Monday, September 30, 2013

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - Quote from book

"That’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too."

 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 


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Playing God? New book explores life-and-death decisions at N.O. hospital after Katrina

Floodwaters rising and generators failing, Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans was in dire straits in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

Administrators, doctors, nurses and other staff were faced with evacuating hundreds of patients, family members and even pets using few resources.

Some patients never made it out.

Sheri Fink is the author of "Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital." (Jen Dessinger)

Their deaths were the subject of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting by Sheri Fink, a trained physician and journalist, in 2010.

Now Fink has painstakingly detailed those dramatic days – and their legal and cultural fallout -- in a compelling new book: “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital.” 

Fink draws back the curtain on Memorial, giving readers a close-up view of the people who sheltered at the hospital and the patients who lived and died there. Their deaths raised questions about alleged "lethal doses" of medications.

But it doesn't stop there. "Five Days" also follows the investigation that targeted New Orleans native Dr. Anna Pou and others. Pou was never indicted.

In the book, Fink explores big questions that still demand answers today, such as: How should the health-care industry prepare for disasters? What criteria should determine the allocation of scarce medical resources?

Fink, who has a M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, answered questions from about her book and the issues it addresses.
 Five Days At Memorial- Final Jacket.jpg

What’s the message – if there is one – in “Five Days?”

Fink: I won’t speak for readers, because I think everyone will have their own take-aways, but for me, now, it is the importance of investing in disaster preparedness at your workplace and for your family. Have plans, and be prepared to change them to fit the actual circumstances.

 Be an advocate for your loved ones in the hospital. Ask tough questions of your local hospital and health system about preparedness for the likeliest emergencies and express your views on how medical resources should be allocated in case they ever fall short. 

Most of all, if you ever face a significant disaster, do your best to keep up the spirits of those around you, act flexibly and creatively to help, try to sort rumors from truth, and remember that the decisions you make will have repercussions after the disaster has passed. 

The moral values, ethical codes and laws that guide our choices in normal times are, if anything, even more important to help us navigate the confusing and disorienting time of a disaster.

Do you believe that the people in the book "played God?”

Fink: The Attorney General of Louisiana and some family members of the patients who died at Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina made that allegation. They believed that doctors and nurses decided which patients would live and die. 

On the other hand, one of the nurse managers I interviewed said she felt medical professionals were asked to play God all the time, not only in disasters. 

What’s clear is that the law and ethical codes of the medical profession do not permit doctors to bring about patients’ deaths intentionally, and that is what some doctors told me they did in this case.

How did you go about the reporting for the articles/book?

Fink: I interviewed hundreds of people -- those at the hospital, investigators, family members of the dead, experts -- and collected materials, including everything from diaries and photographs to weather reports and architectural diagrams. And, of course, I visited the sites and looked for every article, report and book that related to these events. 

Was there one character or anecdote that stood out in your reporting? 

Fink: Dr. Pou received a great deal of media attention because colleagues at the hospital accused her of having given "lethal doses" to patients, and she was arrested for second degree murder in the deaths of a number of them. 

She maintained her innocence, and a grand jury refused to indict her. I discovered that other doctors were involved with injecting patients with morphine and the fast-acting sedative Versed, and two of them told me they had done so to hasten the deaths of their patients. Colleagues of theirs at the hospital told me they objected to these actions, believing them in no way necessary or appropriate. 

The real story here is revealed in the range of voices and perspectives on those events, and that's why “Five Days at Memorial” is a book. The length of a book provided an opportunity to give a nuanced picture of what happened and what it means. 

What surprised you the most about this story?

Fink: The fact that certain doctors had given patients medicine for the purpose of bringing about death. As someone who had delivered humanitarian aid in crisis zones and written a book about a besieged Bosnian war hospital in just about the most dire prolonged, situation imaginable, I don’t think I’d ever, outside of the realm of fiction, heard of actions like this. I had a hard time believing it had happened.

Once that was clear, it was important and urgent to understand how things could have devolved so quickly in an American hospital that respected physicians took part in it.

What would you still like to know? Any unanswered questions?

Fink: The death of one of the patients, a 61-year-old man named Emmett Everett, was particularly striking. The morning he died, he was alert, ate his breakfast, and had asked his nurses, “Are we ready to rock and roll?” 

He weighed around 380 pounds and was paralyzed. According to several witnesses, staff discussed his situation with Dr. Pou, and it was decided that he was too heavy to be carried downstairs and rescued, although others who worked in the hospital later said they would have gladly helped carry him if they’d been told a heavyset man on the seventh floor needed to be transported. 

He was found dead that afternoon, and toxicology tests showed morphine and a fast-acting sedative drug, Versed, in his body, neither of which he had been receiving or had been prescribed for him.

Dr. Pou was seen walking into his room before he died but has not commented on his death other than through her lawyer, who said Mr. Everett died of an enlarged heart — several forensic pathologists concluded that his death was a homicide, a result of the drugs that were injected into him. 

His main complaints that morning were dizziness and the desire not to be left behind at the hospital. Why were the drugs given to him and who gave them? There has been no explanation.

Did the reporting process change you personally. If so, how?

Fink: It made me more passionate about the need for better disaster preparedness on the part of our country—from government to businesses to individuals. And the need for more research to understand how we can improve resilience.

What has been the reaction from the medical community and from New Orleans – to reporting or the book?

Fink: There have been some good discussions about disaster preparedness, ethics, and end-of-life issues. I was in Louisiana last weekend, and one hospital administrator told me she checked with her plant operations team after she started reading “Five Days at Memorial” to make sure her hospital’s backup generator systems were protected from flooding.

What lessons did the country learn from Katrina? 

