Denigrating Obamas in Internet

Search engines are becoming ultimate engines for development and crime. One can google other’s vital details, locate remote people through maps, find out the tastes of people, political views and many more sensitive information. What is considered to be the best aid for knowledge sharing and communication sans frontiers turning out to be a strong commercial proposition and global terror aider. This cannot be averted just by simply saddening over the issue. It needs a strong commitment and vigilance by Netizens and Engine operators like google. Without the proactive participation of these two partners it is impossible to curb the violence through Internet. The immediate need is software to track the culprits and fixing them tooth and nail. The earliest it is done is the better for the world. In the latest venom spiller Google image search brings a caricature of Michelle Obama as monkey at the top of search on her name. As Google had clarified in its communication that it cannot do much about it the ball is in the court of Internet criminals who manage to malign Obamas. It is sad that Internet played a pivotal role in bringing Obama as the president of the United States and the same Internet is devastating his happiness as the president. The Times of India writes on 26 November 2009 Google has apologized for a racist caricature of Michelle Obama that became the top result for users searching for images of the US First Anyone typing “Michelle Obama” into Google Images this morning, was presented with an altered photo depicting the US president’s wife with animal features. However, the California-based Internet giant distanced itself from this by posting a message above the offensive photo. The note, which states “Sometimes our search results can be offensive. We agree” directs users to a page explaining the technology giant’s policy on “disturbing” search results, The Telegraph reported. The message makes it clear that the Michelle Obama image is not endorsed by Google, but indicates that the company will take no action to have it removed. “Google views the integrity of our search results as an extremely important priority,” it states. “Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it.” “We apologise if you’ve had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results,” it ends.


Tragedy Business Post 26/11

Tragedies are business for some. With the hyper media jumping over every tragedy the game gets big. Every natural and human created disaster are blow over by the media. Of course it is discharging its primary responsibility. But its limits are crossed. The next big media blow will be 26/11 tragedy. The media will run blitzkrieg for a week starting tomorrow. What is wrong with this? Except perpetuating the bad memories media cannot play anything constructive on this issue. Those who have lost their precious near and dear ones get their sad memories back. There will be music shows, candle light vigils, interviews, floral tribute on the tragic spots and many more events will happen to recollect last year’s serial shoot outs. It is better to ignore the past bad ones and concentrate on the future security and social preparations to avert the mega tragedies. The Times of India writes on 24 November 2009 A year since 26/11 happened we as a nation are faced with the difficult question of how to deal with the terrible events of that day. Do we commemorate it as a day of mourning – as has happened with 9/11 – or do we make peace with the past and move on? Such questions are not easily answered, and the response will vary from person to person. For those who lost someone close in the terror attacks or those who were front-row witnesses to the carnage, 26/11 will remain imprinted in their minds for a long time to come if not a lifetime. But for those who followed the events on television or through newspapers, their relation to the Mumbai terror attacks is likely to be much more distant and detached. Arguably the Indian perspective on negative events, such as 26/11, is quite different from the rest of the world. The West has a long tradition of observing negative anniversaries. This could be traced to the Jewish philosophy best summed up by the phrase, ‘lest we forget’. Thus the Holocaust is such a central part of Jewish identity and being. There are many such negative events, including 9/11, which have a special place in the western calendar. In contrast, Indian philosophy lays a far greater emphasis on the dictum, ‘lest we remember’. That is why Indians have a low social memory when it comes to dark deeds and violence. We like to believe that our past has been one of non-violence and peaceful coexistence even though this is palpably untrue. Our histories tend to elide over the violence perpetrated by kings or negative aspects of their character, whereas revisionism is such a rage in the West. This makes the art of forgetting, and indeed forgiving, easier for us. This attitude has perplexed outsiders, particularly Europeans steeped in traditions of recording events from the mundane to the extraordinary. The British would often complain that Indians had no sense of history and set things right by documenting every aspect of Indian life and society. But it’s not that we don’t have an idea of history, only that it is liberally infused with mythology. While forgetting and crowding out negative events is in our DNA, that is of course something not applicable to the government. Instead of commemorating 26/11, it’s the government and the security agencies’ responsibility to remember and act on the lessons from the Mumbai terror attacks. By better policing and intelligence gathering they must ensure that a 26/11 isn’t repeated.

