Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Women truly talk too much

They Get A Buzz From Hearing Their Own Voice, Say Researchers

As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Caroline Adams Miller knows a few things about using mental exercises to achieve goals. But last year, one exercise she was asked to try took her by surprise.
Every night, she was to think of three good things that happened that day and analyse why they occurred. That was supposed to increase her overall happiness. “I thought it was too simple to be effective,” said Miller, of Bethesda, Maryland. “I went to Harvard. I’m used to things being complicated.”
But she benefited from it. “The quality of my dreams has changed, I never have trouble falling asleep and I do feel happier,” she said.
Results may vary, as they say in the weight-loss ads. But that exercise is one of several that have shown preliminary promise in recent research into how people can make themselves happier — not just for a day or two, but long-term.
There’s no shortage of advice in how to become a happier person, as a visit to any bookstore will demonstrate. In fact. The problem is, most of the books on store shelves aren’t backed up by rigorous research, says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, who’s conducting such studies now. In fact, she says, there has been very little research in how people become happier.
For decades, a widely accepted view has been that people are stuck with a basic setting on their happiness thermostat. It says the effects of good or bad life events like marriage, a raise, divorce, or disability will simply fade with time. As two researchers put it in 1996, “It may be that trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller.” But recent long-term studies have revealed that the happiness thermostat is more malleable than the popular theory maintained, at least in its extreme form. “Setpoint is not destiny,” says psychologist Ed Diener of the University of Illinois.
One new study showing change in happiness levels followed thousands of Germans for 17 years. It found that about a quarter changed significantly over that time in their level of satisfaction with life. Other studies show an effect of specific events, though of course the results are averages and can’t predict what will happen to particular individuals.

Choosing the Right Heating and Cooling System for Your Home

Shopping for heating and cooling equipment can be very confusing. There are so many options to choose from, and so many variables to consider. Beware of contractors that offer to sell you more capacity than you need.

Although, more capacity may seem like a good idea, a system that is “too big” will heat or cool your home too quickly. This is known as “short cycling” Short cycling can cause premature wear and tear, inadequate dehumidification and a reduced product life. Choosing the right equipment depends on several key variables:


The number of heating and cooling hours required, (this may vary and depend on the part of the country you live).

The size and thermal efficiency of your home.

The age of your home.

How your home faces the sun.

Your floor plan.

The cost of fuel in your area.

Repair or Replace

When your existing unit breaks down, the decision to replace or repair it can be difficult. There are many factors to consider and your Westinghouse dealer will present you the advantages and disadvantages of repairing or replacing your unit. Here are some of the things to consider before making a decision:


What is the cost of the repair vs. the replacement?

What is the age and efficiency of the existing unit vs. the efficiency of a new unit? Your dealer can help you calculate your approximate energy savings based on your current energy costs.

Warranty coverage should be a factor in your decision.

How long you plan to stay in your present home.

Careful consideration of all these factors can help you come to the best decision.

What you should know

One of the most expensive appliances you will ever purchase for a home is a central heating or cooling system. Finding the right system for your home is largely dependent upon the contractor you choose.

The advantage of having a central air conditioning system is that it can distribute cool air through the whole house as opposed to window units, which are generally designed to cool a single room. Despite larger, up-front costs, a central cooling system can still save you money by reducing your monthly utility bill.


If new or modified ductwork is required, your initial investment will rise.

Central air conditioning units vary in size and efficiency. A common, costly error is to install an oversized unit in your home.

A good contractor will estimate the cooling loads and duct requirements by collecting detailed information in your home, and using calculations to determine the correct size for your home.

Air conditioner sizes, (also referred to as cooling capacities) are measured in British thermal units per hour (BTU). One ton is equal to 12,000 BTU. A unit that has too little capacity may not keep an entire house cool. Oversized units cost more and are more expensive to operate.

A unit's energy consumption is rated by the Standard Energy Efficiency Rating, (SEER). The higher the SEER rating the less energy is required to operate the unit. Ratings can range from 13 to 18 SEER.

Units with a 13 SEER rating are typically installed in new homes and as replacement models.

According to a survey of over 500 contractors, a rating from 13 to 14 SEER are mostly recommended, because they are the least expensive to own and require the least repairs.

There are different models, sizes and efficiencies available on the market. The type of unit, (a split system versus a single-packaged unit) may depend on the region of the country you live in.

The type of unit will also depend on the type of home you live in (e.g., basement house, slab foundation, crawl space, etc). Regardless of the type of central air conditioner you install, the size and efficiency can have the most impact on your costs.

The most expensive part of an air conditioner to replace is the compressor.

Using a programmable thermostat with your cooling system can save you money and energy consumption while you are away from your home, and deliver a comfortable temperature when you arrive.

What you should do if you are wondering whether you should turn off the air conditioner and open a window to enjoy a break in weather:


Never, continuously turn on and off your air conditioner to adjust to the changing weather patterns outside.

If you want to open a window for fresh air, it is better to leave your air conditioner on.

If the inside of your home becomes hot and humid, you will have to turn the air conditioner back on, and your air conditioner has to work harder to cool down your home and everything in it.

Over 500 contractors surveyed

A top leading consumer magazine recently surveyed over 500 contractors and reported the following tips on purchasing a central air cooling system:


Choose the right-sized air conditioning system. If it is too small, then it won't cool properly; if it is too large, then it won't dehumidify properly.

Invest in a 13-14 SEER model, because of their combined performance in increased energy efficiency and product reliability.

Beware of replacing only one part of a split system. (indoor and outdoor matched components), because it may result in poor performance in efficiency, and may be repair-prone. Replace the entire system.

Look for an experienced contractor. One-fifth of the contractors surveyed said the primary reason for their service calls are due to improper application or incorrect installation.

Maintain your system properly. At least 40 percent of surveyed contractors said that service calls were primarily the result of improper maintenance.


Buying an air conditioner: All you need to know

What type of air conditioner do you need?

There are two different kinds of air conditioning systems out there: a unit air conditioner, and a central cooling system. What's the difference? A unit air conditioner is the big box you put in your window, and a central cooling system hooks your entire house up to one system, and each room gets cooled through vents. Guess which one is more expensive?

It's the best kind to get if you live in a small house, apartment or studio, or if you've just added an extra room on the house and don't want to hook an entire system up to it. It's also cheaper (usually costing in the $150 - $250 range if you get it on sale, but more about that later). If you have a relatively large house that you want to get cooled quickly with the flick of a button, then you might want to consider getting a central cooling system, but this can cost you thousands of dollars. Click here to read more about the process of installing a central cooling system.

Where do you need an air conditioner?

OK, so let's assume that you decided to get a unit air conditioner. Good choice, friend. The first thing you need to do is select the room in which to install the unit. Be aware that if you select a room that is connected to an adjacent space through an open door or archway, the two rooms together constitute one room when trying to buy an air conditioner. Interpretation: you will have to purchase an air conditioner efficient enough to circulate air sufficiently for the size of both rooms together. Keep this in mind when you measure how many square feet the air conditioner is going to keep cool.

Also, remember that cool air does not travel around corners, so don't expect to place an air conditioner in a curving hallway and keep your bedroom at the other end of the hall at 65°F. It won't work.

Measure the room and window

It's important to measure your selected room (or rooms) VERY carefully. Why? Because 90% of your decision-making process involves the size of the room that you want to keep cool. So measure the entire room once, twice, or even three times to get it right. Write down the height, width, and length of the room.

You also have to measure the dimensions of the window in which the unit will be placed. How embarrassed would you be if you spend all this time to get an air conditioner only to find out that it doesn't fit in the window? Furthermore, some brands don't list the precise dimensions of their air conditioners on the units themselves, so you should bring a measuring tape and measure it yourself. If you're a guy, you're probably already used to measuring your unit, so this shouldn't present a problem (we couldn't resist).


unit, built-in window, and split system.

* Window unit:
The window unit is (usually) easy to install into any standard double-hung window. It should offer multiple cooling options (low - high). This is the kind that most people get because it's the cheapest; you just stick it in a window and hope it doesn't fall on anyone below.
Cost: $250-$800
Weight: approximately 120 lbs.

* Built-in window:
The built-in window again can be installed into any standard double-hung window, or it can even be installed right into your wall. This unit offers heat/cool and cooling with heat pump features as well as the standard cooling options. It's fancier than the standard window unit and it does more stuff, but it also usually consumes more energy (leading to higher electric bills).
Cost: $500-$800
Weight: approx. 90 lbs.

* Split system:
The split system provides an outside air compressor option for quiet cooling (this type won't unexpectedly hiss at you, causing you to drop your coffee in your lap). But these almost always have to be professionally installed, adding to the cost.
Cost: $300-$1,000
Weight: approx. 70 lbs.

All of the above types are typically run at 115 Volts or 230/208. Either will work just fine in almost any outlet. Select the type that best accommodates your needs and the type of room in which it will be located. Most people find that the window unit is plenty, so we suggest that you go along with that.

, it's a good idea to check out Consumer Reports or some other product-rating publication so you know which models are recommended based on what you're considering buying. Don't select a no-name brand without researching it or you won't know what kind of quality and durability you're getting. If you aren't interested in hunting down air conditioner brand ratings, then pick a brand you already trust, such as General Electric, Amana, Sharp, or Whirlpool.

