Friday, December 14, 2012

Zeitgeist 2012: What piqued your curiosity this year?

Zeitgeist 2012: What piqued your curiosity this year?: As 2012 comes to a close, it's time for our 12th annual Year-End Zeitgeist—an in-depth look at the "spirit of the times" as seen through the billions of searches on Google over the past year.

On our 2012 Zeitgeist website, you can explore the most popular and hottest trending search terms from around the world. This year’s site is our most global to date, with a total of 838 lists from 55 countries. We’ve also added a number of new features, including an interactive map that shows where and when some of the hottest terms spiked around the world, and a Google Zeitgeist Android app coming out later today (with an iOS version coming soon too).

For a round-the-globe tour through 2012, take a look at our video:

So what kinds of things were top of mind this year? While there are perennial themes—“what is love?” topped the list in 10 countries—it’s the unusual and surprising that caught our attention in 2012.

Global superstar Whitney Houston topped many countries’ lists as well as three of our overall trending lists—her unexpected death surprising fans around the world. From Korea, YouTube sensation PSY’s “Gangnam Style” signature dance took the world by storm, landing him the #1 spot in many countries and making his song the second most trending query of 2012. (PSY’s video became the #1 most watched in YouTube history—stay tuned for YouTube’s Rewind for more.)

Then there was the superhuman. Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s epic free fall jump made him the #6 globally trending person of the year, while the 2012 Olympics and its various athletes made it into almost every country’s top trends. And NBA player Jeremy Lin also rose on the charts this year, making him the #1 trending athlete globally.

People researched a breadth of other topics, too. Web users took a serious interest in threats to the open Internet, with proposals like SOPA and ACTA both finding their way to the top of many countries’ lists. The U.S. elections brought attention to the candidates and issues, not least the presidential campaigns’ most notorious political gaffes. And while it might not be surprising to see that tragic natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy ranked highly (#3 on the global trending list), it is reassuring to find searches like [donate to Sandy] spiking as well.

We hope you enjoy exploring what people around the world were searching for in 2012. It’s quite a snapshot of what makes us human: a blend of guilty pleasures and higher pursuits.

Posted by Amit Singhal, SVP & Google Fellow

Unleashing creativity in Google’s CSI:Lab

Unleashing creativity in Google’s CSI:Lab: This is the first in a series of posts profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our “Googlers-to-Googlers” program (known internally as “g2g”). The g2g community consists of a group of Googlers who are passionate about teaching, sharing and learning from one another. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g's community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. Our philosophy is: the best teacher you've ever had could be the one in the cube next to you. - Ed

For most people, the term “CSI” evokes images of crime scene investigators solving murder mysteries, like on the popular TV series. But I hadn’t heard of the TV show when I created the CSI:Lab at Google. This program on Creative Skills for Innovation is taught through our “Googlers-to-Googlers” (g2g) program—where Googlers teach other Googlers about topics that interest them. We don’t lift fingerprints or take down criminals, but like the show, CSI:Lab is all about reaching an end goal through brainstorming, getting your hands dirty and an “ensemble” performance.

Here I am welcoming a CSI:Lab

Over the course of my travels a few years ago, I had the opportunity to observe a variety of diverse places and cultures, from Shanghai to Capetown. Experiencing dissimilar cultures allowed me to see how people from different walks of life innovate to survive and thrive, and deepened my interest in the topic of innovation. One of the reasons I was drawn to Google was its unique innovation culture. Soon after arriving here in February 2010, I began to delineate what was tangible about that aspect of the Google culture and was determined to figure out how I could immerse both myself and others in it more. This led me to think about how I could use the knowledge I gathered on innovation from my travels to teach those with different occupations and mindsets—from a salesperson to a project manager to an engineer—to think more about how to be innovative and to ignite change in a company.

In my 20 percent time, I decided to develop a class with a “lab” component to show Googlers how to “experience innovation.” I wanted to get a diverse group of people together in one room to solve challenging problems by learning from each other’s experiences, and by developing their own inner strengths. The goal was to enable Googlers to experience an approach to innovation where one learns by doing, rather than by listening.

