Sunday, 28 December 2014

Facebook Users Beware: Facebook's New Feature Could Embarrass You

If you didn't watch Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook announcements last week — and of course the vast majority of Facebook users did not — you may be in for a surprise. Aside from the dramatically redesigned Facebook Timeline profile pages, which roll out in the coming weeks (and which I've grown to love), Facebook's new system to auto-share what you do around the web may catch many Facebook addicts off guard.

In fact, even those people who know exactly how this new feature works may need to be on guard against sharing some seriously embarrassing updates.

For those not in the loop: Facebook is making sharing even easier by automatically sharing what you're doing on Facebook-connected apps. Instead of having to "Like" something to share it, you'll just need to click "Add to Timeline" on any website or app, and that app will have permission to share your activity with your Facebook friends.

What activity, you ask? It could be the news articles you read online, the videos you watch, the photos you view, the music you listen to, or any other action within the site or app. Facebook calls this auto-sharing "Gestures."

Can you see the possible issue here?

I'm pretty familiar with this auto-sharing function since it's been a feature of The Huffington Post for a good while now. The way it works there: Once you join the site, every article you read is shared with your friends via an activity feed (unless you switch that feature off).

So right now I can see that someone I know professionally read "Scarlett Johansson Nude Photos" and a male colleague, who will remain anonymous, recently read the following:

1. "Conan O'Brien Stares At Nicole Scherzinger's Cleavage"

2. "Heather Morris On Breast Implants"

3. "Perrey Reeves Shows Off Bikini Body (PHOTO)"

Now Facebook is bringing this functionality to every application out there.

I'm not saying this is a bad idea as such, but people need to be aware of what they're signing up for when they add apps to the Timeline. Even my tech-savvy friends seem to set up these auto-share apps, completely forget about them, and return to doing things they wouldn't necessarily want to share with all their friends.

Heck, I even find myself doing it.

Just a few days ago I added the Washington Post Social Reader app to my profile — this is one of many new news apps that auto-shares what you're reading with your friends. Later, I returned to the app, forgot about that feature, read a ton of articles and realized they were all on my Facebook Timeline.

Now I didn't read anything particularly saucy like my HuffPo friends did, but even that slight lapse was enough for me to uninstall the app completely.

So what can you do to avoid a Facebook privacy faux pas? Be aware that whenever you click a "Add to Timeline" button on a website or app from now on, you're giving that app permission to post your activity to Facebook.

Most of the time you might be fine with this — like sharing the music you listen to on Spotify with friends (unless you like Rebecca Black) — but other times it might be worth disabling this function after you approve the app.

SEE ALSO: The New Facebook: How to Take Control of Your Privacy
Also note that when you add an app to your Timeline, you get the option to share your activity with "Public," "Friends" or "Custom." By clicking "Custom," you get the option to hide your activity from everyone but yourself — see the steps below for more information on controlling your privacy with the new sharing features:

Saturday, 8 November 2014

EFF files petition with U.S. Copyright Office to ensure that jailbreaking remains legal

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced this week that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that makes jailbreaking an iOS device or rooting an Android device possible without violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced this week that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office to extend and expand the exemption that makes jailbreaking an iOS device or rooting an Android device possible without violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States.
EFF via iDownloadBlog::

“That’s important because jailbreaking (or “rooting,” on Android devices) has real-world implications for users’ ability to use their phones and tablets effectively and securely. It may be a necessary step before installing security updates after a device has stopped being supported by the manufacturer. In other cases, it may help users install accessibility software that allows them to use a device despite disabilities.”

Last month, a Chinese team called Pangu released an iOS 8 untethered jailbreak for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. Pangu was recently given a stamp of approval by Cydia creator and respected member of the jailbreaking community Jay Freeman, who indicated that the Windows-only jailbreak tool is “now stable enough for use.”

Jailbreaking an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch allows you to install third-party applications, tweaks, mods, themes, utilities and other useful packages from Cydia, the jailbreak equivalent of the App Store on stock iOS. In layman’s terms, jailbreaking enables you to further customize and enhance your iOS device beyond the limitations that Apple imposes.

While jailbreaking is considered legal in the United States based on this exemption, keep in mind that the process of modifying your device violates your End User License Agreement (EULA) with Apple and may void your device’s warranty. There are also certain risks involved with jailbreaking that could require restoring your device.

technology is a subreddit dedicated to the discussion of all things technology. Technology is the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function.

The EFF has prior to now fought for and been offered this exemption for jailbreaking and rooting units in 2010 and 2012, despite the fact that it's pressured to argue its case each and every 3 years due to the method through which DMCA exemptions are thought to be.

Apple readying Bluetooth version of Beats Solo2 headphones

Beats released a pair of headphones, named Beats Solo2, just as Apple was buying the company earlier this year, and now a follow-up appears to be in the works.

But while there's been a lot of speculation over the various ways Apple might change what Beats is about, a just-uncovered FCC filing suggests the iPhone 6 maker actually won't change much at all.

The FCC documents show a Bluetooth-enabled version of the Beats Solo2 released earlier this year.

But other than the addition of wireless capabilities, these headphones don't seem much altered from the earlier, wired Solo2.

Lightning doesn't strike
There's also been some speculation on whether future Beats headphones will adopt Apple's Lightning tech, but for now these appear to be sticking with microUSB so they can remain open-platform.

That may still change in the future, or Apple might even come out with iOS-exclusive variants on otherwise multi-platform headphones, thereby trying to please everyone.

Either way, while this new headset may carry Apple's branding, it appears the new Beats Solo2 will still definitely have the Beats DNA.

There's no clue as to when these will come out, so keep an eye out for announcements from Apple while we do the same.

Beats has earned some strong praise for its Solo2 headphones, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that a wireless set is in the works. Unfortunately for Beats and Apple, the FCC has spoiled the surprise ahead of any announcement. New documents spotted by 9to5Mac confirm that "solo2 wireless" headphones have passed through the FCC's testing labs. The documents only contain basic schematics, but we wouldn't expect the wireless Solo2s to deviate much from the wired models released earlier this year.

9to5Mac says the new model is "Apple-branded," though all we can say for sure is that Apple appears in the fine print on the packaging. We're not so convinced that the famed Beats logo will be sharing space with Apple on the actual Solo2 Wireless headphones. If nothing else, this is likely to be the first Beats hardware with Apple's name on it — even if just a tiny font on the box. Seeing the usual legal rundowns for Android and Microsoft on an Apple product is also a bit strange, but that's the world we're in now that Beats and Apple are one company.

beats solo2 wireless
As for other critical details on the Solo2 Wireless headphones (i.e. price), we'll just have to wait for the official word. The wired version retails for $199.99, but Bluetooth and the freedom of going wireless will probably demand a higher premium.

According to an FCC filing, Beats will soon release its first pair of headphones since the company was acquired by Apple for $3 billion. This version of Beats' Solo2 headphones will include Bluetooth LE connectivity. That is the same technology employed on Beats' high-end Studio Wireless headphones.

Based on the FCC documentation, it would appear that the headphones will look exactly like the current wired version of the Solo2 with the only difference being the wireless technology used inside. The phones have yet to be announced, so pricing and availability are unknown at this point. Looking at the pricing for the current Beats Solo2 headphones and the high-end Studio Wireless unit, this new model should be priced somewhere between $199 and $379.

When the tech titan made its purchase of Beats earlier this year, the largest acquisition in the history of the company, it was thought that Apple had made the purchase to gain control of Beats Music. The company is said to be in the midst of negotiating with the record labels and artists in the hope of cutting the price of the service by as much as 50% a month.

Apple and its Beats by Dre group seem to be close to announcing a new pair of headphones: a Bluetooth version of their popular Solo2 headphones. Earlier this year, Beats launched the Solo2 wired earphones as a cheaper alternative to the Studio cans. Today, a wireless version has been revealed thanks to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) testing department.

As can be seen in the image above from today’s FCC filing, the design of the wireless model is akin to the wired model. The only difference appears to be the Bluetooth connectivity. The documents specify that Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy technology is utilized.

Interestingly, these documents indicate that these headphones are Apple-branded:
Apple is specifically listed as the creator and tester of the new product, and the Apple brand is even stamped on the packaging of the product. The documents also reveal Apple’s request for confidentially for the testing.

