Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A short snooze during the day will boost your mood and your intelligence - but there's more to it than simply closing your eyes
For years, napping has been derided as a sign of laziness. We are "caught" napping or "found asleep at the switch". But lately it has garnered new respect, thanks to scientific evidence that midday dozing benefits both mental acuity and overall health. A slew of recent studies have shown that naps boost alertness, creativity, mood, and productivity in the later hours of the day.
A nap of 60 minutes improves alertness for up to 10 hours. Research on pilots shows that a 26-minute "Nasa" nap in flight (while the plane is manned by a copilot) enhanced performance by 34% and overall alertness by 54%. One Harvard study published last year showed that a 45-minute nap improves learning and memory. Napping reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and excessive weight gain.
Getting even the briefest nap is better than nothing. A 2008 study in Düsseldorf showed that the onset of sleep may trigger active memory processes that remain effective even if sleep is limited to only a few minutes. And last year, a British study suggested that just knowing a nap was coming was enough to lower blood pressure.
Naps make you brainier, healthier, safer. But to understand how you can nap best, you need to understand your body.
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A passenger who wrote a letter of complaint to Virgin Atlantic expressing his dissatisfaction with the in-flight food is now being offered the chance to be a food tester for the airline, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The passenger's complaint to Virgin chief executive Sir Richard Branson was written after a flight from Mumbai to Heathrow on Dec. 7 last year and has been widely praised for its humor.
Branson called the passenger and invited him to come to the airline's catering month to help select the food on future Virgin flights.
"While we investigated his complaint seriously, and following Richard Branson's phone call we've invited him to our catering house to select the next range of meals and wines we serve on board," a spokesman for Virgin Atlantic told the Telegraph. "Then we can ensure his personal taste is well and truly catered for."
The passenger has not yet indicated whether or not he will attend.
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Monday, January 26, 2009
JILL, 19, from Michigan, wants to go to university to read political science. There is just one problem: she keeps failing the mathematics requirement. "I am an exceptional student in all other subjects, so my consistent failure at math made me feel very stupid," she says. In fact, she stopped going to her college mathematics class after a while because, she says, "I couldn't take the daily reminder of what an idiot I was."
Last November, Jill got herself screened for learning disabilities. She found that while her IQ is above average, her numerical ability is equivalent to that of an 11-year-old because she has something called dyscalculia. The diagnosis came partly as a relief, because it explained a lot of difficulties she had in her day-to-day life. She can't easily read a traditional, analogue clock, for example, and always arrives 20 minutes early for fear of being late. When it comes to paying in shops or restaurants, she hands her wallet to a friend and asks them to do the calculation, knowing that she is likely to get it wrong.
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Here we reproduce a complaint letter sent to Sir Richard Branson, which is currently being emailed globally and is considered by many to be the world's funniest passenger complaint letter.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Audible.com is offering a free audiobook download of the best-selling Stephen Covey book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Watching romantic comedies can spoil your love life, a study by a university in Edinburgh has claimed.
Rom-coms have been blamed by relationship experts at Heriot Watt University for promoting unrealistic expectations when it comes to love.
They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often fail to communicate with their partner.
Many held the view if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you telling them.
Psychologists at the family and personal relationships laboratory at the university studied 40 top box office hits between 1995 and 2005, and identified common themes which they believed were unrealistic.
The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize
Dr Bjarne Holmes
Heriot Watt University
The movies included You've Got Mail, Maid In Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and While You Were Sleeping.
The university's Dr Bjarne Holmes said: "Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.
"We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds."The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realize."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
• The foundation stone was laid on August 27, 1997.
• In the late 90's, the Japanese Mori Building Corporation had a fund shortage caused by the Asian financial crisis, this halted the project after the foundations were completed.
• On February 13, 2003, the Mori Group increased the buildings height to 492 meters and 101 stories from the initial plans for a 460-meter, 94 story building.
• The Shanghai World Financial Center was planned to be the tallest building in the world when it was designed in 1997. The 97 Story building would surpass the spires of the Petronas Towers in Malaysia. When Construction was restarted in 2003, the 508 Meter Taipei 101 in Taiwan was already underway to becoming the World's Tallest Building. Plans where changed but the Tower couldn't be built any higher than its present height at 492 meters since the already done foundation was meant to support a 460 meter tall building.
• The structure features 3 floors of underground parking, shops and a conference center on floors 1 through 5, offices on floors 7 through 77, a hotel located on floors 79 through 93, and finally observation and exhibition areas on floors 94 through 100.
• To protect the building from fierce winds, the Shanghai World Financial Center holds two tuned mass dampers below its observation floors to reduce the building’s sway during windstorms and earthquakes.
• After the events of September 11th, 2001, the building was redesigned to withstand a disaster such as a plane crash including 12 fireproof refugee areas, and two external elevators.
• The trapezoidal hole atop the Tower was originally a sphere, designs where changed after the Chinese Government made claims in 2005 that the Japanese Funded Building's circular hole was too similar to the rising sun on Japan's Flag.
• The observation bridge atop the building is the highest outdoor observation deck in the world.
• On August 14th, 2007 a few of the upper floors caught on fire during construction, the blaze was put out and nobody was hurt.
• The final steel girder of the building was installed on September 14th, 2007 when the building reached its full height of 492 meters.