Fink: We learned we have some major vulnerabilities, particularly in the healthcare sector, which is a great first step, but now we have to fix them! “Five Days at Memorial” spells that out — the final section takes the reader from Hurricane Katrina to today, with stops in places like Haiti and New York City after Hurricane Sandy, and what we have and haven’t learned.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Abandon by Meg Cabot - Quote from books

"The term “forgive and forget” doesn’t make sense to me. Forgiving does allow us to stop dwelling on an issue, which isn’t always healthy. But if we forget, we don’t learn from our mistakes."

 Abandon by Meg Cabot



Thursday, September 26, 2013

The three pitfalls of storytelling

Author: Yamini Naidu

There is a global buzz around the power of storytelling in business.  Stories and storytelling have the power to influence and inspire and storytelling is being rapidly recognised as a hot emerging business and leadership skill. Yet as with everything, storytelling can have a dark side and these are the pitfalls to avoid when using storytelling.

Faking it

In business all your stories (unless they are parables) must be authentically true. Period. This simply cannot be stressed enough. It’ s simply not worth the backlash on your reputation, on your credibility in manufacturing, spinning and inventing stories. In an episode of the Australian television show, The Gruen Transfer, which discusses the methods, science and psychology behind advertising, the panel was discussing marketing spin. The commentator said in marketing spin, you take one truth and spin everything around it. Business storytelling is the complete opposite of that, everything in your story needs to be true.

Forcing it

We once saw a CEO squirming his way through a story and found out later he had been coerced by his media advisor to share a personal story.  Nothing was more uncomfortable to watch or obviously to deliver. Not every message needs a story, and if a story is used the narrator needs to enjoy telling the story and be confident it will work for the audience and purpose. A few years ago we did some work with a leadership team, where the organisation was outsourcing processes overseas. The leaders were making a series of presentations and wanted stories to support their key messages. After about 45 minutes when no stories were emerging we asked the leaders ‘Can you honestly put your hand on your heart and say that you believe this is the right thing for your people?’ None of them could. We then advised them to simply use the business case data when presenting, instead of trying to force stories.

Fluking it

Often people think storytelling is a gift and some people are born with it.  Nothing can be further from the truth. Storytelling is a skill that can be taught and learned. No storyteller who is good at storytelling flukes it, or flies by the seat of their pants. A lot of both preparation and practice have gone into the story, even though it may look impromptu or off the cuff.  John Stewart the ex CEO of National Australia Bank, was often described as a natural storyteller. We had the privilege of interviewing John and asked him about being a ‘natural storyteller’. He smiled and said ‘My best ad libbed stories have been practiced for hours in front of the mirror’. The most frequent feedback we receive in our workshops is that storytelling is not as easy as it seems, yet the rewards when you get it right are well worth it.

Short Story - Pure Old Love

Today, my 75-year-old grandpa who has been blind from cataracts for almost 15 years said to me, “Your grandma is just the most beautiful thing, isn’t she?” I paused for a second and said, “Yes she is. I bet you miss seeing that beauty on a daily basis.” “Sweety,” my grandpa said, “I still see her beauty every day. In fact, I see it more now than I used to when we were young.”

-- Mark Zerulky

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

INTERVIEW: James Patterson encourages children to read

Sep 17, 2013 12:00 PM by

"It's My Job To Get My Kids Reading"

We all know James Patterson as a prolific writer of thriller novels. For the last decade, however, Patterson has added a new passion to his slate: encouraging children to read. In the following interview, SheKnows talks with Patterson about his inspiration behind this new endeavor.

SheKnows: As the mother of a reluctant reader myself, I'm fascinated with your ReadKiddoRead project. Tell us more about your son Jack and how he inspired you to create ReadKiddoRead.

James Patterson: There was an article in People magazine a few years back that said "James Patterson's son is a reluctant reader," and Jack brought it over to me and said, "Dad, hey, what's the deal?" Jack is very well-read. He didn't love reading the way I knew he would back when he was 8, 9 years old. My wife and I made a very concentrated effort to reverse that: we took him out and picked out books with him. And the third time around, he had drawn up his own list of what he wanted to read. We knew it was working. It's a step that every family has to consciously take.
ReadKiddoRead is a tool that makes it easy for parents to get their kids reading for fun. We've picked out the very best books that will work to keep kids engaged. But the first step as a parent is absolutely the most important. The first step is make a firm resolution: It's my job to get my kids reading.

SK: Why was it important for you for Jack to be a reader?

JP: I want him to know the joys of getting lost in a great story, or debating the points in the latest New York Times op-ed with his friends. I want him to be smart and successful, just like any parent wants for their kid. Raising a reader means raising a model future citizen. We all want our children to be readers — the trick is, how do we coax them into it, how do we guide them into the habit?

SK: Other than the books you personally have written, what are some of Jack's favorite books?

JP: Some of the books that got him hooked: A Wrinkle in Time, Hugo Cabret, The Warriors, Percy Jackson, the Alex Rider series. He's older now and reading all over the map. He really liked Unbroken, the Laura Hillenbrand World War II book.

SK: What were some of your favorite books at his age? Were you always an avid reader?

JP: I really liked those old Scrooge McDuck comics. And I regret getting into the game so late, but it really wasn't until college when I started really reading. So I'm a little backwards: I was reading absurdist playwrights for fun first, and it took years until I could appreciate Charlie Bucket or Maniac Magee.

SK: What advice do you have for parents of reluctant readers?

