Πέμπτη, 13 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

marilena: Τι πρέπει να έχει το ...i phone 6 !!!! ΕΛΕΟΣ.....

marilena: Τι πρέπει να έχει το ...i phone 6 !!!! ΕΛΕΟΣ.....: What the next iPhone should have 1) Better signal reception.  I live in a rural area where the mobile signal is variable at best; thoug...

Τι πρέπει να έχει το ...i phone 6 !!!! ΕΛΕΟΣ.....

What the next iPhone should have

1) Better signal reception. I live in a rural area where the mobile signal is variable at best; though it's possible to get a signal in the kitchen standing at the end of the table, moving a few inches to left or right can kill it to zero. When I've tried Samsung smartphones and non-smartphones on the same network in the same location, they seem to handle it fine.
2) Longer battery life. Of course, everyone says they want this, but the iPhone is again not a great contender. The iPhone 4S in particular hasshorter standby battery life than the iPhone 4, for reasons that have never been explained (though might be due to the heftier CPU). Certainly I've found that after a day consisting of a couple of hours' music listening, in parallel with a few hours' email, web and app use plus some phone calls, that the iPhone falls gasping across the threshold as you arrive home.
Other makers (Samsung again, and RIM's BlackBerrys, and to a lesser extent Nokia's new Lumias) do better here. Perhaps the addition of an LTE capability with a larger screen (both anticipated) will mean a bigger battery capacity – so that if you're not using 4G, you'll get more battery time. I certainly hope so.
3) Android's "pattern unlock" system. Since I first used it on the first Android phone (the G1), I've liked this system enormously. You have a 3x3 grid of dots: you swipe a pattern (which you decide) to unlock it. Much quicker and easier to get right than numeric pins you type in. Obviously, to offer this Apple would have to license the patent from Google – and that's unlikely to happen in a hurry.
4) A "scripting language" to tie together multiple functions. Sometimes you want to turn off your Wi-Fi or turn off your 3G at the same time that you start a new app, or set an alarm for 15 minutes' time unless you receive a phone call, or any number of combined actions. That's when you need to be able to chain together functions from different settings or apps. Desktop OSs have this (Apple has a language called "Applescript"), and Android has an app that uses it in the form of Tasker. As smartphones get smarter, we need to make them simpler to use by putting programs together.
There are some signs that Apple is doing something like this, with apatent on a system to change smartphone settings by location, but that falls a little short. Also, the strings of actions you want to trigger aren't necessarily location-dependent; it might depend on time, or battery level, or location.
5) More control of phone functions using Siri. Though everyone was dismissive about Siri when it was introduced, I have found it increasingly effective: having a phone with a multi-digit numeric lock means that it's often faster to tell Siri "Tell X I'm on my way over" and have that sent as a text message than to unlock the phone, go to the Messages app, type a name and type a message. I can also walk while Siri does the hard work, which means I get there sooner.
Voice control is surprisingly liberating once you start using it enough. Get a pair of headphones with a mic and you don't have to take the phone out of your pocket.
But what's missing is the ability to use Siri to turn functions such as Wi-Fi on or off, or to launch apps (you can launch apps in iOS6), or trigger a chain of actions created by your scripting language as above. (Obviously you'd want to block: "Siri, factory reset.") There's a whole landscape of voice-controlled potential out there just waiting to be used.
6) A bigger screen. It's not that high on my list, but it's definitely a good thing in a phone. In time I can see phones becoming more like Samsung's Galaxy Note with its 5in screen: you control it mostly without having to see it (by voice), and then bring it out when you do want to interact with the screen, which because it's big offers the best interaction. Samsung is definitely on the right track with the Note.
7) Better use of colour to indicate status in the status bar at the top of the screen. At the moment they're monochrome; but it would be useful to know whether the phone signal is strong or weak through coloured bars (red, orange, green) as well as the number of bars; ditto for Wi-Fi and battery. It means at-a-glance understanding of what the phone's state is.
8) Less intrusive notifications. The introduction of notifications in the status bar in iOS5 (which people say copy Android, but are actually much more like Palm's webOS – because the engineer came from Palm) is great: it's a very quick way to find out what's new. But they have an annoying habit of covering navigation elements at the top of any onscreen page.
That means that if you're in a hurry and haven't been using your phone and have a lot of notifications, they keep rolling over the element and getting in your way; you have to flick them out of the way like flies, and there's a high risk of hitting a notification instead of an element, and getting yanked over to the notifying app. This is really annoying. Perhaps a larger screen will solve this by putting more space between status bar and the onscreen elements. Here's hoping.
9) 4G/LTE. We know this is coming, but it would be good to have the option of the superfast speeds it offers, even at the cost of burning through one's battery in an hour or so.
10) Wireless charging. Nokia got here first with the Lumia 920 (and HP before that with the TouchPad tablet). It is indubitably cool to be able to dump a phone in a cradle without attachments and then grab it up when you need it.
Update: one remark on Twitter was "it appears a 'Samsung Android' already answers a number of your iPhone X requirements". That's true except in one key area: user experience. In my opinion, the iOS experience is better than Android in lots of subtle ways that cumulatively all add up. Samsung's TouchWiz slows phones down (to give juddering scrolling); HTC's interface is the nicest I've tried.
Update: Android's notifications in Gingerbread, still the most widely used Android OS, aren't as informative as those on iOS5; they don't have content, just the fact that you have a message. Android 4.x does provide more detail in notifications.

