Monday, September 17, 2007
The study by the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre of Traditional Medicine at RMIT found acupuncture could be a safe and effective treatment for persistent allergic rhinitis, which affects 16 per cent of Australians.
Professor of Chinese medicine Charlie Xue said the study offered scientific proof the ancient pressure point therapy had real benefits.
"Patients who participate in the study have a very long history of allergies and have tried almost everything and that makes these even more significant outcomes," he said.
"This can demonstrate the effectiveness and then people are more likely to accept it."
Results published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed half of the 80 patients involved in the study received real acupuncture to the face and back of the neck, while the others had "sham" acupuncture to make sure the results were credible.
After eight weeks of treatment, those receiving the real acupuncture had a significant drop in symptoms, while those with the fake treatment did not.
The benefits continued for another three months after the treatment ended.
Prof Xue said almost 10 per cent of Australians had tried acupuncture as a form of treatment, but hoped the latest research would persuade more to consider it.
acupuncture from wiki
Acupuncture (from Lat. acus, "needle" (noun), and pungere, "prick" (verb)) or in Standard Mandarin, zhēn jiǔ (lit: needle - moxibustion) is a technique of inserting and manipulating filiform needles into "acupuncture points" on the body with the aim of restoring health and well-being, e.g. treating pain and diseases. Acupuncture is thought to have originated in China and is most commonly associated with Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Different types of acupuncture (Japanese, Korean, and classical Chinese acupuncture) are practiced and taught throughout the world.
Scientists are studying the mechanisms and efficacy of acupuncture. Researchers using the protocols of evidence-based medicine have found good evidence that acupuncture is effective in treating nausea and chronic low back pain, and moderate evidence for neck pain and headache. The WHO, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Medical Association (AMA) and various government reports have also studied and commented on the efficacy of acupuncture. There is general agreement that acupuncture is at least safe when administered by well-trained practitioners, and that further research is warranted. Though occasionally charged as pseudoscience, Dr. William F. Williams, author of Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, notes that acupuncture --"once rejected as 'oriental fakery' -- is now (if grudgingly) recognized as engaged in something quite real."
Traditional Chinese medicine's acupuncture theory, although based on empirical observation, predates use of the modern scientific method, and has received various criticisms based on modern scientific thinking. There is no generally-accepted anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians. Acupuncturists tend to perceive TCM concepts in functional rather than structural terms, i.e. as being useful in guiding evaluation and care of patients.  As the NIH consensus statement noted: "Despite considerable efforts to understand the anatomy and physiology of the "acupuncture points", the definition and characterization of these points remains controversial. Even more elusive is the basis of some of the key traditional Eastern medical concepts such as the circulation of Qi, the meridian system, and the five phases theory, which are difficult to reconcile with contemporary biomedical information but continue to play an important role in the evaluation of patients and the formulation of treatment in acupuncture." Finally, neuroimaging research suggests that specific acupuncture points have distinct effects on cerebral activity in specific areas that are not otherwise predictable anatomically.
Most people think that animals have sex only for procreation or, in the case of certain donkeys, profit. While some legends are in fact valid (for example, all swans are indeed rapists), it's just not that easy to apply human horniness to every living thing. Generally, the more socially advanced a species is, the more likely it is to have sex for reasons other than reproduction. Consider the bonobo, or pygmy chimpanzee, whose inclination to have sex for favors, pleasure, social positioning, and food places it a notch above us humans, who will do anything for a piece of cake. And let's not forget the dolphin, who's been caught trying to copulate with seals, sharks, turtles, eels, and even some Floridians for an extra fee. However, would the Shaw's jird, a sort of gerbil-y animal that copulates up to 240 times in an hour, be considered horny, or just efficient? Very rarely does one get to have the cut-and-dried experience of the Miami Metrozoo's own Ron Magill, zoologist and creator of the "Sex & the Animals" show there, who recounts his own experience with one particularly beguiling little otter: "Every morning, I would go out and turn on the pool spigot, and she would come out, and she'd look at me and she'd squat on that little spray of water going into her pool, and after just 15 seconds of positioning herself perfectly on that spray of water, she would go into this little quiver and convulsion and tip over. And it's a beautiful thing." But unfortunately, as usually happens with lower species, she simply won't stop calling.
When my boyfriend and I make out, the smell of his body makes me sick. Do people's smells change when they get turned on, or am I hallucinating?
Slow Life, Slow Sex: I am wombin', hear me roar!Womb is a really interesting English word. There's a saying, "From the Womb to the Tomb." In Japanese, we use the term "From Cradle to Grave." But the fact of the matter is that every single person on this Earth grew up in a womb, was born from a womb and is now alive, so the womb is of extreme importance.