JP: Spend time with your kids developing the habit. Go with them to the bookstore or library and pick out books that match their interests. One thing we did with Jack was say, OK, you don't have to mow the lawn if you read for 20 minutes. You've never seen a kid pick up a book so fast.
And try to be a little looser with what you might traditionally consider reading. They don't all have to sit down and immediately be engrossed in Silas Marner (yuck). Kids need to have the freedom to choose, and that could include comics, manga, books on facts/world records. Don't say no to something if it gets a kid excited about reading. The simple fact is, if kids don't like what they're reading, they won't read.

SK: What's it like to be the parent of a teenage son? What does he think of having a best-selling author as a father?

JP: Jack keeps me on my toes. He has good business acumen already. He says I need to be tweeting a lot more often. I should listen to him.

SK: Tell me more about your latest endeavor, "Who Will Save Our Books, Bookstores and Libraries?" What inspired this?

JP: Think about this: Each year, more and more bookstores are closing for good. School libraries are getting chopped. I'm arguing that our world will be much worse off if we don't do something to save our bookstores, libraries and the publishing industry as a whole.
How will we shape the future of reading in this country? I'm pulling together ideas from everyone. This fall we're going to make a concrete plan out of the best ones, actually put them into action. If you leave one great, actionable idea below, I promise to consider it.

SK: In addition to your work promoting reading for all ages, you're well-known for your thrillers. What are you working on now? Anything new on the horizon that you can share?

The book I have out right now, Mistress, is getting some good reads. It's set in D.C. A reporter, Ben Casper, finds his dream girl dead of an apparent suicide. Ben's a different sort of character from my usual heroes — you'll see. And he gets in a little over his head. OK, way over his head.
My first adventure-comedy for middle graders is out now, called Treasure Hunters. The Kidd siblings have grown up traveling the world, scuba diving through the coolest, most mysterious shipwrecks of all time, but suddenly lose both their parents. I'm really excited about this new series and what I'm going to be able to do with these characters.
I also have the new Michael Bennett, Gone, coming in two weeks, and the newest Alex Cross, Cross My Heart, in November. Those should keep you busy.
Photo credit: WENN

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Short story - Firefighter

Today, it’s been 28 years since a firefighter saved my life when he rescued me from a burning condo building. In the process he suffered a leg injury that doctors said would leave him unable to walk normally for life. This evening, he put down his cane and slowly walked our daughter down the aisle. My husband of 27 years always make me think.


Reference: unknown

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Quote from books - Wide Awake by David Levithan

"There is no such thing as equality for some. Equality must be for all. That is what freedom is. That is what liberty is. No human being is born more or less important than any other. How can we allow ourselves to forget that? What simpler truth is there?"

Wide Awake by David Levithan 

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Earth's Days Are Numbered

Researchers calculate that the planet will leave the sun's "habitable" zone in about 1.75 billion years

Habitable zones are not static. The luminosity of a typical star increases as its composition and chemical reactions evolve over billions of years, pushing the habitable zone outward. Researchers reported in March that Earth is closer to the inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone than previously thought.

The inner edge of the Sun’s habitable zone is moving outwards at a rate of about 1 meter per year. The latest model predicts a total habitable zone lifetime for Earth of 6.3 billion–7.8 billion years, suggesting that life on the planet is already about 70% of the way through its run. Other planets — especially those that form near the outer boundary of a star’s habitable zone or orbit long-lived, low-mass stars — may have habitable-zone lifetimes of 42 billion years or longer.

The authors suggest that scientists searching for life on other planets should focus on those that have occupied their habitable zones for at least as long as Earth has — such as HD40307g, which is 12.9 parsecs (42 light-years) away from Earth.

Life is complicated
But it is possible that Earth took an atypically long time to develop advanced life, says Caleb Scharf, an astrobiologist at Columbia University in New York. “It’s the age-old problem of over-interpreting a single data point,” he says. Study co-author Mark Claire, an astronomer at the University of St Andrews, UK, agrees, but adds that if he were running a mission to find life on a terrestrial planet, he would probably point his telescopes at planets that had been in the habitable zone for as long as possible.

Critics also suggest that the formula the researchers used is too simple. The model assumes that extrasolar planets have Earth-like atmospheres, compositions and tectonic-plate action. Colin Goldblatt, a planetary climatologist at the University of Victoria in Canada, says that without including climate dynamics such as atmospheric composition and volume, the results are not very useful for predicting habitability. “If you want me to build a habitable planet where Venus is, I can do that; if you want me to build a dead planet where Earth is, I can do that,” Goldblatt says.

“There is plenty of room for new formulations of the habitable zone,” agrees Claire. For now, researchers don’t know much about these extrasolar planets. But habitable zone calculations could prove interesting closer to home as well.

Just as the sun brightens and the Earth becomes too hot for life, Mars will be entering the habitable zone. “If humans are going to be around in a billion years, I would certainly imagine that they would be living on Mars,” Claire says.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Great deals to buy textbooks and books online. Used books, Brand new books.

Quotes from books-The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

"You can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it’s a different story. By the very act of coming back, you wipe out what came before."
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Short story

Today, it’s been over ten years since I was a bag boy at a local grocery store. On Sunday mornings I held the front door open for our customers and greeted them. One particular older woman loved me for it. She actually told me on several occasions that one day I would make a lovely husband. This afternoon, I walked into that grocery store holding my wife’s hand and the same old woman was on her way out. She held the door for us, winked and said, “I told you so.”
Holding hands
Reference: unknown 

Friday, September 20, 2013

New nano material developed

The University of Sydney    

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A new nanostructured material with applications that could include reducing condensation in airplane cabins and enabling certain medical tests without the need for high tech laboratories has been developed by researchers at the University of Sydney.

