Sunday, October 31, 2010

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

If you want to be really good at something, it's going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That's true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you've earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.

Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence we've found are most effective for our clients:

1. Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.

2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That's when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

3. Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.

4. Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.

5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It's also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.

6. Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you'll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.

Source: Tony Schwartz author of the new book "The Way We're Working Isn't Working: The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance" (Free Press, 2010).

Friday, October 29, 2010

Obama: Devices Heading To US Had Explosives

President Barack Obama declared Friday that authorities had uncovered a "credible terrorist threat" against the United States following the overseas discovery of U.S.-bound packages containing explosives aboard cargo jets addressed to Jewish organizations in the Chicago area.
The disclosures triggered a worldwide alert amid fears that al-Qaida was attempting to carry out fresh terror attacks.
The events "underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism," the president said. The packages both originated in Yemen, but Obama did not explicitly assign blame to al-Qaida, which is active in the Arab nation and long has made clear its goal of attacking the United States.
The events unfolded four days before national elections in which discussion of terrorism has played almost no role.
Obama stepped to the podium in the hours after officials disclosed that authorities in Dubai intercepted an explosive device bound for a Chicago-area Jewish institution. The second package was aboard a plane searched in England, and officials said it contained a printer toner cartridge with wires and powder.
That second package was aboard a plane in East Midlands, north of London.
Obama did not identify any institution that had been targeted.
Several other cargo planes at airports along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States also were searched, and officials said no explosives were found. An Emirates Airlines passenger jet carrying cargo from Yemen was escorted from the Canadian border to New York City by two military fighter jets, U.S. officials said. They said it was a precautionary action.
An FBI spokesman in Chicago, Ross Rice, said both suspicious packages had been sent from the same address in Yemen.
The president refrained from assigning blame to Yemen's al-Qaida branch, but officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were increasingly certain that was the source. The same group was responsible for the attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner last Christmas. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.
White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan later told reporters that the explosives "were in a form that was designed to try to carry out some type of attack," but he provided no further details.
"The forensic analysis is under way," he said, adding, "Clearly from the initial observation, the initial analysis that was done, the materials that were found in the device that was uncovered was intended to do harm.

Daily Drink Raises Cancer Risk

Women who have just one alcoholic drink each day increase their risk of cancer, according to a new study.

Consuming just one drink a day causes an extra 7,000 cancer cases in women in the UK each year, researchers found.

Around 5,000 of these cases are related to breast cancer but others are cancers of the rectum, liver, mouth and throat, researchers from the University of Oxford found.

They examined data for more than a million middle-aged women taken from the Million Women Study and they found that, among drinkers, consuming one drink a day increased the risk of all types of cancer by 6% by the time women were 75.

The rates for individual cancers varied, with one drink a day causing a 12% rise in the risk of breast cancer and a 44% rise in cancer of the larynx.

For each additional drink up to a maximum of three a day, the percentage risk doubled for each type of cancer.

For example, women who drank two drinks a day had a 24% increased risk of breast cancer and an 88% increased risk of cancer of the larynx.

The researchers calculated each drink to be 10g of alcohol. In the UK, a standard measure of alcohol is 8g but a 10g equivalent would be a small glass (125ml) of 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) wine or a 330ml bottle of beer at 4% ABV.

The researchers found that it did not matter what women drank, it was the amount consumed which increased the risk of cancer.

For example, women who drank only wine were found to have a similar risk of developing cancer as those who consumed other alcoholic drinks


U.S, China holds maritime security talks in Hawaii

Herald Tribune2010-10-16
HONOLULU - The U.S. and Chinese militaries have finished two days of talks on maritime security, the first such discussions since China broke off military contact to protest the U.S. sale of arms to Taiwan. AC = 1234 --> The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement Friday the Honolulu meeting was aimed at increasing the safety of airmen and sailors. The U.S. has promoted bilateral contacts to help the two powers understand one another better and avoid miscalculation. U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randolph Alles led the U.S. delegation. Rear Adm. Liao Shining of the People's Liberation Army Navy led the Chinese side.

