Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Yogeshwar Dutt wants Besik Kudukhov's family to keep the Olympics silver medal!

Indian wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt's 2012 Olympics bronze medal was set to be upgraded to silver after Besik Kudukhov, who finished second in the London Games, was tested positive for the banned substance after a re-test. But Yogeshwar now wants Kudukhov's family to keep the medal.
Yogeshwar, who lost to Kudukhov in the pre-quarters in the London Olympics, reached the repechage round where he managed to emerge victorious in three different rounds to win the bronze in London.
This medal upgrade had initially come as positive news for Yogeshwar, who had a miserable Rio Olympics. Yogeshwar was one of the serious medals contenders for the nation, but he suffered an unfortunate exit on the opening round in the last day of the quadrennial event.
The Indian wrestler failed to defeat Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran, who emerged victorious with 3-0 scoreline. He returned home without a medal. Meanwhile, he received the good news of medal upgrade for the previous Games yesterday. 
On Tuesday, Yogeshwar said that this silver medal upgrade would give his fans a reason to cheer after his Rio disappointment. But the wrestler took to Twitter on Wednesday, praising the Russian for being a quality wrestler and asked his family to keep the medal. Kudukhov died in 2013 in a car crash accident.
Both the wrestlers were good friends, and Yogeshwar said human feelings are paramount to him. 

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100 year old Indian runner defies age to win gold at Vancouver meet!

In a gripping tale of unwavering dedication and passion towards the sport, a 100-year-old Indian runner has become the talk of the town after she picked up a gold medal in the 100-metre race at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver.

India’s Man Kaur hailing from Chandigarh, took one and a half minutes to finish off the 100-meter sprint and picked up a gold medal at the American Masters Games to become a worldwide inspiration. Ms Kaur was the only female contestant in her age category at the competition for older athletes.
Kaur’s son Gurdev Singh, who also competes in the Masters Games, said he knew his mother could become a star in her age category, CBCnews reported.
He further said that his mother’s energy and drive to compete has become an inspiration to participants in the unique international event for athletes over 30.
When asked to share her secret to long life, Kaur said a good diet and lots of exercise can help one to achieve a long-lasting life.
Kaur began running at age 93 at the suggestion of her son and went on to win more than 20 medals in Masters Games across the globe.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Apple sued over touchscreen defect by iPhone owners!

Owners of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices are slapping Apple with a lawsuit over a so-called "Touch Disease" that makes the devices unusable.
The case, which was filed in the Northern District of California Saturday, alleges that Apple is aware of the technical glitch but refuses to fix affected devices. Named plaintiffs Todd Clearly, Jun Bai and Thomas Davidson are reportedly accusing Apple of fraud.
"The iPhones are not fit for the purpose of use as smartphones because of the touchscreen defect," the complaint said, according to Reuters.
Touch Disease is reportedly caused by faulty controller chips, which interpret your taps and swipes into usable data for your iPhone. Those chips aren't properly secured to the logic board in the affected iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, according to repair website iFixit, which means the signals that would normally be sent by prodding your iPhone's touchscreen are interrupted or lost entirely.
The glitch has a telltale sign: A distinct gray bar appears at the top of affected devices.
iFixit claims Apple does not offer repairs for affected iPhones, forcing users to replace their devices or rely on third-party services. Kyle Wiens, the founder of iFixit, said this puts consumers in a tight spot. 
"Repairing modern electronics like the iPhone circuit board requires specialized tools and access to schematics," Wiens told Mashable in an email. "Independent repair shops have the expertise and tools, but without Apple’s support are forced to rely on bootlegged schematics."
Apple is not legally obligated to provide these schematics to third-party companies. Some argue that forcing the company to do so would be like insisting they divulge trade secrets. 
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mashable on Monday.

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All that you need to know about obesity!