While the new headphones have hit the FCC today, there is no indication for when an actual/official launch is planned. We also don’t yet know colors or pricing, but given the substantial markup on the existing wireless Beats headphones, they will be pricey.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Clinical psychology

This branch studies the mild, moderate, and severe mental and adjustment disorders, diagnose the cause, etiology and analysis of problem and apply therapies procedure for treatment disorder such as Anxiety disorders, stress, depression e.t.c.

Psychological disorders
Introduction: - I felt the need to clean my room … spent four to five
hours at it …At the time I loved it but then didnʹt want
to do it anymore, but could not stop …The clothes
hung … two fingers apart …I touched my bedroom
wall before leaving the house … I had constant anxiety
… I thought I might be nuts.
Marc, diagnosed with
Obsessive‐compulsive disorder
(From Summers, 1996)
People are fascinated by the exceptional, the
Unusual, the abnormal. This fascination can be
due to two reasons:
1. During various moments we feel, think and act like
an abnormal individual.
2. Psychological disorders may bring unexplained
physical symptoms, irrational fears, and suicidal thoughts.
To study the abnormal is the best way of
Understanding the normal.
William James (1842-1910)
1. There are 450 million people suffering from
Psychological disorders (WHO, 2004).
2. Depression and schizophrenia exist in all cultures
of the world.
Mental health workers view psychological
disorders as persistently harmful thoughts,
feelings and action.
When behavior is deviant, distressful, and
dysfunctional psychiatrists and psychologists
label it as disordered (Comer, 2004).
Deviant, Distressful & Dysfunctional
1. Deviant behavior
(going naked) in one
culture may be
considered normal
while in others leads to
2. Deviant behavior must
accompany distress.
3. If a behavior is
dysfunctional it is
clearly a disorder.

RF Based Wireless RC Robot

Table of contents

• Introduction of Robot & Robotics
• Summary of the project:
• Description:
• Full wave bridge rectifier
• L293D
• Circuit Diagram:
• Applications of wireless Robot:
• Refrences:

Introduction of Robot & Robotics

A robot is a mechanical or virtual agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. Robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and range from humanoids such as Honda's Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO),. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own.
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behavior, and/or cognition. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.
As mechanical techniques developed through the Industrial age, more practical applications were proposed by Nikola Tesla, who in 1898 designed a radio-controlled boat. Electronics evolved into the driving force of development with the advent of the first electronic autonomous robots created by William Grey Walter in Bristol, England in 1948. The first digital and programmable robot was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was named theUnimate.
Robots have replaced humans in the assistance of performing those repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans prefer not to do, or are unable to do due to size limitations, or even those such as in outer space or at the bottom of the sea where humans could not survive the extreme environments.
There are concerns about the increasing use of robots and their role in society. Robots are blamed for rising unemployment as they replace workers in some functions. The use of robots in military combat raises ethical concerns. The possibility of robot autonomy and potential repercussions has been addressed in fiction and may be a realistic concern in the future.

RF Based Wireless RC Robot
Summary of the project:

This circuit utilizes the RF module (Tx/Rx) for making a wireless remote, which could be used to drive an output from a distant place. RF module, as the name suggests, uses radio frequency to send signals. These signals are transmitted at a particular frequency and a baud rate. A receiver can receive these signals only if it is configured for that frequency. A four channel encoder/decoder pair has also been used in this system. The input signals, at the transmitter side, are taken through four switches while the outputs are monitored on a set of four LEDs corresponding to each input switch. The circuit can be used for designing Remote Appliance Control system. The outputs from the receiver can drive corresponding relays connected to any household appliance.

This radio frequency (RF) transmission system employs Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) with transmitter/receiver (Tx/Rx) pair operating at 434 MHz. The transmitter module takes serial input and transmits these signals through RF. The transmitted signals are received by the receiver module placed away from the source of transmission.
The system allows one way communication between two nodes, namely, transmission and reception. The RF module has been used in conjunction with a set of four channel encoder/decoder ICs. Here HT12E & HT12D have been used as encoder and decoder respectively. The encoder converts the parallel inputs (from the remote switches) into serial set of signals. These signals are serially transferred through RF to the reception point. The decoder is used after the RF receiver to decode the serial format and retrieve the original signals as outputs. These outputs can be observed on corresponding LEDs.

Google Announces The Futuristic Nanoparticle Project That Could Detect Cancer in Your Blood

Google unveiled a futuristic project today at the WSJD Live conference that could someday embed nanoparticles in your bloodstream to detect diseases like cancer.

According to Andrew Conrad, Life Sciences chief at the GoogleX lab, the goal behind the project is to develop a system that doctors will rely on for all of our tests. You would take a pill to swallow the nanoparticles, which would then bind themselves to cells in your bodies in order to scan for irregularities. A wearable device would then collect data from the particles and report it to your doctor.

While I’m deeply excited about the possibility of technology being used for early cancer detection, I’m also reminded of an episode of The Outer Limits where a nanobot experiment goes drastically wrong. Google’s nanoparticles are a far cry from sci-fi microscopic sentient robots, but there are certainly a multitude of issues we’ll need to think through as a society before we start injecting ourselves with these things. Thankfully, we have time to start the discussion, as an advisor to the project suggested that the project is at least five to seven years away from market.

To Google’s credit, the company has promised not to use nanoparticle data for marketing. In fact, Conrad told the Journal that Google doesn’t plan to store data, but will instead license the technology to others to manage.

At the start of this year, Google shared details about a contact lens project that could measure glucose levels for diabetic patients. In July, the company announced a partnership with Novartis to turn the research into an actual product.

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Google Inc. is designing tiny magnetic particles to patrol the human body for signs of cancer and other diseases, in the latest example of the Internet giant’s sweeping ambition.

Google said its nanoparticles, less than one-thousandth the width of a red blood cell, would seek out and attach themselves to cells, proteins or other molecules inside the body. The company also is working on a wearable device with a magnet to attract and count the particles, as a monitoring tool.

The goal is to provide an early warning system for cancer and other diseases, with an eye toward more effective treatment.

“Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” said Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, who disclosed the project on Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live conference. “That is our dream.”

The reality is likely more than five years off, industry experts say, and faces huge challenges, both technical and social. Researchers have to identify coatings that will help the particles bind to specific cells. And Google doesn’t yet know how many nanoparticles would be needed for the system to work.

What’s more, the wearable device needs to be small enough to be unobtrusive but to accommodate a battery that doesn’t need frequent recharging.

Google may deliver the nanoparticles in a pill that would be swallowed. Such a system would face “a much higher regulatory bar than conventional diagnostic tools,” said Chad A. Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University and a founder of three medical nanotechnology companies.

Beyond the technical and regulatory hurdles are social concerns, including privacy. The notion of Google monitoring a human body around the clock is likely to worry critics who complain the company already has access to too much information.

Dr. Conrad said Google won’t collect or store medical data itself. Instead, Google plans to license the technology to others who will handle the information and its security.

The initiative is part of Google’s broader efforts to expand beyond online advertising into new areas. Many of these projects are run by the Google X research lab, including self-driving cars, high-altitude balloons to deliver Internet and the Glass wearable computer.

The Google X Life Sciences team wants to harness data to make medicine more proactive, rather than reactive. Its Baseline study is building a detailed picture of a healthy human being, by genetically screening samples from thousands of people. It also is working on a smart contact lens to measure glucose in the tears of diabetes patients.

The nanoparticle project involves more than 100 Google employees drawn from disciplines including astrophysics, chemistry and electrical engineering. Google won’t say how much it is spending on the project.

Proponents believe nanotechnology has great promise in medicine, but so far it has produced few successful commercial products. The U.S. government has invested more than $20 billion in nanotechnology research since 2001, including about $4.3 billion from health-related agencies.

Nanosphere Inc., founded based on a 2000 paper from Dr. Mirkin’s lab, markets nano-based diagnostic tests that can quickly screen blood, saliva and urine for causes of infection. But its products have been slow to catch on. The company’s shares are down 98% from their high following a 2007 initial public offering.

Another company based on Dr. Mirkin’s research, closely held AuraSense Therapeutics LLC, is using nanotechnology to create globular forms of DNA designed to treat cancer and other diseases. Bill Gates and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt are among its investors.

T2 Biosystems Inc. uses nanoparticles in blood tests outside the body that detect candida infections. In September, the company won approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market tests for blood infections.