The Guardian2010-10-27
EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press= UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Thursday accused the militant group Syria and its allies Iran and Syria of attempting to endanger Lebanon's stability and undermine its independence. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice singled out Syria for displaying "flagrant disregard" for Lebanon's sovereignty and political independence, citing its provision of increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah and other militias in violation of a U.N. resolution and issuance

Vessel Not Under Command Overtaking: Which gives way?

There is one hypothetical situation which may need to
be debated: ‘a vessel not under command
overtaking a power driven vessel’. For
the purpose of this discussion, let us say
that this is in good visibility and both the
vessels are in sight of one another, ample
sea room and no other traffic.
Rule 13 says, ‘Notwithstanding
anything contained in the Rules of part
B, Sections I and II, any vessel
overtaking any other shall keep out of
the way of the vessel being overtaken’.
Under this rule the vessel overtaking is
very clearly required to keep clear and no
other rule of sections I and II of part B is
applicable. Thus in the given scenario, the
vessel overtaking (the vessel not under
command) should keep clear.

Excerpted from The Nautical Institute by Erik Pedrosa

Improving Time Management Skills

Here are the great ideas on making your own exercise for improving time management skills;

Time Management Exercise #1 - Set lifetime goals, shorter ones and the daily targets.
Time Management Exercise #2 - Create your own systems of getting things done.
Time Management Exercise #3 - Don't waste time and design a productive you.
Time Management Exercise #4 - Live healthy in all aspects of life - all the time

Goals Should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Oriented or Time-Sensitive

How to Manage Business Risk: Risk Management Program

An internet search on Risk Management Techniques yields lots of results on subjects like insurance, OSHA standards, financial safeguards, issues related to environment protection and sustenance, government legalities, and computer backup systems. While all these are elements of risk control, they do not in themselves help your business to identify the risks it faces.

The Five Point Risk Management System

The success of a Risk Management System requires a business owner to comprehensively follow the steps laid out in the system and practice strict adherence to the rules. A good Risk Management System should include the five steps below:

1. Identifying Risks: These risks could be due to fire or forces of nature, risk of obsolescence, competitive products or theft (of tangible as well as intangible material)
2. Quantifying Risks: Identified risks need to be quantified in terms of potential loss of income and reputation caused by the actual loss, as well as further loss of income until the risk is tackled and eliminated
3. Formulating Strategies to Contain the Identified Risks: As has been said earlier, you cannot run a business without running a risk or taking a chance. What you can do, however, is to contain the risk so as to limit potential losses
4. Implementing Strategies: Strategies, no matter how good they are, are useless unless they are put into practice. Putting strategies into practice also helps to evaluate their utility and identify company shortcomings.
5. Continuous Monitoring of Risk Containment Tasks: Risk containment tasks have to be constantly monitored to ensure that the risk that they present is tackled promptly and thereby minimized. Continuous monitoring ensures that the changing needs of the business are met

Obama's Asia trip highlights region's growing global importance

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will meet on U.S. Veterans Day with Chinese President Hu Jintao -- while both men are in South Korea -- as part of a hectic schedule of summit meetings, news conferences and cultural events on his upcoming four-nation trip to Asia, top administration officials said Thursday.

The 10-day trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan encompasses a G-20 summit, an Asia-Pacific Economic Council summit, major holidays in India and Indonesia and bilateral talks with Hu and at least five other leaders, as well as four presidential news conferences, the officials told reporters.

By Tom Cohen, CNN
October 29, 2010 -- Updated 0205 GMT (1005 HKT)

Mandatory Expanded Inspections

Following the Erica and Prestige disasters the EU introduced new legislation through the Directive 2001/106/EC, which came into effect on 22 July 2003.