Things I'm not expecting to see in the next iPhone

1) Fingerprint reading. I know Apple is buying Authentec, but it won't have had time to incorporate it.
2) NFC. There's no indication that Apple has yet decided that it wants to take on the monster that is cashless payments just yet. Perhaps in a year's time.
3) A 5in screen. It will be bigger than the present 3.5in (measured diagonally), but not that big.
4) Face recognition/unlocking. Google has the patent on that.
5) Curved screen. The rumours abound, but it just doesn't sound like what Apple would do.
6) Haptic feedback. It's an idea whose time will (probably) come one day, but almost certainly not on phones.

marilena: i PHONE 5

marilena: i PHONE 5: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2012/sep/12/iphone5-features-review-apple-video http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2012...





Apple iPhone 5

iPhone 5: What does it mean for developers and apps?

Swift updates in store for the short term, but hopes of better App Store discovery features frustrated for now.
Apple's iPhone 5 launch held few surprises on the hardware front, thanks to the barrage of pretty-accurate leaks in the weeks leading up to the event. But now the new handset has been unveiled – as well as a newiPod touch – what are the implications for developers?
Well. In the short-term, plenty of apps will be updated to fill that new four-inch screen, although it's not an urgent task. As shown during the launch, existing apps will simply be centered on the new screen, so developers can take a bit more time to figure out how to best make use of that additional space.
Games developers will be digesting the potential of the device's new A6 processor, which Apple claims is twice as fast as its predecessor, the A5. Spiffier graphics, then – the phrase "console-quality" will become even more bandied-about in the months to come.
Yet as the demo of Real Racing 3 at the event showed, innovation is as likely to come from canny use of Apple's software as from its hardware: the idea of "time-shifted multiplayer" sounded like a silly attempt to rebrand ghost racing, before EA's Rob Murray explained that players will be able to bump their friends' cars and affect their times – even if that friend raced the day before.
The iPhone 5's improved camera will be welcomed by various genres of apps, from augmented reality to barcode-scanners. Evolution rather than revolution, to use a hackneyed but still-appropriate phrase.
Meanwhile, that new dock connector was so thoroughly leaked that it's unlikely to put the wind up the burgeoning "appcessories" industry (yes, a word used seriously by real companies). As Apple's Phil Schiller noted, a lot of the interesting stuff happening around accessories involves wireless connectivity now, rather than plugs and docks.
So yes, nice hardware, but nothing seismic from the point of view of developers in the iPhone 5 itself. It will sell in its tens of millions very quickly, so the business case for supporting its particular specs (screen, processor etc) is clear – something that could also be said of flagship Android handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S III.
In truth, the bigger news for app developers tonight was getting a date for the rollout of Apple's iOS 6 software – 19 September – which is when we can expect a blizzard of updates taking advantage of the new features in that. Again, no panic: developers have had iOS 6 betas since WWDC earlier in the summer, and the consumer-launch date is as expected.
Developers will be zooming out for a wider view of Apple's product family for iOS: the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 as the current models on sale, as well as the new iPod touch – all with Retina displays, albeit now at two sizes rather than one.
As ever, the fact that older iPhones are dropping in price is meaningful for developers if it brings another influx of upgraders into the iOS ecosystem.
There will be legacy models to support too: the old iPod touch remains on sale at a cheaper price, while the iPhone 3GS is seemingly off-sale, but will still get iOS 6. And, of course, there are the three iPad models to consider too – we'll save the iPad mini discussion for October.
In short, iOS will be a bit more fragmented, but sales of the two new devices with the four-inch screens are likely to be high enough to justify the costs of supporting them. Again, not a surprise.

Recommendations improvement

If there was a disappointment for developers tonight, it came in the segment of the presentation that covered iTunes, and specifically the redesigned App Store on iOS devices – more than two thirds of Apple's content downloads happen on these, but since that includes music and films, I'd be willing to bet the percentage is higher for apps specifically.
Developers have already had a look at the new App Store in the iOS 6 betas. It's clean and elegant, and the Facebook integration should spur a bit more word-of-mouth buzz.
A bit? Well, it relies on people recommending an app at the point of purchase – i.e. before they even download it – or going back in to find its page on the App Store later. Developers integrating Facebook Likes into the apps themselves is more likely to move the needle in this area.
The disappointment comes in the silence about how app recommendations startup Chomp's technology is being built into the App Store following its acquisition earlier this year.
Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue referred to "improved search results" during his section of the presentation, but from his demonstration, this looked more like Google's autocomplete suggestions than full-on Chomp-style recommendations.
To put this another way: app developers knew Apple's iPhone 5 would be an improved version of its predecessor; they knew the on-device App Store was getting a makeover; and they know that all the new iOS devices will sell like hot cakes, thus continuing to expand the potential market for their apps.
With 700,000 iOS apps now available in the App Store, though, developers are keen to see what changes Apple has up its sleeves to significantly shake up recommendation and discovery on the store beyond a nicer design. We didn't quite get that today.
Even so, iPhone 5 bolsters iOS' position as the first-choice mobile platform for the majority of app developers, not least because Apple continues to do a good job of selling the dream – a theme I wrote about last week following Nokia's Lumia launch.
The dream in this case was epitomised by the two external developers on-stage at the iPhone 5 launch: Rob Murray of EA Studios – formerly of Flight Control and Real Racing developer Firemint until it was acquired – and Torsten Reil of NaturalMotion.
Four years ago, Firemint was an unknown indie developer and NaturalMotion was best known for its (console) physics engine technology. Real Racing is now a bona-fide AAA racing franchise, while NaturalMotion made $12m in a single month from its CSR Racing iOS game earlier this year.
iPhone 5 is an impressive piece of hardware, but so is the Galaxy S III, Lumia 920 and so on. It's the dream of joining the companies above and other shooting stars in the iOS ecosystem that will linger with app developers.


