Friday, February 29, 2008

India in the eyes of a Pakistani Journalist

This is written by a Pakistani journalist called Dr Farrukh Saleem on 12/9/2007. He is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist.

It was an eye-opener and made a wonderful read. I have just re-produced the article on an 'as-is' basis, hence no offense intended to anyone.

The two Ambani brothers can buy 100 percent of every company listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) and would still be left with $30 billion to spare. The four richest Indians can buy up all goods and services produced over a year by 169 million Pakistanis and still be left with $60 billion to spare. The four richest Indians are now richer than the forty richest Chinese.

In November, Bombay Stock Exchange's benchmark Sensex flirted with 20,000 points. As a consequence, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries became a $100 billion company (the entire KSE is capitalized at $65 billion). Mukesh owns 48 percent of Reliance.

In November, comes Neeta's birthday. Neeta turned forty-four three weeks ago. Look what she got from her husband as her birthday present: A sixty-million dollar jet with a custom fitted master bedroom, bathroom with mood lighting, a sky bar, entertainment cabins, satellite television, wireless communication and a separate cabin with game
consoles. Neeta is Mukesh Ambani's wife, and Mukesh is not India's richest but the second richest.

Mukesh is now building his new home, Residence Antillia (after a mythical, phantom island somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean). At a cost of $1 billion this would be the most expensive home on the face of the planet. At 173 meters tall Mukesh's new family residence, for a family of six, will be the equivalent of a 60-storeyed building. The first six floors are reserved for parking. The seventh floor is for car servicing and maintenance. The eighth floor houses a mini-theatre. Then there's a health club, a gym and a swimming pool. Two floors are reserved for Ambani family's guests. Four floors above the guest floors are family floors all with a superb view of the Arabian Sea. On top of everything are three helipads. A staff of 600 is expected to care for the family and their family home.

In 2004, India became the 3rd most attractive foreign direct investment destination. Pakistan wasn't even in the top 25 countries. In 2004, the United Nations, the representative body of 192 sovereign member states, had requested the Election Commission of India to assist the UN in the holding elections in Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah and Dowlat-e Eslami-ye Afghanestan. Why the Election Commission of India and not the Election Commission of Pakistan? After all, Islamabad is closer to Kabul than is Delhi.

Imagine, 12 percent of all American scientists are of Indian origin; 38 percent of doctors in America are Indian; 36 percent of NASA scientists are Indians; 34 percent of Microsoft employees are Indians; and 28 percent of IBM employees are Indians.

For the record: Sabeer Bhatia created and founded Hotmail. Sun Microsystems was founded by Vinod Khosla. The Intel Pentium processor, that runs 90 percent of all computers, was fathered by Vinod Dham. Rajiv Gupta co-invented Hewlett Packard's E-speak project. Four out of ten Silicon Valley start-ups are run by Indians. Bollywood produces 800 movies per year and six Indian ladies have won Miss Universe/Miss World titles over the past 10 years.

For the record: Azim Premji, the richest Muslim entrepreneur on the face of the planet, was born in Bombay and now lives in Bangalore. India now has more than three dozen billionaires; Pakistan has none (not a single dollar billionaire) .

The other amazing aspect is the rapid pace at which India is creating wealth. In 2002, Dhirubhai Ambani, Mukesh and Anil Ambani's father, left his two sons a fortune worth $2.8 billion. In 2007, their combined wealth stood at $94 billion. On 29 October 2007, as a result of the stock market rally and the appreciation of the Indian rupee, Mukesh
became the richest person in the world, with net worth climbing to US$63.2 billion (Bill Gates, the richest American, stands at around $56 billion).

Indians and Pakistanis have the same Y-chromosome haplogroup. We have the same genetic sequence and the same genetic marker (namely: M124). We have the same DNA molecule, the same DNA sequence. Our culture, our traditions and our cuisine are all the same. We watch the same movies and sing the same songs. What is it that Indians have and we don't?

He concludes the article by saying these words - INDIANS ELECT THEIR LEADERS.

Oral sex related cancer becoming more common: Study

The cases of oral cancer caused by a virus transmitted during oral sex appear to have increased drastically over the last 30 years, according to a study by US researchers.

The team led by Maura Gillison at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, US, studied trends in oral cancers recorded by US National Cancer Institute registries, and suggested that this increasing trend can be related to changes in people's sexual behaviour.

The team said that the incidence of tongue, mouth and throat cancers due to the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which can also cause cervical cancer in women, increased by about a third from 1973 to 2004.

After looking at nearly 46,000 cases, the team identified 17,625 cancer that were potentially related to HPV and 28,144 that were potentially unrelated, based on factors such as anatomical sites strongly associated with HPV, including the tonsils and base of the tongue.

"What we do know is that the prevalence of HPV is high, particularly among young people and this shouldn't be a surprise given that, since the sexual revolution, people have been having more sexual partners," New Scientist magazine quoted Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, as saying.

The increase was largest among young white males, signifying that this group is more likely to have oral sex at a younger age now than it was 20 years ago, explained Gillison's team.

Gillison called for a need to consider giving boys the HPV vaccine, to protect them from the disease.

A Merck vaccine is presently licensed for use in young women and girls to protect them against the most common cervical cancer-causing strains of HPV.

"We need to start having a discussion about those cancers other than cervical cancer that may be affected in a positive way by the vaccine," Gillison said.

The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

sex practices around the world

Do you ask yourself how long foreplay lasts in Japan? And why the rear is the most desired part of the body in Brazil?What would you see if you looked through the bedroom window in some countries?
The Japanese – born to have sex
The Japanese aren’t known only for their photo-cameras, but also for their penchant for sex. A Japanese citizen has sex with approx. 12.7 people in his/her life. They give their body and soul to foreplay, which lasts approx. 19.5 minutes. 33% Japanese have at least one sexual toy hidden under their beds, 49% watch porn movies with their partner.
If you’ve been to Japan, you’ve probably noticed how shyly they look, but looks can be deceiving. You’d be surprised, if you knew how easily Japanese women talk about sex. Even female magazines advertise the increase in female libido. The female magazine with most revenue in the Japanese market always has a sexual toy as a gift and comics for adults. All evening papers have a column with an erotic story, which is very well read. The most common character in such stories is a weak widow, getting help from workers, neighbors, etc.

China – sexual revolution
You though the Japanese are stallions?! Believe me, they are nothing compared to the Chinese. They are bored with everyday routine, so they usually have sex with approx. 19.3 people in their lives. To not let passion cool too quickly, they give their best Chinese precision to foreplay, which usually lasts 20.1 minutes. Because they’re very confident and know what they’re good at, only 10% of them use sexual toys. But they do like to watch erotic movies. 24% admitted to watching porn several times a week.
The sexual revolution has finally reached Beijing. The Chinese have sex all over, but only a few have heard of condoms. Many of them, especially prostitutes, live in an illusion. The Chinese “women of the night” offer their customers disinfecting tissues instead of condoms.

