Tips to help stick to health related New Year resolutions….

Forty-five percent of people will make a resolution at the start of 2013, yet less than half of those promises will still be in effect six months later.

Monday is like the January of the week: the day that people can reset their intentions after the weekend and try again. By recommitting to their resolutions every Monday, they get 52 opportunities to stick with it and incorporate healthier habits into their lives.

Plus, having a Monday resolution means people don’t have to do it alone.

The tips to help stick to their new year resolutions are

On Monday, people should eat a more diverse, nutrient-dense diet by swapping meat one day a week for fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

People can take 8-11 quit attempts to kick smoking for good, so they should gain an advantage by recommitting to their quit every Monday

They should add more fitness into their daily life by starting the week with physical activity

They should maintain sexual health, their weekly reminder to call the clinic, set up a preventative health appointment, or restock on condoms and other essential supplies.

People should set aside some time each Monday to plan their needs for the week and ensure that they stay healthy.

Now, a robot ‘boy’ to help humans with everyday tasks

Scientists are designing a new ambitious robotic humanoid helper with artificial muscles to help people with everyday tasks.

Engineers at the University of Zurich’s Artificial Intelligence Lab hope that 1.2 metre tall Roboy, designed to look like a child, will help the sick and elderly by acting as a mechanical helper.

The research team is developing radical artificial ‘tendons’ to help the robot move, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

They have already signed up 15 project partners and over 40 engineers, and hope to fund the project using a combination of commercial partners and crowd-funding.

Researchers hope Roboy will become a blueprint for ‘service robots’ that work alongside humans.

“Service robots are machines that are, to a certain extent, able to execute services independently for the convenience of human beings. Since they share their ‘living space’ with people, user-friendliness and safety are of great importance,” researchers said.

The project will use artificial tendons to develop Roboy within just nine months.

“Thanks to his construction as a tendon-driven robot modelled on human beings (‘normal’ robots have their motors in their joints), Roboy moves almost as elegantly as a human,” the team said.

Work has also begun on Roboy’s hands, which will be covered with a soft ‘skin’ to make it comfortable to the touch.

Roby will be unveiled in March 2013 at the Robots on Tour event in Zurich.

“Our aging population is making it necessary to keep older people as autonomous as possible for as long as possible, which means caring for aged people is likely to be an important area for the deployment of service robots.

Financial resolutions for 2013

When you think about it, New Year’s financial resolutions may be easier to keep than losing weight or quitting that smoking habit. According to a study by Fidelity Investments, 62 percent of consumers say that they stuck with their financial resolutions in the past, compared with only 40 percent who kept their other resolutions.

Despite this evidence of success, 38 percent of respondents to the Fidelity New Year Financial Resolutions Study think it’s harder to keep financial resolutions than non-financial ones. But that has not kept them from trying. A record number of consumers (46 percent) are considering making financial resolutions – a number that has increased 31 percent since the tracking study started in 2009. The top three New Year’s financial resolutions are to: (1) save more (52 percent); (2) spend less (19 percent); and (3) pay off debt (19 percent).

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But wait, another survey found that most Americans are skipping financial resolutions all together. According to the annual New Year’s Resolution Survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, a staggering 84 percent of Americans surveyed said that they will not include financial planning in their resolutions for 2013.

So which survey is right? From over here in the real world, the answer is, “who cares?”

Whether you call it a resolution or a plan, here’s what I have learned after being in the business for over two decades: It’s much easier to reach a financial goal when you articulate it and create a plan of action to achieve it.

You need not go overboard with this process. While many financial planners will create comprehensive plans that aim to tackle every area of your life, you should concentrate on the three most important components for your 2013 resolutions. Once you have tackled them, move on to the next three, and so on.

If you don’t know where to start in terms of setting your resolutions/goals, check to see whether you have these three core components covered: zero consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans), adequate emergency reserve funds and maximization of retirement plan contributions.

