Monday, August 31, 2009

JUNK THAT JUICE FOR GOOD : ....STUDY

Call it a trend or just a misconception, but there are many who are convinced that opting for a liquid diet would help them cut down on calories.


But here's the latest on the subject. A new study says that following a liquid diet can lead to weight gain. You can gain more, says the study, than if you were on a normal solid food diet.
How so? The biggest offender, claim researchers, is fruit juice, which is a staple of the liquid diet. Explains an expert "We must differentiate between calorie and obesogenic foods (foods causing weight gain). Liquids like fruit juice are low in calories but there are chances that the person might put on weight because they are pre-processed, so they take time to get digested and are quickly converted into fat."

According to another expert, any diet should be balanced. "One must be careful while choosing a fruit. Fruits with a high glycemic index such as banana, mango etc., have sugar and calories. A lot of people put sugar in their juice, which makes it even more unhealthy. In the process they tend to miss out on so many nutrients, vitamins and fibre when the fruit is converted into juice," he adds.

A nutritionist says, "It takes three to four oranges to make a glass of juice, when you can just eat one or two oranges and be satisfied. The fibre in whole fruits ensures they do not cause huge fluctuations in the blood sugar levels. Dilute the juice and do not drink more than one glass a day. Fresh fruits are the best option." Juice is most effective after a workout to restore muscle and liver glycogen levels for an athlete and physically active adults".


MAN-MADE VOLCANOES TO COOL EARTH?

The Royal Society in London are convinced that manmade volcanoes can help stave off climate change, as it's backing research into simulated volcanic eruptions that will spray millions of tons of dust into the air to cool the earth.
This week, the society will call for a global programme of studies into geo-engineering, which can help devise new ways to manipulate the planet's climate to counter-act global warming. It believes that pouring sulphur-based particles into the upper atmosphere may help keep the planet cool.

Ken Caldeira, an earth scientist at Stanford University and a member of a Royal Society working group, said dust sprayed into the stratosphere in volcanic eruptions could cool the earth by reflecting light back into space.

BRAN MAY WORSEN BOWEL DISORDERS:.....STUDY
Wheat bran and other fibrous foods that do not dissolve easily in water not only fail to soothe irritable bowels, but may actually make things worse, a study reported on Friday.

While soluble types of bran, such as psyllium, appear to ease inflamed bowels, the insoluble varieties that have long been a staple for people in search of regularity don't work as advertised, the study found.

Bran is the hard outer layer of grains. Psyllium, also referred to as isphagula, is derived from the seed husks of the Plantago ovata plant, and is the chief ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.

The signature symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects about 10 per cent of the population, are abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.

In many countries, doctors recommend daily doses of fibre in the form of insoluble bran, but there have been very few rigorous studies to see whether boosting intake of this type of fibre actually works. "Indeed, bran may worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and should be advised only with caution."

Previous studies have linked soluble fibres to healthy blood cholesterol levels and a better regulation of blood sugar levels.

Food sources that contain soluble fibre include psyllium, barley, oatmeal, lentils, fruit and vegetables.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

THE FIRST BATCHES OF SWINE-FLU VACCINE ROLLED OUT FROM BAXTER INC LABS ON FRIDAY
While the first supplies from Baxter went to the British health network, subsequent batches from Baxter and other pharma companies have been booked by countries such as US and UK which are stockpiling the vaccine to ward off a harsher bout of swine flu.
While huge quantities — 195 million and 90 million doses respectively are going to the US and UK
China has 20-odd companies racing to make the vaccine, with Sinovac Biotech perhaps the first company worldwide to complete clinical trials for swine flu vaccine.
WHO said recently that countries in the northern hemisphere had ordered more than a billion doses, sparking warnings about shortages.
Developing a vaccine is the only way to protect people from the disease, which may become severe with the onset of winter and the dire possibility of the H1N1 virus mutating.


BURGLARS USING FACEBOOK, TWITTER TO FIND TARGETS: REPORT
Facebook users enthusing about an upcoming holiday or a recently purchased high-tech gadget may not just be telling their friends but also potential burglars, warns an insurance company.
A survey of 2,092 social media users by British-based Legal & General found nearly four in ten, or 38 percent, of people using social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter post details about holiday plans and 33 percent details of a weekend away.
"Coupled with the finding that an alarmingly high proportion of users are prepared to be 'friends' online with people they don't really know, this presents a serious risk to the security of people's home and contents," said the insurer.
In a report called "The Digital Criminal," Legal & General said people used social media sites to connect with people who were essentially strangers, which could provide potential thieves with vital, personal information.
To test how readily people accepted 'friends' online, Legal & General's survey, conducted by European market researcher Opinion Matters, involved sending out 100 'friend' or 'follow' requests to strangers selected at random.
Of those 13 percent were accepted on Facebook and 92 percent on Twitter -- without any checks.
But despite these new 'friends,' the survey found that nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, of 16-24 year olds shared their holiday plans, with younger users the most likely to give away information about their whereabouts.
Men were found to be quite relaxed about giving personal information online, with 13 percent including their mobile number on their profile compared with 7 percent of women. Nine percent of men also posted their address compared to 4 percent of women.
"This reaction could result in a complete stranger potentially being able to learn about a person's interests, location and movements in and out of their home," said Legal & General.
Reformed burglar Michael Fraser, who appears in BBC's "Beat The Burglar" series and helped Legal & General prepare the report, said this kind of information was being used by professional burglars to establish a list of targets.
As well as information about trips away, people were posting party photos showing the interiors of homes and also chatting about their cool new purchases and presents.
"I call it "Internet shopping for burglars." It is incredibly easy to use social networking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home ... all from the comfort of the sofa," said Fraser in a statement.
"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that burglars are using social networks to develop relationships with people to identify likely targets."