CSI:Lab is user-centered and prototype driven. In each class, small groups are formed to answer a broad challenge that entices folks to think big—such as, “How would you change the commuting to work experience?” Participants are asked to interview potential “users” of their solutions to generate insights. After the surveys, all the ideas are posted on a white board. For example, in this case individual hi-tech jet packs or “Marty McFly” skateboards might reduce commute time and aid the environment. Ultimately, one idea is chosen and the group then develops a physical prototype (think Play-Doh and pipe cleaners) of their solution, to learn and prove how and why it is the best. Each class is intentionally made up of groups of Googlers from varying parts of the company—for example, engineering, global business, or project management—to encourage the groups to collaborate and learn from each other’s experience.

CSI:Lab brainstorm session. The prompt: Re-imagine advertising.

Googlers developing their solution’s prototype to the challenge: 
What is the learning space of the future?

Since April 2010, I’ve been humbled to run the Lab in 37 Google offices worldwide, and about 9,000 Googlers have participated. Today, we have more than 50 Googlers who act as ambassadors for the Lab, designing and facilitating more Labs as part of the g2g program. From New York to Tokyo to Sao Paulo, the different people and cultures of each lab offer a new perspective. And CSI:Lab inspires Googlers long after the sessions are over. One Googler told me that after the Lab, he used his experience to develop a prototype for a solution to one of his team’s issues. He described how good it felt to take a risk to reach a solution, and ultimately he convinced a team of other Googlers to work with him to refine and implement his idea. Ultimately, seeing these ideas absorbed by participants and put to use within the company is what CSI:Lab is all about.

Take a peek at five tips to help you embrace the CSI:Lab spirit and add more creativity and innovation to your everyday life—whether it be at home or at the office!

  1. Know and own what inspires you. Understand where your inspiration comes from and do it 10x more than you do now. For example, if your inspiration comes from museums, then go to museums 10x more often; if your inspiration comes from people, talk to 10 new people each week.
  2. Think like a child. Be open and question everything around you. Try not to pre-judge thoughts or ideas; develop them.
  3. Dive into something new. Involve yourself in areas at work where you’re unfamiliar with the content and want to learn more. People are generally happy to share their knowledge and you can often teach them something too just by bringing a fresh perspective to their work.
  4. Play with fun and unusual materials when developing an idea. We all constantly use our computers and paper and pen, so think outside the box to get your mind flowing. Want to “prototype” a solution you’ve thought of? Grab some pipe cleaners, construction paper, LEGO figures, name it! See how the materials inspire you.
  5. Invest in your physical space. Having a supportive environment can make a big difference, so learn how what types of space inspire creativity. To create a more open, playful environment, try a flexible workplace with no offices. Or, help ideas flow more freely by making lots of whiteboard space easily accessible. For example, at Google’s Mountain View campus, we’ve created our own innovation space, called “The Garage” (a nod to the iconic Silicon Valley workspace). “The Garage” is big enough for 170 Googlers to use the area to create, collaborate and experiment.
A snapshot of the Garage

Posted by Frederik G. Pferdt, Global Program Manager for Innovation & Creativity

Google Maps is now available for iPhone

Google Maps is now available for iPhone: People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here—rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store. It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier.

The app shows more map on screen and turns mobile mapping into one intuitive experience. It’s a sharper looking, vector-based map that loads quickly and provides smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views. The search box at the top is a good place to start—perhaps by entering the name of a new and interesting restaurant. An expandable info sheet at the bottom shows the address, opening hours, ratings and reviews, images, directions and other information.

At the heart of this app is our constantly improving map of the world that includes detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest. Preview where you want to go with Street View and see inside places with Business Photos to decide on a table or see if it’s better at the bar. To get you there, you’ve got voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic conditions to avoid the jams and if you want to use public transportation, find information for more than one million public transit stops.

The world around us is constantly changing and, thanks to feedback from you, we make tens of thousands of daily updates to keep Google Maps accurate and comprehensive. Here’s a helpful hint for the new app: if you see something off, simply shake your phone to send us feedback.

To complete the Google Maps ecosystem, we’re also releasing the Google Maps SDK for iOS, and a simple URL scheme to help developers use Google Maps when building their beautiful and innovative apps.

