Happiest country on Earth is Finland
Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.
VATICAN CITY: Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an annual survey issued on Wednesday that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer.
Burundi came bottom in the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report which ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity and absence of corruption.
Taking the harsh, dark winters in their stride, Finns said access to nature, safety, childcare, good schools and free healthcare were among the best things about in their country.
“I’ve joked with the other Americans that we are living the American dream here in Finland,” said Brianna Owens, who moved from the United States and is now a teacher in Espoo, Finland’s second biggest city with a population of around 280,000.
“I think everything in this society is set up for people to be successful, starting with university and transportation that works really well,” Owens told Reuters.
Finland, rose from fifth place last year to oust Norway from the top spot. The 2018 top-10, as ever dominated by the Nordics, is: Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia.
The United States came in at 18th, down from 14th place last year. Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.
One chapter of the 170-page report is dedicated to emerging health problems such as obesity, depression and the opioid crisis, particularly in the United States where the prevalence of all three has grown faster than in most other countries.
While U.S. income per capita has increased markedly over the last half century, happiness has been hit by weakened social support networks, a perceived rise in corruption in government and business and declining confidence in public institutions.
“We obviously have a social crisis in the United States: more inequality, less trust, less confidence in government,” the head of the SDSN, Professor Jeffrey Sachs of New York’s Columbia University, told Reuters as the report was launched at the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“It’s pretty stark right now. The signs are not good for the U.S. It is getting richer and richer but not getting happier.”
Asked how the current political situation in the United States could affect future happiness reports, Sachs said:
“Time will tell, but I would say that in general that when confidence in government is low, when perceptions of corruption are high, inequality is high and health conditions are worsening ... that is not conducive to good feelings.”
For the first time since it was started in 2012, the report, which uses a variety of polling organizations, official figures and research methods, ranked the happiness of foreign-born immigrants in 117 countries. Finland took top honors in that category too, giving the country a statistical double-gold status.
The foreign-born were least happy in Syria, which has been mired in civil war for seven years. “The most striking finding of the report is the remarkable consistency between the happiness of immigrants and the locally born,” said Professor John Helliwell of Canada’s University of British Columbia.
“Although immigrants come from countries with very different levels of happiness, their reported life evaluations converge towards those of other residents in their new countries,” he said. “Those who move to happier countries gain, while those who move to less happy countries lose.”
Has Ileana secretly tied the knot with her boyfriend as suggested by her Instagram post? Actress answers.
Despite Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma never admitting to their relationship nor revealing their marriage plans, the whole world expected an announcement and were not caught off-guard when they finally tweeted the news.
However, that was not the case with Ileana D’Cruz and her boyfriend (or husband) Andrew Kneebone.
In December last year, the actress shared a blurry picture of herself with a Christmas tree on Instagram, but the post giving photo credit to her ‘hubby’ set tongues wagging.
The actress reacted to the post in a recent interview to a tabloid and the answer is maybe clearer or maybe not. “It’s exactly what you see. What’s great about the social media is that I can let people in to an extent but I don’t like talking about my past… How the relationship started and where… in interviews. It’s too personal. I won’t hide it and I won’t deny it. Everything is out there for everyone to see, don’t ask me too many questions about it. I’ll tell you what I want to tell you. Period,” Ileana told Mumbai Mirror.
When probed further, she laughed and said, "Like I said, everything is out there, I don’t need to answer your question.”
Andrew is an Australian photographer and while the topic of nepotism in Bollywood is always debated, Ileana has never thought about him joining the industry.
“I don’t know, I’ve never asked him. That would be a really big move but I also know that he is someone who would love to do something like that. He’s taken some really cool pictures of Varun (Dhawan) and Alia (Bhatt) on a flight, Ranveer (Singh) and Salman (Khan) during a show I did with them. He’s great with photos but him moving here and making a career in Bollywood is something only Andrew can answer. I think he’ll totally be up for it!” she said.
Not just the headline-grabbing Instagram post, Ileana’s profile is filled with numerous lovey-dovey moments with Andrew. The man, who is good with pictures is equally effective with his words, praising his love's work and even being honest with her during tough times.