TOON PORN TRAPS NAIVE TWEENS
There was a time when parents worried about the effects of violent video games on their kids. But now, friendly Mickey, silly Tom and Jerry and hilarious Popeye could warrant a warning label. The growing popularity of ‘toon porn’ (animated porn featuring Disney and other children’s cartoon characters) could turn an innocent Google search into an undesirable situation for parents and kids, with 37,80,000 toon porn links being thrown up at the click of a mouse. Because of the deliberately misleading labelling, ‘safe search’ is sometimes rendered ineffective and net-savvy kids, looking online for links to their favourite characters run the risk of being exposed to toon porn websites and images. Once ingenuous curiosity kicks in, download buttons are hit and children as young as nine become consumers of this very adult content. Experts confirm this could lead to not just warped notions about sex, but also behavioural problems.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NOW KNOW WHERE THE TWEEP IS FROM

Twitter is adding location to its globally popular microblogging service in a move that will let people see where "tweets" are coming from. "We're gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware," Twitter cofounder Biz Stone said in a message posted on Thursday at the San Franciscobased firm's website. "A new API (application programming interface) will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet." Accurate "tweetlevel" location data would let people switch from tracking messages based on individuals or topics to following microblogging by neighborhood or city, according to Stone.
"It's easy to imagine how this might be interesting in an event like a concert or something more dramatic like an earthquake," Stone wrote. "There will likely be many use cases we haven't even thought of yet which is part of what makes this so exciting."
Outside software developers who create applications for Twitter will be able to experiment with the location API prior to the feature being added to the microblogging service.
Twitter users interested in letting their whereabouts be known will need to activate the new feature, which will be "off" as a default setting. Exact location data will not be stored for extended periods, according to Twitter.
"If people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweetby-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information,"Stone said. Outside developers have been incorporating location into Twitter applications "for some time despite having access to only a rudimentary level" of support, according to the microblogging service.

AMAZON, MICROSOFT, YAHOO! TO OPPOSE GOOGLE BOOK PROJECT
Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo! are planning to join a coalition of library associations and non-profit groups in opposing Google's ambitious book scanning project, US newspapers reported on Friday.The New York Times and Wall Street Journal said the technology heavyweights have agreed to form what is tentatively being called the Open Book Alliance to challenge Google's class action settlement with authors and publishers. The settlement, which gives the Internet search and advertising giant the rights to commercialize digital copies of millions of books, is already facing anti-trust scrutiny from the Justice Department and awaiting court approval. Gary Reback, an anti-trust lawyer in Silicon Valley who is acting as counsel to the Alliance, told the Times the book deal "has enormous, far-reaching anti-competitive consequences that people are just beginning to wake up to. "Reback, who helped persuade the Justice Department to file its anti-trust case against Microsoft in the 1990s, said the group includes the Internet Archive, a San Francisco non-profit which maintains a digital library of websites. The Times said the group plans to make a case to the Justice Department that the arrangement is anti-competitive.It said that members of the Alliance were likely to file objections independently with the US District Court in New York which is set to hold a "fairness hearing" on the deal on October 7. Microsoft and Yahoo! confirmed to the Times that they were participants while Amazon refused to comment. Peter Brantley, a director of the Internet Archive, said the Special Libraries Association, the New York Library Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors were planning to join the group. He told the Journal its membership would be formally disclosed in the next couple of weeks. Brantley said members of the coalition all see problems with the settlement and are pushing for revisions, but not all necessarily want to see it blocked. The Google Book Search project has come under fire from a number of quarters, including from groups worried about privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic of the University of California at Berkeley recently wrote to Google chief executive Eric Schmidt expressing concerns about privacy aspects of the deal. "Given the long and troubling history of government and third party efforts to compel libraries and booksellers to turn over records about readers, it is essential that Google Books incorporate strong privacy protections in both the architecture and policies of Google Book Search," they said. Google reached a settlement last year with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers on a copyright infringement lawsuit they filed in 2005 over Google's plan to scan millions of books and put them online. Under the settlement, Google agreed to establish an independent "Book Rights Registry," which will provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books.

