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Showing posts with label LIFESTYLE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LIFESTYLE. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Hot-Air Balloon to Take Tourists 20 Miles Above Earth


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A space-tourism company announced it has successfully completed the first small-scale test flight of a high-altitude balloon and capsule being developed to let tourists to float 20 miles above Earth.
Tuscon-based World View Enterprises said Tuesday that it launched the flight last week from Roswell, New Mexico.
Company CEO Jane Poynter said the system broke the world record for highest parafoil flight, lifting a payload to 120,000 feet.
"It went really, really, really well," Poynter said. "Actually, the guys hit the ball out of the park. We're thrilled."
The system uses a balloon similar to that used to lift Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner 128,000 feet to make a world record-breaking 24-mile skydive in 2012. That flight also launched from the Roswell airport.
Poynter said last week's flight was the first time testing all the components together. It used a balloon about third the size of that planned for passenger flight to lift a payload of about one-tenth of what will be used to carry passengers.
World View Enterprises is still planning to begin its $75,000 per-person flights in 2016, she said. The balloons will lift a capsule carrying six passengers and two crew members 20 miles up, where they will float under a parafoil for about two hours before floating back down to earth. The capsule will be big enough for the passengers to walk around.
The selling point is the view of the Earth and seeing its curve, the company said. Other space-tourism ventures under development will rocket passengers the full 62 miles into space, but on much shorter flights.
The height that the World View balloon reached is within Earth's stratosphere, about 12 miles higher than any commercial airliners reach.
World View Launch

World View crew works on launching the test.
In filings with the Federal Aviation Administration, World View said it planned to launch its flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico, but Poynter said that no final decision has been made on where to base the flights.
Spaceport is where Virgin Galactic plans to launch its first space-tourism flights at a cost of $200,000 per person. Development of Virgin's spacecraft has taken longer than originally planned, and it is unclear when the company, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, will make its first flight. The company's newest target date is the end of this year, but it has said that for each of the last several years.
"I don't think anyone considers us in a race," Poynter said when asked if they might beat Virgin Galactic to passenger flight. "We don't consider us in competition because the experience is so completely different."
A traveler on a Virgin Galactic flight would first be jetted into space, and then have the opportunity to experience weightlessness.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments
-Pawan Lubana

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thursday, 3 April 2014

I Used the Internet to Quit Smoking


I started smoking for the same reasons most people begin the nasty habit: I was young and stupid.
Like many teenagers, I could care less about the negative aspects of smoking. Money wasn't yet a burden on my everyday existence, the long term effects meant little to nothing and I had myself convinced that quick spritz of spray deodorant and some gum masked the smell well enough.
The truth was that smoking, once a fun and social activity then began to control my life.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed smoking. In fact, I loved smoking.
Smoking was always there for me. It helped alleviate stress, introduced me to most of my good friends, it felt amazing and played a huge role in my daily routine. I would sneak a smoke break anywhere I could, and living in a city always provided a few moments to puff, when waiting for the bus or walking between destinations

The beginning of the end

At age 22 I was up to a full pack a day, sometimes more. My family begged me to quit, but you can't just tell someone to stop smoking — they have to hit rock bottom, they have to want it.
A few years later, at age 24 I was living in New York, the most expensive city in the United States, where cigarette prices are over $12 a pack. There was now no way for me to further delay my mountainous, six-figure student loan debt. I simply couldn't afford to smoke anymore, and quite frankly, I didn't want to.
Then a friend posted an Instagram of her Timehop app. The nostalgia-based app allows you to see your photos and social media updates from exactly one year prior. Someone with whom I had once enjoyed many cigarettes had made it a full year without smoking, and I desperately wanted the same.

After some encouragement from friends and family, I started to seriously consider quitting for real. I had tried a few times before, but I had never put any calculated effort towards it.
I began researching popular methods people use to quit, and stumbled upon an online support group on Reddit, r/stopsmoking. The encouraging community is a place for Redditors who seek motivation to quit, and is filled with stories, words of encouragement and advice. A yellow badge appears next to your username with a number, signifying the number of days since quitting.