Now you're ready to go to the store. To find one, we suggest that you look in your newspaper for air conditioners that are on sale and see what else they have in stock. We also recommend that you go to a "superstore" that specializes in selling appliances such as air conditioners (they tend to have the best people on staff to help you… in fact, they're super). And most importantly, don't forget to bring your room dimensions along with you.

Btus and EERs

Once you arrive at the store, the first thing you should look at are the air conditioner's Btus and EERs.

* Watch your Btus. The first thing you're going to come across when you go a/c shopping is the term "Btus." Here's what it means: every air conditioner has a cooling capacity number that ranges from 5,000 to 18,000 Btus. The higher the Btu value, the stronger the air conditioner is. (For the people out there interested in such things, "Btu" stands for "British thermal units.")

"Oh, then I should get an air conditioner with the most Btus possible, right?" NO. Believe it or not, it is possible for an air conditioner to be too powerful (even on its lowest setting). Furthermore, the more Btus an a/c has, the more it costs. Btus are the best indicator of what air conditioner you should buy, so carefully figure out what you're looking for. The smaller the room, the fewer Btus needed. There are two methods to figuring out how many Btus you need:

1. Find the square footage of the room (multiply its length and width). Then check out this chart to see where you fall.

2. Find the square footage of the room, and multiply the answer by 35. That'll get you in the right ballpark.

Here's an example: Let's say your apartment is 12' x 15'. So that's 180 square feet. Using method (1), you know that you should be looking for an air conditioner in the low 6,000 Btus. Using method (2), you are recommended to get an air conditioner with about 6,300 Btus (180 X 35).

In addition, you should follow the following guidelines for proper selection:
o If the room is shaded, reduce the Btus by 10%.
o If the room is very sunny, increase the Btus by 10%.
o If you plan on placing the air conditioning unit in your kitchen, add 4,000 Btus.
o If more than two people will regularly be in the room (e.g., an office), add 600 Btus per person.

* Find the EER number for each unit. "EER" stands for "Energy Efficiency Ratio." Air conditioners with high EERs are good, because they cost less to operate. Unfortunately, they're also more expensive, so you have to find a balance. Air conditioners' EERs usually range from 8.2 to 10.5. So if you're going to have your air conditioner on 24/7 and you're planning on keeping it for a couple of years, then it's worthwhile to get an a/c with a high EER. If you only need an air conditioner to last you through the summer (and you're planning on being at the beach most of the time anyway), get an air conditioner with a low EER.

Here are some other things to think about when purchasing your air conditioner:

* Warranty: Perhaps the most important feature of all, particularly if you have a history of bad luck with electronics. Be sure that your air conditioner comes with at least a one-year warranty that covers labor and parts on the entire unit. This way, if something breaks down, you can return it and get a new one or send it in to be serviced free of charge. Some stores even offer an extended warranty plan (typically covering four to five years instead of just one) for an extra fee. This may be a smart purchase if your electronics always seem to break right after the one-year mark.

* Temperature range: If it spans less than 20° (e.g. 68°-86°F), it may not be sufficient for your needs, particularly if you live in a hot, arid climate such as Hell. Or Florida.

* Temperature increments: Be sure that the temperature can be incremented in notches of 1°-2°. This allows for greater precision and prevents electricity waste. If you have the cash, get an air conditioner with a digital system (as opposed to a dial), because it allows greater precision.

* Sleep setting/Energy saver switch: Some unit air conditioners have a sleep setting so that at night when you are sleeping, the air conditioner slows the cooling process to a minimum, saving money and energy.

* Slide-out filter: Every unit air conditioner has a filter that must be cleaned. Save yourself an immense hassle and get a slide-out filter air conditioner, not a frame-enclosed one. The slide-out filters are easy to remove and re-install.

* Fan speed settings: How many fan speeds are offered on the unit? The more settings available, the better the energy saving will be (and the more choices you have).

* Installation: Make sure your unit air conditioner comes with installation directions. There's nothing worse than getting the thing home and suddenly realizing you have no idea what you should do with it. If you have any questions about the installation process, definitely ask a store employee for advice before you leave and attempt it yourself. Some air conditioners require that you drill holes into walls, bricks, or your sister. It would be nice to be aware of such things in advance.

Also, make sure to bring a friend with you to help carry the air conditioner and install it once you buy it . . . they're heavy!


Unfortunately, your job isn't over once you've bought your unit air conditioner. You have to make sure to get your air conditioner serviced regularly or it will lose around 5% of its efficiency every year. Maintaining your air conditioner routinely will prevent you from having to spend cash later on to fix all the parts that have gone sour (aren't you glad you got an extended warranty?). It can also help you avoid irritating allergic reactions caused by dust.

Here's what you have to do to give your a/c a long lifespan:

* Clean and change your filters often and keep stuff away from the unit's mechanism to keep it running at optimal efficiency.

* When you plan to be away from home for the day, turn your air conditioner on a low setting (or even better, turn it off). It will ultimately save you up to $50 per year if you are conscious about doing this every time you leave your home.

* Make sure that your room has tight seals around every window and door. This will maximize the energy efficiency of your home during both the summer and winter months, particularly when you're using your air conditioner.

* ESPECIALLY make sure that you seal off the edges of the window where the air conditioner rests. Use foam, cardboard and duct tape, a dog, whatever you can get your hands on to make sure that the cool air blowing out the air conditioner doesn't escape right out the window.

Good luck, and stay cool.

Attract birds to your garden.

Generally, most gardeners will choose the plants for their garden based on color, fragrance, or any number of other criteria. While a garden devoted solely to flowers whose seeds attract birds may be out of the question in your overall scheme of things, you should at least consider adding a few "song bird plants". Shrubs, annuals, perennials, native and cultivated plants can all be used to attract such birds. If it is possible, grow a couple plants from each of the following groups, to provide seeds and fruits for all seasons.
Once your birds have become accustomed to eating in your yard, they will develop a certain dependency on you and your garden. When the winter months roll around, natural food will become scarcer. Provide plenty of seed, fruits or suet during these times to keep your feathered friends around your yard, and happy!
When it is at all possible, a water supply should be included into your garden plan. This is easily accomplished by the inclusion of a birdbath, which gives them the water they need and enjoy.

Flowering Dogwoods
Flowering Dogwoods are one of our most common understory trees. Understory means that it grows beneath taller trees.

This small tree grows about 30 feet tall. Its trunk usually isn't more than eight inches wide. The trunk is also short, with many spreading branches.

Flowering Dogwood leaves grow up to five inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. They are green with short stalks. Underneath they are pale green.

Flowering Dogwood leaves turn bright red in the Fall.

American Holly
American Holly is a small tree or large shrub which is very easy to identify. It grows up to 60 feet tall, but is usually much smaller.

American Holly leaves are dark green, tough, and leathery. Sometimes they are very shiny. Underneath, they are yellowish-green. Holly leaves have several "prickles" on the edges.

The flowers of American Holly are small and white. They usually bloom from April to June.

American holly is dioecious, meaning there are male plants with only male blossoms, and female plants with only female blossoms. One male can pollenize several females, but berries will not set without pollen from the male. Bees are also required, as wind pollination is negligible.

American holly is often planted as an ornamental plant and is a popular Christmas decoration.

Eastern Red Cedar
There is not much green in the winter landscape of the Great Plains. In fact Kansas has only one native evergreen tree. It is called the Eastern Red Cedar. All other native trees in Kansas lose their foliage in the winter, so they do not provide much shelter from winter weather. Thus the Eastern Red Cedar becomes a vital source of shelter for many birds and mammals when it gets real cold and nasty.


If you take a close look at one in winter, you may notice several things:
If you are looking at a female, you will find little blue balls on the branches. These are the fruits of the tree. Smash one between your fingers and you will notice a pungent odor as well as finding one to four seeds inside. Does this smell like something you would like to eat? If you see any birds eating these berries, you will notice that they don't exactly savor the sauce, but just gobble the little treats down. The seeds pass on through the bird's gut unharmed and are "planted" elsewhere as they move about. This is a typical method that plants use to scatter their seeds. Virtually all the cedars growing in pastures get planted this way.

A careful inspection will reveal the female flowers, which are small spiky structures. In the photo you can see two just above the cluster of berries (red arrow).

If you are looking at a male, you will find tiny tan-colored "pine cones" on the branches. These are the pollen-bearing structures and are about the size of a sesame seed. They will release the pollen near the end of winter. They are one of the first trees to flower every year. When the pollen is flying, you can make a tree "smoke" by gently swatting the branches. (Other male evergreen trees will do this when flowering also.)

Monday, November 27, 2006


Microwave ovens allow you to heat food in seconds, but consumers should take their time researching what type of oven to buy, says Mark, a food scientist at Penn.

--Power. Unlike the fictional Tim the Toolman on TV's "Home Improvement," consumers should not blindly choose a model with more power. Mark says most cooks should purchase ovens that are about 600 to 800 watts in power, rather than larger units of 900 to 1,100 watts. "In high-power ovens, time of heating plays a more crucial role in determining doneness," he says. "A few extra seconds could mean disaster -- the product could be splattered over the inside of the oven.

"Many frozen dinners and other recipes are formulated for ovens that are about 700 to 800 watts, because most consumers own ovens in that range," he adds. "Purchase a more powerful oven if you cook larger meals such as a roast or whole chicken. Make sure the oven cavity is large enough to hold larger food items."