 "The newly discovered material uses raspberry particles - so-called because of their appearance - which can trap tiny water droplets and prevent them from rolling off surfaces, even when that surface is turned upside down," said Dr Andrew Telford from the University's School of Chemistry and lead author of the research recently published in the journal, Chemistry of Materials.

The ability to immobilise very small droplets on a surface is, according to Dr Telford, a significant achievement with innumerable potential applications.

Raspberry particles mimic the surface structure of some rose petals.

"Water droplets bead up in a spherical shape on top of rose petals," Dr Telford said. "This is a sign the flower is highly water repellent."

The reasons for this are complex and largely due to the special structure of the rose petal's surface. The research team replicated the rose petal by assembling raspberry particles in the lab using spherical micro- and nanoparticles.

The result is that water droplets bead up when placed on films of the raspberry particles and they're not able to drip down from it, even when turned upside down.

"Raspberry particle films can be described as sticky tape for water droplets," Dr Telford said.

This could be useful in preventing condensation issues in airplane cabins. It could also help rapidly process simple medical tests on free-standing droplets, with the potential for very high turnover of tests with inexpensive equipment and in remote areas.

Other exciting applications are under study: if we use this nanotechnology to control how a surface is structured we can influence how it will interact with water.

"This means we will be able to design a surface that does whatever you need it to do.

"We could also design a surface that stays dry forever, never needs cleaning or able to repel bacteria or even prevent mould and fungi growth.

"We could then tweak the same structure by changing its composition so it forces water to spread very quickly.

 "This could be used on quick-dry walls and roofs which would also help to cool down houses.

"This can only be achieved with a very clear understanding of the science behind the chemical properties and construction of the surface," he said.

The discovery is also potentially viable commercially.

"Our team's discovery is the first that allows for the preparation of raspberry particles on an industrial scale and we are now in a position where we can prepare large quantities of these particles without the need to build special plants or equipment," Dr Telford said.

The other research team members and journal authors are Associate Professor Brian Hawkett and Dr Chiara Neto, both from the School of Chemistry and Dr Chris Such from Dulux Australia, that supported the research through an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant.

Short Story

"Today, my wife and I sat down and watched the same movie at the same time. Despite being 9,000+ miles apart overseas on active duty, I felt like she was sitting right by me and I suddenly didn’t feel so alone." 



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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Getting a Clearer Picture of College Costs.


For high-achieving, low-income students, some of the cheapest places to attend college are the ones with the highest list prices. Thanks to their endowments, these elite colleges often award large scholarships to poor and even many middle-class students. For example, despite Harvard’s published annual cost of about $60,000, parents of Harvard students making less than $65,000 are expected to make no contribution; parents making $65,000 to $150,000 typically pay no more than 10 percent of their income.

But elite colleges have not been especially effective about spreading the word about the real cost of enrollment. Many low-income families imagine Harvard – or Pomona, Haverford, Wellesley and dozens of other colleges – to be beyond their financial reach. A recent study found that most low-income students with the academic record to be admitted to such colleges never even apply.

On Wednesday, Wellesley College is unveiling a new cost-of-college calculator intended to demystify the real cost of tuition. Officially, the calculator applies only to Wellesley. Yet financial-aid policies are similar enough across elite colleges that the calculator will offer a rough estimate of how much families would pay to attend any one of dozens of such colleges.

“The conversation that takes place around college costs is largely misguided,” says Phillip B. Levine, a professor of economics at the college, who developed the calculator. “People focus only on the sticker price. The sticker price is a meaningful statistic for roughly 40 percent of our students. The majority of our students are receiving financial aid, and for them the sticker price is an irrelevant number.”

If list-price tuition rose 10 percent from one year to the next but a family’s income did not change, Mr. Levine explained, that family’s expected contribution would remain essentially unchanged as well.

Wellesley’s calculator is not the first one. The College Board also has one, as does Harvard. But Wellesley’s version is the simplest I have seen – which means it is the least likely to scare away families who may already be intimidated by college costs.

Wellesley – the alma mater of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Nora Ephron and more recently Robin Chase, a founder of Zipcar – asks families for only nine pieces of information. They are: the students’ citizenship status; family living arrangement; number of siblings simultaneously in college; annual family income; approximate value of home; size of remaining mortgage; amount of retirement savings; amount of cash savings; amount of other investment holdings. (Retirement savings are excluded from the financial aid calculation, but Wellesley asks for them so people do not mistakenly list their retirement savings as part of their other investments.)

With this data, the calculator then spits out an estimated parental contribution, as well as a range in which the final contribution is likely to fall. I entered a series of numbers for a fictional married couple earning $85,000, with no other children in college, and the estimate was $11,000 – with a likely range of $6,000 on the low end and $16,000 on the high end. By comparison, Wellesley’s published annual cost, including tuition, room, board and fees, is $57,042.

Mr. Levine said he recently watched a group of parents and students try a test version of the calculator while visiting campus – and he was thrilled to see how many seemed surprised at the discount they were likely to receive.

The biggest strength of the calculator is its simplicity. For a family that knows its financial information, receiving an estimate can take as little as one minute. The College Board’s calculator, on the other hand, requires people to register by name. Wellesley already enrolls a larger percentage of low-income students than many other top colleges, and it’s possible that the calculator may help it enroll more.

The biggest drawback of the new calculator, to my mind, is the fact that it offers a somewhat too rosy picture of college costs. How? The calculator does not count student loans (of up to $3,000 a year at Wellesley) or work-study wages (of up to $2,500 a year) as part of a family’s contribution. Instead, it counts only the money that parents pay, not money that students themselves pay.

Nearly all financial-aid students at Wellesley have work-study jobs, and about 75 percent have a student loan. To be fully accurate, then, the $11,000 estimate for my fictional family should probably be closer to $16,000.