The Android Man Andy Rubin Has Left Google To Launch a Startup Incubator

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Android cofounder Andy Rubin is leaving Google to launch a hardware startup incubator. Rubin had recently been tapped to head up a top-secret robotics division at Google.

Rubin had been with Google since the company acquired Android in 2005, but last year Rubin moved from the Android team to this new robotics role. He oversaw Google's buying spree of various robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, which is a huge military contractor. Before Google, Rubin co-founded Danger, which made the famous T-Mobile Sidekick. The Sidekick platform was abandoned in 2010.

James Kuffner, a research scientist in the division, will take over Rubin's job.

Whatever the reason for the split, it seems to be amicable, at least according to this statement from Google CEO Larry Page: "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android he created something truly remarkable—with a billion plus happy users. Thank you."

Google confirmed the Journal's story, but didn't provide further details.

Andy Rubin has left Google. Rubin was heading Google's robotic division but has now left the company to start his own incubator for hardware startups. He will be replaced by James Kuffner.
Andy Rubin is the co-founder and ex-CEO or Danger Inc. and Android Inc. He oversaw the development of Android until March 2013, when Sundar Pichai took over and Rubin went on to manage Google's robotics division.

Andy Rubin, the Google executive responsible for the creation of Android is out of the company, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

All we have right now is the following tweet, but this is a stunning bit of news.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Andy Rubin, the founder and former head of Android, is leaving Google. The report states that Rubin will be starting "an incubator for hardware startups."


Google's long-time hobby will now be led by Andy Rubin, the founder of Android.
The move shouldn't affect Android. Rubin left the mobile division in March of 2013, handing the reins over to Sundar Pichai. Pichai has turned into Larry Page's right-hand man and now controls just about every Google product.

For the last year and a half, Rubin has been running Google's mysterious robotics division. We've seen the company gobble up several high-profile robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics and SCHAFT, the winner of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. With Rubin out, James Kuffner will take over the division.

“Larry enabled the robotic effort to run exactly the way I wanted it to, and we made great progress in our first year,” Rubin told The Wall Street Journal.

Larry Page also released a statement, saying, "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android, he created something truly remarkable—with a billion plus happy users. Thank you.”

Just about a year ago we learned Andy Rubin had shifted his focus at Google from Android ("the definition of open") to working with robots, like the ones from its acquisition Boston Dynamics, but tonight reports indicate he is leaving the company entirely. The Information and the Wall Street Journal reported the departure initially, which Google has confirmed. In a statement, CEO Larry Page said "I want to wish Andy all the best with what's next. With Android he created something truly remarkable-with a billion plus happy users. Thank you." The Information reports his departure is the result of some issue with the structure of his team, and that Google research scientist James Kuffner will take over his role directing robotics projects.

Early in 2013 Rubin handed over direction of Android to Sundar Pichai, who recently assumed an even more powerful role at the company. Prior to co-founding Android and eventually selling it to Google, Rubin co-founded Danger Inc. (releasing the Danger Hiptop aka T-Mobile Sidekick), and even worked for both Apple and Carl Zeiss. So what's next for Rubin? Apparently creating an incubator for startups building hardware. That's just vague enough to be incredibly interesting, but for now we'll think back to the good old days and some of the first live Android demos.

Andy Rubin , co-founder and former leader of Google Inc. ’s Android mobile business and the current head of its nascent robotics effort, is leaving the Internet giant, the company said Thursday.

Mr. Rubin is starting an incubator for startups interested in building technology hardware products.

A Google spokesman said the company remains committed to robotics and will continue investing in the sector.

James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google and a member of the robotics group, will replace Mr. Rubin as head of the unit.

Google acquired Android in 2005 and Mr. Rubin helped build it into the world’s most-popular mobile operating system. He switched from that role to lead a series of robotics acquisitions for Google in 2013.

“I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement. “With Android he created something truly remarkable— with a billion-plus happy users. Thank you.”

Mr. Rubin provided crucial leadership and vision that helped Google keep up with Apple Inc. as smartphones became the go-to computing device for most people around the world. He was known for keeping his Android team separate from the rest of the company and its employees for years. For a time, the Android group had its own lunchroom on the Google campus.

Mr. Rubin is an entrepreneurial spirit who likes to run his own show and was facing constraints on his activities at Google, a person familiar with the executive and Google said. A Google spokesman declined to comment on why Mr. Rubin left.

Mr. Rubin said he “didn’t really have any issues with independence” at Google and left because he wanted to do something new on his own.

“Larry enabled the robotic effort to run exactly the way I wanted it to, and we made great progress in our first year,” he wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal.

Google executive Sundar Pichai took over Android from Mr. Rubin in early 2013. Mr. Pichai is considered a more open, collaborative executive more suited to the task of keeping Android’s various partners, including handset makers and wireless-network operators, in the fold.
Mr. Rubin has had a lifelong obsession with robots, and when he stepped down from Android, Mr. Page allowed him to pursue that dream. By late 2013, Mr. Rubin had overseen Google’s acquisitions of several robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics, Schaft and Meka Robotics.

Boston Dynamics is best known for its four-legged robot called BigDog which can carry heavy loads across uneven terrain and Atlas, a humanoid robot that was part of the robotics challenge run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Japan-based Schaft developed a two-legged, five-foot, five-inch tall robot capable of climbing steep steps unaided. It won the last DARPA Robotics challenge in late 2013.

Google’s entrance into the robotics field has sparked widespread speculation about the company’s intentions for bringing more automation to industries including manufacturing and automobiles.

Mr. Rubin’s departure is a blow to Google’s robotics efforts. However, Mr. Kuffner is experienced in the sector, having worked on human-like robot technology for over two decades, including seven years at Carnegie Mellon University and five years on Google’s self-driving car project.

“It’s surprising and sounds pretty unplanned,” said Scott Strawn, an analyst at research firm IDC. “If it was voluntary on Mr. Rubin’s part, you would think he would see part of the robotics project through to completion to have something to show publicly before leaving.”

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Los Angeles

officially the City of Los Angeles, often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in the U.S. state of California and the second-most populous in the United States, after New York City, with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621. It has a land area of 469 square miles (1,215 km2), and is located in Southern California.

The city is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim metropolitan statistical area and Greater Los Angeles Area region, which contain 13 million and over 18 million people in Combined statistical area respectively as of 2010, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world and the second-largest in the United States. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States, while the entire Los Angeles area itself has been recognized as the most diverse of the nation's largest cities. The city's inhabitants are referred to as Angelenos.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781, by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.

Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a global city, with strengths in business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, medicine and research and has been ranked sixth in the Global Cities Index and 9th Global Economic Power Index. The city is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third-largest in the world, after the Greater Tokyo and New York metropolitan areas. Los Angeles includes Hollywood and leads the world in the creation of television productions, video games, and recorded music; it is also one of the leaders in motion picture production. Additionally, Los Angeles hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984.

Modern myth has it that these days everyone in Los Angeles has written a screenplay, is writing a screenplay or is just visiting. For those in the latter category we offer a road map of ideas to help make a trip to this ultra-hip, ultra-happening haven easy, fun and exciting. While LA will always be associated with movies and movie stars, it is also a culturally vibrant city that boasts a range of interesting attractions from prestigious art museums and galleries to fabulous theatre, both well-known productions and smaller fringe shows. Art enthusiasts will be stunned by the extensive collections at the J. Paul Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Visit the La Brea Tar Pits on Museum Row, then investigate the trendy shops on Melrose Avenue. Families will not want to miss the zoo or the action at Universal Studios Hollywood. Of course, no trip to LA would be complete without a stop at the Venice Beach Boardwalk or a visit to Mann's Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame.

Maddie S's City Tips

If you rent a car, LA's freeways have carpool lanes for 2+ people. However, sometimes these are slower than normal lanes - and it can be hard to get across when it's time to exit.
Tipping 15-20% is common practice in LA when you've eaten out. If you're just going to a bar, a couple of bucks per drink is customary.
If someone approaches you for an acting or modeling deal, this may be a scam. Ask for a business card, and look up the talent agent by name to gauge if it's legitimate.

The Getty Center

Type: Museums, Art Museums
Activities: Arts and crafts
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description Spectacular museum boasts a most impressive collection by such luminaries as Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne, along with the architectural triumph of its... more »
Useful Information: Activities for older children

This is our latest addition to the historical and cultural gifts L.A. Has to offer. For a nominal fee, parking, transportation (people-mover) & museum admission are all included in this beautiful mountain-top locale overlooking Los Angeles both east and west with a view of the Pacific Ocean as well! Wonderful exhibits! Incredible location!

