Friday, October 30, 2009

Children of veggies-eating moms have lower risk of type 1 diabetes

What’s common between actresses Halle Berry, Sharone Stone and Vanessa Williams, singers Nick Jonas, Johnny Cash and Elliot Yamin, Nobel laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, jazz composer Miles Davis and rocker Tommy Lee?

They all suffer from type 1 diabetes. Behind their glamorous lives lie painful insulin injections and numerous health problems.

But you can avoid joining the juvenile diabetes club. Just be born to a mother who likes overdosing on vegetables.

Because the higher your mother’s intake of greens when she was pregnant with you, the lower your chances of developing the disease, says a Swedish study.

Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy and Linköping University in Sweden studied the blood samples of around 6,000 five-year-olds to check for antibodies that kill insulin-producing beta cells in pancreas.

These beta cells, in children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes, become sluggish as time goes by.

About 3 per cent of the subjects were found to high levels of these antibodies or even fully-developed type 1 diabetes.

However, the researchers found that the antibody was twice more common in children whose mothers rarely ate veggies during pregnancy than kids whose mother did daily.

Hilde Brekke, the lead author of the study, said, “This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developingtype 1 diabetes, but more studies of various kinds will be needed before we can say anything definitive.”
The study’s findings have been published in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is usually develops at younger ages, even childhood, up to the age of 35 years. Although the exact cause of the disease is not known, immunological factors, toxins in the environment and genetic mutations are believed to contribute to its development.

The other form of diabetes, type 2, which usually develops much later in life, is caused by sedentary lifestyle, excess body weight, unhealthy eating habits and stress.

Green is the colour of good health. Remind your mommy.

Read more:,children-veggies-eating-moms-risk-type-1-diabetes.html

Halloween candy: The good, the not so bad, and the stuff that rots teeth

All Halloween candy is not created equal. That's why every kid knocks on a front-door hoping to get a Snickers or a Pixie Stick, or whatever their favorite treat might be. Some candy is more delicious, no doubt.

But also some candy is worse for children's teeth than others, according to Dr. Douglas Young, professor of dental practice at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

Dr. Young thinks that even around Halloween parents should consider what's going into their kids' mouths--especially since over 50 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 15 have at least one untreated cavity. To prevent cavities, Young advises parents to control the quantity and frequency of your kids' candy consumption as well as the actual types of treats.

Here's a rundown of what the latest research confirms is "really bad," "better," and "best" for little teeth.

Chewy or sticky candy

Examples: caramel, taffy, gummy candy

"These types of candy can stick to the teeth long after kids are done eating them," says Dr. Young. "Bacteria in the mouth feed off the sugar in these candies and produce acid, which in turn can cause cavities and other mouth problems."

Hard candy

Examples: lollipops, suckers

"Similar to sticky candy, these types of candies take extended amounts of time to dissolve, thus the mouth is exposed to sugar for a long period of time," says Dr. Young.

Sour candies

Examples: lemon drops, sour straws

"Higher acid content in sour candy makes the mouth more acidic and breaks down the tooth enamel quickly," says Dr. Young. "This highly acidic environment leads to a much greater risk for tooth damage."


Example: chocolate bar

"Various studies have shown that chocolate is less harmful for teeth than other sugary foods because of a natural anti-bacterial compound in the cocoa bean which 'cancels out' some of the harmful effects of sugar in the mouth," Young says.

Candy or gum containing xylitol

Example: Xclear candy, Trident gum

"Xylitol is a naturally-based sugar that actually helps prevent cavities," Dr. Young says. "Bacteria in your mouth are unable to ferment xylitol, thus harmful acids are not produced. Xylitol candy, mints and gum are available at most health food stores, online and through your dentist. But please note that Xylitol is not safe for pets."

One more piece of advice from Dr. Young: The best time to eat candy is after a meal because the mouth's saliva is already working to move food (and sugar) out of the mouth. Moms should try to make Halloween candy a dessert treat for kids, rather than a snack between meals.

