Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bricks and blank pages. Moleskine meets LEGO®

Two pilots flying towards the snowy moors, through blank pages yet to be filled, imaginary cities yet to be built. A paper and brick animation video presents a new limited series with the iconic LEGO® plate set into the cover. 


The plate is red, yellow, green or black, depending on the model of notebook. The inside pocket holds a special collection of related adhesive labels, to customize the notebook in LEGO® style.


The video is made by Combocut Film. The set is a regular household kitchen; after the flight, you return to the ordinary land of reality. For grown-up children who have never stopped flying.

Available at the MoleskineStoreMoleskineUS and MoleskineAsia.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chocolate cake breakfast could help you lose weight

Eating chocolate cake as part of a full breakfast can help you lose weight, say scientists

LONDON - It sounds too good to be true but new research says having dessert - along with the traditional fry up - burns off the pounds.

Morning is the best time to consume sweets because that's when the body's metabolism is most active - and we have the rest of the day to work off the calories, a new study shows.
Eating cookies or chocolate as part of breakfast that includes proteins and carbs also helps stem the craving for sweets later.

Researchers split 193 clinically obese, non-diabetic adults into two groups who consumed either a low-carb diet that included a 300-calorie breakfast or a balanced 600-calorie breakfast that included a chocolate cake dessert.

Halfway through the 32-week study both groups had lost an average of 33 lbs (15 kg) per person. But in the second half of the study the low-carb group regained an average of 22 lbs per person - while the dessert gorgers lost another 15 lbs each.

At the end those who had consumed a 600 calorie breakfast had lost an average of 40 lbs more per person than their peers.

Although both groups consumed the same daily total calories - the men 1600 calories per day and the women 1400 - "the participants in the low-carbohydrate diet group had less satisfaction and felt that they were not full," said Professor Daniela Jakubowicz.

Their cravings for sugars and carbohydrates were more intense and eventually caused them to cheat on the diet plan.

This also suggests that the dessert group will be more successful at keeping the weight off, said the researchers whose findings are published in journal Steroids.

Prof Jakubowicz said: "But the group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day."

Prof Jakubowicz, of Tel Aviv University, said attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term.

A meal in the morning provides energy for the day's tasks, aids in brain functioning and kick-starts the body's metabolism, making it crucial for weight loss and maintenance.

And breakfast is the meal that most successfully regulates ghrelin, the hormone that increases hunger, said Prof Jakubowicz.

While the level of ghrelin rises before every meal, it is suppressed most effectively at breakfast time.
Basing their study on this fact, the researchers hoped to determine whether meal time and composition impacted weight loss in the short and long term, said Prof Jakubowicz, or if it was a simple matter of calorie count.

She said one of the biggest challenges that people face is keeping weight off in the long-term. Ingesting a higher proportion of our daily calories at breakfast makes sense.

It's not only good for body function but it also alleviates cravings. Highly restrictive diets that forbid desserts and carbohydrates are initially effective but often cause dieters to stray from their food plans as a result of withdrawal-like symptoms. They wind up regaining much of the weight they lost during the diet proper.

Ultimately this shows a diet must be realistic to be adopted as part of a new lifestyle. Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for weight loss success, said Prof Jakubowicz.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Posture and spine care – How to get rid of backache

