Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Best-Selling Products of All Time

1. Rubik’s Cube

Comeback … sales of Rubik's Cube have soared in recent years.
Category: Toy
Units sold/sales: 350 million units
Parent Company: Seven Towns Ltd.

ErnÅ‘ Rubik created the first prototype of the “Magic Cube” in 1974 in Budapest, Hungary. An American toy manufacturer bought the product license and renamed it the Rubik’s Cube in 1980, making the puzzle an international sensation. At the height of the toy’s popularity in the mid-1980s, the company estimates that as much as one-fifth of the world’s population had tried solving the Rubik’s Cube. With its eye-catching colors, affordability and the puzzle’s level of difficulty, the Rubik’s Cube has maintained popularity over the years.

2. iPhone

Product Management - iPhone - Product Management - Product Positioning

Category: Smartphone
Units sold/sales: 250 million units
Parent Company: Apple
In just five years, 250 million iPhones have been shipped, making it the top-selling smartphone to date. Apple’s iPhone is typically the top seller for Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S). Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates that the iPhone has generated about $150 billion in revenue for Apple since its introduction to the market in June 2007. There are five generations of the iPhone: the original, 3G, 3GS, 4 and 4S, and more likely ahead. With newer generations often more popular than previous ones, Apple’s iPhone sales are likely to continue to grow at a healthy pace.

3. Harry Potter

Category: Book series
Units sold/sales: 450 million units
Parent Company: Scholastic (U.S. publisher)

Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) released the first Harry Potter book of the series in the United States in the 1990s, under the name Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The book was an instant success, only to be repeated with each successive installment. Harry Potter became the top-selling series, with sales totalling $7.7 billion. The novels made J.K. Rowling one of the highest paid authors in the world and led to a similarly successful movie franchise. Recently, Rowling agreed to release e-book versions of the series, which grossed $1 million in three days. The final entry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is one of the fastest selling books of all time, with more than 11 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of its release.

4. Michael Jackson Thriller

Category: Album
Units sold/sales: 110 million units
Parent Company: Epic Records
The 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Thriller release by Epic Records will be this November. One of the first albums to use music videos as a promotional tool, it reached its status as best-selling album of all-time in just over a year. Jackson won eight Grammy Awards in 1984 for Thriller, including Album of the Year. Seven of the songs on the album were Billboard top ten hits. To put the King of Pop’s album sales in perspective, Justin Bieber’s My World (1 and 2) have collectively sold just 3.2 million.

5. Mario Franchise

Category: Video game franchise
Units sold/sales: 262 million units
Parent Company: Nintendo
The character “Mario” debuted in 1981’s popular Donkey Kong franchise. Since then, the Italian plumber has appeared in dozens of titles, including at least 31 separate titles that have topped 1 million unit sales. One of the subfranchises, Super Mario, has alone sold more than 262 million units. While it is the most popular console video game franchise of all time, the Angry Birds mobile franchise, which creates phone and tablet application games, has recorded more than a billion downloads.

6. iPad

Category: Tablet
Units sold/sales: 67 million units
Parent Company: Apple
Apple released the first iPad in April of 2010. The iPad was an instant success and became first commercially successful tablet computer. Recently, the company has launched the third generation of its hugely popular tablet computer. Since its release, more than 67 million iPads have been sold. To put this number in perspective, it took 24 years for Apple to sell the same number of computers. According to IDGConnect, 12% of iPad users in enterprise (at work, not home) no longer use their personal computer. And in the education sector, Apple sells two iPads for every computer.

7. Star Wars

Category: Movies
Units sold/sales: $4.54 billion in ticket sales
Parent company: 20th Century Fox

In 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar became the highest-grossing U.S. film of all time. Adjusted for inflation, 1939’s Gone with the Wind remains the highest-grossing film, according to Box Office Mojo. However, when a film franchise is considered — and accounting for inflation — nothing comes close to George Lucas’s Star Wars. The original movie debuted in 1977, grossing more than $1.4 billion. With the five films that followed, ending with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the franchise grossed $4.54 billion.

8. Toyota Corolla

Category: Vehicle
Units sold/sales: 39 million cars
Parent Company: Toyota

The Corolla has been selling for more than four decades, with the model evolving over 11 generations. Since it was first produced, Toyota has sold one Corolla every 40 seconds. The car was also the first the Japanese manufacturer that chose to produce in the U.S. — sales in the U.S. began in 1968. The current model gets 34 MPG and has a starting price of $16,130. Right behind the Corolla for best-selling vehicle is the Ford (NYSE: F) F-150 pickup.

9. Lipitor

Category: Pharmaceutical
Units sold/sales: $125 billion revenue
Parent Company: Pfizer

Lipitor belongs to a class of drugs called statins that help lower the level of LDL — the so-called bad cholesterol — in the blood. It was developed by Warner-Lambert, which later merged with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and was approved for marketing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Though Lipitor was not the first in its class, its ability to reduce cholesterol and significant advertising quickly propelled it to the top of its class of drugs. The same year that it was released, the FDA began to allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. By 2008, the market size of drug advertising grew to more than $4.5 billion, and in 2009, Lipitor had the largest ad expenditure of any drug. This past November, Pfizer’s patent on the drug ended. Since 1997, the drug has had sales of over $125 billion, which amounts to 20% to 25% of Pfizer’s revenue during this time.

