Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vitamin D Supplements for Weight Loss

Here’s a look at some key findings on vitamin D and weight:

1) Dieting

In a 2010 study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that boosting your levels of vitamin D (and intake of dairy-derived calcium) may increase the likelihood of weight loss while dieting. The study involved 126 overweight women, all of whom were followed for six months.

2) Weight Gain Prevention

Vitamin D may help thwart the weight gain that often occurs in middle-aged women, according to a 2007 study from the Archives of Internal Medicine. For the study, 36,282 postmenopausal women were assigned to receive 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium in supplement form or a placebodaily. After three years, supplement-taking participants who had skimped on calcium prior to the study were found to be 11 percent less likely to gain weight (compared to those assigned to a placebo).

3) Heart-Health

Vitamin D may enhance some positive effects of weight loss, a 2007 study from theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutritionsuggests. In tests on 63 overweight or obese women assigned to a weight loss program, scientists discovered that those who took 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium in supplement form daily during the course of their 15-week diet had greater improvements in cholesterol levels (compared to those given a placebo for the same time period).

Supplements containing both vitamin D and calcium are possibly effective for weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, scientists have yet to determine whether taking vitamin D alone (rather than in combination with calcium) can help promote weight loss.

Even though vitamin D is found in some foods (such as oily fish and fortified milk) and can be produced by the body during sun exposure, taking supplements may be a more reliable means of increasing your vitamin D levels. Although vitamin D might not help you lose weight on its own, increasing your vitamin D intake could support your weight loss efforts while enhancing your overall health. (Essential for strong bones and osteoporosis prevention, vitamin D may also help fend off heart disease and stimulate your immune system.) In order to achieve weight loss, it’s important to combine vitamin D supplementation with a healthy diet and regular exercise program.

If you decide to take vitamin D supplements, be aware that consuming an excessive amount of vitamin D may cause vomiting, loss of bone density, and other problems. Find out more caveats here.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you’re considering the use of vitamin D supplements, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Vitamin D Supplements for Weight Loss.

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Mitt Romney: The aura of a serial loser

The shiny black hair, the quarterback smile, the lantern jaw. Mitt Romney has never had any difficulty looking like an American president.

Getting voters to elect him to that job has long been a problem. In 2008, he failed in his first attempt to win the Republican presidential nomination partly because he was seen as inauthentic – a moderate Republican, who had served as the governor of liberal Massachusetts, who tried too hard to recast himself as a conservative.

In 2012, when he won the Republican nomination but failed to dislodge Barack Obama, it was his image as an out-of-touch millionaire, more so than his Mormonism, that hobbled his candidacy.

A leaked video sounded the death knell. It showed him maligning 47% of the electorate as being dependent on the government (in an ironic twist, Romney won 47% of the vote, compared to Barack Obama’s 51%).

At a time when income inequality and stagnant middle class incomes look set to dominate the next presidential race, it would have been hard for him to reinvent himself – although over the past few weeks, as he hinted at a run, he had been trying.

History suggests that a third bid for the White House might not have been as far-fetched as it sounds. It was third time lucky for Ronald Reagan in 1980, having failed to win the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 and 1976.

Richard Nixon also pulled off an extraordinary comeback in 1968 after losing the presidential election against John F Kennedy eight years earlier (as well as the race for California Governor in 1962).

However, the unhappy experience of Adlai Stevenson, a Democratic nominee, also looms large. Both in 1952 and 1956, he was beaten by Dwight D Eisenhower – although many liberal Democrats urged him to run yet again in 1960.

Times, though, have changed.

Vast sums of money are required to mount modern-day campaigns. Party chieftains no longer pick the nominees.

The primaries have become a long, arduous and also personally belittling process.

The media, in this age of concertinaed news cycles, constantly want new storylines and fresh characters. Mitt Romney is old news. Republican donors do not want to throw good money after bad.

He is not a natural campaigner.

Mitt Romney shares many of the same traits as his father George, a former governor of Michigan and a highly successful automobile executive.


Romney senior was seen as a talented administrator, but a gaffe-prone campaigner. His bid for the Republican nomination in 1968 ended shambolically, after offhand comments about being brainwashed during a fact-finding trip to Vietnam opened him up to ridicule.

Theodore White, the great chronicler of American presidential campaigns, noted of George Romney that he gave “the impression of an honest and decent man simply not cut out to be President of the United States”. It works, too, as a political obituary for Mitt.