Once I immersed myself in the subreddit, I found that the community extremely friendly and helpful. Unlike other places on the Internet, there were no trolls or hateful words toward those who sought advice.

I quit

Although I had yearned to quit, and had done some research in the method and practice I thought best for me, I never picked a specific time to quit. But when I awoke on New Year's Day with a splitting headache, reeking of an ash tray, I figured now was as good a time as ever. The hangover alone was enough to make me not want to smoke, so I knew the first day wouldn't be so bad.
Searching for methods to quit smoking on the Internet is like searching for weight loss tips — there are thousands of different approaches that all claim to be the best, but not all is right for you.

The patch seemed too weird for me, the gum made my mouth itch, prescription medication was definitely out; I had no insurance, e-cigarettes hadn't caught on yet, and reading a self-help book just made me feel like a drug addict, which I was.
Along with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without
One method that did peak my interest was appsAlong with cigarettes, my phone was the only other thing I couldn't leave my apartment without, and now it was my only clutch.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
There are hundreds of apps geared towards quitting smoking. I downloaded an app called QuitIt, because it had good ratings, it was free and wasn't as invasive or time-consuming as some others.
The app is geared toward information as motivation. You plug in the amount of cigarettes you smoke, cost per pack and the time you quit smoking. The app does the math and delivers you information based on your specifics.
The status screen tracks the amount of time since you quit, the money you've saved, cigarettes not smoked and the tar associated with that number. The app also includes a number of health goals, which monitors your progress as time continues.


Utilizing the app

Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Like most quitting stories, I did get a little sick, I was irritable and I felt terrible, but the most difficult part was the empty feeling I was left with. I felt as if nothing was ever going to be the same — any activity I had once enjoyed while smoking was simply never going to be as good as it was with a cigarette in hand.
My morning coffee just wasn't like it was before. I drank alone inside bars as my friends braved the cold weather for their vice, and even though my appetite did increase, meals weren't as satisfying without a cigarette for dessert.
Any time I had a craving, I would open the app, and track the progress I had made. If I had a craving while I was on the computer, I'd immediately go to r/stopsmoking, to read a success story, or to offer someone else having a harder time than me support. It was like complaining about a sprained ankle at the doctor's office when the person next to you doesn't have any legs at all.
After just a week or two, I started to notice a difference in my health and hygiene, especially in my mouth. Once the initial shock wore off, sleeping became easier, although occupied with strange, lucid dreams And I began to think about cigarettes less and less.
stopsmoking copy

The app worked for me because of its no-nonsense vibe. The ads are small and barely noticeable, it isn't overloaded with features and functions, it loads quickly and isn't a battery killer.
Other apps like Kwit use game design techniques to encourage quitting.

The app Livestrong which calls itself a "MyQuit Coach" combines game design, community and motivational information. It was a little frustrating to use, however, and the popups just made me want to smoke more.

A lot of apps also feature the humble, social media brag element, allowing you to connect your social media accounts to the app. For me, the thought of failure was worse once I boasted to my followers about how far I had come with my addiction.
Not smoking is still an everyday struggle, and probably will be for the rest of my life. Although myQuitIt app slowly moved from the home screen on my iPhone, to the third screen, back among other forgotten and hardly used apps, I have no desire to delete it. Still, the only time I ever open it is when someone asks how much money I've saved since quitting.
Answer: lots of money, and many years.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Thursday, 3 April 2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014

7 Ways to Sneak Exercise Into the Self-Employed Lifestyle

When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to think that your schedule is 100% your own, and that you can pick and choose exactly how you want to spend your time. However, entrepreneurs work hard to please clients and build the perfect business — which means that personal time is often sacrificed for last minute projects, client meetings and tight deadlines.
The stress and long hours of the entrepreneurial lifestyle often come at the expense of physical and mental well-being. Trips to the gym take a back seat to the business.
If you’ve been struggling to find a way to fit regular exercise into your unpredictable, self-employed schedule, here are a few tips for the new year.

