Only 44% Indians have clean hands

September 2, 2009

Indians’ hand-washing habits may not be up to sniffles, but Canadians have the cleanest hands, a hygiene survey.

While 90% of people surveyed in Canada feel that washing hands regularly is good protection against catching flu, only 44% of Indians believe the same, says an international survey, conducted by Global Hygiene Council supported by Dettol, in 2008.

Ideas of hygiene and health vary from country to country, and in India, food also comes into play: 20% of Indians believe that avoiding eating meat can keep the flu away, while other countries, especially Australia and South Africa, do not believe it at all.

The survey – which also covers South Africa, Malaysia, Italy, Great Britian, Australia and USA – revealed some interesting nuggets on people’s perceptions. The questions, on measures to prevent flu and washing hands, were posed to 1,000 respondents.

Cross-country

Even as 58% of people in Italy believe that avoiding public places is another preventive measure to prevent the flu, only 12% of Indians agree. While 71% of Malaysians believe a rubbish bin poses the greatest risk of transmitting germs to a person or child, 16% of Indians think the bin poses the greatest risk, while 44% Indians think the toilet seat is a risk best not taken.

Though 27% of Indians wash their hands for a minute after using the toilet, in Italy, 28% do so. However, 41% of people in South Africa wash their hands after using toilets, but only for five seconds.

Kiddy habits

When it comes to children washing their hands before eating, 79% of Indian kids obediently do so, while only 29% of Australians do, and 80% of Malaysians wash up before eating.

The survey says 45% Indian parents believe in asking their children to wash hands as they come home from school or nursery, to prevent them from picking up germs and becoming ill.

The importance of teaching children good hygiene habits was highlighted by the survey, which revealed that 50% of Indians do not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, thus pushing up chances of picking up germs from each other. When someone coughs or sneezes, millions of germs can be expelled into the air, so it’s important that children understand the ways to protect themselves and their classmates from illness.

Suggestions

* Leftover food in lunch boxes should be discarded, and the box thoroughly cleaned. Crumbs in school bags can spread salmonella and cause gastrointestinal upsets

* Kids should be taught to clean even hard-to-reach areas like between the fingers, around the nails and even thumbs. They should know that just because they can’t see dirt on their hands, it doesn’t mean there are no germs

* When kids cough or sneeze, they should use tissue and dispose it in a bin. If they don’t have a tissue, teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than into their hands – this way, bacteria and viruses aren’t transferred to their hands, and then on to the surfaces they touch, and on to other children

Top 5 illnesses picked up at school

Common cold
Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)
Ear infection
Conjunctivitis
Sore throat

INDIAN SOAP OPERA

12% believe avoiding public places prevents contracting flu
44% wash hands use regular soap
32% prefer anti-bacterial soap
3% use sanitizer
11% only running water

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How to be a Good Girlfriend

August 28, 2009

Being a good and caring girlfriend is a nice way of letting your boyfriend know, how lucky he is to have you. You don’t have to go out of your way to be ‘good’, just to please your boyfriend. You already have it in you, that is why your boyfriend chose you in the first place. You just have to express what you genuinely feel about your boyfriend.

Following are a few tips on how to be a good girlfriend.

Give Him Space – Don’t Nag

Most girls are so overwhelmed with the feeling of having a boyfriend that they tend to cut themselves off from the rest of the world and expect their boyfriends to do the same. However, there is a difference in the way men and women look at a relationship. Women tend to devote all of their time to their new relationship, while men only think of it as an addition to their existing ones. However, that does not mean that your boyfriend does not want to spend time with you, he only needs his own space. Let your boyfriend spend time with his friends and family if he really wants to. Don’t nag all the time, because nagging is something men really hate. After, all what’s the use of having a boyfriend by your side all the time, when his mind is somewhere else?

Be Independent

Men really like women who are independent and capable of taking care of their lives. Calling your boyfriend at the slightest sign of trouble is definitely not a good idea. In the initial stages of a relationship, your boyfriend may like it when you turn to him for help, for every petty reason, however he may get irritated, if you make it a habit. Instead, show him that you can look after yourself and can handle problems without having to rely on him. It is best if you make yourself financially independent as well, not only will it help you to support yourself but will also make your boyfriend respect you.

Share His Interests

Sharing his interests and participating in his favorite activities is a nice way of showing your boyfriend, that you are ready to go that extra mile to make the relationship work. Obviously, nobody expects you to enjoy his activities as much as he does but your willingness to share his interest will make your boyfriend very happy. Sacrificing a romantic flick for a football match, once a while, can help you build a healthy relationship, without you knowing it.

