Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 10 hacking scandals of 2011

As more and more celebrities join the social networking bandwagon, they also become increasingly vulnerable to hacking. From heads of states to Hollywood celebrities, this year saw a series of hacking incidents involving high-profile victims. Check out the top 10 most controversial ones...

Selena Gomez


Selena Gomez's Twitter and Facebook fans woke up to an uncharacteristic post about her boyfriend Justin Bieber. The venomous post screamed "Oh yeah, JUSTIN BIEBER SUCKS!!!!!!!". The teen singer immediately clarified that it was a case of hacking and she had nothing to do with the post.

Ashton Kutcher


Hollywood star Ashton Kutcher, who used to host the celebrity prank show, Punk'd, got a taste of is medicine his Twitter account @aplusk was hacked. A tweet sent to his followers said, "Ashton, you've been Punk'd. This account is not secure. Dude, where's my SSL?"

Kim Kardashian


Kim Kardashian went into a panic mode when her Twitter account was hacked by internet pranksters this year. On discovering fake tweets posted by an imposter, the socialite appealed to bosses of the site to help restore the security on her account.

Sony PlayStation


In one of the biggest data breaches, Sony admitted to an external intrusion which exposed personal information of 77 million PlayStation Network users. The PlayStation maker warned users that the hackers might have access to customers' vital information, including names, birthdates, physical and e-mail addresses, and logins, handles and credit card details.

Research in Motion


Hackers defaced a website belonging to Blackberry maker Research in Motion soon after the company revealed its plans to support police investigating the London riots. The hackers posted on the blog: "No Blackberry you will NOT assist the police." Blackberry took off the blog briefly and restored it to its original form.

Facebook


In one of the most shocking security breach incident, around two lakhs Facebook accounts were hacked in Bangalore. The users' photos and videos were morphed and the sleazy links mailed to friends and families overnight.

Lady Gaga


A scam on Lady Gaga's Facebook page fooled many fans into clicking the link to win an iPad. The contest rules and registration were presented as a link to a Blogspot page. "Lady Gaga's new iPad comes out in 3 days! So for the next 72 hours we will be hosting a massive giveaway to all the Mother Monster fans. Sign up and receive your special Lady Gaga edition iPad in time for the Holidays!" hackers posted on her Facebook page. The presence of the fake iPad offer didn't go unnoticed, and was taken down within an hour.

Nicolas Sarkozy


Hackers played a cruel joke on French President Nicolas Sarkozy when they posted a fake resignation letter from his Facebook page. The post, which went out to more than 350,000 'friends' of the head of the state read like this: "Dear compatriots, given the exceptional circumstances our country is experiencing, I have decided in my spirit and conscience not to run for office again at the end of my mandate in 2012".

Yingluck Shinawatra


Thailand's Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, fell victim to the hacking menace when her Twitter account was hacked. Her followers received tweets criticizing her political experience and incompetence. The tweets also suggested that she was her brother's (former Prime Minister - Thaksin Shinawatra) puppet.

Fox News


While celebrities and popular figures have been the target of hackers, it was media house Fox News who faced their ire in July this year. In a gruesome joke, the hackers tweeted the death of president Obama. Some of the tweets read like this: @BarackObama has just passed. The President is dead. A sad 4th of July, indeed. President Barack Obama is dead." This was followed by more on the same lines claiming that Obama was shot at a restaurant while campaigning.

Pen Cap Eating Utensils From Dine Ink

Dine Ink pen caps transform regular pens into forks, spoons, and knives. Creative pen cutlery set was designed for students, office workers, and extremely busy people who always eat their lunch at their desk. A set of pen caps, including a fork-cap, a knife-cap and a spoon-cap, that replaces the normal pen cap during lunch time! All caps are made by annually renewable resources, like natural starch and fibres, to be 100% biodegradable and atoxic, warranting the best alimentary use. Dispensing each set in a compostable packaging the whole set is designed to respect the environment.

Top 10 Rarest Gems in the World

Gems are one of nature’s ways of saying, “look how beautiful I can be”, and people know it, too. For thousands of years humans have been adorning themselves with gems and jewels to stand out and wow an audience. Be it necklaces, brooches, pendants, or bracelets, precious and rare gems have long since become one of the favored ways to express just how much wealth one has. Here are the ten rarest gems on earth.