The directive introduced the concept of Mandatory Expanded Inspections (MEI’s) on “high risk ships."

The directive requires that high-risk ships must have a mandatory expanded inspection carried out by an EU member of the Paris MOU region every 12 months.

The following vessels are identified as high-risk:

  • Oil tankers over 15 years of age and over 3000 GT;
  • Gas and chemical tankers over 10 years of age;
  • Bulk Carriers over 12 years of age;
  • Passenger ships over 15 years of age (excluding those covered by the Ferry Directive, 1999/35/EC).

The age of the ship is determined on the basis of the keel-laying date, indicated in the ship's safety certificates.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


If you are planning to embark on a trip for the holiday and long weekend the following tips may be of use before leaving the house

1. If you would be gone for the long weekend, tell neighbors, relatives and friends to look after the house while you are out or better yet have someone stay over the weekend.

2. Have all probable entry points, for example doors, windows, uncovered air vents and ceilings, and weak walls, which may be used by criminal elements, reinforced, sealed off or locked properly.

3. Check first all electrical appliances and electronic devices, and see to it that they are switched off, unplugged and batteries disengaged and ensure that all Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanks are closed and leak-free.

4. If there would be a good system of maintaining night time protective lighting around the house without compromising safety and the occurrence of fire, then do it.

5. In case you would be using your own vehicles for short or long trips, see to it that the vehicle is in good condition and that all on-the-road trouble shooting and emergency equipment are placed inside the vehicle.

6. Remember to have a final itinerary listed before proceeding with your trips and prepare to bring along some food stuffs and clean drinking water and first aid kit within reach for your trip.

Top 10 Safety Tips for Fright-Free Fun!

Few holidays produce the same burst of energetic excitement as Halloween. Spooky decorations, creepy costumes and visions of candy spur kids – and often the entire family – into an evening of fun-filled frenzy. But hidden dangers can be easily overlooked in the rush to celebrate. Before Halloween fun begins, take a moment to check for safety hazards and discuss the evening’s do’s and don’ts with the kids. A little precaution can keep a fright-filled evening from becoming a real scare.

10. Fill ‘em up first: Send trick-or-treaters off with a full tummy so they won’t be as tempted to eat candy before it’s inspected.

9. Follow safe Trick-or-Treating tactics: Accompany young children at all times and send older kids out in a group with strict route guidelines and curfews – and a charged mobile phone for emergencies. And don’t forget flashlights or glow sticks for everyone, both to see and be seen.

8. Remember safety basics: Emphasize to kids that Halloween night is no different when it comes to safety. Avoid strangers and dark houses, stay on well-lighted streets on a pre-approved route, and take extra care when crossing streets.

7. Decorate with the littlest ghouls in mind: Make yard decorations safer for all. Secure electrical cords and strings out of reach, use glow sticks as light sources instead of candles, and make walkways clear and accessible. If creating a particularly scary haunted yard, consider including a less-scary area for younger trick-or-treaters.

6. Costume for comfort and safety: Dress kids in costumes that are temperature-appropriate, allow free range of vision and movement, and are easily seen in the dark. Accessories from swords and knives to fairy wands should be safely blunted and flexible to prevent injury.

5. Carve a safer Jack o’Lantern: Let little ones scoop the insides of the pumpkin and draw the face – always the best designs – but leave the carving to adults or older kids. Create a safer spooky light using glow sticks in two or three colors instead of candles.

4. Check all candy before eating: Inspect candy before allowing kids to eat. Discard candy with broken wrappers, that can be opened and resealed, or appears tampered with in any way. When handing out candy, include toddler-friendly goodies like lollipops, single-serving cookies or animal crackers in the candy bowl.

3. Keep pets inside all night: It’s safer and less stressful for pets, pet owners and visitors.

2. Prepare for unexpected scares: Assemble a portable first aid kit to treat minor scrapes, burns and cuts, and include medications for asthma or allergies.

