Saturday, June 29, 2013

GoogleServe 2013: Giving back on a global scale

GoogleServe 2013: Giving back on a global scale
The Official Google Blog

Every year in June comes a week where Googlers around the world stop reviewing code, ignore their inboxes and leave their cubicles behind to participate in GoogleServe, our global week of service.

This year, more than 8,500 Googlers from 75+ offices participated in 500 projects. Not only was this our largest GoogleServe to date, but it was also one of the more unique, as many projects were designed to expand the notion of what it means to give back to the community. Here's a glimpse at some of what we were up to this year:

  • In Thimphu, Bhutan, Googlers led a workshop about media literacy at the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy helping youth prepare to participate in shaping the future of this young democracy.
  • Googlers in Mountain View, Calif., created a bone marrow donation drive and partnered with the Asian American Donor Program to raise awareness about the need for more donors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Googlers from our Hyderabad, India office volunteered at Sri Vidhya's Centre for the Special Children, helping children who suffer from a wide range of cognitive disabilities to learn how to identify colors, write their own names, and prepare meals for themselves.
  • A team of Googlers walked the New York, N.Y., streets gathering information to improve AXS Map, a crowd-sourced platform for mapping wheelchair accessibility which is populated with data from Google Maps and Google Places APIs.
  • In Lagos, Nigeria, Googlers mentored entrepreneurs at Generation Enterprise, a small business incubator that equips at-risk youth to start sustainable businesses in slum communities.
  • In Randwick, Australia, Googlers taught computer and Internet skills with the Australian Red Cross Young Parents Program which aims to develop the capacities of young parents to live independently and to parent successfully.
  • A group of gourmet Googlers cooked a meal for families with children undergoing cancer treatment with Ronald McDonald House in London, U.K.
  • Googlers tutored and mentored youth in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the Dignity For Children Foundation.
  • Googlers partnered with Un Techo Para Mi PaĆ­s to help build a new house for a family living below the poverty line in Bogota, Colombia.
  • In Dublin, Ireland, Google engineers taught youth how to program interactive stories and games with Scratch in partnership with Coder Dojo.

Click for more photos from this year's GoogleServe

Over the past six years, GoogleServe has transformed from a single week of service into a week of celebration and inspiration for ongoing giving. Googlers also give back year-round through our GooglersGive programs which include 20 hours of work time annually to volunteer with an approved charitable organization. If you're inspired to join us, please check out All for Good or VolunteerMatch for opportunities to give back in your community.

Posted by Zanoon Nissar, on behalf of the GoogleServe Global Leadership Team

Original Article:

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New DCCT data: HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and 20 years on |

New DCCT data: HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and 20 years on | DCCT at 18 years: Intensive HbA1c control still yielding CV benefits

Chicago, IL - Dramatic reductions in type 1 diabetes complications, including cardiovascular events, achieved with intensive glycemic control in the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) are still being seen—although to a somewhat lesser degree—nearly two decades after the study's end [1].

After 18 years, the overall prevalence of diabetes complications is 50% lower among the type 1 diabetes patients in the DCCT who were randomized to intensive glucose control compared with those who received conventional treatment, despite the fact that HbA1c levels are no longer different between the two study groups.

The findings were presented here at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2013 Scientific Sessions. Even after so many years, "the message is exactly the same," DCCT/EDIC biostatistician Dr John M Lachin (George Washington University, Rockville, MD) said in an interview. "The HbA1c matters today, tomorrow, and for many, many years to come. It matters."

EDIC investigates "metabolic memory"

The new data come from the DCCT's long-term follow-up study Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC), which began in 1994, the year after DCCT ended. Glycemic control in the two groups became roughly the same soon after patients went back to their communities for care, so EDIC is measuring the ongoing impact of glycemic control in the initial study's 10 years, a phenomenon investigators have dubbed "metabolic memory."

Previously reported end points of retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and cardiovascular disease continue to be reduced among those originally in the intensive-treatment group, albeit to a lesser degree than in previous EDIC analyses in 2000 [2].

The investigators are also looking at mortality in EDIC, with results under embargo, as they are due to be published soon. However, Lachin did divulge that there is no increased mortality among the intensive-treatment group, a phenomenon that has been seen in some trials involving patients with type 2 diabetes.

EDIC coordinating center principal investigator, Dr Rose Gubitosi-Klug (Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH), said: "In some ways, it's surprising how it's gone on this long. [The original DCCT investigators] expected the effect to wane after 10 or 12 years. But here we are at 18 years, and we still have significant risk reduction. Although it's starting to decrease over time, there's still a significant reduction. It's fantastic."

The lesson from all of it, said Gubitosi-Klug, is: "Start intensive diabetes management as soon as safely possible."

Clinically meaningful CVD reductions persist

The original DCCT involved 1441 patients with type 1 diabetes. After DCCT ended, patients who had been in the conventional-treatment group were instructed in intensive glycemic control. Their average HbA1c levels dropped to about 8%. At the same time, control worsened in the original intensive-control group to about 8%. That level has remained relatively unchanged during EDIC.

In the original DCCT study, intensive glycemic control—resulting in a mean HbA1c of about 7%—reduced the risk for retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy compared with the conventional-treatment group, whose HbA1c averaged about 9%. At the time DCCT ended, it was too soon to assess CVD outcomes in the still relatively young study population, Lachin explained.

As reported in 2005, however, nine years into EDIC, there was a 42% decrease in any cardiovascular event and a 57% reduced risk for nonfatal heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes. Extending those analyses through 2012, those same risk reductions are 33% and 35%, "both still statistically significant and of course clinically meaningful," Lachin observed.