10. PlayStation

Category: Video game console
Units sold/sales: 300+ million units
Parent Company: Sony

The first edition of the Sony (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation, released in 1995, was the Japanese electronics manufacturer’s foray into video games. Five years after the first PlayStation was released, Sony began selling the PlayStation 2, the second edition of its console. The PS2 went on to become the most popular gaming console of all time, selling more than 150 million units by the beginning of 2011. The PS3, which hit the market in 2006, has been less successful, but the franchise as a whole is by far the most popular in history, having sold well over 300 million units. The video gaming console has been bolstered by popular game franchises, including the Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, and Gran Turismo series.

Michael A. Sauter, Lisa A. Nelson, Elisabeth Uible and Samuel Weigley

Friday, June 29, 2012

The world has changed

The world has changed, Mr. Romney

By ,

Dear Mitt Romney,
Congratulations on Florida. Now that you are again the front-runner, and your campaign focus is returning to President Obama, I’d like to call attention to a line you have used repeatedly: “This is a president who fundamentally believes that this next century is the post-American century.” I leave it to the president to describe what he believes, but as the author of the book “The Post-American World,” let me make sure you know what exactly you are attacking.

“This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else,” I note at the very outset. I am optimistic about America, convinced that it can prosper in this new world and remain the most powerful country on the planet. But I argue that the age of American unipolarity — which began with the collapse of the Soviet Union — has ended. For a quarter-century after the collapse of communism, the United States dominated the world with no real political or economic competitors. Its ideas and its model — the Washington consensus — became received wisdom everywhere.

Today we are in a different era. In 1990, China represented 2 percent of global gross domestic product. It has quadrupled, to 8 percent, and is rising. By most estimates, China’s economy will become the world’s largest between 2016 and 2018.

This is not simply an economic story. China’s military capacity and reach are expanding. Since 2008 Chinese naval fleets have escorted more than 4,300 ships through the Gulf of Aden. Beijing’s defense spending is likely to surpass America’s by 2025. For its foreign policy activism, look on any continent: A gleaming new African Union headquarters was unveiled in Addis Ababa, Ethi­o­pia, last week. The $200 million-plus complex was financed by China and inaugurated by a high-ranking Politburo member, who arrived with a check for $94 million.

It is not just China that is rising. Emerging powers on every continent have achieved political stability and economic growth and are becoming active on the global stage. Twenty years ago Turkey was a fragile democracy, dominated by its army, that had a weak economy constantly in need of Western bailouts. Today, Turkey has a trillion-dollar economy that grew 6.6 percent last year. Since April 2009, Turkey has created 3.4 million jobs — more than the European Union, Russia and South Africa put together. That might explain Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s confidence and his country’s energetic foreign policy.

Look in this hemisphere: In 1990, Brazil was emerging from decades of dictatorship and was wracked by inflation rates that reached 3,000 percent. Its president was impeached in 1992. Today, the country is a stable democracy, steadily growing with foreign-exchange reserves of $350 billion. Its foreign policy has become extremely active. President Dilma Rousseff is in Cuba this week, “marking Brazil’s highest-profile bid to transform its growing economic might into diplomatic leadership in Latin America,” the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Brazil’s state development bank is financing a $680 million rehabilitation of Cuba’s port at Mariel.

For three decades, India was unable to get any Western country to accept its status as a nuclear power. But as its economy boomed and Asia became the new cockpit of global affairs, the mood shifted. Over the past five years the United States, France, Britain and others have made a massive exception for New Delhi’s nuclear program and have assiduously courted India as a new ally. I could go on.

This is a new world, very different from the America-centric one we got used to over the last generation. Obama has succeeded in preserving and even enhancing U.S. influence in this world precisely because he has recognized these new forces at work. He has traveled to the emerging nations and spoken admiringly of their rise. He replaced the old Western club and made the Group of 20 the central decision-making forum for global economic affairs. By emphasizing multilateral organizations, alliance structures and international legitimacy, he got results. It was Chinese and Russian cooperation that produced tougher sanctions against Iran. It was the Arab League’s formal request last year that made Western intervention in Libya uncontroversial.

By and large, you have ridiculed this approach to foreign policy, arguing that you would instead expand the military, act unilaterally and talk unapologetically. That might appeal to Republican primary voters, but chest-thumping triumphalism won’t help you secure America’s interests or ideals in a world populated by powerful new players.
You can call this new century whatever you like, but it won’t change reality. After all, just because we call it the World Series doesn’t make it one.

Muslim Cinema: An Introduction


The         Muslim                World               and              Cinema
Every culture promotes its history, beliefs, heroes, values,norms, and attitude. The African-American director Spike Lee said about his films, “I'm just trying to tell a good story and make thought-provoking, entertaining films. I just try and draw upon the greatculture we have as a people, from music, novels, the streets.” 
Is there a parallel to African-American, Asian, or Latin cinema, called “Muslim Cinema”? 
Does it exist, and if so, how can it be understood? Before one can understand the cinema of a people, a little more light needs to be shed on the actual people.The Muslim world, with approximately one fifth of the world population and in turn its politics, economics, and culture, plays a very important role on the world stage. Headline news is the most popular venue promoting what is known about Muslims, so it becomes imperative for Muslims to be seen and heard from other vantage points. 
One of these vistas is art, and in the present world Cinema,due its mass appeal and significant availability. An introduction to Muslim Cinema allows Muslims to take a critical reflection about their own beliefs and culture, as well as providing a window for those who are of other faiths to see who Muslims are. 
Where does one start? Some countries like the U.S., Japan, France and India have a strong arts culture, and an affinity or presence to the medium of film.The Muslim world does not easily fit in this category, so how else can it be viewed. Besides providing entertainment, film can present a window to the economic, social or moral challenges of society. There are volumes of books on world cinema, regional cinema (e.g. Arab Cinema), and national cinema of Muslim-majority countries that have a cinema and history like Egyptian or Turkish cinema. 
However, “Muslim Cinema” is not a known entity. This introduction to the subject is at best like the Indian story of a group of blind men feeling different parts of an elephant, trying to determine what an Elephant is like.Maybe this introduction is its tusk or tail, but it is a starting point for discourse.The Muslim world, although perceived as one entity, is not monolithic. It is made up of different regions, countries, states and communities. And although religion is the basic underlying theme,each region comes with its own differentiating culture. There are over1.4 Billion Muslims in the world represented in 48 Muslim majority countries from Morocco to Malaysia.
Muslim Cinema: An Introduction and the Top 101 Muslim Theme Films