January 11, 2009 in Orthopedic Health

Pain may be due to lifting a heavy object incorrectly, over-exercising, sitting for long periods of time, or carrying a heavy backpack on one shoulder. By using proper lifting techniques, maintaining the appropriate body weight and tone, keeping the back and body muscles strong, and keeping good posture, many back injuries and episodes of low back pain could be avoided.
“My back hurts” is a common complaint for people of all ages.
At least 80% of the industrial population, 60% of general population, and 45% of college students expenence musculoskeletal back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the fifth most common health problem for which people visit the doctor. The cost to employers each year, due to low back pain problems alone, is in the order of several billion dollars.
The “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” philosophy holds when it comes to low back pain. The appropriate time to take care of low back problems is before they occur. \our lifestyle may play a big part in the care or abuse of your back.
Pain may be due to lifting a heavy object incorrectly, over-exercising, sitting for long periods of time, or carrying a heavy backpack on one shoulder. By using proper lifting techniques, maintaining the appropriate body weight and tone, keeping the back and body muscles strong, and keeping good posture, many back injuries and episodes of low back pain could be avoided.
The spinal column is made up of 33 bones, vertebrae, held together by tough 
spinebands of tissue called ligaments. Small cartilage discs help absorb shock and minimize friction between the vertebrae. The spinal column protects the spinal cord as it extends from the brain and branches into nerves connecting to various parts of the body. The nerves pass through openings between the vertebrae.
Spinal Cord is divided into five parts:
  • Cervical
  • Thoracic
  • Lumbar
  • Sacrum
  • Coccyx
The Spine has three natural curves :
  • Cervical spine : lordosis (with the spine arched backwards).
  • Thoracic spine: kyphosis (with the spine slightly flexed forwards).
  • Lumbar spine : lordosis.
These curves allow for the centre of gravity to be placed over ones feet. Disruption of one of these curves place an undue strain upon the other curves.
1. Cervical (C-1 to C-7) – Seven vertebrae in the neck support and move the heat.
2. Thoracic (T-1 to T-12) – Twelve vertebrae in the chest/upper back area support the shoulders and upper body.
3. Lumbar (L-l to L-5) – Five vertebrae in the low back support most of the body weight so they are the larges and strongest of all vertebrae.
4. Sacrum: Triangular structure of the five attached vertebrae. They form the base of the vertebral column.
5. Coccyx (tailbone): Four fused vertebrae.
FACTS ABOUT BACK PAIN – Most low back pain is caused by accident or injury. It is estimated that in 97% of low back pain, the source of pain is unknown.
However, it is believed that back problems often result from an imbalance between tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) surrounding the spine or incorrect spine alignment (posture). In ideal posture, the spinal column should form a gentle, sloping V shape. When the spine’s natural curves are too extreme or flattened for a long period of time, muscles, tendons and ligaments are forced to adapt by tightening or weakening.
Also, obesity may contribute to back pain by causing the lower back curve to arch too much. Maintaining a healthy weight may relieve some symptoms.
Back pain problems so prevalent that it seems everyone has experienced one or both at least one time in their life. Is there any way to avoid them? Once they start, are you doomed to have pain forever? Much of the answer is up to you. Research suggests that many spine problems are preventable because they result from poor posture and body mechanics, which subject the spine to abnormal stresses. Abnormal stress over time can lead to structural changes in the spine, including degeneration of disks and joints, lengthening or shortening of the supportive ligaments and muscles, and wear and tear of cartilage. All of these structural changes can lead to pain.
However, there are many things that you can do each day to minimize current spine pain and prevent future episodes from occurring. (Think of your body, especially the spine, as a machine that needs regular care and maintenance to keep it functioning properly and efficiently. For example, does your car work properly when the alignment is off?). The Key factors to taking care of your back and neck centre around three concepts.
1. Learning and practising good posture.2. Using good body mechanics during the day.
3. Regular exercise.
Now let us explore each one of them in detail.
The basis for good posture is maintaining a “neutral spine”. A neutral spine retains three natural curves.
1. Small hollow at the base of the neck.
2. A small roundness at the middle back.
3. A small hollow in the low back.
A neutral spine is neither rounded forward nor arched back too much. Maintaining a neutral spine is a dynamic process as your transition from one position to another.
Many people spend portions of their day sitting or performing tasks that require bending forward or lifting. Think about your lifestyle, the posture you assume, and the activities you perform each day. Let’s look in detail at proper alignment in standing, sitting, sleeping and lifting posture.
1. Feet should be shoulder width apart, thigh muscles elongated without locking the knees back.
2. Maintain a small hollow in your low back, but avoid the tendency for too much arch/leaning back, especially with prolonged standing. The “tail” should remain slightly tucked down.
3. Lift the breastbone. As you do this, the shoulder blades will move down in back. This should create a good distance from your hip bone to rib cage.
4. Make your chin level. The highest point of your body should be the top back region of your head. Relax your jaw and neck muscles. With the mouth closed, rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
1. Feet should be resting on the floor with knees and hips bent 90 degrees.
2. Maintain an arch in the low back. If you are unsure how much arch is “good”, go from a slouched position up to the extreme end range of erect posture. Now back off 10-15%. This is the neutral position for your low back. A “lumbar roll” is recommended to support the low back with prolonged sitting. It is a foam roll, approximately 4-5 inches in diameter, 12 inches long. To place it, scoot your hips back so that you are touching the back of the chair. “Bow” forward and place the roll in the natural arch of your low back.
3. Lift your breastbone. Picture a string tied to the 2nd or 3rd top button on a shirt pulling straight up to the ceiling. This again created a good distance from your ribcage to your hipbones. Your shoulder blades should be down in back. Think of the bottom tips of your shoulder blades as “anchors’, helping you to maintain this upright posture.
4. Make your chin level. If it helps, picture a book on your head. The highest point of your body should be the top back region of your head.
While it is okay to assume other positions for short periods of time, most of your sitting time should be spent as described to allow for the least stress on your spine. It is also strongly recommended to take frequent breaks from sitting and change your position, at least hourly if you have spine problems.
1. In sleeping posture, the spine will be the most comfortable when a neutral spine is maintained. A sagging mattress or the use of more than one pillow will interfere with the neutral spine position.
2. The best sleeping positions for someone with neck or back pain is either lying on the side or on the back. When lying on the side, pillow between knees helps the spine neutral. People who lie on their side without a pillow between the knees sometimes draw one knee up high and in front. This asymmetry can result in pain over time.
3. Whether lying on the back or sides, rolls can be added to support the natural curves of the spine in the neck or low back.
Body mechanics is defined as maintaining proper position during movement. Constant or repeated small stresses over a long period of time can cause faulty body mechanics and can lead to injury.
Most people are aware that when they bend or lift something, they should bend their knees. While it is important to bend your knees, attention must also be paid to the position of your spine. In order to avoid injury, either at the moment of lifting something or, more likely, as a result of poor body mechanics over time, care must be taken to maintain the previously described “neutral spine”. Again, a neutral spine means that the three normal curves-at the neck, middle and lower back are maintained. When viewed from the outside, the back looks straight with a hollow in the low back.
1. Test the weight of the load first and get help if it is heavy or bulky.
2. Get close to the load.
3. Move the feet apart, one foot ahead of the other, toes pointed outward.
4. Perform the waiter’s bow plus squat.
5. Pick up the load and bring it in close to you.
6. Lift by using your legs and buttocks to push up to straight.
7. While turning, do not twist. Turn your feet by taking small steps.
8. If carrying is necessary, keep the stomach tight and maintain a neutral spine.
9. To lower the load, again perform the “waiter’s bow” plus squat, sticking the buttocks out behind you as you go down.
o It is easiest to load and unload it.
o Lifting’ is easiest from knuckles to shoulder range.
o With overhead reaching, use a stool or chair to bring yourself up to the level of the object; again, get as close as possible.
o Regarding pushing or pulling, PUSH! Do not PULL. The same body mechanics hold for pushing as bending and lifting neutral spine.