--Convection Combination? A combination microwave and convection oven is effective at cooking food such as pizzas and rolls that do not cook properly using just microwave power. These ovens even brown the food products that a typical microwave oven cannot. Because microwaves heat from the inside out, Mark says combination convection ovens can help dishes cook more evenly and dissipate the moisture released during microwave cooking.

"Combination ovens are more expensive, but they do a good job," he says. "They are particularly effective in heating products that need to come out crispy."

There are combination microwave/broiler ovens in use in Europe, and in selected markets in the United States, for cooking meats and other items. The ovens, which use a quartz heating element, retail for about $400. "In Europe, the kitchens are much smaller, so people require smaller appliances that are more functional," he explains.

--How Many Buttons? Mark says microwave ovens feature many functions and buttons that may not fit the cooking style of a consumer. "There are ovens with 'popcorn buttons' that shut off when the oven reaches a certain humidity level," he explains. "But it may be better to buy a medium-sized oven and keep the most successful popping time in your memory." The magnetron that generates microwaves loses power as it ages, Mark says. Although the slippage is slight, it can affect the performance of pre-timed buttons on the oven's keypad.

--Carousel. Mark suggests consumers buy an oven with a rotating carousel. He explains that food items absorb microwaves more evenly if they rotate. "It's also easier to clean, and the glass platform is raised slightly, allowing microwaves to heat underneath the item."

--Dual Wave Ovens. Mark says appliances that have two ports from which microwaves are introduced into the oven generally heat more evenly than those using a single wave source. He says dual-wave ovens often are slightly more expensive.

--Interior. Mark says consumers should look for ovens with rounded corners and enamel surfaces, to make cleaning easier. "Make sure the air vents are at the top of the oven cavity," he says. "Otherwise they can get clogged or dirty from food particles."

--Outside Vents. Make sure you know where the heat and moisture is vented outside the oven. Mark says microwave ovens must be placed away from walls and other surfaces in order to have room for air circulation. "Microwave ovens put out a lot of moisture," he says. "Excess moisture can cause wallpaper to fail or ruin nearby cabinets or valuable furniture."

--Door Locks. Mark suggests purchasing an oven with a push-button lock. Steam produced within the food can raise pressure inside the oven and cause other types of locks to pop open, creating a hazard.

--Adequate Light. It's important for the cook to see the product clearly as it is cooking. Mark says the lamp should permit you to see inside, and the door glass should not be tinted too darkly.

--Location. Children should be taken into account when buying a microwave oven. "Make sure they can use it," Mark says. "More importantly, it should be placed where young children cannot get to it, but not so high that adults and older children are in danger when removing food items from the oven."

A family that eats together,stays together.

While paying attention to individual interests is fine, it’s also important to remember that sharing a meal is not just about eating, but also about strengthening family bonds and making pleasant memories. No wonder, Time magazine reports that the more often families eat together; the less likely that kids are going to smoke, drink, do drugs or get depressed.
Says Akhila Shivdas of the Centre for Media Advocacy, “Cable television has changed our eating habits. Now, everyone wants to watch TV while eating, nobody wants to eat at the dining table. Some people even dread dinnertime. And talking about certain topics is banned. Conversations with our families is minimal, and even when it does take place, it is stressed.”
A recent study on family eating at Columbia University reveals that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be. Take this: kids who eat most often with their parents are 40 per cent more likely to say they get mainly As and Bs in school than kids who have two family dinners a week.
Says former actor-turned-yoga expert, Nisha Singh, “When I was growing up, my father insisted that our family ate breakfast together. That was a meal we couldn’t ever miss. Now years later, I realise the importance of eating together. It’s a tradition that’s slowly fading. While sharing a meal, kids learn so many things, like how a conversation is structured, how a problem is solved, how one should listen to other people’s opinions and respect their tastes. I make it a point to be there when my daughter eats as I know the value of sharing a meal.”
Sociologists stress that the power of eating together is a kind of a vaccine that protects kids. Says Miriam Weinstein, who wrote The Surprising Power of Family Meals, “We’ve sold ourselves on the idea that teenagers are obviously sick of their families and that they’re bonded to their peer group. But we’ve taken it to an extreme. We’ve taken it to mean that a teenager has no need for his family. And that’s just not true.”
It’s easy to blame the fast-food culture and the microwave, but parenting rules too seem to have changed over the years. William Doherty, author of The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties, writes, “Parents are allowing kids to be. They let them eat as individuals in their room or with friends.”
Now, there’s no routine, no rules, everyone eats what they want, teenagers take a plate to their room so they can keep SMS-ing their friends... As a result, eating together with your family is a dying tradition. It’s time to switch off the TV, go to your dining table and enjoy a hearty meal with your family.

BRAND SLUTS:consumer loyality

THINK ‘slut’, and you think of a person who flits from one sexual partner to another. What, you might ask, does this have to do with marketing and marketing trends?
We marketers are well versed in sexual terminology: We want brand experiences to ‘seduce consumers’ and ‘build intimacy’; we seek to increase clients’ ‘market penetration’; above all, we aim for ‘customer satisfaction’. Sex sells.
We also speak the language of marital fidelity, especially when the topic is customer loyalty. We describe faithful customers as ‘monogamous’. These monogamous types are the brand loyalists who make a choice, form a special bond with our brand and maintain a lifelong relationship with it.
The mindset of us marketers has been that once consumers bought into our brand and formed an emotional bond with it, they would stay with it — a true marriage. That may have been so when there were a limited number of brands, but now the choice is huge, and the markets are volatile. Competition is fierce these days.
As choice and competition increase, brand loyalty becomes endangered. In stark contrast to the monogamous brand loyalists, another group of consumers is increasingly prepared to switch brands within a given category. These are the shoppers actively seeking out — and willing to ‘go’ with — any brand that makes them a better offer. They are the brand sluts.
The term ‘brand slut’, which I began using in earnest last winter, in part to provoke a group of Dutch marketers (they are impossible to shock!), half-jokingly refers to a faithless consumer with little brand loyalty — one who belongs to everybody and nobody.
There are brand sluts on the street of every city. This is where you will hear a 20-something woman say, ‘I’m getting my new mobile next week… a Sony Ericsson, like my old one.’ ‘You like Sony Ericsson, do you?’ you ask her, ‘and, is that the brand you prefer?’ ‘Oh, no,
I don’t care, really,’ she
replies. ‘It’s the one
they’re offering as the
free upgrade. As long as it
does more stuff than the old one, the brand doesn’t matter to me. It also has to be the right design and color, of course.’ Of course.
So, we cannot confuse repeat purchases with fidelity. Manufacturers of big-ticket items such as cars gather data on the brand histories of their customers. They see one buying the same brand they purchased before and shout, ‘Brand loyalty!’ But repeat purchase does not necessarily indicate brand loyalty. The customer may be buying the same brand again for a number of factors: consumer inertia or laziness, a lack of interest in the product area or just playing it safe. There may be a lack of competing brands conveniently available — or it could be down to the pricing and deals available that day. The consumer who is a repeat purchaser for these reasons can easily turn into a brand slut when other suitors appear and woo them with better offers.
And, let’s face it, loyalty isn’t what it used to be — whether one looks at marriages, employer-employee relations, politics or just about anything else. With so many brands competing for their attention and custom, consumers have little or no incentive to pledge loyalty to anyone. They might as well enjoy the power that comes from pitting one brand against another.
As Jean-Noel Kapferer writes in the Ivey Business Journal (2005): “Brand loyalty can no longer exist because the very intrinsic definition of the term ‘brand loyalty,’ whether in English, French or German, [is] contradictory to the actual relationship between the producers and consumers. ‘Brand loyalty’ implies a type of matrimonial relationship based on exclusivity. This relationship is impossible, however, because the producer does not reciprocate the relationship, and our society is premised upon a fluidity of choices.”

What makes consumers stray?