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Security Tips that May Save One's Life

Written by a Cop for our own safety!
Written by a Cop for Our Own Safety


Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or a loved one's life.
In daylight hours, refresh yourself
of these things to do in an emergency situation...
This is for you, and for you to share with your wife,
your children, & everyone you know.
After reading these 9 crucial tips,
forward them to someone you care about.
It never hurts to be careful in this crazy world we live in.

Tip from Tae Kwon Do :
The elbow is the strongest point
on your body.
If you are close enough to use it, do!
Learned this from a tourist guide.
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,
Toss it away from you....
Chances are that he is more interested
in your wallet and/or purse than you,
and he will go for the wallet/purse.
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car,
kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole
and start waving like crazy..
The driver won't see you, but everybody else will.
This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars
after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit
(doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.
The predator will be watching you, and this
is the perfect opportunity for him to get in
on the passenger side, put a gun to your head,
and tell you where to go.

If someone
is in the car
with a gun to your head
Instead gun the engine and
speed into anything, wrecking the car.
Your Air Bag will save you.
If the person is in the back seat
they will get the worst of it.
As soon as the car crashes
bail out and run.
It is better than having them find your body
in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting
into your car in a parking lot,
or parking garage:
A.) Be aware:
look around you,
look into your car,
at the passenger side floor ,
and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van,
enter your car from the passenger door.
Most serial killers attack their victims
by pulling them into their vans while the women
are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car
parked on the driver's side of your vehicle,
and the passenger side.. If a male is sitting alone
in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back
into the mall, or work, and get a
guard/policeman to walk you back out.
IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator
instead of the stairs.
Stairwells are horrible places to be alone
and the perfect crime spot.
This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun
and you are not under his control,
The predator will only hit you (a running target)
4 in 100 times; and even then,
it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ.
RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!
8. As women, we are always trying
to be sympathetic:
It may get you raped, or killed.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking,
well educated man, who ALWAYS played
on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.
He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often
asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle,
which is when he abducted
his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point:
Someone just told me that her friend heard
a crying baby on her porch the night before last,
and she called the police because it was late
and she thought it was weird.. The police told her
'Whatever you do, DO NOT
open the door..'
The lady then said that it sounded like the baby
had crawled near a window, and she was worried
that it would crawl to the street and get run over.
The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way,
whatever you do, DO NOT open the door.'
He told her that they think a serial killer
has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax
women out of their homes thinking that someone
dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it,
but have had several calls by women saying that
they hear baby's cries outside their doors
when they're home alone at night.

10. Water scam!
If you wake up in the middle
of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a
burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your
outside taps full blast so that you will go out to investigate and
then attack.

Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbors!

Please pass this on
This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because
the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on
America 's Most Wanted when they profiled
the serial killer in  Louisiana    

I'd like you
to forward this to all the women you know.
It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle..
I was going to send this to the ladies only,
but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc.,
you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Send this
to any woman you know that may need
to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it
and it's better to be safe than sorry..
Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or
a loved one's life.

Church pastors become atheists

More than 200 church leaders across the country now say they no longer believe in God, including a Houston-area pastor who was one of the first to publicly announce his decision.
Mike Aus, who was pastor at Theophilus church in Katy, made that announcement during an appearance on a Sunday morning show on MSNBC.
"Hardly anyone reads the Bible," said Aus on the "Up with Chris Hayes" program. "If they did, the whole thing would be in trouble."

Theophilus church members told Local 2 Investigates they were blind-sided by the announcement. They said they had no idea Aus had completely changed his beliefs until they saw him on the program.

"Are you going to preach next Sunday?" host Chris Hayes asked Aus.
"I'm going to go back next week and meet with my leadership and talk about where we go from here," said Aus. "We'll see."

Aus was a long-time Lutheran pastor at churches in the Houston area, but now he said he no longer believes in the message he had been preaching for almost 20 years. Aus declined Local 2's request for an interview. He said his statements on MSNBC explained his loss of faith.

"As I started to jettison the beliefs, I came to realize fairly recently there wasn't a whole lot left," Aus said.

The effect was immediate on his church with about 80 members. Weeks after his announcement, the church dissolved. Members did not want to talk with Local 2 on camera, but they said their pastor's complete change in faith was devastating.

"When a pastor comes forward and says, 'I don't believe anymore,' it rocks their world," said Dr. Keith Jenkins, a Methodist pastor and former president of the Houston Graduate School of Theology. "Members see pastors as spiritual super heroes."
Jenkins said many church leaders question and then lose their faith, but never before has it been a public phenomenon.
"It's almost gone viral," said Jenkins.

