Friday, September 30, 2011

TV, films, internet make you racist

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil - monkeys photo

Everyone might be a bit of a racist but don't blame yourself - it is because of the books you read, movies and television shows you watch and the websites you surf, new research said. 
"There's one idea that people tend to associate black people with violence, women with weakness, or older people with forgetfulness because they are prejudiced," said Paul Verhaeghen, professor in psychology at theGeorgia Institute of Technology, who led the study. 

"But there's another possibility that what's in your head is not you, it's the culture around you," a Georgia statement quoted Verhaeghen as saying. 

"And so what you have is stuff you picked up from reading, television, radio and the Internet. And that's the question we wanted to answer: Are you indeed a racist," the British Journal of Social Psychology reports. 

So, the researchers gave their participants a questionnaire designed to rate the amount of prejudice (both negative and positive) they exhibited. 

They also timed their subject's response times to different types of word pairs. 

The first types were word pairs typically associated with stereotypes, like black-lazy, female-weak or old-lonely. 

They contrasted this with pairs of words that contain the same first word but are not stereotypical pairings, like black-goofy, female-uptight or old-playful. 

A third type were words that are highly related but do not reflect stereotypes, like night-cool or summer-sunny. 

These very fast response times that people tend to exhibit for stereotypical pairs are a reflection of an unconscious, gut-level type of prejudice, social psychologists said.


1/3rd of sun-like stars have Earth like planets?
Last Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011, 19:10
London: A mission launched in “search of habitable planets” by NASA has predicted that one-third of “sun-like” stars may have planets similar to Earth.

Analysis of the first 136 days of data of the mission launched by the Kepler orbiting observatory has already begun and scientists are scrutinizing the scans of 150,000 stars and evidence of 1,235 potential planets.

One of the analysis has predicted that one-third of “sun-like” stars with classification F, G or K will have planets similar to the earth.

“About one-third of FGK stars are predicted to have at least one terrestrial, habitable-zone planet,” the Daily Mail quoted Wesley Traub, Chief Scientist with NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program as saying.

F, G and K stars, which are classified according to the characteristics of their spectrum are “sun-like” stars, and the candidates usually targeted by the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence in scans for signals from space.

Traub’s analysis hints that there may be even more potential ''Earths'' orbiting them than previously thought - and that this ''principle'' would extend to stars not yet scanned by Kepler.

Traub used statistical analysis to “predict” planets that had not been detected by Kepler, and the analysis hints that there may be even more potential “Earths” orbiting than previously thought.

The 600 million dollars Kepler spacecraft, which was launched in March 2009, is staring continuously at a patch of sky containing about 150,000 stars in the Cygnus constellation and analyses each stars’ light every 30 minutes, watching for telltale dips in brightness which may indicate a planet crossing its path. ..ANI

India News: Health:

From today, health insurance portability is a reality

ENS Economic Bureau============================================================Posted: Sat Oct 01 2011, 01:17 hrsNew Delhi:
After your mobile number, it is now the turn of your health insurance to go portable. Starting today you can change your health insurer without having to lose any benefits that your current insurer provides.

According to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) guideline earlier this year, health insurance portability was slated to start on July 1, but was postponed to October 1. Industry experts believe that this would increase competition amongst health insurers and improve their service levels.
“Health insurance portability will enable policyholders to avail continuity in their cover, in case they decide to change their insurer, without losing any credit or benefit for the period of cover with the existing insurer”, says Neeraj Basur, CFO, Max Bupa Health Insurance.
Under the portability regime, pre-existing diseases (PED) are transferable. This comes as a respite to policyholders who bear with deficient service for fear of losing their PED cover.
Also, if the customer shifts to a location where new insurer does not have an office, s/he has the luxury to continue with the new insurer.
Portability will mean greater competition within the health insurers to retain customers which will compel them to constantly improve their efficiency standards in terms of customer engagement and relationship along with the service levels.
“Now a customer has options to choose from best available product in terms of feature as well as price in the market. This would force insurers to innovate and customise their offerings in order to retain as well as attract customers”, said Sanjay Datta, head customer service, Health and Motor, ICICI Lombard GIC.
Before one decides to switch their health insurer, it is important to bear two points in mind: One, the existing health cover must be valid at the time of switching over, and two, the process has to be done before the expiry of the current policy.