10. Jeremejevite ( USD $2000/Carat )


Pronounced ye-REM-ay-ev-ite, this is a colorless, sky blue or pale yellow stone, the highest quality of which comes from Namibia. In nature it occurs in small obelisk-shaped crystals and has in the past been mistaken for aquamarine. It was named after Russian mineralogist Pavel Jeremejev who discovered the mineral in 1883. As of early 2005, a clean, 2.93-carat faceted gem was selling on the Internet for $2000.00 per carat.

9. Black Opal ( USD $2,355/Carat )


Australia is the classical Opal country and today is the worldwide most important supplier of Fine Opals. Almost 95 per cent of all Opals come from Australian mines. The remaining five per cent are mined in Mexico, and in Brazil’s north, also in the US states of Idaho and Nevada, but recently the stones have also been found in Ethiopia and in the West African country of Mali. Black Opal or Opal with a dark gray body shows the most brilliant play of colors imaginable.

8. Red Beryl Emerald ( USD $10,000.00/Carat )


Red beryl is found primarily in the Thomas Range and the Wah Wah Mountains of Utah, and has also been reportedly found in a location in Mexico (possibly near San Luis Potosi one of the very few places beryl is also found on rhyolite). Where it is found in Utah it occurs on rhyolite, where it crystallized under low pressure and high temperature, along fractures or cavities and porous areas of volcanic rhyolitic magma. Very few cut specimens exist.

7. Musgravite ( USD $35,000/Carat )


Musgravite is one of the newest and most rare gemstones in the world. Musgravite is a silicate mineral whose main ingredients are beryllium (Be), magnesium (Mg) and aluminum (Al). It was named ‘musgravite’ after the area Musgrave in Australia from where the material was first found. The musgravite was later found also in Greenland and Madagascar, but neither of them produces gem quality material. Two pieces of faceted gem-quality musgravite from Sri Lanka were reported first in 1993. Keep in mind, this is the LEAST priceless of the ten.

6. Grandidierite ( USD $50,000/Carat )


This is a bluish green mineral found primarily in Madagascar. The first and so far only clean faceted specimen, from Sri Lanka, was originally mistaken for a serendibite and subsequently purchased in May 2000 by Prof. Gübelin from Murray Burford. The gem shown above weighs 0.29 carats. Grandidierite is trichroic, transmitting blue, green and white light. The mineral is named after French explorer and natural historian Alfred Grandidier, who among other things unearthed bones from the extinct half-ton elephant bird in Ambolisatra, Madagascar.

5. Painite ( USD $50-60,000/Carat )


This gem was once believed to be the rarest mineral on earth, is today still considered very rare. British mineralogist 1950s first discovered it in Myanmar. When it was confirmed as a new mineral species, it was named after him: Arthur C.D. Pain. For many years, only three small painite crystals were known to exist. Before 2005 there were less than 25 known crystals found, though more material has been unearthed recently in Myanmar.

4. Blue Garnet ( USD $1.5 Million/Carat )


Garnets species are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, pink and colorless. The rarest of these is the blue garnet, discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. It is also found in parts of the United States, Russia and Turkey. It changes color from blue-green in the daylight to purple in incandescent light, as a result of the relatively high amounts of vanadium. The most expensive, a 4.2 carat gem sold in 2003 for $6.8 Million.

3. Serendibite ( USD $1.8-2 Million/Carat )


This gem is a cyan colored stone that comes from Sri Lanka. It boasts an unusually complex formula consisting of calcium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, boron and oxygen. So far there exist only three faceted (cut) specimens of 0.35 carats, 0.55 carats and 0.56 carats. The first two were discovered by rare stone specialist D. P. Gunasekera and purchased by the late Prof. E. J. Gübelin of Switzerland. The smallest was sold for about $14,300.00 per carat.

2. Red Diamonds ( USD $2-2.5 Million/Carat )


Only a very few red diamonds are ever found, and few people have only seen even one treated red diamond. The gem is described as a purplish red, so it is not a pure red, crimson, vermilion, or scarlet. Nevertheless for its size it is one of the most expensive diamonds ever. The Argyle Mine in Australia produces a small number of red diamonds. The largest and finest of these are auctioned every year or two, and sell for millions of dollars.