1. Wake Up Earlier

Squeezing in an extra hour in the morning is one of the most effective ways to fit a workout into your day. Maybe you’re not a morning person, and the idea of waking up in the dark to swim laps or head to the gym sounds like pure insanity. If this is the case, ease yourself into a new schedule by setting your alarm half an hour earlier each week until you’re getting up a 6 a.m.
The best part about working out in the morning is that it sets the tone for the rest of the day, and there’s no chance a last-minute client request will get in the way.

2. Get Social Support

Find a few friends or colleagues to join you on a biweekly bike ride or hike in order to stay honest and motivated throughout the year. This positive form of peer pressure is a proven way to encourage people to perform and follow through on their commitment.
For example, if you’re scheduled to meet a personal trainer or friend at the gym at a certain time, you’ll be more likely to go. And while I’d never recommend anyone to enter such a major commitment just for the exercise, adopting a dog will force you to get outside for a walk or run every day.

3. Gamify Your Exercise

Nike+ Fuelband SE
Gamification, which applies game mechanics such as rewards and leaderboards to working out, has been a hot trend for several years now. For example, you can start a challenge board for your fellow colleagues, friends, employees, etc. Challenges can include anything like “Do 50 push-ups today” or “Run X miles before work.”
If you work from home and don’t have a big group in the office, try tracking your activity with a device such as the Fitbit Force or Nike Fuelband. In addition, there are many mobile app games, such as Zombies Run or Fleetly to help keep you motivated.

4. Exercise at Your Desk

Surely you’ve heard about the growing research indicating that sitting for eight hours each day can shave years off our lives. In response, standing deskstreadmill desks and exercise balls are rising in popularity in offices everywhere. If you’re not quite ready to stand or jog while working, there are numerous exercises you can do at your desk during a sedentary day. Get up and walk, even at the office, for about 5-10 minutes every hour.
Click here to see 20 exercises, including simple stretches to boost circulation as well as more complex strength-building exercises. Likewise, do whatever you can to be more active during the day. If you have to drive instead of walk, park farther away from your destination and take the stairs instead of using an elevator.

5. Go Outside During Lunch

Not everyone can take a long break during the day, change clothes, and come back sweaty and flushed after a mid-day run or basketball game. However, you can probably go for a brisk 30-minute walk at lunch and still be presentable to meet with an important client.
Depending on where you are on the fitness spectrum, a 30-minute walk may not be sufficient, but it’s always better than sitting at a desk. You’ll also get the mood-enhancing benefits of sunshine, fresh air and a change in scenery.

6. Incorporate Workouts Into Meetings

You most likely meet with clients or contractors over lunch in a café or conference room. But, you could opt for a low-key fitness activity, such as golf or a walk in the park, to discuss business matters while being active.
Of course, you never want to spring this type of plan on anyone; make sure your client is comfortable with the idea. And who knows, maybe you’ll discover you have a mutual interest, such as rock climbing, kayaking or cycling — and your client may be just as eager to sneak these activities into his or her schedule as you are.

7. Make It a Priority

The most important thing you can do is treat your workouts like any other appointment. You’re not going to break a commitment to a client, so don’t break a commitment to yourself either. Schedule each workout into your smartphone and make it non-negotiable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation why you’re unavailable during that time.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Saturday, 4 January 2014

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Smart Lighting Tech Brings Space Bulbs to Your Home