Nethercutt Museum
Type: Speciality Museums
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description The Grand Salon showcases cars of the 1910s to 1930s. There are also collections of furniture, dolls, timepieces and one of the world's finest collections of mechanical musical instruments.

The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. A Gabrielino settlement in the area was called iyáangẚ (written Yang-na by the Spanish), meaning "poison oak place".

Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer, claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire in 1542. Gaspar de Portolà and Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769.

In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra directed the building of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, the first mission in the area. On September 4, 1781, a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores" founded the pueblo called "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula"; in English it is "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels of the Porciúncula River". The Queen of Angels is an honorific of the Virgin Mary. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto with a mixture of African, indigenous and European ancestry. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820, the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.

Railroads arrived with the completion of the Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923, the discoveries had helped California become the country's largest oil producer, accounting for about one-quarter of the world's petroleum output.

By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000, putting pressure on the city's water supply.The completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city.

In 1910, not only had the city of Los Angeles annexed Hollywood, but there were already at least 10 movie companies operating in the city. By 1921, more than 80 percent of the world's film industry was concentrated in L.A.The money generated by the industry kept the city insulated from much of the economic pain suffered by the rest of the country during the Great Depression. By 1930, the population surpassed one million. In 1932, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.

During World War II, Los Angeles was a major center of wartime manufacturing, such as shipbuilding and aircraft. Calship built hundreds of Liberty Ships and Victory Ships on Terminal Island, and the Los Angeles area was the headquarters of six of the country's major aircraft manufacturers (Douglas Aircraft Company, Hughes Aircraft, Lockheed, North American Aviation, Northrop Corporation, and Vultee. During the war, more aircraft were produced in one year than in all the pre-war years since the Wright brothers invented the airplane in 1903, combined. Manufacturing in Los Angeles skyrocketed, and as William S. Knudsen, of the National Defense Advisory Commission put it, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible.

'I'm proud to be gay': Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly confirmed he is gay in an opinion piece published Thursday, making him the highest-profile chief executive to come out.

In an essay published by Bloomberg Businessweek advocating for human rights and equality, Cook says he was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King to set aside his desire for privacy to do something "more important."

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now," writes Cook. "So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."

Cook becomes the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company, according to gays rights group Human Rights Campaign, who applauded the Apple chief's essay.

"Tim Cook's announcement today will save countless lives," says HRC President Chad Griffin. "He has always been a role model, but today millions across the globe will draw inspiration from a different aspect of his life."

Cook says he's been open with others about being gay, but felt compelled to publicly come out to help others. "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," writes Cook. "So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy."

Reaction has been mostly positive. On Twitter, Apple's chief of global marketing, Philip Schiller, showed support for Cook. "Proud to work for you and be your friend," Schiller said.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, applauded Cook and Apple's "long history" in demanding equality. "It is a game changer for corporate America," says Ellis. "He set the example for inclusion."

Public confirmations of sexuality have increased in Hollywood, and have started to appear in the sports world, including football player Michael Sam, who came out right before this year's NFL Draft. But it's rare to see in the business world, which makes the revelation by Cook -- head of one of the world's most profitable companies -- a much bigger deal.

"This serves as an opening of the door for other CEOs, senior-level managers, senior-level executives to say I'm ready to bring my authentic self to the office and I know now that it's not potentially a detriment, it's an asset to be out and proud in the workplace," says Justin Nelson, co-founder and president of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Apple has been among the top American companies for embracing equality. Fred Sainz, vice president of communications at HRC, says Apple has achieved the top rating in their Corporate Equality Index every year since it was introduced in 2002.

But Sainz notes it will be important to watch how Cook addresses equality now that's he's publicly revealed his sexuality. "What we'll be interested to see is how he now uses his platform as the CEO of one of the world's most prominent companies to further advance equality and justice for people across the world."

Cook's piece published days after the Apple CEO criticized his home state of Alabama over gay rights. "We can't change the past, but we can learn from it, and we can create a different future," said Cook.

This is not the first time Cook's sexuality has been addressed. In June, CNBC hosted a segment on gay CEOs where one host seemed to out Cook as gay. "I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he is gay at the head of Apple, isn't he?" said Squawk on the Street co-host Simon Hobbs, causing an awkward silence. Hobbs quickly followed with "Oh dear, was that an error?"

Cook says the decision to reveal his sexuality was difficult, and hopes people focus more on his efforts running the tech giant. "I'm an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I'm best suited for and the work that brings me joy."

The CEO also says he will continue to advocate for human rights and equality. "We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick."

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

It has not been a secret in the discerning tech world or in the gay-lesbian community, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has made his homosexuality public in a powerful essay in which he said he considers being gay "among the greatest gifts God has given me."

"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It's made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry," Cook wrote in a comment in Businessweek, two days before his 54th birthday.

Cook becomes one of the highest profile CEOs and public figures to come out at a time the United States is increasingly starting to recognize the rights of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) community. While India is still struggling to come out of the colonial closet, sexual activity between consenting adults in the US is not considered illegal since 2003, and 32 states now recognize same-sex marriages.

Several public figures in India, including at least two chief ministers, are rumored to be gay, but subject is considered taboo. The US Congress has at least six openly gay and bisexual members plus a Democratic Senator who is lesbian. Obama administration itself has appointed more than 250 openly LGBT professionals to full-time and advisory positions in the executive branch, including at least two Indian-Americans -- more than all known LGBT appointments of other presidential administrations combined.

All this at a time when India's LGBTs are often shamed into conformist marriages because of social stigma, resulting in pain and suffering all around as illustrated in the recent case of a married woman who resorted to hidden cameras to expose her gay husband.

Cook has been an intensely private man, and his brooding, single, solitary personality often triggered talk about his private life. "Throughout my professional life, I've tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don't seek to draw attention to myself," he wrote in his Business Week essay. "For years, I've been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I'm gay, and it doesn't seem to make a difference in the way they treat me."

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay," he added, explaining that he was coming out because he was reminded of Dr Martin Luther King's words about what one is going for others and the realization that his desire for privacy was holding him back from supporting LGBT rights.

"I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it's worth the trade-off with my own privacy," Cook wrote.

Glasgow Trip

Scotland's largest city is a friendly, bustling town with imposing 19th-century buildings, vibrant theatre life, the most talked-about independent music scene outside the USA and watering holes that run the gamut from trendy bars to traditional pubs. The city's buses and metro system make it easy to explore. Don't miss the re-opened Kelvingrove Art Museum, the Victorian Necropolis, or the surprisingly delicious local delicacy: deep-fried pizza. Glasgow is the gateway to the Highlands and Islands.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom. At the 2011 census, it had a population density of 8,790 per square mile, the highest of any Scottish city

Glasgow is Scotland's largest city and is renowned for its culture, style and the friendliness of its people.

Glasgow offers a blend of internationally-acclaimed museums and galleries, stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, fantastic shopping and a diverse array of restaurants and bars.

Vibrant and energetic, Glasgow enjoys a year-round buzz with an arts scene that regularly produces cutting-edge productions and attracts high-profile exhibitions that led to the city being crowned European City of Culture in 1990.

Glasgow was also the UK's City of Architecture and Design in 1999 and its architecture is an attraction in itself. The city centre has countless impressive Victorian structures and then there are the unique masterpieces of one of the city's most celebrated sons, the legendary architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The city has a long-standing reputation for its live music scene and is very well off too in terms of city parks.

Glasgow is one of the liveliest and most cosmopolitan destinations in Europe. The city has been reborn as a centre of style and vitality set against a backdrop of outstanding Victorian architecture. Glasgow boasts world famous art collections, the best shopping in the United Kingdom outside London, and the most vibrant and exciting nightlife in Scotland. A must see is the splendour of Scotland's best known architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose style adorns many unique attractions throughout Scotland's largest and greatest city.

Art and culture are important in Glasgow life where galleries and museums are in abundance - most with free admission. A choice of over 20 includes the world's first Museum of Religion and the renowned Burrell Collection in Pollok Park. No visit would be complete without experiencing the city's shopping with high street stores, designer labels, and speciality outlets to explore, with welcome pit-stops in the first class cafe culture around the Italian Centre, Merchant City, Gallery of Modern Art or Buchanan Galleries.