Previously published EDIC analyses have shown benefits of intensive glycemic control in carotid intimal-medial thickness and cardiac function [3], he added.

All the currently monitored end points will continue to be followed, with cardiovascular end points expected to become more prevalent in the now middle-aged study population.

The intensive-treatment group has also enjoyed lasting benefits in terms of neurologic, renal, and retinopathy end points.

Both the DCCT and the EDIC are funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Lachin is a board member of Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, Merck, Novartis, and Reata and is a consultant for Andromeda Biotech and Magellan Health Services.

Adapted from Medscape Medical News—a professional news service of WebMD

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world: Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.

To get started, simply visit and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.

For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.

Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.

Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn | Impatient Optimists

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn | Impatient Optimists

Food for Thought: Malnutrition Hurts a Child's Ability to Learn, Earn

May 28, 2013

The effects of malnutrition on a child’s health and resistance to disease are well known. But what about how it affects a child’s ability to thrive?
A new report out today by Save the Children UK, Food for Thought, draws the links between malnutrition and a child’s potential to learn and thrive. A key finding of the report: Malnourished children aged 8 are 20% less likely to be able to read a simple sentence than their well-nourished peers.
This is the sad truth about malnutrition:  not only are malnourished kids more susceptible to disease and death, but those who survive learn and earn less than their peers.
The report finds that children who are malnourished go on to earn at least 20% less as adults. This not only affects children – but whole economies: the report finds that malnutrition could cost the global economy as much as $125 billion when today’s children reach working age in 2030.
We know that good nutrition in the first 1,000 Days is critical for children to grow up as empowered and productive members of society.
The good news is that there are proven interventions – including ensuring maternal health before and during pregnancy; exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of a child’s life;  and provision of appropriate, nutritious complementary foods after six months – that can help stop malnutrition in its tracks.
The report is well timed: it comes just ahead of a major summit on June 8 in London hosted by the UK government, the Government of Brazil, and the Childrens Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to address malnutrition.  The foundation is participating in and supporting the summit’s aim, which is to “transform the life chances of millions of women and children and secure greater economic growth and prosperity for all.”
Donors, developing countries, the scientific community, and business will come together on the 8th to pledge to do more to addressing malnutrition. Not only will fighting malnutrition help save lives, it will also help children achieve their potential. 

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Helping passwords better protect you

Helping passwords better protect you: Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. Starting today, we'll also be posting regularly with privacy and security tips. We hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.

It could be your Gmail, your photos or your documents—whatever you have in your Google Account, we work hard to make sure it’s protected from would-be identity thieves, other bad guys, or any illegitimate attempts to access your information.

But you can also help keep your information safe. Think of how upset you would be if someone else got access to your Google Account without your permission, and then take five minutes to follow the steps below and help make it more secure. Let’s start with the key to unlocking your account—your password:

1. Use a different password for each important service

Make sure you have a different password for every important online account you have. Bad guys will steal your username and password from one site, and then use them to try to log into lots of other sites where you might have an account. Even large, reputable sites sometimes have their password databases stolen. If you use the same password across many different sites, there’s a greater chance it might end up on a list of stolen passwords. And the more accounts you have that use that password, the more data you might lose if that password is stolen.

Giving an account its own, strong password helps protect you and your information in that account. Start today by making sure your Google Account has a unique password.

2. Make your password hard to guess

“password.” “123456.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” These examples are terrible passwords because everyone knows them—including potential attackers. Making your passwords longer or more complicated makes them harder to guess for both bad guys and people who know you. We know it’s hard: the average password is shorter than 8 characters, and many just contain letters. In a database of 32 million real passwords that were made public in 2009, analysis showed (PDF) only 54 percent included numbers, and only 3.7 percent had special characters like & or $.

One way to build a strong password is to think of a phrase or sentence that other people wouldn’t know and then use that to build your password. For example, for your email you could think of a personal message like “I want to get better at responding to emails quickly and concisely” and then build your password from numbers, symbols, and the first letters of each word—“iw2gb@r2eq&c”. Don’t use popular phrases or lyrics to build your password—research suggests that people gravitate to the same phrases, and you want your password to be something only you know.

Google doesn’t restrict password length, so go wild!

3. Keep your password somewhere safe

Research shows (PDF) that worrying about remembering too many passwords is the chief reason people reuse certain passwords across multiple services. But don’t worry—if you’ve created so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them, it’s OK to make a list and write them down. Just make sure you keep your list in a safe place, where you won’t lose it and others won’t be able to find it. If you’d prefer to manage your passwords digitally, a trusted password manager might be a good option. Chrome and many web browsers have free password managers built into them, and there are many independent options as well—take a few minutes to read through reviews and see what would be best for your needs.

4. Set a recovery option

Have you ever forgotten your password? Has one of your friends ever been locked out of their account? Setting a recovery option, like an alternate email address or a telephone number, helps give the service provider another way to contact you if you are ever locked out of your account. Having an up-to-date recovery phone or email address is the best thing you can do to make sure you can get back into your account fast if there is ever a problem.

If you haven’t set a recovery option for your Google Account, add one now. If you have, just take a second to make sure it’s up to date.

We have more tips on how to pick a good password on our Help Center, and in the video below:

Your online safety and privacy is important to you, and it’s important to us, too. We’ve made a huge amount of progress to help protect your Google Account from people who want to break into it, but for the time being, creating a unique, strong password is still an important way to protect your online accounts. Please take five minutes today to reset your important passwords using the tips above, and stay tuned for more security tips throughout the summer.

Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer