Tuesday, May 24, 2016

You can soon depend on text messages to help you kick the butt

The next time your phone dings, you could be reading a text message that inspires you to stub that cigarette butt.

The next time your phone dings, you could be reading a text message that inspires you to stub that cigarette butt. The U.S. Food Drug and Administration plans to use graphical warning labels to help people stop smoking, but researchers from The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine suggest another strategy: Text messaging. 
The team found that smokers who received a text messaging intervention were more likely to abstain from smoking relative to controls. ‘Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable global health problems, and text messaging has the promise to reach a wider audience with minimal costs and fewer resources,’ said senior researcher Lori Scott-Sheldon.
Text messaging (short message service, SMS) interventions provide health education, reminders and support using short written messages. SMS interventions can be adapted to fit an individual’s health needs in his or her natural environment. The messages of support can be as simple as ‘You can do it!’ or ‘Be strong.’ 
Using meta-analysis, a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies, the researchers conducted the most extensive systematic review of the literature to date. This included 20 manuscripts with 22 text messaging interventions for smoking cessation from 10 countries. ‘The evidence provides unequivocal support for the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking behavior, but more research is needed to understand for whom they work, under what conditions, and why,’ said Scott-Sheldon. 

Films like 'Sairat' gives us courage to compete with Hollywood: Irrfan

Actor Irrfan Khan says that films such as the Marathi blockbuster "Sairat" will give the Indian film industry the courage to compete with Hollywood.

"There is a need for our films to address universal audiences and this film is a new language. This film is an identity of the new cinema that will evolve and what the young generation will bring forth. These kind of films will give us the courage to compete with Hollywood films," he said on the sidelines of a screening of "Sairat" he organized.

Irrfan is one of the few Indian actors to do well in Hollywood, having worked in popular films such as "Slumdog Millionaire", and "Jurassic World" among others.

"Sairat" has become the highest grossing Marathi film of all time, having collected Rs.65 crores at the box office and is still going strong with 525 screens showcasing it in its fourth week.

About his reason for hosting the screening, Irrfan said: "I felt that our young generation watches a lot of Hollywood cinema and often doesn't watch our films. So I thought of organising this screening for all the kids' friends and close ones to give the young generation a taste of it to let them know what is happening in our cinema."

Asked if films like "Sairat" can even beat Hindi films, he said: "The more cinema gets diverse, it is better for the audience and for the growth of the industry. Our audiences are demanding a lot and our industry is unable to cope up with it. That is why Hollywood's films are earning so much money."

Lead actors of the film, Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar, have become overnight superstars, having been awarded Rs.5 crore each by the producers after the stellar success. About the actors, Irrfan said: "The way the director uses them in the story is fantastic and they have done a fantastic job."

About director Nagraj Manjule, whose first film "Fandry" was also immensely appreciated, Irrfan said: "For a new director, who makes his first film and it turns out good, making the second film is equally difficult because whatever treasures he had gets exposed. Making the second film so successful is the most difficult thing for any successful director and that Nagraj has done, and I salute him."
Irrfan will next be seen in the film "Madaari".

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Treat ‘Em Right! 8 Ways In Which You Might Be Mistreating Your Pets

There is something particularly rewarding about being the object of an animal’s affection. It’s sort of like a paw-shaped mark of approval – as if saying “this human is kind, this human is compassionate.” It’s something many pet owners, or human companions (as we like to think of ourselves), prize over even the affections of fellow people. I think I can speak for everybody who’s had a pet they’re very attached to when I say that the day you bring a pet home is one of those momentous, life-changing, personality shaping events you always look back to with gratitude – even if you’ve had your heart broken by the passing of a beloved pet. The bond between our pets and us is at once both simple and complicated. Give a stray dog a bowl of food and he will love and guard you fiercely with his whole being. Give a human your whole doggy (or kitty) heart, are they as likely to return it in equal measure? I’m not so sure.