Debt burdens have dropped dramatically over the past five years: U.S. households spent 10.6 percent of their after-tax income on debt payments in the third quarter of this year, the lowest level since 1983, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s good news, since it’s nearly impossible to tackle other financial goals until consumer debt is paid down.

It’s still amazing how few Americans have adequate savings cushions to guard against unforeseen events. The general recommendation is to hold 6 to 12 months of living expenses in cash or cash equivalent accounts. Considering that the average duration of unemployment is still running about 40 weeks, this level of savings should allow you to ride out many a financial storm without raiding your retirement assets. For those in retirement, consider carrying 12 to 24 months of expenses.

Many people are contributing to retirement plans up to the level at which their employer matches, which is often 6 percent. But that amount is not going to be sufficient long term. To hit your goals, chances are you will probably need to put away 15 percent of your salary, or in some cases, even more. The federal government is helping by increasing the 2013 limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the government’s Thrift Savings Plan to $17,500 from $17,000. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500. The limit on annual contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs will rise by $500 to $5,500.

If you have these three goals covered, the next three should include areas that are usually given short-shrift in the hierarchy of planning: tracking your expenses, drafting/updating wills and other estate documents, and reviewing insurance coverage (life, disability, long-term care, and property and casualty). These are not sexy topics, like investing can be, but without them, your financial security could be at risk.

Consider these goals as ways to improve your financial health and to make 2013 a happier one!

Human clones possible in 50 years, says winner of Nobel prize for medicine

Scientists may progress to human cloning within half a century, a top British scientist who won this year’s Nobel prize for medicine has predicted. The advancement could help parents who lose their children in accidents to clone “copies” to replace them. Sir John Gurdon, whose work on cloning frogs in the 1950s and 60s led to the later creation of Dolly the sheep by Edinburgh scientists in 1996, said that progression to human cloning could happen within half a century.

Although any attempt to clone an entire human would raise a host of complex ethical issues, the biologist claimed people would soon overcome their concerns if the technique became medically useful, The Telegraph reported.
In-vitro fertilization was regarded with extreme suspicion when it was first developed but became widely accepted after the birth of Louise Brown, the first “test tube baby”, in 1978, he explained. Major improvements in cloning methods would have to be made before they could be applied to humans because the vast majority of cloned animal embryos today are deformed, he added.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s The Life Scientific, Gurdon said he had predicted at the time of his frog experiments that the successful cloning of a mammal would happen within 50 years, and that “maybe the same answer is appropriate” for human cloning. He added that cloning a human being effectively means making an identical twin, and doctors would therefore simply be “copying what nature has already produced”.

“I take the view that anything you can do to relieve suffering or improve human health will accepted — that is to say if cloning turned out to be solving problems and was useful to people, I think it would be accepted,” he said.

Excessive aspirin use can turn you blind

A new study has found that regular aspirin use ten years ago was associated with a small but statistically significant increase in the risk of neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

Barbara E. K. Klein, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the association between aspirin use and AMD.

The researchers used data from the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a longitudinal population-based study of age-related eye diseases conducted in Wisconsin. Examinations were performed every 5 years over a 20-year period (1988-1990 through 2008-2010).

Study participants (n = 4,926) were 43 to 86 years of age at entry in the study. At subsequent examinations, participants were asked if they had regularly used aspirin at least twice a week for more than 3 months. The average duration of follow-up was 14.8 years.

For the study, the researchers measured the incidences of different types of AMD (early, late, and 2 subtypes of late AMD [neovascular AMD and pure geographic atrophy]).

There were 512 incident cases of early AMD and 117 incident cases of late AMD over the course of the study.

The researchers found that regular use of aspirin use 10 years prior to the retinal examination was associated with late AMD (age- and sex-adjusted incidence, 1.8 per cent for users vs. 1.0 percent for nonusers).

