Thursday, November 25, 2010

Attractiveness is all in tilt of head

The secret of attractiveness is all in a tilt of the head, according to a new scientific study.

The research shows that men and women can make themselves more appealing to the opposite sex by changing the way they angle their face.

Women are more alluring if they angle their head forwards so they have to look slightly upwards.

In contrast, men become more masculine if they tilt their head back a bit and look slightly down their nose, according to scientists.

It is believed this difference is down to the usual height differences between men and women.

By tilting his head backwards, a man is mimicking the angle a shorter woman would view him from.

When a woman tilts her head forwards she is recreating the way a taller man would see her.

Dr Darren Burke and Dr Danielle Sulikowski are the husband and wife team behind the research.

Dr Burke, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia, said: "Human facial attractiveness from an evolutionary perspective has been extensively studied.

"But, although the influence of feminine and masculine features is relatively well known there is a gap in our knowledge as to what is considered masculine and feminine about facial features.

"We investigated whether looking at a face from different perspectives as a result of the height differences between men and women influenced perceived masculinity or femininity.

"The research found the way we angle our faces affects our attractiveness to the opposite sex."

The research used computer-generated, three-dimensional models of male and female faces.

As they were tilted up and down in five different positions, participants rated each face for attractiveness and also masculinity and femininity.

Dr Sulikowski said the findings offer some clues to help unravel 'the mysteries of mateship rituals'.

Further research is now planned to see if people sub-consciously tilt their faces when flirting.

She added: "From a scientific perspective, these findings contribute enormously to our understanding of the role of facial attractiveness in evolution,

"While the research provides important information about our evolution, the findings also offer some clues to help unravel the mysteries of mateship rituals in the 21st century.

"The next step is to determine if people use this effect in real-world mate-attraction scenarios."

The findings are published in the latest edition of the scientific journal Evolutionary Psychology.

Marriage, a complex reality in US

According to a TIME/Pew research poll released last week, 40 percent of Americans believe that marriage is becoming obsolete, up from just 28 percent in 1978.

In that same poll, only one in four unmarried Americans say they do not want to get married. And among currently married men and women, 80 percent say their marriage is as close as or closer than their parents' marriage.

These seemingly contradictory responses reflect the public's recognition of a new and complex reality. On the one hand, marriage as a voluntary relationship based on love and commitment is held in higher regard than ever, with more people saying that love is essential to marriage (Consider that in 1967, two-thirds of college women said they'd consider marrying a man they didn't love if he met other criteria, such as offering respectability and financial security.)

But as an institution that regulates people's lives, marriage is no longer the social and economic necessity it once was. People can construct successful lives outside marriage in ways that would have been very difficult to manage 50 years ago, and they have a far greater range of choices about whether to marry, when to marry, and how to organize their marriages.

This often makes them more cautious in committing to marriage and more picky about their partners than people were in the past.

In the 1950s, when half of all American women were already married in their teens, marriage was an almost mandatory first step toward adulthood. It was considered the best way to make a man grow up, and in an economy where steady jobs and rising real wages were widely available, that often worked.

For a woman, marriage was deemed the best investment she could make in her future, and in a world where even college-educated women earned less than men with a only a high school education, that often worked for her too.

Marriage was also supposed to be the only context in which people could regularly have sex or raise children. Divorced or unmarried men were routinely judged less qualified for bank loans or job promotions, sexually active single women were stigmatized, and out-of-wedlock children had few legal rights.

Today, however, there are plenty of other ways to grow up, seek financial independence, and meet one's needs for companionship and sex. So what might have seemed a "good enough" reason to enter marriage in the past no longer seems sufficient to many people.

Marriage has become another step, perhaps even the final rather than the first step, in the transition to adulthood -- something many people will not even consider until they are very sure they are capable of taking their relationship to a higher plane.

Couples increasingly want to be certain, before they marry, that they can pay their bills, that neither party is burdened by debt, that each has a secure job or a set of skills attesting to their employability. Many are also conscious that as rigid gender roles erode, marriage demands more negotiation and relationship skills than in the past.