The womb is an organ that plays a vital role not just in the reproductive process, but also with sex.
Women's sexual reactions go in four stages: arousal, plateau, orgasm and withdrawal. Although men also go through the identical stages, the way they progress is considerably different to what happens with women.
Changing the wording a little, men basically have arousal, erection, ejaculation, satisfaction and then it's all over. Men are so simple, their sexual reactions are hardly worth explaining further.
Life is exciting because nobody ever knows what's going to happen tomorrow, but with men's sex people already know what's going to happen from start to finish and they devote all their energy trying to get through that process.
Women, on the other hand, go through a whole lot of different feelings and reactions in their body depending on how they are guided toward orgasm. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that men won't meet women who have exactly the same sex reactions as they do.
But let's go back to talking about the womb. I've mentioned in earlier columns that drastic changes take place in the vagina as arousal becomes more intense. About one third of the vagina's exterior swells during orgasm, while the area of the vagina near the womb blows up like a balloon and spreads out like a tent.
When this starts to happen, the womb starts to rise together with the sexual reaction. What this does is make a place called the posterior vaginal vault, which forms a pool where sperm can be held. This includes sperm that has been ejaculated and can't leak, drastically -- and naturally -- improving the chances that sperm will progress through to the ova.
When the woman's arousal declines, her womb returns to its original position, but the semen remains inside. There's a thin channel called the uterine cervical canal and the semen, including the sperm inside it, is sucked into the womb like liquids absorbed by a dropper. Isn't the reproductive process absolutely amazing?
How should I know? I don't know what you took. Just try to stay calm and remember that nothing is real and you are safe. And don't look in the mirror! You'll see the devil's face! Sexual arousal amplifies a woman's already superior sense of smell, and a man's odor intensifies during sex due to an increased discharge from scent glands called apocrine glands, which produce fatty, odorous sweat from wherever there is hair on the body. It gets worse: "If he is both aroused and frightened by the situation, it's entirely possible that the wrong cue is being emitted," says neuroscientist Charles J. Wysocki. In other words, he could also be emitting a kind of fear juice, which smells terrible. "It's supposed to let people know that something's wrong here," explains Wysocki. I'll say something's wrong here: The poor guy is terrified of you -- probably because of your drug problem, but it's really none of my business.
Does controlled breathing heighten orgasms?
It depends how you define heighten and how you define orgasms. (Does, controlled, and breathing retain their commonly agreed upon meanings here.) If you define heighten as "change," you'd be technically correct, but if you were an architect, you'd be swiftly fired. Deep breathers, or breathists, if you want, say deep, controlled breathing during sex makes orgasms longer, more spread out, and somehow groovier. "Ecstasy travels on the breath. The more you breathe, the more you feel," says Annie Sprinkle, sexologist, former prostitute, porn star, and someone who's obviously never driven through Gary, Indiana, on a hot day. Mantak Chia, Taoist master, relentless giver of seminars, and author of more than 30 books, instructs his followers to "breathe into the sex organs," but I must take issue with that. One cannot breathe into one's balls unless there has been a terrible accident or, worse, a metaphor. But go ahead and give deep breathing a try. I couldn't tell the difference, but then again, it was a very busy intersection.
Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday released documents that detail changes it will make to its desktop search and indexing feature in Windows Vista that will be included as part of the Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) update.
The changes are a response to charges from rival Google Inc. that Microsoft built the feature in such a way that it slowed down competitive offerings from rivals.
Microsoft agreed to make the changes as part of its ongoing antitrust proceedings with U.S. and state officials, and they were detailed as part of a status report filed in the case in June. To provide more information to the general public, the company posted documents online Wednesday that detail how third parties can help modify desktop search applications to work with the changes being made in SP1. Microsoft has said it will release SP1, a roll-up of updates to the Vista OS, in the first quarter of 2008.
Microsoft said it made the changes so that a customer who uses a third-party desktop search product instead of Vista's built-in feature can have "easy and direct access" to those offerings through the Windows user interface. "That means that in addition to the numerous ways a user could access a third-party search solution in Windows Vista, they can now get to their preferred search results from additional entry points in the Start Menu and Explorer Windows in Windows Vista SP1," the company said in an e-mail message.
These features were at the heart of Google's claims, which appeared in a white paper to U.S. and state antitrust officials in April. Google said the desktop search feature in Vista discouraged users from installing third-party products because Vista's search boxes and bars -- available in several places in the OS, including the Start menu and in the Windows Explorer file manager -- work only with Microsoft's search and indexing tool. The company also said it is nearly impossible to turn off Vista's indexing, which means a competitor must add a second indexer that slows down a PC.