Read More:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV announced: 16.1 megapixels, 45-point autofocus, and extreme ISO ranges of its own

Looks like Canon isn't skipping the number "four" after all. While initially unveiling what looked to be a half-complete website with two teaser videos, the company has now gone official with the EOS-1D Mark IV. So what's new to the table?

Looks like Canon isn't skipping the number "four" after all. While initially unveiling what looked to be a half-complete website with two teaser videos, the company has now gone official with the EOS-1D Mark IV. So what's new to the table? For starter's there's a 16.1 megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor, ISO range of100 to 12,800 native, up to 102,400 (hello, Nikon), 45-point area customizable autofocus with 39 high-precision cross-type focusing points, dual Digic 4 processors, 1080p HD video, and an option WFT-E2 IIA wireless file transmitter for connectivity over 802.11a/b/g and ethernet. Launch date is sometime in December, and body-only price is estimated at about $4,999 but subject to change. Press release after the break.

Update: Care to see what all the fuss is about, or want a better explanation of the new features? Canon's released a pair of first-look videos, found after the break.

Press release.........


The EOS-1D Mark IV Features a Completely Redesigned 45-Point Autofocus System, Fast 10 fps Continuous Shooting, 16-Megapixel Resolution, Outstanding ISO Sensitivity, and Full HD Video Recording at Selectable Frame Rates

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., October 20, 2009 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, is proud to introduce the next evolution in the EOS 1D series of cameras: the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera. The EOS-1D Mark IV is a high-speed multimedia performance monster with a 16-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors, and 14-bit A/D data conversion, all at 10 frames-per-second (fps), with the widest ISO range Canon has produced to date. This new camera also features 1080p Full High-Definition video capture at selectable frame rates packaged in Canon's most rugged and durable professional camera body.

The crowning achievement of Canon's 1D Mark IV Digital SLR is its new autofocus system that starts with 45 AF points including 39 high-precision cross-type focusing points capable of tracking fast moving athletes or wildlife accurately at speeds up to 10 frames per second. With greater subject detection capability than ever before plus a newly redesigned AI Servo II AF predictive focusing algorithm, the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV camera sets new standards for autofocus performance among professional digital SLRs. Whether shooting for the six o'clock news or the front page, the EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR is the quintessential camera to freeze fast-moving action with high-speed stills or capture stunning HD video with dynamic color and image quality. To accompany the new EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera, Canon is also announcing a new accessory, the WFT-E2 II A wireless file transmitter providing photographers with a wide range of professional digital connectivity options.

"Canon works hard to be the imaging leader in all our business endeavors. This goal has fueled our innovation and R&D efforts to engineer the most advanced autofocus system Canon has ever produced. We are proud to announce the camera that will deliver the ultimate in imaging quality to professionals working in all areas of multimedia imaging, whether it's action photography, photojournalism or HD video and cinematography," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group, Canon U.S.A.

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV camera will intrigue professional photographers in virtually every category from photojournalism and sports through nature, wedding, portrait and fashion to commercial, industrial and law enforcement. What makes the EOS-1D Mark IV camera different from its predecessors, in addition to numerous focusing system and image quality improvements, is its exceptional Full HD video capture capability. With this new level of functionality, the 1D Mark IV Digital SLR is destined to appeal not only to professional still photographers but also to a diverse market of professional videographers and filmmakers who are looking for exceptional Full HD video quality, amazing low-light performance, outstanding portability and a level of durability unheard of in most HD video cameras in this price range.

New 45-Point Autofocus System
The new EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera features Canon's most advanced Autofocus system to date. It is equipped with a newly developed 45-point AF sensor featuring 39 high-precision cross-type AF points, and an all new AI Servo II AF mode that gives still photographers the power and performance to track and focus a fast-moving subject at speeds up to 10 frames per second. With more than twice as many cross-type focusing points as the EOS-1D Mark III and a new AF sensor construction that improves performance in low light and with low contrast subjects, the EOS-1D Mark IV has greater subject detection capabilities than any previous EOS model. To complete the range of AF improvements, Canon has developed a new AI Servo II AF predictive focusing algorithm that significantly improves responsiveness and stability by making better decisions on focus tracking in a variety of shooting conditions.