The website has become a confidential gathering group for pastors, ministers and other church leaders who no longer believe in God. The group said it has more than 240 members. Some like Aus have gone public. Most other church leaders in that group have kept their new lack of belief hidden from others, including their congregations. They are secret atheists still serving churches and ministering to members even though they don't believe in what they preach anymore.

"I'm sure there are many pastors actively serving in churches who are going through a faith crisis and have lost their faith, but they haven't left because it's their livelihood," said Jenkins. "But they need to move on. They don't need to stay with a church and use their position as a pastor with sacred trust to try and take others with them."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mencari Persinggahan - Sajak dari Berita Minggu 17 Jun 2012

Mencari Persinggahan

dan pagi itu, mentari berbalam
mencecah serakan hemisfera
dari kota ke kota lainnya
burung-burung berterbangan
terus mencari pesinggahan
kerana untuk pulang ke asal
adalah kekalahan maruah

di kota-kota, terdampar lesu
burung-burung keletihan nafsu
sebagai pelarian dengan topeng-topeng
memakaikan perhiasan robek
warna-warna dari perjalanan jasad
itulah pengalaman, pengertian
yang merentas kehidupan materialisme
meriah tanpa kerohanian

dan malamnya, bintang-bintang
sekadar kerlipan yang jauh
dibalikkan neon-neon gerhana
kota-kota yang tidak pernah tidur
burung-burung tidak pernah lena
sekadar mengutip sampah sarap
kemanusiaan yang mengisi sarat
konflik putaran realiti semasa!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Morning People Happier Than Night Owls

I am a morning person....and read some excerpts below:-

All this in an effort to be among the most successful people on the planet. According to new research, early risers aren’t just nicer to be around in the morning, they’re also happier, healthier and more self-satisfied than the rest of us.

Which doesn’t really surprise me. “Natural” morning people—those who wake without the help of an alarm clock—are more in tune with the rhythm of the social timetable of the world. From preschool to employment, we’re expected to be up early (whether we like it or not), report to a place where we spend hours doing stuff (whether we like it or not) and then go to bed at a decent hour so we can do it all again the next day (but I don’t wanna go to bed yet!). By that standard, night owls are social pariahs, attempting to buck a system that just won’t budge. As a result, they’re unhappier, unhealthier, and far less productive.

 But according to author Laura Vanderkam, author of the e-book, “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast,” there’s hope for us yet. Vanderkam, who became fascinated by time management while penning her last book, “168 Hours,” says that in the course of researching dozens of people on how they spend their precious minutes, the most successful people were those who devoted chunks of time in the morning to things (or people) that they loved. From Ursula Burns to Anna Wintour to Al Sharpton, a common thread of successful people is their commitment to early morning activities.

Night owls often wake up for work or school with a scowl on their faces and wishing for an IV drip of coffee, while morning people come skipping in 15 minutes early. However, morning people aren't chipper just as the sun is coming up; they are happier and more satisfied with life overall, a new study suggests.

Teenagers' night owl tendencies fade as they age, and the study says this switch to a morning-focused schedule could be why older adults are happier than younger ones.
"Past research has suggested that morning-type people report feeling happier than evening-type people, and this research was only on young adults," study researcher Renee Biss, a graduate student at the University of Toronto, told LiveScience.

Early birds
The new study looked across the lifespan to see if the morning habits of older individuals contributed to their overall life outlook.
The researchers studied two populations: a group of 435 adults ages 17 to 38, and a group of 297 older adults, ages 59 to 79. Both groups filled out questionnaires about their emotional state, how healthy they feel and their preferred "time of day."
By age 60, most people are morning types, the researchers found. Only about 7 percent of young adults are morning larks, but as the population ages, this switches — in the older years only about 7 percent of the population are still night owls.

"We found that older adults reported greater positive emotion than younger adults, and older adults were more likely to be morning-type people than younger adults," Biss said. "The 'morningness' was associated with greater happiness emotions in both age groups."

Social jet lag

Morning-type people also tended to say they felt healthier than did night owls. The researchers said this could be because they are getting better sleep since they are naturally morning people. It could not only make them feel more alert, but actually impact their immune system.

"We don’t know why this is, but there are a few potential explanations. Evening people may be more prone to social jet lag; this means that their biological clock is out of sync with the social clock," Biss said. "Society's expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person's schedule."

For instance, most people rise early for work or school, even if they don't like it. "An evening person may go through their week feeling unhappy because they have to get up earlier than they would like to," Biss said.

One easy happiness booster? Hack your sleep schedule to turn yourself into a morning person. "One way to do it is to increase your natural light exposure early in the morning, and to wake up earlier and go to bed earlier," Biss said. "It's easiest if you have a consistent schedule, to make sure you are waking up at the same time every day."
The study was published in the May issue of the journal Emotion.

From Forbes:

“These are busy people, productive people,” she says. “But mostly they are people who had figured out that if you wanted something to happen, it was important to have it happen first thing.” Not all of them would call themselves morning people, either, but they knew that the hours before their phones started ringing and the emails came pouring in were the few hours of each day over which they had complete control. And with that in mind, they set about creating new habits.

