Πέμπτη, 22 Νοεμβρίου 2012
marilena: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012 in New York: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/9696673/Macys-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-2012-in-New-York.html daily telegrap...
marilena: Which are the best countries to be born in?: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9695955/Which-are-the-best-countries-to-be-born-in.html daily telegraph
Τετάρτη, 21 Νοεμβρίου 2012
The failure of eurozone ministers to reach a deal to give Greece its latest bailout payment threatens the whole bloc, leaders have said.
Following nearly 12 hours of talks in Brussels, the Eurogroup said it needed more time for technical work.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said: "It's not only the future of our country, but the stability of the entire eurozone [that is at stake]."
France's finance minister insisted they were a "whisker" away from a deal.
The chairman of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, said ministers would meet again next week.
"Greece did what it had to do, and what it had pledged to do... whatever technical difficulties in finding a technical solution do not justify any negligence or delay," Mr Samaras said.
Greece needs the next tranche of its second bailout worth 130bn euros ($166bn; £104bn) to avoid insolvency.
The eurozone "would be threatened if we did not reach" a deal, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said, before adding that "we are very close to a deal."
"We have observed that Greece had made considerable efforts," he told Europe 1 radio.
The eurozone finance ministers have been considering ways of reducing Greece's public debt, which is projected to rise to 189% of gross domestic product (GDP) by next year.
"We believe that, eventually, eurozone leaders will agree on a deal to cut Greek debt substantially," said Martin Koehring of the Economist Intelligence Unit.
"It is not in their interest to push Greece out of the eurozone over technical disagreements. A much more likely cause for a Greek disorderly default and euro exit would be domestic political developments in Greece, highlighted by rising political instability and social unrest.
"However, our assessment remains that there is a 40% probability that Greece leaves the eurozone within the next five years."
The country's bailout programme aims to get debt down to 120% of GDP by 2020.
There has been disagreement among the ministers and the International Monetary Fund, Greece's other bailout creditor, on how to make the country's debt manageable.
"The Eurogroup has had an extensive discussion and made progress in identifying a consistent package of credible initiatives aimed at making a further substantial contribution to the sustainability of Greek government debt," Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.
The eurozone ministers favour giving Greece an extra two years, to 2022, to bring its debt to 120% of GDP, but the IMF has resisted that extension.
Although the meeting wrapped up in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Brussels without a conclusion, earlier on Tuesday night there had been optimism a deal would be reached.
The French finance minister Pierre Moscovici said: "I have the impression that a political agreement is within reach."
The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, insisted: "We're going to work very constructively to see if we can find a solution for Greece. That's what really is our goal, our purpose and our mission."
So far, Greece has received nearly 149bn euros (£119bn; $191bn) from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, out of 240bn euros that has been approved in two bailout loans.
Δευτέρα, 19 Νοεμβρίου 2012
marilena: TΟ ΠΝΕΥΜΑ ΤΩΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥΓΕΝΝΩΝ....ΕΚΤΟΣ....ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ: From Harrods' fairytale Disney collaboration, to Dior's extravagant take over at Printemps, Paris, dressing your Christmas window means ...
Remember the James Bond film Goldfinger and how the characters handled the gold bars without even thinking of their weight? Each gold bar at Fort Knox weighs about 12 kilos (24 pounds), as much as six six-packs of beer. But they could certainly buy you a lot more Champagne!
I witnessed gold bar production at Austria’s Oegussa company. A one kilo (two pound) gold bar is only about the size of a small mobile phone. It was impressive to hold something of so much value – as of November 15, each of the Oegussa 1 kilo gold bars would sell for 43,854 euros ($61,264).
The other side of the coin (or should I say gold bar) is where the plain gold comes from. All kinds of golden rings, bracelets, and necklaces are poured into the furnace, melting together and leaving no trace of the private stories behind the former jewellery.
The resulting massive block of gold, yet still slightly contaminated by other substances, is the base for a complex process to gain 999.9 pure gold granules eventually. They look like tiny nuggets, before they are melted a last time to be poured into molds to reach the final gold bar shape.
A couple of advertising-style photos completed my story. Too bad, I couldn’t take a “sample” home, a very, very tiny bit only, maybe…? Just kidding.
Κυριακή, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2012
MP calls for ban on sale to under-16s after 13 deaths in the US have sparked safety questions
Health authorities in the United States have launched an investigation into concentrated energy drinks after the deaths of 13 people have raised questions about their safety. And yesterday two MPs called for urgent action in Britain; one of whom wants a temporary ban on their sale to under-16s until all risks have been assessed.
The US public health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is looking into a highly potent over-the-counter product called 5-Hour Energy, which is available in Britain. A recent US government survey suggested that energy drinks could be behind as many as 13,000 Emergency Room visits a year.