Amazing High ISO Performance
Wedding and event photographers shooting in low light without the benefit of a flash can take advantage of Canon's widest ISO range and highest performance ever. The EOS-1D Mark IV camera's ISO speed settings range from 100 up to 12,800 in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments with ISO Expansion settings of L: 50 for bright light or H1: 25,600, H2: 51,200, and H3: 102,400 for even the most dimly lit situations. Photographers and documentary filmmakers working in available light will be impressed by the low-noise image quality of the 1D Mark IV, capturing amazing still images and video footage even at speed settings as high as ISO 12,800. High ISO, low light still images are further enhanced by Canon's adjustable High ISO Noise Reduction feature, now a default setting in the camera.

The EOS-1D Mark IV, EOS HD Video Powerhouse
Over the past year, Canon's EOS HD Video technology has changed the way users capture 1080p HD video and opened new doors for multimedia journalists and Hollywood cinematographers alike with full manual exposure control, selectable frame rates, and interchangeable lenses on some of the largest and most sensitive image sensors on the market. Canon continues this innovation trend with the new EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR with Full HD capture and full manual exposure control, plus selectable frame rates on an all-new
APS-H-sized image sensor that's similar in size to a Super 35mm motion picture film frame. The large sensor allows filmmakers to achieve shallow depth-of-field just as cinematographers have traditionally done using much higher-cost motion picture equipment.

The more than 50 Canon EF lenses compatible with the EOS-1D Mark IV give videographers incredible creative options, including an impressive selection of large-aperture professional L-series primes as well as zoom lenses, macro, Tilt-Shift and Fisheye optics. The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV allows for three video recording resolutions – 1080p Full HD and 720p HD in a 16:9 aspect ratio and Standard Definition (SD) in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The camera will record Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards. Sound is recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via optional external microphones connected to the stereo microphone input. The camera also provides an in-camera video editing function allowing users to remove the start or ending of a video clip directly in the camera to eliminate unwanted footage and speed up post-production.

Image Quality and Performance
The heart of the EOS-1D Mark IV camera's outstanding image quality is a newly developed 16.1-Megapixel CMOS sensor featuring Canon's latest and most advanced proprietary technologies. These technologies include improved photodiode construction to enhance dynamic range and gapless microlenses that are positioned closer to the photodiodes for improved light gathering efficiency. The transmissive quality of the color filter array has been enhanced to improve sensitivity. Canon has also upgraded the sensor circuitry to improve noise reduction before the image data is exported from the CMOS sensor to the rest of the image processing chain.

With 60 percent more pixels than the EOS-1D Mark III, the EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR employs Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors with approximately six times the processing power of DIGIC III for full 14-bit A/D conversion at 10 fps. High-speed continuous shooting up to 121 Large JPEGs is possible using a UDMA CF card. This camera also features three RAW shooting modes for versatility with Full RAW (approx. 16 million pixels), M-RAW (approx. nine million pixels), and S-RAW (approx. four million pixels). Three additional JPEG recording formats (M1, M2 and Small) are also available.

The 14-bit per channel conversion facilitated by the dual DIGIC 4 Processors provides smoother tonalities in final images capturing all 16,384 distinct tones in each channel (red, green and blue) at the full 10 fps frame rate. RAW images shot on the new Canon EOS-1D Mark IV use the entire 14-bit space when converted to 16-bit TIFF files in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software, which is supplied with the camera at no extra charge. The 14-bit A/D conversion is also the foundation for Canon's Highlight Tone Priority feature that takes maximum advantage of the camera's extensive dynamic range to preserve detail in highlight areas of the image. Canon's new EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR also features an improved white balance algorithm making colors more accurate when shooting under low color temperature light sources such as household tungsten lamps.

The EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR features Canon's Peripheral Illumination Correction function which corrects darkening that can occur in the corners of images with most lenses when used at their largest apertures. When activated, it is automatically applied to JPEG images and video clips as they are shot. For RAW images, it can be applied in DPP software.

Other new features include a large three-inch solid structure Clear View II LCD screen with 920,000 dot/VGA resolution and a wide 160-degree viewing angle for enhanced clarity and more precise color when reviewing images and shooting video. The new in-camera copyright information feature helps professionals secure control over images by setting copyright data directly into the camera and appending that information to each image file in the Exif metadata. Additional features include a fluorine coating on the Low Pass Filter to further repel dust and enhance the EOS Integrated Cleaning System.

Minimize Post-Production with Enhanced Canon Auto Lighting Optimizer
Action photography truly is all about speed, capturing a fast subject with fast focusing and fast frame rates. However, all this speed might be wasted if it is slowed down by lengthy post-production procedures to adjust image quality. The EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR helps reduce post-production work with a powerful new Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO) system. When enabled, Canon's ALO automatically adjusts the image for optimal brightness and contrast on the fly during in-camera image processing, reducing clipped highlights while keeping shadowed areas as clear and detailed as they actually appear. By optimizing brightness and contrast in-camera, Canon's ALO system significantly reduces the need for post-production image optimization, and gives photographers image quality they can take directly to press. Demanding professional photographers who tested ALO clearly stated that this one feature will reduce their post-production image optimization process by more than 75 percent. Canon's ALO works with both RAW[i] and JPEG images as well as video recording.

Rugged Reliability
Canon has taken every measure to ensure that the EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera has the highest degree of weather resistance in the EOS line. The 1D Mark IV camera incorporates a wide range of design features that enhance its durability and reliability for professional assignments. For example, the 1D Mark IV's body, chassis and lens mount are completely weather-resistant and 76 gaskets and seals surround all buttons and seams. The body covers and internal chassis, including the mirror box, are constructed with magnesium-alloy, one of the strongest and rigid metals available for its weight. For added strength, the lens mount is constructed with stainless steel. In fact, when used with Canon's Speedlite 580EX II and/or most current L-series lenses, the entire camera system remains fully weather resistant, so professionals can concentrate on getting the shot instead of worrying about protecting their gear.

New Wireless Connectivity
Canon is announcing the availability of the new WFT-E2 II A* wireless file transmitter exclusively for the EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera. The WFT-E2 II A wireless transmitter is an extremely small and versatile device that offers professional photographers a wide range of digital connectivity options including IEEE802.11a/b/g and Ethernet, ideal for commercial and studio work. In addition to adding the ability to connect to wireless networks over 802.11a, the new WFT-E2 II A adds a wealth of new professional features to the photographer's tool kit. The new Camera Linking feature allows a single photographer to simultaneously fire up to 10 cameras remotely; and the updated WFT Server mode lets you remotely use Live View, control settings, and fire the EOS-1D Mark IV over the internet from anywhere in the world using a standard Web browser or many Web-enabled smart phones. Additionally, geotagging is now possible via Bluetooth, using compatible GPS devices to append coordinate data to the images.

Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera is scheduled to be delivered to U.S. dealers in late December, and will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $4,999.00[ii]. Final pricing and availability for the Canon WFT-E2 II A wireless file transmitter will be available later this year.