Laura Vanderkam
Vanderkam concedes that there very well may be “morning larks” and “night owls,” people who are more naturally attuned to waking up early or staying up late. But the rest of us she says, are somewhere in the middle. And we can quite easily reset our clocks, or, as she jokes “Cross over to the lark side” and become the happier, healthier and more successful people we want to be.

It all starts by tracking your minutes the way a dieter would calories. Do you spend this morning rushing around, one eye on the clock? Do you return home from work, cook dinner, tuck the kids into bed and disappear onto the Internet for four hours before bed? Do you talk to your husband for a paltry (but statistically correct) 12 minutes a day? Write it down. “A big part of the morning problem is our evening hours,” says Vanderkam. “We straggle our way into bed over the course of several rambling hours puttering around, reading, surfing the web, watching Jon Stewart or cleaning the house.” It’s time, she says, to give ourselves a bed time.

Once you know how your time is spent, you’ll be better able to see what needs to change—but more importantly, what’s missing. Would you like to up those 12 minutes chatting with your partner to an hour a day? Morning’s best, before either of you become stressed out by colleagues, deadlines and a million emails. Would you like to run three miles a day? You’ll never be tempted to go to happy hour with colleagues before seven, but come the end of the workday there will always be a good excuse. Or maybe you’ve been trying to start that novel that’s been collecting dust in your imagination. Morning’s best. Same song and dance. “The best morning activities aren’t things you have to do,” says Vanderkam, “But things that you want to do but just never seem to get around to.”

Step three, Vanderkam says, is often the toughest one: figuring out the logistics. “Put your workout gear at the foot of your bed so you literally can’t get up without seeing them,” she says. (I did it, following her instructions down to the ponytail holder). “If there are kids to be accounted for, make arrangements. Think about whatever it might take to make that morning routine happen.,” she says. Buy the equipment, download the software and convince your partner to get on board.

“And then it’s just a matter of habit building,” she says, although I say that’s easier said than done. “One run isn’t going to help you in any way,” Vanderkam chides. “Running every day for several weeks will.” She says to bribe yourself if you must (I chose Starbucks), but to do whatever it takes to make your morning routine the norm, and above all make only one small change at a time. Asking yourself to run and write and spend time with your loved ones is simply too much too soon.

“Creating habits can take enormous willpower and energy,” she says, “But maintaining habits actually conserves it. If you just know ‘mornings are when I run,’ it’s not a question of fighting yourself every day, it’s simply what happens.”

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Does colonoscopy save lives?

A recent study suggests it might, but it isn’t the last word.
The wisdom of colonoscopy screening seems obvious. The test enables a physician to examine the lining of the entire colon and to remove small, potentially precancerous growths called polyps during the exam. As a result, it has the potential not only to detect colon cancer early, but also to prevent new cases by removing polyps. It is generally assumed that colonoscopy saves lives because the procedure is good at detecting early disease.
A report from the National Polyp Study in the Feb. 23, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine supports this assumption. The study included 2,602 people who had adenomatous polyps (the type most likely to progress to cancer) removed during colonoscopies that were ordered because of findings on other screening tests, symptoms, or a family history. During an average follow-up period of about 16 years, 12 people in the study died of colorectal cancer, which was less than half of the 25.4 deaths from colon cancer normally expected in a group that size drawn from the general population.

Not the final word

However, the study has significant limitations. It’s possible that the people who had polyps removed had fewer risk factors for colon cancer than the general population. They did, in fact, have a significantly lower death rate from all causes, which suggests that they may have been healthier over all or received better health care. Most importantly, this wasn’t a randomized trial, designed to compare a screened population with an unscreened one, but a study that made use of existing data to make comparisons.

Because of these limitations, Dr. Robert J. Mayer, a senior physician at the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a member of the Health Letter‘s Editorial Board, says the results, while promising, can’t be the final word on colonoscopy. That may come from randomized controlled trials like the NordICC trial, now under way in several European countries where colonoscopy screening isn’t routine. The problem is that results won’t be available for another decade.

Meanwhile, colonoscopy has become the dominant form of cancer screening in this country. Some argue that the American health care system was too quick to adopt a screening test that’s invasive, expensive, and hasn’t been shown definitively to save lives. Yet colonoscopy has some clear advantages. The entire colon is visualized directly. It’s a one-stop test; all the other colon cancer screens require a follow-up colonoscopy if anything suspicious is found. Finally, because colonoscopy entails identifying precancerous polyps and removing them if they’re found, it functions as a screening test and as a preventive intervention. Colon cancer incidence—the number of new cases—has been falling in this country, and screening colonoscopy very likely deserves a large share of the credit.

Considering colonoscopy

When you consider getting a colonoscopy, you’ll want to take the following into account:
The benefits. Colon cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death. The risk of developing colon cancer rises at age 50, the age at which guidelines recommend screening begin for most people.
The risks. Colonoscopy requires a thorough bowel cleansing with a laxative the day before the test. For the test, the patient is sedated, the colon inflated with air or carbon dioxide, and a colonoscope—a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing as well as a tool to remove tissue for biopsy—is inserted into the rectum and passed through the entire colon. Although the risks are slight, they may include kidney damage from sodium-phosphate laxatives, a reaction to the sedative, a perforation during the procedure, and bleeding if a polyp is removed.

The likelihood of a false-negative test. Colonoscopy is estimated to miss about 5% of colon cancers, most of them “upstream,” in the part of the colon farthest from the rectum.