Near the boundary of East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow, you will find a memorial to William Wallace, hero of Scotland. In danger of being eclipsed by housing developments, now may be the last chance for you to visit both this site of national significance, and the nearby Wallace's Well, where Wallace took his last drink as a free man.

The Hunterian is Scotland's oldest public museum and following a very careful refurbishment, re-emerges as Scotland's newest museum, and is the first to attain the prestigious award of having a collection of national significance. If you've not visited the Hunterian Museum in a while now is the best time to go!

The City of Glasgow owns one of the richest collections in Europe, displayed in 13 museums across the city. From Sir Roger the elephant to Rembrandt's A Man in Armour, and 1950s trams to medieval tapestries, Glasgow Museum's got something for everyone. What's more, they're free and open seven days a week!

University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow (Scottish Gaelic: Oilthigh Ghlaschu, Latin: Universitas Glasguensis) is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. The university was founded in 1451 and is often ranked in the world's top 100 universities in tables compiled by various bodies. In 2013, Glasgow moved to its highest ever position, placing 51st in the world and 9th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings.

In common with universities of the pre-modern era, Glasgow educated students primarily from wealthy backgrounds, but was also, with the University of Edinburgh, a leading centre of the Scottish Enlightenment during the 18th century. The University became a pioneer in British higher education in the 19th century by also providing for the needs of students from the growing urban and commercial middle classes. Glasgow served all of these students by preparing them for professions: the law, medicine, civil service, teaching, and the church. It also trained smaller but growing numbers for careers in science and engineering. In 2007, the Sunday Times ranked it as "Scottish University of the Year." The university is a member of the Russell Group which represents the highest-ranked public research-based universities in the UK. It is also a member of Universitas 21, the international network of research universities.

Originally located in the city's High Street, since 1870 the main University campus has been located at Gilmorehill in the West End of the city. Additionally, a number of university buildings are located elsewhere, such as the University Marine Biological Station Millport on the Island of Cumbrae in the Firth of Clyde and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries.

Glasgow has departments of Law, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Dentistry. Its submission to the most recent UK university research assessment was one of the broadest in the UK. Glasgow's financial endowment is the fifth largest (and fourth largest per head) among UK universities.

Alumni or former staff of the University include philosopher Francis Hutcheson, engineer James Watt, economist Adam Smith, physicist Lord Kelvin, surgeon Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, seven Nobel laureates, two British Prime Ministers, several leaders of Britain's and Scotland's major political parties, and numerous leading figures from legal, scientific and business professions. Entry to the university is highly competitive; applications for each place on many of its courses run into double figures, and successful entrants have on average almost 485 UCAS points. This ranks as the 11th highest among UK higher education institutions ("Entry Standards" – CUG University League Table 2015).

The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451 AD by a charter or papal bull from Pope Nicholas V, at the suggestion of King James II, giving Bishop William Turnbull permission to add a University to the city's Cathedral.[12] It is the second-oldest university in Scotland after St Andrews and the fourth-oldest in the English-speaking world. The universities of St Andrews, Glasgow and Aberdeen were ecclesiastical foundations, while Edinburgh was a civic foundation. As one of the Ancient Universities of the United Kingdom, Glasgow University is one of only eight institutions to award undergraduate masters degrees in certain disciplines.


The East Quadrangle of the Main Building.
The University has been without its original Bull since the mid-sixteenth century. In 1560, during the political unrest accompanying the Scottish Reformation, the then chancellor, Archbishop James Beaton, a supporter of the Marian cause, fled to France. He took with him, for safe-keeping, many of the archives and valuables of the Cathedral and the University, including the Mace and the Bull. Although the Mace was sent back in 1590, the archives were not. Principal Dr James Fall told the Parliamentary Commissioners of Visitation on 28 August 1690, that he had seen the Bull at the Scots College in Paris, together with the many charters granted to the University by the monarchs of Scotland from James II to Mary, Queen of Scots. The University enquired of these documents in 1738 but was informed by Thomas Innes and the superiors of the Scots College, that the original records of the foundation of the University were not to be found. If they had not been lost by this time, they certainly went astray during the French Revolution when the Scots College was under threat. Its records and valuables were moved for safe-keeping out of the city of Paris. The Bull remains the authority by which the University awards degrees.

Teaching at the University began in the chapterhouse of Glasgow Cathedral, subsequently moving to nearby Rottenrow, in a building known as the "Auld Pedagogy". The University was given 13 acres (53,000 m2) of land belonging to the Black Friars (Dominicans) on High Street by Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1563. By the late 17th century, the University building centred on two courtyards surrounded by walled gardens, with a clock tower, which was one of the notable features of Glasgow's skyline, and a chapel adapted from the church of the former Dominican (Blackfriars) friary. Remnants of this Scottish Renaissance building, mainly parts of the main facade, were transferred to the Gilmorehill campus and renamed as the "Pearce Lodge", after Sir William Pearce, the shipbuilding magnate who funded its preservation. The Lion and Unicorn Staircase was also transferred from the old college site and is now attached to the Main Building.

John Anderson, while professor of natural philosophy at the university, and with some opposition from his colleagues, pioneered vocational education for working men and women during the industrial revolution. To continue this work in his will he founded Anderson's College, which was associated with the university before merging with other institutions to become the University of Strathclyde in 1964.

In 1973, Delphine Parrott became its first woman professor, as Gardiner Professor of Immunology.

In October 2014, the university court voted for the University to become the first academic institution in Europe to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

Troubles silverlining in Sony's smartphone

Sony Mobile is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation, a leading global innovator of audio, video, game, communications, key device and information technology products for both the consumer and professional markets.

With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world.

Through its Xperia™ smartphone and tablet portfolio, Sony Mobile delivers the best of Sony technology, premium content and services, and easy connectivity to Sony’s world of networked entertainment experiences.
The Xperia™ portfolio

combine stand-out design and superior entertainment technology with the powerful performance consumers would expect from a Sony smartphone and tablet. They let consumers play, watch, listen and create all within the world of Sony: via the Sony Entertainment Network, Xperia users can watch Hollywood blockbusters on Video Unlimited, stream music from a catalogue of millions of songs on Music Unlimited and enjoy games from PlayStation Mobile. And with simple connectivity consumers can share their entertainment across devices and screens

Sony posted a smaller than expected second-quarter operating loss on Friday, hailed by its finance chief as proof that the Japanese group's restructuring program is paying off.

The company said the reduced operating loss was due in part to rising sales of image sensors to smartphone manufacturers, though the poor showing from its own Xperia phones weighed heavily on results.

Sales of the image sensors, used in Apple's iPhones and increasingly in Chinese-made handsets, made the devices unit the biggest earner within Sony's flagship electronics division and offset some of a 176 billion yen ($1.58 billion) impairment charge on its mobile division.

That left an overall operating loss for the three months to September 30 of 85.6 billion yen, beating analyst expectations of nearly double that.

"We are on our way to achieving 400 billion yen in operating profit next year," CFO Kenichiro Yoshida declared at a media briefing on Friday, referring to a target set in May when he announced plans to set aside 135 billion yen to restructure the bloated electronics division.

"Restructuring is progressing well and right now we think we will be able to cut 20%t of staff at our distribution companies and 30% at headquarters."

However, poor sales of the Xperia smartphone have dashed Sony's ambitions of becoming the world's third-biggest smartphone maker behind Apple and Samsung Electronics.

China retreat

Yoshida said on Friday that Sony would shrink its exposure to the Chinese smartphone market, where more nimble, fast-growing rivals have dented his company's hopes of making any significant progress in the world's biggest smartphone market.

Sony will quit the development and sale of China-only handsets, Yoshida said, with an accompanying cut in its smartphone sales forecast to 41 million from 43 million, against sales of 39 million last year.

It also wound back its operating loss forecast by 28 billion yen. In addition to the impairment charge, that leaves the mobile operation heading for a 204 billion yen loss this financial year.

Incoming mobile division chief Hiroki Totoki, picked by chief executive Kazuo Hirai to turn around the ailing unit after earning his stripes at a Sony internet subsidiary and Sony Bank, said he would focus on improving the speed of management response to changes in the market after assuming his new post on November 16.

"Sony's got the will to continue with its smartphone business and it's hoping income from the business improves. Todoki has reformed businesses before, so he's probably thinking of rebuilding it," said Hideyuki Fukunaga, the chief executive of fund manager Investrust.