APPLE i phone 5....

iPhone 5

• Released: September 2012
• Screen size: 4"
• Operating system: iOS 6
• Camera: 8MP
• Cost: £529 for pay-as-you-go 16GB model from Apple


"If you have an iPhone 4S the only real feature is the new screen, as most of iOS 6 will be available to you, and having to purchase new cables to go with the smaller dock will be a pain. If you have an iPhone 4 or older, however, then the new iPhone 5 offers a number of new features that you'll love. It's an incremental update, but looks like a great one nonetheless."



marilena: Apple shows the iPhone 5 !!!

marilena: Apple shows the iPhone 5 !!!: Apple refreshes its gadgets: The Group has presented in San Francisco, the iPhone 5 and new iPods.  The new smartphone has a 4-inch displ...

Apple shows the iPhone 5 !!!

Apple refreshes its gadgets: The Group has presented in San Francisco, the iPhone 5 and new iPods. The new smartphone has a 4-inch display dominates the faster LTE wireless data. All news by the minute protocol.

Foo Fighters live
[20.42 clock] Apple CEO Tim Cook still holds together times, thanks Apple employees who "do the job of their lives" - and gets the Foo Fighters on stage.The play now live in front of a huge company logo an acoustic version of their song "Times Like These".
+ + + + + + New Headphones
[20.33 Clock] This gadget autumn freshness continues - but no further surprises. As was announced earlier, polished Apple on his headphones. What ever happened to the secrecy that enhance Apple CEO Tim Cook did it again? Has not been working well. The group claims to have worked for three years at the "EarPods". That there's now with all Apple gadgets.iPods from the end of September, 49 U.S. dollars Shuffle, Nano 16GB $ 149. New iPod Touch with 32 GB for $ 299, 64 GB for $ 399. But that's a lot of money, Nintendo and Sony charge for their games handhelds less. Was it?
+ + + + + + New Touch
[20.21 clock] After the comparatively cheap Apple iPod Nano Anfixprodukt Joswiak shows a new iPod Touch. The small game Tablet gets from the iPhone 5 display known, is six millimeters thick and weighs 88 grams, the gaming system gets a camera with flash and autofocus, but can not compete with the iPhone. What interested especially teenagers should: Apple has provided an eye on a bracelet - called Loop - and fix Klimbim leave. Apple meets its customers. That it would have under the perfectionist Steve Jobs does not seem to be met!
+ + + + + + + New Nano
[20.17 clock] 5.4 mm, the new music player iPod Nano is thin, the shows now Greg Joswiak. Equipped with 2.5-inch multi-touch display, provides the MP3 player from virtually like a shrunken iPhone. A radio is integrated with pause function keys, as well as Bluetooth wireless.
+ + + + + + New iTunes
[20.10 clock] Apple has its music and device management software, iTunes finally overtaken. iTunes Eddy Cue Manager shows the new interface. Last iTunes had overcharged and worked especially complicated. The software is now tied more closely to the online store for music, movies and series. In late October, will come to the patch.
+ + + Apple delivers from 21 September + + +
[20.01 Clock] from 14 Preorders September, from 21 delivery September in the USA, Germany and seven other countries. The prices remain the same. Agreement with 199, 299, 399 dollars for models with 16, 32 and 64 GB from $ 99 iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 for free with contract. iOS 6 comes on 19 September, owners of older devices will receive a free update. This is bitter for Nokia - the company has just presented its new smartphones based on Windows 8, but so far can give a date for delivery.
+ + + Siri speaks with Facebook + + +
[19.54 clock] The language assistant Siri, Apple has taught new features, the software can now, for example, also receive Facebook status messages. The control of smartphones with voice commands is the height of fashion, Google has its Android devices donated a similar function. But back to the iPhone 5, which will be available in black and white . Phil Schiller comes to the end of his presentation.That was less than an hour. Comes as a surprise?
+ + + IOS 6 with new maps + + +
[19.47 clock] Where to stay because the surprises? Continue with the operating system iOS 6th Almost everything that Scott Forstall shows and says, we know from the first presentation of the software in June . It begins with the new Maps app that will replace Google Maps. A navigation function is built - looks very nice, the computer voice sounds very digital. Hopefully soon he reveals, when you get the update at last.
+ + + New Port for the next decade + + +
[19.43 clock] A third new microphone and speakers to the sound recordings of phone calls and the iPhone 5 upgrade. The new port, with the Apple phone is connected to computer and accessories, has become actually much smaller. The connection is called "Lightning", Phil Schiller promises that he will be used the next ten years. The old connector has lasted at least six years at the iPhone. And of course there is an adapter for all the accessories that Apple customers have been.
+ + + Better camera, longer battery life + + +
[19.32 clock] The battery should last longer than the previous model - and the 8-megapixel camera now has a low-light mode, which will allow better pictures in dark places. It should be faster and less noise than before - badly needed to camera against smartphones such as the Nokia Lumia 920 to arrive. The iPhone camera is now an integrated panorama feature that can assemble images in full resolution.
Can + + + + + + LTE iPhone now
[19.21 clock] as expected. The new iPhone dominates the fast LTE wireless standard, and the world. In Germany, Apple is working with Deutsche Telekom, as seen on a map of Europe. The new Apple A6 chip is smaller, but is twice as fast as the A5 in the iPhone 4S, says Schiller.
+ + + "This is the iPhone 5" + + +
[19.16 clock] marketing chief Phil Schiller shows the iPhone 5 It looks like you could see it on the Internet in advance leaked photos: Slightly longer than an iPhone 4S. 7.6 mm thick, 112 grams, or 20 percent lighter than the previous top model. The new has a 4-inch display with a resolution of 1136 x 640 pixels, the pixel density remains unchanged. The new display has 44 percent more color saturation and an integrated touch screen, so it can be built thinner. All apps should work the same way as before, said Philip Schiller.
+ + + Hundreds of apps per user + + +
[19.12 clock] Some more numbers: give the App Store is now 700,000 apps, says Cook, 250,000 optimized for the iPad. All users have downloaded an average of more than 100. It continues with marketing chief Phil Schiller. Now it's all about iPhone.
+ + + Tim Cook and the Stars + + +
[19.07 clock] Beautiful, best, greatest figures: Tim Cook starts with the Apple ritual. He praises iMacs, MacBook Retina and OS X 10.8. Apple have now in the U.S., the largest market share in notebooks. Then moves on to the iPad: 17 million units were sold from April to June. A total of 84 million units since its launch. The iPad's share of web traffic through tablets amounts to 91 percent. Cook: "I wonder what the other tablets."