Cleansing Azharuddin’s Crimes

Crime committed in society is short lived in the memory of people. Taking advantage of this situation, politicos play their game endlessly. A party which promises to provide life and hope to all Indians is violating its code of ethics. Mohammad Azharuddin the tainted cricketer who once redeemed the lost status of India in the international cricket and then sold the status of the nation for few million dollars has been patronized by India’s first political party. After TDP refused his entry, Congress embraced him with open arms. To his luck, Moradabad people validated his candidature and gave him the victory with 48,000 words margin. Today the party is seriously considering him to be the Muslim mascot to be paraded in the U.P assembly election in 2012. If Congress is good in popping up criminals and saying its nature as political diplomacy to win the electoral war why it is not using the same to win the terrorist battles and international games. As the electoral victory level of Congress looks better it must abandon these kinds of criminal patronizing games. The same card has been played in Maharashtra where the goons of Shiv Sena and MNS are allowed to clash and keep the Congress in power. Is this is the contribution of the Congress party for the development of the nation? It is destroying the political culture and forward movement of the nation. The Times of India writes on 22 November 2009 Mohammad Azharuddin may be cleansed of the match-fixing taint for good, with BCCI willing to reconsider the lifetime ban on the former India skipper, in a development which can potentially add to the lustre of Congress’ new Muslim mascot. ( Watch Video ) The fresh bid to extricate the Moradabad MP from disgrace comes from a Congress eager to pitchfork the ex-cricketer as a key campaigner, having launched him politically with a massive win from the minority-dominated Moradabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The move is being facilitated by the dual roles of UPA members as politicians and cricket managers. Hectic lobbying in this direction took a Congress delegation led by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh – that included Congress MP and BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla – to NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday. Pawar, who is ICC vice-chairman, directed the delegation to BCCI chief and close associate Shashank Manohar who has succeeded Pawar in BCCI. Rajiv Shukla told TOI, “I spoke to the BCCI president. He said if Azhar files a petition, it would be taken up in the next AGM.” There is an all-round eagerness to bail out Azhar, be it the player himself or his political home or even the present cricketing setup. It was under Pawar’s helmsmanship that the hallowed doors of the cricketing world were opened for him in 2006 after they were slammed in 2000, with the Punjab Cricket Association inviting him to witness the Champions Trophy semifinals in Mohali. Congress’s eagerness to lift the lifetime ban on Azhar stems from its strategy to unveil him as the new Muslim mascot. Its revival plans in UP require glamorous minority faces to take on “secular rivals” SP and BSP even though the party’s own secular credentials and the leadership of the Gandhi family scion seems persuasive enough to woo the community. The recent party win in Firozabad bypolls where it trounced Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law has been attributed to largescale shift in Muslim votes from SP. Alive to the threat posed by shifting minorities and a resurgent Congress, SP was quick to act, snapping its relationship with once Hindutva mascot Kalyan Singh and raising the pitch on minority agenda. For Congress, planning to use the favourable mood to rejuvenate itself in the fallen fort of UP, SP’s vulnerability has heightened expectations. The unveiling of the onetime cricketing idol in identity politics seems an intoxicating prospect for strategists. It’s not a coincidence that rival SP too brought in this week its Maharashtra legislator Abu Azmi as the new minority face to cash in on his “defiance” of Sena outfits. Azmi fills the void left by Azam Khan’s expulsion following his high-voltage rebellion. Congressmen feel the Hyderabadi’s election victory in far-removed Moradabad has proved his appeal among the community. While the ban is seen as academic in nature given that Azhar is past the age to make a comeback, it would still come in handy in buffering him from a future assault on the issue of “integrity”. On the poll trail, the opposition targeted him for match-fixing, citing his excommunication from cricket, to question Congress’s commitment to probity. The question of ban keeps popping up every time Azhar is mentioned in social circles. It is hoped that he would be free from embarrassing queries once BCCI overturns its order. Digvijay Singh said, “We want the lifetime ban to go from the man who brought laurels to the country with his skills. There were many players in the match-fixing case but they are all free of the ban. Why should the one on Azhar continue?”