The new Google Maps app is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher, in more than 40 countries and 29 languages, including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Please note some of the features mentioned in this post aren’t available in all countries.

Visit the App Store today and download the new Google Maps app. We believe this delightful new experience is a great starting point—and we’ll continue to improve Google Maps for you, every day.

Posted by Daniel Graf, Director, Google Maps for Mobile

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The evolution of This Exquisite Forest

The evolution of This Exquisite Forest: A few months ago we released This Exquisite Forest, a Chrome Experiment that lets you create collaborative animations using an online drawing tool. Since then, thousands of people from all over the world have contributed to the project, creating unique animations like Looking Up / Looking Down, Wine after Coffee and Animated Typography. For any of these animations, you can click the button in the lower right to add to the story and branch it in a new direction.

Today, we’d like to share The Endless Theater, a new way to wander the forest by viewing a continuous stream of different animations. In addition, now you can embed animations directly into your site or blog, so it’s even easier to share your work with the world. Just go into the lightbox view and click “Embed.”

A project of this scale and diversity is really only possible on the web, where people can view and contribute from all over the world using only a browser. Thank you all for making the forest so full of life. Please continue to explore, find your favorite animations, and add to the story.

Posted by Aaron Koblin, Creative Lab

(Cross-posted from the Chrome blog)

Monday, December 03, 2012

France's Sanofi Pasteur to release Dengue fever vaccine -

France's Sanofi Pasteur to release Dengue fever vaccine -

France's Sanofi Pasteur to release Dengue fever vaccine
Lyon - French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur announced this week that it would soon be bringing to the market a vaccine to counter Dengue fever, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes and which is estimated to threaten almost half the world's ...

Keep the Internet free and open

Keep the Internet free and open: Starting in 1973, when my colleagues and I proposed the technology behind the Internet, we advocated for an open standard to connect computer networks together. This wasn’t merely philosophical; it was also practical.

Our protocols were designed to make the networks of the Internet non-proprietary and interoperable. They avoided “lock-in,” and allowed for contributions from many sources. This openness is why the Internet creates so much value today. Because it is borderless and belongs to everyone, it has brought unprecedented freedoms to billions of people worldwide: the freedom to create and innovate, to organize and influence, to speak and be heard.

But starting in a few hours, a closed-door meeting of the world’s governments is taking place in Dubai, and regulation of the Internet is on the agenda. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is convening a conference from December 3-14 to revise a decades-old treaty, in which only governments have a vote. Some proposals could allow governments to justify the censorship of legitimate speech, or even cut off Internet access in their countries.

You can read more about my concerns on, but I am not alone. So far, more than 1,000 organizations from more than 160 countries have spoken up too, and they’re joined by hundreds of thousands of Internet users who are standing up for a free and open Internet. On an interactive map at, you can see that people from all corners of the world have signed our petition, used the #freeandopen hashtag on social media, or created and uploaded videos to say how important these issues are.

If you agree and want to support a free and open Internet too, I invite you to join us by signing the petition at Please make your voice heard and spread the word.

Posted by Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dealing with the Growing Power of “Medical Googlers” | MedCity News

Dealing with the Growing Power of “Medical Googlers” | MedCity News

Dealing with the Growing Power of ’Medical Googlers’