Apple has a new smartphone: marketing chief Phil Schiller was in San ..
Apple has a new smartphone: marketing chief Phil Schiller unveiled in San Francisco, the iPhone 5.  
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter and larger.
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter and larger.

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Only new success numbers, then the new iPhone

+ + + Apple celebrates itself as "Lonely Boy" + + +
[19.01 clock] To the sounds of "Lonely Boy" by the Black Keys launches the Apple event in San Francisco - the first swipe at the competition. The last, however, has caught up with mighty big screens and fast processors.Apple CEO Tim Cook will start as usual: "What we've done in recent months." As an example, he points to open an Apple store in Barcelona.
+ + + + + + Cozy crowd
[18.35 clock] shows the AppleiPhone 5 , which is probably safe: The Group has invited journalists to San Francisco, and London to a presentation by 19 clock of our time here we go. Since 2007, so far five different iPhone models are released. Now, follow the sixth version of the successful phone - confusingly, it could be called iPhone 5. In addition to the smartphone also a new iPod Touch and a new iPod Nano is expected. In London,Matthias Kremp live on the Apple event, where some 200 journalists urge comfortable, sitting in the office in Hamburg Ole Reissmann .
Start to the event, you could be interested in here:
  • What is the iPhone 5: Despite secrecy even weeks before the presentation, photos of individual parts and even entire smartphones been photographed.We sorted through the rumors.
  • At the bottom at Foxconn: A journalist has infiltrated the Chinese iPhone maker and documented the conditions in which smartphones are manufactured.
  • Economic factor iPhone 5: Will Apple's smartphone success, it could lead the U.S. to greater economic growth in the fourth quarter, JP Morgan calculated.

Τετάρτη, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012


marilena: Is the U.S. election keeping Greece in the euro? B...

marilena: Is the U.S. election keeping Greece in the euro? B...: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/12/opinion/athens-postcard/index.html?hpt=hp_c2 Many Athenians fear Europe is waiting until the U.S. el...

Is the U.S. election keeping Greece in the euro? By Yanis Varoufakis, Special to CNN September 12, 2012 -- Updated 1038 GMT (1838 HKT)


As U.S. voters prepare to head to the polls, Greeks remain in the dark over whether European bailout plans will allow them to remain in the euro.

Many Athenians fear Europe is waiting until the U.S. election is decided before cutting Greece loose from the euro, says Yanis Varoufakis.

Τρίτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

marilena: Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact ...

marilena: Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact ...: There is evidence that poor diet is one cause of Alzheimer's. If ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, this is it. ...

Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food

There is evidence that poor diet is one cause of Alzheimer's. If ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, this is it.