Dr. Michael J. Breus

Testosterone, Sleep And Sexual Health
Posted: 9/30/11 08:27 AM ET

When it comes to sleep, testosterone may be the somewhat forgotten hormone. We know a great deal about the importance of testosterone as the male sex hormone, its role in the body and the effects of testosterone deficits, particularly for men. But there's been relatively little attention paid to the effects of testosterone on sleep, for both men and women. A recent review of research seeks to bring some much-needed attention to the role that testosterone plays in sleep.
  • The effects of sleep (and lack of sleep) on testosterone levels in men and women.
  • The role that testosterone plays in obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing.
  • The relationship between testosterone levels and sexual dysfunction, and how sleep may affect both.
Changes in testosterone levels occur naturally during sleep, both in men and women. Testosterone levels rise during sleep and decrease during waking hours. Research has shown that the highest levels of testosterone happen during REM sleep, the deep, restorative sleep that occurs mostly late in the nightly sleep cycle. Sleep disorders, including interrupted sleep and lack of sleep, reduces the amount of REM sleep and will frequently lead to low testosterone levels. And this is important for men and women.
There's strong evidence of a relationship between testosterone and sleep disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. Studies have shown that low testosterone levels frequently occur in men with obstructive sleep apnea. Men with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from complications to their sexual function, including low libido, erectile dysfunction and impotence.
  • Men with erectile dysfunction were more than twice as likely to have obstructive sleep apnea as those without erectile dysfunction, according to one study. This study also showed that the more serious a man's erectile dysfunction, the more likely he was to also have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Another study showed that men with obstructive sleep apnea and erectile dysfunction also exhibited highly-fragmented sleep that reduced or eliminated their REM sleep.
Men are more likely than women to suffer from sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing -- though there is widespread belief that sleep apnea in women remains significantly under-diagnosed -- and testosterone deficiencies may play a role.
What does this mean for men suffering from sleep problems or problems with sexual function? It's time to explore the connection between the two. First off, guys, you've got to go to the doctor. Making the decision to consult a physician is the first important step, one that unfortunately can still be a difficult one for some men. Men who are struggling with issues related to sexual function should have their sleep evaluated by their physician. The good news is that treatments for obstructive sleep apnea -- particularly the CPAP -- are safe and effective. In some cases, hormone replacement therapy for conditions such as erectile dysfunction may be appropriate, independently or in conjunction with treatment for a sleep disorder.
What are the implications for women of low testosterone levels from lack of sleep? Women are particularly vulnerable to sleep problems related to hormone changes and deficiencies throughout their lives. We talk most frequently about estrogen and progesterone, the primary hormones involved in menstruation. But testosterone should be added to the list of hormonal factors to consider when thinking about hormone-related sleep problems in women.
Women, like men, are also likely to find their sexual lives negatively affected by obstructive sleep apnea. Several studies have found strong correlations between obstructive sleep apnea and sexual dysfunction in women. As obstructive sleep apnea grows worse, problems with sexual function -- including sensation and desire -- become more serious, according to this research. Women are particularly at risk for un-diagnosed sleep problems, including sleep-disordered breathing. Women who are experiencing problems with sexual function should have their sleep evaluated. This works in both directions: Women who are being treated for sleep problems -- particularly obstructive sleep apnea -- should work with their physician to assess the potential effect of their sleep disorder on their sexual health.
We know that sleep deprivation poses a greater risk of cardiovascular problems for women than for men. It's just possible that the resulting lower testosterone levels may have something to do with this. Testosterone has a protective effect on the heart, reducing inflammatory proteins that can cause heart damage.
The more we know about how testosterone affects sleep and sexual health in men and women, the better clinicians will be able to help restore healthy functioning to two critical aspects of our lives.
Sweet Dreams,
Michael J. Breus, PhD 
The Sleep Doctor™

Teen sexting driven by peer pressure, says study

Ysolt Usigan
September 30, 2011 4:38 PM

(CBS) - We've all heard of young people being pressured to drink, do drunks and have sex - but sexting? That's a new peer-pressure-practice to add to the books and to be filed under the digital age.
When I was a teen - years before the Internet and mobile phones became mainstream - there was no such thing. I first encountered a sext in my late 20s. I blushed, chuckled, then became embarrassed and appalled. I am not that kind of girl - no judgment though, no judgment.
In case you didn't already know because you're not quite as fortunate enough as some of us to have received a sext (I say sarcastically), "sexting" is the act of sending and receiving sexual images and texts using a mobile device. Politician Anthony Weiner, golfer Tiger Woods and basketball player Tony Parker have been guilty of "sexting."
It's not one's finest hour when exposed as a "sexter" as you can imagine. Now, a study that was presented at the 2011 Australasian Sexual Health Conference finds that many young people are pressured to sext.
According to the University of Melbourne, researchers interviewed 33 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 years old and found:
- A highly sexualized media culture bombarded young people with sexualized images and created pressure to engage in sexting.
- There's pressure that boys place on each other to have girls' photos on their phones and computers. The young people surveyed said if boys refrained from engaging in the activity they were labeled 'gay' or could be ostracized from the peer group.?
- Both genders talked about the pressure girls experienced from boyfriends or strangers to reciprocate on exchanging sexual images.?
- Some young women talked about the expectation (or more subtle pressure) to be involved in sexting, simply as a result of having viewed images of girls they know.?
Although only 15 boys and 18 girls were interviewed for this study, the findings are still disturbing nonetheless. Teens are growing up so fast. They're encountering stuff that I, at the age of 31, am still so shocked by and modest about (to say the least). When I saw my first sext, I didn't even tell my closest friends out of fear people would think I was skanky or something. And here you have kids in their freshman year of high school being challenged with really "adult" moments.
"Our study reveals how complex and ever-changing the phenomenon of 'sexting' is and that continued meaningful dialogue is needed to address and prevent the negative consequences of sexting for young people," said Shelley Walker from the Primary Care Research Unit in the Department of General Practice at the University of Melbourne who worked on the study.

US News:

Man indicted for allegedly plotting attack on Pentagon, U.S. Capitol

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 30, 2011 -- Updated 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)
U.S. citizen Rezwan Ferdaus was arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
U.S. citizen Rezwan Ferdaus was arrested Wednesday for allegedly plotting to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.
  • Massachusetts resident accused of planning "jihad" against Washington
  • U.S. citizen allegedly intended to use model aircraft filled with C-4 explosives
  • Source: Physics degree holder posed no immediate danger to the public
Boston (CNN) -- A federal grand jury in Boston has indicted a 26-year-old man for allegedly plotting to use model airplanes to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.
Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, was arrested Wednesday. Authorities said he planned to use large, remote-controlled model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosive against the targets.
As a result of an undercover FBI investigation, Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University in Boston, was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda for attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas, authorities said.
A law enforcement official said Ferdaus posed no immediate danger to the public because undercover operatives kept in close contact with him.
There is no information suggesting he was connected to a foreign terrorist organization, the source said, adding he was apparently radicalized by watching videos on the internet.
Feds bust DC drone terror plot
The investigation also involved a cooperating witness, and authorities began recording conversations between that witness and Ferdaus in January, authorities said.
Ferdaus began planning a violent "jihad" against America in early 2010, authorities said, and he began supplying the FBI undercover agents with cell phones rigged to act as electric switches for improved explosive devices, intended to be used to kill U.S. soldiers overseas.
Undercover federal agents gave Ferdaus 25 pounds of fake C-4 explosives. Only a very small amount of it was the real thing, the source said.
The FBI agents also gave Ferdaus six AK-47 assault rifles and three grenades, but they weren't functional, the source said.
Between May and September, Ferdaus also ordered and acquired a $6,500 remote-controlled aircraft, an F-86 Sabre, that he kept under a false name in a rented storage facility in Framingham, Massachusetts, authorities said. He also planned to use other remote-controlled models of military aircraft, authorities said.
The models he planned to use are about one-tenth the size of the actual aircraft.
A detention hearing for Ferdaus, who is not married and has no children, is scheduled for Monday.