“He does (watch her films) and is amazingly honest. He spoils me with his compliments. He’s like, “You’re such an amazing actor, you’re really good!” and I’m like, 'You don’t have to say that just because you love me.' But I think he really means it and it means a lot to me because I know he is someone who will never lie even to me. Sometimes, I’m really upset if a film hasn’t done well and he’ll watch it and tell me what he felt was wrong. It matters to me what he thinks,” Ileana shared.
Andrew will surely be looking forward to her next, ‘Raid’ opposite Ajay Devgn, which will hit the theatres on 16 March.
Celebrity nutritionist, Ryan Fernando said that a vast majority of the Indian population is lactose intolerant.
It comes as good news to the lactose intolerant people in India, as India's first lactose-free, artisanal curd was launched recently by Epigamia.
However, dieticians say that a large segment of the Chennaiites is lactose tolerant, and what’s surprising is that most of them don't even know it.
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people have digestive symptoms, such as bloating, diarrhoea, allergies and other health issues after they consume milk or milk products. An allergic reaction to milk can be life threatening also even if a small quantity of milk product is consumed.
Celebrity nutritionist, Ryan Fernando said that a vast majority of the Indian population is lactose intolerant. “When we tested all the dieticians at the nutrition clinics, we found a whopping 95 percent of Indian population is lactose intolerant. It's time we shed light on this prevalent condition and the consequent change in diet required.”
Lactose is a type of sugar that is mainly found in milk and dairy products.
The body digests lactose using an enzyme called lactase. People who are lactose intolerant don't produce enough lactase, resulting in improper digestion of the dairy products and thus bloating and abdominal discomfort.
Dairy products do not contain enough probiotics such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria that also lead to abdominal discomfort, say medicos.
“Most of the people don't realise that some of the allergies and health issues related to digestion are caused because their bodies are simply unable to break down the lactose present in milk. We need to create awareness about this condition as lactose intolerance is a highly underrated problem,” said Dr J. Sundari, consultant dietician.
The chief of a charity working with old people described loneliness as more damaging to health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
People across the world have several platforms to connect with new people or stay in touch with friends and family at all times in the age of social media. But the irony of our times is that many are struggling with loneliness even as they are in the midst of a crowd.
The sad reality about this condition is reflected in the British administration’s decision to appoint its first ever minister for loneliness. Junior Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch will take over the ministry meant to help people tackle isolation which British PM Theresa May described as the sad reality of modern life.
The appointment comes after an initiative by deceased lawmaker Jo Cox who was killed by a right-wing extremist. Millions of people in society are living in close proximity but aren’t able to form meaningful social bonds.
The chief of a charity working with old people described loneliness as more damaging to health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Former United States surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy wrote that it may be linked with higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression, dementia and anxiety.
Co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook’s personal net worth dropped by whopping 4.4 per cent.
It seems that Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to change the way Facebook operates people’s news feeds did not go down to well for him. The move has cost him $3.3bn, with his personal net worth dropping by 4.4 per cent, it is believed.
After Facebook went public with the news feed change on Thursday, the website’s share value dropped by nearly four per cent before US markets opened on Friday.
By close of business on Friday Facebook shares were trading at $179.37, down more than 4.4 per cent on Thursday’s price of $187.77.
Forbes has calculated that for Mr Zuckerberg, the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook, this translated into a personal hit of 3.3bn – a 4.4 per cent fall in his personal fortune.
Zuckerberg, 33, who started Facebook in 2004 aged 19, still owns a 17 per stake in the company, which went public in 2012.
He explained his reasons for changing the news feed algorithm in a Facebook post on Thursday, saying he wanted the website to prioritise posts from friends and family over businesses and brands.
The 41-year-old woman from Britain was being diagnosed for a bowel disease after complaining of excruciating abdominal pain and bloating.
Although medical science has the answer to several diseases and is coming up with treatment for more, sometimes practitioners can get it wrong too. While cases of seemingly minor issues turning out to be major ailments have been reported, there are also times when something simple is mistaken for a serious illness.
A 41-year-old woman from Britain was being diagnosed for a bowel disease after complaining of excruciating abdominal pain and bloating that lasted up to three days. Doctors perceived her condition to be Chron’s disease for which there is treatment but no cure.
When she didn’t respond to treatment doctors eventually decided to conduct a keyhole surgery as the only option. The procedure led to the discovery of pieces of plastic packaging coming from a sachet of Heinz tomato ketchup piercing the woman’s intestine.