Fatty Jail Birds

Indian criminal justice systems swing to the extremes. Either third grade tortures or too much sweet hospitality. In the latest swinger, Tamil Nadu jails report excess weight gain of its inmates. There is popular saying in Tamil – Mamiyar veedu. Jail means in-laws place where you get regular food. What was intended to reform the prisoners seem to be turning out to be a sensation creator. This does not augur well for the criminal justice system. Some of the prisoners are able to enjoy the clout with their money power. Look at Shahbuddin the serial killer from Bihar, Manu Sharma the rich brat, Annachi of the Saravana Bhavan. All of these super rich jail birds are making mockery of their jail terms. This must end at the earliest. The Times of India writes on 23 November 2009 Steaming hot upma or pongal, sambhar rice with vegetables, boiled peanuts, dal with ghee and roasted chicken. This is not the menu card of a south Indian restaurant, but food served to inmates of various prisons in Tamil Nadu. No wonder, a jail stint in the state leaves prisoners with an expanded waistline or even a pot-belly, contrary to the general perception that jailbirds look haggard or emaciated. Nearly 90% of prisoners in the state who were freed during 2007-08 have gone home with increased weight, according to the latest data released by the Department of Statistics and Economics. Interestingly, not even a single prisoner lost weight during his/her stay in jail, going by the details given. Of the 4,796 prisoners released, 4,231 people, including 241 women, had gained weight varying from 1 kg to 3 kg, while there was no change in the weight of the rest. Of the prisoners released during 2006-07, 115 had gained over 5 kg, the statistics revealed. “What the prisoners in TN get is a balanced diet of the sort they may not get outside,’’ said V Kannadasan, special public prosecutor for the Human Rights Court. “They are served bed-time tea at 6 am, followed by upma or pongal or gruel for breakfast. At noon, they are served 650 gm of rice with sambhar, butter milk and vegetables, which is followed by boiled peanuts in the evening. Dinner consists of 550 gm of rice with sambhar. For those advised a wheat diet by doctors, chappatis and dal are served,’’ he added. Sundays are special as the prisoners are served 150 gm of chicken. While those in ‘A’ class cells get to relish the non-vegetarian dish thrice a week, vegetarians are served dal with ghee. Should the bulging waistline of prisoners be attributed to nutritious food or lack of physical activity? “We ensure that their diet has a proper mix of nutrition to meet calorific requirements. To improve the quality of commodities, we’ve dispensed with the contract system and started procuring food items from the public distribution system,’’ said R Natraj, DGP (fire and rescue services). However, some activists disagree with the official theory, saying that the “obesity’’ of prisoners was due to a lack of physical activity. “The weight gain among prisoners does not indicate that they are being given nutritious food. People above 40 years are generally prone to gaining weight and hence it cannot be taken as an indicator of their well-being,’’ said lawyer-activist Sudha Ramalingam. P Pugazhenthi, director, Prisoners Rights Forum, said unlike earlier times, prisoners were not being given physical work, which not only kept them fit but also fetched them remuneration.

India Superpowering Through Culture

Culture always played a powerful noiselessly in the world development. Its the people and culture not the political hot potatoes who have made the world a better place to live little happily. With only political forces the world might have been doomed long back. This hard truth is slowly surfacing. When the economic chips played by politics failed and erupted as the financial melt down a year back, culture come as the savior.Although culture has been recognized as the soft and silent tool for the success of a nation, it has been underplayed by several countries. America gave a big colour to culture through its corporations in its efforts to conquer the world. Doubtlessly the American tricks paid for a quarter century. Today it is taking a tough beating.

India which is a cultural magnet for centuries is bouncing back with a bang. From the stone age India has been in the forefront of cultural play around the world. For its knowledge, astrology, mythology, dance, music, food, snake charming, magic and what not. When the Western world was conquering the erstwhile traditional powers the same culture has been dumped as the superstitious. Today the same has been wooed as the potential stress buster and life saver.