Here is a list of the various ways in which we do a grave disservice to the pets who, despite everything, think the world of us:
1. Buying Our Pets
The acquisition of a pet to many is only that – an acquisition. Rather than recognizing a pet as a living, breathing, needing individual, it becomes a toy, an attraction or a status symbol. That people buy pets from shops says enough about their commodification. Even the choice of breed bought can say a lot about the pet owner, when a just-as-deserving pup at a shelter could have been adopted out of the clutches of ‘compassionate euthanasia’. Maternal deprivation, killing off ‘unsellable specimens’ and forced insemination are just some of the things you condone when buying from breeders.
2. Playthings We Outgrow
Often the initial joy of welcoming a pet into our home diminishes into a routine of negligence. Our classrooms, jobs, dinners and dates often take precedence over our pets who want nothing more than to spend time with them. As a result, many a pet is left home alone for long hours without any interaction or stimulation.
3. Irresponsible Parenting
Even worse is the disdain and anger we sometimes show to very young dogs or cats for biting, scratching or weeing all over the place, because we just don’t put in enough hours training them. It takes time for young ones to learn, remember you didn’t waltz into pre-school spouting Euclidean geometry, now did you?
4. Not Cute Anymore
In addition to turning out dogs and cats that ‘misbehave’, pet owners have been known to disown their furry family members because they outgrew their babyhood appeal. But then again, they didn’t really consider them family in the first place.
5. Improper Grooming
Every breed of dog and cat has its own grooming requirements. It is particularly infuriating to see long-haired breeds being paraded around in the blistering summer heat of India because the owners just don’t know or don’t care to have them shaved. In any case, even if you are one of the lucky few who can afford to run three air-conditioners in your home all summer long, I implore you to think twice before subjecting your Siberian Huskies and St Bernard (breeds from regions that enjoy subzero temperatures) to this heat. The same goes for cat breeds from cold places.
6. Bad Diets
Onions. Garlic. Chocolate. Avocados. A lot of the things you relish at the dining table are toxic to your pet if you indulge them with scraps. Regardless of whether you’ve been feeding these to your pet for ages or if you’ve just begun to research about your pet’s food, take a look at this list of foods that are a big no-no.
7. Delegating Responsibility
Taking care of a pet is not like your management courses. You have to be hands-on and one hundred percent involved. Getting in your pets business – no matter how much they grumble about you picking through the fur – is the name of the game. People who leave their pets unattended or in the care of house help are not going to pick up on signs of medical distress, mood disorders and other discomfort
8. Prohibiting Movement
Depending on their breed, a pet needs anything between thirty minutes to two hours of physical exercise each day, and it is important to ensure that they get it. While we may obsess about hitting the gym after work, few of us are concerned for our pets’ exercise as well. Once again, ignorance or just plain unwillingness has caused dogs to be tied up in a corner or cats boxed into cages. Apart from exercise, the practice of prohibiting our pets movement – pretending like the balcony is a dog house etc. – is actually a crime in India. The third chapter of the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act highlights the inability to ensure adequate room for movement constitutes a criminal charge. Need I even say anything about caged birds (who have their wings clipped at the pet shop)?
The above is not an exhaustive list of the things we need to change in order to give our pets a comfortable and loving life, short lives that they have, but it would certainly make a world of difference to our pets.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Why women find 'dominant' men more attractive

Men with genetic make up linked to social dominance and leadership are seen as more desirable romantic partners by members of the opposite sex, a study says.

Conversely, men find women with genetic make up linked to sensitivity/submissiveness more attractive, the findings showed.

The findings, published in the journal Human Nature, suggest that men and women with genotypes consistent with prevailing gender norms are seen as more desirable.

The researchers from the University of California, Irvine wanted to find out if mate selection could actually be influenced by people's ability to quickly detect the so-called "good genes."

The team led by Karen Wu turned to speed-dating to test their predictions in a real-life scenario.

In such meet-ups, participants only had a few minutes to assess the short- and long-term potential of their speed-dating partners, and to decide whether or not to offer their partners a second date.

The team recruited 262 single Asian Americans to have three-minute dates with members of the opposite sex.

After each speed-date, participants were asked whether or not they wanted to offer their partner a second date, and how desirable they found the person as a romantic partner.

Participants were notified of a "match" (and thus obtained each other's contact information) only if they both offered each other another date.

When examining the DNA samples collected from participants, the researchers focused on two polymorphisms (on two different genes) that were previously linked to social dynamics.

One of the polymorphisms is part of the genetic make-up that has been linked to social dominance and leadership.

The other, which has been linked to social sensitivity, is part of the opioid receptor gene that contributes to people's capacity to experience social pleasure and pain, and their need to have social contact.

The researchers found that men and women with genotypes consistent with prevailing gender norms were more likely to receive second date offers.

They were also seen as more desirable short- and long-term romantic partners.

Game Review: A new "Doom" is both cursed and blessed by nostalgia

Before there was "Halo" or "Call of Duty," the first-person shooter video games "Wolfenstein" and "Doom" defined the trigger-happy genre in three dimensions. While the former received a thoughtful reimagining in 2014's "Wolfenstein: The New Order," the same can't be said for a new "Doom."