Brazil – land of love
Even though Brazil is a very religious country, there’s at least one cross in every room, 21% of people, beside going to the church, also visit shops with piquant accessories. They use them to liven up the 19.6 minutes long foreplay. In their diverse and rhythmical life they have sex with 15.2 people. Besides visiting festivals they also follow the antics on movie screens. 50% absolutely adore thrillers filled with eroticism and porn movies.
Dear ladies, if you wish to win a Brazilian’s heart, quit your diet immediately. These hot-blooded men adore a nice, round and full rear end. Virginity until marriage is very appreciated in this country, so the Brazilians satisfy themselves orally and anally. No wonder, then, that the bottom is the most esteemed part of the body…

South African republic – I Tarzan, you Jane

The South-Africans would be constantly in court for sexual harassment. What is totally acceptable in their country is somewhere else illegal. Open wishes and asking for sex, even ordering, are part of the every day life in South Africa. If you visit, they will ask you and force you to have sex in a very aggressive manner. The statistics show that every third woman in this country is the victim of rape. Another horrendous fact is, that most people don’t use protection, which shows in a high rate of HIV infection.
  1. average number of sexual partners – 11.9
  2. length of foreplay – 19.9 minutes
  3. % of population that uses sexual toys – 37
  4. % of population that regularly watches porn movies – 60
USA – no sex, we’re Americans
Land of the free and home of the brave is turning into a land of puritans. Sexual liberation is slowly regressing, which most pleases President George Bush. He gave 700 thousand dollars to the organization Silver Ring Thing for their anti-sex-before-marriage campaign. In this manner they’re trying to present the advantage of virginity and monogamy to the American youth. Maybe that’s not a smart move, Georgie boy, ‘cause the data shows that the ones who wait until wedlock to have sex, live in even more debauchery and danger than ‘the sinners’. They don’t practice ‘normal’ sex, but you’ve forgotten oral and anal sex, which can also be dangerous.
Anyway, the Americans entertain 10.3 partners in the beds, their foreplays last 19.7 minutes, 46% hide a sexual toy in their drawer and 56% regularly watch porn movies.

Iceland – Bangkok of the North

The women of Island fare very well, since there are more men than women up there. According to their statistics, the puberty in this cold country begins very early. The average age in which teenagers start loosing their virginity is 15 years (the world average is 17.7).
If you ever travel to this country, you have to visit the national museum in their capital city. There you’ll be able to see a nice collection of dried penises and penises in formaldehyde. Glance along the walls, where you’ll see trophies of the biggest penises in the world (animal, of course).

Some statistics:
  1. average number of sexual partners – 12.4
  2. length of foreplay – 19.8 minutes
  3. % of population that uses sexual toys – 56
  4. % of population that regularly watches porn movies – 55
France – Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?!
  1. average number of sexual partners – 8.1
  2. length of foreplay – 19.2 minutes
  3. % of population that uses sexual toys – 22
  4. % of population that regularly watches porn movies – 22
Ah, France. The country of great lovers… The French are known for their easy life – sex one, too. First un caffé, and then en peu d’amour. In France all women are beautiful and every place is good to have sex. Swinger life and nudism are very well spread.
So, where are you going on vacation this summer?

Indian Budget 2008: Impact on you

Unsure about how the budget would impact your life? Read to find out what the finance minister had in store for you.

Here are the major highlights of Union Budget 2008 that would impact your life directly:

--Income Tax: Threshold limit of exemption increased from Rs 1,10,000 to Rs 1,50,000
-Threshold tax exemption for women increased to Rs 1.8 lakh
- New tax slabs: 10% for 1,50,000 to 3,00,000; 20% for 3,00,000 to 5,00,000; and 30% above 5,00,000.
- Sixth Pay Commission report by March 2008
-Small cars to cost less by Rs 10,000 to 15,000
-Two wheelers to cost less, excise duty reduced by 10%
-Requirement of PAN extended to all financial transactions
-PAN to be sole identification in securities market
-3 IITs to be set up in Bihar, AP, Rajasthan
- Set-top boxes to become cheaper
-Duty reduced on life saving drugs; exempt from excise
-Anti-Aids drug exempted from excise duty
-Excise on packaged softwares to lower from 8% to 12%
--Duty on non-filter cigarettes to be raised
-Excise duty slashed to 8% on water purification items
-Duty withdrawn on naptha for production of polymers
-Refigeration components to become cheaper
-Improved infrastructure for Sainik schools
-Debt waiver scheme for farmers announced
-Loan waiver amounts to 4% of total bank loans
-Farmers eligible for fresh agri loans post the waiver or one time settlement
-Rs 340 cr insurance scheme to cover 17 lakh farmers and weavers
-300 more ITIs to be upgraded with an investment of Rs 750 cr
-LIC to cover all woman SHGs linked to the bank
-Schemes for women to get Rs 1,460 crore this fiscal
-Child-related schemes to get Rs 33,434 crore
-Jawaharlal Navoday Vidyalaya to be set in 20 new districts for SC/STs
-16 new Central Universities to be built
-NE region to get Rs 1,455 cr as budgetary support
-NREGS to be extended to 596 rural districts at an outlay of Rs 16,000cr
-Science scholarships for young learners
-About 6,000 high quality schools to be built by 2009
-Rs 200 cr for providing potable water system in each school in areas of water scarce regions
-Education & health to get 20% more from Rs 28,674 cr to Rs 34,4000 cr
-Agri credit doubled in first two years
-Keeping inflation under check to be on focus
-Women entitled to equal share and equal say
--Pilot plan to use smart cards for food grain distribution in Haryana, Chandigarh

Income Tax exemption limit hiked to Rs 1,50,000

In a major bonanza to the salaried class, the government on Friday proposed to increase the income tax exemption limits from Rs 1.10 lakh to Rs 1.50 lakh, in addition to restructuring the tax slabs.

The proposals may result in a benefit of over Rs 50,000 to a taxpayer having an income of Rs 5 lakh annually.

The minimum benefit to a person with an annual income of Rs 1.5 lakh at the threshold will be around Rs 4,000, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said, while presenting the Budget 2008-09 in Lok Sabha.

According to the proposed slabs, income between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh will be taxed at 10 per cent, between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh at 20 per cent, while for Rs 5 lakh and above the rate would be 30 per cent in addition to 3 per cent education cess.

The tax exemption limit for women assessees has been raised from Rs 1.45 lakh to Rs 1.80 lakh, while in case of senior citizens it has been increased from Rs 1.95 lakh to Rs 2.25 lakh.

Chidambaram also introduced an additional deduction of Rs 15,000 for taxpayers towards payment of medical insurance for parents. This would be in addition to the Rs 1 lakh limit for savings under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Do you make these 10 mistakes in a conversation?

Can you improve your conversation skills? Certainly.

It might take a while to change the conversation habits that’s been ingrained throughout your life, but it is very possible.

To not make this article longer than necessary let’s just skip right to some common mistakes many of us have made in conversations. And a couple of solutions.

Not listening

Ernest Hemingway once said:

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Don’t be like most people. Don’t just wait eagerly for your turn to talk. Put your own ego on hold. Learn to really listen to what people actually are saying.

When you start to really listen, you’ll pick up on loads of potential paths in the conversation. But avoid yes or no type of questions as they will not give you much information. If someone mentions that they went fishing with a couple of friends last weekend you can for instance ask:

  • Where did you go fishing?
  • What do you like most about fishing?
  • What did you do there besides fishing?

The person will delve deeper into the subject giving you more information to work with and more paths for you choose from.

If they say something like: “Oh, I don’t know” at first, don’t give up. Prod a little further. Ask again. They do know, they just have to think about a bit more. And as they start to open up the conversation becomes more interesting because it’s not on auto-pilot anymore.