The Western chips are down and chasing Indian yoga masters, astrologist, ayur vedics and many other traditional powers. Bharatnatyam, folk dances, chicken sheekh kebab, idlis, vadas, vedas, upanishads are sought after by the life down westerners. This was silently going for the past quarter century. With the tourism ministry and cultural diplomats giving an economic culture Indian wherewithals have taken a big currency shape. In the coming days Indian culture will be much sought after. But in order to stay without slipping Indians must not dilute their sincerity and seriousness. The main reason for the downfall of the Western culture has been its lack of seriousness in sustaining its cultural power. Too much of casual approach had dented the image of America and Europe. This must be avoided by the Indian culture promoters in order stay float at the global arena.
Shobanna Saxena writes in The Times of India on 22 November 2009

Call it Disney diplomacy from the East. But Mickey Mouse has some competition now. So does MTV. Chinese rock bands are entrancing American teenagers with their music; sufi singers are emerging from their shells in the Muslim world; and yoga gurus are telling Westerners how to sit in the lotus position. All of them have one thing in common. They are the software of their country’s soft power.

Hard power can drive people away but soft power almost always brings them closer. This is why nations with big ambitions have always used cultural exports to enhance their clout. During the Cold War, both the US and USSR opened cultural centres around the world, leaving Bolshoi ballerinas to challenge Broadway beauties. Today, the story is being repeated. Bharatnatyam and yoga are taking on Confucius and Chinese rock bands in the new world order, whose economic engine is said to be located in Asia.

The Chinese are aggressively pursuing cultural diplomacy and now, India is responding. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) opened seven new cultural centres in Asia this year and is planning many more across this continent, Europe and the Americas. Is the ICCR desperately playing catch-up with China, which will soon open roughly a hundred ‘Confucius Centres’ around the world? “It’s definitely an incentive,” says Dr Karan Singh, the ICCR president who served as India’s ambassador to the US in the 1980s (see interview). Singh, who was recently in the US to identify a building to house a cultural centre in Washington, says India needs to flex its soft-power muscle. “Diplomacy is like the Ganga-Jamuna-Saraswati triveni. The Ganga is political diplomacy, the Yamuna is economic diplomacy and the invisible Saraswati is cultural diplomacy,” he says.

In 2009, the ICCR opened centres in Kabul, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Tokyo, Dhaka, Kualalumpur and Abu Dhabi. Bhutan will have one by next year and talks are on with Pakistan and the Maldives for similar centres. “My idea was to first consolidate our region and to ‘look East’. We have also started a centre in China as an extension of our mission as there is a ban on cultural centres there,” says Singh, who took over as ICCR head in 2007.

Of late, Beijing has been taking cultural exports seriously. Last week, two of China’s hottest new rock bands – Carsick Cars and P K 14 – began a whirlwind musical tour of the US. The ICCR says it has sent Indian rock bands abroad in the past but till now, there just wasn’t the money to do this consistently. Now, Delhi, like Beijing, seems ready to splurge on the culture front. “This year, we got a special grant of Rs 75 crore from the government. Hopefully, this will become an annual grant,” says Singh.
Can such funding help India follow the American model of cultural diplomacy? Minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor says Hollywood, MTV and McDonald’s have done more for American soft power than specific government activity. Tharoor defines soft power as the “ability of a country to attract others with its culture, social values and foreign policies”. At the Technology, Entertainment, Design conference in Bangalore recently, the minister said, “In today’s world, it’s not the size of the army that wins, it’s the country that tells a better story. India is and must remain a land of better stories.”

Dr Karan Singh has worn many hats – maharaja of Kashmir, governor, ambassador, minister, scholar, writer. Now, as head of the ICCR, the 79-year-old Congress leader is leading India’s softpower offensive. He talks culture, politics and pop exports to Shobhan Saxena. Excerpts:

Why should the government be involved in cultural promotion?

There are many centres run by private organizations, but they are on-again, off-again kind of initiatives. We want a public-private partnership. The government can’t take sole responsibility for Indian culture. It’s far too rich, varied and extensive. But a cultural centre run by ICCR gives it focus and continuity.