LOW-FAT FOOD USELESS:....EXPERTS

Those trying to lose weight may not benefit from the so-called low-fat food, say dietary experts. They warn that some "skinny foods" are no different than chocolates or other high-fat options. They insist that having so-called light food can sometimes result in consuming the same amount of kilojoules as eating "fullfat" varieties.
Experts caution that overeating of low-fat biscuits, light yoghurts and low-carb beers can be waist-bloating. And though many of those items may be light in kilojoules, they could be responsible for hunger pangs only 10 minutes later.
"Recent research suggests people who consume large amounts of diet soft drink do not weigh less than those who don't," the Courier Mail quoted dietician Evangelista as saying.
"This may be because after drinking diet soft drink, the body does not get the fluctuation in bloodglucose levels that helps tell the body we are full. So, drinking diet soft drink may increase food cravings and feelings of hunger," Evangelista added.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

POPCORN MAY HELP KEEP HEART DISEASE and CANCER AT BAY

Eating a bowl of popcorn while watching movies could give your health a boost, according to a new research. Scientists have found that snack foods like popcorn and many popular breakfast cereals contain ''surprisingly large'' amounts of healthful antioxidant substances called ''polyphenols". Polyphenols are a major reason why fruits and vegetables - and foods like chocolate, wine, coffee, and tea - have become famous for their potential role in reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. The is the first-of-its kind study to establish that whole grain cereals - regarded as healthful for their fiber content - and snack foods also were a source of polyphenols. "Early researchers thought the fiber was the active ingredient for these benefits in whole grains, the reason why they may reduce the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease," said Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania and lead author of the study. "But recently, polyphenols emerged as potentially more important. Breakfast cereals, pasta, crackers, and salty snacks constitute over 66 percent of whole grain intake in the U.S. diet," Vinson added. "We found that, in fact, whole grain products have comparable antioxidants per gram to fruits and vegetables. This is the first study to examine total phenol antioxidants in breakfast cereals and snacks, whereas previous studies have measured free antioxidants in the products," he added. Polyphenols are a group of chemicals found in many fruits, vegetables, and other plants, such as berries, walnuts, olives, tea leaves and grapes. Known as antioxidants, they remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are chemicals that have the potential to cause damage to cells and tissues in the body. According to Vinson, the whole grain cereal with the most antioxidants are made with wheat, with corn, oats and rice cereals following in descending order. He also noted that raisin bran has the highest amount of antioxidants per serving, primarily due to the raisins.Vinson said that bran cereals made from wheat overall do not have more antioxidants than wheat cereals, though they do have more fiber. In other findings, he said that whole grain flours are very high in antioxidants; whole grain snacks have slightly lower levels of antioxidants than cereals; of snacks, popcorn has the highest level of antioxidants; and there is a wide variation in the amount of antioxidants in each class of cold cereal. The study has been presented at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

COCAINE IN 90% US BANK NOTES........CANADA TOO HAS HIGH LEVELS

You may be carrying a whiff of cocaine in your wallet, purse or pocket if you have US bank notes. In what researchers describe as the largest, most comprehensive analysis to date of cocaine contamination in bank notes, scientists are reporting that cocaine is present in up to 90 per cent of US bank notes. The scientists found traces of cocaine in 95 per cent of the bank notes analysed from Washington D.C. Alone.
Scientists tested bank notes from more than 30 cities in five countries, including the US, Canada, Brazil, China, and Japan, and found "alarming" evidence of cocaine use in many areas. The US and Canada had the highest levels, with an average contamination rate of between 85 and 90 per cent, while China and Japan had the lowest, between 12 and 20 per cent contamination. The study is the first report about cocaine contamination in Chinese and Japanese currencies.
Scientists have known for years that paper money can become contaminated with cocaine during drug deals and directly through drug use such as snorting cocaine through rolled bills. Contamination can spread to bank notes not involved in the illicit drug culture because bills are processed in banks' currency-counting machines.
"To my surprise, we're finding more and more cocaine in bank notes," said study leader Yuegang Zuo, of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

TOP 100 DANGEROUS SITES ENLISTED

Internet security company Norton Symantec has come up with a list of Top 100 dangerous sites, which could infect your computer with malware.
Malware is a software that can damage or compromise a computer system without the owner's consent.
Natalie Connor, the spokeswoman of the anti-virus company, said that even visiting any of the named websites could expose a computer to infection and put the personal information into the hands of unwanted people.
"What people don't realise is when you type in a website, you're bringing down information on a page and with it could be malware," news.com.au quoted her as saying.
The list was compiled with the help of global data collected on Norton Safe Web, a site that analysed websites' security risks.
The infected sites had on average 18,000 threats and 40 per cent of the sites had more than 20,000 threats, while 75 per cent of websites on the list were found to be spreading malware for more than six months.
According to Connor, most websites in the list had adult content with unprintable names, suggesting they contained hardcore pornography.
Some others sites include those on ice skating, deer hunting, catering and legal services.
Hackers can apparently obtain personal information using keystroke-logging software from both PCs and Mac computers.
She said: "The last thing we want to do is scare people, we want to educate them so they know how to protect themselves".
"It's not about the fame any more of creating viruses and getting in the media. They're making money."