In the land that loves winners, he had the aura of a serial loser.

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Maria Sharapova aims to end 11-year run against Serena Williams

Australian Open Women’s final

Venue: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park Coverage: 08:25 GMT, BBC Two, 08:00, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

World number two Maria Sharapova will aim to end an 11-year losing streak when she takes on Serena Williams in Saturday’s Australian Open final.

Top seed Williams has a 16-2 record against the 27-year-old Russian and has not lost to her since 2004.

The 33-year-old American is a five-time Australian Open champion and is looking to win her 19th Grand Slam title.

“It’s been a really difficult match-up for me, but I am a competitor,” said Sharapova, seeded second.

“I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around.”

Sharapova won the title in 2008 and collected her fifth major at theFrench Open last June.

The top two players in the world should provide a compelling final, but there have been some one-sided encounters since Sharapova’s back-to-back wins at Wimbledon and the WTA Finals in 2014.

Williams lost just three games in the 2007 Australian Open final and thrashed Sharapova 6-0 6-1 in the 2012 Olympic final.

The American has won their last 15 meetings, stretching back to a dramatic semi-final in Melbourne 10 years ago when Sharapova had three match points, only for the American to come through 8-6 in the third.

“It was tough to lose that one, I definitely had a lot of chances,” said Sharapova.

While the pair could never be described as friends, and have exchanged sharp words in the past, there is plenty of mutual respect on court.

“I think she’s been a wonderful player in this era,” said Williams. “She’s so consistent. She just always wants to get better.


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Microsoft’s Office for Android tablet apps arrive today

It’s only been a few weeks since Microsoft released the preview versions of Office for Android, but the software giant is finally ready to bring the final version of those apps to Google Play. Starting some time Thursday morning — we’re hearing from around 10 a.m. ET onwards — you’ll be able to download the finished versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint to your Android tablet. As before, the requirements for downloading said apps include having a tablet that’s 7-inches or larger that’s also running Android 4.4 KitKat or newer. They also have to have an ARM-based processor and 1GB of RAM or above.

Office for Android screenshots

I had a chance to take a brief early look at the Office for Android apps, and I have to say Microsoft did a pretty good job in porting over its Office apps from desktop to the tablet. However, the first thing you’ll be asked to do when you launch any of the apps is to sign up or log in to your Microsoft account — that’s the only way you can edit, save or print documents. It’s a bit of annoyance, but seeing as the apps are free to download, I’ll acquiesce. If you wish to use the app on screens that are 10.1 inches or larger, you’ll have to pony up $6.99 a month or more for an Office 365 subscription. A subscription also offers premium features such as tracking changes in Word and getting the “Presenter View” in PowerPoint. You’re also able to sync documents across devices if you have a subscription.

All of the Office apps have a similar home screen. Recently opened documents reside on the left column while templates for new documents sit on the right. At the bottom of that left column is a link to open other documents. You can store your files either locally on your device, on your Microsoft OneDrive account, at a SharePoint location or on Dropbox. The interface for each app is strikingly similar to that of their desktop cousins. As far as I can tell at first glance, the layout and functions on the apps are the same — everything from editing slides in PowerPoint to creating charts and tables in Excel.

I was a little skeptical that the apps would register my taps accurately, especially on a complicated spreadsheet on Excel, but they did. Resizing tables, text and images was easy and I didn’t encounter too many bugs in general. Indeed, there were a few functions that actually benefited from a touch interface — the ability to doodle and draw circles right on the PowerPoint slide with your finger is pretty great. It’s worth noting here that while Word and Excel work in both portrait and landscape modes, PowerPoint is strictly landscape-only. That’s not really a big dealbreaker though, as you would want your presentation slides to be in that format anyway.

We’ll need a little more time to test these apps to really suss out their worth in day-to-day use, but at first glance, they’re not too bad at all. Some of you must have thought so too, as Microsoft tells us that the previews alone generated more than 250,000 downloads across 33 languages and more than 110 countries. It’s obvious that a lot of folks are Office aficionados who also happen to own an Android tablet. If that applies to you, stay tuned to that Google Play store, download the apps and let us know what you think. Here’s hoping the Windows version of these tablet apps are as good or better.