"Doom" (Bethesda Softworks, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, $59.99) sticks closely to the wacky plot of the original 1993 game. Once again, players portray an unnamed space marine crudely blasting his way across Mars, where hellish demons of all shapes and sizes are pouring out of gaping interdimensional holes.
It's best not to think too much about the story.

This is a game about shooting everything that moves until everything doesn't move. There are no moral quandaries, battlefield allies, brain-teasing puzzles or interactive cut scenes. This updated "Doom" may have the high-definition polish of a modern-day shooter, but it's unapologetically rooted in the 1990s.

All the weapons a die-hard "Doom" devotee could desire are present. There's the rocket launcher, super shotgun, chainsaw and — of course — the BFG. (If you've never played a "Doom" game, it's the series' signature weapon: a really big gun.)

Other than allowing players to upgrade their arsenal and armor, the only innovation on the point-and-shoot approach is a new melee combat system that makes this already gory franchise even more violent. Now, players can recharge themselves by initiating a "glory kill" when adjacent beasts are near death.

While hardcore shooter fans may balk at needing to holster their weapons to snap a succubus' neck or rip off a devil's horns, frequent and fast dismemberment is key to keeping the action frenetic and the health bar filled. It's not any more monotonous than repeatedly shooting zombified hordes in the head.

It's sorta grotesquely thrilling, actually.

The game's levels are well laid out and filled with fun secrets to discover between firefights. Alas, they're not that interesting to look at once your finger is off the trigger button. There's little variation, and they all sport color palettes that one might find inside a bathroom stall at a dive bar.

The soullessness extends to the soundtrack, which sounds like it was crafted by someone holding out hope for a Korn reunion. "Doom" composer Mick Gordon's score is a hot mess: a disjointed mix of industrial guitar riffs bordering on parody when joined with the guttural grunts from hell spawn.

Beyond the single-player campaign, a multiplayer mode feels more like a "Quake" clone than the latest from a series that pioneered the way gamers play together online. The exceptions are the promising "snapmap" level creation tool and the compelling "freeze tag," where teams must simultaneously work together to encase opposition in ice and thaw out friends.

Overall, "Doom" isn't a bad game. This revamped installment definitely captures the frenzied, bloodthirsty spirit of what made id Software's original "Doom" and "Doom II" hallmarks of the genre. It's a heck of a shooter. Unfortunately, it's also stuck in the past. Two stars out of four.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

91 per cent women think men look the sexiest in these clothes

A new survey has gone on to reveal that a whopping 91 per cent of women believe that a white t-shirt and blue jeans is the sexiest outfit a man can wear, and this seems to be a very popular choice amongst the men too.

Other results revealed by the survey were:
About 62 per cent of the surveyed women confessed to having made the first move at some point of their dating lives, and 88 per cent of the men said they find it "really hot" when the women do so.

When it comes to going out for dates, 52 per cent women think that going dutch while paying the bill on a date is a good option, while 45 per cent women feel that the man should pay for at least the first date.

Again, 62 per cent women said they don't mean to flirt by playing with their hair, but 80 per cent men seem to find it rather attractive.

As for tattoos, 83 per cent women find men with tattoos attractive, while 89 per cent men find tattooed women hot.

A whopping 58 per cent women admitted they have checked their male counterpart's social media posts before going out with them, and 51 per cent of the men have done the same. Not so different, after all!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Griezmann demands 'perfect' performance in Champions League final

Diego Simeone's side must be "perfect" in order to beat their local rivals in Milan next Saturday, according to the France international striker
Antoine Griezmann has called on Atletico Madrid to deliver a "perfect" performance in the Champions League final.
Diego Simeone's side edged past Bayern Munich on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw in the last four and will meet their city rivals in the final at San Siro for the second time in three seasons.
Griezmann, who joined from Real Sociedad after Atletico were beaten 4-1 by Madrid in Lisbon in 2014, is desperate for his side to deliver this year in order to cap what he believes has been an impressive campaign.

"Collectively, we've had a great year. The team has played as well as possible and we really should be happy with the season we've had," Griezmann told the club's official website after being named the fans' player of the year.

"The goal was to be in the top three. We gave our all until the end and we are happy with our level and qualification for the Champions League and hopefully we can raise that next year.
"It's a final, a very nice match for all the players, for the club, for the fans... We're very excited.
"We will have to play a perfect match and I trust my team-mates to be prepared."