Junk food chips

Because regulation is light, the industry can kill off the only effective system for telling us how much fat, sugar and salt food contains. Photograph: Brownstock Inc/Alamy
When you raise the subject of over-eating and obesity, you often see people at their worst. The comment threads discussing these issues reveal a legion of bullies who appear to delight in other people's problems.
When alcoholism and drug addiction are discussed, the tone tends to be sympathetic. When obesity is discussed, the conversation is dominated by mockery and blame, though the evidence suggests that it may be driven by similar forms of addiction.
I suspect that much of this mockery is a coded form of snobbery: the strong association between poor diets and poverty allows people to use this issue as a cipher for something else they want to say, which is less socially acceptable.
But this problem belongs to all of us. Even if you can detach yourself from the suffering caused by diseases arising from bad diets, you will carry the cost, as a growing proportion of the health budget will be used to address them. The cost – measured in both human suffering and money – could be far greater than we imagined. A large body of evidence now suggests that Alzheimer's is primarily a metabolic disease. Some scientists have gone so far as to rename it: they call it type 3 diabetes.
New Scientist carried this story on its cover on 1 September; since then I've been sitting in the library, trying to discover whether it stands up. I've now read dozens of papers on the subject, testing my cognitive powers to the limit as I've tried to get to grips with brain chemistry. Though the story is by no means complete, the evidence so far is compelling.
About 35 million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease worldwide; current projections, based on the rate at which the population ages, suggest that this will rise to 100 million by 2050. But if, as many scientists now believe, it is caused largely by the brain's impaired response to insulin, the numbers could rise much further. In the United States, the percentage of the population with type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to obesity, has almost trebled in 30 years. If Alzheimer's, or "type 3 diabetes", goes the same way, the potential for human suffering is incalculable.
Insulin is the hormone that prompts the liver, muscles and fat to absorb sugar from the blood. Type 2 diabetes is caused by excessive blood glucose, resulting either from a deficiency of insulin produced by the pancreas, or resistance to its signals by the organs that would usually take up the glucose.
The association between Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes is long-established: type 2 sufferers are two to three times more likely to be struck by this form of dementia than the general population. There are also associations between Alzheimer's and obesity and Alzheimer's and metabolic syndrome (a complex of diet-related pathologies).
Researchers first proposed that Alzheimer's was another form of diabetes in 2005. The authors of the original paper investigated the brains of 54 corpses, 28 of which belonged to people who had died of the disease. They found that the levels of both insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the brains of Alzheimer's patients were much lower than those in the brains of people who had died of other causes. Levels were lowest in the parts of the brain most affected by the disease.
Their work led them to conclude that insulin and insulin-like growth factor are produced not only in the pancreas but also in the brain. Insulin in the brain has a host of functions: as well as glucose metabolism, it helps to regulate the transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another, and affects their growth, plasticity and survival.
Experiments conducted since then seem to support the link between diet and dementia, and researchers have begun to propose potential mechanisms. In common with all brain chemistry, these tend to be fantastically complex, involving, among other impacts, inflammation, stress caused by oxidation, the accumulation of one kind of brain protein and the transformation of another. I would need the next six pages of this paper even to begin to explain them, and would doubtless get it wrong (if you're interested, please follow the links on my website).
Plenty of research still needs to be done. But, if the current indications are correct, Alzheimer's disease could be another catastrophic impact of the junk food industry, and the worst discovered so far. Our governments, as they are in the face of all our major crises, seem to be incapable of responding.
In this country, as in many others, the government's answer to the multiple disasters caused by the consumption of too much sugar and fat is to call on both companies and consumers to regulate themselves. Before he was replaced by someone even worse, the former health secretary, Andrew Lansley, handed much of the responsibility for improving the nation's diet to food and drink companies – a strategy that would work only if they volunteered to abandon much of their business.
A scarcely regulated food industry can engineer its products – loading them with fat, salt, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – to bypass the neurological signals that would otherwise prompt people to stop eating. It can bombard both adults and children with advertising. It can (as we discovered yesterday) use the freedom granted to academy schools to sell the chocolate, sweets and fizzy drinks now banned from sale in maintained schools. It can kill off the only effective system (the traffic-light label) for informing people how much fat, sugar and salt their food contains. Then it can turn to the government and blame consumers for eating the products it sells. This is class war, a war against the poor fought by the executive class in government and industry.
We cannot yet state unequivocally that poor diet is a leading cause of Alzheimer's disease, though we can say that the evidence is strong and growing. But if ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, here it is. It's not as if we lose anything by eating less rubbish. Averting a possible epidemic of this devastating disease means taking on the bullies – both those who mock people for their pathology and those who spread the pathology by peddling a lethal diet.


marilena: The strangest ways to get pregnant Will hot bricks...

marilena: The strangest ways to get pregnant Will hot bricks...: Blueberry jam: to be eaten or, um, applied topically? Photograph: Rob Stark/Alamy "You can't take fertility advice from a woman w...

The strangest ways to get pregnant Will hot bricks, needles and blueberry jam really help me conceive? My friends and relatives seem to think so

Blueberry jam

Blueberry jam: to be eaten or, um, applied topically? Photograph: Rob Stark/Alamy
"You can't take fertility advice from a woman who says you need to take two hot bricks, spread honey on them, and fan your fanny with the vapour!"
"Why not?" I thought. Women have done worse to get knocked up.
Ed and I have been trying for a baby for a few years. Like many couples we met late in life. He was 44, and my eggs were past their sell-by date. So we thought we better get a move on with the baby-making. Being British-Pakistani we were offered twice the advice most couples with unexplained infertility are – medical and familial.
I've tried acupuncture with good and bad results. The good sessions had my sisters asking what voodoo had turned their uptight elder sibling into a "love for all, hatred for none" hippy. When the shop went into administration taking half my sessions with it, I tried somewhere else, and ended up alone in a room with a geriatric practitioner who made a clicking sound with her mouth and shook her head when I told her my age. She left me with a bump the size of a plum on the side of my head.
Everyone is now interested in my menstrual cycle, including my mother. Newly diagnosed with cancer, she called me from her hospital bed. Overwhelmed with emotion I asked how she was, only to hear her say: "Yes, yes, but have you started your period?"
She has sent me parcels through the post that I've excitedly opened, only to find them full of herbs and twigs, and bits of moss. They're from the Traditional Chinese Medicine woman who visits Bradford twice a week. The one time I met her she checked my pulse, glanced at my tongue and told me my insides were "rubbish". I'm supposed to boil the herbs in a cup and a half of water and drink the resultant mixture. You'd think that at £45 a pop it would taste a little better than mouldy feet.
The hot bricks have been the highlight, and were advised by a lovely woman whose heart is in the right place. I'm not sure the same can be said for her mind. She offered to come over and "help administer" the remedy, which she said, would clean my fallopian tubes. After picking up his dropped jaw my husband asked: "Can we not just have sex instead? They tell me that works." I politely declined. The fallopian cleanse, that is. Not the sex.
She's also had me eating some grey stuff from her village. I'm told this "pind powder" has helped many a barren woman conceive. It tastes like sawdust, I don't know what's in it, but I do know that she crossed a cornfield in the dead of night with only a lantern and a manservant for company to collect it. After that kind of investment how could I not take it?
Needless to say, it didn't work. Ed is clearly not up for the baby juju: "With those odds we should bottle the stuff, become millionaires, and buy a baby!" Then again, he was accosted by an ageing uncle at a family gathering, and told he needed to cover his willy in blueberry jam. Apparently, it was a mixup and the actual advice should have been to eat the stuff.
After two years of trying the radical we're finally turning to the medical and embarking on IVF. Appointment all set for next month, fingers crossed, legs uncrossed!