Why focus on neighbouring nations?

We have ignored the region for a long time. We share languages and culture with our neighbours. We must have good ties with them. I am keen to have closer cultural relationship with Pakistan. We also need to engage culturally with China.

Is Bollywood part of the plan?

Filmmakers like Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt and Satyajit Ray are part of our programmes. Bollywood is in great demand abroad, though it is not always suited to our cultural centres.

Why are you taking desi rock bands abroad? That’s hardly the world’s idea of ‘Indian’ music?

India is not just Bharatnatyam, it’s also rock and pop. Personally, I’m a rock addict. I listen to one hour of pop music every day. I love Dire Straits, Billy Joel, Abba, Whitney Houston, etc. I love Bharatnatyam too. I see no conflict between classical and pop. People are surprised because they think that to be a philosopher, you have to be dull and boring.

Is globalization killing cultural diversity?

Globalization is part of us whether we like it or not. We have to take advantage of it and use it creatively. India is large enough and intelligent enough neither to go into a shell nor get swept away by globalization.

____________________Whatever India’s relative strengths may be in terms of hard power – military and economic prowess – culturally, we have always been a superpower.
Any country with an unbroken cultural continuity that goes back to the dawn of time, the ability to assimilate influences from outside, and with pinnacles of refinement in every sphere of creative expression, is bound to be one. However, culture is often seen as a passive footnote to the principal text of diplomacy. Its existence is taken for granted, and its utility is undervalued. Only recently is India waking up to the real potential of ‘soft power’, that curiously Freudian expression coined by Joseph Nye.

The fact that the ICCR, the country’s premier institution for cultural diplomacy, was established as far back as 1950, around the time that India was adopting its Constitution, is incontrovertible proof that leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Maulana Azad were very clear about the need for India to promote Indian culture abroad. But today, with India perceived to be emerging as a global power, we are entering a qualitatively new phase of cultural diplomacy. If hitherto the interest abroad was in the richness and refinement of India’s past, broadly subsumed under the rubric of ‘exotica’ and ‘mystique’, today the world wants to know how that heritage links up with the excitement of the present and the potential of the future. In other words, foreign observers want to understand how the culture of the Indian people is a part of their persona and behaviour, what is its role in defining who we are, and how much does it contribute to making a billion people the world’s largest democracy and one of the fastest-growing economies. To put it bluntly, people want to know what makes India and Indians tick. And, the aim of cultural diplomacy is to answer this question as fully and effectively as possible.

The aim may be simply stated, but the task is enormously complex. In fact, if there is one area of diplomatic work where the simplistic and the routine are as lethal as the AIDS virus, it is in the business of projecting a country’s soft power. An entire array of instrumentalities must be used, encompassing, of course, our priceless heritage in the arena of classical music and dance, but also theatre and puppetry, literature and architecture, art and sculpture, and contemporary developments, including Bollywood. In addition, there are the all-important areas of academic interaction, scholarship programmes, the funding of Chairs of universities, and support to conferences and seminars.

But it is very important to remember that richness in soft power does not automatically translate to effective cultural diplomacy. To convert soft power into effective cultural diplomacy requires vision, planning, infrastructure and finances. For instance, India has less than 30 cultural centres abroad. By comparison Russia has over 80, and the former Soviet Union had 150; the Alliance Francaise is represented in almost every important capital as is the British Council; Germany’s Max Mueller Centres and Goethe Institute do not lag far behind; Spain is rapidly expanding its centres named after Cervantes; and China is the latest entry in this field and, according to some estimates, has allocated several billion dollars to open 100 centres abroad named after Confucius.