They often want firsthand experience with how their partner will behave in an intimate relationship, which is why the majority of new marriages come after a period of cohabitation, according to census figures.

These higher expectations are good news for many marriages. People who can meet the high bar that most Americans now feel is appropriate for the transition to marriage -- people who delay marriage to get an education, who have accumulated a nest egg or established themselves in a secure line of work -- typically have higher quality marriages than other Americans, research shows, and their divorce rates have been falling for the past 25 years.

But these higher expectations pose difficulties for individuals with fewer interpersonal and material resources. Over the past 30 years, job opportunities and real wages have declined substantially for poorly educated men, making them less attractive marriage partners for women. When such men do find stable employment, they often tend to be more interested in a woman with good earnings prospects than someone they have to rescue from poverty.

Today, several studies have shown, economic instability is now more closely associated with marital distress than it used to be.

If a low-income woman finds a stable, employed partner, she will likely be better off by marrying. But if the man she marries loses his job or is less committed and responsible than she had hoped, she may end up worse off than before -- having to support a man who can't or won't pull his own weight.

So the widening economic gap between haves and have-nots that America has experienced in recent decades is increasingly reflected in a widening marriage gap as well. Today two-thirds of people with a college degree are married, compared with less than half of those with a high school degree or less.

Those who begin married life with the most emotional and material advantages reap the greatest gains in those same areas from marriage. The very people who would benefit most from having a reliable long-term partner are the ones least likely to be able to find such a partner or sustain such a relationship.

This is a troubling trend that deserves attention from policy-makers. But the problem does not lie in a lack of family values. The poor value marriage just as highly as anyone else, and they may value children even more. Unfortunately, they are now less and less likely to believe they will be able to live up to the high expectations of modern partnerships, even if they are in love.

There is no easy fix for this problem. But the good news is that families still matter to Americans, including those who are not married.

According to the Pew poll, 76 percent of Americans say family is the most important, meaningful part of their life. Seventy-five percent say they are "very satisfied" with their family life. And 85 percent say that the family they live in today, whatever its form, is as close as or closer than the family in which they grew up. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, but that's comforting news.

Anti-aging pill could soon be a reality

Scientists are a step closer to creating an anti-ageing drug, after they discovered a key anti-ageing enzyme that stops our cells from decaying.

It has long been known that reducing calorie intake can dramatically slow the process of ageing and improve health in later life.

Now researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a key enzyme called Sirt3, which causes this dramatic effect in cell molecules.

Lead scientist Professor Tomas Prolla said: 'We're getting closer and closer to a good understanding of how caloric restriction works.

'This study is the first direct proof for a mechanism underlying the anti-aging effects we observe under caloric restriction.'

The finding not only helps explain the cascade of events that contributes to ageing, but also provides a basis for devising drugs that could extend the average life span.

The team studied mice with age-related hearing loss, which is linked to free radical damage to the cells in the inner ear.

They focused on the mitochondria - structures inside cells that produce energy and are the sources of highly reactive forms of oxygen known as free radicals, which damage cells and promote the effects of aging.

The researchers found under reduced-calorie conditions, levels of Sirt3 increased altering metabolism and resulting in fewer free radicals produced by mitochondria.

Signs of free radical damage are skin that is leathery, or wrinkled and sagging, and stiffness in the joints.

Smoking, sunbathing, fried food, infections and stress can all produce excess free radicals. However, green leafy vegetables and whole grain bread contain antioxidants that can neutralise them.

Professor Prolla said: 'This is the strongest and most direct link that caloric restriction acts through mitochondria.'

Sirt3 is one of seven enzymes in the sirtuin family that appear to have a wide-ranging impact on cell fate and physiology.

However, the new study published in the journal Cell, provides 'the first clear evidence that sirtuins have anti-aging effects in mammals.'

Understanding the molecular basis of how the sirtuin enzymes work may ultimately lead to the development of drugs that activate the pathways of enzymes like Sirt3 to slow down the process of ageing.