Once you know this weakness with the calculator, you can take it into account, simply by adding $5,000 to the final estimate. (And maybe Wellesley will fix the problem at some point, or another college will create a calculator that does.)

The larger point is that Wellesley’s calculator is a significant step in the growing effort to spread accurate information about college costs. As Mr. Levine says, the widespread misunderstanding of tuition “closes a door to people that shouldn’t be closed.”


Short Story

 Today, my dad came home with roses for my mom and I. “What are these for I asked?” He said that several of his coworkers were complaining about their wives and children today. He realized how lucky he was that after 20 years of marriage, and raising a daughter for the last 17 years, he still had nothing to complain about.

Ref: unknown

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Presentation skills for engineers

Why presentations are important for engineers and how they can improve their presentation skills? The best way to kill your fear is to speak in front of public and making presentation to express your verdict with emphasis. 

Like any other profession, Presentation skills hold an eminent position in the life of an engineer. A standardized and systematic approach involving effective knowledge, practice and constructive feedback opens path to a distinct presentation skills.

The fact that majority of students being shy, avoid public speaking at junior levels of their college life comes in as a downside at a later stage in their profession life where they lack necessary basis to present. Hence to cater this problem, universities must focus on every engineering student to extensively take part in presentations; the best way to do so being asking students to make presentation for every single coursework projects that they are a part of and express their view in front of the whole class.


 After being hired as a fresh graduate, you may be required to meet the higher management and deliver presentations for the amount of work you have done till a said time. Being new at the organization, every associate looks forward to have high expectations from you and to meet the desired standards you must be excellent while delivering. This is why presentation skills for engineers are of high importance.

The basic thing to go on for a making a presentation is to be clear of your target audience and make presentation according to how they would perceive it easily. For instance if you are a computer engineer, make sure that all the specifications, programming assignment or test cases delivery that you are a part of, is effectively translated to the higher management so that they make take further stance on it. If not delivered in an understandable manner, it will be of no use to them and the project might go in vain. Similarly a mechanical or electrical engineer must be sure of what he has learned and how is he going to deliver it further to the leads. Jotting down of major points to emphasize is always a good practice. This is the point where you get to know people when they communicate with you over your work done, hence analysis of the major points is always crucial. 

It is always a wise practice to look your audience in their eyes while speaking; this not only imparts your viewpoint but also gives you confidence to speak correctly. Avoid using too many bright colors in the slides; if possible use engineering logos at the background which reflect your thoughts and viewpoints. You can get people engaged in the presentation by asking questions at various intervals and answering them simultaneously. When done with conveying your message, ask questions from the public and go for an honest opinion to judge how accurately your message was delivered.

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James Patterson to Give Indies $1 Million

In a striking part of his campaign to promote reading, books and education, author James Patterson will give $1 million during the next year to independent bookstores. Yesterday on CBS This Morning, he said that his only requirements are that the store is "viable" and that it has a children's section. He gave one example of what might merit a grant: a store that has two people "who haven't had a bonus in seven years." To sign up for announcements, go to Patterson's websit.

The first public mention of the program was brief and near the end of a Wall Street Journal article at the beginning of the month. The article noted that earlier this year, the author had taken ads out across the country asking, "Who will save our books?" Patterson called the reaction positive, but lamented that "nothing changed."

Patterson has a history of giving money to help reading, teaching and education, including $1.5 million in scholarships this year to students seeking to become teachers and an essay competition for high school seniors to win money for college book purchases that has given out $170,000 in three years. He also gives books to schools and book stipends to students.

Currently Patterson is doing a promotion with independent booksellers for his new book, Treasure Hunters, written with Chris Grabenstein and illustrated by Juliana Neufeld (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). He will reimburse indies who hold parties for the book between now and November 15 (required proof: a picture of the party), and he will visit two of the participating stores. For more information and a digital event kit, booksellers should contact their HBG sales rep. The kit, also available on the Treasure Hunters site, includes a poster to promote Treasure Hunters events, info on the offer and trading cards featuring the Kidd characters.

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16 Things You Should Do On Your Lunch Break Every Day

What you do on your lunch break will not only affect your level of productivity throughout the work day, but also impact your health and happiness inside and outside of the office. With the help of career and workplace experts Lynn Taylor, David Shindler, Michael Kerr, Anita Attridge, Alexandra Levit and Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, I compiled a list of 16 things all workers should do during their lunch hour.

How do you spend your lunch break? Do you quickly chow down a sandwich at a nearby deli with your eyes glued to your Blackberry? Do you devour a salad at your desk with one hand on your keyboard? Perhaps you skip lunch altogether because you have “too much on your plate.”

“A common complaint I hear is about lunch time getting squeezed down to ten minutes, or to nothing at all, with people eating on the fly or eating while hunched over their computers,” says Michael Kerr, an international business speaker, author and president of Humor at Work.

Why does this happen? Because America has become such a work-obsessed society that we tend to shun the notion of taking a break, explains Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD, organizational psychologist and author of The YOU Plan. “Just like professional athletes, we all need the energy from calories for our minds to function at their best. And we all need a little time to recharge, too.”

In Pictures: 16 Things You Should Do During Your Lunch Break
Last month I laid out the 16 things you should do at the start of every work day and the 16 things you should do at the end of every work day. I concluded that how you spend the first few and last few hours in the office can have a significant effect on your level of productivity. As it turns out, what you do during your lunch hour can be just as important, and that time shouldn’t be overlooked. Taking a midday break during which you refuel and re-energize can not only make you a better employee, but also a healthier and happier person.

“You should be as strategic about your lunch hour as you are about your day in general,” says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.