30% of the world’s population is either obese or overweight and the highest concentration of such people live in the United States, India and China which together account for 15% of the world’s obese population. In just over three decades, worldwide obesity has doubled. According to a study, in 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight and out of these, over a staggering 600 million were obese! Surprising as it may sound, while many parts of the world battle hunger and malnutrition, in reality, obesity is as much or even a bigger problem as there are more people dying due to obesity and overweight problems than due to those being underweight! Childhood obesity is rising and how! 41 million children under the age of 5 were either obese or overweight in 2014, with the numbers only rising exponentially. Obesity is an epidemic despite being largely preventable. The rapidity with which the world is becoming obese is stunning. 
Definition Of Obese.
A person is obese when his/her body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. The body mass index is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. If the BMI is between 25 and 30, the person is overweight and if it is above 30, the person is obese.
Factors Responsible.
Unhealthy diet is certainly one of the major reasons. We are downing more fat and high calorie fast foods than ever.
Lack of physical activity leads to calorie pile-up as one does not burn as many calories. If you don’t burn enough calories, those end up showing on your weighing scale. A sedentary lifestyle is suicidal.
Genes play a major role and affect the amount of body fat one stores and where that fat is distributed. Genes also play a role in the body’s ability in converting food into energy and burning calories during exercise. If either one or both of your parents are obese, your risks of being one goes up significantly.
Some medical problems like polycystic ovaries, thyroid issues, Cushing’s syndrome and other conditions also cause weight gain.
Some medicines cause weight gain, especially steroids, anti-depressants, anti-seizures, beta blockers and some others.
Change in sleeping habits also contribute to increasing weight. Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much impact and cause a change in hormones which spikes appetite.
Being overweight or obese has its share of big complications.
When the body has more weight to carry, there will be more blood flowing through the body. This puts more pressure on the heart as it has to work harder to pump the extra blood.
If you are overweight you could develop hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, high triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. These put you at a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Risk of gallbladder disease and gall stones goes up.
Breathing disorders like sleep apnea in which breathing repeatedly momentarily stops and restarts.
Nonalcoholic fatty disease.
Various types of cancers including that of the colon, rectum, liver , gallbladder and many more.  An estimated 20% of all cancer cases are linked to excess weight.
Sexual problems.


Dietary modifications are a must. A dietician should be consulted to ensure that there is enough intake of essential nutrients.
Exercise - Exercising to knock off excess weight is an absolute must. A sedentary lifestyle is a big no-no. Physical activity is essential for an effective weight loss regimen. Research has shown that  when the number of calories consumed are reduced, the body reacts by slowing down the metabolism to burn fewer calories, rather than promoting weight loss. Regular physical activity is essential to speeden up the metabolism. So move that booty!
Prescription weight loss drugs - There are drugs that act as a stimulant to increase fat metabolism and some that work by blocking about 30 percent of dietary fat from being absorbed and also those which suppress appetite. These are to be taken strictly on the advice of a doctor. More often than not, the weight piles on if the medicines are stopped and while on these drugs, an individual may lose up to 10% of his/her weight, some studies suggest.
Weight-loss surgeries - There are many weight loss surgeries which are done in extreme cases -  when the person is at least a 100 pounds over the normal weight and /or has a BMI of over 40. Some surgical options are gastric bypass surgery where a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach and the small intestine is then cut below the main stomach and connected to the new pouch. Food and liquid flow directly from the pouch into this part of the intestine, thus bypassing most of the stomach. There are other surgeries like the gastric sleeve surgery which entails removing a large part of the stomach to create a smaller space for food. Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, Vagal nerve blockade and Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding are some other surgical options.
Even after a weight loss surgery, weight gain is common. Hence, it is necessary to avoid high calorie foods and exercise for at least an hour everyday. No surgery is free of risks and before deciding on a weight loss surgery, the need for the same and the risks v/s benefits must be assessed thoroughly in consultation with a qualified doctor who specialises in these kind of surgeries. 
There are some factors which are beyond the control of obese people but then there are some that one can control. Focus on those and chances are that you will move from fat to fit. Nip that fat in the bud. 
Illustration : Anjana.

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Monday, 29 August 2016

Different types of delicious ladoos!