• At 480 meters, the Shanghai World Financial Center is the second tallest building in the world as of 2008. It is 16 meters shorter than the 508 meter Taipei 101 in Taiwan, although this is because of the spire atop Taipei 101. Counting by roof height the Shanghai World Financial Center is a full 44 meters taller than Taipei 101.
• Inaugurated on August 28, 2008.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Broken Bridge lies at the beginning of Bai Causeway. In ancient times the bridge had gates, which supported eaves on their tops. When it snowed, the snow on the middle section of the bridge accumulated on the eaves. As a result, only both ends of the bridge were piled with snow. Viewed from a distance, the bridge looked as if it were broken. Hence the name Broken Bridge. On the flat ground at the end of the bridge there are imperial stele pavilions. Facing the inner lake, it overlooks Baoshi Hill and Baoshu Tower across the lake. The hill, pagoda, lake, pavilions, bridge, and the peach and willow trees on the lake side constitute a charming and picturesque scenery. The Broken Bridge is the only way to Gushan Hill. Every time when it snows, people flood to the bridge to enjoy the scenery of snow in West Lake. Gushan Hill and West Lake are decked out in pure whiteness, full of charm. So the place is called Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge.
The name Baochu, translated directly, means "protect Chu", who, legend has it, refers to Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue. As the story goes, one of King Chu's ministers had the temple constructed for prayers to be said for his safe return from a trip he had taken to Kaifeng, in central China. He had been summoned there by the Emperor and had been gone many days with no news of his return.
It was originally constructed in 963 and stood nine stories tall. Its most recent reconstruction, in 1933, left it slightly shorter, seven stories, and it has most recently had its lantern replaced on its top, though its previous one is on display near the pagoda. It is constructed of brick and stone and contains no internal staircase. The tower lies next to a path that runs the length of West Lake's northern mountain range and is accessible by both dirt paths and cement stairs from nearly every side of the mountain.
Traditionally speaking, there are many taboos at Chinese tables. Like why is a fish never turned over? Why do tea-drinkers surreptitiously tap tables? Why will there be a place laid for a guest who will never come? Why fish head would be left for the guest of honor? Why are Chinese dinner tables round, and how will you know who is the guest of honor? How and why will you say "Cheers!"?
Why is a fish never turned over?--- The reason why a fish will never be turned over is a traditional superstition, and a tribute to South China's fishing families that bad luck would ensue and a fishing boat would capsize if the fish were up-ended.
Why do tea-drinkers surreptitiously tap tables?-- The almost surreptitious finger-tapping on the table that greets the pouring service is said to date back to a ploy invented by a Qing Dynasty emperor. While making an incognito tour of South China, the emperor visited a tea house. In order to maintain his cover as an ordinary member of a party of travelers, the emperor took his turn at pouring tea for his companions. They started to acknowledge this astonishing honor by bowing in the usual fashion but the emperor told them they could simply tap the table with three fingers, two of which would represent their prostrate limbs, while the third finger would symbolize their bowed heads. The custom survives in Hong Kong and South China as a silent token of thanks for the gesture.
Why are Chinese dinner tables round, and how will you know who is the guest of honor?-- The guest of honor will usually be seated facing the door of entry, directly opposite the host. The next most honored guest will be seated to the left of the guest of honor. If the host has any doubts about the correct order of precedence for his guests, he will seat them on the basis of age. The host sits near the door, as in Western practice, so that he is nearest to the kitchen. If the meal is held in the host's home, he can then bring each dish to the table more quickly. He will himself serve his guests portions of food, on the tacit understanding that they are far too polite to help themselves.
How and why will you say "Cheers!"?-- Whatever your table position is, you may be expected to make at least one toast during the meal to the course which is about to commence, if necessary, when everyone else has used up all socially-acceptable topics of mutual esteem! Every person stands up for a moment, raises his or her glass, and finds out who has the strongest constitution!
Why fish head would be left for the guest of honor? With a fish course, the fish head would be left for the guest of honor and it is the most nutritious part (the eyes and lips are the valued delicacies offered to the senior lady present). The platter holding the fish will always be laid on the table in such a way that the fish head points towards the guest of honor (at family meals, the head faces the head of the family). If visitors find that they are the guest of honor and are unwilling to accept the duties involved, they should always delegate the honor to the person on their left, or politely turn the platter so that the fish head faces the host.
Chopsticks is one of the most important things in Chinese meal. Besides you know the right way to use for yourself , there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are a guest at a private home. 1) Don't stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl. Instead, lay them on your dish. The reason for this is that when somebody dies, the shrine to them contains a bowl of sand or rice with two sticks of incense stuck upright in it. So if you stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl, it looks like this shrine and is equivalent to wishing death upon a person at the table! 2) Don't tap on your bowl with your chopsticks. Beggars tap on their bowls, so this is not polite. Also, in a restaurant, if the food is coming too slow people will tap their bowls. If you are in someone's home, it is like insulting the cook. 3) If you find an uneven pair at your table setting, it means you are going to miss a boat, plane or train. Dropping chopsticks will inevitably bring bad luck, as will laying them across each other. 4) Crossed chopsticks are, however, permissible in a "dim sum" restaurant. Your waiter will cross them to show that your bill has been settled, or you can do the same to show the waiter that you have finished and are ready to pay the bill. Now you are well-equipped to be really a part of the Chinese dining experience!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I must admit a certain amount of guilt knowing that my selection meant certain doom for the spiny crustacean. After the "lucky winners" arrived at the table however, all was well with me again. An excellent meal!