There are five big trends pushing consumers to be promiscuous.
First up is commoditisation. Commoditisation is the name of the game in markets ranging from apparel to microprocessors. There are few products that can be considered special; the market quickly finds a way of making a similar product that is cheaper and does more. Commodities don’t command loyalty.
The second trend is outsourcing: When production is contracted out, what does the brand mean, anyway? If the marriage between the consumer and the brand is on the rocks, it is probably the brand that strayed first; it is not just customers who are the brand sluts. Once upon a time, companies made the products that proudly carried their brand names, but now, most of them outsource manufacturing to far-off places where labour is cheap. Similar products carry different brand names but are quite likely to be made in the same factory, by the same low-paid worker. A company’s label is often stuck on afterwards, rather than built into the product. Even when the product quality is high, what does the brand name offer besides marketing allure and margin? Why should the consumer swear loyalty to one brand over another, when chances are that the two very similar products he is considering have been produced in the same factory, by the same workers — and all there is to differentiate them is the label?
Consumers are discerning. They do not want to buy expensive, branded products when they know they can buy the same product, much cheaper, without the brand name.
Third, there is the trend of brand inflation. Too many brands just go through the branding motions. Brand-building was once an organic process, rooted in products. It grew into a discipline with a massive bibliography and thousands of practitioners.
These days, it’s not unusual to see the classic tail-wagging-thedog scenario: Brand marketers dream up a brand first and then retrofit products into it. Even deeprooted brands want to extend and leverage themselves into new product areas. Take Lego, for instance, which decided it needed to join the electronic age and so birthed Mindstorms; or Apple, which saw an opportunity to create a brand as powerful as itself that would marry computing and pop culture — and launched iPod.
The result is brand inflation: markets full of brands making similar moves using similar techniques, and often just creating a lot of brand noise. In 2003 alone, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued 140,000 trademarks — 100,000 more than in 1983. In 2005, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) received a record number of international trademark applications: 33,565. There is a lot of competition out there.
As a result, it is inevitable that consumers will form superficial emotional relationships with many brands and behave like brand sluts: easy come, easy go.
The fourth trend, driving the move toward brand promiscuity is rapid innovation. Why should we stick with one brand when others have great new offers?
These days, innovation is no longer the exception; it is the norm. In certain product areas, there is limited scope or need for innovation — as is the case with Heineken and Grolsch — so business continues as usual, and people stay attached to their preferred brands. But in new product areas with rapid innovation, it may not make any sense to stay with a brand — especially when the underlying technologies are commodities.
Take cameras. Nikon, Canon, Pentax and Olympus — four classic brands — dominate the traditional film camera category and command strong loyalty. By contrast, the digital camera category has the traditional camera brands plus dozens of electronics brands, such as Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, which just assemble commodity technology. If you purchase a digital camera, why go for one brand over another when there are fewer reasons and more choices? As with sex, so with brands: the greater the choice, the less likely you are to find loyalty.
The fifth trend driving brand sluts is the vastly increased access to information. What is the first thing we do when we want to buy a vacation, computer or car? Chances are, it’s to check out the internet. Smart consumers compare brands nationally and choose the best value. Miniwatts Marketing Group’s 2006 figures show that 207 million Americans use the internet. According to ZDNet.com, online searches rose from 4,085,880 in January 2005 to 5,699,228 in January 2006. The way we shop and the range of our shopping are changing.
There was a time when a wellknown brand stood for a guarantee. In days when standards were highly variable, a brand could be relied upon for a provenance in the origin, manufacture, ingredients, quality and functionality of a company’s products. You started the day with Kellogg’s cornflakes, drove to work in your Chevy, Ford or Pontiac, drank Coca-Cola, ate a Hershey’s bar and washed your sheets in Lux soap flakes — and you still might, but there are a lot of new kids on the block.
Today, intense competition, consumer watchdogs and consumer legislation have raised quality benchmarks and removed much of the risk from our purchase decisions. Many brands have become simply cosmetic allure, the emotional packaging of the underlying product. The wealth of information available on the internet — through product reviews, expert evaluations and comparison sites — enables consumers to make informed choices. We can see beneath the packaging and decide for ourselves what is on offer for our money. Knowledge is power, and there is nothing like it to undermine faithfulness. Today’s consumers are marketing-savvy. The younger ones, especially, decode advertising and spot marketing strategies like professionals. Books such as Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’ and Eric Schlosser’s ‘Fast Food Nation’ lifted the lid on manufacturing and commoditisation. Their thinking has permeated popular culture and made consumers more cynical about brands. The more consumers know about the marketing techniques used, the harder it is for brands to create mystique around themselves. It takes a very special brand, with real substance, to turn a brand slut into a satisfied brand loyalist.
But why should the consumer bother to be loyal to a brand when they have so much choice? In most of the world, ‘more choice’ is the mantra in everything from breakfast cereal to public services to utilities. This has created a widespread expectation of variety. It is a given that we have choice, just as we expect more features on products and more competitive pricing.
The subtext of greater choice is, ‘It’s okay to be unfaithful to brands,’ even ‘It’s smart to be unfaithful to brands.’ The more the market delivers options, the more sense it makes for consumers to become brand sluts.
To consider how brand sluts are created, look no further than the internet. Brand sluts are generally people who like a bit of everything — and there are plenty of them in cyberspace. Check out a makeup forum (www.makeuptalk.com), and you will find girls who use 32 different types of cosmetics, from classic Chanel, Lancôme and Estée Lauder to cool Urban Decay, MAC and Hard Candy. Or check out the Kiwi bike forum (www.kiwibiker.co.nz), where you can find a biker who can see the merits of all the bikes. Here’s a brand slut whose choice has nothing to do with ‘time riding’; rather, he seeks personal comfort, confidence and preference.
If you cannot hold a product in your hand, you look at the aspects that can be stacked and compared: price, specifications and performance. As more people shop online, emotional factors become less important than rational factors. Since the power of many brands is emotional, they are less powerful on the internet — particularly when alternative brands share the same computer screen. To the brand slut, the next brand is but a click away. In the physical world, brands can create 3-D experiences. We walk into a showroom, look at displays in shops, and notice distinctive packaging and alluring textures. We taste and smell. Despite its beautiful graphics, cyberspace limits the scope for rich brand experiences. The internet is still better at delivering information than at stirring emotion.
The brands of the 21st century need to ask the most important relationship question: Why should a consumer be faithful to them? After all, how faithful are they to the consumer? Is it a question of the pot calling the kettle black?
Whether it is the consumers or fans, the success is in the story. The brands that risk being at the mercy of brand sluts are those that are mere commodities overlaid with a bit of design and marketing. Some brands are much, much more. They have a real story to tell, with fans who follow the story, feel like a part of it and identify with the brand: think Fender, Harley-Davidson, Virgin Airlines, Jack Daniels, Zara and eBay. Consumers feel commitment to brands that have a real heart and soul — think Google or Apple. Monogamy is a two-way process. Being a brand loyalist comes with its own emotional reward.
As The Simpsons creator Matt Groening puts it: “The weird intensity of fans is fascinating. We succeed when we give them something worthy of their devotion. This is going to sound totally corny, but the idea is to honor fans for their enthusiasm, rather than just manipulate them into buying more products.”
A few brands have what it takes to inspire real commitment and loyalty by creating bona fide fans. For the rest, the realistic objective of brand marketing must be to attain higher awareness and higher preference among brand sluts.
This has clear implications for marketing strategies and budget allocations. ‘Fan brands’ waste money if they do not leverage their ‘stories’ in marketing; the rest waste money if they try to leverage a story they do not really have.
So let’s get real. Brand owners must ask themselves: Do we have a brand with a compelling story that is rooted in truth? If the answer is yes, and they can live the story, they can expect loyal consumers. If they do not, then their brands are essentially just ploys — empty marketing — and they should expect their consumers to be brands sluts.
The future presents a challenge. We have grown up with the belief that branding holds the promise of marketing nirvana for those who do it right. But things are not what they were. Conditions have changed, and there are far too many brands for consumers to feel an emotional bond with, any more than a few of them.
So what’s next? If your brand is best suited for a faithful relationship with its consumers, cuddle up and get closer; if not, best adapt and take what you can get from the easy come, easy go ways of the brand slut.
[originally from brnd eqty]

Knee replacement

Arthroplasty of the knee, is a commonly performed operation done to relieve the pain and disability from rheumatoid arthritis or more often osteoarthritis of the knee.[Arthroplasty (literally "formation of joint") is an operative procedure of orthopaedic surgery performed for replacing the arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface with something better or remodeling or realigning the joint by osteotomy or some other procedures]

This operation is undertaken by orthopaedic surgeons and consists of replacing the diseased and painful joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.

How Knee replacement is done?

The standard technique involves exposure of the front of the knee by a long incision which detaches part of the quadriceps muscle (in fact the vastus medialis) from the kneecap. This is a key factor in the lengthy recovery from the operation. The muscle has to heal. The kneecap is displaced to one side of the joint allowing exposure of the distal end of the thighbone (femur) and the proximal end of the shinbone (tibia). The ends of these bones are then accurately cut to shape using cutting guides oriented to the long axis of the bones. The cartilages and the anterior cruciate ligament are removed; the posterior cruciate ligament may also be removed but the collateral ligaments are preserved. Metal components are then impacted onto the bone or fixed using poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) cement. A round ended implant is used for the femur, mimicking the natural shape of the bone. On the tibia the component is flat, although it often has a stem which goes down inside the bone for further stability. A flattened or slightly dished high density polyethylene surface is then inserted onto the tibial component so that the weight is transferred metal to plastic not metal to metal. During the operation attention must be paid to correcting any deformities and balancing the ligaments so that the knee moves through a good range of movement and is stable. In some cases the joint surface of the kneecap is also removed and replaced by a polyethylene button cemented to the kneecap. At the end of the surgery the muscle is repaired to the kneecap and the wound is closed. It is common practice to leave a drain in the knee to reduce post-operative swelling from bleeding into the knee. Blood transfusion to replace intra-operative and post-operative losses are commonly required.

Types of knee replacement.

There are many different implant manufacturers and all require slightly different instrumentation and technique. No consensus has emerged over which design of knee replacement is the best. All manufacturers in the U.S. offer fixed-bearing knee design options, but only one in the U.S. offers a mobile-bearing option, which is thought to reduce the level of wear on the implant. This might also reduce the chance of revision surgery. The first surgery a patient goes through for a knee replacement is called a primary surgery; any subsequent surgeries (usually to fix or replace the first implant) are called revisions.

Clinical studies are very difficult to perform requiring large numbers of cases followed over many years. The most significant variations are between cemented and uncemented components, between operations which spare or sacrifice the posterior cruciate ligament and between resurfacing the patella or not. Some also study patient satisfaction data associated with pain.