The alternatives . Guidelines recommend colonoscopy every 10 years for people at average risk. But there are other screening methods and schedules. A test for blood in the stool can detect colon cancer at an early stage, and is supposed to be done every year. Sigmoidoscopy is similar to colonoscopy but requires far less bowel cleansing; it is recommended every five years, usually in conjunction with annual stool tests. Randomized trials have shown that sigmoidoscopy reduces colon cancer incidence and deaths from the disease, but it visualizes only the lower part of the colon (although that is where most colon cancers occur). Double-contrast barium enemas give a view of the entire colon, require cleansing prep but not sedation, and are supposed to be done every five years. They miss more polyps than colonoscopy and involve radiation exposure. CT scans of the colon—sometimes called virtual colonoscopy—are also supposed to be done every five years. They require the cleansing prep and inflation of the colon, but not sedation. CT scans are almost as good as colonoscopy at finding polyps, but also involve radiation exposure.

Individual circumstances. If you’re at higher-than-normal risk of colon cancer because first-degree relatives have had colon cancer or because you have had polyps, you should be advised to have a colonoscopy every three to five years instead of every 10. But if you’re older or have other major health problems, so you wouldn’t want to undergo treatment even if colon cancer were detected, you may want to forgo colon cancer screening, no matter what the test. Talk it over with your doctor.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Which Came First--- The Happiness Or The Success?

What’s the deal with happiness and success?

Why is it that we live in such an amazing world, filled with blessings and opportunities, yet so few are happy?

You owe it to yourself and those who love you to be happy. You want to be successful for yourself and those who support and adore you. How do you do this? Where do you start? What comes first—happiness or success?

Studies show that it’s not an either/or situation. Happiness and success are connected in interesting and often counterintuitive ways. Talking about how success leads to happiness ignores half of the story. There is increasing scientific evidence that increasing happiness leads to success.

Let’s take this to trading and look for ways that success and happiness can be achieved and integrated. What can you do to get and keep both?

1. Talk to other traders. As a trader, you often feel isolated and alone. You think that no one really understands you or what you do. Get a trading buddy that you trust and can share with during the trading day. It really does help with the loneliness, and you might even teach each other something that can lead to profits. This leads to a bond of sharing that causes you to feel happy.

2. Have at least one person in your private life that supports you, no matter what happens during the trading day. This helps you get to the point where you feel loved and accepted whether you are winning or losing. When you get this kind of nurturing from another person, you feel happy and safe.

3. Make sure that you have other activities outside of trading. Exercising to a sweat is a fabulous way to stay happy and centered---and you can detox your body in the process. The happier you are, the more you will want to be happy. Exercise and activities that bring joy to you are self-reinforcing.

4. Resolve any and all conflicts in your life as quickly as possible. You will feel like a weight has been lifted from you. Talk it out, get it over with and let it go. If you do not resolve conflicts, they can turn into soap opera dramas and you will act them out on the stage of the financial markets. You will not be happy with the results. Why? Because the markets don’t know you. They don’t care about your conflicts and dramas. They see these as weaknesses and will exploit them. They see you as weak and attack you by taking your money. This is a self-sabotaging cycle that leads to more and more losses. Now, you are playing in the big bad markets and acting out your emotions of anger, abandonment, resentment or sadness. The markets will give you more of what you already have—misery. If you resolve your personal dramas, you approach the markets in a happier state of mind. You telegraph happiness into the markets and they leave you alone to do trade your plan and make money. Markets see happiness and positivity as something they really don’t want to mess with. Sadness and desperation---yes—they can and do mess with that.

5. Help others. When you are in a good mood, you are more likely to display what psychologists call "prosocial behavior." Help other traders if they ask for help. Help other people who genuinely need help. Be generous with your time and money. What you give comes back to you, often in ways that you least expect.

6. Eat food that elevates your mood. Food changes the chemical transmitters in your brain. Fish, chicken, beans and tofu contain tyrosine that leads to increased mental alertness. The folic acid in a glass of orange juice or a cup or spinach has antidepressant effects. Selenium in brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and tuna fish boosts happiness. Avoid fried food, junk food and most fast foods. They may feel “comforting” at the time, but are nothing but a quick fix that makes you fat and clogs your arteries. Blood must flow freely to the brain for peak performance, and clogged arteries block this flow of blood and oxygen.

7. Be more playful and creative. The brain thrives on novelty. Getting away from your daily routine causes new pathways to form in the brain. Even simple things like drying yourself differently after a shower or bath (first notice how you dry yourself the same way every time, then do it differently. It may surprise you and wake up your brain). Trading is an extension of the games we played as children. The best traders I know excel at some sport or game- chess, racquetball, dancing or poker. Playing games or sports causes the brain to make new connections. When the brain makes new connections it is better able to perform complex tasks like trading. Playfulness and competition enable you to develop your own edge in the markets.

The way you think about happiness and success profoundly affects your life. If you think that success mainly leads to happiness then you focus more on success to the exclusion of happiness. You assume that, once you are successful, you will be happy.

Research shows that the instruction is to pursue both—not one to the exclusion of the other. Feeling better in the moment is not only more pleasant but it will open your brain to opportunities in your trading, your play and your relationships. Recognizing and taking these opportunities will lead you to success and happiness—not necessarily in that order—but you will eventually get both!

Thanks and Good Trading!

Janice Dorn,M.D., Ph.D.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

World's Divorce Rate

QUESTION: In 2010, which country's divorce rate rose for the first time in almost a decade?