To let their products use Vista options they don't have access to now, third-party vendors can register their search applications using the new search protocol in Windows Vista SP1, which is detailed online. An article explaining the search changes can be found in Microsoft's Knowledge Base.
Windows Vista introduces Instant Search: enhanced desktop search and organization that helps you locate files and e-mail messages on your PC. If you remember anything about a file—the type of file, when it was created, or even what it contains—Windows Vista can quickly find it for you.
With Instant Search, you are never more than a few keystrokes away from whatever you're looking for. This feature, which is available almost anywhere you are in Windows Vista, enables you to search for a file name, a property, or even text contained within a file, and it returns pinpointed results. It's fast and easy. Instant Search is also contextual, optimizing its results based on your current activity—whether it's searching Control Panel applets, looking for music files in Windows Media Player, or looking over all your files and applications on the Start menu.
From the Start menu
From the more efficient and comprehensive Start menu in Windows Vista, you can find virtually anything on your PC with fast-as-you-can-type performance. To find a specific file, application, or Internet Favorite, you simply open the Start menu—or press the Windows key on the keyboard—and begin typing in the embedded Instant Search box. As you type, Windows Vista instantly searches file and application names, metadata, and the full text of all files, and it displays the search results organized by the type of asset—Programs; Favorites/Internet History; Files, including documents and media; and Communications, including e-mail, events, tasks, and contacts.
Explorers, Control Panel, and experiences
Explorer in Windows Vista showcases Instant Search in the top right corner. It's always with you when you're using any explorer, including the Documents Explorer, Music Explorer, Pictures Explorer, and new Search Explorer. Just like using Instant Search from the Start menu, you only have to type a few letters to quickly display the most relevant results. If the results aren't what you're looking for, Instant Search provides easy access to tools that can help you design more specific searches or search across the Internet using your search engine of choice.
Instant Search also appears in the top right corner of the redesigned Control Panel. Here, you need only type in a word or a phrase associated with the task you want to accomplish, and Control Panel filters down to the most appropriate choice.
You can also find Instant Search in Windows programs such as Windows Internet Explorer 7, Windows Photo Gallery, and even Windows Media Player. Anywhere you see it, just start typing, and you'll soon find what you're looking for.
The latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, for the first-half of 2007, suggests there has been a growth in the number of hackers trading malicious code and stolen information through their vast underground network.Stolen bank account numbers are commanding the highest price in an underground trade of personal details stolen by hackers, according to a survey released Monday by security vendor Symantec Corp.
Bank account details command prices of up to US$400, while credit card details sell for between $0.50 and $5, e-mail passwords from $1 to $350 each, and e-mail addresses from $2 to $4 per megabyte, according to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report, which covers the first half of the year.
The online trade in stolen details highlights the commercialization of Internet crime, with gangs researching, developing and marketing nefarious software for other criminals, said William Beer, director of security practice for Europe.
There has been an increase in the quality and quantity of malicious code sold on the Internet, driven by well-funded international groups of criminals, Beer said.
The hackers are obtaining the information through increasingly targeted attacks on computers that often involve collecting personal information about a person from social networks such as MySpace or Facebook, Beer said.
With specific personal details, the hacker can construct a personalized e-mail that entices the victim to either click on an attachment containing malicious software or visit a phishing site.
Symantec is also seeing multistage attacks where the attacker places a small piece of software on a target computer that then acts as a beachhead for downloading other software.
"The end user will not even notice the attacks have taken place because it's a very gradual process," Beer said.
On the spam front, Symantec said it has noticed a 30 percent drop in so-called "pump-and-dump" spam, where e-mails touting penny stocks are sent out, causing a rise in the stock price before the perpetrators sell the stock early. The decline can be attributed to a crackdown by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Also down is the percentage of spam with images, which started as a highly effective way to bypass spam filters but is now less so. About 27 percent of the spam analyzed by Symantec between April and May contained images, down from 50 percent the first week in January, Symantec said.
The decrease is due to an improvement in spam filters as well as the decline in pump-and-dump spam, which often used images, the company said.
“This is no longer about kids having fun and getting kudos, this is about organised crime. It is being run like a business,” Symantec's Pacific vice president, David Sykes, said.
“They are not just selling their fruits of their labour, but also selling the tools. One in particular, MPack, is a professionally designed tool kit, which you can buy for around $US1000 ($A1190).”
MPack is one of the most popular malicious code packages available, providing hackers with the ability to develop “bots” that can infect servers, downloadable files and email attachments.
The report also found that commercially available phishing code was responsible for 42 percent of attacks.