Techniques of Minimally Invasive Surgery are being developed in Total Knee Replacement but have not yet found complete acceptance. The driving force here is to spare the patient the large cut in the quadriceps muscle which could increase post-operative pain or lengthen disability.

Unicompartmental arthroplasty is a different operation with different indications. The joint surfaces of either the inner or the outer sides of the knee are replaced.

Any dental work after this surgery requires an antibiotic before the dental work can be done.

Risk involved in knee replacement.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), "blood clots in the leg veins are the most common complication of knee replacement surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon will outline a prevention program, which may include periodic elevation of your legs, lower leg exercises to increase circulation, support stockings and medication to thin your blood."

Periprosthetic fractures are becoming more frequent with the aging patient population and can occur intraoperatively or postoperatively.

Also according to AAOS, "the complication rate following total knee replacement is low. Serious complications, such as a knee joint infection, occur in less than 2 percent of patients. Major medical complications such as heart attack or stroke occur even less frequently. Chronic illnesses may increase the potential for complications. Although uncommon, when these complications occur, they can prolong or limit your full recovery."

The knee at times may not recover its normal range of motion (0 - 135 degrees usually) after total knee replacement. Much of this is dependent on pre-operative function. Most patients can achieve 0 - 110 degrees, but stiffness of the joint can occur. In some situations, manipulation of the knee under anaesthetic is used to improve post operative stiffness. There are also many implants from manufacturers that are designed to be "high-flex" knees, offering a greater range of motion. High-flex knees typically function at their best when paired with a mobile-bearing knee.

In some patients, the kneecap is unstable post-surgery and dislocates to the outer side of the knee. This is painful and usually needs to be treated by surgery to realign the kneecap. This is very rare, but possible.

In the past, there was a considerable risk of the implant components loosening over time as a result of wear. As advancements in medical technology have improved though, this risk has fallen considerably. One implant manufacturer claims to have reduced this risk of wear by 79% in fixed-bearing knees. Another implant manufacturer claims to have reduced the risk of wear by 94% in mobile-bearing knees, just in the past five years. Knee replacement implants can last up to 20 years in many patients; whether or not they actually survive that long depends largely in part upon how active the patient is after surgery.

More from orthoinfo:

Implant Design

For simplicity, the knee is considered a hinge joint because of its ability to bend and straighten like a hinged door. In reality, the knee is much more complex because the surfaces actually roll and glide as the knee bends. The first implant designs used the hinge concept and literally included a connecting hinge between the components. Newer implant designs, recognizing the complexity of the joint, attempt to replicate the more complicated motions and to take advantage of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and collateral ligaments for support.

Up to three bone surfaces may be replaced during a TKA: the lower ends (condyles) of the thighbone, the top surface of the shinbone and the back surface of the kneecap. Components are designed so that metal always articulates against plastic, which provides smooth movement and results in minimal wear.

1. Femoral component: The metal femoral component curves around the end of the thighbone and has an interior groove so the kneecap can move up and down smoothly against the bone as the knee bends and straightens. Usually, one large piece is used to resurface the end of the bone. If only one side of the thighbone is damaged, a smaller piece may be used (unicompartmental knee replacement) to resurface just that part of the bone. Some designs (posterior stabilized designs) have an internal post with a circular-shaped device (cam) that works with a corresponding tibial component to help prevent the thighbone from sliding forward too far on the shinbone when you bend the knee.

2. Tibial component: The tibial component is a flat metal platform with a polyethylene cushion. The cushion may be part of the platform (fixed) or separate (mobile) with either a flat surface (PCL-retaining) or a raised, sloping surface (PCL-substituting).

3. Patellar component: The patellar component is a dome-shaped piece of polyethylene that duplicates the shape of the kneecap anchored to a flat metal plate.

There are more than 150 knee replacement designs on the market today. Several manufacturers make knee implants. The brand and design used by your doctor or hospital depends on many factors, including your needs (based on your age, weight, activity level and health), the doctor's experience and familiarity with the device, and the cost and performance record of the implant. You may wish to discuss these issues with your doctor.

Implant Construction

The metal parts of the implant are made of titanium- or cobalt/chromium-based alloys. The plastic parts are made of ultrahigh-density polyethylene. All together, the components weigh between 15 and 20 ounces, depending on the size selected. The construction materials used must meet several criteria:

* They must be biocompatible; that is, they can function in the body without creating either a local or a systemic rejection response.

* Their mechanical properties must be able to duplicate the structures they are intended to replace; for example, they are strong enough to take weightbearing loads, flexible enough to bear stress without breaking and able to move smoothly against each other as required.

* They must be able to retain their strength and shape for a long time. The chance of a knee replacement lasting 15 to 20 years is about 95 percent.

To date, man-made joints have not solved the problem of wear. Every time bone rubs against bone, or metal rubs against plastic, the friction creates microscopic particulate debris. Just as wear in the natural joint contributed to the need for a replacement joint, wear in the prostheses may eventually require a second (revision) surgery.

Implant Insertion

During a TKA, the knee is in a bent position so that all the surfaces to be replaced can be exposed. The usual approach is lengthwise through the front of the knee, just to the inside of the kneecap, although some surgeons will approach the joint from the outer side, just above the kneecap. The incision is 6" to 12" long. The large quadriceps muscle and the kneecap are moved to the side to reveal the bone surfaces.

After taking several measurements to ensure that the new implant will fit properly, the surgeon begins to smooth the rough edges of the bones. Depending on the type of implant used, the surgeon may begin with either the thighbone or the shinbone.

Special jigs are used to accurately trim the damaged surfaces at the end of the thighbone. The devices shape the end of the thighbone so it configures to the inside of the prosthesis. The shinbone is cut flat across the bone and a portion of the bone's center is drilled out. The surgeon removes just enough of the bone so that when the prosthesis is inserted, it recreates the joint line at the same level as prior to surgery. If any ligaments around the knee have contracted due to pain and deformity before the surgery, the surgeon carefully releases them so that they function as close to the normal state as possible.

The prostheses are inserted, tested and balanced. The surgeon wants to be sure that the joint line is in the right place and the kneecap is accurately aligned for proper joint movement. If it is necessary to resurface the kneecap, the surgeon will apply a shaped piece of polyethylene that maintains the original width of the kneecap.

The knee replacement may be "cemented," "cementless" or "hybrid," depending on the type of fixation used to hold the implant in place. Although there are certain general guidelines, each case is individual and your surgeon will evaluate your situation carefully before making any decisions. Do not hesitate to ask what type of fixation will be used in your situation and why that choice is appropriate for you.


A break-through operation could help patients suffering from cartilage damage or osteoarthritis get back on their feet in just eight weeks

Arevolutionary ‘grow-yourown’ knee implant could help patients with crippling cartilage damage walk again in just eight weeks, say doctors.
The treatment uses an implant grown from the patient’s own healthy cells, which is glued into the damaged knee.
Unlike existing cartilage repair systems, which take months to grow, the new technique needs only two weeks to obtain enough cells for the operation.
The technique – known as the CaReS cartilage regeneration system – creates a perfect three-dimensional implant that fits the shape of the damaged cartilage, which means less stitching and a faster recovery.
Doctors hope the system could help hundreds of patients aged between 20 and 50 who have osteoarthritis or cartilage damage.
Shivaun McGuckin, a 38-yearold teacher, last week became the first person to have the 3,000-pound operation.
It has already been used on more than 1,000 patients in the European continent.
Mrs McGuckin, who lives with husband Damien and sons Tadhg (aged ten) and Conn (six), pulled out of training for her first marathon in May after her knee ‘locked’ when she bent down.
“I’ve always been sporty – running, playing rugby and hockey, and going to the gym,” she said. “I was training hard for the marathon but, a month beforehand, the pain was too much.”
Mrs McGuckin found everyday activities increasingly difficult and stopped exercising because of the pain. “It was increasingly painful,” she added. “I couldn’t run around after the children and I need to be active for my job. The cartilage had gone down to the bone and taken some bone with it.”
Conventional cartilage repair failed and she faced a bone graft before doctors could have attempted to repair her worn-out cartilage.
She feared a long wait for a knee replacement, as doctors normally postpone such major surgery until patients reach their mid-40s, or older. Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Amit Chandratreya, who operated on Mrs McGuckin, described the new system as “much more convenient’ than older techniques, which could take up to six months. Now Mrs McGuckin is hoping to get back to a sporting life. She said, “I feel very optimistic. It really looks as though I’ll be able to return to all the normal activities for my age.”

Chinese student recites 67,890 pi digits

The 24-year-old took 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite to the 67,890th decimal place of pi

A Chinese college student has set a new Guinness world record by reciting almost 68,000 digits of pi or the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter in just over one day.
Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student in Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Shaanxi Province, took 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite the 67,890th decimal place of pi without an error.
He achieved his feat on November 19th last year but was only recently confirmed to be the new record holder by the Guinness headquarters in Britain.
The previous Guinness world record was set by a Japanese, who recited pi to the 42,195th decimal place in 1995. “It was Zu Chongzhi, the ancient Chinese mathematician, who discovered the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, and Chinese should win the pi recitation contest,” Lu was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.
Lu started learning to recite pi in 2004 and spent more than 10 hours memorising and practicing every day during his summer college vacation last year.
Officials with Lu’s university said he had a very good memory and needed only 10 minutes to memorise a 100-digit number.