Since 2009, the FDA has received 90 complaints which refer specifically to 5-Hour Energy. More than 30 of them involved life-threatening injuries, such as heart attacks and convulsions. In one case, a consumer allegedly suffered a spontaneous miscarriage. "The FDA is continuing to investigate reports of illness, injury or death of people who took products marketed under the label 5-Hour Energy," a spokesman told the news agency AFP, promising swift action if the drink is proven to have caused any deaths.
The product, which was invented in 2004 and is made largely in Michigan, is sold in 2oz containers the size of a shot, and marketed as a pick-me-up. As well as a hefty amount of sugar, each bottle contains 215mg of caffeine, the same as roughly two cups of coffee. Ingredients also include large quantities of B vitamins, and a substance called Taurine, which is also found in the fizzy drink Red Bull. The size of each bottle means some consumers are believed to be consuming multiple "shots", which may exacerbate potential side-effects.
The Conservative MP Rob Wilson said: "This news from the US is significant. I believe that these high-energy drinks may well pose a significant health threat to children and young adults." Current government advice is that "children, or other people sensitive to caffeine, should only consume in moderation drinks with high levels of caffeine". Urgent research into energy shots is needed to "persuade the Government and the drinks industry to act," according to Mr Wilson. "While that research is being conducted I would like to see a temporary ban on their sale to under-16s. If this isn't forthcoming, I would urge sellers to impose their own temporary ban," he added.
The Labour MP David Hanson called on the Government to assess the "level of abuse of this type of drink" to "inform future policy", citing anxiety about risks if the drinks are "abused or used to excess".
The market for energy drinks has exploded in recent years, on both sides of the Atlantic. In October, the FDA announced that it was investigating five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack linked to the consumption of Monster Energy, a soft drink sold in large cans. In 2010, it banned alcoholic beverages containing high levels of caffeine. The FDA is keen to stress that until its investigations are concluded, it cannot be sure that specific energy drinks are causing medical problems, noting that: "the existence of an adverse event report does not necessarily mean that the product identified in the report actually caused the adverse event".
Living Essentials, the company that makes 5-Hour Energy, describes the product as a "dietary supplement" rather than an energy drink. In a statement on its website, the makers claim the drink "contains about as much caffeine as a cup of the leading premium coffee". The company says it is the world's top-selling energy shot.
It adds that people are recommended not to have any more than two shots a day "spaced several hours apart" and that it is "unaware of any deaths proven to have been caused by the consumption of 5-hour energy."
Living Essentials did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. In a statement, the British Soft Drinks Association said: "High-caffeine soft drinks and their ingredients have been carefully studied by the regulatory authorities and have been recognised as safe."
It added: "The industry code of practice requires that energy shots are formulated and labelled in such a way that the daily caffeine intake from them will not exceed 160mg. This is achieved by considering the caffeine content per package in combination with stating on the label: a) the portion of the product recommended for daily consumption and b) the warning not to exceed the stated recommended daily dose."
marilena: Does chocolate make you clever? By Charlotte Pritc...: Eating more chocolate improves a nation's chances of producing Nobel Prize winners - or at least that's what a recent study appears to s...
Eating more chocolate improves a nation's chances of producing Nobel Prize winners - or at least that's what a recent study appears to suggest. But how much chocolate do Nobel laureates eat, and how could any such link be explained?
The study's author, Franz Messerli of Colombia University, started wondering about the power of chocolate after reading that cocoa was good for you.
One paper suggested regular cocoa intake led to improved mental function in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment, a condition which is often a precursor to dementia, he recalls.
"There is data in rats showing that they live longer and have better cognitive function when they eat chocolate, and even in snails you can show that the snail memory is actually improved," he says.
So Messerli took the number of Nobel Prize winners in a country as an indicator of general national intelligence and compared that with the nation's chocolate consumption. The results - published in the New England Journal of Medicine - were striking.Chocolate consumption and Nobel laureates
"When you correlate the two - the chocolate consumption with the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita - there is an incredibly close relationship," he says.
"This correlation has a 'P value' of 0.0001. This means there is a less than one-in-10,000 probability that this correlation is simply down to chance."
It might not surprise you that Switzerland came top of the chocolate-fuelled league of intelligence, having both the highest chocolate consumption per head and also the highest number of Nobel laureates per capita.
Sweden, however, was an anomaly. It had a very high number of Nobel laureates but its people consumed much less chocolate on average.
Messerli has a theory: "The Nobel prize obviously is donated or evaluated in Sweden [apart from the Peace Prize] so I thought that the Swedes might have a slightly patriotic bias.
"Or the other option is that the Swedes are excessively sensitive and only small amounts stimulate greatly their intelligence, so that might be the reason that they have so many Nobel Prize laureates."
We conducted our own, entirely unscientific, survey to ascertain just how much chocolate Nobel laureates ate.
Christopher Pissarides, from the London School of Economics, reckons his chocolate consumption laid the foundations for his Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010.
"Throughout my life, ever since I was a young boy, chocolate was part of my diet. I would eat it on a daily basis. It's one of the things I eat to cheer me up.