November 7, 2012 4:39 pm by | 2 Comments
The increased use of the internet by healthcare consumers has led to at least two types of medical conversations ironically illustrated by two different online features sharing a name: the ’DocTalk’ here, in which Arizona kidney specialists share treatment information on smartphones, and another ’DocTalk,’ where Ontario physician Stuart Foxman discusses such communications issues as the risks of physician’s giving too much information, and the growing irritation among physicians with patients who research conditions and treatments online.
Like it or not, these two ’doc talks’ are merging. While physicians and other providers are busily keeping up with changing practice parameters, medical literature and patient management (increasingly by computer, smartphone or tablet), patients are trying to keep up, too. WebMD receives more than 40 million hits a month, and anywhere from half to 80% of all Americans have used the internet to research a medical condition or symptoms. Even larger medical providers like Kaiser Permanente encourage the use of websites for gathering medical information. In addition, consumers increasingly have the ability to research and share opinions on their providers through sites like Interestingly, the ability of consumers to rate and offer opinions on providers is not growing quite as quickly as other industries, due to reasons we’ll cover in a future post.
If you talk to physicians, many are not thrilled with this new ’patient empowerment’ reality. Some physicians express frustration with patients coming into their offices apparently under the impression ’ often false ’ that they are as informed about their medical condition as their doctors. In addition, a new type of patient, the ’cyberchondriac,’ believes that his or her condition must be the worst one they read about online. This, of course, is not a new problem; even medical students are warned ’When you hear hoofbeats, don’t assume they’re zebras.’
What can physicians do, and how can digital healthcare innovation help them? It’s estimated that two thirds of patients now want doctors to recommend reliable websites to them. Doctors should be able to do more than that, and digital technology should help them:
  • Use Google news alerts and other online tools to stay current with the same breaking information that will be read by patients’this will help keep up with consumers but also stay ahead of recent (say, announced that morning) FDA Drug Alerts and other developments.
  • Find and recommend patient groups and discussion communities that benefit patients. There are thousands of such groups online, with tens of thousands of patients. Quick searches will result in better exchange of information and satisfied patients. More of this information can be searched and downloaded via smartphones and other digital technology.
  • Encourage the use of reliable smartphone apps and online news bulletins, clinical research sites and university medical centers. By steering patients/consumers toward the better-designed and monitored sites, both sides benefit from sharing good information.
The internet has made sharing information easier, and caused empowered consumers to demand more from their doctors. This new world isn’t going away, and medical innovators might be well-served to work closely with doctors’no matter the resistance’to encourage the use of information that separates hoofbeats from zebras.
Do you think physician skepticism of online health information is justified? Or is the online power of consumers helping improve and personalize healthcare? How can technology help steer things in the right direction? Is your medical device or digital health company working on a solution? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Read more:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

malaysiakini: No Brave New Malaysia... by S Thayaparan

malaysiakini: No Brave New Malaysia... by S Thayaparan:
No Brave New Malaysia

  • S Thayaparan
  • 7:53AM Oct 21, 2012

Whatever we wish to achieve in the future, it must begin by knowing where we are in the present - not where we wish we were, or where we wish others to think we are, but where we are in fact." - Thomas Sowell (Economic Facts and Fallacies)

COMMENT The two most important lessons the long Umno watch has taught me. First, the federal government should not be entrusted to carry out policies based either on race or on need. The second, power should be decentralised.

Listening to the participants in the forum titled ‘Vision for Economic Development for Malaysia' organised by the Chevening Alumni of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, what struck me was that there were no new ideas coming from either BN or Pakatan Rakyat.

NONEPSM's Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (who, as the DAP's Tony Pua accurately pointed out, set the bar extremely high) laid out a persuasive argument for a needs-based approach as opposed to the racial card game which is at present in play.

Jeyakumar, the only participant who has been in the grassroots trenches and been witness to Umno at the height of its power and the new reality where Pakatan has gained more influence, is a credible advocate of his socialist position. It is pity that he does not get (unlike the other two participants) mainstream (read: alternative) press coverage for his cause which he rightly deserves.

He has put in the hard work, unlike the other two politicians there who no doubt serve different roles but were, at the end of the day, regurgitating (way past its expiry date) political party talking points.

Khairy Jamaluddin, who famously used the euphemism "leakages" to describe the corruption endemic in the New Economic Policy (NEP), continued his disingenuous sermonising by conceding that a needs-based approach was acceptable, but Malaysians should consider the "grey areas" that did not involve those "bumiputera entrepreneurs who were not on the margins of society".

Khairy may justify it as "empowerment of certain ethnic groups within certain economic sectors..." but for most informed Malaysians it most definitely means a policy of crony capitalism. All this comes at a time when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is taking potshots at the"privatisation of power", which was never really about privatisation but rather about extending and legitimising Umno power beyond that of the state.

The Rembau MP was overflowing with political correct bromides that stand out, among them, "It is not just political parties that are made up of certain sectoral interests as far as ethnicity and religion is concerned. It is also how society looks at itself" - which is very true but which is something Umno-BN has never attempted to remedy.