 With the help of career and workplace experts Michael Kerr, Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, Lynn Taylor, Anita Attridge, Alexandra Levit and David Shindler, I compiled a list of 16 things all workers should do during their lunch break.

“It’s critical to make the most of lunch and remind yourself that by taking a proper break you will accomplish more in the long run, and that productivity and creativity will increase, while your levels of stress and fatigue will diminish,” Kerr says.

Anita Attridge, a career and executive coach with the Five O’Clock Club, a career coaching organization, adds that taking time to disconnect from your work provides renewed energy, and, as a result, makes the rest of the day go more smoothly. “Typically, the afternoon can bring some lulls that can be offset by having been away from your desk. Talking with people about something besides work during lunchtime can also boost your energy level and improve your mood.”

Alexandra Levit, the author of Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, agrees. A lunch break not only fuels your motivation to power toward the end of the day, it also gives you something to look forward to in the morning. “Most people accomplish work best in short bursts with breaks in between, so organizing your schedule around these natural energy peaks will help you be more productive.”
What you do during your midday break might vary depending on your job, company culture or personal priorities—but the experts agree all workers should try to do these 16 things during lunch hour:

Make a plan. “Don’t squander your lunch break because it’s ‘free time,’” Taylor says. Time is a non-renewable resource, wherever you are, whatever the time of day. Try your best to plan it out and make the most of it.

You should also plan your activities immediately after lunch, Kerr suggests. “Giving thought to how you prioritize and schedule events in the afternoon can maximize your productivity. For example, scheduling a meeting or conference call right after lunch may end up causing you  stress over the lunch hour or you may end up squeezing the lunch break in order to get back in time and be ready for the meeting.”

Take a real break. Breaking from work for 60 seconds to chow down your lunch at your desk doesn’t count. “In order to get a period of true respite, the time has to involve an actual break from work,” Levit says. Try not to check your e-mail, bring work with you or talk about work during lunch.

Decompress. The first thing you should do when your lunch break begins is take a deep breath and relax, Taylor suggests. “You’ve likely been on over-drive all morning, putting out fires. Before you decide how to spend that golden hour, take a couple minutes to clear your head. Take your break-neck pace to a halt; don’t automatically jump to the next ‘to do’ item. When you’re relaxed, you can better strategize your goals with a broader and wiser perspective.”

Get up from your desk or work space. “Staying at your desk is a big no-no in my book,” Kerr says. “There are more and more reports on the dangers of sitting too long, so even just getting up to walk to another room to eat is important, or better still, getting outside for some fresh air and a quick walk can do wonders for the body and spirit.”
Even if you don’t sit at a desk, you should get away from your work space during lunch, as it will help you clear your mind.

Eat. Don’t try to be a hero and starve yourself for the sake of being a hard worker or checking off another “to-do” item, Taylor says. “You’ll pay for it later when you can’t concentrate and throw your body off balance. If you’ve earned a headache or are lightheaded at 4 p.m., you haven’t ultimately gained anything.”

Enjoy your food. Lunch should be about having lunch, Woodward says. “Treat yourself to something you enjoy that fits with your diet,” he adds. “If you have a favorite place or a particular food you enjoy make sure to go and enjoy it at least once a week. You only live once.” It’s OK to splurge from time to time—but try to stick to healthy meals as often as possible.

Do what you can’t do in the morning or evening. Some errands—like going to the Post Office or the bank—must be handled during work hours. “Be strategic and use your lunch break to accomplish some of those personal errands that can’t be handled before or after work, or on the weekends,” Taylor says.
But be careful that you don’t cram too many personal errands into your lunch break, Kerr warns. “You’d just end up swapping one stress for another kind of stress without getting the re-energizing benefits a good break can offer.”

Use the time to connect with someone new.  “I used to work in an office of 3,000 people, so it was pretty much the norm to not recognize most everyone in the elevator,” Woodward says. “Our workplace interactions can be so fleeting that we really never actually get to know the people we spend most of our days with. When you don’t really know those you interact with it’s easy to dehumanize them and take them for granted. Take some time to get out of the office, grab a sit down lunch, and get to know your co-workers.”

Catch up with old friends. If you have a friend who works nearby, try to meet him or her during lunch occasionally. “Remember, your personal life needs tending to just as much as your work-life, so be sure to take the spare time you have and use it to fulfill your personal needs,” Woodward says. Your midday break is a good opportunity to catch up and socialize, in person or by phone—but don’t lose track of time, and don’t treat it like happy hour.

Have a system for dealing with your absence. This will allow people inside and outside the company to know when you will be back, how to contact you in an emergency or have an alternative point of contact, says David Shindler, founder of The Employability Hub and author of Learning to Leap. It may also help you relax and avoid obsessively checking your e-mail during lunch.

Engage in activities that will help you re-energize. Take a walk outside, visit the gym or meditate. Get out and do something that will make you feel better about yourself. “A quick dose of sunlight and fresh air is the perfect elixir for the midday blues,” Woodward says.

Network. Even if you’re perfectly happy in your job, and you’re not looking for a new one, it can’t hurt to continuously build and maintain your professional network. “This is critical to success in any line of work,” Woodward says. “However, finding the time to connect with those in your network can be tough.”

Attridge adds, “Strategically, lunch is an excellent time to continue to build relationships and network with others whether that is by having lunch with them or calling them to catch up.”

Don’t get stuck in a routine. Many of us are creatures of habit. Maybe you go to the same pizzeria everyday or eat with the same colleague. You might always use your lunch break to run errands or make personal calls. Try to mix things up in order to clear your head and boost your energy.