Think it’s tough to fall asleep on earth? Just try to imagine what it’s been like for all the astronauts inhabiting the International Space Station (ISS) over the last 15 years. They experience day and night light patterns once every 90 minutes. Lighting can help. Even back on terra firma, people use lights to help lift spirits and regulate sleep when, say, the light is scarce in the winter.
Now, a space-age solution is, figuratively, making the trip from the ISS to Earth thanks to Lighting Science. The company developed lighting technologies that sought to mimic natural light patterns and, as a result may be helping astronauts find some semblance of circadian rhythm normalcy. Prototypes featuring similar, LED-based technology were first installed on the ISS in 2008.
Lighting Science's director of research Rob Soler worked at NASA and was part of the team that developed the original ISS LED lighting prototype. "The average astronaut gets about four hours of sleep per night," Soler told me, adding, "historically 70% of all medication on ISS are sleep aids of some type."
For earth, the company is working on three new LED lighting solutions, which will all be unveiled at CES 2014: Awake & Alert, Good Night and the Rhythm Downlight.
New-fangled lightblulbs may not seem like the next big thing, but when your 40- or 60-watt bulb burns out in a few months, you may be shopping for a high-tech lightning option, anyway. As of 2014, the U.S. will stop manufacturing and importing incandescent 60 and 40 watt bulbs. Many homes have already switched to compact fluorescent bulbs (one of the reasons home electricity use plummeted in 2013). However, despite the energy savings, most of the CFLs are not particularly high-tech or all that good for the environment (they contain trace amounts of mercury). LED-based bulbs are the next big thing. Owing to their digital nature, manufacturers can do a lot more with them than simply light a room.
Lighting Science's Rhythm Downlight, for instance, can fit in most recessed lighting receptacles and communicates with a companion mobile app via Bluetooth connection. Users answer questions about their schedule in the mobile app and the light, according to a Lighting Science release, automatically adjusts its lighting properties “to optimize sleep or wakefulness.” This mostly involves adjusting the level of blue light the Rhythm emits. More blue light means less melatonin, which means you stay awake.
Soler explained that the same programming technology found in Rhythm is currently under review by NASA for Spaceflight qualification and could be installed on the ISS by 2015.
Awake & Alert, which is not programmable, boosts blue light to help give you an energy boost at any time of the day. Similarly, Good Night uses reduced blue levels to help you fall asleep. The use of blue light and wakefulness and attitude adjustment is nothing new. Phillips, for example, has its own line of “Light Therapy” bulbs.
Awake and Good Night lights list for $69.99 and are available online from Lighting Science No pricing has been set for Rhythm Downlight, which should ship by the end of Q3, 2014.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Friday, 20 December 2013

Interviewers notice these three little details

interview tips
Your resume is wonderful, and you have written what has to be the best cover letter ever. And when you  are asked to come in for an interview.

you have practiced your walk, gone through hard questions and you think you’re ready.
After checking those big fat things off your interview list, its important not to forget little ones.
Reality is, interviewers pay attention to everything from your answers to the shoes on your feet.
You can never know exactly what things the interviewer will  notice, but there are some “big” little things that will help the interviewer to focus  on you and your capabilities rather than on nitpicking details.
Here are some things you shouldn’t overlook because the interviewer certainly won’t! :-
You already know how to dress sharp for the interview , but don’t stop there. It isn’t just about a great suit and killer shoes.
While preparing for an interview, make sure that you give yourself an extra close look while getting ready. If you think you might need a shave in a day or so, do i now. Every hair out of its place , a stain on your tie, or a scuff on your shoe are the details that can distract the interviewer.
2. Um’s the word- To avoid
We all say it. So much in fact, that most of us don’t even realize how much we do it in a conversation. Constant saying of “um” can make you look unprepared or nervous.
To avoid using this non-word, you should why it’s on the tip of your tongue.
Here’s a pro tip: Being silent can be golden, so don’t be afraid to use it. If you are not sure how to answer the question, or if you are searching for the right word, it’s okay to pause for a bit. “That’s a great question” or “Let me think” are some great phrases that can buy you some time.
3. The write stuff
Taking notes with you in an interview is a great way to express that you’re interested in a position. Showing up your beat-up notebook and a pen you swiped from a dentist’s office isn’t gonna cut it. Just like your attire, your notes should be presented in a professional manner.
You don’t need a latest Montblanc pen ant a Moleskine notebook. A nice padfolio with a pad of paper or a notebook will do the trick. Also don’t forget to bring a spare pen with you. Nothing says you are not prepared like asking to borrow a pen in middle of your interview.

Posted By: Pawan Lubana on Friday, 20 December 2013

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