Asking too many questions
If you ask too many questions the conversation can feel like a bit of an interrogation. Or like you don’t have that much too contribute. One alternative is to mix questions with statements. Continuing the conversation above you could skip the question and say:

  • Yeah, it’s great to just get out with your friends and relax over the weekend. We like to take a six-pack out to the park and play some Frisbee golf.
  • Nice. We went out in my friend’s boat last month and I tried these new lures from Sakamura. The blue ones were really great.

And then the conversation can flow on from there. And you can discuss Frisbee golf, the advantages/disadvantages of different lures or your favourite beer.

Tightening up
When in conversation with someone you just meet or when the usual few topics are exhausted an awkward silence or mood might appear. Or you might just become nervous not knowing exactly why.

  • Leil Lowndes once said: “Never leave home without reading the newspaper.” If you’re running out of things to say, you can always start talking about the current news. It’s also good to stay updated on current water cooler-topics. Like what happened on the latest episode of Lost.
  • Comment on the aquarium at the party, or that one girl’s cool Halloween-costume or the host’s mp3-playlist. You can always start new conversations about something in your surroundings.
  • Assume rapport. If you feel nervous or weird when meeting someone for the first time assume rapport. What that means is that you imagine how you feel when you meet one of your best friends. And pretend that this new acquaintance is one of your best friends. Don’t overdo it though, you might not want to hug and kiss right away. But if you imagine this you’ll go into a positive emotional state. And you’ll greet and start talking to this new person with a smile and a friendly and relaxed attitude. Because that’s how you talk to your friends. It might sound a bit loopy or too simple. But it really works.

Poor delivery
One of the most important things in a conversation is not what you say, but how you say it. A change in these habits can make a big difference since your voice and body language is a vital part of communication. Some things to think about:

  • Slowing down. When you get excited about something it’s easy to start talking faster and faster. Try and slow down. It will make it much easier for people to listen and for you actually get what you are saying across to them.
  • Speaking up. Don’t be afraid to talk as loud as you need to for people to hear you.
  • Speaking clearly. Don’t mumble.
  • Speak with emotion. No one listens for that long if you speak with a monotone voice. Let your feelings be reflected in your voice.
  • Using pauses. Slowing down your talking plus adding a small pause between thoughts or sentences creates a bit of tension and anticipation. People will start to listen more attentively to what you’re saying.
  • Learn a bit about improving your body language as it can make your delivery a lot more effective.

Hogging the spot-light
I’ve been guilty of this one on more occasions than I wish to remember. :) Everyone involved in a conversation should get their time in the spotlight. Don’t interrupt someone when they are telling some anecdote or their view on what you are discussing to divert the attention back to yourself. Don’t hijack their story about skiing before it’s finished to share your best skiing-anecdote. Find a balance between listening and talking.

Having to be right
Avoid arguing and having to being right about every topic. Often a conversation is not really a discussion. It’s a more of a way to keep a good mood going. No one will be that impressed if you “win” every conversation. Instead just sit back, relax and help keep the good feelings going.

Talking about a weird or negative topic
If you’re at a party or somewhere were you are just getting to know some people you might want to avoid some topics. Talking about your bad health or relationships, your crappy job or boss, serial killers, technical lingo that only you and some other guy understands or anything that sucks the positive energy out of the conversation are topics to steer clear from. You might also want to save religion and politics for conversations with your friends.

Being boring
Don’t prattle on about your new car for 10 minutes oblivious to your surroundings. Always be prepared to drop a subject when you start to bore people. Or when everyone is getting bored and the topic is starting to run out of steam.

One good way to have something interesting to say is simply to lead an interesting life. And to focus on the positive stuff. Don’t start to whine about your boss or your job, people don’t want to hear that. Instead, talk about your last trip somewhere, some funny anecdote that happened while you where buying clothes, your plans for New Years Eve or something funny or exciting.

Another way is just to be genuinely interested. As Dale Carnegie said:

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Which is just another way of saying that the way to make a friend is to be one.”

Knowing a little about many things or at least being open to talk about them instead of trying to steer the conversation back to your favourite subject is a nice quality.

Meaning: talking for what seems like hours about one topic. Topics may include work, favourite rock-band, TV-show and more work.

Opening up a bit and not clinging desperately to one topic will make the conversation feel more relaxed and open. You will come across like a person who can talk about many things with ease. As you’ve probably experienced with other people; this quality is something you appreciate in a conversation and makes you feel like you can connect to that person easily.

Not reciprocating
Open up and say what you think, share how you feel. If someone shares an experience, open up too and share one of your experiences. Don’t just stand there nodding and answer with short sentences. If someone is investing in the conversation they’d like you to invest too.

Like in so many areas in life, you can’t always wait for the other party to make the first move. When needed, be proactive and be the first one to open up and invest in the conversation. One way is by replacing some questions with statements. It makes you less passive and makes take a sort of stand.

Not contributing much
You might feel that you don’t have much to contribute to a conversation. But try anyway. Really listen and be interested in what the others are saying. Ask questions. Make relating statements.

Open your eyes too. Develop your observational skills to pick up interesting stuff in your surroundings to talk about. Develop your personal knowledge-bank by expanding your view of interesting things in the world. Read the newspapers and keep an eye on new water cooler-topics.

Work on your body language, how you talk and try assuming rapport to improve your communication skills.

But take it easy. Don’t do it all at once. You’ll just feel confused and overwhelmed. Instead, pick out the three most important things that you feel needs improving. Work on them every day for 3-4 weeks. Notice the difference and keep at it. Soon your new habits will start to pop up spontaneously when you are in a conversation.

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9 Signs You Shouldn't Hire that Web Guy

9 signs you shouldn't hire THAT web guy.

1. He Calls Himself a "Webmaster"

Any web guy that calls himself a "webmaster" probably isn't a master of anything. The term "webmaster" has become a translation for the word "amateur." The web has diversified into so many different realms that webmaster is no longer meaningful (was it ever though?)

2. He's a FrontPage Expert

Any developer / designer with a degree knows that Microsoft FrontPage most definitely isn't a professional tool. FrontPage will pass for Mom and Dad who want to create a website dedicated to their dogs, not someone who's trying to do business. I'd argue that a solid Web Developer should work at code level.

3. He'll Submit Your Website to [Inflated Number Here] Search Engines

Submitting your website to hundreds of search engines would be great…10 years ago. Websites are indexed by relevant search engines by how rich their content and keywords are. Search engine optimization is big business and submitting sites to search engines simply isn't the way to get to the top of Google.

4. He Wants a "Designed By …." Plug on the Bottom of Every Page

You've paid this person to create a marketing tool for you — not a billboard for him. Your website is a launch pad for your business and Poindexter McScooner is simply the man behind the curtain — keep him there.

5. He Created a Cool Website for [Insert Family Member / Friend Here]

Your business needs someone who's been there before. The most common answer to my "Who was he and what business did they work for?" question is "Oh, he did a website for the CEO's daughter's [insert lame organization here]." I honestly hear that friend-of-a-friend story all the time. Choose someone with a sizable portfolio that can provide references.

6. He Can Make You a Great Splash Page Flash Animation

Translation: "I can spend dozens of hours wasting your money to create something that will take too long to load and will be skipped more times than dessert at a bad restaurant." Consistency and website flow are important to web design — not meaningless animations that waste visitors' time and your money.

7. He Mentions He's HTML Expert

Who the hell isn't? I would argue that dropping any language acronym on a customer (PHP, Ruby on Rails, ColdFusion, etc.) unless they ask is meaningless fluff. A mechanic could use a banana on my car if it would fix it. Keep your tools, especially HTML, to yourself — the customer doesn't care.

8. He'll Fit a Cool Counter on Your Site

You'll add an ugly relic of the early internet on my site so that my competitors have an idea of my web stats? Sweet! Counters make a website look as unprofessional as possible — don't use them.

9. He'll Place a "Best If View in…" Message on Your Website

Any real Web Developer knows that he doesn't make the rules. Follow standards in the initial build and then fix it in Internet Explorer — that's the flow. No responsible programmer would place a "best if view in…" message on the front-end of a website.

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What is Existential Depression?

When people talk about depression, sometimes they refer to different types based upon what they think may have caused their depression. One such possible cause is existential in nature, that is, a person ends up questioning his or her life, death or meaning of life, and by doing so, lapses into depression.

According to existentialism, a specific type of philosophy, humans are driven to meaning in their lives not by a specific type of deity or god, or by an outside authority, but internally, through our own choices, desires and pursuits. Humans are entirely free, and, therefore, entirely responsible for their own happiness or misery. It is up to each one of us to create the meaning which drives our life, whether it be through work, hobbies, charity, religion, relationships, offspring, family, or something else.

Existential depression may occur when a person comes face to face with these kinds of issues of life, death, freedom and the meaning of their life. For instance, a person with existential depression might ask themselves, “What is the meaning of my life? Is it only to work 9 to 5, have a family, and then die? Will I ever find someone who truly understands and believes in me no matter what? Does god care about me? Does anyone else truly care about me?” Existential depression may be characterized by a unique sense of hopelessness in feeling that our lives may actually be meaningless.

People who experience normal clinical depression may also experience existential issues related to the meaning of their life in the course of psychotherapy to treat the depression. This is a normal component of treatment of depression, and many clinicians will often work with the person to help them explore the meaning of their life if this happens.

Finding one’s meaning or passion in life is something that many people consider important, and an episode of existential depression can help focus a person’s need to find an answer to that question. Existential depression is usually treated not with any type of prescription medication, but rather psychotherapy focused on helping the person explore the meaning of their life.

Existential depression may be caused by a specific event in the person’s life (e.g., loss of a job or a loved one), or nothing at all. Existential depression has not been widely researched and no specific therapeutic approaches have been shown to work better than others in its treatment.

Over half of India will live in urban areas by 2050

Over 55 percent of Indians will live in urban areas by 2050, a big change from now when only about 30 percent of the country's population is urban, according to projections in a United Nations report.

In terms of numbers, over 900 million people in India will be living in urban centres in another 40 years, three times the over-300 million urban-dwellers today.

However, India will still not be as urbanised as China where the number of people living in cities will go up to 70 percent from the current 40 percent.

India will remain the country with the largest rural population during most of the future decades, according to the 2007 Revision of World Urbanisation Prospects released by the UN Tuesday.

By 2025, Chennai will be another mega city of over 10 million people, besides Mumbai with 26.4 million (up from 18 million in 2005), Delhi at 22.5 million (up from 16 million) and Kolkata with 20.5 million residents (up from 14 million).

The population growth in many second tier cities will even be higher. In Ahmedabad by 2025, the population will grow to 7.7 million, up 50 percent from the current 5.1 million. In Pune, 6.8 million people will live by then, a growth of 60 percent from the current 4.4 million.

Migration from rural to urban areas would continue despite attempts by the country's planners to prevent people from moving to cities, said Hania Zlotnik, director of Department of Economic and Social Affairs' Population Division, while releasing the report in New York.

Zlotnik said Indian planners should try to promote economic development in rural areas. But improving agriculture and establishment of agro-industries would mean fewer people would be needed in that sector, pushing excess labour to the non-farm sector in the cities.

She outlined two scenarios - either people would migrate to cities such as Mumbai, or one-time rural areas would transition into urban centres by generating other activities as has been happening in China.

The annual population growth in India's rural areas has been declining since reaching a peak of 1.9 percent during 1980-85. It will record negative growth by 2025. In comparison, the urban growth rate reached a peak of 3.9 percent during 1975-80 and has been declining since, yet will remain above two percent till 2040.

Projecting for the world, the UN report said half the global population would live in cities by the end of this year, for the first time in human history. Their number would rise to 70 percent by 2050, most of that growth being concentrated in Asia and Africa. The number of mega cities is expected to double from the current 20 to 40 by year 2025.

The greatest expansion, however, would happen not in metropolises but in cities with populations of less than 500,000 and even some of the rural areas will graduate into urban areas.

The report notes that its projections will be realised only if fertility rates in the developing world continue to decline.

Economic Survey of India : Highlights

Economy slows down to 8.7% in 2007-08

Inflation projected at 4.4 pc in 2007-08

3 manufacturing sector to grow at 9.4 pc in current financial year, lower from 12 pc in 2006-07

Lower agriculture growth at 2.6 pc in 2007-08 from 3.8 pc in 2006-07

Government sets target of 9 pc GDP growth during 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012)

Maintaining 9% rate challenging

Double-digit growth tougher still

Deceleration this year was expected

Fundamentals "inspire confidence"

Investment climate "full of optimism"

But labour force growing faster than employment growth

Unemployment rate higher by 1pc in five years to 2005

Subsidies to increase by Rs 6,550 cr over Budget Estimate

Budget estimate for subsidies was Rs 51,247 cr

Glosses over off-Budget subsidies

Inflation seen at 4.1 pc this year

Inflation lower than 5.6 pc last year

Inflation mainly led by primary non-food items

Fuel and power group prime contributors to inflation

Investment goods inflation declines to 4.3 pc

Positive for investment

Farm growth seen at 2.6%, against 3.8% a year ago

Foodgrain output seen at 219.3 MT against 217.3 MT in FY'07

Acceleration in domestic investment, savings drove growth

Macroeconomic fundamentals continue to inspire confidence

Industrial growth slower at 9 pc in first 9 months of FY'08

Costly rupee, sluggish consumer goods and infra a concern

Rupee rose by 8.9 pc against USD during current fiscal

Average credit growth slowed to 26.8% in FY'07, down in '08

Forex reserves up by $91.6 bn to $290.8 bn on Feb 8, 2008

GDP projected at Rs 46,93,602 cr (mkt price) in 2007-08

Inflation reined despite higher commodity prices %26 surge in

capital inflows

Cumulative increase in non-food credit by Jan 4, 2008 was 11.8 pc as against 17.5 pc a year ago

Capital inflows rise to 7.7 pc of GDP in first half of FY'08 as against 5.1% in FY'07

FDI inflows reach $11.2 bn, outward investments surge to $7.3 bn in April-September

Exports reach $111 bn in first 9 months of FY'08; imports grow 25.9 pc

Surge in capital inflows, including FDI, to continue in

medium term

Complete the process of selling 5-10% equity in previously identified profit making non-navratna PSUs

Phase out control on sugar, fertiliser, drugs

Sell old oil fields to private sector

Allow a share for foreign equity in all retail trade

Raise foreign equity in insurance to 49 pc

Allow 100 pc FDI in greenfield private agri-banks

State Electricity Regulatory Commissions should notify

rational, credible, cross subsidy to make open-access viable

Increase work week to 60 hours from 48 hours and daily limit

to 12 hours

Introduce new bankruptcy law that facilitates exit of old/

failed management as expeditiously as possible

Public sector Rail Track company to own new tracks and


Situation of excess inflows is likely to remain, though the

pressure on reserve accumulation and exchange rate

appreciation is likely to ease

Urgent need to place the highest priority on building roads

Urban land ceiling laws and limitations of rent control acts

needs to be urgently addressed

Irrigation a major constraint on raising crop productivity

Urgent need for a regime that supports predictable user

charges, a financial system that allocates risk efficiently,

and project selection based on sound commercial and legal

principles to ensure transparency

Import dependence to meet energy needs should be reduced by tapping coal reserves, accelerating exploration of oil and gas and fully exploiting the nuclear and hydro potential for

power generation

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

77 Brain Hacks to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Betterb

If someone granted you one wish, what do you imagine you would want out of life that you haven't gotten yet? For many people, it would be self-improvement and knowledge.

New knowledge is the backbone of society's progress. Great thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and others' quests for knowledge have led society to many of the marvels we enjoy today.

Your quest for knowledge doesn't have to be as Earth-changing as Einstein's, but it can be an important part of your life, leading to a new job, better pay, a new hobby, or simply knowledge for knowledge's sake — whatever is important to you as an end goal.

Life-changing knowledge does typically require advanced learning techniques. In fact, it's been said that the average adult only uses 10% of his/her brain. Imagine what we may be capable of with more advanced learning techniques.

Here are 77 tips related to knowledge and learning to help you on your quest. A few are specifically for students in traditional learning institutions; the rest for self-starters, or those learning on their own. Happy learning.


1. Shake a leg. Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you've been sitting in one place for awhile, bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall.

2. Food for thought: Eat breakfast. A lot of people skip breakfast, but creativity is often optimal in the early morning and it helps to have some protein in you to feed your brain. A lack of protein can actually cause headaches.

3. Food for thought, part 2: Eat a light lunch.
Heavy lunches have a tendency to make people drowsy. While you could turn this to your advantage by taking a "thinking nap" (see #23), most people haven't learned how.

4. Cognitive enhancers: Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that has been used in China and other countries for centuries and has been reputed to reverse memory loss in rats. It's also suggested by some health practitioners as a nootrope and thus a memory enhancer.

5. Reduce stress + depresssion. Stress and depression may reduce the ability to recall information and thus inhibit learning. Sometimes, all you need to reduce depression is more white light and fewer refined foods.


6. Sleep on it. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about in his book Psycho-Cybernetics about a man who was was paid good money to come up with ideas. He would lock his office door, close the blinds, turn off the lights. He'd focus on the problem at hand, then take a short nap on a couch. When he awoke, he usually had the problem solved.

7. Take a break. Change phyical or mental perspective to lighten the invisible stress that can sometimes occur when you sit in one place too long, focused on learning. Taking a 5-15 minute break every hour during study sessions is more beneficial than non-stop study. It gives your mind time to relax and absorb information. If you want to get really serious with breaks, try a 20 minute ultradian break as part of every 90 minute cycle. This includes a nap break, which is for a different purpose than #23.

8. Take a hike. Changing your perspective often relieves tension, thus freeing your creative mind. Taking a short walk around the neighborhood may help.

Perspective and Focus

9. Change your focus. Sometimes there simply isn't enough time to take a long break. If so, change subject focus. Alternate between technical and non-technical subjects.

10. Change your focus, part 2. There are three primary ways to learn: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. If one isn't working for you, try another.

11. Do walking meditation. If you're taking a hike (#25), go one step further and learn walking meditation as a way to tap into your inner resources and your strengthen your ability to focus. Just make sure you're not walking inadvertently into traffic.

12. Focus and immerse yourself. Focus on whatever you're studying. Don't try to watch TV at the same time or worry yourself about other things. Anxiety does not make for absorption of information and ideas.

13. Turn out the lights. This is a way to focus, if you are not into meditating. Sit in the dark, block out extraneous influences. This is ideal for learning kinesthetically, such as guitar chord changes.

14. Take a bath or shower. Both activities loosen you up, making your mind more receptive to recognizing brilliant ideas.

Recall Techniques

15. Listen to music. Researchers have long shown that certain types of music are a great "key" for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled simply by "playing" the songs mentally.

16. Speedread. Some people believe that speedreading causes you to miss vital information. The fact remains that efficient speedreading results in filtering out irrelevant information. If necessary, you can always read and re-read at slower speeds. Slow reading actually hinders the ability to absorb general ideas. (Although technical subjects often requirer slower reading.) If you're reading online, you can try the free Spreeder Web-based application.

17. Use acronyms and other mnemonic devices. Mnemonics are essentially tricks for remembering information. Some tricks are so effective that proper application will let you recall loads of mundane information years later.

Visual Aids

18. Every picture tells a story. Draw or sketch whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Having a concrete goal in mind helps you progress towards that goal.

19. Brainmap it. Need to plan something? Brain maps, or mind maps, offer a compact way to get both an overview of a project as well as easily add details. With mind maps, you can see the relationships between disparate ideas and they can also act as a receptacle for a brainstorming session.

20. Learn symbolism and semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. Having an understanding of the symbols of a particular discipline aids in learning, and also allows you to record information more efficiently.

21. Use information design. When you record information that has an inherent structure, applying information design helps convey that information more clearly. A great resource is Information Aesthetics, which gives examples of information design and links to their sources.

22. Use visual learning techniques. Try gliffy for structured diagrams. Also see for an explanation of webs, idea maps, concept maps, and plots.

23. Map your task flow.
Learning often requires gaining knowledge in a specific sequence. Organizing your thoughts on what needs to be done is a powerful way to prepare yourself to complete tasks or learn new topics.

Verbal and Auditory Techniques

24. Stimulate ideas. Play rhyming games, utter nonsense words. These loosen you up, making you more receptive to learning.

25. Brainstorm. This is a time-honored technique that combines verbal activity, writing, and collaboration. (One person can brainstorm, but it's more effective in a group.) It's fruitful if you remember some simple rules: Firstly, don't shut anyone's idea out. Secondly, don't "edit" in progress; just record all ideas first, then dissect them later. Participating in brainstorming helps assess what you already know about something, and what you didn't know.

26. Learn by osmosis. Got an iPod? Record a few of your own podcasts, upload them to your iPod and sleep on it. Literally. Put it under your pillow and playback language lessons or whatever.

27. Cognitive enhancers: binaural beats. Binaural beats involve playing two close frequencies simultaneously to produce alpha, beta, delta, and theta waves, all of which produce either sleeping, restfulness, relaxation, meditativeness, alertness, or concentration. Binaural beats are used in conjunction with other excercises for a type of super-learning.

28. Laugh. Laughing relaxes the body. A relaxed body is more receptive to new ideas.

Kinesthetic Techniques

29. Write, don't type. While typing your notes into the computer is great for posterity, writing by hand stimulates ideas. The simple act of holding and using a pen or pencil massages acupuncture points in the hand, which in turn stimulates ideas.