Xbox trounced

Sony's shrinking slice of the smartphone market is in stark contrast to its dominance in game consoles, where its PlayStation 4 has trounced the Xbox One made by closest rival Microsoft and has broken even within only a year of its release, a feat its predecessor achieved in four years.

Sony increased its annual operating profit forecast for the gaming unit by 40% to 35 billion yen after selling 3.3 million PlayStation 4 consoles in its second quarter. By October 18 it had sold 12.3 million consoles, against 6.1 million Xbox One sales, according to market research website VG Chartz.

The operating profit outlook for Sony's imaging, music and device units was also increased. Strong sales of image sensors and batteries, as well as a weaker yen, propelled the devices business to a quarterly operating profit of 29.6 billion yen, up 149% year on year.

However, a weaker yen is negative for Sony as a whole, Yoshida said, with the company losing 3 billion yen for every yen the Japanese currency falls against the dollar.

Shares of Sony closed 0.8% higher before the earnings announcement, compared with a 4.8% rise for the Nikkei benchmark index .N225 after the Bank of Japan announced further monetary easing that weakened the yen by as much as 2.5% to beyond 111 against the dollar.

Sony posted a net loss of 136 billion yen for the quarter and held its full-year net loss forecast at 230 billion yen.

The Global Stock Market Has Thrilled by Tokyo

A new, so-called thriller called The Directive concocts a tale of stealing the Federal Reserve’s policy directive before its release to gain a market advantage. A Japanese version might work better.

After the Fed did what virtually everybody expected by announcing the end of its bond-purchase program, the Bank of Japan stunned the financial world on Friday by sharply ramping up its own version of the scheme, adding to its purchases of bonds and stocks, while that nation’s pension fund said that it would shift its portfolio holdings away from bonds and toward stocks.

With the BOJ picking up the money-printing baton handed off by the Fed, stocks soared around the globe, while the yen plunged against the dollar and the euro. Extending the previous week’s surge, the major U.S. equity gauges ended at records on Friday, while stocks in Tokyo jumped more than 7% on the week to the highest level since November 2007. Not to be left out, European stocks gained 3%, their best weekly showing since last December.

Except for machine-driven high-frequency traders that might transact millions of orders in milliseconds, it’s virtually impossible to gain a beat on Fed decisions. For the past two decades, the central bank has announced policy changes when they’re decided upon. And in recent years, in the name of transparency, Fed officials have been increasingly explicit about the direction in which they expect to take policy. If the markets have been surprised, it has been because the monetary authorities also have been surprised when their best-laid plans have gone awry.

The Federal Open Market Committee’s latest policy statement said the central bank would maintain the current near-zero interest rates for a “considerable time” after winding up its quantitative easing. If employment improves faster or inflation climbs closer to the Fed’s target, the bank would move up the first rate hike, and vice versa. As those incessant commercials about saving 15% on car insurance in 15 minutes assert, everybody knows that.

What markets didn’t know and didn’t expect was that Japanese officials would move so dramatically to try to spur that nation’s flagging recovery. Specifically, the BOJ upped its goal for the expansion of its monetary base, to 80 trillion yen ($720 billion) from ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion, a move the central bank’s governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, said is aimed at ending Japan’s “deflationary mind-set.” As a result of the plan to print more yen, the Japanese currency weakened to nearly 112 to the dollar from just under 108.

Meanwhile, Japan’s $1.1 trillion pension fund said it would shift its portfolio strongly toward equities—allocating 25% each to domestic and foreign stocks, up from 12% each—while trimming domestic bonds to 35% from 60%. In gambling terms, this is going all in on Abenomics, as the stimulus plan is called, after Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister.

This is truly a dazzling example of 21st century government finance. The government runs a deficit covered by IOUs, or bond borrowings. The central bank buys those bonds to fund the budget shortfall and also purchases bonds sold by the pension plan, all with reserves it creates out of thin air. The pension fund uses the newly printed yen it receives from the BOJ for its bonds to buy claims against the future earnings of private industry—that is, common stocks.

Those are the financial impacts. In the real world, the effect is to make Japanese exports cheaper and to export deflation to Japan’s trade partners.

Friday’s 2.5% drop in the yen is equivalent to a $1,500 price cut on a $60,000 Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota Motor (ticker: TM), or on an Acura, Honda Motor ’s (HMC) high-end marque. That would exert competition for BMW, Daimler ’s (DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen ’s (VOW.Germany) Audi, Tata Motors ’ (TTM) Jaguar, General Motors ’ (GM) Cadillac, and even Hyundai Motors (005380.Korea), which is trying to break into that league with its Equus sedan.

The cheap yen would give less of a boost to the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord versus the VW Passat, Hyundai Sonata, Ford (F) Fusion, or Chevrolet Malibu, most of which are assembled in North America. That is a reflection of the globalization of the automobile industry in general, but more particularly the offshoring of Japanese industry over the past two decades, spurred by the overvalued yen.

A shift in exchange rates won’t get Toyota to move from Kentucky or Honda from Ohio, where they’re long established. And with the higher cost of imports—especially for fossil fuels needed to replace shuttered nuclear-power plants—Japan’s once-vaunted trade surplus has become a deficit.

Meanwhile, the higher prices from the weaker yen are weighing on Japanese consumers, along with the consumption tax hike enacted this year. This suggests that the monetary “arrow” of Abenomics “may now be having a negative impact” on Japan’s economy, according to a report by Richard Koo, chief economist of the Nomura Research Institute, written before the BOJ moved to drive the yen still lower.

And with 10-year Japanese government bond yields down to just 0.462%, equities’ allure is further increased.

None of this is working out as economics textbooks say it should. A lower yen should spur exports to narrow the deficit and stimulate growth. Expectations of higher prices should induce consumers to spend.

But it all makes for a good thriller novel.

AHEAD OF TUESDAY’S midterm elections, it’s apparent that a lot of Democrats running for Congress also have been running away from President Barack Obama. Indeed, Comedy Central, where a large swath of Young America gets its news, ran some hilarious clips about Democratic candidates not so artfully evading the question of whether they actually voted for the president in 2008 or 2012. Shades of “Have you now or have you ever been an Obama supporter?”

The odds narrowly favor Republicans gaining control of the Senate and adding to their majority in the House of Representatives, although as the great philosopher, Yogi Berra, reminds us, it ain’t over til it’s over. And that might not be Tuesday night if there are runoffs in one or more Senate races.

But that doesn’t mean investors aren’t pondering possible outcomes. On that score, a savvy investor tells our colleague Andrew Bary that financial companies could be winners if onerous regulatory burdens are eased by a GOP-controlled Congress.

Mid-cap banks such as First Republic (FRC) or Zions Bancorp (ZION) could benefit if the so-called SIFI limit—the size to be designated a Systemically Important Financial Institution—is lifted, freeing them from the scrutiny accompanying that status. Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, the central bank’s key board member on regulation, has voiced support for lifting the minimum asset level to $100 billion from $50 billion. Another winner, one investor says, could be MetLife (MET), which has been fighting a SIFI designation, arguing that as a life insurer, it doesn’t pose the same risk as big banks. Giant banks such as Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) could also get regulatory relief.

The counterargument is that Republicans might be reluctant to loosen the reins on the banks, given the strong support garnered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat whose popularity in large part reflects her anti–Wall Street stance. Being pro-banker could also backfire on the GOP in 2016, both from Warren’s supporters on the left and the Tea Party on the right.

Other beneficiaries of Republican control of both houses of Congress could be Trans- Canada (TRP), which seeks approval for the Keystone XL pipeline that has been delayed by Obama’s vow to veto the project. As noted here last week, Republicans won’t have the 67 votes needed to override a veto, but who knows how things could go after the election?

Finally, beleaguered for-profit education outfits, such as Apollo Education (APOL), DeVry (DV) and Graham Holdings (GHC), owner of the Kaplan higher-ed business, also could fare better under a GOP Congress.

PERHAPS THE MOST important vote on Tuesday won’t be in Washington, says longtime Beltway insider Greg Valliere. In a note to Potomac Research Group’s clients, he writes:

“There are several crucial gubernatorial races that will have national implications— Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Kansas, etc.— but perhaps the most important one is in Rhode Island, where moderate Democrat Gina Raimondo is in a cliff-hanger against Republican Allan Fung. Raimondo is a rare Democrat who has vowed to curb public employee union benefits, which has earned her the deep enmity of organized labor.