Life lessons from Judo

How do you compete with opponents who have size, strength, and history on their side? Perhaps one can pick up some lessons from Judo, a traditional Japanese contact sport

Southwest Airlines is perhaps the world’s most valuable airline. When it entered the market in the 1970s, it was up against severe odds. The US airline industry was already crowded with strong players. Southwest had two choices: compete by the rules already laid down by the older airlines. Or try out something new. Southwest chose the latter. All the major US carriers at that time used the traditional hub-and-spoke systems supported by enormous terminals in major cities, complex reservations systems, and variegated fleets that were carefully calibrated to the mix of routes that each airline served.
Southwest chose to serve smaller airports instead. It offered no connecting flights, assigned seating, or meals; and it operated an all-737 fleet. This made it possible for it to keep fares 50% to 60% below its rivals. United, Delta, and American Airlines could match Southwest’s pricing but never its financial performance because the cost of maintaining their core assets dragged profitability down.
Southwest used what we call a judo strategy. Instead of taking rivals head-on, it decided to rely on speed, agility and creative thinking to craft strategies that make it difficult for powerful rivals to compete. Successful challengers use judo strategy to prevent opponents from bringing their full strength into play. Judo strategists avoid conventional forms of competition, such as head-tohead struggles, that naturally favour the large and the strong. The three strategic principles that lie at the heart of this approach are movement, balance, and leverage.


Judo strategists use their agility to move into a position of relative strength while evading attack. They keep a low profile and avoid head-to-head battles that they’re too weak to win—a technique we call “the puppy dog ploy”.
Consider the rapid rise of Capital One. It became one of the biggest and most profitable credit card issuers in the US in less than 10 years, thanks largely to its ability to remain “extremely confidential and very, very hush-hush,” as one former executive explained. By avoiding product announcements and other publicity in favour of direct marketing campaigns, Capital One made it nearly impossible for competitors to imitate its highly targeted products. Consequently, the company faced little direct competition in many of the market segments it pioneered.
In contrast, Netscape, the company that pioneered the web browser, rejected the puppy dog ploy in favour of “mooning the giant”. Netscape drew attention by posing as a giant-killer early in the game by attacking Microsoft head-on and predicting that the web would make Microsoft Windows obsolete. This aggressive stance raised Netscape’s profile, and for a while, the start-up’s fortunes soared. But the company’s bravado helped awaken Bill Gates to the importance of the internet market, which ultimately sealed Netscape’s fate.


While the puppy dog ploy is largely about defence, other judo strategy techniques bring offense into play. A key example is “pull when pushed”, which exploits the strategic principle of balance. In judo, seasoned competitors know better than to push back against an advancing opponent. Instead, they sidestep the charge and use their opponent’s momentum to pull him down. Similarly, companies can throw their competitors offbalance by embracing their initiatives rather than responding in kind.
Consider Drypers, an upstart that captured a big piece of the US diaper business from Procter & Gamble in the 1980s. When Drypers entered the market in Texas, P&G bombarded the state with coupons for $2 off a package of Pampers—more than twice the usual 75 cents. Drypers could not afford to do the same. But CEO Dave Pitassi, who had just finished reading a book on judo, came up with a creative response. Rather than match P&G’s offensive, Drypers piggybacked on its rival’s attack. The company launched a state-wide advertising campaign to tell consumers that P&G coupons could be used on Drypers, and sales shot up. In a matter of weeks, Drypers had added as much as 15 points to its marketshare in some stores. Within two months, the company was running at full capacity. By harnessing its competitor’s momentum, Drypers had used P&G to underwrite its own promotional campaign.


By leveraging your opponent’s assets, partners or competitors, you can transform a competitor’s strengths into sources of weakness. A company’s greatest assets can often become its greatest liabilities. Whether intangible, like brand names and intellectual property, or tangible, like property and plant, “assets collect risks around them,” as Michael Dell, Dell Computer’s visionary chairman and CEO has said. Anything that represents a significant investment can become a barrier to change. And by exploiting these barriers, you can find the leverage you need to win. That’s exactly what Southwest Airlines did.
As these examples show, judo strategy is fundamentally about developing a deep understanding of your competitors and espying the potential weaknesses that lurk among their strengths.
This is no science. There is no easy formula for victory. Instead, judo strategy demands discipline, creativity, and the flexibility to mix and match techniques. But the power and promise of this approach are equal to the investment it demands, for by mastering the principles behind judo strategy, you can use your competitors’ strength to bring them down.

Gene code find will help spot foetus dyslexia

Scientists from Edinburgh University claim to having identified the gene sequence that determines a person’s ability to work with letters and numbers. The findings of the 20-year study conducted by them suggest that those likely to suffer from extreme forms of dyslexia can be identified before they are born, and given extra care to help deal with the condition.
Timothy Bates, one of the co-authors of the study, says that they have unveiled a combination of 13 genes that presumably affects a person’s ability to work with letters and numbers. “We believe this combination of 13 genes makes all the difference between someone who reads flawlessly and speedily and someone who stumbles on basic words,” he said. “We are confident these genes explain the bulk of the genetic effect. It tells us that reading ability boils down to the same common biological mechanism.”
The geneticists examined 1,300 people for their abilities in reading, writing and spelling, and thereby identified the genes influencing their performance.
They discovered that it was the same set of genes that was responsible for dyslexia, and milder spelling and reading problems.
“This is fantastic news. The earlier dyslexic children are diagnosed and given help, the better their chances of living fulfiled lives,” said Vikki McNicol of the British Dyslexia Association. ANI

Fertility industry moves online

Washington: More and more people have found life on the internet as the $3 billion fertility industry moves increasingly online. But as with all online ventures, shopping on the Web can carry risks. In this case, the net may provide consumers—people desperate to have a child—a faster and more discreet way to find egg or sperm donors.
But it can also lead to lost money and broken dreams, say fertility experts. “It’s not surprising that much of this business is migrating into Cyberspace. Most people don’t mind buying a Lands’ End item at the store, but it’s awkward to buy eggs in public,” said professor Debora Spar of Harvard Business School, an advocate for regulation of the US fertility industry.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Don’t penguin’s feet freeze on ice?

As cute as tuxedo-patterned penguins would look sporting oversize loafers, footwear is not part of the dress code for these warm-blooded birds. Bare feet prevent these stately ice emperors from burning up in their suits.
Most of the penguin body is kept cozy by its warm, waterproof plumage. Beneath the skin, blubber adds to the insulation. Together, fat and feathers work so well that a careless bird might overheat on a sunny day. The naked beak and feet allow heat to escape, helping the body to maintain a steady temperature.
A little biological ingenuity keeps the extremities from icing over. Certain arteries in the penguin leg can adjust blood flow in response to foot temperature, feeding the foot just enough blood to keep it a few degrees above freezing. Not that all species need such a system—on the equator, Galápagos penguins contend with sweltering sun and heat with much help from their cool feet

‘Master stem cell’ find sparks hope for regrown heart

Work towards stem cell treatments for coronary disease has jumped another step with the discovery of a “master” cell that appears to give rise to all the major parts of the heart. Scientists discovered the cells within developing heart tissue in mouse embryos. Tests showed they were capable of differentiating into contracting cardiac cells, smooth muscle, and the endothelial cells that line the walls of blood vessel.
These are the three principal cell types that make up the mammalian heart. In future, they could be used to regenerate ailing hearts, as well as aid drug discovery and provide new models of human disease, scientists believe.
“We think these are authentic cardiac stem cells responsible for forming the diverse cell types of the heart,” said study leader Kenneth Chien, director of the Cardiovascular Research Centre at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Stem cells are immature cells with the ability to grow into different kinds of tissue. Those extracted from early stage embryos can potentially become any kind of cell. However, there are ethical objections to cannibalising human embryos for stem cells. Completely undifferentiated stem cells may also present a risk of cancer.
The more advanced stem cells found in the primitive cardiac mouse tissue are known as MIPCs. Cloned and grown in the laboratory, the scientists found they could be made to develop into the different heart cell types.
“These MIPCs may be excellent candidates for cardiac muscle regeneration studies, without the risk of tumour formation posed by embryonic stem cells or the limited effectiveness seen in studies using other cell types,” said Chien.
“It now appears that cardiac cells develop in the same way that blood cells do, with a master stem cell giving rise to the entire range of cells.” DAILY MAIL

Folic acid cuts attack risk, says research

London: Taking folic acid may reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal on Friday. After analysing evidence from earlier studies, a team of British scientists have discovered that folic acid lowers levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood and reduces the odds of cardiovascular disease.
“The evidence is very persuasive that lowering homocysteine with folic acid will lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by about 10-20 percent,” said David Wald, of the Wolfson Institute for Preventive Medicine, Barts and the London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry in London. Folic acid is a synthetic compound of folate, a B vitamin found in green leafy vegetables and liver.