Monday, August 17, 2009

WORLD'S 100 FASTEST GROWING COS: FORTUNE


IT bellwether Infosys Technologies, along with Internet major Google and software giant Apple, has been named among the world''s 100 fastest growing companies by American publication Fortune. The league of 100 is topped by Canada-based Research In Motion, the maker of Blackberry phones.
The list also features Cognizant Technology Solutions, headed by India-origin Chief Executive Francisco D''Souza. Infosys is placed at the 100th place while Cognizant is ranked 90.
Apple and Google are at 39th and 68th spots, respectively. Writing about Infosys, the magazine said, "India''s No 2 IT firm counts Goldman Sachs and UBS among its 570 clients".
Fortune noted that Cognizant attributes a part of its growth to expansion in India and China. Other companies in the list include Nasdaq OMX Group (42), Amazon.
com (52) and Dreamworks Animation SKG (63).


SCIENTIST DEVELOPS VACCINE TO ERADICATE MALARIA

An Indian-origin scientist has created a new vaccine that targets the malaria parasite at a vulnerable point in its development, and, thus, can form part of a strategy to eradicate the disease.
Unlike other vaccines in the pipeline, which are designed to protect individuals who have been bitten, this one aims to sabotage the life cycle of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, by stopping it from passing back from humans to mosquitoes.
Lead author Nirbhay Kumar, of Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, said that while preventing this transmission wouldn't help an infected individual directly, it would benefit the population as a whole.
"If you are living in a village and the mosquito that bites you gets infected from you, it can transmit the malaria parasite to other people in the village," New Scientist magazine quoted him as saying.
To create the vaccine, he and his colleagues used genetically modified bacteria to make proteins identical to some of those involved in the parasite's sexual development. They injected the proteins into mice and baboons, which generated antibodies.
When the researchers added Plasmodium gametes to blood samples from these animals, the antibodies bound to and blocked the proteins.
If a mosquito sucked up some of this blood, it would still get a bellyful of the gametes, but they would be unable to combine and spawn new adult parasites.
One shot of the vaccine led to a 93 per cent reduction in malaria transmission, and the figure went up to 98 per cent after a booster shot.
The new vaccine could be used alongside another vaccine being developed by GlaxoSmithKline, called RTS,S/AS02A, which blocks Plasmodium transmission from mosquitoes to humans.
By attacking the parasite's life cycle at two points, it may even be possible to wipe out malaria.
"If this vaccine is as promising in clinical trials as it has been in this study, then it may prove to be an important part of an integrated disease-control strategy aimed at eradicating Plasmodium," said Andrew Read of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, who works on the ecology of infectious diseases.
The study has been published in PLoS One.


SOON, A PILL THAT COULD END CURSE OF DIABETES

A pill that could spell the end of type one diabetes has been created by researchers.
The treatment, which could be available within three years, raises hopes that it will spare sufferers the daily ordeal of injecting insulin to stay alive.
Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels as food is digested. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels are highly dangerous, causing damage to major organs, and without regular insulin injections a diabetic would rapidly lapse into a coma and may die, reports The Daily Express.
Dr Adi Mor, of Tel Aviv University, said, "For the patient the drug is as good as a cure because it will allow the pancreas to continue to make insulin.
"Apart from having to take a daily pill, they would effectively not be diabetic because they would have a functioning pancreas." Initial trial results have just been published in the European Journal of Immunology and the European Journal of Pharmacology.
Mor adapted the drug, called FTS, from one in the final stages of human trials to treat pancreatic cancer. In cancer, the drug stops cells dividing and spreading the disease. In diabetes, research has proved the drug blocks killer T-cells in the immune system. These turn on the pancreas, destroying cells known as islets that release insulin.
Mor said, "We have already proved the drug is safe because of the trials in pancreas cancer. So we should be able to go straight to stage two and then stage three ­trials in young people with type one diabetes.
"The drug protects the pancreas from immune system attack and allows it to go on making insulin," he said.
Mor said, "FTS has passed toxicity studies so it has the potential to fast-track through ­regulatory hurdles. A new drug for diabetes could be ready in as little as three years."


GOOGLE USERS SEARCH MORE, VERY LOYAL: STUDY

Search market leader Google Inc holds greater loyalty among its users, who conduct more searches a month than those on Yahoo! and Microsoft, new data issued on Friday showed, posing a challenge for the new team of rivals to Google.
While Yahoo! Inc and Microsoft Corp lag far behind Google in overall search share, their combined search penetration of 73 percent is not far behind Google, at 84 per cent, according to research house comScore, Inc.
Yet Google searchers conduct an average of 54.5 searches a month - about double the number of searches that Yahoo! and Microsoft users conduct combined. They search on average 26.9 times a month, comScore reported.
ComScore also found that Google searchers have the most loyalty, making nearly 70 per cent of their searches on Google sites. People who use Yahoo! and Microsoft sites combined search there about 33 per cent of the time and also use Google heavily.
While Yahoo! and Microsoft, which inked a 10-year Web search deal in July to counter Google, still look up to their rival in terms of market share, they have a "real opportunity to make headway given that nearly three-quarters of all searchers conduct at least one search on these engines every month," said comScore analyst Eli Goodman.
"The challenge will be to create a search experience compelling enough to convert lighter searchers into regular searchers which is generally easier than converting new users," Goodman said in a statement.
If they were able to match how many searches their users make with Google's searchers, Yahoo! and Microsoft, which recently launched its new Bing search engine, would command a more than 40 percent market share, Goodman added.
Google dominates the U.S. core search market with a 65 per cent share of searches in June, compared to a combined 28 percent for Yahoo! and Microsoft sites.