Similarly, vision and planning cannot go too far without finances. The ICCR’s budget still hovers around Rs 150 crore; by comparison the British Council’s annual budget is over Rs 4,000 crore. Cultural infrastructure is of pivotal importance too. New Delhi, the capital of the republic of India, is conspicuous for lacking a state-of-the-art auditorium, exhibition gallery or conference centre. The best that we have to offer for large audiences is Siri Fort, which is both shabby and technically outdated. India must stop also passively accepting the fact that it will remain on the margins of world cultural events. The international film festival that we organize is not even close to being a major landmark in the arena of films, even though India is the largest producer of films. We need to also become a coveted destination for professionally organized international festivals in the area of dance, theatre, literature and music. In each of these areas, our cultural legacy goes back to a time when most other cultures were beginning to read and write. For instance, Bharat wrote his Natyashastra several hundred years before the birth of Christ, and while this treatise is a unique introduction to all performing arts, it is even more so a meditation on aesthetics itself. With such a lineage it is appalling that India does not have any world-class festival in any of these fields.

Cultural diplomacy cannot operate in a vacuum unto itself. To be effective, it must be an intrinsic part of diplomacy, persuading people about the validity of our world view through the attractiveness of our cultural heritage and ethos. As India readies itself to take its place at the high table, it is time that cultural diplomacy received our fullest attention because this is one area where we have perhaps one of the best products to sell.

Author-diplomat Pavan K Varma has served as the ICCR’s director-general and director of The Nehru Centre in London. He is currently India’s ambassador to Bhutan

Chemical Beauty of Women

The beauty of Women lies in how beautiful they make themselves up. This truth has been widely exploited by the business houses. No wonder the largest sale of beauty products are aimed at women. They are raking up billions of dollars. What is soothing news for the business is hurting for the women’s health. In the latest revelation the researchers break the news that over 500 chemicals are used in making up the beauty products used by women are around the world. The Times of India writes on 20 November 2009 Beauty products such as lipstick, lotion, foundation, mascara add up to 515 chemicals on a woman’s face every day, says a study. Charlotte Smith of deodorant firm Bionsen, which conducted the research, found that girls were using up to13 products, most containing more than 20 ingredients. Perfume fared the worst, containing a mixture of 250 components on average while some labels chose from 400 chemicals, reports the Sun. Lipstick was found consisting 33 elements, body lotion 32, mascara 29, and hand moisturiser, 11. Top-selling perfume Chanel No5 listed 250 additives and the best-selling foundation, Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, had 24 ingredients, the study found. The most popular nail varnish, Rimmel, was made from 31 components while the number for the top-selling body lotion Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Lotion stood at 32. Experts linked some of the additives to cancer, hormone problems, skin conditions and allergies. Smith said: “Beauty regimes have changed dramatically from a simple ”wash & go” to daily fake tan applications, regular manicures, false lashes and hair extensions. “The new ”wonder treatments” contain more chemicals to be able to achieve better results, which means that women are more at risk.”

Instant Start Up Computer

The P.C takes hell a lot of time to start. To kick off this time consuming act of computers and laptops, Google has come out with a solution. Its new operating system (OS) will explode the second you on the computer. The chrome – net opener is proving to be fantastic. The only danger with the Google is that it shouldn’t steal the data in PCs and use it for commercial purposes. The one giant Google poses dangerous threats through its monopoly. As long as it serves the Netizens without worst hiccups its monopoly will continue. The Times of India writes on 21 November 2009 New Google Inc software will start up a computer as fast as a television can be turned on, the search company said as it showed off its Chrome operating system designed for PCs that do their work on the Web. Google gave the first public look at its Chrome OS four months after declaring its intention of developing the PC’s main software, a move that pits it directly against Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc. True to Google’s internet-pedigree, the Chrome OS resembles a Web browser more than it does a traditional computer operating system like Microsoft Windows, matching Google’s ambition to drive people to the Web – where they can see Google ads. The software will initially be available by the holiday season of 2010 on netbooks that meet Google’s hardware specifications, such as using only memory chips to store data instead of slower hard drives. Sundar Pichai, vice-president of product management for Google’s Chrome OS, said computers running it will be able to start in less than seven seconds. “From the time you press boot you want it to be like a TV: You turn it on and you should be on the Web using your applications,” he said.