Doctors said this was the first case of plastic packaging ingested by a person mimicking symptom’s of the serious ailment which affects at least 115000 people in the UK alone.
Sachin Sanghe has created over 200 miniature sculptures using chalk and lead.
In high school, Sachin Sanghe was often called to the front of class to write notes on the blackboard as a teacher dictated them. Other students would copy these notes off the blackboard. He also used to write headlines on the school notice board – an activity he quite enjoyed.
It was during this time that he formed an "attachment" with a material synonymous with Indian schools – the humble chalk. So much so, that it has now become his canvas for his art.
For nearly 15 years now, Sachin has been making micro-sculptures using pieces of chalk, an art form he has labelled 'Chalkruthi'. In the last few years, he's also made micro-figures of noted personalities and monuments using lead.
Based in Bengaluru, 28-year-old Sachin hails from Mudugere, around 80 km away from the capital city. By day, he is a software engineer and, at night, he transforms into an artist.
With no formal training in sculpting, Sachin's has been a self-taught journey, where he has had to learn through trial and error.
"In school, I always had dividers, a compass, a sharpener and also safety pins in my geometry box. I gradually started carving letters and then names, and would gift it to friends and relatives," he recollects.
"There was no Google at the time, nor had I seen anyone making micro-sculptures then. I had to start from scratch," he says.
From alphabets, the budding artist moved on to making faces on bits of chalk placed together. However, once he joined an engineering college, his academic commitments increased and his interests took a backseat for four long years.
Upon graduating, once he got a job, he decided to pursue his hobby again.
"I took up a job in Chennai and I had a lot of free time, especially on weekends. I had always wanted to do a face sculpture on a single piece of chalk, and I began by carving a miniature of Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankara. It was in 2011. I have not looked back since," he says.
Around five years ago, Sachin also started sculpting lead to create miniature art forms.
"Both chalk and lead have their own pros and cons. Chalk is smooth, brittle and powdery. But there is room for some detailing. Lead, however, is the opposite. There is no room for detailing, but it is not as brittle as chalk. It is harder," Sachin explains.
He has made more than 200 miniature sculptures till now – the time he takes on each sculpture depends on how complex the design is. While the simpler ones could take anywhere between five and six hours, those requiring heavy detailing can take as long as 120 to 130 hours.
His craft has also given him the opportunity to meet the people he looks up to, apart from the appreciation he has received from people far and wide.
On January 3, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, a meeting he describes as a "dream come true".
"I gifted him eight chalk sculptures, including one where the PM is taking blessings from his mother. The sculptures also depicted several yoga poses. He was very impressed," he said.
A few days ago, he presented his work to President Ram Nath Kovind in Bengaluru.
In 2013, he had met his idol, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, during an IPL match in Hyderabad.
Sachin says he does get requests to make sculptures and, once in a while, he will also accept an order if time permits. "But I don't have enough time to do this commercially. I am trying to improve my scale. And if I can deliver an order, I take it," he says.
As he signs off, he says while he hasn't chalked out concrete plans for the future, he is optimistic about it. "When I started out, it was just so that I could kill some time. Never had I thought that I'd come this far. I'll continue pursuing my passion. Let's see where it takes me."
A gendered understanding of this iconic Malayalam movie.
The idea of the feminine supernatural – the female ghost, the floating Yakshi, cackling away in a white sari, or the blood-thirsty Raktharakshassu – has been an integral part of horror movies since its inception and Malayalam cinema is no exception. Some consider the ghost a complete fantasy (as most of us like to believe), while others choose to see it as a constructed, imaginary projection of reality by the director/writer.
The latter idea leads to a different perception of the female ghost in Manichitrathazhu.
For most Malayalis, Manichitrathazhu is a part of their cultural lives and the film’s repeat value is exceptional. At the same time, cinema reflects its contemporaneous socio-political conditions. The film was made in ’90s Kerala, when the country was just opening up economically and new cultural influences were just beginning to interact with traditional society. Societal gender bias was challenged rarely. With most filmmakers, viewers and the heads of the families being male, cinema was largely a chauvinistic enterprise. Most directors or writers did not challenge the existing idea of gender roles, either because they thought it might backfire or because it never occurred to them. The strong reply was always that they were portraying reality. So let’s analyse these ‘realities’.