"To win a Nobel Prize you have to produce something that others haven't thought about - chocolate that makes you feel good might contribute a little bit. Of course it's not the main factor but... anything that contributes to a better life and a better outlook in your life then contributes to the quality of your work."
However, Rolf Zinkernagel - the largely Swiss-educated 1996 Nobel Prize winner for medicine - bucks his national trend.
"I am an outlier, because I don't eat more than - and never have eaten more than - half a kilogram of chocolate per year," he says.
Continue reading the main story
Eric CornellMilk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go”
Robert Grubbs, an American who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2005, says he eats chocolate whenever possible.
"I had a friend who introduced me to chocolate and beer when we were younger. I have transferred that now to chocolate and red wine.
"I like to hike and I eat chocolate then, I eat chocolate whenever I can."
But this is a controversial subject.
Grubbs' countryman, Eric Cornell, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, told Reuters: "I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume. Personally I feel that milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go. It's one thing if you want a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize but if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate."
But when More or Less contacted him to elaborate on this comment, he changed his tune.
"I deeply regret the rash remarks I made to the media. We scientists should strive to maintain objective neutrality and refrain from declaring our affiliation either with milk chocolate or with dark chocolate," he said.
"Now I ask that the media kindly respect my family's privacy in this difficult time."
It might surprise you that we are trying to make a serious point. This is a classic case where correlation, however strong, does not mean causation.
Messerli gave us another example. In post-war Germany, the human birth rate fell along with the stork population. Were fewer storks bringing fewer babies?
The answer was that more homes were being built, destroying the storks' habitat. And the homes were small - not the sort of places you could raise a large family in.
"This is a very, very common way of thinking," he says.
"When you see a correlation, you do think there is causation in one way or another. And in general it's absolutely true. But here we have a classic example where we cannot find a good reason why these two correlate so closely."
Milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go”
marilena: The 2013 Campari calendar featuring Penelope Cruz: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinkpicturegalleries/9677432/The-2013-Campari-calendar-featuring-Penelope-Cruz.html DAI...
marilena: Kate Moss and the £1million Lucian Freud tattoo: Kate Moss's tattoo by artist Lucian Freud Photo: PA/Rex Kate Moss has revealed that Lucian Freud, the late artist, inked a tattoo on...
Kate Moss has revealed that Lucian Freud, the late artist, inked a tattoo on her lower back which is worth more than £1million.
The 38-year-old model befriended Freud, considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, in 2002.
He subsequently told her how he used to give homemade tattoos using permanent ink and a scalpal when he was in the Merchant Navy during World War II.
He drew two tiny swallows at the base of her spine. Moss told Vanity Fair: ''He told me about when he was in the navy, when he was 19 or something, and he used to do all of the tattoos for the sailors.
"And I said, 'Oh my God, that's amazing.' And he went, 'I can do you one. What would you like? Would you like creatures of the animal kingdom?'
'He told me about when he was in the navy, when he was 19 or something, and he used to do all of the tattoos for the sailors.
And I said, 'Oh my God, that's amazing.' And he went, 'I can do you one. What would you like? Would you like creatures of the animal kingdom?'
''I mean, it's an original Freud. I wonder how much a collector would pay for that? A few million?"
Freud, who died in July 2011 at the age of 88, was introduced to Moss after she named him as the person should would most like to meet.
After going for dinner with him, he began painting her in the nude when she was pregnant with her daughter, Lila Grace.
She said in interviews: "I went to his house and he started [the nude painting] that night. Couldn't say no to Lucian. Very persuasive. I phoned Bella [his daughter] the next day and said, 'How long is it giong to take?'. She said: 'How big is the canvas'. I said, 'it's quite big.' She said: 'Oh dear, could take six months to a year."
In the event, the painting took nine months to complete. The model sat from 7pm to 2am, seven nights a week, and the painting was later sold to an anonymous bidder at auction for £3.9m.
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas was designed by architect Frank Gehry. (Mark Ralston/Getty)
It’s hard not to stop and take a closer look when you come across a Frank Gehry building like this boldly chaotic sculptural masterpiece, astonishing for its use in a healthcare setting. Having designed many healthcare interiors myself I was even more intrigued and knew I had to share. The Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is located in Las Vegas and is very different than any clinic I have come across. I am sure you will say the same thing once you take a look at the photos. The building encompasses 60,265 square feet. Mr. Gehry had control over every square foot including furniture, artwork and lighting. Take a look at the way he developed this unique and extraordinary design for a healing environment.
Ruvo spent the early part of his career managing the Los Angeles Playboy Club, working at The Venetian Restaurant, Sahara Hotel and Caesars Palace Hotel. In 1970 with partner Steve Wynn he formed a liquor distributorship. That operation grew into Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada.
After the death of his father in 1994, Ruvo worked towards establishing a cognitive disease center, which resulted in his funding of the The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.
Former President George W. Bush is given a tour of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health by Larry Ruvo on Feb. 10, 2010.