Friday, August 14, 2009

FACEBOOK TESTING TWITTER-LIKE 'LITE' VERSION


The Internet was buzzing on Wednesday with talk of Facebook testing a streamlined "Lite" version of the social-networking service that could challenge microblogging sensation Twitter. "We are currently testing a simplified alternative to Facebook.com that loads a specific set of features quickly and efficiently," the Internet star said in reply to an inquiry. "Similar to the Facebook experience you get on your mobile phones, Facebook Lite is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept friend requests, write on people's walls, and look at photos and status updates."Facebook Lite is being tested in India and other countries where new users flooding to the service "are looking to start off with a more simple experience," according to the Palo Alto, California-based firm.A test website at lite.facebook.com was accidentally opened to an expanded audience on Tuesday night, but the slip was caught and traffic routed to standard Facebook pages.Invitations to take part in a private test of "Facebook Lite" evidently reached a variety of US bloggers only to have the enclosed links vanish a short time later."Lite" screen shots captured and posted online revealed a Facebook page devoted to fresh comments and updates from friends in a style that could challenge the real-time interplay at Twitter. Facebook announced on Monday that it has acquired FriendFeed, a Silicon Valley startup which allows members to see what their friends are doing online and share content. Facebook said that the 12 employees of the Mountain View, Californiabased FriendFeed will join Facebook and its four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook's engineering and product teams.


FRUITS, VEGGIES, NUTS KEEP KIDNEY STONES AWAY

A healthy diet helps prevent kidney stones, says a new study. The study, appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN), claims that loading up on fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains, while limiting salt, red and processed meats, and sweetened beverages is an effective way to ward off kidney stones.
To reach the conclusion, Eric Taylor, MD (Maine Medical Center) and his colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a large study. The investigators collected information from individuals enrolled in three clinical studies: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (45,821 men followed for 18 years), the Nurses' Health Study I (94,108 older women followed for 18 years), and the Nurses'Health Study II (101,837 younger women followed for 14 years).
Dr. Taylor's team assigned a score to each participant based on eight components of a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) style diet: high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains and low intake of salt, sweetened beverages,and red and processed meats.
Individuals with higher DASH scores consumed diets that were higher in calcium, potassium, magnesium, oxalate, and vitamin C and lower in sodium. A total of 5,645 incident kidney stones developed in the participants in the three studies. In each study, participants with the highest DASH scores were between 40 per cent and 45 per cent lesslikely to develop kidney stones than participants with the lowest DASH scores.
The reductions in kidney stone risk were independent of age, body size, fluid intake, and other factors. Because a DASH-style diet may affect the development of hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic diseases associated with kidney stones, the researchers also performed an analysis limited to study participants without hypertension or diabetes. Even among those individuals the DASH diet reduced the risk of kidney stones.


TEA HELPS TO CUT STRESS........CONFIRMS RESEARCH

Stressful day? Have a cup of tea to cut down stress. Researchers have proved that the quintessential British habit of having a cup of tea at times of stress is the right way as it has a calming effect. Research, led by psychologist Dr Malcolm Cross at City University London, showed that even a single cup of tea can significantly reduce anxiety levels.

EAT CHOCOLATES.........CUT DEATH RATE

Smaller quantities confer less protection, but are still better than none, according to the study

: Heart attack survivors who eat chocolate two or more times per week cut their risk of dying from heart disease about three fold compared to those who never touch the stuff, scientists have reported. Smaller quantities confer less protection, but are still better than none, according to the study, which appears in the September issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine. Earlier research had established a strong link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow.
It had also shown that chocolate cuts the rate of heart-related mortality in healthy older men, along with post-menopausal women. But the new study, led by Imre Janszky of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, is the first to demonstrate that consuming chocolate can help ward off the grim reaper if one has suffered acute myocardial infarction or a heart attack.
"It was specific to chocolate -- we found no benefit to sweets in general," said Kenneth Mukamal, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a co-author of the study. "It seems that antioxidants in cocoa are a likely candidate" for explaining the live-saving properties, he said. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against so-called free radicals, molecules which accumulate in the body over time that can damage cells and play a role in heart disease, cancer and the aging process.
"Our findings support increasing evidence that chocolate is a rich source of beneficial bioactive compounds," the researchers concluded.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