The way Malaysian society looks at itself is exemplified by the precious "social contract" that is either vigorously defended or rejected by partisans with jaundiced interpretations of the constitution or the advocating of communal rights as a stand in for human rights.

Affirmation action fails

The fact that Pakatan partisans sometimes equate this "defence" with the civil rights movement in America makes a mockery of the road travelled by people who were far more committed to the ideals of a civilised and just society than the communal rights advocates and the crypto racists within their ranks.

This myopic narrative of Malaysian racial/economic politics continues in the proposed Social Inclusion Act drafted by Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and the National Human Rights Society (Hakam). Understand now that I am supportive of the aims of both these organisation and Pakatan, but neither of them is offering anything new beyond the idea that the "game" would be played more equitably.

Now, at first glance this may seem like an attractive proposition but the reality is that as long as we are bound by the racial shackles of our past and no new ideas ("new" does not necessarily mean "original") are injected into the political mainstream, we are doomed to commit the mistakes of our past.

Under the rather loaded title ‘Building a more just and caring nation', Azmi Sharom endorses (while also acknowledging that the proposed Act is in need of fine tuning) the proposed Act as a good first step in realising the ideal explicit in the title of his piece.

As always, there is that caveat to appease Malay communal fears when it comes to a needs-based approach, which is "I agree that the largest number of poor households is still largely Malay. This being the case, if we discard ethnic-based policy-making and focus purely on poverty alleviation, the largest group that would be receiving help will still be Malays", which at the end is merely the sleight-of-hand political speak of Pakatan (not that I am implying that Sharom is a partisan) to appease a certain ethnic voting base.

I am still unclear on the whole ‘Malay' deal. Are we talking about bumiputeras or constitutionally-created Malays, which include immigrants fast-tracked to citizenship and Malaydom, or people who self-identify themselves as Malays because of their religion of choice, Islam?

I don't see how it is ‘civilised' to endorse a supposed colour blind policy all the while reassuring a certain ethnic group that they would be taken care of solely based on their race because they (without serious unbiased holistic study) fulfil the ‘needs' criteria.

To my thinking the fact that the majority Malay community (and the rest of us Malaysians) have suffered from an affirmative action policy, perhaps the best course of action, at least as a temporary measure, is to abandon the idea of affirmative action.

Thomas Sowell in his provocative essay "Affirmative Action: A World Wide Disaster" (1989) tells of his research on countries where such policies, either race-based or needs-based, list several "patterns" that have a deleterious effect on any given society. I will list them here for convenience:

From the article:

1. Preferential programmes, even when explicitly and repeatedly defined as "temporary", have tended not only to persist but also to expand in scope, either embracing more groups or spreading to wider realms for the same groups or both. Even preferential programmes established with legally mandated cut-off dates in India and Pakistan have been continued past those dates by subsequent extensions.

2. Within these groups designated by government as recipients of preferential treatment, the benefits have disproportionately gone to those members already more fortunate.

3. Group polarisation has tended to increase in the wake of preferential treatment programmes, with non-preferred groups reacting adversely, in ways ranging from political backlash to mob violence and civil war.

4. Fraudulent claims of belonging to beneficiary groups have been widespread and taken many forms in various countries.

Superficial treatment

Readers are encouraged to slog through the 22 pages of Sowell's piece if only to remind them that there are alternatives to the current Malaysian discourse. Many Malaysian voices that advocate the same have been excluded for reasons ranging from political expediency, blind loyalty to party or Umno state-sanctioned reprisals, and of course the big one, disrupting the social contract and inflaming racial sentiment.

Of course, this piece should not be considered an attack against affirmative action (although by all means consider it such, especially if you see Sowell's "patterns" in the current Malaysian social and political climate) but rather a superficial treatment of an option that we as Malaysians should consider if we are to truly move forward.

We have a bloated civil service (and we have seen how well that worked out for Greece) and a corporate sector rife with racism as a mirror to the public sector. Our education system is in shambles with big business and fly-by-night operators colluding with the federal government to engineer an eco-system where public funds would be used to subsidise corporate interests. In this climate, do we really need an affirmative action policy?