Sperm Checker

Pre mature ejaculation of sperm is a serious problem. The medical fraternity has come out with a strong solution to control this embarrassing act of the human body. If the new product is successful then the mankind will rejoice in celebration. The times of India writes on 20 November 2009 A spray that numbs the penis can help prevent premature ejaculation, doctors reported and drug maker Sciele Pharma Inc, a division of Japan’s Shionogi, plans to file for US approval next year. Tests on more than 500 men suffering from premature ejaculation showed they were more satisfied and less distressed when they used the spray, the researchers told a meeting in San Diego of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America on Thursday. “Premature ejaculation can have a powerful negative impact on the emotional and sexual lives of men and their partners,” said Stanley Althof of the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida. There is no FDA approved treatment for the condition, which affects up to a third of US men aged 18 to 59. The drug, called by the experimental name PSD502, is a combination of the numbing agents lidocaine and prilocaine. Ira Sharlip of the University of California San Francisco and colleagues tested 300 men with premature ejaculation, asking them to apply the spray five minutes before intercourse. The men on average had climaxed less than a minute into intercourse before the spray. Using the spray for three months, 60% of the men lasted more than three minutes.

Thinking Computer

Typing is a tedious process. It kills energy and time. This major difficulty of Netizens have been taken up by the scientists. They have come out with a thinking computer which translates your thoughts into actions. The Times of India writes on 20 November 2009 Even the world’s most powerful supercomputers can’t replicate basic aspects of the human mind. The machines can’t imagine a wall painted a different color, for instance, or picture a person’s face and connect that to an emotion. If researchers can make computers operate more like a brain thinks – by reasoning and dealing with abstractions, among other things – they could unleash tremendous insights in such diverse fields as medicine and economics. Researchers from IBM Corp are reporting that they’ve simulated a cat’s cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer. The computer has 147,456 processors (most modern PCs have just one or two processors) and 144 terabytes of main memory – 100,000 times as much as your computer has. The scientists had previously simulated 40% of a mouse’s brain in 2006, a rat’s full brain in 2007, and 1% of a human cerebral cortex this year, using progressively bigger supercomputers. The latest simulation, which runs 100 times slower than an actual cat’s brain, is more about watching how thoughts are formed in the brain and how the roughly 1 billion neurons and 10 trillion synapses in a cat’s brain work together. The researchers created a program that told the supercomputer, which is in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to behave how a brain is believed to behave. The computer was shown images of corporate logos and scientists watched as different parts of the simulated brain worked together to figure out what the image was. Dharmendra Modha, manager of cognitive computing for IBM Research and senior author of the paper, called it a “truly unprecedented scale of simulation”.__

Fourth Finger in Competitive Romance

Fingers are connected to mental and somatic functions. This less known fact has been published with the research backing. On wonders how far this true. Most times what research says is not seen in the personal lives. In the latest research twist, fourth finger gets connected to competitive and romance outputs. The Times of India writes on 20 November 2009 A longer fourth finger in comparison to the second finger suggests the species tend to be highly competitive and promiscuous, says a new study. Finger length ratio is a reliable predictor of how a primate will behave socially, say scientists who have been running the tape-measure over groups of baboons and gibbons. Such ratios are governed by exposure in the womb to androgens like testosterone, which figure importantly in the development of masculine characteristics such as aggression and strength. High levels of androgens, such as testosterone, increase the length of the fourth finger in comparison to the second finger. The scientists used finger ratios as an indicator of the levels of exposure to the hormone and compared this data with observed social behavior in primate groups, Scienceagogo reported. The researchers, from the University of Liverpool, found that Old World monkeys, such as baboons and rhesus macaques, have a longer fourth finger in comparison to the second finger, which suggests that they have been exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens. These species tend to be highly competitive and promiscuous. Other species, such as gibbons and many New World species, have finger ratios that suggest low levels of prenatal androgen exposure. These species were monogamous and less competitive than Old World monkeys. Great Apes, such as orangutans and chimpanzees, expressed a different finger ratio. This suggests that early androgen exposure is lower in this groups compared to Old World monkeys. Lower androgen levels could explain why Great Apes show high levels of male cooperation and tolerance. The research may help scientists understand the development of human sociality. “Finger ratios do not change much after birth and appear to tell us something about how very early androgens affect adult behavior, particularly behavior linked to mating and reproduction,” noted researcher Emma Nelson

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