1. Have a get-home plan: Whether trick-or-treating, attending a party, or stopping by the neighborhood carnival, have a plan that works for everyone in case of separation. Identify a location to go if separated from the group, and attach parents’ names, address and phone numbers to younger kids’ clothing.


The Philippine Supreme Court reiterated as null and void, a quitclaim executed by a seafarer releasing and discharging his employer from all claims, demands, causes of action, and the like in an all-encompassing manner, including the fact that he had not contracted or suffered any illness or injury in the course of his employment and that he was discharged in good and perfect health. These stipulations clearly placed the employee in a disadvantageous position vis-รก-vis the employers. The Court said it is never enough to assert that the parties have voluntarily entered into such a quitclaim. There are other requisites: (a) that there was no fraud or deceit on the part of any of the parties; (b) that the consideration of the quitclaim is credible and reasonable; and (c) that the contract is not contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law. (Varorient Shipping Co., Inc., et al. vs. Gil A. Flores, G.R. 161934, October 6, 2010)

US Treasury offers bonds at negative interest rates

The US Treasury has launched a landmark bond issue - selling the stock at negative interest rates for the first time in history.
27 October 2010

A yield of minus 0.55 per cent has been put on $10 billion worth of Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (Tips), which will compensate bond-holders if the consumer price index rises.
Around 39 per cent of the Tips have already been purchased by long-term institutional investors, up on the 30 per cent average recorded across the previous six Tips sales, reports the Financial Times.
Expectations for inflation, worked out by comparing Tips yields with Treasury ones, in the US economy have improved this month, up to as high as 1.75 per cent from 1.13 per cent in August.
Richard Gilhooly, strategist at TD Securities, said: "If inflation protection is in such strong demand that investors will buy aggressively at negative real yields, then surely at some point investors have to question the wisdom of buying nominal Treasuries with such low yields."
Jan Loeys, head of global asset allocation at JPMorgan Chase, said the Federal Reserve is currently sending out a message that it is prepared to do what is necessary to reflate the American economy.
He added that while it is unclear when inflation will start to take effect in the US, more cautious investors are hedging against it and becoming warier of bond purchases.
"Shorter-term thinkers are still willing to still buy bonds, on the presumption that they are nimble enough to get out when inflation comes to push yields up," Mr Loeys stated.
By Gary Cooper

Four Rules to Save the Planet: Can We Stop Peeing Where We Sleep? :: Care2 Make a difference

In our headlong rush to industrial civilization, we have lost many of the natural instincts that kept our species a balanced part of the ecosystem. By showing the path to sustainability, can four little rules save the planet--and humanity?

The four rules may be simple, but they are not easy:
1. Reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and heavy metals.
Whether or not you believe in human-caused global warming, our use of fossil fuels takes a huge toll on the health of living things. Can we learn to look at the use of fuel and heavy metals through a lens that recognizes both the finality of the resource and the consequences of their extraction, transport, and incineration?

2. Reduce our dependence on synthetic chemicals that persist in nature.
Chemicals such as dioxins, PCBs and the insecticide DDT do not break down easily or harmlessly once discarded; rather they contaminate soil, water, and air. Can we adopt the precautionary principle, and require companies to prove that a product is safe before it is brought to market?

3. Reduce our destruction of nature.
From overfishing to deforestation to destroying wildlife habitat, human actions are interfering with the balance of nature. Biodiversity is key to our flourishing; by contributing to the destruction of species we might as well be gnawing off our own legs.

4. Ensure that we are not stopping people globally from meeting their needs.
This principle applies not only to ensuring that people have the capacity to feed and shelter themselves, but that they can do so in safe working conditions and receive a living wage for their work. This fourth rule clarifies the absolute link between environmental justice and social justice, and that our tribe is only as healthy as the weakest among us.