Khairy in one of his more exuberant post-2008 tsunami moments wondered out aloud if the concept of "Ketuanan Melayu" could be reimagined as "Kepimpinan Melayu". If Kepimpinan Melayu had ever advocated abandoning its affirmative action policies after realising the futility of social engineering the Umno way, then perhaps Malay leadership would be something every Malaysian would subscribe to.

As it is, ‘Malay' leadership is accepted as a necessary consequence of the racial political reality in this land. To quote Sowell, "When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear." Unfortunately, the last bit does not apply solely to Umno.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Conquer the back to school blues with Google tools

Conquer the back to school blues with Google tools: August is both an end to the lush freedom of summer and the beginning of another year of student life. As a rising senior at the University of Florida, this time is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. Even though I’m looking forward to many aspects of the school year, there are certain things about college—from book budgets to calculus study sessions—that can make it a headache.

But this fall, I feel more prepared to face the daily student grind. This summer, I had the chance to intern on the communications team at Google and got the inside track on some tools and tricks to make school a snap. For example, did you know there was an extension for Chrome that helps you stay focused on your work? Yup, didn’t think so! So I thought I’d share some of my new favorite tips—my “Survival Guide for Student Life”—to help make it easier for all students to get through the coming months.

Easy ways to coordinate your social and extracurricular life

  • Google+ Hangouts enables you to video chat with up to nine friends from your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. A great feature for when your club needs to discuss some last minute changes for the upcoming meeting.
  • Stay on task with Hangout Apps like Symphonical, which provides a digital wall of sticky notes for virtual brainstorm sessions.
  • With Google+ Events, invite all your friends to your get-together and attach a personalized video greeting to the invitation. During the event, photos from the party can be uploaded to the event page in real-time using Party Mode. So if you have to miss a party due to a study session, you can avoid that pesky FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!
  • Let your friends know what you’re up to by sharing your Google Calendar with them. Or create a shared calendar just for your study group.
Stay organized and efficient—and be prepared for the unexpected

  • Stop the email flood from the ridiculous number of email lists you signed up for using Gmail’s auto-unsubscribe feature.
  • No more sore eyes from crowded inboxes—Gmail's default mode is Priority Inbox so it automatically sorts your important messages for you.
  • Cite your sources! Use Google Docs’ research tool to investigate highlighted portions of your essay and then generate a citation.
  • Group projects call for collaboration. With Google Drive, you can use shared folders so everyone can access materials without having to email updates to each other.
  • Using your laptop or phone, you can send any documents or presentations saved on your Google Drive to Fedex to be printed, thanks to Google Cloud Print.
Get what you need and where you’re going faster

  • For those of you starting at university this year, Google Maps has 360-degree panoramic Street View imagery for many campuses around the world to give you a preview of your new stomping grounds.
  • Back to school shopping is one of the most fun things about August. Find your way in and out of malls and department stores with indoor Google Maps on Android devices.
  • We college students can’t go too long without homemade food. Search for your next flight home with Flight Search. (If flying makes you a bit queasy, track any care packages by typing the tracking code into the Google search bar.)
  • Stay informed with Google Now. This feature, available on Android devices running Jelly Bean, can update you when the next bus is coming or provide the weather forecast for Saturday’s big game.
Reading, writing, 'rithmetic and... YouTube

  • Don’t break the bank on textbooks. Google Play has of millions of FREE (emphasis is important) books readily available such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Gulliver’s Travels."
  • With the new Nexus 7 tablet, you can take your Google Play books, music, movies, TV shows, magazines and apps (like My Majors and doubleTwist Alarm Clock) with you, wherever you go.
  • Locate hard-to-find books online or at a library near you with Book Search.
  • Put Chrome to work with educational apps
  • Not a fan of traditional note taking? Chromebooks are a super fast and virus-proof laptop. It starts seconds after you boot it and will last through a whole day of classes.
  • A fair portion of us students aren’t fans of mental math. Type any equation into the Google search box to get the answers you need. It can graph functions as well.
  • We know we spend too much of our time watching funny videos on YouTube, but there are video channels that can actually help us learn more about a variety of subjects—from astrophysics to world history. Find more educational channels at YouTube EDU.
I’m resting a bit easier now that I know there are tools that make student life a bit less overwhelming. Here’s hoping you, too, feel armed to face the fall semester—and beyond—with Google in your backpack.

Posted by Jenise Araujo, BOLD Intern, Communications Team

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Is Your Doctor Healthier Than You? - The Atlantic

Is Your Doctor Healthier Than You? - The Atlantic

Whether your primary care doctor keeps fit can determine the quality of your own care. Here are eight charts that explain the state of physician fitness in the United States.
Your doctor's job is to make sure you stay healthy. But what about his own well-being? If your physician isn't in shape, it's a sign you may be receiving inferior care. In a recent Johns Hopkins University study, physicians were found to be much less likely to talk to their patients about weight if they were overweight themselves. Ninety-three percent of primary care doctors admitted diagnosing obesity only when it was clear that the patient was heavier than the physician. Overlooking the weight issue might make for a happier doctor-patient relationship -- but then, politeness never reduced anyone's risk of diabetes.
If the quality of your doctor's care fluctuates with his own fitness, it's worth asking just how healthy America's physicians are. Do they exercise more than the rest of us? Have heart disease and diabetes at greater rates? Suffer from depression and commit suicide with the same frequency that we do?
The good news first: doctors are good at avoiding risky behavior. Compared to everyone else, they almost never smoke, they rarely drink, and they lack many of the obesity-related chronic illnesses that are threatening to overwhelm the country's health-care system. Those data come from the Physicians' Health Study II (PHS-II), a 10-year clinical trial involving over 14,000 middle-aged male doctors that concluded in 2006.
The bad news, though, is that those same doctors suffer from problems that are harder to detect at a glance. They often have high blood pressure and cholesterol. Many suffer from depression -- and attempt suicide -- at greater rates than the rest of the country. It's hard to say whether the job has much to do with it, although studies also show that students in medical school also report feelings of depression in remarkable proportions.
Comparable polls of female physicians are less exhaustive, unfortunately - they're limited to a handful of minimally-informative metrics.
For male and female doctors alike, the most recent statistics available mainly date to the late 1990s. Due to the variance across studies, not all of the numbers allow for an apples-to-apples comparison. Still, even a rough matchup reveals that doctors differ vastly in many ways from the rest of us -- but in other ways, we're just the same.
The clinical definition of obesity is having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or greater. Among male physicians, the obesity rate is only 11 percent. That's pretty impressive, especially when more than a third of all Americans are considered obese. Meanwhile, 41 percent of doctors have a "normal" BMI of less than 25, outpacing comparable middle-aged Americans by 18 percentage points.
But just because doctors aren't obese doesn't mean they're all slim. Another 47 percent of male physicians suffer from excessive weight, according to the baseline survey -- about three and a half percentage points higher than the average male American in middle age.

Americans on the whole actually exercise a bit more than doctors do. In 2009, a Gallup-Healthways poll found that just over 68 percent of Americans exercised at least once per week. Only 60 percent of male physicians could say the same. Thirty-one percent of Americans admitted to not exercising at all, compared to 38 percent of doctors participating in PHS-II.

chart_2 (1)-2.png
The only representative data we have in terms of diet is a measure of sufficient intake of fruit and vegetables. Despite advances in some states, Americans nationally still aren't meeting targets. Just 26 percent of us manage three to five servings of vegetables per day, and 14 percent of us get three to five servings of fruit. That means as many as 86 percent of Americans are missing out on some of their necessary fruits or vegetables daily. Data on female physicians don't seem to paint a prettier picture: about 15 percent of doctors surveyed said they got five or more fruits or vegetables in their diet per day.

More than half of male physicians say they've never smoked. Forty percent say they used to, but have since quit. Only four percent still smoke on a regular basis. That's compared to 23 percent of Americans aged 45-64 who say they smoke. Of course, members of older generations come from a time when smoking was more prevalent; overall, the rate of smoking among the entire adult U.S. population stands at 19.3 percent.

Doctors admit to having hypertension at far greater rates than other Americans in their cohort. Forty-two percent of those participating in PHS-II said they had high blood pressure. By contrast, among all men aged 40-59 in 2006, only about a third said the same. And among all men over the age of 18, the rate of hypertension was 28 percent in 1999. By 2005, that figure had risen to about 30 percent.