1. Motichoor Ladoo / Boondi Ka Ladoo

They are the most popular ones from the laddoo family and are generally the first choice for people in any event or fanfare. Usually displayed on the first or the most prominent shelves in sweet shops, these orange – yellow laddoos taste heavenly. Just a bite is good enough to set our senses in bliss but try heating one in the microwave for about 10 – 15 seconds and have it slightly warm. You will be sure that this slightly heated version of laddoo will give any melting brownie a run for its money.

2. Besan Ladoo (gram flour)
Made with gram flour, ghee, sugar, cardamom, almonds and raisins, this one’s a sure delight and will leave you asking for more.
They not only satisfy our sweet tooths but laddoos like besan come with a host of health benefits too. Besan is known to be rich in nutrients such as magnesium, copper, folate, and manganese. It also contains iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. So you are indeed in for something that’s quite healthy.

3. Coconut Ladoo
Historically these soft, flavorful coconut preparations find roots in the Chola Empire; when it was a sweet that was packed for travelers and warriors as a symbol of good luck for their expeditions. In today’s times, coconut laddoos can be made in a variety of ways – with or without condensed milk. Needless to say, Coconut is of great significance in the Hindu culture – as an offering in rituals or as an ingredient in kitchens. So how can the mithais (desserts) be any far away?

4. Til Ladoo (Sesame)
Sesame has a host of health benefits like regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining bone health and prevention of diabetes to mention a few. With additional properties like providing heat and being loaded with hot, bitter, sweet and pungent flavours, til laddoos make a perfect choice during winters and are celebrated on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in the month of January every year.

5.  Aata Ladoo (Wheat)
One does not even need to elaborate on countless health benefits of wheat. Wheat is one of the most common cereals available in the world, so if you are anywhere out of India and have some laddoo cravings; indulge in making some atta laddoos. With other ingredients of the dish (like sugar, nuts cardamom) easily available too, you can enjoy some healthy and delicious laddoos in no time.

6. Suji / Rawa ladoo (Semolina)
Just like atta laddoos, there are very easy to make. For a more simpler version – Just roast some rawa with ghee, combine it with milk and ground sugar and make round balls of the batter … and Voila the laddoos are ready. They are tasty, healthy and delicious.

7. Moongdal Ladoo (Lentils)
Dals are so integral to our cooking that almost any Indian household cannot imagine their daily main courses without it.
But hey there’s a sweet meal that can be made of Dal too. Creamy in texture and aromatic in fragrance, moong dal laddoos make a very scrumptious variety.

8. Ragi Ladoos (millet)
Ragi is high on proteins and minerals and has amazing anti-microbial properties. Include it in your diet to reap its health benefits. One way of course is by having some lip smacking laddoos.

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

10 healthy benefits of tomatoes!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we women could get a magical potion to turn us into a diva with lustrous hair, perfect figure and beautiful skin? Well we would all love to, but then with so many beauty secrets and hacks on the internet, it gets difficult to choose the right one. But the solution is easier than you thought. Give it to good ‘ol tomatoes. Other than making our food total yum, tomatoes also secretly work on your skin. So, scroll ahead and unlock the secrets to the most gorgeous skin. 

#1. Raw and juicy tomatoes for skin
The most cost-effective way of making your skin radiate is by eating tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, the substance associated with the deep red colour of tomatoes. And it is this substance which is used in most facial cleansers available in the market. So, when it is naturally available, why burn a hole in your pockets? Besides, tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, which protect your skin against sun damage and keep signs of ageing at bay. 

#2. For more antioxidants
Antioxidants keep a check on the formation of free radicals in the bloodstream and neutralise their harmful effects. So, eating tomatoes adds beta-carotene and vitamins to your system that work as antioxidants and thwart the working of free radicals.

#3. For weight loss benefits
Tomatoes are not only great for your health but beneficial for weight loss as well. They are low calorie foods that are high in energy and dense with essential nutrients. Also, since tomatoes are high in water content, they help you to curb your untimely hunger pangs. They also help to balance your blood sugar levels. 