Car Bomb at Funeral in Iraq Kills at Least 7 and Hurts Scores

BAGHDAD — A large car bomb exploded Friday evening at a funeral in the southern Shiite town of Hilla, leaving several people dead and more than 60 wounded. It was a deadly reminder that even as American forces prepare to withdraw and officials claim success in stabilizing Iraq, random attacks and assassinations are still daily occurrences.
On Friday, Iraq’s latest scene of carnage was outside a Shiite mosque, near a holy shrine for the Prophet Ayub. Several high-level local officials were in attendance, including the leaders of the local court and provincial council. Both officials had just left before a vehicle, which had been parked outside the mosque, exploded. But the son of the local judge, who led the appeals court in the area, was killed.
There were conflicting reports about casualties. Local police and hospital officials said seven people were killed and 63 were wounded. Other news reports said 17 or 18 people had been killed.
“We have received a large number of the wounded, and most of them are burned,” said Ahmed Ejrish, a hospital official in Hilla, which is about 60 miles south of Baghdad. “It’s the first time I’ve seen this kind of bombing.”
There appears to have been a recent increase in attacks against Shiites, evoking for some the worst days of Iraq’s sectarian warfare in 2006 and 2007, when Sunnis and Shiites killed each other daily. The recent high-profile attacks on Shiites include the gruesomekillings of 22 Shiite pilgrims in the desert of Anbar Province, a largely Sunni region, after they were dragged off a bus bound for Syria on Sept. 12. Last Sunday, several explosions struck outside a government office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, killing more than a dozen people.
After the bus attack, officials from both Anbar and Karbala — where the pilgrims had been traveling from — met to defuse sectarian tensions, and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki publicly played down the sectarian nature of the episode. Many believe that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia or other Sunni insurgent groups are trying to prompt a return to the violence of Iraq’s worst days, but there is little sign that Shiites, who are a majority here and are firmly in control of the state’s levers of power, are willing to head down that dark path again.
A local security official complained that there were not enough security personnel at the funeral, given the local dignitaries in attendance. “There were many officials who visited the funeral, and we didn’t keep track of which cars belonged to whom,” said the official, who gave his name only as Abu Hussain because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
The leader of the provincial council, Khadum Majed, who attended the funeral, said local officials had received intelligence that a vehicle bomb was inside the province. “But the information that we had was not enough,” Mr. Majed said. “We didn’t have the type of car or the plate number. We have weak intelligence.”
He said that despite a checkpoint outside the site of the funeral and a large contingent of personal bodyguards, “we were able to do nothing.”
Mr. Majed said: “It doesn’t matter who was the target. The problem is that we lost a lot of people and many were wounded.”
An employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Hilla, Iraq.A version of this article appeared in print on October 1, 2011, on page A5 of the New York edition with the headline: Car Bomb at Funeral in Iraq Kills at Least 7 and Hurts Scores.

New hope of survivors in Indonesia 
plane crash
MEDAN — The mother of a passenger aboard a plane that crashed in a remote area of Indonesia said Friday her daughter had called her, raising hopes of finding survivors as rescuers struggled to reach the site.
Search and rescue teams had been unable to reach the accident site in a mountainous area of Sumatra island by Friday afternoon, more than 30 hours after the plane carrying 18 people crashed.
Rosmawati, the mother of passenger Samsidar Yusni, 27, said her daughter had called her Thursday night.
"At 10:00 pm, my daughter telephoned me. She just cried. Her words were so unclear. After that the line was lost and the telephone disconnected," Rosmawati said.
The Casa 212 turboprop plane, carrying 14 passengers including four children, and four crew, went down on Thursday after departing Medan city, in Sumatra, for the nearby province of Aceh.
But the commercial flight run by Nusantara Buana Air sent a distress signal soon after and crashed at 1,100 metres (3,600 feet) in the mountainous Bohorok area about 70 kilometres (40 miles) northwest of Medan.
Three search-and-rescue teams left Medan Thursday night but two had turned back because of the difficult mountainous jungle terrain and bad weather Friday.
Hopes for survivors were raised Friday morning when rescue team members reported that a door on the plane had visibly been opened since initial observation Thursday.
"The rescue teams left Medan last night by truck and got as close to the site as possible and then set out on foot. They slept in the jungle last night. It's at least a six-hour journey," head of national search-and-rescue Laksamana Daryatmo told AFP.
The plane was caught by the forest canopy, where it remains largely intact.
Transport ministry aviation head Herry Bakti said no one had ever tried to reach that part of Bohorok, so it was unclear how long the journey would take.
"There are no roads, just cliffs and mountains. It is a very difficult place to reach," he said. "I am hopeful they can make it today."
New photos taken from helicopters show both of the plane's wings had been clipped and the nose destroyed.
Helicopters have hovered above the forest site but have no where to land and have also been stalled by bad weather.
Nusantara Buana regularly runs commercial flights in Sumatra. The airline has six aircraft in its fleet, according to the independent CAPA Centre for Aviation.
The downed plane is a 1989 model that has flown more than 11,000 hours. Bakti said that the aircraft's last inspection was in November 2010.
The company, however, told news website that the plane had undergone a routine check on September 22.
"When the aircraft left it was in airworthy condition," Nusantara Buana safety manager Robur Rizallianto said Thursday.
The plane's manufacturer, Airbus Military, said in a statement: "Any speculation on what happened would be premature."
Nusantara Buana Air is on a blacklist of airlines banned from flying in the European Union because of inadequate safety measures.
The vast Indonesian archipelago relies heavily on air transport and has a poor aviation record.
The incident is Indonesia's fourth serious air crash in he past month.
A helicopter chartered by US giant Newmont Mining crashed on Sunday in central Indonesia, killing two people on board.
Earlier this month, an Australian and a Slovak pilot were killed when their small Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, which was carrying fuel and food to a remote area in Papua province, went down.
Another small aircraft, which was also transporting supplies to remote villages for a Christian humanitarian association in Papua, crashed last week, killing its American pilot and two passengers.