30. Carry a quality notebook at all times. Samuel Taylor Coleridge dreamed the words of the poem "In Xanadu (did Kubla Khan)...". Upon awakening, he wrote down what he could recall, but was distracted by a visitor and promptly forgot the rest of the poem. Forever. If you've been doing "walking meditation" or any kind of meditation or productive napping, ideas may suddenly come to you. Record them immediately.

31. Keep a journal. This isn't exactly the same as a notebook. Journaling has to do with tracking experiences over time. If you add in visual details, charts, brainmaps, etc., you have a much more creative way to keep tabs on what you are learning.

32. Organize. Use sticky colored tabs to divide up a notebook or journal. They are a great way to partition ideas for easy referral.

33. Use post-it notes. Post-it notes provide a helpful way to record your thoughts about passages in books without defacing them with ink or pencil marks.

Self-Motivation Techniques

34. Give yourself credit. Ideas are actually a dime a dozen. If you learn to focus your mind on what results you want to achieve, you'll recognize the good ideas. Your mind will become a filter for them, which will motivate you to learn more.

35. Motivate yourself. Why do you want to learn something? What do want to achieve through learning? If you don't know why you want to learn, then distractions will be far more enticing.

36. Set a goal. W. Clement Stone once said "Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve." It's an amazing phenomenon in goal achievement. Prepare yourself by whatever means necessary, and hurdles will seem surmountable. Anyone who has experienced this phenomenon understands its validity. [Related Article: How to Write Your Goals]

37. Think positive. There's no point in setting learning goals for yourself if you don't have any faith in your ability to learn.

38. Organize, part 2. Learning is only one facet of the average adult's daily life. You need to organize your time and tasks else you might find it difficult to fit time in for learning. Try Neptune for a browser-based application for "getting things done."

39. Every skill is learned. With the exception of bodily functions, every skill in life is learned. Generally speaking, if one person can learn something, so can you. It may take you more effort, but if you've set a believable goal, it's likely an achievable goal.

40. Prepare yourself for learning. Thinking positive isn't sufficient for successfully achieving goals. This is especially important if you are an adult, as you'll probably have many distractions surrounding your daily life. Implement ways to reduce distractions, at least for a few hours at a time, else learning will become a frustrating experience.

41. Prepare yourself, part 2. Human nature is such that not everyone in your life will be a well-wisher in your self-improvement and learning plans. They may intentionally or subconsciously distract you from your goal. If you have classes to attend after work, make sure that work colleagues know this, that you are unable to work late. Diplomacy works best if you think your boss is intentionally giving you work on the days he/she knows you have to leave. Reschedule lectures to a later time slot if possible/ necessary.

42. Constrain yourself. Most people need structure in their lives. Freedom is sometimes a scary thing. It's like chaos. But even chaos has order within. By constraining yourself — say giving yourself deadlines, limiting your time on an idea in some manner, or limiting the tools you are working with — you can often accomplish more in less time.

Supplemental Techniques

43. Read as much as you can. How much more obvious can it get? Use Spreeder (#33) if you have to. Get a breadth of topics as well as depth.

44. Cross-pollinate your interests. Neurons that connect to existing neurons give you new perspectives and abilities to use additional knowledge in new ways.

45. Learn another language. New perspectives give you the ability to cross-pollinate cultural concepts and come up with new ideas. As well, sometimes reading a book in its original language will provide you with insights lost in translation.

46. Learn how to learn. Management Help has a resource page, as does SIAST (Virtual Campus), which links to articles about learning methods. They are geared towards online learning, but no doubt you gain something from them for any type of learning. If you are serious about optimum learning, read Headrush's Crash course in learning theory.

47. Learn what you know and what you don't. Many people might say, "I'm dumb," or "I don't know anything about that." The fact is, many people are wholly unaware of what they already know about a topic. If you want to learn about a topic, you need to determine what you already know, figure out what you don't know, and then learn the latter.

48. Multi-task through background processes. Effective multi-tasking allows you to bootstrap limited time to accomplish several tasks. Learning can be bootstrapped through multi-tasking, too. By effective multitasking, I don't mean doing two or more things at exactly the same time. It's not possible. However, you can achieve the semblance of effective multitasking with the right approach, and by prepping your mind for it. For example, a successful freelance writer learns to manage several articles at the same time. Research the first essay, and then let the background processes of your mind takeover. Move on consciously to the second essay. While researching the second essay, the first one will often "write itself." Be prepared to record it when it "appears" to you.

49. Think holistically. Holistic thinking might be the single most "advanced" learning technique that would help students. But it's a mindset rather than a single technique.

50. Use the right type of repetition. Complex concepts often require revisting in order to be fully absorbed. Sometimes, for some people, it may actually take months or years. Repetition of concepts and theory with various concrete examples improves absorption and speeds up learning.

51. Apply the Quantum Learning (QL) model. The Quantum Learning model is being applied in some US schools and goes beyond typical education methods to engage students.

52. Get necessary tools. There are obviously all kinds of tools for learning. If you are learning online like a growing number of people these days, then consider your online tools. One of the best tools for online research is the Firefox web browser, which has loads of extensions (add-ons) with all manner of useful features. One is Googlepedia, which simultaneously displays Google search engine listings, when you search for a term, with related entries from Wikipedia.

53. Get necessary tools, part 2. This is a very niche tip, but if you want to learn fast-track methods for building software, read Getting Real from 37 Signals. The Web page version is free. The techniques in the book have been used to create Basecamp, Campfire, and Backpack web applications in a short time frame. Each of these applications support collaboration and organization.

54. Learn critical thinking. As Keegan-Michael Key's character on MadTV might say, critical thinking takes analysis to "a whole notha level". Read Wikipedia's discourse on critical thinking as a starting point. It involves good analytical skills to aid the ability to learn selectively.

55. Learn complex problem solving. For most people, life is a series of problems to be solved. Learning is part of the process. If you have a complex problem, you need to learn the art of complex problem solving.

For Teachers, Tutors, and Parents

56. Be engaging. Lectures are one-sided and often counter-productive. Information merely heard or witnessed (from a chalkboard for instance) is often forgotten. Teaching is not simply talking. Talking isn't enough. Ask students questions, present scenarios, engage them.

57. Use information pyramids. Learning happens in layers. Build base knowledge upon which you can add advanced concepts.

58. Use video games.
Video games get a bad rap because of certain violent games. But video games in general can often be an effective aid to learning.

59. Role play. Younger people often learn better by being part of a learning experience. For example, history is easier to absorb through reenactments.

60. Apply the 80/20 rule. This rule is often interpreted in dfferent ways. In this case, the 80/20 rule means that some concepts, say about 20% of a curriculum, require more effort and time, say about 80%, than others. So be prepared to expand on complex topics.

61. Tell stories. Venus Flytrap, a character from the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, once taught a student gang member about atoms, electrons, and protons by saying that an atom was one big neighborhood, and the protons and neutrons had their own smaller neighborhoods and never mixed. Just like rival gangs. The story worked, and understanding sparked in the students eyes.

62. Go beyond the public school curriculum. The public school system is woefully lacking in teaching advanced learning and brainstorming methods. It's not that the methods cannot be taught; they just aren't. To learn more, you have to pay a premium in additional time and effort, and sometimes money for commercially available learning tools. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but what is taught in schools needs to be expanded. This article's author has proven that a nine-year old can learn (some) university level math, if the learning is approached correctly.