1. Jadeite ( USD $3 + Million/Carat )


Until recent years jadeite has been something of a mystery mineral, but we now know of primary sources in Guatemala as well as several California occurrences of white or grayish jadeite. Boulders in which a few small freestanding crystals have been seen occur in San Benito Co., California, with additional finds in Clear Creek, between New Idria and Hernandez. All Mexican jadeite is in artifacts, from unknown sources. The record price for a single piece of jadeite jewelry was set at the November 1997 Christie’s Hong Kong sale: Lot 1843, the “Doubly Fortunate” necklace of 27 approximately .5 mm jadeite beads sold for US$9.3 million

20 Great Ways to Find More Free Time

Are there a hundred different things you wish you could do with your life someday, anything from exercising to meditation or yoga to writing that novel you always wished you could write to reading more to relaxing and watching the sunrise? But perhaps you never have the time, like most people. The truth is, we all have the same amount of time, and it's finite and in great demand. But some of us have made the time for doing the things we love doing, and others have allowed the constant demands and pressures and responsibilities of life to dictate their days.


It's time to move from the second group back into the first. Reclaim your time. Create the life you want and make the most of the free time you lay claim to. It's not hard, though it does take a little bit of effort and diligence. Not all of these will be applicable to your life, choose the ones you can apply and give them a try:

1. Take a time out
Freeing up your time starts with taking a step back to take a good look at your life. You need to block off at least an hour. Several hours or half a day is better. A whole day would be awesome. A weekend would be even more ideal, though not necessary practical for many folks. With this block of time, take a look at your life with some perspective. Is it what you've always wanted? How would you get to where you've always wanted to be? What do you enjoy doing, but don't have enough time to do? What things actually fill up your day? Are there things you could drop or minimize to make more time? We'll look at some of these things in the following items, but it starts with taking a time out to think and plan.

2. Find your essentials
What is it that you love to do? Make a short list of 4-5 things. These are the things you want to make room for.

3. Find your time-wasters
What do you spend a lot of your time on that isn't on your essential list? Take a close look at these things and really think about whether they're necessary, or if there are ways to reduce, minimize or eliminate these things. Sometimes you do things because you assume they're necessary, but if you give it some thought you can find ways to drop them from your life. Figure out what you do simply to waste time ” maybe surfing certain sites, watching TV, talking a lot at the water cooler, etc. You're going to want to minimize these time-wasters to make room for the more important stuff, the stuff that makes you happy and that you love to do.

4. Schedule the time
As you sit down and think about your life and what you want to do, versus what you actually do, you will be looking at ways to free up time. It's crucial that you take a blank weekly schedule (you can just write it out on a piece of paper, or use your calendar) and assign blocks for the things you love ” the stuff on your essentials list. If you want to exercise, for example, when will you do it? Put the blocks of time on your schedule, and make these blocks the most important appointments of your week. Schedule the rest of your life around these blocks.

5. Consolidate
There are many things you do, scattered throughout your day or your week, that you might be able to consolidate in order to save time. A good example is errands ” instead of running one or two a day, do them all in one day to save time and gas. Another example is email, or any kind of communication ” batch process your email instead of checking and reading and responding throughout the day. Same thing with meetings, paperwork, anything that you do regularly.

6. Cut out meetings
This isn't possible for everyone, but in my experience meetings take up a lot of time to get across a little information, or to make easy decisions that could be made via email or phone. As much as you can, minimize the number of meetings you hold and attend. In some cases this might mean talking to your boss and telling her that you have other priorities, and asking to be excused. In other cases this might mean asking the people holding the meeting if you can get the info in other ways. If so, you've saved yourself an hour or so per meeting (sometimes more).

7. De clutter your schedule
If you have a heavily packed schedule, full of meetings and errands and tasks and projects and appointments, you're going to want to weed it out so that it's not so jam-packed. Find the stuff that's not so essential and cancel them. Postpone other stuff. Leave big blank spaces in your schedule.

8. Re-think your routine
Often we get stuck in a routine that's anything but what we really want our days to be like. Is there a better way of doing things? You're the creator of your life ” make a new routine that's more pleasant, more optimal, more filled with things you love.

