Saturday, March 26, 2011

Morning eye puffiness? Here's an easy trick

eye puffinessExpert says the most simple remedy for lightening dark circles and decreasing puffiness under the eyes—two of her patients' most common complaints—is splashing cold water on your face first thing in the morning, which shrinks the blood vessels and decreases eye puffiness.

However, more serious under-eye circles may call for more aggressive treatment. Dark circles can be caused by sun damage or from genetically driven pigmentation; bluish-hued circles can stem from vascular issues. Also, as we age, we lose the fat underneath our eyes, which causes a gaunt or tired appearance.

In-office treatment isn't always necessary, however. Expert says there are some very effective lightening creams available at drug stores. The key is in finding a topical cream that is made up of hydroquinone in 2% concentration. He says most people notice an improvement in the skin around their eyes in about two weeks.

Earth Hour Aims for Hope in Darkened World

Earth HourLights will go out around the world Saturday with hundreds of millions of people set to take part in the Earth Hour climate change campaign, which this year will also mark Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.

From across the Pacific, to Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, New York’s Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower in Paris will go dark.

“Earth Hour is like a New Year’s Eve,” Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley told AFP from the group’s Sydney office.

“It’s meant to be a celebration — it’s a bit different this year because of the Japan stuff — but it’s meant to be about hope and the future.”

Ridley said in Sydney and other cities, some Earth Hour events would hold a minute’s silence to mark the devastating 9.0-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami in Japan this month that left more than 25,000 people dead or missing.

The disaster followed a deadly earthquake in New Zealand’s Christchurch and massive floods in Australia in January, which devastated thousands of homes and ruined crops and infrastructure.

“It’s been a bad start to the year, and I guess it’s an opportunity to take a moment and think about that,” Ridley said, adding that the campaign had a different focus in every location and not all events would mention Japan’s catastrophe.

The Earth Hour movement, which aims to raise awareness about climate change by switching off lights for 60 minutes, hopes to bring people together to think about what they can do to reduce harmful carbon pollution blamed for rising temperatures.

Environmental group WWF International helped initiate Earth Hour in Sydney in 2007, and by 2010 the energy-saving event had grown to engage hundreds of millions of people in 4,616 cities and 128 countries and territories.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mind-controlled gaming becoming a reality

Mind-controlled gamingControlling a video game with your mind might seem the stuff of science fiction, but then again, so did the idea of motion controls.

While still a ways from being a mainstream phenomenon, mind-controlled games are already on store shelves -- and more are coming.

Leading the charge is Neurosky. The San Jose, CA-based company is the, well, brains behind Mattel's Mindflex (Buy|Search) children's game -- which lets kids raise and lower a small foam ball solely by focusing their concentration -- as well as the Star Wars Force Trainer (Buy|Search), which basically does the same thing, only with a heavier geek vibe.

The company has slowly been branching out into the video game sector, though. At the recent Game Developers Conference, Neurosky showed off its MindWave headset, a gadget that monitors brainwave impulses from your forehead and categorizes them into different mental states, like relaxed or stressed. Using a device from tech company Puzzlebox, developers can learn more about how people play the game, seeing their levels of concentration and relaxation in real time.

For the player, that could mean titles with more emotional impact, as game makers can use the device to fine-tune their games.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Google Issues Hacking Alert

GoogleGoogle yesterday admitted that up to 260,000 smartphones have been hacked after handset users unwittingly downloaded virus-infected apps. The threat came to light last week when the technology giant was forced to withdraw at least 50 apps from its official Android Market.

Google operated a ‘killswitch’ and remotely removed all of the affected apps from peoples’ phones. The firm has now sent text messages warning those affected that the malicious applications could access their personal information and take control of their handset.

Studies have found that the dodgy applications were downloaded after they had been repackaged with a code that corrupted them. Google Android is an open-source software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.

The deadly apps were simply copies of existing programs which had malware DroidDream found in them, and were swiftly taken off the site and recalled - but not before affecting hundreds of thousands of users.