AUSTRALIAN CHARGED WITH INFECTING 3,000 COMPUTERS
A 20-year-old Australian man has been charged with infecting more than 3,000 computers around the world with a virus designed to capture banking and credit card data, police said on Thursday.
The man, whose name will not be released until he appears in an Adelaide court on September 4, has been charged with several computer offenses that carry prison terms of up to 10 years, South Australia state police Detective Supt. Jim Jeffery said in a statement. Police also uncovered information that will identify other offenders, Jeffery said.
The man, who lives in the state capital, Adelaide, is also accused of illegally creating a capacity to disable computer systems by bombarding them with unwanted traffic from up to 74,000 computers he controlled around the world. This type of sabotage is known as a distributed denial of service attack.
Police have not said whether the man allegedly used stolen banking information to commit identity fraud.
The arrest followed a three-month investigation involving state and federal computer crime detectives.

MICROSOFT ORDERED TO STOP SELLING WORD IN US
A US judge has ordered Microsoft to stop selling its popular Word document creation application in the country in 60 days after finding that the software contains technology that violates a patent held by a third party. Microsoft Office, which includes Word, accounted for more than $3 billion in worldwide sales in Microsoft's most recent fiscal year and is used by literally millions of businesses and consumers for everyday tasks like word processing and making spreadsheets and presentations. I4i, a Toronto-based software maker, has been battling Microsoft over an obscure patent related to XML or Extensible Markup Language. XML is a key software component of many websites as well as Word and other programs. Upholding a May 20 jury decision on Tuesday, Leonard Davis, a federal district court judge in Tyler, Texas, banned the world's largest software from selling Word 2003 , Word 2007 and future versions of the software that use i4i's technology without a licence. The judge also ordered Microsoft to pay several hefty fines to i4i, including $200 million in damages and $40 million in "enhanced damages"."We feel vindicated with this result," said Michael Vulpe, who co-founded i4i in 1993. "It is not a question of fear or pride or anything else," said Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i. "We're very respectful of Microsoft, but when you're in the right you have to persevere." Microsoft plans to appeal. "We are disappointed by the court's ruling," spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a written statement. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that wedo not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid." The suit involves a patent i4i's founders obtained in 1998 that is the basis for a "customised XML" tool the company supplies to drug and defence companies and other large corporations, said Owen. XML is a specialised alphabet that can capture any kind of computer file as a regular text. It's designed to make computer data human-readable - and make it easier for one programme to load and process data created by another programme. Judge Davis found that Microsoft was aware of i4i's patent and that there was enough evidence of Microsoft "wilfully infringing" on the patent to issue the injunction, pending continuation of thecase. Investors shrugged off the news - perhaps in anticipation of a higher court overturning the ruling, which arose from the plaintiff-friendly Eastern Texas federal jurisdiction, Information Week reported. Microsoft shares were up 1.6 percent to $23.50 in early trading in the US on Wednesday.

CONSPIRACY THEORY DUBS SWINE FLU AS BIO-TERRORISM

Even as swine flu, described by World Health Organisation (WHO) as the planet's fastest moving pandemic, is claiming its victims by the hour, there are reports that the virus could be the result of bioterrorism. Jane Burgermeister, an Austrian journalist has filed a criminal case against WHO, UNO, several high-ranking government and corporate officials charging them with bio-terrorism and attempts to commit genocide. Though Ms Jane was sacked by Renewable Energy World, the website where she has been employed as a science reporter, the charge has snowballed into a major controversy. Dr Ramasubramanian, an expert in infectious diseases and travel medicine, ruled out Jane's allegation as `bunkum'. "This is a kind of influenza which keeps on attacking humanity from time to time. We had instances of influenza striking the world at different times of the history. Swine Flu is the result of mutation of different viruses. They mutate every few months resulting in the formation of various antigens," said Dr Ramasubramanian.

USERS OF FACEBOOK WARNED

The government of India has warned the users of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter of a virus that is spreading through these sites targeting the members. Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), under the department of information technology, the apex body that monitors Internet security threats in the country, said a new worm `Koobface''is propagating through social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, hi5, Bebo and Twitter. CERT said the virus is spreading by sending spam containing a message with a link to a video to people on these sites.The virus is particularly dangerous as it uses the infected machine to target other systems.

Monday, August 10, 2009

US RECESSION TO END IN Q-3

The worst U.S. recession since the Great Depression will probably end in the third quarter, but there is uncertainty over the speed and duration of the economic recovery, according to the most recent survey of private economists.
The Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private economists released on Monday showed about 90 percent of the respondents believed the economic downturn would be declared to have ended this quarter.
This upbeat assessment followed recent government data showing gross domestic product (GDP) contracted at a shallow 1.0 percent rate in the second quarter after sinking 6.4 percent in the January-March quarter.
Recent data, including housing and key labor market indicators, have suggested a bottoming in the recession and the the economy close to turning the corner.
"Debate now centers on the speed, strength and durability of the recovery," the survey said.
It showed nearly two-thirds of respondents believed the economy was set for a U-shaped recovery, marked by below-trend growth in gross domestic product before stronger growth took hold in the second half of 2010.
About 17 percent of the respondents anticipated a V-shaped rebound, where growth pulled back to its trend rate on a sustained basis, while the same percentage fretted that a W-shaped recovery could follow, the survey showed.
"In their view, GDP growth will pop higher for a quarter or two only to falter again before a lasting recovery takes hold," the survey said.
Growth in the second half was expected to be supported by a reduction in the pace of business inventory liquidation, marginal improvements in consumer spending and residential investment. The survey predicted non-residential investment would remain a drag on GDP.