63. Use applied learning. If a high school student were having trouble in math, say with fractions, one example of applied learning might be photography, lenses, f-stops, etc. Another example is cooking and measurement of ingredients. Tailor the applied learning to the interest of the student.

For Students and Self-Studiers

64. Be engaged. Surprise. Sometimes students are bored because they know more than is being taught, maybe even more than a teacher. (Hopefully teachers will assess what each student already knows.) Students should discuss with a teacher if they feel that the material being covered is not challenging. Also consider asking for additional materials.

65. Teach yourself. Teachers cannot always change their curricula. If you're not being challenged, challenge yourself. Some countries still apply country-wide exams for all students. If your lecturer didn't cover a topic, you should learn it on your own. Don't wait for someone to teach you. Lectures are most effective when you've pre-introduced yourself to concepts.

66. Collaborate. If studying by yourself isn't working, maybe a study group will help.

67. Do unto others: teach something. The best way to learn something better is to teach it to someone else. It forces you to learn, if you are motivated enough to share your knowledge.

68. Write about it. An effective way to "teach" something is to create an FAQ or a wiki containing everything you know about a topic. Or blog about the topic. Doing so helps you to realize what you know and more importantly what you don't. You don't even have to spend money if you grab a freebie account with Typepad, Wordpress, or Blogger.

69. Learn by experience. Pretty obvious, right? It means put in the necessary time. An expert is often defined as someone who has put in 10,000 hours into some experience or endeavor. That's approximately 5 years of 40 hours per week, every week. Are you an expert without realizing it? If you're not, do you have the dedication to be an expert?

70. Quiz yourself. Testing what you've learned will reinforce the information. Flash cards are one of the best ways, and are not just for kids.

71. Learn the right things first.
Learn the basics. Case in point: a frustrating way to learn a new language is to learn grammar and spelling and sentence constructs first. This is not the way a baby learns a language, and there's no reason why an adult or young adult has to start differently, despite "expert" opinion. Try for yourself and see the difference.

72. Plan your learning. If you have a long-term plan to learn something, then to quote Led Zeppelin, "There are two paths you can go by." You can take a haphazard approach to learning, or you can put in a bit of planning and find an optimum path. Plan your time and balance your learning and living.

Parting Advice

73. Persist. Don't give up learning in the face of intimdating tasks. Anything one human being can learn, most others can as well. Wasn't it Einstein that said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration"? Thomas Edison said it, too.

74. Defy the experts. Dyslexia, in a nutshell, is the affliction of mentally jumbling letters and digits, causing difficulties in reading, writing and thus learning. Sometimes spoken words or numbers get mixed up as well. In the past, "experts" declared dyslexic children stupid. Later, they said they were incapable of learning. This author has interacted with and taught dyslexic teens. It's possible. Helen Keller had no experience of sight, sound, or speech, and yet she learned. Conclusion: There is more than one way to learn; never believe you cannot.

75. Challenge yourself. People are often more intelligent than they realize. In a world that compartmentalizes and categorizes everything, not everyone is sure where they fit in. And genius can be found in many walks of life. If you honestly suspect that there's more to you than has been "allowed" to be let out, try an IQ test such as the one offered by MENSA. It's unlike the standardized IQ tests given in many schools. You know the kind — the ones which traumatize many young students into thinking they are stupid, simply because the tests don't really assess all student's knowledge and learning ability. And the ability to learn is far, far more important than what you already know.

76. Party before an exam. Well, don't go that far. The key is to relax. The worse thing to do is cram the night before an exam. If you don't already know a subject by then, cramming isn't going to help. If you have studied, simply review the topic, then go do something pleasant (no more studying). Doing so tells your brain that you are prepared and that you will be able to recall anything that you have already learned. On the other hand, if you didn't spend the semester learning the ideas you need, you might as well go party anyways because cramming at the last minute isn't going to help much at that point.

77. Don't worry; learn happy. Have a real passion for learning and want to share that? Join a group such as the Joyful Jubilant Learning community [via LifeHack].

This article was originally published at the Online Education Database

10 Killer Tips For Rapid Weight Loss

In order to make the most of your weight loss program, finding the most effective ways to burn fat will maximize your results and minimize your waistline! Follow these 10 tips for fat burning if you want to lose weight and lead a healthier way of life.

1.) Drink More Water

One of the best weight loss secrets is to ditch the sodas and stick to water! Experts say you should drink approximately eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and healthy. Instead of turning to calorie-laden or sugar-rich drinks, grab a refreshing glass of water. In addition to flushing toxins out of your system, drinking water encourages you to build muscle.

2.) Eat More Meals

A traditional three-meals-a-day plan just will not cut it if you are in the market to burn fat. Your body is not able to metabolize large meals and will quickly turn any excess into fat. Many experts believe you should eat six small meals a day. Be sure you cut back on your food consumption at each meal, or else you will be doubling your intake—and doubling your fat storage!

3.) Work Out with Weights

One great way to maximize the amount of fat you are burning is to add a weight program to your work out routine. Weight training will not only tone your physique, but will strengthen your body and improve your general health. Lifting weights will also burn calories and fat more quickly than traditional exercising, and it will also boost your metabolism.

4.) Choose Protein

Choose protein-laden foods for boosting your metabolism and enabling your body to burn fat rapidly. In addition to burning fat, consuming a protein-enriched diet will help you rebuild muscle after work outs and maintain leanness of that muscle. Wisely choose proteins for your diet. Take great care to pick proteins low in fat so you do not consume extra calories.

5.) Cut Calories Wisely

It may be tempting to drastically cut your calorie intake when starting a healthy lifestyle. Instead, use a step method when cutting your calorie intake to minimize risk. Reducing calories too quickly results in your body rapidly burning all available calories, which will lower your metabolism. Furthermore, you are more likely to maintain your healthy lifestyle through this step method.

6.) Reward Yourself

When it comes to successfully dieting to burn the most fat, be sure to reward yourself. Everyone has temptations and favorite treats—so allow indulgence. You will be less likely to cheat on your new diet if you grant yourself small rewards. If you are a chocolate lover, treat yourself to a small square of chocolate or single chocolate kiss each evening.

7.) Avoid Marathon Work Outs

The biggest mistake people make when looking to burn fat and lose weight is to have one long, extensive work out session. Instead, break up your work out plan into small chunks throughout the day. Take a brisk walk in the morning, enjoy a work out at lunch, and then exercise more in the evening. In addition to staying active all day long, breaking up your work out will better maintain your metabolism.

8.) Mix It Up

Choosing to engage in a variety of quality exercises will keep your interest and best allow you to maintain your goal of burning fat. Instead of doing the same exercises each day—mix it up! Opt to swim laps one day, jog another, and bike the next. Rotating your activities will not only allow you to experience a variety of athletics, it will also allow you to better tone your body.

9.) Skip Happy Hour

For those individuals who want to burn fat quickly, avoid alcohol. Rich in sugars and carbohydrates, alcohol is a calorie-rich substance. These empty calories can add up quickly and take away from necessary nutrients that should be included in your daily diet. Furthermore, alcohol acts as an inhibitor for burning fat, allowing your body to store it more quickly.

10.) Try a Low GI Diet

A low GI diet is an excellent method of burning fat quickly. This diet encourages individuals to consume high amounts of foods with low rankings on the Glycemic Index. These foods are nutritious and will aid your body in burning fats and calories at a quicker pace. This diet includes many of your favorite fruits, vegetable, meats, dairy, and grain products.