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The Real Difference Between Flavor vs Taste

The bad news is that the words taste, flavor and aroma are not exactly interchangeable. The good news is that it’s very easy to learn the distinctions between Taste vs. Flavor vs. Aroma and learning the difference will make you better at cooking and drinking. Sound delicious?

  • Taste refers to the senses inside our mouth including our tongue
  • Aroma occurs inside our noses and includes aspects in regards to our sense of smell
  • Flavor is when taste and aroma converge

    What is Taste?

Taste happens inside our mouth. Taste has everything to do with how our tongue and mouth interact with food and drink. Our tongue has 2 kinds of receptors. One receptor type is for taste, aptly named‘tastebuds’ which can be found all over our tongue. The other for mouthfeel. Mouthfeel is sensed by free nerve endings all over the inside of our mouth and tongue.

  • Taste focuses primarily on Sweet, Salt, Bitter and Sour. There are also two disputed tastes: Umami and ‘Metallic’.
  • Mouth-feel focuses primarily on viscosity, temperature, burning, body, prickle, touch and pain.

    What is Aroma?

The words aroma and bouquet are actually just pleasant words used to describe odors. Odors are tiny volatilized compounds (meaning: they float in the air) and get stuck in our noses. Since alcohol is a volatile compound, it gives off a lot of odors. This is why perfume is made with alcohol.

Odors are sensed in our brain by the limbic system which is an early part of our brain that also deals with emotion, behavior, motivation and long term memory. This is why smells can bring up ancient memories. When we smell things, we can do it two ways. One way is through our nostrils and the other is through the back of our throat and into our ‘retronasal’ cavity. Some research has shown that the right hemisphere of our brain is better at discriminating smells. This could be the reason you think that your right nostril smells better than the left.

       What is Flavor?

Flavor is the combination of aroma, taste and mouthfeel to create a complete profile of what you’re eating or drinking.

The Real Difference Between Flavor vs Taste | Wine Folly.

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Find the IMEI number for a lost or stolen Android device

Once you realize your device is gone, you’ll probably think about what sort of personal information is accessible via the device, what photos you had saved on it, and the cost of replacing it. If you’ve already attempted to recover the device with the Android Device Manager (or your friend’s Android), then it’s time to contact the police and your wireless provider to report the situation.

Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager

Your carrier may require a police report to prove that the device is actually missing. In addition to the make, model and visual appearance, the police and your carrier may request the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) to help identify the device. This is number is unique to your hardware, and may allow the carrier to discontinue service to it, or blacklist it from their network if it was stolen.

As a recent post on the Digital Inspiration blog points out, you can still find your IMEI without the phone in your hand. Here’s how:

Start by logging into your Google Dashboard by heading to

Google Dashboard displaying Android devices.

After you’re signed in, click the arrow next to Android. You will see all devices that have been attached to your Google account. Find your current phone and copy the IMEI number.

Hopefully the combined effort of the police and your wireless carrier will help you retrieve your device.

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Graffiti, demolition and angst in Shanghai

Demolition in China is often a sensitive, political subject, touching on the relative powerlessness of local residents in the face of omnipotent local officials.

And while Shanghai has retained more of its old architecture than many Chinese cities, the relentless pace of economic development has still swept large parts of it away.

A few months ago, colourful, poignant paintings began to appear amid the rubble on at least two building sites.

They’re the work of French graffiti artist Julien Malland and Chinese artist Shi Zheng.

Chinese artist Shi Zheng Paintings by Shi Zheng (R) began appearing on Shanghai walls last month

Chinese artist Shi Zheng Paintings by Shi Zheng (R) began appearing on Shanghai walls last month

They probably would have gone largely unnoticed – however, a few days ago some of the images were published in a Chinese newspaper, and they went viral.

Frenchman Julien Malland has also been covering Shanghai's walls

Frenchman Julien Malland has also been covering Shanghai’s walls

Their images often feature children and evoke a sense of sadness

Their images often feature children and evoke a sense of sadness

Painted-over image of a child on a Shanghai wall However, after the publicity, their images were swiftly painted over or destroyed

Painted-over image of a child on a Shanghai wall However, after the publicity, their images were swiftly painted over or destroyed

The art appeared to resonate with many members of the public, evoking a sense of sadness for something that’s been lost amid China’s decades-long construction boom.

Children appear frequently in the work, lovingly clutching small representations of their homes to their chests, or wearing them, like bags, on their backs.