IN GOOD SIGN, JOB LOSSES SLOW AS UNEMPLOYMENT DIPS
Employers sharply scaled back layoffs in July, and the unemployment rate dipped for the first time in 15 months, sending a strong signal that the worst recession since World War II is finally ending.
A net total of 247,000 jobs were lost last month, the fewest in a year. That compares with 443,000 jobs that disappeared in June. And the unemployment rate for July declined to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent in June.
The snapshot the Labor Department released Friday offered other encouraging news, too: Workers' hours nudged up after sinking to a record low in June, and paychecks grew after having stagnated or fallen.
"There's clearly been a turn for the better," said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "The worst is behind us in terms of layoffs."
Still, the labor market remains on shaky ground. The 247,000 jobs lost in July represent a vast improvement on much higher job losses earlier in the year. But they're a far cry from the positive job growth needed to sustain an economic recovery.
When the economy is healthy, employers need to add a net total of around 125,000 jobs a month just to keep the unemployment rate stable. And to push the jobless rate down to a more normal 5 percent range, it would take stronger job growth — of at least 200,000 jobs a month. Economists say it might take until 2013 to drive down the unemployment rate to 5 percent.
Yet the new figures were better than many analysts were expecting, and they signaled improvements to an economy that has been clobbered by the recession. Analysts had been forecasting that job losses would amount to around 320,000 and that the unemployment rate would tick up to 9.6 percent.
Stocks surged after the report was released. In midmorning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 152 points, or 1.6 percent, and other stock averages also gained more than 1 percent.
The job cuts made in July were the fewest since August 2008.

TWITTER OFFLINE FOR HOURS WAS TRACED TO AN ATTACK ON A LONE BLOGGER

The outage that knocked Twitter offline for hours was traced to an attack on a lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia -- but the collateral damage that left millions around the world tweetless showed just how much havoc an isolated cyberdispute can cause."It told us how quickly many people really took Twitter into their hearts,"Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, said Friday.
Tens of millions of people have come to rely on social media to express their innermost thoughts and to keep up with world news and celebrity gossip.
Twitter "is one of those little amusements that infiltrated the mass behavior in some significant ways, so that when it went away, a lot of people really noticed it and missed it."
The attacks on Thursday also slowed down Facebook and caused problems for the online diary site LiveJournal.
But Twitter, the 140-character-or-less messaging site used by celebrities, businesses and even Iranian protesters, suffered a total outage that lasted several hours.
Those attacks continued Friday from thousands of computers pummeling its servers, said Kazuhiro Gomi, chief technology officer for NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services, which hosts Twitter's service.
Twitter crashed because of a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers command scores of computers toward a single site at the same time to prevent legitimate traffic from getting through.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BY 2040........EARTH WILL COLLAPSE TO WARMING

STUDY SAYS CO2 TO REACH CRITICAL LEVELS FASTER
A new research has claimed that carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are rising at a faster rate than the worst-case scenario envisaged by United Nations experts, with the planet heading for "catastrophic" and "irreversible" climate change by 2040.The rise of greenhouse gases will trigger an unprecedented rate of global warming that will result in the loss of the ice-covered polar seas by 2020, much of our coral reefs by 2040 and see a 1.4-metre rise in the sea level by 2100, the research predicted.
According to a report in Scotland On Sunday newspaper, the apocalyptic vision has been outlined in a paper by Andrew Brierley of St Andrews University, which is likely to influence the views of UN experts gathering in Copenhagen this December to address global warming.
Brierley and his co-author, Michael Kingsford of the James Cook University in Australia, examined the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on ocean habitats and marine organisms.
The scientists compared current carbon emissions with those forecast in 2007 by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.
Brierley said that atmospheric CO2 concentration had increased from preindustrial levels of 280 ppm to 385 ppm last year and was now rising at a rate of 2.5 ppm per year. He described the outlook as "really quite nasty doomand-gloom situation".
"People have looked at how various economic situations, various developments in India and China might impact CO2 admissions and in 2007, they made a series of forecasts and if you take the worstcase scenario, CO2 would be going up by two parts per million," he said.
Brierley and Kingsford said a CO2 level of 450 ppm was the threshold beyond which irreversible change might occur.