marilena: An Unexpected U-Turn Why Merkel Wants To Keep Gree...

marilena: An Unexpected U-Turn Why Merkel Wants To Keep Gree...: By Konstantin von Hammerstein, Christian Reiermann and  Christoph Schult Officers from Greece's police, fire brigade and coast gu...

An Unexpected U-Turn Why Merkel Wants To Keep Greece in Euro Zone

By Konstantin von Hammerstein, Christian Reiermann and Christoph Schult

Officers from Greece's police, fire brigade and coast guard stage a symbolic hanging in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens on Sept. 6. to protest against austerity policies.

Officers from Greece's police, fire brigade and coast guard stage a symbolic hanging in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens on Sept. 6. to protest against austerity policies.
Angela Merkel has made a surprising U-turn in her policy on Greece. The German chancellor now wants to stop Athens from leaving the euro zone at all costs -- even if it means massaging the figures in the upcoming troika report. For the German leader, it is essential to avoid the consequences of a Grexit before national elections next year.

Mantras are short, formulaic phrases that are repeated over and over for meditative purposes. They can be spoken, sung, whispered, recited mentally or even written down and eaten.
The German chancellor has recently opted for the spoken variety, which is the conventional form. Angela Merkel's mantra consists of a short German sentence. It translates as: "We are waiting for the troika report." She repeats it whenever the opportunity arises -- such as two weeks ago, when Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visited Berlin.
One doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to see through Merkel's maneuver: The chancellor wants to buy time. She hopes to calm the general public and the notoriously nervous financial markets through meditative repetition -- and ultimately create the impression that it actually matters what the troika finds out during its mission to Greece.
But it doesn't. In reality, Merkel has already made up her mind. After long hesitation, she has sided with French President François Hollande and the European Commission. The report from the troika -- which consists of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) and which departed on its fact-finding tour last week -- will undoubtedly conclude that Greece can remain in the euro zone.
Newfound Determination
If that happens, more money can flow again into the debt-ridden Balkan nation this fall. If the chancellor has her way, though, there will be no third aid program for Greece, which would have to be approved by the German parliament, the Bundestag.
Merkel's newfound determination to rescue Greece is a remarkable U-turn for the chancellor. Until recently, Merkel was prepared to drop the country if it failed to meet its commitments. But she now regards a Greek departure from the euro zone as entailing too many risks.
In the Chancellery in Berlin, officials fear that such an outcome could trigger a domino effect like the one caused by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September 2008. At the time, the collapse of the New York investment bank plunged the entire global economy into chaos. In Germany alone, the economy shrank by 5 percent and hundreds of thousands lost their jobs.
But the political costs are also too high for Merkel. If Greece withdrew from the euro zone, her advisers fear that this could mean that it would eventually be necessary to create a common "debt union" to stabilize problem countries like Italy and Spain. It would be a paradoxical situation: Germany would take a hard-line approach with Greece, but might subsequently have to accept jointly issued euro bonds, which German voters widely oppose.
On Ice
The enormous political pressure in this direction is exemplified by the ECB'scontroversial decision last Thursday to purchase, if necessary, unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds from struggling euro-zone member states.
So the chancellor has made up her mind, and will now continue to muddle along as usual. The problem will be put on ice for now, and re-addressed sometime after the 2013 Bundestag election -- when the current rescue program has ended.
It's clear, though, that it will probably take decades for cash-strapped Greece to modernize itself. "Greece is an Oriental country," says former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in a SPIEGEL interview.
The risks and possible side effects of Merkel's approach are obvious. Once Greece receives more money, the danger increases that the government in Athens will postpone its promised reforms. It wouldn't be the first time.
'Maximum Pressure'
When Greek Prime Minister Samaras visited Berlin recently, he was left in the dark about the degree to which the Germans' view has changed. Instead, Merkel announced internally that it was necessary to continue to exert "maximum pressure" on the prime minister so he would implement the required reforms. At the same time, she praised her counterpart from Athens. Merkel said that Samaras is playing a "historic role" for his country, adding that she was very impressed with what he had to say: "We have to give him a chance."
And Merkel intends to see that he soon gets his opportunity. Her plan calls for the troika's report to present the situation in Greece as less disastrous than previously expected, as this is a necessary prerequisite for disbursement of the next tranche of aid. "We have to find a solution," Merkel instructed her staff last week.
It is the envoys of IMF head Christine Lagarde who are primarily balking at the idea of painting a picture of Greece's situation that is rosier than the reality. But Merkel is optimistic that they will eventually go along with her approach. The IMF statutes may be strict, but the agreements with aid recipients -- in this case Greece -- nevertheless offer a great deal of leeway.
This embellishment of reality could succeed thanks to the top-down method, which is popular in the world of business. It involves doggedly changing the parameters of a model until the desired result is produced.
Changing the Variables
The core of the troika report is the so-called debt sustainability analysis. It calculates the conditions that would be needed to reduce Greece's debt to the halfway tolerable level of 120 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020. Troika insiders say that this calculation may be a great many things, but a precise scientific forecast is not one of them.
Only one variable needs to be changed to produce the desired result. The troika experts have experience in this regard. In February, when the Euro Group of finance ministers decided on the last program for Greece, they spent four hours conducting calculations before they reached a debt-to-GDP ratio of 120 percent. It's an exercise that can easily be repeated.
The troika could thus certify that the Greeks have made progress. According to this scenario, the inevitable financing gaps would be downplayed as a regrettable but merely temporary departure from the plan -- and one that must be coped with as part of the current second rescue program. After all, the shortfalls cannot be too great, or a third rescue program might be necessary.
And that is something that must be avoided at all costs. A third package, as the Germans have already indicated to their European partners, would have no chance of being approved by the Bundestag. As a result, there is not to be any additional money for Greece. Instead, Berlin intends to alter the current -- second -- rescue program to make it look like Greece is making ends meet, at least for the time being.
Kicking the Can Down the Road
But how? One variant might work like this: If the Greeks need more money in the fall, the payment tranche will be increased accordingly. Later transfers would be reduced in return. This approach would present a decisive advantage for the chancellor. It would not become apparent until 2014, when the rescue program expires, whether the money had been sufficient or not. But that would already be many months after the Bundestag election.
Amending the current rescue package doesn't require the Bundestag's approval. The chancellor nevertheless intends to submit the changes to parliament for a vote. Merkel has reportedly told close aides that she remains confident that she will be able to win majority backing for the amendments when the time comes.
Even if most members of parliament reject the idea of a third aid program, they would still be highly reluctant to support a move that would result in Greece leaving the euro zone -- and Merkel believes that this would certainly happen if the current program isn't amended.
Furthermore, it looks like the crucial troika report will be delayed. It was originally supposed to be prepared by late August, and the next tranche of funding approved in September. Last week, however, officials in Brussels said that Greece's fate would probably not be decided until early November -- partly out of consideration for the United States. President Barack Obama is not inclined to allow his re-election to be jeopardized by an escalation of the euro crisis. Sources in Brussels say that postponing the report is not a problem because the government in Athens has enough money to see it through until then.
New Found Affection