People who receive phishing emails, and click on the embedded link, are directed to a fake website, which looks identical to the real thing, but collects log on and password details to be used or sold on the underground market.
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Yahoo Inc. has begun testing a new service dubbed "Mash," in the latest attempt to catch up MySpace and Facebook in the social networking stakes, media reported Sunday.
"We just started inviting our friends outside Yahoo! to join us in testing Mash," Will Aldrich, the head of Mash, writes in a blog Friday.
Mash claims to have a new approach to online profiles. Users can start profiles for their friends and "open" their own profile to friends they trust, according to the blog.
Social networking has been one of the hottest areas of the Web in recent years. MySpace, the world's biggest social network, was sold to News Corp in 2005 for 580 million U.S. dollars. Facebook, MySpace's next-biggest rival, is thought to have walked away from a 1 billion dollar buy-out offer from Yahoo last year.
Mash marks Yahoo's second attempt to cash in on the social networking craze. Its previous social networking offering, Yahoo 360, has failed to gain much ground.
Mash: Yahoo! Tries to Catch Up With Facebook
Friday saw the beta launch, to invitees only, of Yahoo!'s latest attempt to catch up Facebook in the social networking stakes. Called "pretty raw" still even by its own project leader, Will Aldrich - ("there are bugs and we haven't gotten to several of the features it really should have") - Mash claims to have a new approach to online profiles.
"We just started inviting our friends outside Yahoo! to join us in testing Mash," blogs Aldrich.
"If you've used other online profiles before you'll feel at home in Mash," he continues, "But there are some new twists that make things a little interesting and, we think, a lot of fun."
He lists those twists as follows:
You can make starter profiles for your friends. Think: "first round's on me."
You can leave your profile open to contributions by trusted friends.
You can customize your - or your friend's - profile with modules from a growing gallery of apps.
"Of course, there are extensive privacy controls in Mash and you set the boundaries that you're comfortable with," Aldrich adds.
The site also gives you the option to undo each change made to your profile.
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Step into a forest in southern Ontario and a dizzying array of diversity pummels the senses: ferns line a stream, songbirds flit overhead, lichen pepper a tree stump, a mosquito finds the soft flesh on your arm.
Unless you have a degree in taxonomy, identifying all of the flora and fauna is an insurmountable task.
University of Guelph scientists hope to change that using something retail stores have relied on for years: bar codes. Researchers at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario are starting to assign a unique DNA identifier in the form of a genetic bar code to every animal species on the planet.
They are not alone in their quest. Since the idea was first published in 2003 by University of Guelph professor Paul Hebert, DNA bar coding has been adopted by 160 organizations in 50 countries and more than 31,000 species have been coded.
Experts believe it has a host of applications, from catching agricultural pests at the border to quickly identifying disease-carrying mosquitos.
It will help researchers discover species and trace evolutionary patterns, says David Schindel, executive secretary of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life, at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and host of next week's second international Barcode of Life conference in Taipei.
Scientists are bar-coding as many species as possible in an effort to create a global reference library, says Schindel.
Much like a fingerprint database, DNA bar-coding only works if there is a comprehensive catalogue from which to compare samples.
Barcoding will soon allow scientists to quickly identify hard-to-distinguish species within hours, rather than days. Taxonomists usually use physical characteristics, such as colour markings, to classify an animal. But that won't always work; scientists may only have a small piece of an organism to work with.
When dead birds carrying avian flu washed up on the shores of Scotland, it took weeks to identify the species as swans because they were so decomposed, Schindel says.
"If we could have bar-coded the species, we would have known what they were within a day and, possibly, where they came from," he says. "It would have been a big help for public health officials."
Hebert, who holds a Canada Research Chair in molecular biology, had long thought DNA could be used to identify species.
Scanning an animal's entire genome would cost too much and take too long, so he pinpointed a short piece of DNA - a section of a gene called cytochrome c oxidase 1, or CO1 - that could distinguish one animal from an other. It was a successful hunch, though it can't be used for plants.
"The results of the first wave of studies have been so positive that the plan to bar code all life is simply irresistible," Hebert wrote in an email while travelling in Korea.
He believes 500,000 animal species will be bar-coded within five years.
The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, which opened in May, houses the world's leading DNA bar-code facility. Robert Hanner, an assistant professor at the University of Guelph and co-ordinator of the Fish Barcode of Life Campaign, says the lab is able to code between 12,000 and 20,000 samples a month, for $2 a sample.
Agricultural groups have approached them to bar-code insects that affect Ontario crops, he says.
Critics say DNA bar-coding isn't nearly as accurate as promised.
Felix Sperling, a biology professor at the University of Alberta, points out bar coding seems to work best for identifying species, such as birds, that are easy to distinguish by physical characteristics.
It does not work as well for other plant and animal groups, such as lichen, fungi and parasitic insects, he adds.
That doesn't bother Spencer Barrett, a University of Toronto professor of evolutionary biology, who is looking for a piece of DNA that can be used to distinguish plant species.
"The next big frontier, the next big scientific question, is to identify all of the biodiversity on Earth," he says, noting only 1.7 million species have been named of some 20 million to 30 million species.
HOW IT WORKS
Scientists only need DNA from a single gene to identify most species of animals on Earth.
• First, a tissue sample is collected and sent to a lab, where DNA can be extracted.
• The target piece of DNA - a portion of a gene called cytochrome c oxidase 1 (CO1) - is copied many times, using a technique called polymerase chain reaction.
• The copies are sequenced to determine the exact order of the four base pairs (A,T,C,G) within the strand of DNA, which generates the specific barcode for that species.
• The barcode information, along with the animal's taxonomic name, photos, GPS co-ordinates of where it was found, and other distinguishing characteristics, are entered into the Barcode of Life data system. It's accessible to anyone at www.barcodinglife.org.
• Quickly identifying species of mosquitos that carry diseases, including those that carry West Nile virus or malaria.
• Checking for consumer products made from endangered plants or animals.
• Identifying invasive insect pests on agricultural shipments going in and out of Canada
• Environmental monitoring - mapping how birds shift breeding territories in response to global warming, for example.
• Tracing unwanted plant and animal ingredients in foods.
Technorati : DNA bar code
This look at Foltz Mfg. & Industrial Supply Co. isthe 166th in a series of articles about the historical and architectural treasures of Washington County
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The commercial building at the corner of East Washington and Locust streets covers the entire 240-foot-by-40-foot lot, ending at Matthew Avenue on the south. Its three-story front block faces Washington with four bays and an entrance that angles across the corner. Sashes have single panes of glass set in openings topped by limestone lintels. Large letters above the top row of windows reads, "H.C. Foltz," and the first-floor display windows exhibit various pieces of hardware dominated by the Pipe Man, a clever figure made from pipe parts. The long rear section has four doors large enough to admit massive engines and machinery that come for repair and refitting interspersed with ten large windows filled with rectangular panes of wired glass covered with corrugated polycarbonate. The interior of the storefront on Washington Street looks like an old-fashioned hardware store. The ceiling is high, covered in pressed tin; the floor is dark, unfinished wood; a tall counter separates customers from staff and office. Tall ranks of shelves hold pressure gauges, grinding wheels, wrenches, winch-hoists, hammer drills, pipe stands, epoxy putty and all the usual tools that might be expected at a hardware store. But the look is different: some of the crowbars are over 5 feet long, the choice of pullers ranges from modest to massive, sets of hex wrenches have handles. Henry Calvin Foltz, born in Smithsburg in 1846, decided against farming as an occupation and apprenticed at the Frick Co. machine shop in Waynesboro. At the age of 20, he moved to Hagerstown to work as a machinist for Garver, Flanegan & Bickel, which later became Hagerstown Steam Engine and Machine Co. In 1877, H.C. Foltz went into partnership with Daniel and Cyrus Garver to purchase Dayhoff Foundry and Machine Works in Rock Forge, Md. Four years later, when Agricultural Implement Manufacturing Company moved their business to Akron, Ohio, the partners of Garver, Foltz & Co. purchased that company's vacated property at the corner of East Washington and Locust Streets. A story-and-a-half stone building with metal roof and corbelled chimney stood at the corner of this lot. A pent roof crossed the gable end below a date stone reading 1780-something, (the final digit was indecipherable) between its first floor and attic. This stone structure attached to the building next door on Washington Street, a two-story, recently built commercial structure with a corbelled cornice. The first two bays of this building were part of the Agricultural Implement Manufacturing Co. as well. A one-story stone wing extended to the rear of the stone house where it attached to a taller, gable-roofed brick barn with two cupolas extending above the roof. These had movable vents that opened and closed by cranking them with a long pole from the floor below to relieve heat and smoke in the shop. An assortment of random structures filled the space to Matthew Avenue. The partners moved their equipment from Rock Forge, combined it with that in their new quarters and worked at repairing agricultural tools and performing custom machine work. Cyrus Garver died shortly after this purchase and Daniel followed in 1888. Henry Foltz purchased the business, renaming it H.C. Foltz Company, and two years later bought out his former employer, the Hagerstown Steam Engine & Machine Company with all their patterns. He could now manufacture and repair all the machinery that this company had produced including "Empire" traction, portable and stationary steam engines, threshers, clover hullers, grain drills, saw mills and corn crushers. With the addition of these steam engines, Foltz Company began to carry pipe, pipe-fittings, brass goods, rubber and leather strapping, roller chain, valve packing and other kinds of machinist's supplies. Hagerstown was a hub for railroads during the 19th century, served by several companies' lines. In addition, it was a center for agriculture. Both these enterprises were markets for Foltz Company. They manufactured and repaired farm equipment and made or rebuilt parts for railroads. In addition to stocking supplies, H.C. Foltz Co. manufactured products designed and patented by Henry Foltz, including a hog scalder, a malleable lifting jack used by railroads and the rounded steel stock trough still seen at farms around the county. At the time, water troughs were often made of wood, and in the winter the water froze, forcing the joints of the troughs apart, ruining them. The rounded design of the Foltz trough allowed ice to lift out as it froze rather than deforming the trough. In 1914, having outgrown their quarters, Foltz expanded. The old stone building was torn down and replaced with the three-story, four-bay brick structure seen today. Ceilings are finished in pressed tin with tin cove finishing the edges and elaborate tin moldings encasing the heavy steel I-beams holding the upper floors. The freight elevator, with grillwork on its upper half and sheet steel below, separated by an elegant Greek key-patterned rail, hauls stock to and from storage on the upper floors. The remaining machine shop, now attached to the new front building, had its walls raised above the peaks of its five pairs of original rafters, huge wooden beams with 12-inch-by-8-inch cross sections. Steel I-beams were laid level across the east and west walls, then the east end of each beam was wedged up a foot or so to give the roof a slight slope in order to drain. If a second story was needed, these wedges could be removed and the roof dropped to level, becoming the floor of the new story. Four forges lined the outside west wall of the shop, each with its own chimney, and vestiges of these chimneys remained in place when it was connected to the new office building. A steam traction motor sat outside the large arch at the end of the building with great leather belts fed through the brick wall above the arch turning the power trains that ran all the equipment in the shop and that still hang below its ceiling. Clinker from the forges was tamped into the floor and covered with a soft mortar, then topped with 2 1/2- to 3-inch-thick tongue and groove flooring so that the men had a more flexible surface to walk on. Henry Foltz retired from management in 1916 and turned the company over to his son, Robert G. Foltz Sr., and his daughter Emma Foltz Benner. Again the name changed, and it became Foltz Manufacturing & Supply Company. With the advent of electricity in the 1930s, the steam traction motor was retired and the power train converted to the new power source. Another structure was added to the back of the building, filling the rest of the lot to the south. As technology moved away from hand-wrought materials, the need for four forges diminished. They were shut down, leaving only remnants of their chimneys in the narrow space between the exterior wall on the west and the lot line when it was filled with a narrow two-level storage area. A single forge needed for the operation was brought into the shop along the inside of the same west wall where the old ones had been. A balcony was added above the shop to store materials. During World War II, Foltz Company did a great deal of subcontracting for Fair-child Aircraft and converted many of the shop machines from manual to automatic operation in order to complete jobs quickly. By 1947 the need for more stock storage space became obvious, so a modern warehouse was built at 50 McComas Street - at the north end of Locust Street, next to railroad tracks. Here Foltz has 10,500 square feet of interior storage with an additional 11,000 square feet of open lot for exterior storage of large angles, channels and beams. Robert Foltz Sr. died in 1951, leaving his sister Emma Benner in control of the business. Incorporation followed, and all of Robert's children, Henry C. Foltz II, Robert Foltz Jr., Daniel and Rebecca, became active in the management of the company. Emma died in 1961, and the next generation took over. Sixteen family members still own the company, and the firm employs the same number of people. Henry C. Foltz II's son Henry C. Foltz III is now the president of the company and manages with the help of his brother Carroll. Carroll Hartman manages operations at the company. Henry C. Foltz III is called Tim, a nickname he uses to alleviate years of confusion among Henrys at the business. Foltz Company continues to prosper, serving its local market and creating a niche outside of the big-box companies by stocking items and sizes that those companies do not carry. Foltz stocks items such as a 12-foot-long handle, 6-inch-wide leather belts, gasket material made of vegetable fiber, rubber, neoprene or high-temperature graphite with an anti-stick coating in 60-inch sheets. Foltz also does custom machine work and blacksmithing on a forge with 100-year-old tools and performs work on a lathe with a 5-foot diameter face plate. The floor undulates now, a mix of ancient wood and concrete; modern machines share space with those 100 years old. Two lathes are still turned by the power train, and the freight elevator, rehabilitated with a second-hand drum gear unit, still carries staff and stock to and from the upper floors. Foltz Company is a unique institution that continues to prosper, keeping its old technology and embracing the new.