The publicity, though, attracted dozens of curious visitors and amateur photographers to one of the demolition sites in Shanghai’s Jing’an district.

‘Evoking the past’

Citing safety concerns, the district government ordered the paintings to be removed, an order that was quickly carried out.

The art has now been painted over or chiselled away from the plaster, prompting an angry public outcry.

Some internet users seem less than convinced by the safety argument, and have been asking why, as the images were all soon to be destroyed anyway, they could not have been left a little while longer.

State media has been covering the debate, quoting a member of Shanghai’s People’s Political Consultative Conference, Dai Jianguo, as saying that a bit of careful management – he suggested a requirement that visitors wear hard-hats – would have allowed the public to continue to enjoy the images.

“They brought people back to the past and evoked memories about the old houses,” he said.

And anyway, some of those old houses that found themselves inadvertently in the middle of the open-air art gallery still have people living in them.

Image of a girl on a Shanghai wall Elsewhere in Shanghai, similar images have been appearing...

Image of a girl on a Shanghai wall Elsewhere in Shanghai, similar images have been appearing…

...and disappearing

…and disappearing

As the walls are being torn down around them, they are the “last-standers”, a common site on Chinese demolition sites as a few die-hard residents hold on.

Often with red flags flying, they stay, either in protest over the homes they don’t want to lose, or simply in the hope of winning better rates of compensation.

The artwork was not overtly political, but given the sensitive context to development in China, it did have a certain edginess.

And its removal highlights a difficulty faced by authoritarian governments anywhere.

Even a decision that may well be in the interests of public safety risks being interpreted as, well, authoritarian.

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Renault has a futuristic ‘Gran Turismo’ concept car too

The Nissan GT-R and Chevy’s Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo are about to get some fresh company thanks to French automaker Renault. The Alpine Vision Gran Turismo is the latest Gran Turismo 6 ride turned concept vehicle, and weighing in at around 1,984 pounds (900 kilograms) it’s lighter than a 2015 Dodge Dart by over 1,200 pounds. Let that sink in for a minute. Okay, still with us? It’s rocking a 450 horsepower engine mid-rear, a 199MPH top speed and a rad set of air brakes you can see in the video below. Renault teases that some of the tech from the concept will make it to Alpine’s 2016 production model — which, as Autoblog notes, would be its first since 1995. Should you want a peek at the car in person, it’s stationed throughout France until early next month. After that, it’s doing laps in Gran Turismo 6 as a free download i​n March.

Alpine Vision Gran Turismo concept

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Leak hints that HTC’s next flagship phone comes in two sizes

HTC One M9 leak

You’d be forgiven for not knowing what to expect from HTC’s next flagship smartphone. The images that have emerged are frequently dodgy, and there are even claims that the company is seeding decoys to throw people off the scent. However, you might finally be looking at the real thing… or rather, things. Well-known leaker Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) has posted a supposed product shot displaying a pair of differently-sized, previously unseen devices that he believes to be HTC’s successors to the One M8. Both have edge-mounted front speakers, a large front camera (UltraPixel?) and the super-thin bezels that many have been asking for. The designs are feasible, although that Galaxy S5-style home button on the larger version gives us reason for pause — either this is sketchy, or HTC’s lawyers have decided that Samsung won’t get angry. You’ll likely know more at HTC’s media event on March 1st.

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Healthy Reasons to Eat a Rainbow of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables (2)

Orange/Yellow fruit and vegetables are usually colored by natural plant pigments called “carotenoies” Beta-carotene in sweet patatoes, pumpkins and carrots is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Scientist have also reported that carotenoid-rich foods can help refuce rick of cancer, heart desease and can improve immune system function.

One study found that people who ate a diet high in carotenoid-rich vegetables were 43 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, and eye disorder common among the elderly, which can lead to blindness.

Carotenoids also may b e good for your heart. One study found that men with high cholesterol who ate plenty of vegetalbe high in carotenoids had a 36percent lower chance of heart attack and death than their counterparts who shunned vegetables.

Citrus fruits like oranges are not a good source of vitamin A. They are an excellent source of vitaminC and FOLATE,  a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects.

Some examples of the orange/yellow group include:

Yellow apples         Peaches

Apricots                  Pears

Butternut squash     Yellow peppers

Cantaloupe              Persimmons

Grapefruit                  Pumpkin

Lemons                      Rutabagas

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