Attentive observers already noticed the chancellor's apparent change of heart two weeks ago. Merkel, whose father was a pastor in communist Eastern Germany, has suddenly discovered a deep affection for the downtrodden people of Greece. She compassionately expressed empathy for "what many in Greece have to suffer," and said that "it does make one's heart bleed."
Up until this point in time, Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, were seen as supporters of the "chain theory." According to this theory, the monetary union is a chain in which each individual country forms a link. Since Greece is the weakest link, if it leaves, as the theory has it, the chain will become stronger overall.
But since this summer, the majority of Merkel's advisers have now become supporters of the "domino theory," which postulates that the monetary union would not become stronger if Greece exits. On the contrary: If Greece falls, one country after the other could then be in danger of toppling.
Domino theorists argue that the impact on the economy, growth and employment would be catastrophic and incalculable. But one thing remains clear: If Greece falls, Germany will have to pay -- and the bill will come to almost exactly €62 billion ($79 billion). This is the colossal sum that the Greeks and their central bank owe the Germans. The entire amount would all have to be written off.
Falling Dominos
And that wouldn't be the end of the story. In order to protect the remaining financially weak countries like Portugal and Ireland, along with Spain and Italy, hundreds of billions of euros would have to be mobilized. But how? There are three possibilities: larger rescue packages, euro bonds or a kind of mutual liability insurance. But no matter what instrument is used, it would ultimately be much more expensive for Germany if Greece leaves the euro zone.
The domino theorists won out in the end. Everything that moves in the direction of a debt or liability union is a nightmare scenario for the chancellor. She knows that the majority of Germans reject euro bonds or the notion of assuming other country's debts. It could jeopardize her re-election next year.
What's more, the domino theory fraction in Merkel's circles has received support from, of all people, a man who has tended to place himself in opposition to the chancellor over the past few weeks: Jens Weidmann, the president of Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank. Weidmann, who once served as Merkel's economic adviser, now also thinks that it would be better for Germany in the long run if Greece remained in the euro zone.
But one of Merkel's more important allies still remains a chain theorist. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has indicated to his fellow members of the Euro Group that he sees a Greek exit as an acceptable risk.
During a visit to the Netherlands, Schäuble reportedly told his Dutch counterpart Jan Kees de Jager that this was the only way that German voters could be convinced to keep the rest of the community together and de facto subsidize countries like Spain and Italy with rescue programs for years to come. At first glance, this position might seem to contradict Schäuble's image as a dedicated European. But in reality he wants to strengthen the euro as a political project by reducing the size of the common currency zone.
'Big Picture'
Merkel takes another view. According to her close aides, she is keeping her eye on the "big picture." The chancellor reportedly feels that the EU cannot afford to allow democracy to falter in a member state. She also points out that Greece is a NATO member and an important ally in the eastern Mediterranean -- a region that has enough flashpoints as it is.
But Merkel also sees domestic politics as an integral part of the big picture. Her new, lenient approach has the advantage that it could allow her to reach the election next September without the turbulence of a Greek exit from the monetary union. In return, she is prepared to play for high stakes.