“If Raimondo loses, it would be a warning to other Democrats that they could pay a price if they seek changes in COLAs, retirement ages, etc. If she wins, it would send a signal that voters want to reform pension benefits. Our sense is that voters want reform (the Illinois gubernatorial race, where Republican Bruce Rauner is closing fast, will be a key litmus test). This is a crucial and underappreciated issue—the greatest long-term threat to the U.S. economy is under-funded pension liabilities.”

Public pensions are of particular concern to muni-bond investors. In particular, bondholders don’t come before pensioners when the bankruptcy court decides how bankrupt cities’ obligations are to be met.

Quoting a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysis of the Detroit bankruptcy, our colleague Michael Aneiro recently noted on Barrons.com that the city’s pensioners got haircuts of no more than 4.5% and elimination of annual cost-of-living increases. In contrast, the haircuts for unlimited-tax general-obligation bondholders and limited-tax GO holders were 26% and 66%.

Moody’s Investors Service says that Stockton, Calif.’s recent exit from bankruptcy set a precedent for higher recoveries by pensioners than by bondholders. Bankruptcy is the last recourse for overly indebted municipalities. But, as the Rhode Island vote shows, the competing claims of creditors and pensioners, and their effect on taxpayers who are on the hook for them, is only getting bigger. And it resonates far beyond the muni market.

Now Sharp Q2 operating profit dips as Japan sales tax hike weighs

TOKYO: Japanese electronics maker Sharp said on Friday its second-quarter operating profit slipped 18.3%, missing forecasts, as a consumption tax increase in Japan squeezed sales of electronic parts, TVs and white goods.

Sharp's operating profit for July-September fell to 24.5 billion yen ($224 million) from 30 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. That was below an average estimate of 28.2 billion compiled from seven analyst forecasts gathered by Thomson Reuters StarMine.

But Sharp reiterated its full-year operating profit forecast of 100 billion yen, saying earnings from its growing liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels business more than tripled in the first half of the year amid increasing orders from Chinese smartphone makers. In the year ended March 2014, operating profit was 108.6 billion yen.

Sharp is working its way through a restructuring to reduce reliance on products like TVs in the wake of heavy losses in recent years when it was undercut by cheaper Asian rivals. In a shift more pronounced than at other Japanese electronics makers, it's increasingly focusing on selling LCDs to customers like Apple and a new breed of Chinese smartphone makers.

For the second quarter, the company said its display panels division accounted for three-quarters percent of operating profit, up from less than 59% in the same period a year earlier.

By 0505 GMT, Sharp shares were up 3.8%, in line with a broad market rally and a 4.4% gain in the benchmark Nikkei triggered by unexpected move by Japan's central bank to ease monetary policy.

TOKYO: Japanese electronics maker Sharp said on Friday its second-quarter operating profit slipped 18.3%, missing forecasts, as a consumption tax increase in Japan squeezed sales of electronic parts, TVs and white goods.

Sharp's operating profit for July-September fell to 24.5 billion yen ($224 million) from 30 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. That was below an average estimate of 28.2 billion compiled from seven analyst forecasts gathered by Thomson Reuters StarMine.

But Sharp reiterated its full-year operating profit forecast of 100 billion yen, saying earnings from its growing liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels business more than tripled in the first half of the year amid increasing orders from Chinese smartphone makers. In the year ended March 2014, operating profit was 108.6 billion yen.

Sharp is working its way through a restructuring to reduce reliance on products like TVs in the wake of heavy losses in recent years when it was undercut by cheaper Asian rivals. In a shift more pronounced than at other Japanese electronics makers, it's increasingly focusing on selling LCDs to customers like Apple and a new breed of Chinese smartphone makers.

For the second quarter, the company said its display panels division accounted for three-quarters percent of operating profit, up from less than 59% in the same period a year earlier.

By 0505 GMT, Sharp shares were up 3.8%, in line with a broad market rally and a 4.4% gain in the benchmark Nikkei triggered by unexpected move by Japan's central bank to ease monetary policy.
Summary Sharp's operating profit for July-September fell to 24.5 billion yen ($224 million) from 30 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. For the second quarter, the company said its display panels division accounted for three-quarters percent of operating profit, up from less than 59% in the same period a year earlier.
FILE image. At 25-0 a cricket score looked in the offing until a strong rolling maul earned Japan a penalty try to briefly stop the rot. The prospect of a Super Rugby franchise coming to Japan for the 2016 season, currently under discussion by organisers SANZAR, is one the former Australia coach admits could be crucial for the future of Japanese rugby.

Tokyo shares soared 4.83 per cent to a seven-year high on Friday after the Bank of Japan ramped up its vast monetary easing programme, sending the yen into freefall.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 755.56 points to 16,413.76, its best close since November 2007, while the Topix index of all first-section issues jumped 4.28 per cent, or 54.74 points, to 1,333.64.
BoJ policymakers said they would step up the pace of the central bank's asset-buying plan by as much as 20 trillion yen ($182 billion), bringing it to 80 trillion yen annually.

What markets didn’t know and didn’t expect was that Japanese officials would move so dramatically to try to spur that nation’s flagging recovery. Specifically, the BOJ upped its goal for the expansion of its monetary base, to 80 trillion yen ($720 billion) from ¥60 trillion to ¥70 trillion, a move the central bank’s governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, said is aimed at ending Japan’s “deflationary mind-set.” As a result of the plan to print more yen, the Japanese currency weakened to nearly 112 to the dollar from just under 108.

Meanwhile, Japan’s $1.1 trillion pension fund said it would shift its portfolio strongly toward equities—allocating 25% each to domestic and foreign stocks, up from 12% each—while trimming domestic bonds to 35% from 60%. In gambling terms, this is going all in on Abenomics, as the stimulus plan is called, after Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister.

This is truly a dazzling example of 21st century government finance. The government runs a deficit covered by IOUs, or bond borrowings. The central bank buys those bonds to fund the budget shortfall and also purchases bonds sold by the pension plan, all with reserves it creates out of thin air. The pension fund uses the newly printed yen it receives from the BOJ for its bonds to buy claims against the future earnings of private industry—that is, common stocks.

Health Tips for Women

There’s something about Rice Krispies treats that just says fall (maybe it’s the warm-and-gooey thing they have going on). But as it turns out, Rice Krispies treats can get even more snuggly with a few little tweaks to the mix-ins. Scroll down to start salivating. These yummy, fall-themed hacks are perfect for Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dessert, or Monday mornings—and they’re all a cinch to make.

1. S'More Rice Krispies Treats
This easy graham cracker-chocolate-marshmallow fluff hack is everything you love about camping. And nothing you don’t (like, you know, actually camping).

2. Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats
Pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves give these treats the epitome of fall flavors. And you thought pumpkin spice lattes were good.

The One Thing That Transformed the Health of Four Women

"Exercising outside eased my depression.”
Between 2005 and 2010, the double whammy of an unhealthy marriage and a failing business left me depressed and overweight. By 2011, I decided I'd had enough. I lived on a lake close to winding trails, so I started walking and swimming outdoors a few times a week. Five months later, I had shed 35 pounds and noticed my mood was significantly better too. Then, in March 2012, I completed a Spartan Race, which is a 3-mile obstacle course. At the finish line, I was caked in dirt, but I felt incredible. Since then I've participated in more than 50 races all over the country (even dyeing my hair green for one of them!). Thanks to outdoor activity, I've gained confidence and a new outlook on life. -- Andi Hardy, Atlanta

WHY IT WORKS All kinds of exercise can help soothe the blues by producing feel-good endorphins, but working out in nature may be extra-beneficial. Research has linked outdoor fitness to elevated self-esteem levels, as well as decreases in depression and anger.

Walk Off the Weight in Just 10 Minutes

If you have trouble fitting fitness into your schedule, great news: Researchers found that shorter bouts of exercise—even as brief as 2 minutes—totaling 30 minutes per day may have as much impact as a half-hour of nonstop movement in helping to lower your risk of heart disease. In other words, a little bit of activity here and there can really add up. This 10-minute routine will get results and can easily fit into your most hectic days.