When examining the relationships by late AMD subtype, neovascular AMD was significantly associated with such use (age-and sex-adjusted incidence, 1.4 per cent for users vs. 0.6 per cent for nonusers), but not for pure geographic atrophy. Aspirin use 5 years or 10 years prior to retinal examination was not associated with incident early AMD.

“Our findings are consistent with a small but statistically significant association between regular aspirin use and incidence of neovascular AMD. Additional replication is required to confirm our observations. If confirmed, defining the causal mechanisms may be important in developing methods to block this effect to prevent or retard the development of neovascular AMD in persons who use aspirin, especially to prevent CVD,” the authors conclude.

Samsung unveils the 5-inch Galaxy Grand with Jelly Bean

Samsung has announced a new smartphone, the Galaxy Grand, which boasts of dual-SIM capabilities and runs on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. No launch date or price of the smartphone has been revealed.

The reason we call this a love child of the Note II and the S III is because its exterior looks like the S III and it also has a large 5-inch display quite reminiscent of the Note. In terms of other specifications under the hood, the Galaxy Grand boasts of a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. The rear houses an 8MP snapper with the ability to shoot HD video and the front has a 2MP video-calling camera. It also sports 8GB built-in storage expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card. It also includes other standard specifications such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS and sensors such as an accelerometer, compass, and gyroscopic sensor.

The only downside to the Galaxy Grand appears to be the display. It is 5-inches which is larger than the 4.8-inch display of the Galaxy S III and is smaller than the Note II which is 5.5-inches. The resolution of the display is disappointing at 480×800 when the S III and the Note II have a resolution of 1280 x 720. So, it’s surprising that the Galaxy Grand has such a low-resolution display despite having some good specifications.

The only explanation for this is that the device is targeted at the budget 5-inch phablets that have started making an appearance in the market. Recently, we have seen the iBall Andi 5C (read our review here) and the Zync Cloud Z5 (read our review here) hit store shelves in India.Samsung galaxy Grand

Flipkart launches Flyte eBooks for Android…………

Flipkart.com’s digital store Flyte has forayed into the eBooks category. To read these eBooks one needs to download the Flyte eBooks app. At present, this app is available only on the Android platform but will be making its way soon to Windows 8. It is not clear by when can one expect this app to be rolled out on other platforms such as iOS and BlackBerry.
The Flyte eBooks store currently has 100,000 books starting from Rs. 30. There are also about 4,000 free titles available.

Sameer Nigam, VP, Digital at Flipkart.com said, “This is the perfect time to launch eBooks in India. We have a growing, tech-savvy reader base that is constantly on the go – and they are looking for options to buy and read their favourite books on their mobile devices instantly. In the US and European markets, which have been early adopters of eBooks, the market share for digital trade books is currently at 50%. In US, the eBooks market recently crossed $1 billion in annual sales.”

“eBooks is a logical progression in our plan to be India’s online megastore. With music, we started with something that Indians are familiar with, from a digital goods perspective. With eBooks we’re upping the ante by entering into a new space”, said Ravi Vora, Sr. VP – Marketing, Flipkart.com

Commenting in the launch, Indian author Chetan Bhagat, said “Flipkart is at the cutting edge of innovation and it has been as much a reason for the growth in Indian publishing as the publishers and the authors. It changed how books were sold in India with an amazing online platform, and now its new eBooks initiative with Flyte will take book distribution to a new level. I am very excited about my books being accessible in new modern formats and hoping this makes India read even more.”

While British author Jeffrey Archer said, “It’s exciting to see a whole new generation of readers being created in India with the Flyte eBooks store! It’s a natural step in the right direction for Flipkart which is already known for its extensive collection of books – ranging from the bestsellers to the rarest of titles.”

Flyte eBooks will offer Indian readers

An Android app that allows readers to instantly purchase, download and read their eBooks on a mobile device
A free sample of each book on the website /mobile app
The ability to read each eBook on up to six devices
Sync your reading location – which means you can exit your book on a particular device and start reading from the same point in another device
Take notes, highlight text, search, add multiple bookmarks