DroidDream fires sensitive data, such as a phone's unique ID number, to a remote server. In addition the malware will check if the phone has been infected already. If it hasn't the program bypasses security controls and hands its creator access to the handset.

This means that the user can access information, including passwords for other personal things. Security expert Mikko Hypponen said the incident is embarrassing for Google because it shows the firm hasn't fully tested the safety of its apps.

Almost 11,000 People confirmed dead, missing after the megaquake and tsunami

Japan Tsunami 2011It was a picturesque fishing town where tourists flocked to enjoy the coastal air and natural hot springs. But this horrifying picture shows all that remains of Minami Sanriku after it was destroyed by the tsunami that has wreaked devastation across Japan.

The official death toll from Friday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tidal wave stood at 11,000 people – dead and missing, although it is feared the final total could rise sharply once a full picture of the catastrophe emerges.

It only took a few minutes for the 30ft wave to wash the town away with terrifying force. The locals desperately tried to escape to higher ground. But most did not stand a chance.

One of the few buildings left standing is the town’s Shizugawa Hospital – the large white building to the centre left of this picture. But the rest of what was once the town centre is flooded with filthy sea water.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five health reasons to not quit coffee

CoffeeThe morning ritual of brewing a cup, the smell that perks you up before you take a sip and, of course, the flavor all make it your favorite beverage aside from water (water’s delicious!). You have 5 health reasons not to quit coffee, here they are:

1. It protects your heart: Moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of stroke than noncoffee drinkers, an effect linked to coffee’s antioxidants. Coffee has more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, making it the biggest source of antioxidants in American diets. All those antioxidants may help suppress the damaging effect of inflammation on arteries.

2. It diverts diabetes: Those antioxidants (chlorogenic acid and quinides, specifically) play another role: boosting your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. In fact, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee each day may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to some studies.

3. Your liver loves it: OK, so the research here is limited, but it looks like the more coffee people drink, the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One analysis of nine studies found that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake reduced liver cancer risk by 43 percent.

4. It boosts your brain power: Drinking between 1 and 5 cups a day (admittedly a big range) may help reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies suggest. Those antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better.

5. It helps your headaches: And not just the withdrawal headaches caused by skipping your daily dose of caffeine! Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches, including migraines. Exactly how caffeine relieves headaches isn’t clear. But scientists do know that caffeine boosts the activity of brain cells, causing surrounding blood vessels to constrict.

Now, that’s not to say that coffee doesn’t have any pitfalls—it does. Some people are super-sensitive to caffeine and get jittery or anxious after drinking coffee; habitual coffee drinkers usually develop a tolerance to caffeine that eliminates this problem (but they then need the caffeine to be alert and ward off withdrawal headaches). Coffee can also disturb sleep, especially as people age. Cutting some of the caffeine and drinking it earlier in the day can curb this effect. Lastly, unfiltered coffee (like that made with a French press) can raise LDL cholesterol, so use a filter for heart health.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lady Gaga's Practiced Safe Sex

Lady GagaThe New Yorker, 24, concedes she wasn't ready at the time, but is thankful she has always practiced safe sex.

With the issue close to her heart, Gaga is currently promoting her M.A.C. Viva Glam lipstick - with proceeds going towards HIV and AIDS charities.

She tells the new issue of Grazia magazine: 'I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 17. But I have to say even then I wasn’t ready and it was an absolutely terrible experience. It wasn’t good at all.

'I have never not had safe sex, I have always asked a guy to be tested and to use protection, which was always my rule. Otherwise you’re playing Russian Roulette.'

Lady Gaga, real name Stefani Germanotta, admits her early sexual experiences left her finding the act unpleasant, but she has begun to enjoy love-making with boyfriend Luc Carl, 32. She originally dated him when she was 19 before splitting, but the pair reconciled last June.

She explained: 'I never actually enjoyed sex until two years ago. It was a proper monogamous relationship in which I felt free enough to trust and I had enough self love.