The final key to a healthy spine is regular exercise. Research has demonstrated that people who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from back injuries and pain. They also show quicker recovery if injuries do occur than people who are less physically fit. Exercise can be divided into 3 basic groups, all of which are important to a healthy back.
1. Strengthening : The abdominals and back muscles are targeted because they help to support and stabilise the spine. They also help maintain good postural alignment. Strong hip and leg muscles help to facilitate proper body mechanics with bending and lifting.
2. Stretching : The soft tissues around the spine and in the legs need adequate flexibility to allow normal movement and to help prevent abnormal forces on the joints. With regard to the back, the goal is for balanced flexibility in both directions. Stretching also helps to prevent or address soft tissue inquiry and muscle soreness, and promotes relaxation.
3. Aerobic activities : Aerobic exercise helps to promote heart and lung function and overall conditioning. Aerobic activities are those that use several large muscle groups and increase your breathing and heart rate. Examples of activities include walking, biking, swimming and dancing. For maximum benefit, the goal is to work up to 20-30 minutes at least 3-4 times per week.
In short, the key to good posture is awareness and perseverance. It is not easy to change poor postural habits, nor do the changes come quickly. However, if good posture is practiced, it becomes easier and you will find yourself preferring the “neutral alignment” to your previously poor position. In addition to feeling better, good posture also makes you look better. It is said that good posture can make you look 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger! Give it a try. The benefits are will worth the effort.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chrome is coming to Android soon