In 1999, a quarter of all middle-aged men in America had high cholesterol. People in the same age bracket today have high cholesterol at a rate of about 17 percent. Both numbers are actually more promising compared to middle-aged male physicians, 35 percent of whom admitted in 1997 of having high cholesterol or that they were being treated for it. Of all American men, just 12 percent had high cholesterol as of 2010.

Male physicians suffer from diabetes at remarkably low rates compared to the rest of us -- just six percent. Last year, nearly 14 percent of men aged 45-64 and 12 percent of men older than 20 carried a diabetes diagnosis.

According to data from PHS-II, 95 percent of doctors were heart disease-free in 1997. Just five percent reported a history of cardiovascular disease (including non-fatal heart attacks and strokes). By comparison, among the general population (see page 16), 12 percent of men of all ages had some type of heart disease in 2010. Roughly the same was true for Americans of both sexes aged 45-64 (the report doesn't break the data down for middle-aged men, unfortunately).

Regrettably, this is one of the only subjects in which data on women physicians is actually more readily available than information about male physicians. Estimates suggest that some 20 percent of female primary care doctors have a history of depression, and as many as 1.5 percent have attempted suicide. Among U.S. women as a whole, just over 3.5 percent reported feelings of perpetual sadness in 2010. About 2.3 percent said they felt hopeless all the time, two percent said they felt worthelss all or most of the time, and six percent said everything they did was an effort all or most of the time.

All of these health conditions raise the risk of death. But what actually ends up killing most doctors? Turns out, they're a lot like the rest of us in that respect:
causes of death-a.jpgTop 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. in 1990 and white male physicians' proportionate mortality ratios (compared with that of all white male professionals) for each cause.

Compared to the rest of the population, doctors die of heart disease just a little bit less, cancer a little bit less, and flu a lot less. The key numbers are under the "proportionate mortality ratio" column, where figures above 100 indicate a greater likelihood of death from a given cause relative to the average citizen, and numbers below 100 indicate a reduced likelihood. As the data on depression might suggest, doctors are far more likely to die by suicide than the average American.
Here's a different breakdown of the data, ranking the causes of doctor death by the things that are most likely to knock them off relative to non-doctors:
causes of death 2a.jpgOccupational mortality surveillance data, 1984-1995; selected sources of reduced and elevated mortality among white male physicians.Brian Fung
Brian Fung - Brian Fung is an associate editor at The Atlantic. He has written previously for Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, and Talking Points Memo.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Funny FedExCup 2012 ads

Funny FedExCup 2012 ads:

Loving the 2012 FedExCup PGA tournament ads. Created by BBDO New York, these ads emphasise FedEx's golf club box and unique pack and ship services. First one's my favourite. Third one sucks, don't bother watching (don't say I didn't warn you).

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Control Google TV Directly From Chrome On Your PC / Mac [VIDEO]

Control Google TV Directly From Chrome On Your PC / Mac [VIDEO]:
Google TV is just one of a slew of web-centered streaming content services, but is quickly becoming one of the most popular, with Vizio - manufacturer of the Co-Stora set-top box for Google TV - struggling to keep a decent amount set-top in stock due to high demand. For those of you using Google TV ( I know there are many of you), a new extension for Chrome will allow you to control GTV straight from the browser, working in much the same fashion as the numerous remote apps for Android.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Microsoft Reinvents Its Online Email Offering By Launching, Here’s How To Sign Up Now!

Microsoft Reinvents Its Online Email Offering By Launching, Here’s How To Sign Up Now!:
Hotmail has been around for what feels like forever, and alongside Gmail it has been one of the most used online email services on the planet. Today Microsoft gave its own email service some competition, with the new preview set to run alongside Hotmail, at least for now.

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Apple Nearly Axed The iPhone Before It Even Got Going, Here’s Why

Apple Nearly Axed The iPhone Before It Even Got Going, Here’s Why:
It may come as a surprise given the handset's rip-roaring success, but Apple's iPhone very nearly didn't make it out of the company's development labs, according to a man who would know; Apple Senior VP of Design, Jony Ive.

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