plant-based foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes at the start of a meal. Oxidative stress occurs when the body produces too many damaging free radicals and lacks enough anti-oxidants or phytochemicals to counteract them.
Because of excess fat tissue and certain enzymes that are more active in overweight people, being obese can actually trigger the production of more free radicals, too. Using a phytochemical index, which compares calories consumed from plant-based foods with the overall number of daily calories, could remind people to get enough phyto-chemicals during meals and snacks, said Heather K. Vincent, University of Florida (UF), who led the study.
"We need to find a way to encourage people to pull back on fat and eat more foods rich in micronutrients and trace minerals from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy," said Vincent.
"Fill your plate with colourful, low-calorie, varied-texture foods derived from plants first. By slowly eating phytochemical-rich foods such as salads with olive oil or fresh-cut fruits before the actual meal, you are likely to reduce the overall portion size, fat content and energy intake."
"In this way, you're ensuring that you get the variety of protective, disease-fighting phytochemicals you need and controlling caloric intake," added Vincent. These findings were published online in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.


Amid stepped up efforts to curb global warming, a recent research has revealed that average temperatures have not increased for over a decade.

Average temperatures have not increased for over a decade and the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998, according to a research published by the Royal Society.

For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures and our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise, it said.

Climate change skeptics argue that there are natural cycles, over which we have no control, that dictate how warm the planet is. But what is the evidence for this?

During the last few decades of the 20th Century, our planet did warm quickly but a the research has ruled out solar influences on increase in temperature, a BBC report said.

"Warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity," said Dr Piers Forster from Leeds University, a leading contributor to this year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The scientists' main approach was simple: to look at solar output and cosmic ray intensity over the last 30-40 years, and compare those trends with the graph for global average surface temperature.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Citizens in our city wage war on CO2
In our city The Students' Sea Turtle Conservation Network will make a giant sand sculpture of a sea turtle at Beach from 3.30pm. Students from Anna University will conduct rock concerts, street plays and dance shows at Beach. The Chennai Mallakhamb Association will create a Mallakhamb pyramid at Enchanting Elves, at 11.30 am International Day of Climate Action, which is observed on October 24, will witness people from all over the city doing their bit for the planet in out-of-the box, innovative and amusing ways

With environmental awareness becoming a buzzword today, young Chennaiites are ensuring that they aren't left behind in doing their bit for the city and the planet. On the occasion of International Day of Climate Action, which is being observed on October 24, the citizens are not limiting themselves to the usual rallies and lectures but opting for interactive events like a Mallakhamb pyramid, a rock show, street plays and more.
Joining the international 350.org initiative, their aim is to help reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere -- from the alarming 390 ppm (parts per million) as of now to the acceptable 350 ppm i. e.the safe limit.
A human chain will also be formed in the shape of 350 around the sculpture.



Amid growing concern over global warming, scientists have come up with a unique scheme to cool the earth with the help of a geoengineering method that would increase cloud reflectivity over the ocean.
Under the scheme, the scientists would increase cloud reflectivity over the ocean by spraying them with an ultra-fine saltwater mist from ships, a report published in journal Scientific American said.
"The clouds, containing more particles, would cast enough sunlight back into space to at least partially offset the warming effects of all that CO2 from burning fossil fuels," the researchers said.
They added, "After all, clouds already reflect more of the sun's radiation back into space than the amount trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide. So why not make them even more effective".
Stephen Salter, an emeritus professor of engineering design at the University of Edinburgh, who is leading the research, said "marine cloud brightening could be done by populating the world's oceans with up to 1,500 ships of a somewhat exotic design--sometimes known as albedo yachts".
"Furthermore, each vessel would be remote-controlled, wind-powered, and capable of generating (via turbines dragged through the water) the electricity required to create a mist of seawater and loft it 1,000 metres high into the atmosphere," he added.
Geoengineering schemes fall into two categories, corresponding to the two knobs you might imagine twiddling to adjust the earth's temperature.
One knob controls how much sunlight--or solar energy, to be more precise--reaches the planet's surface; the other controls how much heat escapes back into space, which depends on how much CO2 is in the atmosphere.