Canon Digital Learning Center
Online visitors and Web surfers are encouraged to browse the Canon Digital Learning Center and take advantage of the various educational resources that Canon has to offer for novices and advanced photographers alike. The Canon Digital Learning Center provides a schedule for a wide variety of Live Learning classes across the country with renowned photographers as well as online resources and tips. The site also features online tutorials for beginners and professionals to learn their way around a digital SLR camera and inkjet printer and unlock the full creative control of digital photography. To learn more about each program and register, please visit:

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked third overall in the U.S. in 2008†, with global revenues of US $45 billion, is listed as number four in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies 2009 list, and is on the 2009 BusinessWeek list of "100 Best Global Brands." Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. At Canon, we care because caring is essential to living together in harmony. Founded upon a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – "all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future" – Canon U.S.A. supports a number of social, youth, educational and other programs, including environmental and recycling initiatives. Additional information about these programs can be found at To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting

†Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

# # #

* This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.

Specifications and availability are subject to change without notice.
All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

[i] When processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional software.
[ii] Pricing subject to change at any time. Actual prices are determined by individual dealers and may vary.


Searching the internet is good for your brain

Just a week's internet training can boost brain function in middle-aged and older adults, according to UCLA scientists.

They were able to trigger key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the web, suggesting that internet training can stimulate neural activation patterns and could potentially enhance brain function and cognition in older adults.

"We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function," said study author Dr Gary Small.

The team worked with 24 volunteers between the ages of 55 and 78. Prior to the study, half the participants used the internet daily, while the other half had very little experience.

Study participants performed web searches while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, which track brain activity by measuring cerebral blood flow.

After the initial scan, participants went home and conducted internet searches for one hour a day for a total of seven days over a two-week period. They then received a second brain scan using the same task but with different topics.

The first scan of participants with little internet experience demonstrated brain activity in regions controlling language, reading, memory and visual abilities.

The second scan, conducted after the practice searches at home, demonstrated activation of these same regions and also triggered areas of the brain known to be important in working memory and decision-making.

Thus, after internet training at home, participants with minimal online experience displayed brain activation patterns very similar to those seen in the group of savvy internet users.

"The results suggest that searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults," said Teena D Moody, the study's first author and a senior research associate at the Semel Institute at UCLA.

The results were presented yesterday at the meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calorie labeling doesn't curb NYC fast food habits

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rule that requires New York City fast food restaurants to post calorie information on their menu boards has not changed consumer habits in low-income neighborhoods, according to a study published on Tuesday.

While half of consumers surveyed said they noticed the labeling, and about a quarter of those said they made different choices as a result, a review of fast food purchases showed habits remained the same, said the study, published in the journal Health Affairs.

In July 2008, New York became the first U.S. city to mandate that fast food restaurants post calorie counts in large type on menu boards. The system has since become a model for similar rules intended to combat obesity and promote good nutrition being implemented in California, other parts of New York state, the cities of Seattle and Portland, and elsewhere.

Brian Elbel, a professor at the New York University School of Medicine and a lead author of the study, which was conducted in low-income neighborhoods with high minority populations, said that more research needed to be done.

"Though the introduction of calorie labels did not change the number of calories purchased, a combination of public policy efforts are likely necessary to produce a meaningful change in obesity," Elbel said.

About one-third of U.S. adults are obese, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other medical problems.

In compiling the data, researchers at New York University and Yale University analyzed fast-food purchases by 1,156 adults at Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's and Wendy's immediately before and after the rule went into effect.

The percentage of people aware of the calorie information increased from 16 percent to 54 percent, but the number of calories purchased was slightly higher than before the rule was implemented, researchers found.

Nearby Newark, New Jersey, where menu labeling is not required, was used as a control group.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the study may have been done too soon after the rule went into effect and before all fast food restaurants were in compliance.

The city will release its own study in several months using a sample size of 12,000 and covering a range of neighborhoods.

"At least the public has information and that's the government's job -- to make sure that the public has information," Bloomberg told reporters on Tuesday.

"But once again, this is America and you have a right to eat what you want to eat," he said.


The Google Android party has begun

SAN DIEGO--After two years of waiting, Google Android phones are finally hitting the market en masse.

In the past couple of months, nine devices using Google's mobile operating system have been announced, including the Motorola Cliq, which goes on sale in November, and the new Samsung Moment, which was announced Wednesday at the CTIA Fall 2009 trade show here. The pipeline is full of more Android devices, some of which have been confirmed and some that are still rumored to be in development.

"We are seeing a lot of interest in Android here," Kim Titus, a spokesman for Samsung, said Wednesday at the CTIA trade show, where the company is showing off its two Google Android handsets- the Samsung Moment and the Samsung Behold II. "I think these devices have an opportunity to become strong cross-over devices appealing both to business customers as well as to consumers and prosumers."

U.S. wireless operators are also jumping on the Google Android bandwagon. So far, T-Mobile USA, the smallest of the four nationwide carriers, has been the only U.S. wireless operator to offer Android devices. Once the Motorola Cliq and the Samsung Bold II launch, T-Mobile will be offering four different Google Android devices on its network.

But T-Mobile won't be the only Android carrier in the U.S. for much longer. Starting next week, Sprint Nextel will introduce its first Android phone, the HTC Hero. And a couple of weeks later on November 1, it will begin selling the newly announced Samsung Moment.

Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless operator, will also be getting two new Google Android phones in the coming weeks. Verizon executives wouldn't provide specifics about the devices, but one of the devices is expected to be from Motorola. Verizon and Google said Tuesday that they will be working closely to introduce new Google Android phones.

Even AT&T, the second largest wireless provider in the U.S. and the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, is expected to have a Google Android phone soon. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published a report stating that AT&T will be offer Dell's soon to be announced Google Android phone.

Device makers see Android as their biggest hope to compete against Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices in the smartphone market. Both Apple and RIM develop their own software that is proprietary to their homegrown hardware.

Like the Google Android operating system, Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform can also be used on different hardware. But as Microsoft struggles to keep pace with the rapidly changing mobile market, some device makers, such as Motorola, are gravitating toward Android. This is not to say that Microsoft is out of the game. In fact, the company just announced Windows Mobile 6.5 this week at CTIA, but experts, such as CNET's own Bonnie Cha, believe the upgrade is incremental with a bigger overhaul of the software not expected until next year.

Meanwhile, momentum is growing for Google Android phones.

Google unveiled its Android open development operating system in the fall of 2007. It took a year before the first Android phone, the HTC G1 sold by T-Mobile, was introduced. Many industry watchers had expected other handset makers to start announcing their own Android devices in February 2009 at the GSMA World Congress trade show in Barcelona. But the show came and went with few mentions of Android.

Later that spring, people were expecting Android announcements at the CTIA's spring trade show in Las Vegas. But device makers kept mum. In June, T-Mobile USA and HTC introduced the second Android handset into the U.S. market, the MyTouch. This phone was supposed to be a more refined version of the G1 and was designed to appeal to the mainstream wireless consumer.

Now as Android is about to hit its second birthday, the much anticipated flood of Android device announcements is beginning. Manufacturers, such as Samsung, Motorola, LG and HTC are announcing multiple Google Android devices. Motorola's co-CEO Sanjay Jha said this week that he expects his company to introduce "multiple tens of products" using the Android operating system.

Even phone makers Sony Ericsson and Nokia, which historically have built phones using the Symbian operating system, are rumored to be working on Android handsets. The operating system has even appealed to companies not traditionally in the cell phone business, such as laptop makers Lenovo and Dell and Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei.

While Google Android may give device makers, such as Samsung and Motorola, a way to compete with the iPhone, it could be difficult for them to differentiate their products. So far, the Android devices that have been announced look very similar. All of them sport a touch screen that takes much of the face of the phone. Some, like the Motorola Cliq and the Samsung Moment, also have QWERTY keypads that slides out for consumers who like the feel of real keys.

Samsung's Titus said there are subtle differences in the hardware. For example, the Samsung Moment uses a bright OLED screen that makes images sharper and colors more vibrant. The screen is also designed to be more energy efficient. And the Moment uses much faster processors that most other cell phones. But he conceded that because all the devices use a touch screen that they look very much alike.