#4. For beautiful hair
Did you know that the vitamins in tomatoes can help you get long and strong locks? Yes, indeed! Eat more tomatoes to get the essential vitamin A that would leave you not only with strong hair but shiny strands as well.

#5. For a healthy heart
Tomatoes are rich in folate, potassium, vitamin B and niacin that are known to reduce cholesterol levels. Along with this, they also help in lowering blood pressure. This leaves you with a healthier and stronger heart. Including tomatoes in your daily diet would lower the risks of heart attacks and other heart related ailments.

#6. For pregnant women
During pregnancy, a woman’s body requires more than the usual source of essential nutrients and vitamins. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C that are very beneficial for the expecting mother and her child. Also, since our body does not retain large amount of water-soluble vitamins, so tomatoes must be eaten as they are rich in folate (water-soluble vitamin). Folates are important for the body as it helps in foetal development. Along with this, even the lycopene in tomatoes are great for lactating mothers. 

#7. For cancer prevention
Cancer occurs when there is a chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Tomatoes provide human body with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support. Tomatoes display cancer-protective properties. Lycopene, the natural antioxidant in tomatoes, is quite effective in slowing down the growth of cancerous cells in the body. Also, alpha-tomatine, a phytonutrient present in tomato kills already formed prostate cancer cells in men. Besides, tomatoes also reduce risk of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.

#8. For better eye sight
Vitamin A and beta-carotene in tomatoes are very helpful in improving your vision. Also, eating raw tomatoes helps to prevent development of night blindness.

#9. For stronger bones
In 180 grams of tomato, you will find approximately 17.7 per cent of vitamin K which is an important nutrient required to strengthen bones, repair bone tissues, and constantly form new bone material. Besides, lycopene too stimulates osteoblasts, an important bone-building cell to synthesise and deposit bone matrix.

#10. Other benefits
Here are some other benefits of eating tomatoes:
  • Tomatoes eaten without seeds reduce the risk of kidney stones.
  • Magnesium present in tomato helps the formation of bone and regeneration of new cells.
  • Fibre in tomatoes also help to prevent asthma. 
So, jet off to your vegetable market and stock these red beauties in your fridge, now!

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Saturday, 27 August 2016

SRK and Akshay in list of highest paid actors by Forbes!

10. Brad Pitt and Akshay Kumar: $31.5 million

Pitt not only produced and acted in ‘The Big Short’, the movie also won an Oscar and made $133.3 million worldwide. He is also the part of the upcoming ‘War Machine’, which Netflix reportedly paid $60 million to acquire. While Bollywood’s one of the busiest khiladi is one of the most bankable actors with scoring three hits at the box office in the year.

9. Robert Downey Jr: $33 million

He is one of the most popular and loved actors, thanks to the Iron Man series, following it up with Avengers and ‘Captain America: Civil War’ which made him the highest paid actor last year.

8. Shah Rukh Khan: $33 million

SRK still rules the box office in Bollywood. His last hit ‘Dilwale’ earned him in multi-millions and he even got the cut from the back-end for his extra efforts. The actor also cashes in with numerous endorsement deals.

7. Vin Diesel: $35 million 

The actor makes it on the list again, thanks to ‘Furious 8′ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequel.

6. Ben Affleck: $43 million

It’s safe to say that ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ landed Ben his biggest box office hit, which the critics may have dissed it. The movie grossed a whopping $870 million world wide.

5. Johnny Depp: $48 million

Jack Sparrow pocketed an eight figure fat fee for the latest ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ installment  and ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’.

4. Tom Cruise: $53 million

At 53, he still is the most popular and sorted after actor in Hollywood. The Scientologist banked a big backend paycheck for ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’, plus upfront fees for the Jack Reacher sequel and ‘Mena’.

3. Matt Damon: $55 million

This should come as no surprise as ‘The Martian’ grossed over $630.1 million over a $108 million budget! His return to Jason Bourne series landed him huge bucks, with his co-produced ‘The Great Wall’.