Schemes for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, say,by fertilizing the oceans with iron, would strike closer to the root of the problem.
But they would inevitably take decades to have much of an effect.


At five years of age, Romanian bodybuilding lad Giuliano Stroe has landed himself in record books after leaving Guinness judges stunned with his incredible stunts.
The muscle boy lives with his family in Italy where he has been training since the age of two. Earlier this year he managed to get into the Guinness Book of Records after performing a jaw-dropping handstand stunt on an Italian TV show.
In fact, the strong lad preformed the fastest ever 10m-handwalk with a weight ball between his legs in front of an astonished audience. And Giuliano has now become an Internet hit after millions of Internet users watched a clip of him performing the stunt on YouTube.
"He has been going to the gym with me ever since he was born. I always took him with me when I went training," The Sun quoted Giuliano''s dad Iulian Stroe, 33, as saying. But he added there is no danger of the youngster harming himself, saying: "I have been training hard all my life myself. He is never allowed to practice on his own, he is only a child and if he gets tired we go and play."
Giuliano, the oldest of four children, says his stardom has not gone to his head and he still enjoys normal kids stuff like painting, watching cartoons and playing in the park when he is not weightlifting. However, he likes getting filmed and when people applaud it makes him happy.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Clad in two white gloves and a black hat, the young boy talked to host Ellen DeGeneres before he danced for the audience.
The boy was unresponsive when Ellen told him "it's nice to meet you," but went on to explain the kind of dancing he does. Watch


Researchers in the United States have found another good reason to go to the local espresso bar: several cups of coffee a day could halt the progression of liver disease, a study showed.
Sufferers of chronic hepatitis C and advanced liver disease who drank three or more cups of coffee per day slashed their risk of the disease progressing by 53 percent compared to patients who drank no coffee, the study led by Neal Freedman of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) showed.
"We observed an inverse association between coffee intake and liver disease progression," meaning patients who drank three or more cups of java were less likely to see their liver disease worsen than nondrinkers, wrote the authors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Hepatology.

Microsoft Corp launched Windows 7 on Thursday in its most important release for more than a decade, aiming to win back customers after the disappointing Vista and strengthen its grip on the PC market.
The world's largest software company, which powers more than 90 per cent of personal computers, has received good reviews for the new operating system, which it hopes will grab back the impetus in new technology from rivals Apple Inc and Google Inc.


Scientists have created a revolutionary once-a-day jab that can fight obesity.
Liraglutide not only controls the symptoms of diabetes but also leads to significant weight loss. Earlier this year, the super drug was given the go-ahead by European regulators. And now, latest tests have shown it to be significantly more effective than fat pills.
In study trials, the jab has shown promise in helping people lose weight by increasing the “full” feeling after eating and by slowing the speed, at which their stomach empties, reports The Daily Express.
What’s more, it lowers blood pressure, a major factor in the development of heart disease. In the study by Professor Arne Astrup, of the University of Copenhagen, published in The Lancet, high doses of liraglutide were found to lead to greater weight loss than the prescription-only drug or listat.

The authors said: “The results indicate the potential benefit of liraglutide, in conjunction with an energy-deficit diet, in the treatment of obesity.”

Obesity expert Professor Steve Bloom, of Imperial College London, said: “At last science is providing treatments that work in obesity. As we all are dying earlier from our excessive fat, this is a breakthrough.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The ASPCA will be handing out 10 Humane Awards on October 29, reports USA Today. Among the recipients are law-enforcement agents involved in the largest dog-fighting raid ever; a couple whose ranch is now a sanctuary to about 70 animals; and, of course, Nora the Piano-Playing Cat, the ASPCA's 2009 Cat of the Year.