"When you have a screen that takes up so much of the landscape, it's not surprising that they look somewhat similar," he said.

Since the Android platform is completely open, the real customization will likely be software based. For example, the Samsung Moment, which will be sold on Sprint's network, comes preloaded with applications and features specific to Sprint's network. These applications include Sprint's navigation service and applications for NFL and Nascar, two organizations which have special relationships with Sprint.

Motorola has also customized the user interface for its Cliq phone and it has introduced Motoblur, a social-networking-optimized version of the user interface. Motorola executives told developers at its conference this week that it expects some but not all of its new Android phones to come with Motoblur installed.

While handset makers and wireless operators may be tempted to further customize the Android software, doing so is risky since the promise of an operating system such as Android is to provide developers with an easy and open way to develop applications that can be downloaded across multiple devices.

So far developers have already created more than 10,000 applications for Google Android devices. These apps can be accessed through the Google Android Market. Big developers, such as Facebook, have already begun developing Android specific applications. And at its developer conference, Motorola announced a series of new apps available for the new Cliq, including Accuweather, the Barnes & Noble eReader, MySpace, and QuickOffice, the company said.

But as new devices are introduced on different carrier networks, it will be interesting to see if these applications in the Android Market will work across all the different hardware. If they do, they could drive more Android device development, which could lead to the Android mobile platform actually living up to the hype that was promised nearly two years ago. And if they don't, then Android will likely become just another mobile operating system that further fragments the market.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mama says eat your fruits and veggies!

Maybe it's not exactly news that Americans are terrible at eating fruits and vegetables. But according to the CDC, we're really, really terrible.

Not a single state in the country is meeting federal standards for daily fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released earlier this week. Those standards: 75 percent of adults eat at least two servings of fruit, and 50 percent eat at least three servings of vegetables.

So how bad are we?

Well, in California, only 16 percent of adults are getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet every day. The "good" news is that nearly 41 percent of us are actually eating enough fruit -- that's the best rate in the United States, not including the District of Columbia, which hit 42 percent. But only 26 percent are eating enough vegetables.

(So if only 16 percent are eating enough of both, that must mean that the fruit eaters aren't veggie eaters, and vice versa.)

Californians are better than the rest of the country at eating fruit (the national average is 33 percent) but worse with vegetables (the national average is 27 percent). Nationally, only 14 percent of adults get enough of both.

California is supposed to have some of the best fresh produce in the world. It's kind of sad that we can't even beat the (pathetic) national average for vegetables.

Read more:

Babies may live past 100

PARIS - MORE than half of the babies born today in rich countries will live to 100 years if current trends of life expectancy continue, a study appearing in the medical journal The Lancet said on Friday.

In the 20th century, most developed countries saw an increase of around 30 years in life expectancy, according to the paper led by Kaare Christensen, a professor at the Danish Ageing Research Centre at the University of Southern Denmark.

In 1950, only 15-16 per cent of 80-year-old women, and just 12 per cent of octogenarian men, made it to the age of 90 in advanced economies.

In 2002, this had risen to 37 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. In Japan, the survival rate from 80 to 90 is now more than 50 per cent for women.

'If the pace of increase in life expectancy in developed countries over the past two centuries continues through the 21st century, most babies born since 2000 in France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan and other countries with long life expectancies will celebrate their 100th birthdays,' the review said.

Evidence also suggests that, today, the extra years are less encumbered by disabilities and dependence than in the past.

The paper warned, though, that longer lifespans pose major social, economic and medical challenges as the very elderly become a greater proportion of the community.

One solution could be to spread employment more evenly across populations and ages of life, the authors said.

Instead of working for a long, intense spell and then retiring, 'individuals could combine work, education, leisure and child-rearing in varying amounts at different ages.' 'The 20th century was a century of redistribution of income. The 21st century could be a century of redistribution of work,' they argued. -- AFP


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