2. Jackie Chan: $61 million

There’s a reason why Jackie Chan is a favourite with everyone in the world. He starred in the ‘Monkey King’ franchise and many of his Chinese movies are at the post-production right now.

1. Dwayne Johnson: $64 million

His Rock-solid performances and hits at the box office are what lands him on the first spot. From the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise to leading last year’s ‘San Andreas’ to a $473 million worldwide, the actor today has become the go-to star for action in Hollywood. His next release is ‘Baywatch’, which also stars Priyanka Chopra.

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Friday, 26 August 2016

Indian civilian flights ready to permit in-flight Wi-Fi!

For years, air travelers in India have complained about the unavailability of internet connectivity on flights. But those days will soon be behind them. 
The Indian government is all set to announce a set of reforms which will let airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi on all flights over Indian airspace. 
Civilian flights in India will soon offer Wi-Fi services to their passengers, aviation secretary R. N. Choubey said. The home, telecommunications and aviation ministries are also in favor of allowing flights coming in and out of the country to continue their Wi-Fi services without any interruption, he added.

Wi-Fi services haven’t been permitted on domestic flights in India out of security concerns. In addition, flights that were crossing India’s airspace were also required to turn off internet services to passengers while they were in Indian airspace, a move that has upset airlines for years. The change of heart comes as Indian agencies devise ways to intercept mid-air calls and data when they need to, Choubey added.

The government of India became wary of internet services on planes after the hijacking of an Indian airlines plane on its way to Delhi from Kathmandu on December 24, 1999, according to a senior ministry official. 

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Delicious salads with no lettuce!

There are a few who don’t like the leafy vegetables like lettuce that mark their presence in numerous salads. Rejoice. There is more to salad that tossing in a few leafy greens with smart fats like olive oil & nuts.

Lets take a look at a few lettuce free salads that are tasty & filling. 

Rajma (Red Kidney Bean) Salad:

Rich in iron, complex carbohydrates & nutrients, red kidney beans are loaded with fiber. To make this salad, soak 1 cup rajma overnight & pressure cook till soft to touch & nicely done. Drain & transfer to a mixing bowl. Add chopped onions tomatoes & cucumbers. Mix 3 tsp juice of lemon with salt (as per taste) & pinch of pepper & add to the salad mix. Drizzle a little extra virgin oil & garnish with chopped coriander.

Mixed Sprouts Salad:
Lentils have been an important part of the Indian diet since ages. Lentils, when sprouted, offer a world of goodness. Sprouts are rich in proteins, dietary fibers, Vitamins A, C, K, folate and minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Though this recipe may be little time consuming as you have to sprout the various lentils and boil them, the health benefits they offer is worth the effort. To make this salad, boil the sprouts of your choice, such as Moong, Rajma, Kabuli Chana & more. Next, add grated radish & chopped tomatoes. Make the dressing by whisking 1 cup yogurt with chopped fresh mint & some salt & pepper to taste. Garnish with pomegranate pearls and serve.

Home-style Carrot Salad:
Also called “koshimbir” across Maharashtrian homes, this carrot salad is a great side dish. Take 1 cup grated carrot in a bowl. Add 2 tsp crushed peanuts & mix well. Head 2 tsp oil with little cumin & 1 medium green chili slit in the middle, allow the cumin seeds to crackle. Pour over grated carrot, add salt & sugar to taste & mix well. Garnish with chopped coriander.

Chickpea salad:
Chickpeas are a good source of protein. To make this salad, pressure cook 1 cup chickpeas (soaked overnight) till they are soft but firm. Add 1 boiled & cubed potato, 1 chopped tomato & onion to the chickpeas. Finely chop one green chili & add to the mix. Make a dressing with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, chaat masala, pinch of pepper powder, 1 tsp lemon juice & salt to taste. Mix into the salad & serve immediately or refrigerate for sometime. 

