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Your Performance Is Linked To Your Heart

Your Performance Is Linked To Your Heart


Follow your heart’ sounds like a cliched statement, but there is a relationship between our heart rate and our decisions and emotions. A team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, studied not only whether volunteers could be trained to follow their heartbeat, but whether it was possible to identify from brain activity how good they were at estimating their performance.

Dr Tristan Bekinschtein, a Wellcome Trust Fellow and lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, says: “There may well be benefits to becoming more attuned to our heartbeat, but there’s very little in scientific literature about whether this is even technically possible.”

The study revealed that people with ‘depersonalisation-derealisation disorder’ – in which patients repeatedly feel that they are observing themselves from outside their body or have a sense that things around them are not real – perform particularly badly at listening to their heart.

While conducting the experiment on 33 volunteers, scientists measured their brain activity using an electroencephalograph (EEG). First off, the volunteers were asked to tap in synchrony as they listened to a regular and then irregular heartbeat. Next, they were asked to tap out their own heartbeat in synchrony. Then, they were asked to tap out their own heartbeat whilst listening to it through a stethoscope. Finally, the stethoscopes were removed and they were once again asked to tap out their heartbeat.

During the task, when the volunteers were tapping out their heartbeat unaided, they were asked to rate their performance on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘inaccurate’ and 10 ‘extremely accurate’. Once the task was completed, they were asked how much they thought they had improved from 1 (‘did not improve’) to 10 (‘improved a lot’).

According to Andres Canales-Johnson from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that brain activity differed between people who improved at tapping out their heartbeat and those who did not. But interestingly, brain activity also differed between people who knew whether or not they had improved and those people who under- or over-estimated their own performance.”

Nearly 42% of the participants showed significant improvement in their ability to accurately tap along unaided with their heartbeat. This is most likely due to the fact that listening to their heartbeat through a stethoscope had allowed them to fine tune their attention to the otherwise faint signal of their heartbeat. In those whose performance had improved, the researchers saw a stronger brain signal known as the ‘heartbeat evoked potential’ (HEP) across the brain.

The researchers found no significant differences in the HEP when grouping the participants by how well they thought they had performed – their subjective performance. This suggests that the HEP provides a marker of objective performance.

In the final part of the test – after the participants had listened to their heartbeat through the stethoscope and were once again tapping unaided – the researchers found differences in brain activity between participants.

The researchers, then, found an increase in ‘gamma phase synchrony’ – coordinated ‘chatter’ between different regions in the brain – in only those learners whose subjective judgment of their own performance matched their actual, objective performance.

“We’ve shown that for just under half of us, training can help us listen to our hearts, but we may not be aware of our progress. Some people find this task easier to do than others do. Also, some people clearly don’t know how good or bad they actually are – but their brain activity gives them away,” added Dr Bekinschtein.

“There are techniques such as mindfulness that teach us to be more aware of our bodies, but it will be interesting to see whether people are able to control their emotions better or to make better decisions if they are aware of how their heart is beating,” he said.

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Root Causes for the Rise of Communalism in India and prevention measurements

Root Causes for the Rise of Communalism in India and prevention measurements


Today, I am trying to give an impartial review and reply of the above mentioned question.

Communalism arises among the society when a particular religious or sub-religious group tries to promote its own interests at the expense of others. In simple terms, it can be defined as to distinguish people on the basis of religion. There is an article written by Dr. Ram Puniyani “Preachers of hatred in the guise of religion with shadow of development” has stated that

“Everyone knows Mehmood Ghaznavi as the man who had demolished the Somnath Temple. But how many of us know that en rout to Gujarat, the same Mehmood Ghaznavi had also razed the Jama Masjid of Multan while in a war with a Muslim ruler?”, Dr. Ram Puniyani said attempting to draw his point. “We all know Rana Pratap Singh fought with Emperor Akbar at Haldighat. But how many of us know that when the two rival forces fought with each other, Rana Pratap had Hakim Khan Sur as his commander in chief and Raja Man Singh was leading the Akbar’s forces with Prince Salim as his deputy?”
“It was the British who in order to give dimension to their divide-and-rule policy initially fiddled with the history and gave it a different colour that unfortunately is still prevailing in our country”, Dr. Ram Puniyani added.

As my small brain has collected or summarized the root causes such as these following are the factors responsible for the growth of Communalism in India:

(I) Divide and Rule Policy of the British:

The British rulers adopted the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ to strengthen their roots while living in India. They divided the people of various communities of India and spread the feeling of distrust among them and hence they sowed the seeds of communalism in India.

(ii) Political Organisations:

Different communal organisations are found in India which have created hatred among the people of various religious communities by propagating, and hence they are the root cause of communalism.