Be Honest

Be honest to yourself and your boyfriend but do not expect it in return. You can be honest about your life, your past relationships, your ex-boyfriend, etc. but it is unfair to expect the same from him. He may have his own reasons for not divulging details of his past, so respect his feelings. However, you can always communicate your feelings and expectations. Being honest about your expectations from the relationship will help both of you to understand where your relationship stands.

Don’t Be Overtly Possessive

Although, over-possessiveness is usually associated with guys, some girls just don’t let go of their boyfriends and cling to them all the time. Beware girls, this attitude may make your guy claustrophobic and it won’t be too long before he sees red. Don’t confront him if some chick checks out your guy because it is not his fault. Instead, be happy that you are dating a guy, most girls would be desperate to be with. Similarly, don’t hack his passwords and read his mails or text messages. Such behavior may make you look like a desperate person who feels insecure about her relationship.

Don’t Be a Control Freak

Most girls try to get the control of the relationship by trying to change their boyfriends. Criticizing his looks, clothes, habits can really turn him off. Just as you wouldn’t want to change yourself for anyone, your boyfriend also loves himself the way he is. Always remember that you fell for him for what he is. If there is something unpleasant about him or his appearance, give him subtle hints, don’t ever yell at him, that’ll make the matter worse.

Be Patient

Men do not believe in expressing their feelings the way women do, hence be patient if your boyfriend seems in a sombre mood and refuses to talk to you. Do not frustrate him by asking too many questions. Just leave him alone, he’ll himself come back to you whenever he feels like talking about whatever was bothering him.

Don’t Ask Awkward Questions

Women have this habit of asking a wrong question at a wrong time. Nothing infuriates a man more than a ‘do you love me?’ amidst a romantic sequence. Use your common sense ladies, would he be with you, if he never loved you in the first place? Do not expect your boyfriend to profess his love for you, all the time. And for God’s sake, refrain from asking him ‘how much?’ if he ever bothers to answer your first question.

Being a good girlfriend is really not that difficult if you let your guy get some life and learn to get some yourself. You may feel like you are sacrificing some things in the process of becoming a good girlfriend but remember these small sacrifices go a long way in consolidating your relationship. Finally, follow the above ‘how to become a good girlfriend tips’ only if you think your boyfriend is worth it, else you know what to do!


Google’s new search engine, Caffeine

August 12, 2009

Google Inc is working on a new test version of its search engine, which the company claims will be faster and more relevant than ever before. The company has dubbed the new search engine “caffeine”.

Look-wise, the new engine doesn’t appear different, but its developers hope that the technology they have used will noticeably index new content faster.

Google engineers are said to have invited web developers to test the new search engine, and give their feedback. Matt Cutts, a principal engineer at Google, and Sitaram Iyer, a staff software engineer, have posted an entry on the company’s webmaster central blog, appealing to developers to try the newly improved service and send them some feedback.

“For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google’s web search. It’s the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions,” the Telegraph quoted them as having written on the blog.

“The new infrastructure sits “under the hood” of Google’s search engine, which means that most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback,” they said.

A Google spokesperson added: “”Google is always working on new technologies to improve the quality of our search services. We hope this new system will improve search in the areas of speed, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.”

Martin McNulty, director of search marketing specialist, Trafficbroker, who has tried the new version, said: “Google’s caffeine is undoubtedly faster, almost twice as fast at times. It’s like a Google GTi. Caffeine may be ‘under the hood’ but with this noticeable injection of speed it won’t remain under the radar for long. As for accuracy, it’s hard to say at this early stage but Google is clearly upping its game by including real-time results and more breaking news, as well as updates from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.”


Facebook Gets Friendfeed To Fight Google

August 11, 2009

Earlier today, Facebook successfully acquired FriendFeed service. This is yet another major partnership deal after the recent Microsoft-Yahoo search deal. “

FriendFeed’s 12-employee team will join Facebook family. The four founders of FriendFeed – Paul Buchheit, Bret Taylor, Jim Norris and Sanjeev Singh, will take senior positions in Facebook’s Engineering and Product teams. The founders of FriendFeed are all from Google’s development team who handled Gmail and Google Maps.

Currently, the acquisition amount is undisclosed but FriendFeed looks happy with the acquisition and the joy was expressed in a recent post on their blog.

FriendFeed was looked upon as close competitor of Twitter, microblogging service for the same task – sharing information online. However, both services combined don’t have enough users to match up Facebook’s more than 250 million user base. Facebook couldn’t buy Twitter, a service that has seen a tremendous growth since its inception, so, the next close substitute was FriendFeed. Twitter has been facing some problems like the recent worm and DDoS attack, database upscaling issues. People cannot see their tweets older than two days or to a week if they don’t tweet frequently. So having that glittering five figure updates is pointless since you’ll never get to see your first update.