Man arrested for putting baby in freezer

A Canadian man who could not figure out how to deal with his girlfriend’s feverish 10-month-old daughter put the baby into a freezer to cool her down, a local newspaper reported. Derrick Hardy faces charges of criminal negligence and assaulting the infant, who was rescued when her mother came home. It was reported that the mother found the girl crammed into the freezer alongside ice cubes and hamburger meat. Hardy said he had left the door ajar but the mother said it had been closed when she returned. He told a court in the eastern province of Prince Edward Island the child had only been in the freezer for about 40 seconds. Hardy, 21, who admitted to police that he had no real parenting skills to deal with a sick child, said he had noticed the girl was very hot and put a cool cloth on her face, but this had no effect. He then carried the girl outside into the night air but, frustrated that this also did not work and worried she might drown if placed in a cold bath, he put the baby into the kitchen freezer. She was wearing only an undershirt. A local doctor said the mother had described her baby as “crying, sobbing and terrified.” The child spent several days in hospital to recover from first- and second-degree freezer burns on her head and torso. Hardy has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The baby’s grandmother now has custody of the girl.

Your kid needs good sleep

Not getting enough sleep can slow kids down in more ways than one. Here are some tips to catch up on the ‘z’s

Not even kids are sleeping like babies these days. Many schoolgoing kids are missing at least an hour of necessary sleep a night, and more than half of teens report feeling too tired during the day. Because chronic sleep deprivation may weaken the immune system, tired kids may be at higher risk of catching colds, flu, and other infectious diseases. They also have a harder time earning those As in school, studies show. “Sleep deprivation appears to interfere with memory and with the brain’s ability to organise information,” says Gahan Fallone, an associate professor at the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield (Illinois). “It also makes it harder for kids to block out distractions and to focus.” In fact, teachers may catch problems parents miss.
These strategies can help your child get more high-quality slumber:


When parents set the bedtime, kids average 45 minutes more sleep per night than when they decide for themselves, a recent Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth national poll found. Parents should continue to set bedtime through middle school and even high school. Once you decide on a time, be consistent.


Getting your child to bed should be taken just as seriously as getting her to school each morning. Schedule homework and dinner early to keep snooze time from slipping away. Reruns of favourite TV programmes that air past bedtime can be watched later.


If you’d like to watch a long movie with your child or enjoy another bedtimeblowing activity, do it on Friday — then get back on track Saturday and Sunday. We all have biological clocks that reset themselves every day. If you let your child stay up late and sleep late all weekend, you’ve reset her clock ahead by several hours. She won’t sleep well Sunday night, and she'll start the week with a sleep gap.


You wouldn’t give your child coffee before bed, but java's not the only source of stay-awake jitters. Chocolate, bottled iced teas, energy drinks, even some fruit sodas are caffeinated, too. One caffeinated soda will rev up a 40-pound kid as much as two cups of coffee would an adult. Offer milk or water instead.


Keep TV sets out of kids’ bedrooms; shut down or collect computers, cell phones, MP3 players, and video games a full hour before lights out in order to signal the brain that nighttime is starting and it’s time to sleep. “Every single study has shown that TV viewing, especially in a child’s own room, causes sleep problems.


Kids see their parents burning the candle at both ends, then drinking coffee, caffeinated sodas, and energy drinks to stay alert. If you value sleep, your kids will, too.

How much sleep do they need?

2 months-1 year: 14-15 hours 1-3 years: 12-14 hours 3-6 years: 11-13 hours 6-12 years: 10-11 hours 12-18 years: 8 1/2-9 1/2 hours

Apes may be using perfume, says study

Move over Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana and other purveyors of glamour perfumes. The next rage in fragrance may be Eau de Monkey.
Scientists have been reporting sightings of wild spider monkeys rubbing themselves with chewed-up leaves that may function as perfumes. Although it’s unproven that they do it specifically to take on an aroma, mounting evidence points that way, the investigators say. The scents “may play a role in the context of social communication, possibly for signalling of social status or to increase sexual attractiveness,” scientists wrote in journal Primates.
Matthias Laska of University of Munich Medical School, Germany, described watching a group of 10 black-handed spider monkeys. Working in Mexico, Laska’s team recorded “20 episodes of selfanointing—the application of scent-bearing material onto the body,” by two males. “The animals used the leaves of three species of plants,” including wild celery, they wrote. “The leaves of all three plant species spread an intensive and aromatic odour when crushed.”
To show that the mishmash indeed functions as a sort of cologne, researchers would have to demonstrate it isn’t being used for a different purpose. Primates and other ani-mals are widely reported to use certain plants as medications, and sometimes rub themselves with natural substances that act as bug repellents. However, a small but growing number of researchers in recent years have argued that some animals may anoint themselves with scents for social purposes.
Laska’s team found, in accord with a past study, that the monkeys swiped the fragrant mix only on their armpits and breastbone areas, and that this occurred independently of time of day, season, tempera-ture or humidity. The previous study—published in 2000—also found, consistent with the new one, that males do it more often than females.

‘Forgetful People At 10% Higher Risk’ ,Bad memory link to heart attack

Bad memory link to heart attack
Being forgetful is bad for your heart. Those who have poor memories and slower reaction times are more likely to die from a heart attack, according to a 21-year study. Psychologist Beverly Shipley, who carried out the research, said the next step was to discover exactly why there was a link. She suggested that one possible explanation was that reaction time is an indicator of a body with better “system integrity”— how well it is wired together. She said one surprising outcome of the study was that both young and old adults showed the same link between cognition and heart trouble. Even in the case of young people, memory problems could be used to identify those not normally thought to be at risk of heart disease.
Shipley, member of Edinburgh University’s psychology department, studied more than 6,400 individuals. She found those who had slower reaction times, poorer memory and poor visual-spatial awareness had a higher chance of dying from cardiovascular or respiratory disease. The link remained even after taking into account other factors usually associated with heart disease, like physical activity, blood pressure, obesity and smoking.
Participants were aged between 18 and 99 and were first tested in 1984/85. The study was completed in 2005.
Researchers found lower than average level of mental agility led to at least a 10% greater chance of heart disease. They also found a higher death rate from heart problems among those with poor mental agility. DAILY MAIL

New scan technique spots child killer

London: A medical scan can spot which young people risk sudden death because of a weak heart. The scan shows up heart scar tissue, giving doctors an important warning sign of dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM, which can otherwise go undetected. In DCM, the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently. It is the most common form of heart muscle disease at any age and many of those who die are children.
The technique, developed by cardiologists at Royal Brompton Hospital, involves injecting a dye called gadolinium into the patient’s vein and then scanning them with MRI. The dye stays around in the scar tissue more than in the surrounding tissue because scar tissue has a lower blood supply than normal tissue. And gadolinium’s special magnetic properties makes the scar tissue appear brightly on the scan and very easy to detect.
The Royal Brompton team tested the technique on 101 patients with and without scar tissue and followed them for two years to determine the effect of scar tissue on the patients’ health outcomes.
By detecting the scar tissue, the researchers found they were better able to determine the risk of hospitalisation or death. This enabled them to ensure patients received timely care.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Indians aren’t just strong believers in the existence of God, half of them — at least those in the bigger cities — are also convinced of the existence of the Devil or devils. What’s more, if you thought angels are essentially not an Indian concept, the TOI-TNS poll should make you think again, with 52% of respondents across 10 major cities saying they do exist.
Those who believe in ghosts and haunted houses are not in a minority either, with 50% saying they do exist, though an almost equal 49% said they do not. There is a greater degree of conviction about the existence of heaven and hell with almost two-thirds of the 1,007 respondents saying they are real.
What is perhaps more surprising is that almost one-third of the respondents also believe that it is possible to communicate with the dead. Less surprisingly, in almost every one of these cases, the belief — or superstition, depending on which half you belong to — is stronger among women than among men, though not by very much.
If you think higher levels of education make it less likely for people to believe in the possibility of communicating with the dead, think again. The belief in this possibility was strongest (39%) among post-graduates, somewhat less (32%) among graduates and least (29%) among those who had no more than school education. The figure was as high as 63% for illiterates, but the number of these was so small as to make it impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from it.
About 38% of the total sample also professed belief in astrology or numerology, though for most of them, astrologers and numerologists are people who are only occasionally consulted.
In the land of karma, it is perhaps only to be expected that 62% of those who believe in God also believe that there is such a thing as reincarnation or rebirth. What is interesting, however, is that only 37% feel where you go after death depends on whether you are a “good person”. Another 31% felt going to a “good place” is possible only if you believe in God, while 19% said it’s predetermined where you go. For this lot, therefore, what you do or believe in is irrelevant to your afterlife. Another 8% said there is only one afterlife for everybody.
The proportion of those who believe that some human beings are “messengers of God” is again close to two-thirds. Read that with the fact that only about 36% of all respondents said they believed in spiritual gurus and what that suggests is that for a very large section of believers in our country, there may be ordinary people who are messengers of God.
On most of these questions, differences across age groups and socio-economic categories are relatively small, though the young in general tended to be just a little more sceptical, while the oldest age group, 50-59, was more inclined to believe.
There are, however, significant differences across cities and regions on most of these issues. — TIG

Look how fat you are.

“I’m so fat. My life has changed since I have gained weight. I am jealous of my slim friends,”


More often, an underlying emotional dysfunction causes excessive weight gain. Says Sarah Mustillo, Duke University Medical Centre, UK, “It’s probably a combination of social and biological factors. There is an interaction between what is outside your body and what’s inside. Obesity carries a large social stigma and may lead to depression if it negatively affects self-esteem, body image or social mobility. It may even disrupt the normal hormonal pathways.”
Says Dr Mukesh Batra, “In many cases, food constitutes emotional deprivation. Many people eat to compensate for lack of love and affection. Some people lose appetite when under stress or depression, others tend to eat more.”