Source : World Wide Web

Add Chat to Your Webspace with Google Talk Chatback

chatback.pngGoogle Talk has released a new chatback feature allowing people visiting your blog, online profile, or personal web page to chat directly with you via Google Talk. To use chatback on your web site or supported personal profile page, all you need is a Google Talk account and some web space where you can embed the chatback badge code. Any user who wants to chat with you through the chatback badge doesn't need a Google Talk account at all, so it's a great way to let friends, family, or readers of your blog, for example, contact you quickly and easily without needing to register for anything.

Cheesy Pick-up Lines in Every Language

ten lines from Brook's book to help get you started collecting your United Nations of bed-mates:

"Do you come here often?"

Tu viens ici souvent?

¿Viene aqui mucho?

Vieni spesso qui?

Kommst du hier oft?

Kom je heir vaak?

"How you doin'?"

Alors, ça roule?

¿Què tal?

Come stai?

Wie geht's?

Hva så der?

"Is it hot in here, or is it just you?"

Il fait chaud ici, ou c`est juste toi?

¿Hace calor aqui, o eres tù?

Fa caldo qui, o è perchè ci sei tu?

Ist es hier warm, oder bist du nur heiβ?

Är det varmt här eller, är det bara du?

"Screw me if I'm wrong, but you want to sleep with me, don't you?"

Baise-moisi j`ai tort, mais tu veux cocher avec moi, n`est ce pas?

Que me jodan si me equivoco:¿tù quieres acostarte conmigo, no?

Fottimi se mi sbaglio, ma vuoi venire a letto con me, no?

Ich soll verflucht sein, wenn ich mich irre, aber du willst doch mit mir schlafen, oder?

Ik mag doodvallen als 't niet waar is, maar je wilt met naar bed, hè?

"What's a nice girl like you doing in a dirty mind like mine?"

Que fait une gentille fille comme toi dans un esprit mal tournè comme le mien?

¿Que hace una chica tan maja como tù en una mente tan sucia como la mìa?

Che fa una ragazza perbene come te in una mente sporca come la mia?

Was macht ein nettes Mädchen wie du in so schmutzigen Gedanken wie meinen?

Hvad laver en pæn pige som dig i mine beskidte fantasier?

"If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"

Si je te disais que tu as un beau corps, tu m'en tiendrais rigueur?

Si te digo que tienes un cuerpo precioso,¿me lo restregaràs por la cara?

Se ti dicessi che hai un bel corpo, lo stringeresti sul mio?

Wenn ich sage, dass du einen tollen Körper hast, würdest du es mich spürgen lassen?

THAI (phonetically)
Taa chan bok wa khoon mii roobrang tii som suan khoon ja yeng chan mai?

"That's a nice set of legs, what time do they open?"

Que belle paire de jambes, A quelle heure s'ouvrent-elles?

Vaya par de piernas. ¿A què hora abren?

Che bel paio di gambe. A che ora aprono?

Das sind hübsche Biene—und wann öffnen sie?

RUSSIAN (phonetically)
Haroshenikie nozhki, a kagda ani atkryvayootsya?

"That's a nice dress. It would look great on my bedroom floor."

Quelle belle robe. Je la vois bien par terre dans me chambre.

Llevas un vestido muy bonito. Quedarìa precioso en el suelo de mi habitaciòn.

Che bel vestito. Andrebbe molto bene sul pavimento della mia camera da letto.

"My underwear is edible."

Mes sous-vètements sont comestibles.

Mi ropa interior es comestible.

Le mie mutande sono commestibili.

Meine Unterwäsche ist essbar.

HEBREW (phonetically)
Hatakhtonim sheli akhilim.

And, if any of these should actually work...
"I'm not sleeping on the wet spot."

Je ne dors pas sur la partie mouillèe.

Yo no duermo encima de este charco.

Non dormo sulla chiazza bagnata.

Ich schlafe nicht auf der nassen Stelle.

THAI (phonetically)
Chan ja mai non bon puen biaak.

Pakistan set to lift its ban on Bollywood

Cinema is a powerful weapon, though it is often called soft power. Men like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and Germany's Adolf Hitler understood the awesome might of movies.

Mussolini established the world's first film festival at Venice in 1932 primarily to promote Italian cinema and that of his allies. Reni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" was an eerie documentary that endorsed what would become Hitler's notions of mass murder. She was the golden girl of German cinema, and Hitler's pet.

In India, cinema has never been used for an evil purpose, but politicians, especially in southern India, started their lives in the tinsel world. Often as scriptwriters, directors and even actors, they liberally used the medium to publicize and propagate their political ideals and views. They were highly successful, for the visually enriching movies they created touched the heart of the ordinary citizen. Cinema in India still continues to be a strong weapon for swaying people.

Admittedly, films do play a very positive role in our world if we forget and ignore what men like Hitler and Mussolini did with cinema. Movies are great binders. They build bridges among races, peoples and countries, helping one to understand and sympathize with another's point of view. Cinema creates a sense of identity and affinity, and this cannot be truer than in the case of India and Pakistan, two Asian neighbors who have been at war over Kashmir for decades.

The people of Pakistan love Indian cinema, with its color, music, grand costumes and breathtaking locales.

Indian films spread sheer joy. Popularly described as Bollywood, Indian cinema has enslaved hearts for decades with its melodrama. The primarily Hindi-language movies that grew out of Bombay, often called "Magic City," have traveled from Russia to Africa and from Canada to New Zealand, spreading thrills and enjoyment through its beautiful characters and make-believe moods.

Indian pictures are a hit even in China, despite a yawning gap in the two cultures. Travelers to China tell me that cab drivers have started to hum popular Indian songs. In Beijing, in Shanghai and elsewhere, cassettes of Indian celluloid works are to be found aplenty, sought after by expatriates and locals alike.

However, big-screen Bollywood could never cross over to Pakistan. This is sad because Bollywood originated in the Pakistani city of Lahore, where a vibrant film industry thrived before the Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Hordes of movie men came to Bombay to set up what became Bollywood.

Bereft of talent, Lahore's Lollywood could never become a Bollywood, but Pakistan is all set to lift a 43-year-old ban on Indian cinema. Pakistan's parliamentary committee on culture has just recommended that the ban be lifted, and Cabinet approval is to follow soon.

"We have devised a mechanism for allowing the import of Indian pictures for a period of one year, after which the arrangements can be reviewed," said Sen. Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, who heads the committee.

The ban was imposed in 1965 when the two South Asian neighbors went to war over Kashmir, a region both claim as their own. However, nothing could stop the march of Bollywood; its movies were smuggled into Pakistan, and huge amounts of pirated VCDs and DVDs were sold in clandestine operations. But once the ban goes, Pakistanis will be able to watch the latest masala on the big screen from Bombay in about week after it opens in India.

Bollywood is sure to give a fresh leash on life to the moribund Pakistan film industry. Today the country has fewer than 300 screens, compared to about 1,500 in the early 1970s. Indian cinema may not only help revive cinemas, but also provide much-needed inspiration to Lollywood, listless and languishing for years.

The question is will Pakistan's ultra-radical clergy allow the entry of Bollywood with its see-through rain-drenched body-hugging saris that ravishing Indian stars wear to titillate the male fantasy?

B. Gautam writes for a leading Indian newspaper.