In May, Google was eyeing to acquire Twitter since the search giant was interested to venture into real-time search. However, the indexing of old Twitter updates for real-time search results has been quite an issue lately. If Google buys Twitter then all the search excellence can be used for tweaking Twitter’s search code.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’ve admired their team for creating such a simple and elegant service for people to share information.” As of now FriendFeed will work as it is and the founders are yet to lay out future plans for integration of both services. Facebook’s FriendFeed acquisition is buzzed as directly challenging Google and leap frogs Twitter. “

FriendFeed service went out cold until they had announced the second version of their API this month. So, now Facebook will make use of ex-Google’s excellence in expanding Facebook platform to the next paradigm: Real-time search. If Google and Twitter is listening to this, they better sit together at least for mutual partnership on Twitter’s search technology.


Ford India launches Ikon variant

August 10, 2009

Ford India today announced the launch of a new variant of Ford Ikon — the iKool — at a price starting from Rs 4.82 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi) which will be available across the country from Wednesday.

“Starting August 12, the Ikon iKool will be available at Ford dealerships across India at an aggressive price of Rs 4.82 lakh (petrol) and Rs 5.42 lakh (diesel), ex-showroom, New Delhi,” the company said in a statement.

It said the Ikon iKool models have Duratorq TDCi 1.4 diesel and ROCAM 1.3 petrol engines that offer “class leading” fuel efficiency.

“Its new feature rich persona along with legendary driving characteristics will appeal to the upwardly mobile and ambitious customers who want their car to complement their active lifestyles,” Ford India Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Service) Nigel Wark said.


Targeted Twitter user blames Russia

August 8, 2009

The Georgian blogger whose Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts were targeted in denial-of-service attacks on Thursday, says he thinks Russia’s federal security service is behind it.

“This hackers was from Russian KGB,” the blogger, who uses “Cyxymu” on his accounts, wrote in a tweet early on Friday, adding later: “My twitter is online! Thank you all for support after ciber attack from Russia!”

Because of the difficulty in tracing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks back to the source, unless someone takes credit for the attack or brags about it to online associates, it’s nearly impossible to determine exactly who was responsible.

Cyxymu is identified as a 34-year-old economics lecturer named Georgy from Tblisi, Georgia, by The Guardian. His blog postings are critical of Russia’s dealings with the Caucasus region and his screen name is a Latinized version of the spelling of Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, a breakaway Georgian republic.

“Maybe it was carried out by ordinary hackers but I’m certain the order came from the Russian government,” he is quoted as saying. His LiveJournal account was attacked last year, as well, according to the report.

The DDoS attacks came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of a significant military clash between Russia and Georgia, which have had an ongoing conflict. In the 2008 South Ossetia war that began on August 7, 2008, Georgia attempted to retake control of South Ossetia and Russia launched air strikes against Georgia.

“When the war started in South Ossetia last year I couldn’t avoid being drawn into politics,” the blogger said.

The Georgian government is investigating potential links between its citizen and the attacks, and there are suspicions that the attack came from Russia, Shota Utiashvili, head of the Department of Information and Analysis at the Ministry of the Interior, told CNN.

Twitter was down for hours on Thursday during the attack, and LiveJournal suffered an outage. Facebook, and Google–whose Blogger, Google Sites, and YouTube were also affected–were able to fend it off.

Whoever was behind the attack may also be responsible for a spam e-mail campaign launched before the DDoS attack and targeting the blogger’s accounts. In that attack e-mails were sent out that looked like they came from the blogger and included hyperlinks to his accounts on the targeted sites. A Facebook spokesman and others said that a spam attack would not have been effective enough to cause a DoS outage.

On his Blogger account the Georgian posted a copy of a Russian language news article in which he himself says the spam attack did not cause the DDoS attacks.

The Cyxymu accounts were back up on Friday on Twitter and Facebook (where he’s a fan of John McCain), but his LiveJournal account appeared to still be inaccessible though a cached version was available on Google. His YouTube account, meanwhile, never went down.


Flickr Updates Its Search Feature

August 7, 2009

Flickr is one of the largest and most used photo sites, but its search function hasn’t always been the most intuitive. This week the company announced a noteworthy redesign that makes searching for photos easier.

For starters, the new “View” control (located at the top of the page, just below the search box) will display results in a thumbnail gallery view across different sizes and formats (small, medium, detail, slideshow). As Flickr’s blog states,”both small and medium views have an ‘i’ icon on every thumbnail.” Clicking on it will generate a full-sized image of the photo, which means you no longer have to navigate away from the page to get up close and personal with your favorite photos.

Flickr has also added a new sidebar with links to groups, photographers, tag clusters, and more. All in all, a much-welcome set of tweaks.