Greek Salad:
Every bite of this refreshing Mediterranean salad is a treat to the taste buds. This low-calorie, high nutrient salad provides the much needed Vitamins A and C to your body along with potassium, iron and other minerals. The secret of the classic Greek salad lies in its ingredients. To make this salad you will need crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, creamy feta cheese, tangy black olives and some good quality extra virgin olive oil. You can also include onions and capsicum to make it healthier. Toss the cut veggies in a big bowl and season with grated cheese, salt, red wine vinegar and extra virgin oil. You can serve this classic Greek salad with a slice of feta cheese on top.

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Russian billionaire plans to reach nearby planet that might nurture life!

Back in April, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner pledged $100 million toward a crazy plan to visit another star system.
The mission — Breakthrough Starshot — aims to get this done by propelling teeny, tiny spaceships to 20% the speed of light with powerful lasers.
Milner and famed physicist Stephen Hawking initially said their destination would be Alpha Centauri: the second-closest star system to Earth, located some 4.37 light-years (25.7 trillion miles) away.
But as far as anyone knows, Alpha Centauri is bereft of habitable worlds.
This is precisely why the recent and groundbreaking discovery of a nearby planet could switch things up for Starshot.
Astronomers on Wednesday announced they'd discovered an Earth-like and potentially habitable world, called Proxima b, circling Proxima Centauri — a red dwarf star that's closer than Alpha Centauri by about 1 trillion miles.
"The discovery ... provides an obvious target for a flyby mission," Avi Loeb, a physicist at Harvard University and a Starshot mission advisory committee chair, wrote in an email to Business Insider.
"A spacecraft equipped with a camera and various filters could take color images of the planet and infer whether it is green (harboring life as we know it), blue (with water oceans on its surface) or just brown (dry rock)," Loeb wrote.
The team hopes to "achieve a launch in 2-3 decades," says Loeb, and reach Proxima Centauri about 20 years later.
The photos, meanwhile, would take at least 4.24 years — the distance in light-years from here to the star — to get back to Earth.
Adding up that timeline, Starshot thinks it could take photos of Proxima b (plus whatever else its nanocraft encounter there) by the year 2060.

How to sail to a star

Milner said in April that Starshot will start out as a $100 million engineering proof-of-concept to design, build, launch, and propel a small fleet of iPhone-size "nanocraft" to Alpha Centauri in about 25 years' time.
Each nanocraft will contain a tiny spacecraft and a laser-light sail for propulsion. "This is the Silicon valley approach to spaceflight," Milner said.
The hypothetical spacecraft, called StarChip, will be built out of a "gram-scale" silicon wafer that's "carrying cameras, photon thrusters, power supply, navigation and communication equipment, and constituting a fully functional space probe."
Moving each StarChip along will be a Lightsail propulsion unit.
An array of powerful lasers called a "beamer" will take aim at the Lightsails, accelerating each nanocraft to more than 134 million mph.

'A sense of urgency' to reach Proxima b

At this point Starshot already has a prototype for the StarChip (pictured in Milner's hand at the top of this post).
It's smaller than an iPhone, and it will be backed with cameras, photon thrusters, power supply, navigation, and communication equipment.
But Loeb said the next 5 to 10 years of the project — and most of the $100 million — will be focused on proving the laser propulsion idea actually works.
From there they'll work on perfecting the tiny ships, Loeb said, noting that a beamer "could potentially launch hundreds of cheap, gram-scale spacecrafts per year."
"This will allow us to send a fleet of probes towards Proxima that could relay the images taken back to Earth more easily (from one spacecraft to the next along the line of sight to Proxima)," he said.
Noting that exisiting telescopes can't photograph the new planet, at least in a conventional sense, Loeb added: "The curiosity to know more about the planet (most importantly whether it hosts life) will give the Starshot initiative a sense of urgency."
Even if Proxima b doesn't support life, Loeb says it's still important to explore the not-so-distant world.
"The lifetime of Proxima is several trillion years, almost a thousand times longer than the remaining lifetime of the Sun," he said.
"Hence, a habitable rocky planet around Proxima would be the most natural location to where our civilization could aspire to move after the Sun will die, five billions years from now." (At least one sci-fi author thinks this is a horrible idea, though.)