Leaves found dying after Wi-Fi exposure

As if our magnificent trees didn’t have enough problems, they’re now being threatened by our emails.

When they’re not being assailed by some foreign bug or moth, there’s often a council official looking for an excuse to cut them down.

Now researchers say radiation from wi-fi networks that enable our burgeoning online communications may be their latest enemy.

Research in Holland showed that trees that were planted in close proximity to a wireless router suffered from damaged bark and dying leaves.

The alarming study will raise fears that Wi-Fi radiation may also be having an effect on the human body and will lend weight to parents and teachers who have campaigned to stop wireless routers being installed in schools.

The city of Alphen aan den Rijn, in the West of the country, ordered the study five years ago after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees which they did not believe had been caused by any known viral infection.

The researchers took 20 ash trees and exposed them to various kinds of radiation for three months.

The trees were exposed to six sources of radiation with frequencies ranging from 2412 to 2472 MHz and a power of 100 mW at a distance of just 20 inches.

Trees placed closest to the Wi-Fi radio developed a ‘lead-like shine’ on their leaves that was caused by the dying of the upper and lower epidermis.

This would eventually result in the death of parts of the leaves, the study found.

Researchers also discovered that Wi-Fi radiation could slow the growth of corn cobs.

In the Netherlands, about 70 per cent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with only 10 per cent five years ago, the study found. Trees in densely forested areas are not affected.

The scientists behind the research, which has not yet been published, said that further studies were needed to confirm whether it was Wi-Fi radiation that was to blame for the trees’ condition.

And the Dutch health agency has issued a statement which reads: ‘The researcher from Wageningen University indicates that these are initial results and that they have not been confirmed in a repeat survey.

‘He warns strongly that there are no far-reaching conclusions from its results. Based on the information now available it cannot be concluded that the WiFi radio signals leads to damage to trees or other plants.’

Other scientists have expressed scepticism at the study’s preliminary results.

Dr Michael Clark, from the Health Protection Agency, said: 'This work has not been published in science journals so we don’t have any details of the study.

'We therefore have to treat the claims with some scepticism and strictly HPA only deals with public health.

'Nevertheless we note that last year there were claims in news media and on websites that WiFi and mobile phone signals were affecting bee colonies.

'Published scientific studies have shown that fungal and viral infections are the most likely causes of bee colony decline.

Marvin Ziskin, a professor of radiology and medical physics at Temple University in the U.S. said: 'Stuff like this has been around a long time . . . there's nothing new about Wi-Fi emissions. Scientifically there's no evidence to support that these signals are a cause for concern.’

The study is to be the subject of a conference in Holland in February next year.

In 2007 a BBC Panorama documentary found that radiation levels from Wi-Fi in one school was up to three times the level of mobile phone mast radiation.

The readings were 600 times below the government's safety limits but sparked a furious discussion about whether Wi-Fi networks should be installed in schools.

The chairman of the Health Protection Agency called for a review of Wi-Fi in public places in the wake of the programme. A report on the findings is expected next year.

Mobile Number portability

Steps to change your operator

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday will unveil mobile number portability in Haryana, allowing 18 million cellphone users in the state to retain their number while changing the service provider. Most of the country will have this facility by the New Year, while it will be available throughout the country by March 2011.
The to-dos of mobile number portability in six quick steps:
  1. Send an SMS to 1900 in following format: PORT – eg. PORT 9999999999.
  2. You will get an SMS reply that contains a unique porting code.
  3. SMS to the preferred operator quoting the unique code. This code is valid only for a few days, and one must apply again if it expires.
  4. Your existing operator will check with new operator & if there are no dues then approval will be given for porting.
  5. You will get an SMS on the time and date when porting will take place. Rules mandate that process be completed within 4 days of applying.
  6. After porting is complete, wait for an SMS from your new operator confirming the switch. Your phone may be dead for about 2 hours when the porting takes place.
Note: Portability can happen within circles. A Mumbai customer can not port his number to any other circle like Delhi, Kolkata, etc.