Who is Ganga?
Born in a small village (Evoor) in Kerala, she later went on to live and study in Calcutta. She is in her late 20s, well-educated and capable of taking her own decisions. The tall, urbane Ganga has defiantly open hair and dresses fashionably in salwar-kameez churidars and stylish sarees, unlike the other women in the film. The film keeps hinting at the fact that Ganga is going to be a troublemaker from the moment she arrives.
One of the characters in the film assumes her to be a ghost as soon as she steps out of a Maruti car, her silhouette bathed in the red glow of its light. In another scene, a character sees her eyes through an ornate wooden lattice and is terrified. Her husband is warned by the head of the family that girls from other families (Ganga is the outsider) will not be treated kindly in Madampally by the ghost (and even, perhaps, the family?). Later in the film, she is possessed by the ghost of a dancer called Nagavalli.
The fact that the writer chose the female dancer’s ghost to haunt Ganga, and not any of the other three women in the family, calls for an examination of the subliminal motives. Is the accusation of being possessed a representation of the Malayali masculine psyche’s unwillingness to accept the educated, modern woman with an opinion? By the end of the film, Ganga is ‘cured’ (has learnt her lesson) and decides to return to Calcutta as she feels that’s the best place for her and her husband. Does the film imply that Kerala is not a place for ‘women like her’? Could it also be a cinematic version of the lack of acceptance for the daughter-in-law in the husband’s family?
Who is Sreedevi?
She is the cousin of Ganga’s husband (Nakulan), who would have married Nakulan if not for problems in her horoscope. She marries someone else, has a troubled marriage and leaves her husband’s house to live with her parents.
As the film proceeds, the filmmaker leads us to believe that Sreedevi is the possessed one. The men in the family accuse her of being the cause of the trouble and soon the entire family, including her parents, are convinced. Her anger, smile and words sound conveniently evil thereafter. In a later scene, the family watches on powerlessly as she is ‘manhandled’ by the so-called doctor, whose only authority in the family is that of being Nakulan’s friend.
Through Sreedevi, the filmmaker hammers home the stereotype that the divorced or lonely woman is always trouble. Without the male presence in her life, she is portrayed as being insecure and incomplete. She is mistreated by an outsider and her aggressor gets away with it. Can she be ‘used’ in any way to solve other issues in the family? Towards the end of the film, the psychiatrist (who is wild and slightly unconventional) makes a marriage proposal to Sreedevi mentioning that it’s not easy to live with psychiatrists. Is he suggesting that it takes a ‘special’ person to marry a girl with a poor horoscope?
Who is Nagavalli?
The prolific dancer who was killed by the Karanavar (head of the family) for falling in love with a male dancer and not him. Nagavalli, according to the film, has two objectives behind possessing Ganga: to get back her beloved and to take revenge on her murderer. The filmmaker never imagines that Nagavalli could have other interests in life (or death) besides the two men. Supposedly a great dancer, we see Nagavalli dancing in the film only to seduce her lover. Another specific decision by the filmmaker is to make Ganga’s husband, Nakulan, the Karanavar who murdered Nagavalli. Ganga, once possessed, sees her husband as the villain.
How would it be if we reloaded Manichitrathazhu from a new perspective? Here’s our fresh take on the secret story the lies behind the locked Manichitrathazhu!
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and not meant to hurt the film, filmmaker, or its fans in any way.
Ganga and Nakulan are returning to the Nakulan’s hometown. They have a disturbed marriage. The power equation in their relationship is dominated by a modern, educated and independent Ganga. They reach the village to take possession of Nakulan’s ancestral property. At his hometown, Nakulan’s uncle is unwilling to give him (his sister’s son) the share of property. As soon as Nakulan asks for the keys, the uncle cooks up a story of a female ghost that haunts the house (since ghosts are mostly female). Ganga persuades her husband and insists on living in the property that is legally theirs. The uncle realises that Ganga is the powerful and intelligent partner in the relationship. His plans being shattered by a woman, his ego is hurt. To resolve the problems brought on by the ghost story, Nakulan puts the blame on the uncle’s daughter – a widow. Nakulan insists that she is possessed. Her widowhood makes it easy for the rest of the men to buy the accusation.