Wait, what? The mewing musician isn't being rewarded for her mad musical skills (although she's better at tickling the ivories than some of us here at Paw Nation), but for the way she's raised the profile of shelter pets. You see, shelter pets aren't just sad, furry faces waiting to be rescued. They're animals with lovable personalities and talents, and Nora is proof. You just never know who's going to steal your heart (and maybe the spotlight) at your local shelter or rescue!

Check out the ASPCA Website for a full list of 2009 Humane Award winners.


Here's yet another reason why you should go for a low-calorie diet -- high-protein meals can shrink your brain and cause Alzheimer's, says a new study.
An international team has carried out the study and found that a high protein diet can led to a smaller brain and may trigger the onset of dementia, the latest edition of the 'Molecular Neurodegeneration' journal reported. Researchers have based their findings on an analysis of mice which were specially bred to develop Alzheimer's. They were fed a regular diet, a high fat-low carb diet, a high protein-low carb version or a high carb-low fat option.
The researchers then looked at the brain and body weight of the mice, as well as plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer's. They were surprised by the smaller brains of those given the high protein-low carb diet. Mice on a high fat diet had raised levels of plaque proteins, but this had no effect on them, the findings showed.


A group of Indians has drawn up a $20 million plan to build a replica of the Taj Mahal in New Zealand. The miniature version of the monument to love is planned to be built at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre in the Auckland suburb of Eden Tce.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Having three meals everyday keeps us warm and protects us from any kind of fungal attack, a new study suggests.

The research from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Yeshiva University has revealed that just because humans and other mammals eat a lot, they are protected from the majority of fungal pathogens.

The research, showed that the elevated body temperature of mammals - the familiar 98.6o F or 37o C in people - is too high for the vast majority of potential fungal invaders to survive.

"Fungal strains undergo a major loss of ability to grow as we move to mammalian temperatures," said Dr Arturo Casadevall, chair and professor of microbiology and immunology at Einstein.

"Our study makes the argument that our warm temperatures may have evolved to protect us against fungal diseases. And being warm-blooded and therefore largely resistant to fungal infections may help explain the dominance of mammals after the age of dinosaurs," he added.

Fungal infections in people are often the result of an impaired immune function.

The study has been published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.


Global warming will leave the Arctic Ocean ice-free during the summer within 20 years, raising sea levels and harming wildlife such as seals and polar bears, a leading British polar scientist said on Thursday.
Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, said much of the melting will take place within a decade, although the winter ice will stay for hundreds of years.
The changes will mean the top of the Earth will appear blue rather than white when photographed from space and ships will have a new sea route north of Russia.
Scientists say evidence of melting Arctic ice is one of the clearest signs of global warming and it should send a warning to world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December for UN talks on a new climate treaty.
"The data supports the new consensus view -based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition -- that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years," Wadhams said in a statement. "Much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years."
Wadhams, one of the world's leading experts on sea ice cover in the North Pole region, compared ice thickness measurements taken by a Royal Navy submarine in 2007 with evidence gathered by the British explorer Pen Hadow earlier this year.

Hadow and his team on the Catlin Arctic Survey drilled 1,500 holes to gather evidence during a 280-mile walk across the Arctic. They found the average thickness of ice-floes was 1.8 metres, a depth considered too thin to survive the summer's ice melt. Sometimes referred to as the Earth's air-conditioner, the Arctic Sea plays a vital role in the world's climate. As Arctic ice melts in summer, it exposes the darker-coloured ocean water, which absorbs sunlight instead of reflecting it, accelerating the effect of global warming.
Dr Martin Sommerkorn, from WWF's Arctic program said the predicted loss of ice could have widereaching effects around the world. The changes will mean the top of the Earth will appear blue rather than white when seen from space and ships will have a new sea route north off Russia.


Watch the exclusive trailer of the most awaited Hollywood film of the year ‘Avatar’. The film is directed by James Cameron and the cast includes Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver.