1 MIN: Walk at a moderate pace. (Talking should be a bit tough but not impossible.)

1 MIN: Walk at a brisk pace. (Talking should be difficult.)

2 MIN: Walk at an easy pace. (Carrying on a conversation should be easy.)

1 MIN: Walk at a brisk pace.

2 MIN: Walk at an easy pace.

1 MIN: Walk at a brisk pace.

2 MIN: Walk at an easy pace.

If this routine starts to feel less challenging, add 15 seconds to the brisk bursts while shaving 15 seconds off the easy intervals. To easily increase the intensity of your walk, try to take slightly shorter steps. (Longer strides can slow you down.)

Eats by the Hour

It’s not just what you eat, but when you eat that matters. “Our food dictates everything from our mood and energy levels to sleep patterns and cravings,” says Marci Anderson, a registered dietitian in Cambridge, MA. So whether you want to feel alert in the morning, blissed-out at lunch or sleepy at night, smart food choices can get you there. You don’t have to eat everything that follows in one day; just pick what suits your needs. Keep clicking to find out how to maximize your meals throughout the day.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Are 'Hearables' the Next Big Thing in Fitness................... Fitness.......

The future of “smart” wearable devices could be in your ear, according to the “wireless evangelist” Nick Hunn. Hunn is working on a new market forecast report for wearable tech, and wrote in a preview that he expects “hearables,” or smart earbuds, to be worth over $5 billion by 2018. For context, a recent forecast (pdf) predicted a total market of $30 to $50 billion for wearables by that year. Here’s why he could be right:
Screens make things complicated

After the release of the futuristic romance movie Her, in which the main character falls in love with an artificially intelligent operating system who speaks to him mostly through an earpiece, the production designer KK Barrett told Wired that he’d banished most screens, and basically all physical interaction with computers. “We decided we didn’t want to have physical contact,” he said. “We wanted it to be natural. Hence the elimination of software keyboards as we know them.”
The effect is a simplification of user interface with software: People would ask for what they wanted in the same way they’d ask another person, and their smart devices would deliver. Wrists could stay bare, and actual cellphones would hardly ever emerge.
Google wants to make voice control as seamless and easy to use as a keyboard. Right now, the interface is being groomed for use with Google’s first smartwatch. But after it overcomes the challenges of making a tiny screen functional, it can move on to working without one.
The technology is already in progress

This isn’t Google’s only product in development that could help hearables happen. The company’s Moto X “superphone” is able to listen for voice commands constantly—even when it’s asleep. The chips that allow this constant listening does so with very little power.
But for voice recognition to be appealing, it has to be quicker. Most voice recognition requires an internet connection—even if you’re not asking your phone to search the internet. When you ask Apple’s Siri to open iTunes, for example, your command goes to the cloud for interpretation. The delay of a few seconds is enough to make voice commands impractical for a lot of tasks. Intel thinks it has the solution: It has plans for an offline alternative, allowing for faster responses. Intel’s head of wearables, Mike Bell, told Quartz earlier this year that the company will make a processor powerful enough to parse out voice commands on its own—and small enough to fit on a wearable.
Intel is partnering with a third party to make a wireless headset that connects to your smartphone. Called Jarvis, it’s expected to behave like its Iron Man franchise namesake: The headset will understand your voice commands and respond to them verbally.
Your ear is a better home for a fitness tracker than your wrist

“Few people realize,” Nick Hunn writes in the preview of his market forecast, “that the ear is a remarkably good place to measure many vital signs.” It doesn’t move around like the wrist does, which will make readings like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and pulse oximetry more accurate. Several companies are already exploring the potential for health sensors in the ear: Dublin-based Zinc Software is raising money to make a hearing-aid-like clip-on that monitors heart rate for biofeedback purposes, and iRiver has a set of workout headphones that capture movement and heart rate. Apple recently filed a patent for earbuds that capture biometric data, as well. Maybe Jawbone’s next health and fitness tracker should look a little more like one of its Bluetooth earpieces.
We’re used to having stuff in our ears

One of the biggest barriers faced by all wearables is social acceptance. We’ve grown used to staring down at our phones in lots of public places—and even in more intimate settings. But something about the idea of a constant division of our attention—by way of a visual interface like Google Glass, for example– still bothers many of us. If you’ve been outside anytime in the past five years or so, you already know that earbuds have overcome that problem. We’re used to our peers listening to music constantly or shouting into their headphone cords as they walk down the street. So having a constant connection to your personal audio assistant won’t look out of place.
It can start with music

To break us into the concept, hearables can make our music listening experience smarter. Intel has previewed a set of heart rate-tracking headphones that pick your music based on your running pace. When you slow down, your music will push you to go faster.
But there’s room for even smarter music: Cone, a smart speaker coming out this summer, will act as a full-service music curator that learns your music habits and predicts your every auditory whim. Now imagine how great it would be if Cone fit into your ear, instead of sitting on your counter. Obviously it’s a tall order to shrink a new device so quickly; but who wouldn’t want a smart, in-ear jukebox?

What’s one thing you can’t live without at the gym? Odds are, headphones rank pretty high up on your list. For many people, a fitness tracker such as a Fitbit or Jawbone would be up there as well. And if you fall into the category that can’t live without either, there’s good news – the next generation of fitness trackers combine the best of both.

These new types of wearables, dubbed “hearables,” promise to offer more accurate measurements, longer battery life and a host of other benefits over wrist-worn fitness trackers. Hearables might be the next big thing, according to Scott Snyder, a senior fellow with the University of Pennsylvania's Mack Institute for Innovation Management and president and co-founder of the mobile strategy company Mobiquity. “Research suggests that 55 percent of Americans plan to use a wearable device in the coming year,” Snyder says. “Most of the attention to-date has been on the wrist, with a barrage of new devices from wrist-worn trackers to sensorized smartwatches, but hearables are makings strides and leveraging a mainstream consumer accessory – the earbud.”

Earlier this year, LG Electronics launched its first hearable, the Heart Rate​ earphone, which measures (you guessed it) your heart rate, speed, steps and calories, plus provides audio feedback on your workout. Another hearable, The Dash,​ which is a combination of a Bluetooth headset, music player and waterproof fitness tracker, raised more than $3 million on Kickstarter – a sign that there's a substantial market for these products.

So why the ear? It turns out that tracking your vitals through the ear just makes sense, Snyder says. “The ear happens to be a good place to pick up blood flow as it moves consistently in and out of the ear, and the membrane is relatively thin,” he says. “We can pick up heart rate, blood flow and even oxygen levels at an accuracy rate comparable to the chest strap.”

Hearables also have the added benefit of fitting seamlessly into your routine, says Steven LeBoeuf​, president and co-founder of Valencell, a research and design company focused on sensors and technology. “If I’m going to the gym and I forget my fitness tracker, it’s no big deal,” he says. “If I forget my headphones, I’ll turn around and head home to pick them up.”

Plus, with hearables, you don’t have to worry as much about battery life, since many can be charged right through your phone's headphone jack​, LeBoeuf says. Having to take off your tracker to charge it is a big reason people stop using it.​ “When people take off the wrist tracker to charge it, many never put it back on,” he says.

The one downside to hearables is that you won’t be able to capture data as often as you can with wrist-worn trackers, says Joshua New​, a policy analyst with the Center for Data Innovation. “The hearable form factor is a double-edged sword in this sense,” he says. “Wristbands benefit from their potential to be always-on, in that they can collect biometric data while you sleep, run, swim, go on a date or sit in a meeting. Wearing headphones is not always viable in these situations.”

Despite the limitation, it’s only a matter of time until these products become mainstream, Snyder says, and the company he believes is best poised to take advantage of this market is Apple. “It seems like Apple has a huge opportunity to grab this category and tap into its newly acquired Beats product line – where they could offer music from the watch or iPhone and earbuds to capture health information and store in HealthKit for tracking and management,” he says. (HealthKit is an app for iPhones that acts as a hub for fitness apps and displays all collected information in one place.)

New sees the future of the market as a little more cloudy, and says it still remains to be seen what consumers look for in these products. “We’ll see how the market shapes up for these devices,” he says. “It’s not yet clear whether consumers will buy headphones because they are smart or because of other features like the quality of the sound, weight and whether they stay in place while exercising.”

But even if they don’t become the most widely used type of wearable, hearables allow the people who do use them to collect data on their health habits, and anything that does that has the potential to be beneficial, New says. “There are many different form factors for wearables – eyewear, watches, even smart onesies for babies and smart collars for dogs,” he says. “By making these wearable devices more adoptable, we will see more data being collected, and this is always a good thing.”