Technorati : Industrial Supply
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Hagerstown Community College's Technical Innovation Center is a viewing site for a live broadcast presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum entitled "Entrepreneurship Success, Failure, Greatness: A Fireside Chat with Ann Winblad and Jason Pontin."
The broadcast will be held Thursday, Sept. 27, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in TIC Conference Room 208.
Winblad has extensive experience in the software industry as a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist.
She will be interviewed by Pontin, editor-in- chief of Technology Review. Their discussion will focus on such areas as why some technology startups succeed where others fail, Winblad's philosophy of funding tech companies and what makes for a great entrepreneur
This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Those interested may register by Sept. 25 by calling 301-790-2800, ext. 399.
Technorati : broadcast MIT
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Just 74 days after launching its iPhone, Apple announced it had already sold 1 million of the things - a milestone that its previous blockbuster product, the iPod, took almost two years to reach.
And yet, to judge by the industry's chatter, the iPhone is already old news. More excitement swirls around rumours that Google, the Web-search giant that is Apple's neighbour in Silicon Valley, could enter the market with its own "gPhone." Google's boss, Eric Schmidt, has already said that the firm plans to bid for a prime slice of the wireless spectrum in a forthcoming auction, something Apple is also said to be considering.
In short, both mobile operators and handset-makers could soon be confronted with two of the world's sexiest brands as direct rivals. Publicly, Apple and Google are being diplomatic.
The industry is a stool with three legs - network service, devices, and the software and content that goes on them - and "I don't think any player in the ecosystem trying to glue it all together will be very successful," says Dipchand Nishar, who leads Google's mobile-phone strategy.
By this he may simply be conceding the obvious, which is that Google would not build hardware, even if it made the other two legs.
But Google seems to be up to something. It bought a company called Android in 2005 that specializes in mobile-phone software. It has Google Talk, a free Internet-calling service. In July it bought GrandCentral Communications, a firm that gives users one single phone number for life. And it recently filed a patent application for a new mobile-payment technology.
It would certainly be tempting to tie all these bits together into a new software "platform" for mobile phones and offer it to handset-makers as an alternative to existing smart-phone operating systems such as Symbian, Palm or Microsoft's Windows Mobile.
Naturally, Google's search, email and document services would be tightly integrated, along with its advertising technologies, which might pave the way for mobile service that is partly or wholly subsidized by advertising.
As a strategy, this might be just different enough from Apple's to assure harmony with its ally.
It would suit neither firm to open hostilities. So Google may concentrate on software for cheaper, mass-market devices, leaving Apple to make elegant, high-end hardware.
Technorati : ecosystem
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This beautifully designed media player is like a slim iPhone sans phone--but it's marred by some early hardware and software issues.
On Wednesday last, Richard Wilk found himself in a state of "iPodopause."
The professor of anthropology at Indiana University was travelling through Westport, Conn., on his way to Gothenburg, Sweden, and had been seized by the idea of purchasing a new iPod for his wife's birthday.
Wilk's iPodolatry was not newborn. "We have a drawer at home with the broken remains of a number of dead iPods, including my daughter's dead iPods and my dead iPods and my wife's dead iPods," Wilk relates.
This electronics graveyard has done nothing to dampen Wilk's iPodophilia.
"It's very hard to be anthropological about your own consumption," the professor continues. "I think there's something very seductive about the iPod."
Apple, ever the temptress, has just launched its latest iPod line-up, including, beguilingly, the new Nano, featuring a teeny, tiny video screen, a squarish body, and a pleasing array of colour options, including a retro green reminiscent of a Bakelite butter dish. Brilliantly, the new Nano is being shilled by Feist: One, two, three, four, tell me that you love me more.
The crass and the unkind have swiftly labelled the new Nano "Fatty" and "Fatboy," ignoring the fact that its merry, blocky face fronts a body as thin as a graham cracker, though with a sturdy, heavy-metal backing.
It is the perfect gift, the object of one's desire.
Could this be lust?
Unrequited, sadly, at the Eaton Centre, where, on the very day following the day when Apple pledged immediate worldwide availability, the sales clerk at the mall's Apple store raised his shoulders in the gesture acknowledged worldwide to mean: We haven't seen the new iPods yet and, no, we have no idea when they might arrive.
A return trip the following day drew the equally dispiriting: "Apparently they're in transit." This particular sales clerk placed those little air commas around "transit," yet another euphemism for: We haven't seen the new iPods yet and, no, we have no idea when they might arrive.
Richard Wilk trolled Westport and reported, by email, this discouraging news: "The old models are gone, the new ones are not in yet. We are in a temporary iPodopause."