Avoid all screens. Try to stay away from your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and computer. “Give your eyes a break,” Taylor says. Most office jobs require you to stare at a screen all day—so try to avoid that during lunch.
If you can’t help it for whatever reason (maybe you want to shop online or e-mail a friend), get up from your desk so your body perceives this as a true break, Levit adds.

Regroup. Treat lunch as sports teams treat half time: take a few minutes to reassess where you’re at and re-prioritize the rest of your day depending on how the morning has unfolded, Kerr suggests.

Don’t take too long or too short of a break. If you’re allotted an hour for lunch, take it. Maybe not every day, but when you can, use the full sixty minutes to get out, eat, exercise your mind or body, catch up with an old friend or a colleague and/or tackle items on your personal agenda.
However, if everyone else in the office takes shorter breaks, follow suit so you don’t stand out. “Don’t take breaks that are too long or too frequent, as people will start to notice,” Levit says. “And don’t pressure colleagues to adhere to your break schedule. You are primarily there to work–not socialize–so let them do what works best for them.”

“You have the ability to make your lunch hour an invigorating boost to your afternoon by doing what you enjoy; be it a brisk walk listening to music, talking with a close friend, being in nature, even if briefly, or spending time on your favorite project or pastime,” Taylor concludes. “It’s your time to refresh."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gabriel García Márquez #Biography.

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez born March 6, 1928) is a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo throughout Latin America. Considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, he was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature, and is the earliest remaining living recipient. He pursued a self-directed education that resulted in his leaving law school for a career in journalism. From early on, he showed no inhibitions in his criticism of Colombian and foreign politics. In 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha; they have two sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo.

He started as a journalist, and has written many acclaimed non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for his novels, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). His works have achieved significant critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, most notably for popularizing a literary style labeled as magic realism, which uses magical elements and events in otherwise ordinary and realistic situations. Some of his works are set in a fictional village called Macondo (the town mainly inspired by his birthplace Aracataca), and most of them express the theme of solitude. An interesting collection of conversations between Marquez and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza titled 'The Fragrance of Guava' provides insights into the influences that informed narratives writer's life and narrative.

Early life

Gabriel García Márquez was born on March 6, 1928 in the town of Aracataca, Colombia, to Gabriel Eligio García and Luisa Santiaga Márquez. Soon after García Márquez was born, his father became a pharmacist. In January 1929, his parents moved to Sucre while García Marquez stayed in Aracataca. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán and Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía.When he was nine, his grandfather died, and he moved to his parents' home in Sucre where his father owned a pharmacy.
When his parents fell in love, their relationship met with resistance from Luisa Santiaga Marquez's father, the Colonel. Gabriel Eligio García was not the man the Colonel had envisioned winning the heart of his daughter: he (Gabriel Eligio) was a Conservative, and had the reputation of being a womanizer.Gabriel Eligio wooed Luisa with violin serenades, love poems, countless letters, and even telegraph messages after her father sent her away with the intention of separating the young couple. Her parents tried everything to get rid of the man, but he kept coming back, and it was obvious their daughter was committed to him.Her family finally capitulated and gave her permission to marry him (The tragicomic story of their courtship would later be adapted and recast as Love in the Time of Cholera).

Since García Márquez's parents were more or less strangers to him for the first few years of his life, his grandparents influenced his early development very strongly. His grandfather, whom he called "Papalelo", was a Liberal veteran of the Thousand Days War. The Colonel was considered a hero by Colombian Liberals and was highly respected. He was well known for his refusal to remain silent about the banana massacres that took place the year García Márquez was born. The Colonel, whom García Márquez has described as his "umbilical cord with history and reality,"was also an excellent storyteller.He taught García Márquez lessons from the dictionary, took him to the circus each year, and was the first to introduce his grandson to ice—a "miracle" found at the United Fruit Company store.He would also occasionally tell his young grandson "You can't imagine how much a dead man weighs", reminding him that there was no greater burden than to have killed a man, a lesson that García Márquez would later integrate into his novels.

García Márquez's political and ideological views were shaped by his grandfather's stories.In an interview, García Márquez told his friend Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, "my grandfather the Colonel was a Liberal. My political ideas probably came from him to begin with because, instead of telling me fairy tales when I was young, he would regale me with horrifying accounts of the last civil war that free-thinkers and anti-clerics waged against the Conservative government."This influenced his political views and his literary technique so that "in the same way that his writing career initially took shape in conscious opposition to the Colombian literary status quo, García Márquez's socialist and anti-imperialist views are in principled opposition to the global status quo dominated by the United States."

García Márquez's grandmother, Doña Tranquilina Iguarán Cotes, played an equally influential role in his upbringing. He was inspired by the way she "treated the extraordinary as something perfectly natural."The house was filled with stories of ghosts and premonitions, omens and portents, all of which were studiously ignored by her husband. According to García Márquez she was "the source of the magical, superstitious and supernatural view of reality". He enjoyed his grandmother's unique way of telling stories. No matter how fantastic or improbable her statements, she always delivered them as if they were the irrefutable truth. It was a deadpan style that, some thirty years later, heavily influenced her grandson's most popular novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