Can we learn to nurture the planet as we would a family member who needs our help? Can we recognize that healing the planet is the same as healing ourselves? Can we make every day Earth Day?

5 Steps to Breaking Bad Work Habits

We all have our own bad habits at the office, maybe it's gossiping or complaining, or binge eating or nail-biting, or checking e-mail incessantly.

Step 1: Identify your bad office habits
Routine makes us feel safe, but don't hide under the umbrella of familiarity for too long, the problem with habits is that we let them control us and our subconscious kicks in and tendencies take over--without us even thinking about them.

Step 2: Determine which habits are hurting you
Let's shoot big; identify the habit that affects you most negatively, it could be wasting time, putting physical or mental stress on your body, fatigue, and look at the short-term and long-term picture and prepare to face your worst habit head on.

Step 3: Stop your habit dead in its tracks
Sometimes stopping a habit is as simple as recognizing it, so next time you find yourself carrying out the habit, say to yourself, "stop!" and if you have the luxury of yelling it aloud, do it and if you're in a public office, say it in your head (rather than risk looking bonkers).

Step 4: Replace your bad habit with something awesome
Because office life is conducive to repetition, the same routine that created your habit might help you replace it with something useful, instead of reaching for a coffee or candy, or rather than participating in gossip and complaints, do something that's good for you.

From breathing to stretching to resting your eyes, there are a million positive things you can do while at work.

Step 5: Hang in there
Some habits are deeply embedded, so don't expect to replace them overnight, instead, focus on vigilantly monitoring your habits and routines for weeks or months and consider making "habit inventory" a weekly ritual.

Habits can be powerful, so why not have them work for you rather than against you and master the art of habit replacement and watch your work experience improve.

Fishing Ship with 111 Aboard on Fire Off UK

LONDON (AP) - A fishing processing ship with 111 people aboard was ablaze yesterday in the Atlantic Ocean off England's Southwestern Ship, British Coastguards said.

The Maritime and Coast Guard Agency said 81 people had taken to lifeboats and 30 remained aboard the vessel Athena, fighting the fire. There were no reports of injuries.

Source: The Philippine Star - World News - 28 October 2010

Pagudpud oil spill reaches seashore

PAGUDPUD, Philippines - Around 5,000 liters of bunker oil that leaked from a ship that was grounded along the coastal waters of Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte have already reached the town’s seashore, the Coast Guard said on Wednesday.The spill from MV Namyang 8 has reached Barangay Balaoi according to maritime authorities and the Coast Guard estimated the spill has affected a 2-nautical-mile area. To prevent more damage, the authorities placed oil spill booms around the site in which the spilled oil will be removed through suction equipment designed for such emergencies. The Coast Guard expects the oil to be removed within a week if the weather clears. Some fishermen living in the area, meanwhile, expressed fears regarding the incident. They believe that the spill may affect their livelihood. The South Korean cargo vessel, which was grounded during typhoon Juan’s onslaught is currently 0.5 nautical miles from the shoreline of Pagudpud.


Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home

Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home.

Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4).

They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death.

The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9).

Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6).

Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.

Source: American Journal of Epidemiology

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

EGGS ROCK! (Health benefits of eggs revealed) PART 1

Research supporting the health benefits of eggs is piling up and several studies--including a recent one in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Harvard School of Public Health that found no link in healthy people between eggs and either heart attack or stroke--have debunked the myth of unhealthy eggs.

New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person's lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it and research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

Eggs may reduce your risk of cancer. Whole eggs are one of the best sources of the nutrient choline (one large egg has about 300 micrograms or 30 percent of your RDA). A study published this year found that women with a high intake of choline were 24 percent less likely to get breast cancer. Note: Choline is found mostly in the yolk, so feel free to ditch the egg-white omelets.

Eggs prevent Alzheimer's disease. Phosphatidycholine is a nutrient in eggs essential for concentration, attention, and retaining information in the memory to ultimately prevent Alzheimer's disease.