(iii) Inertia indifferent Government:

When the government does not take proper action at the proper time, communalism spreads among the subjects. Sometimes the government favours on the religion and leave others which create differences.

(iv) Ineffective Handling of Communal Riots:

Sometimes the state governments have been proved ineffective to curb the communal riots in their respective states. It also results in spreading the communalism.

As the result of the above factors, communalism is raising its ugly face in India after the Independence and also creating great problems even in the working of Indian political system.

Remedies for cure (in my view):

The remedy of constitutional safeguards to root out the chronic malaise of communalism and casteism shall not have desired effect unless it is tackled by society itself.
Efforts should be made by the enlightened citizens to discourage the communal and caste based forces from the social, political and electoral process in order to make these forces irrelevant. They are to be opposed not to be appeased.
Communal carnage and caste wars should be dealt strictly with new strategies.
To usher an era of social equity and Sarva Dharma Sambhava the people of India should not mix religion and caste with politics to attain the goal of common brotherhood for the unity and integrity of the nation.
Allow the government to run without the interference on the basis of religion. The religion should be made completely a personal thing to follow. No religion should be encouraged or otherwise in any government establishment or public places. Let everyone flourish according to his merit. No reservation for religion or caste or creed. Then only India would flourish and will be ready to take any developed country which does n’t need any religion.

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Which Weight Loss Diet Works Best For You Revealed

A new study has revealed that there are very few commercial weight-loss programs that show evidence of effectiveness in the long-term.

In a bid to help physicians guide obese and overweight patients who want to try a commercial weight-loss program, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed 4,200 studies for solid evidence of their effectiveness but concluded only a few dozen of the studies met the scientific gold standard of reliability.

Among the findings, the investigators found that of 32 major commercial weight-loss programs marketed nationwide, only 11 have been rigorously studied in randomized controlled trials.

And from these studies, they found only two programs are supported by gold-standard data showing that participants, on average, lost more weight after one year in these programs than people who were either dieting on their own, got printed health information, or received other forms of education and counseling sessions.

Moreover, they wrote that results in those programs were generally “modest,” with participants losing on average between 3 and 5 percent more than the studies’ control groups of nonprogram participants.

The researchers found Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers were backed by clinical trials that lasted 12 months or longer and showed program participants had a greater weight loss than nonparticipants.

NutriSystem also produced more weight loss at three months than counseling or education alone, but the authors were unable to find any long-term trials of that program.

Participants in the very-low-calorie meal replacement programs lost more weight than nonparticipants in trials lasting from four to six months. But the authors found only one long-term study, which showed no benefit from such a program at 12 months. The authors noted that very-low-calorie programs also carry higher risks of complications, such as gallstones.

Programs based on the Atkins diet, high in fat, low in carbohydrates, also helped people lose more weight at six months and 12 months than counseling alone. The approach “appears promising,” the authors wrote.

No definite conclusions could be made about Slim-Fast and the Internet-based programs.

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WhatsApp For Android Gets A New Material Design Overhaul

WhatsApp For Android Gets A New Material Design Overhaul

WhatsApp for Android has received the long awaited update, which brings Material Design elements to the application. The update is currently available through WhatsApp’s site, but should eventually make its way to all devices worldwide in the form of an update. If you’re impatient to wait for an update on the Play Store, you can download the apk file from WhatsApp’s official site and sideload it to your phone.
What’s immediately noticeable with the update is the change of colors and the way menus are displayed. It essentially looks like a stock Android app now, which is a welcome addition if you own an Android 5.0 running device.

There’s no changelog for the update yet, so we don’t exactly know what else is different apart from the visuals. But needless to say, we expect WhatsApp to have made quite a few changes under the hood as well.

Leaks have suggested that WhatsApp will also get deeper Facebook integration in the future with the Facebook app expected to get a new “Share with WhatsApp” button. It’s not clear if this update will introduce support for this feature, although we think Facebook will have to bring those changes on its app.

WhatsApp recently began the rollout of the VoIP based voice calling feature on its app to the masses, which has been well received by the public. You can grab the WhatsApp apk file from the link below and install it on your smartphone right way. The new UI is said to be available on WhatsApp version 2.12.38 or higher.

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Largest Email Study Ever Shows How Very Predictable We Are

Email has been staple of our lives for over two decades, and yet many of us still struggle to manage it. We’ll whittle our inboxes down to empty one week, only to feel overwhelmed as the number of unread messages climbs into the hundreds the next. Are we always an unpredictable mess when it comes to email?

Actually, no, according to researchers at Yahoo labs, who examined more than two million users exchanging some 16 billion messages in the largest email study ever conducted. To search for patterns in our email behavior, the researchers tracked the identities of senders and recipients, the time of day emails were sent, email length, the number of attachments, and the type of device used. They also looked at demographic factors, including age and gender. The conclusion? When it comes to email, we’re drearily predictable.