García Márquez began his career as a journalist while studying law at the National University of Colombia. In 1948 and 1949 he wrote for El Universal in Cartagena. Later, from 1950 until 1952, he wrote a "whimsical" column under the name of "Septimus" for the local paper El Heraldo in Barranquilla. García Márquez noted of his time at El Heraldo, "I'd write a piece and they'd pay me three pesos for it, and maybe an editorial for another three." During this time he became an active member of the informal group of writers and journalists known as the Barranquilla Group, an association that provided great motivation and inspiration for his literary career. He worked with inspirational figures such as Ramon Vinyes, whom García Márquez depicted as an Old Catalan who owns a bookstore in One Hundred Years of Solitude. At this time, García Márquez was also introduced to the works of writers such as Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. Faulkner's narrative techniques, historical themes and use of rural locations influenced many Latin American authors. The environment of Barranquilla gave García Márquez a world-class literary education and provided him with a unique perspective on Caribbean culture. From 1954 to 1955, García Márquez spent time in Bogotá and regularly wrote for Bogotá's El Espectador. He was a regular film critic which drove his interest in film.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Since García Márquez was eighteen, he had wanted to write a novel based on his grandparents' house where he grew up. However, he struggled with finding an appropriate tone and put off the idea until one day the answer hit him while driving his family to Acapulco. He turned the car around and the family returned home so he could begin writing. He sold his car so his family would have money to live on while he wrote, but writing the novel took far longer than he expected, and he wrote every day for eighteen months. His wife had to ask for food on credit from their butcher and their baker as well as nine months of rent on credit from their landlord. Fortunately, when the book was finally published in 1967 it became his most commercially successful novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) (1967; English translation by Gregory Rabassa 1970). The story chronicles several generations of the Buendía family from the time they founded the fictional South American village of Macondo, through their trials and tribulations, instances of incest, births and deaths. The history of Macondo is often generalized by critics to represent rural towns throughout Latin America or at least near García Márquez's native Aracataca.

This novel was widely popular and led to García Márquez's Nobel Prize as well as the Rómulo Gallegos Prize in 1972. William Kennedy has called it "the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race," and hundreds of articles and books of literary critique have been published in response to it. However, García Márquez himself does not completely understand the success of this particular book: "Most critics don't realize that a novel like One Hundred Years of Solitude is a bit of a joke, full of signals to close friends; and so, with some pre-ordained right to pontificate they take on the responsibility of decoding the book and risk making terrible fools of themselves."

Marriage and family

García Márquez met Mercedes Barcha while she was in college; they decided to wait for her to finish before getting married. When he was sent to Europe as a foreign correspondent, Mercedes waited for him to return to Barranquilla. They were finally wed in 1958. The following year, their first son, Rodrigo García, now a television and film director, was born. In 1961, the family traveled by Greyhound bus throughout the southern United States and eventually settled in Mexico City. García Márquez had always wanted to see the Southern United States because it inspired the writings of William Faulkner. Three years later the couple's second son, Gonzalo, was born in Mexico. Gonzalo is currently a graphic designer in Mexico City.

See all 12 types of procrastinators. Which are you?

Greetings, fellow procrastinators. You've clearly stumbled across this comic because you're avoiding something — unless you are perhaps a comics analyst. In that case, good job staying on track.

Procrastination is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone does it, but we each have a unique way of pushing off work to maximize time wasted.

In this comic, Angela Liao of 20px identifies the 12 types of procrastinators, including list-makers, nappers and snackers. 

Which type of procrastinator are you?


“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. ” 

-- Henry Ford

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

9 Natural Remedies for Upset Stomach. #Health

Whether you're gassy, constipated, nauseous, or have indigestion, try these natural remedies to make an upset stomach feel better without medicine.

By Alyssa Jung

1) Carrot and Mint "Juice" Helps an Upset Stomach

It might sound iffy, but this concoction is helpful if you're suffering from the winter flu; the carrot provides nourishment and peppermint soothes your upset stomach. Boil four sliced carrots, four cups of water, and one teaspoon of dried peppermint or one peppermint teabag. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes or until carrots are soft. If you're using a teabag, remove it, then blend the mixture until smooth and enjoy! You can also add a pinch of ground ginger to further soothe, or a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor.




2) Rice Tea Alleviates an Upset Stomach

To settle an upset stomach or stop diarrhea, make a rice "tea." Boil 1/2 cup of rice in six cups of water for about 15 minutes. Strain out the rice, then flavor the water with a dash of honey or sugar and drink warm.


3) Burnt Toast Settles an Upset Stomach

You know that toast is good for an upset stomach, but burnt toast is even better because the char absorbs toxins that are making you feel ill. Add a smear of jelly to make it more palatable.


4) Apple Cider Vinegar Soothes an Upset Stomach

A mixture of one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, one cup warm water, and one tablespoon honey will ease indigestion and may alleviate cramping and gas in your upset stomach. It can also lessen discomfort caused by heartburn.


5) CRAP Diet Is Good for an Upset Stomach

If you're feeling constipated, try the CRAP diet: It stands for "cherries, raisins, apricots, and prunes," all fiber-friendly foods that should get your system moving and ease your upset stomach.


6) Yogurt Reduces Discomfort from an Upset Stomach

You probably don't crave anything dairy when you have a stomachache, but the probiotic qualities of yogurt—aka live bacteria—make it a good cure as it eases digestive discomfort and boosts your immune system. Just make sure to choose non-fat plain yogurt without added sugar or flavors when you have an upset stomach.



7) Caraway Seeds Ease an Upset Stomach

Caraway seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals, which inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that causes indigestion, gas, or bloating and contributes to an upset stomach. Nibble on a handful after eating your meal, or if you feel gassy. 


  8) Fennel Makes an Upset Stomach Feel Better

Whether it's indigestion or gas and bloating, fennel can help. Sip a fennel tea, chew on a few fennel seeds or crunch on some raw. It supports digestion, reduces gas, helps with cramping, and reduces nausea from an upset stomach.



9) Heat Helps an Upset Stomach

Place a hot water bottle or heating pad on your upset stomach. The heat increases blood flow to the skin surface and transfers the perception of pain from inside your stomach to the outside.



Reference: Reader's Digest

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