Thursday, October 15, 2009




Thanks to a wildly successful (and highly unorthodox) marketing campaign and near universal acclaim, horror flick 'Paranormal Activity' is probably the hottest ticket in your town. The low-budget film -- it cost a mere $11,000 for a seven-day shoot -- was first released only in college towns, then slowly rolled out to additional markets based on an online audience demand campaign. Last weekend 'Paranormal' took in an astounding $49,379 per screen, earning $7.9 million for the weekend (compare that with the massively marketed 'Couples Retreat,' which cost Universal $60 million to make and earned $34.3 mil on 3,000 screens, making a less impressive $11,429 per screen).

Based on the success so far, Paramount has decided to take 'Paranormal' nationwide this weekend. So, should you believe the hype? Well, it's been haunting me ever since I saw it a week ago -- I'm still sleeping with all the lights on (and forcing my poor husband to escort me into the basement to do laundry), so I'm going to have to answer that question with a big YES. This is the rare scary movie that actually gets under your skin, and stays there long after the theater lights come up. And it's quite simply the most effective haunted-house movie I've ever seen.

The film follows a young couple (Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat) who set up a video camera in their bedroom to capture events they believe to be otherworldly. What unfolds after that is chilling, thrilling and just downright creepy. You see just enough of the couple's mundane daily activities -- brushing teeth, reading, eating -- that you forget at times that it's scripted and, by the end of the movie, you're convinced this couple really is documenting a true-life haunting.

Unlike today's major horror franchises, the real element of fear here is inspired not by flesh-and-bone bad guys, monsters or threat of bodily harm -- it's the fear of the unknown, the unseen. It's the things that go bump late at night while you clutch your partner in bed or bolt upright from a dead sleep because you're convinced there's a shadowy figure standing at the foot of your bed. Some of the moments in the film that elicit the loudest screams in the theater are the quietest on screen.

But don't take my word for it. Sure, I may be just be a scaredy cat (well, yes, I am, actually). But critics and moviegoers share my enthusiasm for 'Paranormal Activity.' Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly called it "freaky and terrifying," while Betsy Sharkey of the L.A. Times wrote, "There will be a very tight coil of anxiety buried deep in your gut that is very hard to get rid of." And -- now this may be the real shocker here -- critics and fans seem to be in agreement on this flick. Read on to discover what some of the Moviefone readers who've seen the movie have to say.

"For those who haven't seen the film, I can assure you that you have no idea what's in store. I am not easily frightened, and I have never been scared by a movie to the point of not being able to sleep ... After watching 'Paranormal Activity' I did not fall asleep until 5am. In my opinion, it was THAT scary. I am still a bit shaken, and I left the theater practically in tears. It is worth going to see -- trust me, you will not be disappointed!" -- Ashley

"I am a film major and a true horror film enthusiast, and nothing has left me tossing and turning in bed like this film did. The film has you on the edge of your seat and biting your nails the whole time. People next to me had their eyes shut half the time, and I witnessed an audience viewer yell out, 'You're on your own! This s*** is crazy!' before he left the theater halfway through the film. Truly a fun experience if you love a thrill." -- Mary

"I'm a pretty tough and manly guy, but watching this movie was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I was glad that people were around me when the movie ended because I needed to feel safe! I was 'that guy' who screamed like a little girl and then started cussing at the movie to try and regain my manhood. Definitely a must-see movie!" -- Brett

"No joke, scariest movie I have ever seen. Ran from car to my front door and slept with all the lights on. You will love it ... You will remember it every time you hear a noise you can't explain." -- Aricela

"I went and saw the movie last night in Seattle, Wash. I'm 33 years old and have seen every new and old horror movie made, and this movie by far was the scariest thing I ever seen. My hubby doesn't believe in ghosts, but even he couldn't fall asleep last night, and today I am still terrified. Best scary movie by far. My favorite was 'The Exorcist' until now." -- Brandi

"I went to go see this movie with some friends ... one of the girls seriously didn't sleep for a week after watching this movie." -- Juan