A wealthy fan of space exploration

Milner's fascination with space and science runs deep.
The first man in space was cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin — who Milner has said he was named after.
Milner has also spent big money on science initiatives before, saying he wants to celebrate"intellectual achievement" in the same way we celebrate artistic and athletic prowess.
The Russian billionaire philanthropist has collaborated with Hawking in the past, too. In July 2015, the two announced a $100 million plan, called "Breakthrough Listen," to search the stars for intelligent extraterrestrial life.
Milner was even working on a PhD in physics before becoming a Silicon Valley investor, where he earned his fortune investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Groupon.
Today he funds some of the biggest science prizes out there, including the Breakthrough Prize, which Mark Zuckerberg also supports.
Kevin Loria and Lauren Friedman contributed to this post.

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Test can help cancer patients to avoid chemotherapy!

For patients facing a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer, the traditional course of treatment is typically surgery, followed by an often difficult course of chemotherapy to try to make sure the cancer doesn't recur.
But, a new study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that about 46% of women who were at high risk of breast cancer recurrence after surgery might not actually need chemotherapy — which often comes with debilitating side effects like profound fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and a weakened immune system.
This was the result of a five-year-long clinical trial of about 6,700 women who had been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. It was run by Agendia, a company that makes a diagnostics test called "MammaPrint" that screens breast cancer tumors for the activity in 70 genes. The results of the test are designed to give cancer doctors an idea of whether someone is at a low or high genetic risk for recurrence.
Laura Van t’ Veer, one of the lead authors of the study and chief research officer at Agendia, likened the genetics of the tumor to an engine, while age or other measures of risk of recurrence were more like the body of a car. You could have a fancy car with a bad engine, which means you might overlook someone who would benefit from chemotherapy. Or, you could have an old car with a fantastic engine, which means the chemotherapy might not be needed.
"It's only when you look under the tumor, you see what the aggressiveness of the tumor is," she told Business Insider. That's what the MammaPrint test aims to do.
(After three operations and four rounds of chemotherapy at Georgetown University Hospital, cancer patient Deborah Charles shows off her breast cancer survivor bracelet.Thomson Reuters) The researchers looked at the group of patients that might have a shabby looking car but a solid engine (those with high clinical risk but low genetic risk, as determined by the MammaPrint test). They found that 1,550 people in the group fit that criteria, and randomly assigned them to either get chemotherapy or not.
By the end of the five-year study, they found that the overall survival was only 1.5% better for those who had chemotherapy over those who didn't, which Van t’ Veer said the group found "not statistically significant."
In an accompanying editorial, the American Society of Clinical Oncology agreed that the MammaPrint test seemed to be a good tool for helping patients steer clear of chemotherapy when it might be unnecessary. But they cautioned against dismissing that 1.5% increase in the survival rate of the chemotherapy group.
"These findings provide evidence that the genomic test can reassign some classically high-risk patients with early-stage breast cancer to a lower-risk cohort in whom any plausible chemotherapy benefit would be modest," they wrote. "However, a difference of 1.5 percentage points, if real, might mean more to one patient than to another. Thus, the stated difference does not precisely exclude a benefit that clinicians and patients might find meaningful."
Agendia isn't the only test that helps doctors determine whether a breast cancer patient needs chemotherapy — Onocotype DX, made by GenomicHealth, is another similar test that's been widely used and studied. Van t’ Veer said the main difference between the two competing tests was that Oncotype DX focuses on who would benefit from chemotherapy, while MammaPrint takes the opposite approach by trying to pinpoint who should definitely not get chemotherapy.
Dr. Harold Burstein, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Insititute who wasn't involved in the research, told Business Insider that the trial wasn't enough to convince him to switch him over from Oncotype DX. That 1.5% benefit that patients who received chemotherapy got after showing a low genetic risk was one of the main sticking points for him. And patients must be followed for more than five years to see the long-term results.
But overall, the trial was good news. 
"It supports the general idea that genomic information can add to traditional pathology," he said.

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