In 2010, there were 119,589 divorces in England and Wales, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year, the Telegraph reported. The jump, which some experts suggested was an effect of the 2008-2009 recession, marked the first time that the divorce rate had risen in almost a decade.

QUESTION: Three of 10 divorces in this European country were said to be the product of men exhibiting "unusually close attachment" to their mothers.


In 2006, the Guardian reported on a poll that suggested three out of 10 marriages in Italy failed due to the unusually close attachment some Italian men had to their their mothers. "In Italy there still exists a sort of mother love that is excessive," psychologist Dr. Annamaria Cassanese told the paper. "For example, you will see mothers crying at the weddings of their sons, but they are not crying for joy, they are crying because they feel devastated." 

QUESTION: What Asian country's post office offered newlyweds a chance to write love letters to each other that would be sent seven years later, as a way counter the rising divorce rate?  


In 2011, the BBC reported that China's state-run post-office had begun offering couples a service where love letters they wrote to each other at the time would be sent seven years into their marriages. With the country's divorce rate on the rise, the thought was that the love notes would stave off splits, reminding potentially divorcing couples why they got together in the first place.

QUESTION: When the divorce rate among retirees soared in this country in the 2000s, experts blamed "retired husband syndrome."


Between 1985 and 2000, the divorce rate among Japanese couples married for 20 years doubled and then some, ABC News reported in 2006. According to the BBC, experts blamed "retired husband syndrome," explaining that many "salarymen" (who had lived elsewhere for work) came home to find that they barely knew their spouses. 

QUESTION: A 2011 study showed that 48 percent of parents in this country had split by their children's 16th birthdays.


A 2011 Centre for Social Justice study showed that 48 percent of children in the UK were likely to see their parents split before they reached 16. Ten years prior, the rate was 40 percent. 

QUESTION: Which country has the highest divorce rate in the world? 

ANSWER: Russia

Russia, the largest country in the world, lives up to its size by boasting the highest known divorce rate -- 5 divorces per 1000 people, according to the 2010 United Nations Demographic Yearbook.

Friday, June 01, 2012

So, what did the Muslims do for the Jews?