As it happens, Wilk is headed to the University of Gothenburg and its Centre for Consumer Science, or the Centrum för Konsumtionsvetenskap, where, among other matters, he will continue work on his book on the history of men and consumption.
As such, Wilk is in a position to put my own family's konsumtionsvetenskap of iPods in context. Surely when one owns an early iteration Shuffle (the one that looks like a stick of gum) and the current Shuffle (the one that's the size of a postage stamp), and an early model 60 GB, now amusingly renamed as the sixth-generation "Classic," as well as a Mini and an earlier, non-video version of the Nano, and one is eager to get one's hands on the latest generation, one has two things.
The first thing: a great many iPods.
The second thing: an illness.
Has man always wanted the new, new thing?
"No," says Wilk. "I'm working on a paper right now on -philia and -phobia. I'm thinking about it more in terms of neophilia and neophobia, but it's really the same thing. There are people who are at times always looking for something new. But there are also people who are afraid of new things, who reject new things, who find new things destabilizing. I think all of us have a mixture of the two.
"For instance," the professor continues, "when it comes to, say, toothbrushes or when it comes to footwear, you're very conservative. But when it comes to consumer electronics you're extremely neophilic."
Cleverly, the iPod offers a mixture of the new - the thing itself - and the old, in Wilk's case, what he loads onto it: ska, rocksteady, Sly & Robbie, Burning Spear. In this way, the cutting-edge technology doubles as something historic, a museum.
In years past, Wilk has been an early adopter, technology wise. Recalls his purchase in, oh, 1983, of his Eagle PC portable, weighing in at something like 19 pounds with "a little six-inch yellow screen." He took it to Belize, where it died on or about the fifth day he was there. "The ironic thing is I think they had an anthropologist working in the company documenting their demise."
Latterly, Wilk has been more cautious, and was not an early adopter of the iPod. But then he got hooked, despite the iPod's propensity to die right after the warranty ran out.
"I found a website that shows you how to open them up and swap parts out ... I swapped a new hard drive into one and it worked fine for a little while. I got it all filled up with music and I was out walking the dog and I had it in my chest pocket and my dog jumped into the creek. I reached down to pull him out and the iPod jumped into the creek, too."
So he bought another one.
My husband, who clung to his Betamax long after its time had passed, finds that dropping his fritzy 60 gig on the floor is the way to get it working again. (Eventually the Betamax was chucked, though the "Boom Box," the Walkman, the Discman (Discmen, actually), the Mini Disc player and the waterproof transistor radio all remain on the premises in various states of déshabillé.)
My Shuffle works just fine.
Still, the new Nano beckons. Does this make me:
b) morally vacant
c)) a pathetic seeker of self-completion relying on things to make me whole
"The psychologists have been telling us ever since Freud that somehow our relationship with stuff is false because it's a displaced desire for human connection," says Wilk. Detachment plus familial alienation equals the transference of affection from people onto objects. "What that says basically is that all of our love of things is some kind of pathology, and from an anthropological point of view, I think that's just crazy. If there's anything that distinguishes our species over the last four million years it is that we are object users. We're tool users. We love stuff."
Humans are into possession.
Chimpanzees, not so much.
Dogs? Into possession. See: stuffed animals.
This invites the absurd image of dogs sporting ear buds and collar-clipping iPods.
Go on, laugh. Wilk points out that there are dog cellphones. And if you want to itemize dumb stuff, you might as well include what Wilk calls "the most ridiculous thing." And that would be? "Neutricles ... They're prosthetic testicles for dogs ... You can get them in six sizes. $400 a pair."
Where does it end?
Wilk tells us that there have been civilizations in history where people seemed relatively happy with stability.
"The ancient Mayans knew about wheels but didn't feel any need to invent wagons," he says. "But today, if there were no economic innovation, can you imagine what would happen?"
"I guess that would be the end of the modern economy."
At the Apple Store in the Eaton Centre, the new iPods have arrived. Stephanie Iossifidis is scrutinizing the new Nano. It's a bit of a bummer.
"I just bought this one a couple of months ago," she says of the now "old" Nano she pulls from her sweatshirt pocket. She's gone through two Minis. One broke when she fell off her bike. The battery died on Mini number two.
An electrical engineering student in a "So Hip it Hurts" T-shirt and checkerboard Vans, Iossifidis likes the way the new Nano video screen is "not that pixelized." She likes the hard metal back. She finds the movie-music combination compelling.
Will she buy it? "I think I'll wait it out," she says, meaning she will await the death of her existing iPod.
So wise. And only 18.
The 52-year-old caresses the seductive Fatboy before she, too, walks away.
Technorati : iPod