Obesity can cause painful emotional suffering. This is because of the success associated with slimness and beauty. Says Dr Geeta Joshi, clinical psychologist, “Psychological manifestation of obesity is depression, anger and irritability. There can be two types of obese individuals; one who is depressed but in denial. If you have a family history of obesity, for instance, you would be in complete acceptance of the situation and will carry on with your life, least bothered about your condition. The other person, is one who is aware of the obese condition and who worries how he/she can get over it and tries hard.”
Opines Dr Kainaz Cooper, clinical psychologist, BD Petit Parsi General Hospital, Mumbai, “Depression and inferiority complex are more common in ‘modern’ women, especially in those who suffer from metabolic problems. Low self-confidence, discrimination, labeling and fewer friends - is common in obese children.”


If you are overweight or obese, cultivate a positive attitude before you shed those unwanted kilos. Says Dr Joshi, “Tell yourself, I am not a loser. Be aware of the health repercussions of obesity. Psycho-education has a great impact on the ability to understand health issues. In addition to treating with medicines, counseling and cognitive behavioural therapy can be of great help.”
Agrees Dr Cooper, “Low esteem problems need to be dealt with psychotherapy and behavioural therapy. Also ‘yo-yo-ing’ of weight can be dangerous, you have to do something about it.”
Both cognitive-behavioral therapy, designed specifically to control disordered eating, and interpersonal therapy, originally intended for depression, has been shown to significantly reduce binge episodes. Eating becomes a habit and you resolve your distress through food. Identify what triggers your eating and substitute with other techniques to manage your difficulties. This will keep weight-gain at bay.


Obesity is a serious health hazard and acknowledged as a global epidemic.
India, a country struggling with malnutrition also houses the tenth largest overweight population in the world. Living in an era of fast cars, colas, computers and remote controls — lifestyle related diseases are the price we pay. While, genetic make up is a contributing factor, lifestlye becomes the deciding factor.
While fat serves important functions in the body, excess fat interferes with health. Certain guidelines help to decide whether one is entering the danger zone.
Body mass index (BMI): BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat and health risks. BMI between 19 and 24 is considered a healthy weight range for a given height. BMI between 25 and 29 is overweight. Figures of 30 or greater are categorised as obese.
Waist circumference: Depending on the body fat distribution pattern, shapes are defined.

Apple shaped:

most of the fat is around the waist or upper body. This suggests that there is more fat deposited around the abdominal organs. Abdominal fat increases risk of diseases associated with obesity.

Pear shaped:

most of the fat being around the hips and thighs or lower body. This is the preferred shape.
Waists of women waist should measure less than 35 inches. Men should be less than 40 inches at the waist.


Anger, anxiety, stress, fatigue, boredom, loneliness, depression

Excessive eating

Eating because there is an opportunity; at a restaurant, seeing discount food ads, aroma of cakes and desserts, someone else is paying the bill

Making excuses for eating; lack of will power

Physiological eating due to headache, skipping meals, fasting, increased hunger


Break the food habit. Distract yourself from eating. Do other activities such as walking, jogging, dancing or listening to music until the urge to overeat passes

Manage stress

Exercise,Yoga and deep breathing helps

Opt for individual or group psychotherapy

Reward yourself, if you are able to adopt coping strategies, by buying a new outfit or going on a vacation

Talk to others who are also struggling to lose weight

Maintain the feel-good feeling. Get support from family and friends

50 things to buy before you die



La Prairie, Skin Caviar Luxe Cream $210. It’s a million-dollar question: what’s the best face cream in the world? If we had to pick the best allround one it would have to be La Prairie’s Caviar Luxe.
Rich in caviar extract, which is known for its nourishing properties, it is light but rich and sinks in effortlessly.


Guerlain, Kiss Kiss Exces De Rouge $15. The gold packaging will make this one of the most attractive items in your makeup bag. The punchy pillar-box shade is extremely versatile.


Vespa, GTS250 $3,249. Invented by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1946 as the perfect cheap vehicle to get post-war Italy moving again. The GS (the Grand Sport) is on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Garrard from $1,000 for a gold band. Dating back to 1722, when founder George Wickes entered Goldsmiths Hall, Garrard is most famous for making royal crowns. Now, with Jade Jagger at the helm, the jeweller is one of the most glamourous places to go for a classic gold wedding band.


Burberry, from $696. In the early 1900s, Army officers started wearing these coats as part of their uniform, and by the 1940s, the trenchcoat was mainstream fashion. Today, the Burberry trench is still made from a closely woven Egyptian cotton called gabardine.


Harry Winston, from $8,500. Established in 1932, the jeweller is synonymous with the Academy Awards.


Derek Rose, from $88.98. We’re in the throes of a pyjama boom and Derek Rose is the undisputed king of PJs. His collection is worn by everyone from the Queen to the children at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films — even John and Yoko had matching his-and-hers pairs.


Manolo Blahnik. From $375. Madonna described Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as ‘better than sex’, adding ‘what’s more, they last longer’. She has a point.


Almas. Approximately $350. The most prized caviar is also the most rare. Almas, which is pale — almost white — in colour, comes from very rare albino sturgeons.


Kopi Luwak, Selfridges approximately $24 for
a 57g (2oz) bag. These beans from Indonesia are produced from the excrement of treeclimbing civets, who feast on coffee cherries, eating them whole. When they have passed through their bodies, the beans are collected. The result, thanks to the civet’s gastric juices, is a uniquely smooth flavour.


L’Artisan du Chocolat. Banana and thyme chocolate $7.50. Chef Gordon Ramsay describes it as ‘the Bentley of chocolate’.


Laura Mercier, Creme Brulee Honey Bath, $22. As the poet Sylvia Plath once said: ‘There must be quite a few things that a bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.’ And if any product can help achieve this it’s Laura Mercier’s.


Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1945, anything upwards of $3,000. Other vintages start at $80. Claret is a dry red wine from the Bordeaux region. The magazine Decanter recently claimed Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 1945, was the one wine everyone should drink before they die.


Hermes Birkin, www.hermes.com How much? From $3,500. The ‘it’ bag is the fashion phenomenon of the 21st century. If there’s one bag that outshines the competition, it is the Hermes Birkin. Loved by Kate Moss, Madonna and Elle Macpherson, it still has waiting lists of three months.


Mariage Freres, 00 33 1 4347 1854. How much? $81. The French are in the throws of a love affair with tea. Mariage Freres is the most celebrated salon — Hugh Grant and Isabelle Adjani are fans. The shop is tea heaven, with hundred of blends of teas and some very stylish teapots.


Studio 65, Bocca Marilyn lips sofa, $4,500. You can’t get a more inviting couch than one in the shape of a luscious pair of red lips. Inspired by Salvador Dali’s Mae West sofa, which was made in 1936.


Judith Leiber, minaudiere crystal clutch, from $1,051. When Renee, Nicole and Scarlett are wondering which bag to take to their next red carpet event, there’s no hesitation. Leiber’s exquisite and expensive, gemencrusted hard-case clutch bags spell all-out glamour.


Savon de Marseille, $2 per
block. Savon de Marseille uses no additives, no artificial colours, no animal fats.


Thomas Goode, from $65 for a bespoke plate. Fine bone china is the ultimate tool for keeping up with the Jones’s — show it off by displaying it on dressers and in cabinets. And if you really want to outdo the couple next door, buy Thomas Goode — a big hit with the Queen.


Pratesi. A basic 480-threadcount sheet starts at $825. Pratesi is synonymous with quality. Treated properly, good bed linen is an investment that will last a lifetime


Agent Provocateur, from $25. A pair of knickers is one of the most personal, secretive and exciting of purchases. Agent Provocateur, which made spending $20 or more on a pair of pants acceptable, offers one of the most pleasurable knickerbuying experiences.


Cristal, approximately $125. P Diddy famously spent $120,000 on Cristal in a London club — which is not as difficult as you’d imagine when you consider the price. A cult name for quality quaffing.


Mikimoto. Pearl devotees are as classy as they come: think Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and the Queen. Mikimoto provides the best cultured-pearl necklaces, primarily because they leave the oysters alone for the longest in a four-year process.


Loro Piana, $395. Buyers
and textile snobs alike
say Loro Piana is the
very best cashmere
money can buy. The
company uses only
purest white cashmere from the Kel goat, which is found in high altitude regions of Central Asia.


Leica MP, $1,850. Pundits predict that film will soon be a thing of the past. Leica aficionados beg to differ, believing these are the only cameras worth
hanging around your neck, thanks to an unusually quiet shutter release, an ability to take excellent pictures in even the gloomiest of light and, of course, handsome good looks.


Cartier Tankissime, $13,925. The 18-carat, white gold, diamond-set Tankissime watch is timelessly elegant with a small, square face, diamond edging and chunky white-gold silver links.


Yves Saint Laurent, Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils, $17. Since launching in 2000, YSL’s most popular mascara has been a massive hit, thanks to its ability to make the lashes appear instantly glamorous — as though you’ve just applied the most perfect set of false lashes, in fact.


Giuseppe Giusti, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale. From $11-$100. The good stuff should be as dark as treacle, the taste a balance of sweet and sour. You can’t go wrong with any aged balsamic vinegar from Modena. Giusti is one of the oldest.