FAKE NET POSTCARDS SPREAD VIRUS
Fake Internet postcards circulated through electronic mails worldwide carry links to a deadly virus known as Zeus Bot, according to a new study.
Gary Warner, computer forensics director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), who led the study, said, Zeus Bot has been named America's most pervasive computer virus, reportedly affecting some 3.6 million computers in the US.
"These fake postcards ask users to click and download to view the contents, and as soon as they do so, the Zeus Bot infects their computers," Warner said.
Once on a computer, Zeus Bot will give cyber criminals access to passwords and account numbers of banks and other sensitive online accounts.
Warner said cyber criminals who are employing the Russian-language Zeus Bot software are using the fake Internet postcards as the latest mechanism to download the virus software onto unaware users' computers.
Once the virus is on a computer it is able to steal website data from victims' machines. It keeps track of infected machines throughout the world and is equipped with tools that allow the criminals to prioritise the banks they want to strike, Warner said.
"When it comes to messages that are supposedly from your bank, eBay or any other site, don't click on the links in an e-mail," Warner said.
"Instead, type the address for the site that the message is coming from into your web browser and log in. If the site has an important message for you, you will be able to find it," he added.

BEETROOT JUICE BOOSTS STAMINA

Opt for some vegetable cure like Popeye. Not spinach, but beetroot juice. British researchers have shown that drinking beetroot juice boosts stamina and could help people exercise for up to 16 per cent longer.The study by researchers at University of Exeter and Peninsula Medical School has for the first time demonstrated that a nitrate in beetroot juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.The reduction in oxygen uptake with drinking beetroot juice to such an extent cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training. The research could help endurance athletes and elderly people or those with cardiovascular, respiratory or metabolic diseases.The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. The researchers are not yet sure of the exact mechanism that causes the nitrate in the beetroot juice to boost stamina. However, they suspect it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.“Our study is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance. We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training. I am sure professional and amateur athletes will be interested in the results of this research. I am also keen to explore the relevance of the findings to those people who suffer from poor fitness and may be able to use dietary supplements to help them go about their daily lives,” the University of Exeter’s Prof. Andy Jones said.

Monday, August 3, 2009

WEB ADDRESSES EXCEED WORLD'S POPULATION
Internet is growing in dimensions every second, so much so that there are more addresses than there are people on Earth, claims the team behind Microsoft's new search engine Bing.
Bing has put the number of web pages at "over 1 trillion", while Google had earlier indexed more than one trillion discreet web addresses.
The current global population stands at more than 6.7 billion, which means that there are about 150 web addresses per person in the world. And this could mean that if a person spent just one minute reading every website in existence, then he or she would be kept busy for 31,000 years, without any sleep.
The largest Internet population belongs to China, with 338 million users online, which is more than there were people in the US. However InternetWorldStats.com (IWS), a website that combines multiple data sources, has claimed that China's online population is more like 298 million. With the rates of India and China still quite low, there is ample room for growth in the coming decade.
But, measuring the online population could be tricky-there are servers, users, per capita numbers, and penetration percentages to evaluate. And thus it is difficult to find a single figure to represent the world online population.
IWS combined data from the UN's International Telecommunications Union, Nielsen Online, GfK and US Census Bureau, and its latest global figures puts the number of internet users in the world at 1,596,270,108. And this is just 23.8 per cent of the estimated 6,0706,993,152 people in the world. But it changes every day.

According to IWS, the top 5 countries with the most internet users are: China-1, US -2 , Japan -3, India-4 ,Brazil -5


FOOD ADDITIVE MIGHT HELP CUT DOWN DISEASE RISK

Scientists have identified a substance in the liver that helps process fat and glucose and may help cut down risk for diabetes, hypertension or cardiac disease.It is a component of common food additive lecithin. It may be possible to deliver lecithin products to control blood lipids in food rather than medication.
"Currently, doctors use drugs called fibrates to treat problems with cholesterol and triglycerides," said study co-author Irfan J. Lodhi, post doctoral fellow in endocrinology and metabolism at the Washington University School of Medicine - St Louis.
"By identifying this substance that occurs naturally in the body - and also happens to be used as a food additive, it may be possible to improve the treatment of lipid disorders and minimise drug side-effects by adding particular varieties of lecithin to food."
Lecithin is found in high concentrations in egg whites. It also is in soybeans, grains, fish, legumes, yeast and peanuts, said a WUSM-SL release.
Most commercially used lecithin comes from soybeans. Lecithin can alter food taste and texture and also can be mixed with water to disperse fats, making it a common additive in margarine, mayonnaise, chocolate and baked goods.

PENTAGON TO BAN TWITTER, FACEBOOK?

The Pentagon is planning to ban Facebook, Twitter, and other social media at US department of defence sites.The prospective ban isn't due to fears that troops might divulge secure information over the sites, or to worries about bad PR. "The mechanisms for social networking were never designed for security and filtering. They make it way too easy for people with bad intentions to push malicious code to unsuspecting users," Wired's Danger Room quoted a source at US Strategic Command, as saying. A recent example is how Guy Kawasaki's Twitter feed was hacked.Someone broke in and posted a link to his feed, that took visitors to a site that installed a Trojan, which was used to take over users'' devices.
The news comes just a day after PBS' MediaShift blog named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen as one of the best users of Twitter among public officials.