Younger people tend to send shorter, faster replies than older people, and men send slightly shorter and faster replies than women, the study finds. We respond more promptly during weekdays and work hours, and when we receive more messages, we tend to respond to a smaller fraction of them, and with shorter replies.

Perhaps this information comes as no great surprise to you, but it’s incredibly valuable for computer algorithms. Software developers can use our predictability to design better email management applications that’ll ultimately prevent us from experiencing “overload”-the scientific term for that feeling when you’d rather jump in piranha-infested waters than open your inbox.

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Does Dark Matter Cause Chaos On Earth Every 30 Million Years?

In 1980, Walter Alvarez and his group at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered a thin layer of clay in the geologic record, which contained an unexpected amount of the rare element iridium.

They proposed that the iridium-rich layer was evidence of a massive comet hitting the Earth 66 million years ago, at the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs. The Alvarez group suggested that the global iridium-rich layer formed as fallout from an intense dust cloud caused by the impact. The cloud of dust covered the Earth, producing darkness and cold. In 1990, the large 100-mile diameter crater from the impact was found in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The timing of this impact, together with the fossil record, have led most researchers to conclude that this collision caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs and many other forms of life. Subsequent studies found evidence of other mass extinctions in the geologic past, which seem to have happened at the same time as pulses of impacts, determined from the record of impact craters on the Earth. And these co-incidences occurred every 30 million years.

Why do these extinctions and impacts appear to happen within an underlying cycle? The answer may lie in our position in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Our Galaxy is best understood as an enormous disc. Our solar system revolves around the circumference of the disc every 250 million years. But the path is not smooth, it’s wavy. The Earth passes through the mid-plane of the disc once every 30 million years.

I believe that the cycle of extinctions and impacts is related to times when the Sun and planets plunge through the crowded disc of our Galaxy. Normally, comets orbit the Sun at the edge of the solar system, very far from the Earth. But when the solar system passes through the crowded disc, the combined gravitational pull of visible stars, interstellar clouds and invisible dark matter disturbs the comets and sends some of them on alternate paths, sometimes crossing the Earth’s orbit, where they can collide with the planet.

Recognition of this 30-million-year galactic cycle is the key to understanding why extinctions happen on a regular schedule. But it may also explain other geologic phenomena as well. In further studies, we found that a number of geological events, including pulses of volcanic eruptions, mountain building, magnetic field reversals, climate and major changes in sea level show a similar 30 million year cycle. Could this also be related to the way our solar system travels through the Galaxy?

A possible cause of the geological activity may be interactions of the Earth with dark matter in the Galaxy. Dark matter, which has never been seen, is most likely composed of tiny subatomic particles that reveal their presence solely by their gravitational pull.

As the Earth passes through the Galaxy’s disc, it will encounter dense clumps of dark matter. The dark matter particles can be captured by the Earth and can build up in the Earth’s core. If the dark matter density is great enough, the dark matter particles eventually annihilate one another, which adds a large amount of internal heat to the Earth that can drive global pulses of geologic activity.

Dark matter is concentrated in the narrow disc of the Galaxy, so geologic activity should show the same 30-million-year cycle. Thus, the evidence from the Earth’s geological history supports a picture in which astrophysical phenomena govern the Earth’s geological and biological evolution.

And if you’re wondering about your own prospects for encountering this dark matter-driven phenomenon? We’re just passing through the Galaxy’s dense disk within the last couple of million years, so a comet shower may be in the offing.

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Air India Receives The First Dreamliner With The Star Alliance Livery

Air India Receives The First Dream liner With The Star Alliance Livery


Air India as a service may well be seen like a ship which is leaking money from virtually every corner; yet every now and then, it brings a feather to the cap that even if you are not proud of, you take notice. The state-owned carrier has achieved another such feat yesterday when it received its 20th Boeing 787 Dreamliner from the assembly facility in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The 20th Dreamliner is also Air India’s and the world’s first 787 that features that the Star Alliance livery. Air India had joined the world’s largest global airline alliance last year, which is a reflection of the growing prowess of networking in the Indian Aviation market. The 20th Dreamliner is by no means the last to be delivered, as the company is still waiting on seven other planes from its initial order of 27 to Boeing.

Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director of Air India, commented, “Taking delivery of our 20th 787 Dreamliner marks an important day for Air India. With this airplane we are building on the success of our other 787s, which are providing an exceptional experience to our passengers while allowing us to expand our network both within India and around the world.”

Dinesh Keskar, the senior vice-president, Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, was quick to congratulate Air India for being in the “elite group airlines who have taken delivery of 20 or more 787s”. Currently, Air India is serving 37 international destinations and this number is likely to grow with the new 787s in the pipeline.