If everything goes her way, the change in tranche payments will have no serious consequences within the second rescue program. She is putting off dealing with Greece until sometime in the future. If she's lucky, the Greeks will have gotten back on their feet by then, and will need less money because the reforms pursued in their country will have finally proven effective.
If she's unlucky, Merkel will be plugging holes by making new ones elsewhere -- and it may all come to a head once the Bundestag election is over.
Another possibility is that the Greek economy performs so poorly that the money runs out before the rescue package expires. This would be the worst-case scenario for Merkel. Nevertheless, she is consciously taking this risk. She sees it as manageable -- unlike a Greek exit from the euro zone.
Translated from the German by Paul Cohen

marilena: Greece: The pain behind the beauty By Mark Lowen B...

marilena: Greece: The pain behind the beauty By Mark Lowen B...: Holidaymakers in Greece this summer said the beaches were as lovely as ever and the ancient sites as fascinating as they have always b...

Greece: The pain behind the beauty By Mark Lowen BBC News, Athens

The Greek island of Santorini

Holidaymakers in Greece this summer said the beaches were as lovely as ever and the ancient sites as fascinating as they have always been. But the effects of five years of recession in the country are becoming more and more evident.
I get a little tired after a while of the endless sheet-washing, itinerary-planning and bread-buying but then, living abroad, you come to expect it.
For every summer, my humble apartment in whichever country I am posted, turns into a convenient hotel for friends, family and anybody I may have met at a party years ago, who decides they fancy a free stay.
It can get a little trying but, on the whole, I enjoy showing my guests a new city through my eyes, taking them to my favourite spots. Seeing their reaction is the interesting bit.
And nowhere more so than in Athens.
For months they have watched footage of angry street protests in the capital and heard stories of the impact of austerity. They come expecting the place to look and feel almost like a war zone.
When a visitor of mine this summer told his colleagues he was going to Athens for a few days, one seriously asked whether he would still find food in the shops.
"Where is the crisis?" said a university friend as I took him around the city. "You can't see it."
In many ways, you cannot. It is easy to spend a few days in the crowded little restaurants of the capital, ambling through the popular boutiques, sipping iced coffee on a pavement cafe beneath the Acropolis and not notice anything amiss.
Athens seems to function pretty much normally, as does the rest of the country.
Greece is at its best at this time of year. The fabulous coastline gleams in the late summer sunlight, the white stone houses of the islands draped with bougainvillea and set against the deep blue of the Aegean make this place feel like the most blessed country in Europe - not the most indebted.
Perceptions of Greece are easily warped. I met tourists this summer who said they had been on the verge of cancelling their Greek trips because of fears of unrest but, as they quaffed an ouzo on a perfect beach, they were relieved they had not.
But listen to the stories of this warm and talkative nation - that is how you find out what is really happening here.
I spent time recently with a group of elderly ladies at a day centre on the outskirts of the capital. They had gone there since retirement. The exercises and strong Greek coffee had remained the same, the talk had not.
With pensions cut and set to be reduced yet further, conversation is crisis-filled.
"I can no longer afford to buy chocolate for my grandchild," 82-year-old Maria told me, as her kindly eyes glazed over with tears. "If they cut my monthly pension even more, I'll be left with 100 euros (£80) with which to live. Am I not human?"
I could not help but think of my own late grandmothers, as I sat listening to these women who have lived through so much - wars, dictatorship - and now simply long for a comfortable old age.
But they, like so many here, are facing further savage spending cuts.
Ermioni, 84 years old and with few teeth remaining, was keen to speak.
Two women receive free potatoes in Athens

"My son asked to borrow two euros (£1.50) from me he was so desperate", she said, crying. "It was like a dagger through my heart. I can't afford to live any more. All I want is to close my eyes and never wake up."
After leaving the day centre, I went to meet an elderly man, Kostas Kokotsis, who depends on the box of free food he receives.
His home in the western suburb of Perama was like something out of Dracula - cobwebs in all corners, the sound of rats inside walls, old belongings piled everywhere, sheets soiled and unchanged.
On the table lay his mounting electricity bill that he cannot pay alongside his pension slip of 340 euros per month - a little over £250. It barely covers his rent.
In fact the tragic stories are everywhere. There is a foster-care home south of Athens that is now taking in more and more children whose parents can no longer afford to keep them.
A mother I met had given up her 10-year-old daughter last year and now comes just once a week for a snatched moment together. "It's hard not having her alongside me when I sleep or seeing her growing up," she said. "But there's no other option any more."
This is happening in a European Union country - a place of unparalleled cultural richness, of beauty, of history. How has it come to this?
You can read the theories, study the statistics and yet it still seems incomprehensible that a country can fall so far, so fast.
Those are the different faces of fascinating Greece - one sun-kissed, sophisticated, joyous, the other suffering in ways that still stun me with every tale.
It makes for a place that defies the expectations of my summer visitors and which is at once enchanting, baffling and heart-breaking.