9. Cut back on email
I mentioned email in an earlier point above, regarding consolidating, but it's such a major part of most people's lives that it deserves special attention. How often do you check email? How much time do you spend composing emails? If you spend a major part of your work day on email, as many people do (and as I once did), you can free up a lot of time by reducing the time you spend in email. Now, this won't work for everyone, but it can work for many people: choose 2-3 key times during the day to process your inbox to empty, and keep your responses to 5 sentences.

10. Learn to say no
If you say œyes to every request, you will never have any free time. Get super protective about your time, and say œno to everything but the essential requests.

11. Keep your list to 3
When you make out your daily to-do list, just list the three Most Important Tasks you want to accomplish today. Don't make a laundry list of tasks, or you'll fill up all your free time. By keeping your task list small, but populated only by important tasks, you ensure that you are getting the important stuff done but not overloading yourself.

12. Do your Biggest Rock first
Of the three Most Important Tasks you choose for the day, pick the biggest one, or the one you're dreading most, and do that first. Otherwise you'll put that off as much as possible and fill your day with less important things. Don't allow yourself to check email until that Big Rock is taken care of. It starts your day with a sense of major accomplishment, and leaves you with a lot of free time the rest of the day, because the most important thing is already done.

13. Delegate
If you have subordinates or coworkers who can do a task or project, try to delegate it. Don't feel like you need to do everything yourself. If necessary, spend a little time training the person to whom you're delegating the task, but that little time spent training will pay off in a lot of time saved later. Delegating allows you to focus on the core tasks and projects you should be focusing on.

14. Cut out distractions
What is there around your workspace that distracts you from the task at hand? Sometimes it's visual clutter, or papers lying around that call for your attention and action, or email or IM notifiers on your computer that pop up at the wrong time, or the phone, or coworkers. See if you can eliminate as many of these as possible ” the more you can focus, the more effective you'll be and the less time you'll waste. That equals time saved for the good stuff.

15. Disconnect
The biggest of distractions, for most people, is the Internet. My most productive times are when I'm disconnected from the grid. Now, I'm not saying you need to be disconnected all the time, but if you really want to be able to effectively complete tasks, disconnect your Internet so you can really focus. Set certain times of the day for connectivity, and only connect during those periods.

16. Outsource
If you can't delegate, see if you can outsource. With the Internet, we can connect with people from all over the world. I've outsourced many things, from small tasks to checking email to legal work to design and editing work and more. That allows me to focus on the things I'm best at, the things I love doing, and saves me a lot of time.

17. Make use of your mornings
I find that mornings are the absolute best times to schedule the things I really want to do. I run, read and write in the mornings ” three of the four things on my Essentials List (spending time with family is the other thing on the list). Mornings are great because your day hasn't been filled with a bunch of unscheduled, demanding, last-minute tasks that will push back those Essentials. For example, if you schedule something for late afternoon, by the time late afternoon rolls around, you might have a dozen other things newly added to your to-do list, and you'll put off that late-afternoon Essential. Instead, schedule it for the morning, and it'll rarely (if ever) get pushed back.

18. The Golden Right-after-work Time
Other than mornings, I find the time just after work to be an incredible time for doing Essential things. Exercise, for example, is great in the 5-o'clock hour, as is spending time with family, or doing anything else relaxing.

19. Your evenings
The time before you go to bed is also golden, as it exists every single day, and it's usually completely yours to schedule. What do you want to do with this time? Read? Spend time with your kids? Work on a hobby you're passionate about? Take advantage of this time.

20. Lunch breaks
If the three golden times mentioned above don't work for you, lunch breaks are another good opportunity to schedule things. Some people like to exercise, or to take quiet times, during their lunch breaks. Others use this time to work on an important personal goal or project.
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Moto Festival - "American Heat"

Each year in Palm Strings, which is located in sunny California, is the most "hottest event of the year" - a festival of American Heat. As part of this two-day motorcycle festival is usually held the show stunt, rodeo and fair themed. In addition, visitors are guaranteed to live music and a lot of fun. This show bikers for bikers and anyone else who is not indifferent to motorcycles. Here are some of the most recent photos from the festival - "American Heat".