By  Published 16 days ago
Google (finally) brings Chrome to Android
Google is finally bringing Chrome to the Android platform. A beta release of the increasingly popular Web browser was published this morning in the Android Market and is available to users who are running Android 4. The port includes Chrome's advanced HTML rendering engine and many of the browser's popular features.
The Chrome beta is designed to run on both phones and tablets. The tablet version of the user interface is nearly a perfect match of Chrome on the desktop, including the distinctive slanted tab design. The phone version has a more compressed interface, suitable for smaller screens, and includes the standard Chrome features such as the Omnibar and application shortcut pane.
The gap between Chrome and the native Android Web browser has long been a source of confusion for users and pundits. Although both browsers are based on WebKit and use some of the same underlying components, such as the Skia vector graphics framework, they are separate implementations and originally had little else in common.
In fact, the Android Web browser didn't even use Google's unique V8 JavaScript runtime until the release of Android 2.2 in 2010. Prior to that, it used Apple's SquirrelFish engine, presumably because V8's ARM JIT (just in time) backend wasn't good enough yet. The Android Web browser also has relatively poor support for the latest Web standards compared to Chrome.
As we have pointed out in our reviews of the Android operating system, the platform's default browser tends to have difficulty handling the most intensive application-like Web experiences. Google announced last year that it would try to close the gap between the Android browser and Chrome, with the aim of eventually converging them around a shared code base. The release of Chrome on Android appears to be the fruit of that labor.
In a video posted this morning on the official Chromium blog, Google's engineers offered some technical insight into the port and what it has to offer on Android. They said that the new software has the same multiprocess architecture that Chrome uses on the desktop. It also offers support for modern Web features such as WebSockets, IndexedDB, and Web Workers.
Chrome scores 343 at The default browser only scores 256.
Chrome scores 343 at The default browser only scores 256.
Other features that will appeal to Web developers include hardware-accelerated rendering for the HTML5 Canvas element and a built-in remote debugging tool that works over USB. The latter will allow developers to attach the WebKit Inspector in a desktop version of Chrome to an instance of Chrome running on a device.
The Chrome port, which can be downloaded from the Android Market on Android 4 devices, currently installs side-by-side with the default Android browser. Users can make it the default handler for URLs, but it doesn't replace the standard browser.
That also means that the advanced features in the HTML rendering engine won't be available to third-party applications that integrate an embedded WebView control. (It's possible that Chrome will be fully integrated in future versions of the Android operating system.)
The availability of Chrome for Android is a big step forward for Web browsing on mobile devices powered by Google's operating system. It should deliver a significantly better user experience on the Web and make Android a better environment for running next-generation mobile Web applications.

Android Users Get 50GB Free Storage Thanks to Box

Android users now have another reason to rejoice as cloud storage service, Box, is giving Android users a treat by offering 50GB free storage.
The offer is valid until 23rd March, and provides you with 50GB of free cloud storage with no strings attached. And there's more good news; Box will increase your file size limit from 25MB to 100MB if you sign up before the 23rd.
And while the app requests for permission to read contact data, Box developers have clarified that it's because contact data is required to access a new feature, which allows for invited friends to share, update and comment on all files in the folder that they have been given access to.
So if all this sounds good to you, head over to the Android Market to download the app.
Source: Android Market