Nakulan then calls an “alpha-male” friend into the family to settle all his issues. Nakulan explains to the alpha male that his failing marriage has to be solved. The alpha male understands that Ganga is a strong female character and she needs to be taught a lesson. He decides that Ganga being modern, educated and an independent woman is not welcomed by the husband’s family. ‘She is the one possessed,’ he declares!
Since Ganga was a problem figure for the uncle, he too agrees. Soon, the entire family believes that Ganga is possessed. The men group up, plan to ‘fix’ Ganga and bring her back into the family’s values and culture. The uncle and Nakulan team up though they have different aims. They execute their plan together.
Ganga has now learnt her lesson and decides to leave for Calcutta with her husband. The uncle gets control of the property. Nakulan gets a tamed Ganga. The alpha male decides that the widow has to be his partner. All the men are happy and the film ends.
Does this story not fit into the patriarchal context of Kerala?
This article was first published on fullpicture.in. Itz Chennai has syndicated the content. You can read the original article here.
The device can help better understand heart diseases and test potential drug therapies, without experimenting with lab animals.
Singapore: Scientists have developed a new'organ-on-chip device' that mimics atherosclerosis or the constriction of blood vessels, which is the leading cause of
heart attacks and strokes.
The device can help better understand heart diseases and test potential drug therapies, without experimenting with lab animals. In a study published in the journal APL Bioengineering, researchers showed how this organ-on-a-chip could also improve blood testing for patients.
"Atherosclerosis is a very important and complex disease," said Han Wei Hou, a biomedical engineer at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. It develops when fat, cholesterol and other substances in the blood form plaque that accumulates on the inside walls of arteries. This buildup constricts the blood vessel, causing cardiovascular diseases.
Understanding what regulates this abnormal vessel constriction is crucial to studying and treating vessel disease and preventing acute cardiac arrest. While researchers have previously developed organ-on-a-chip models of blood vessels, those devices focused more on recreating the vessel's biological complexity than on its shape and geometry - which are key factors in atherosclerosis, Hou said. "It involves not just the biological aspect of endothelial dysfunction, but also the biomechanics of blood flow," said Hou.
To address blood flow, researchers built a device that fits on a single square-inch chip, consisting of two stacked chambers separated by a thin and flexible membrane. The bottom contains air while the top contains a flowing fluid similar in mechanical properties to blood. Inside the fluid-filled chamber on top of the membrane, the researchers grow endothelial cells - the cells that line the inside of blood vessels.
The researchers pump air into the bottom chamber, so the membrane stretches like a balloon and forms a bubble that blocks the fluid flow. This process simulates the narrowing of a vessel. The fluid-filled chamber constricts, causing the fluid to flow faster in some regions and slower in others.
When the researchers grew the cells under continuous but slow fluid flow, endothelial cells were able to grow and express a protein called ICAM-1; this protein is associated with inflammation and is important in the development of atherosclerosis. The researchers found that when they replaced the cell culture media with human blood, more immune cells called monocytes bound to the endothelial cells in low-flow regions.
Monocytes are mainly responsible for the accumulation of lipids, which eventually develop into the plaque that causes atherosclerosis. These results on a chip are consistent with the widely accepted picture of the disease. Disturbed blood flow in constricted vessels promotes vascular inflammation, which encourages the recruitment of monocytes to help create plaques.
The device could be a simple way to incorporate heart check-ups into daily routines.
London: Scientists are developing a smart toothbrush that can monitor vital signs and detect deadly heart problems from human saliva.
The device would be a simple way to incorporate heart check-ups into daily routines, and could prompt heart patients to adjust their medications as required. According to the scientists at the Hospital Ramon YCajal in Spain, sodium levels in saliva could give an early warning of problems.
"With a little information about their heart rate, pressure and some biological samples from saliva, it is possible to execute some minor corrections that should help the patient to be as healthy as possible," said Alvaro Marco, a cardiologist at Hospital Ramon YCajal.
The toothbrush could help patients do this themselves rather than wait for medical reviews.
"If we see that our patients are in a high heart rate or pressure, we adjust the therapy according to it," Marco was quoted as saying by The Times. "I am co-operating with a top-notch tech company which is trying to keep this new device as secret as possible while the engineering and designing phases are completed," he said.
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