By David J Wasserstein, May 24, 2012
Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth. The argument for it is double. First, in 570 CE, when the Prophet Mohammad was born, the Jews and Judaism were on the way to oblivion. And second, the coming of Islam saved them, providing a new context in which they not only survived, but flourished, laying foundations for subsequent Jewish cultural prosperity - also in Christendom - through the medieval period into the modern world.
By the fourth century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Roman empire. One aspect of this success was opposition to rival faiths, including Judaism, along with massive conversion of members of such faiths, sometimes by force, to Christianity. Much of our testimony about Jewish existence in the Roman empire from this time on consists of accounts of conversions.
Great and permanent reductions in numbers through conversion, between the fourth and the seventh centuries, brought with them a gradual but relentless whittling away of the status, rights, social and economic existence, and religious and cultural life of Jews all over the Roman empire.
A long series of enactments deprived Jewish people of their rights as citizens, prevented them from fulfilling their religious obligations, and excluded them from the society of their fellows.
Had Islam not come along, Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance and Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult
This went along with the centuries-long military and political struggle with Persia. As a tiny element in the Christian world, the Jews should not have been affected much by this broad, political issue. Yet it affected them critically, because the Persian empire at this time included Babylon - now Iraq - at the time home to the world's greatest concentration of Jews.
Here also were the greatest centres of Jewish intellectual life. The most important single work of Jewish cultural creativity in over 3,000 years, apart from the Bible itself - the Talmud - came into being in Babylon. The struggle between Persia and Byzantium, in our period, led increasingly to a separation between Jews under Byzantine, Christian rule and Jews under Persian rule.
Beyond all this, the Jews who lived under Christian rule seemed to have lost the knowledge of their own culturally specific languages - Hebrew and Aramaic - and to have taken on the use of Latin or Greek or other non-Jewish, local, languages. This in turn must have meant that they also lost access to the central literary works of Jewish culture - the Torah, Mishnah, poetry, midrash, even liturgy.
The loss of the unifying force represented by language - and of the associated literature - was a major step towards assimilation and disappearance. In these circumstances, with contact with the one place where Jewish cultural life continued to prosper - Babylon - cut off by conflict with Persia, Jewish life in the Christian world of late antiquity was not simply a pale shadow of what it had been three or four centuries earlier. It was doomed.
Had Islam not come along, the conflict with Persia would have continued. The separation between western Judaism, that of Christendom, and Babylonian Judaism, that of Mesopotamia, would have intensified. Jewry in the west would have declined to disappearance in many areas. And Jewry in the east would have become just another oriental cult.
But this was all prevented by the rise of Islam. The Islamic conquests of the seventh century changed the world, and did so with dramatic, wide-ranging and permanent effect for the Jews.
Within a century of the death of Mohammad, in 632, Muslim armies had conquered almost the whole of the world where Jews lived, from Spain eastward across North Africa and the Middle East as far as the eastern frontier of Iran and beyond. Almost all the Jews in the world were now ruled by Islam. This new situation transformed Jewish existence. Their fortunes changed in legal, demographic, social, religious, political, geographical, economic, linguistic and cultural terms - all for the better.
First, things improved politically. Almost everywhere in Christendom where Jews had lived now formed part of the same political space as Babylon - Cordoba and Basra lay in the same political world. The old frontier between the vital centre in Babylonia and the Jews of the Mediterranean basin was swept away, forever.
Political change was partnered by change in the legal status of the Jewish population: although it is not always clear what happened during the Muslim conquests, one thing is certain. The result of the conquests was, by and large, to make the Jews second-class citizens.
This should not be misunderstood: to be a second-class citizen was a far better thing to be than not to be a citizen at all. For most of these Jews, second-class citizenship represented a major advance. In Visigothic Spain, for example, shortly before the Muslim conquest in 711, the Jews had seen their children removed from them and forcibly converted to Christianity and had themselves been enslaved.
In the developing Islamic societies of the classical and medieval periods, being a Jew meant belonging to a category defined under law, enjoying certain rights and protections, alongside various obligations. These rights and protections were not as extensive or as generous as those enjoyed by Muslims, and the obligations were greater but, for the first few centuries, the Muslims themselves were a minority, and the practical differences were not all that great.
Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues - in theory - and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.
The political unity brought by the new Islamic world-empire did not last, but it created a vast Islamic world civilisation, similar to the older Christian civilisation that it replaced. Within this huge area, Jews lived and enjoyed broadly similar status and rights everywhere. They could move around, maintain contacts, and develop their identity as Jews. A great new expansion of trade from the ninth century onwards brought the Spanish Jews - like the Muslims - into touch with the Jews and the Muslims even of India.
A ll this was encouraged by a further, critical development. Huge numbers of people in the new world of Islam adopted the language of the Muslim Arabs. Arabic gradually became the principal language of this vast area, excluding almost all the rest: Greek and Syriac, Aramaic and Coptic and Latin all died out, replaced by Arabic. Persian, too, went into a long retreat, to reappear later heavily influenced by Arabic.
The Jews moved over to Arabic very rapidly. By the early 10th century, only 300 years after the conquests, Sa'adya Gaon was translating the Bible into Arabic. Bible translation is a massive task - it is not undertaken unless there is a need for it. By about the year 900, the Jews had largely abandoned other languages and taken on Arabic.
The change of language in its turn brought the Jews into direct contact with broader cultural developments. The result from the 10th century on was a striking pairing of two cultures. The Jews of the Islamic world developed an entirely new culture, which differed from their culture before Islam in terms of language, cultural forms, influences, and uses. Instead of being concerned primarily with religion, the new Jewish culture of the Islamic world, like that of its neighbours, mixed the religious and the secular to a high degree. The contrast, both with the past and with medieval Christian Europe, was enormous.
Like their neighbours, these Jews wrote in Arabic in part, and in a Jewish form of that language. The use of Arabic brought them close to the Arabs. But the use of a specific Jewish form of that language maintained the barriers between Jew and Muslim. The subjects that Jews wrote about, and the literary forms in which they wrote about them, were largely new ones, borrowed from the Muslims and developed in tandem with developments in Arabic Islam.
Also at this time, Hebrew was revived as a language of high literature, parallel to the use among the Muslims of a high form of Arabic for similar purposes. Along with its use for poetry and artistic prose, secular writing of all forms in Hebrew and in (Judeo-)Arabic came into being, some of it of high quality.
Much of the greatest poetry in Hebrew written since the Bible comes from this period. Sa'adya Gaon, Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Ibn Ezra (Moses and Abraham), Maimonides, Yehuda Halevi, Yehudah al-Harizi, Samuel ha-Nagid, and many more - all of these names, well known today, belong in the first rank of Jewish literary and cultural endeavour.
W here did these Jews produce all this? When did they and their neighbours achieve this symbiosis, this mode of living together? The Jews did it in a number of centres of excellence. The most outstanding of these was Islamic Spain, where there was a true Jewish Golden Age, alongside a wave of cultural achievement among the Muslim population. The Spanish case illustrates a more general pattern, too.
What happened in Islamic Spain - waves of Jewish cultural prosperity paralleling waves of cultural prosperity among the Muslims - exemplifies a larger pattern in Arab Islam. In Baghdad, between the ninth and the twelfth centuries; in Qayrawan (in north Africa), between the ninth and the 11th centuries; in Cairo, between the 10th and the 12th centuries, and elsewhere, the rise and fall of cultural centres of Islam tended to be reflected in the rise and fall of Jewish cultural activity in the same places.
This was not coincidence, and nor was it the product of particularly enlightened liberal patronage by Muslim rulers. It was the product of a number of deeper features of these societies, social and cultural, legal and economic, linguistic and political, which together enabled and indeed encouraged the Jews of the Islamic world to create a novel sub-culture within the high civilisation of the time.
This did not last for ever; the period of culturally successful symbiosis between Jew and Arab Muslim in the middle ages came to a close by about 1300. In reality, it had reached this point even earlier, with the overall relative decline in the importance and vitality of Arabic culture, both in relation to western European cultures and in relation to other cultural forms within Islam itself; Persian and Turkish.
Jewish cultural prosperity in the middle ages operated in large part as a function of Muslim, Arabic cultural (and to some degree political) prosperity: when Muslim Arabic culture thrived, so did that of the Jews; when Muslim Arabic culture declined, so did that of the Jews.
In the case of the Jews, however, the cultural capital thus created also served as the seed-bed of further growth elsewhere - in Christian Spain and in the Christian world more generally.
The Islamic world was not the only source of inspiration for the Jewish cultural revival that came later in Christian Europe, but it certainly was a major contributor to that development. Its significance cannot be overestimated.
David J Wasserstein is the Eugene Greener Jr Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. This article is adapted from last week's Jordan Lectures in Comparative Religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies.