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Hermitage Museum , Saint Petersburg

The World's Billionaires

It's been a tough year for the richest people in the world. Last year there were 1,125 billionaires. This year there are just 793 people rich enough to make our list.
The world has become a wealth wasteland. Like the rest of us, the richest people in the world have endured a financial disaster over the past year. Today there are 793 people on our list of the World's Billionaires, a 30% decline from a year ago.
Of the 1,125 billionaires who made last year's ranking, 373 fell off the list--355 from declining fortunes and 18 who died. There are 38 newcomers, plus three moguls who returned to the list after regaining their 10-figure fortunes. It is the first time since 2003 that the world has had a net loss in the number of billionaires.
The world's richest are also a lot poorer. Their collective net worth is $2.4 trillion, down $2 trillion from a year ago. Their average net worth fell 23% to $3 billion. The last time the average was that low was in 2003.
Bill Gates lost $18 billion but regained his title as the world's richest man. Warren Buffett, last year's No. 1, saw his fortune decline $25 billion as shares of Berkshire Hathaway (nyse: BRK.A - news - people ) fell nearly 50% in 12 months, but he still managed to slip just one spot to No. 2. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim Helú also lost $25 billion and dropped one spot to No. 3.
It was hard to avoid the carnage, whether you were in stocks, commodities, real estate or technology. Even people running profitable businesses were hammered by frozen credit markets, weak consumer spending or declining currencies.
The biggest loser in the world this year, by dollars, was last year's biggest gainer. India's Anil Ambani lost $32 billion--76% of his fortune--as shares of his Reliance Communications, Reliance Power and Reliance Capital all collapsed.
Ambani is one of 24 Indian billionaires, all but one of whom are poorer than a year ago. Another 29 Indians lost their billionaire status entirely as India's stock market tumbled 44% in the past year and the Indian rupee depreciated 18% against the dollar. It is no longer the top spot in Asia for billionaires, ceding that title to China, which has 28.
Twelve months ago Moscow overtook New York as the billionaire capital of the world, with 74 tycoons to New York's 71. Today there are 27 in Moscow and 55 in New York.
After slipping in recent years, the U.S. is regaining its dominance as a repository of wealth. Americans account for 44% of the money and 45% of the list's slots, up seven and three percentage points from last year, respectively. Still, it has 110 fewer billionaires than a year ago.
with ties to Wall Street were particularly hard hit. Former head of AIG (nyse: AIG - news - people ) Maurice (Hank) Greenberg saw his $1.9 billion fortune nearly wiped out after the insurance behemoth had to be bailed out by the U.S. government. Today Greenberg is worth less than $100 million. Former Citigroup (nyse: C - news - people ) Chairman Sandy Weill also falls from the ranks.
Last year there were 39 American billionaire hedge fund managers; this year there are 28. Twelve American private equity tycoons dropped out of the billionaire ranks.
Blackstone Group's (nyse: BX - news - people ) Stephen Schwarzman, who lost $4 billion, and Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts' Henry Kravis, who lost $2.5 billion, retain their billionaire status despite their weaker fortunes.
Worldwide, 80 of the 355 drop-offs from last year's list had fortunes derived from finance or investments.
While 656 billionaires lost money in the past year, 44 added to their fortunes. Those who made money did so by catering to budget-conscious consumers (discount retailer Uniqlo's Tadashi Yanai), predicting the crash (investor John Paulson) or cashing out in the nick of time (Cirque du Soleil's Guy Laliberte).
So is there anywhere one can still make a fortune these days? The 38 newcomers offer a few clues. Among the more notable new billionaires are Mexican Joaquín Guzmán Loera, one of the biggest suppliers of cocaine to the U.S.; Wang Chuanfu of China, whose BYD Co. began selling electric cars in December, and American John Paul Dejoria, who got the world clean with his Paul Mitchell shampoos and sloppy with his Patrón Tequila.
Luisa Kroll, Matthew Miller and Tatiana Serafin/Forbes


Some Scenes from NEVERLAND (Michael Jackson's House)

Mosquitoes deliver malaria 'vaccine' through bites !

In a daring experiment in Europe, scientists used mosquitoes as flying needles to deliver a "vaccine" of live malaria parasites through their bites. The results were astounding: Everyone in the vaccine group acquired immunity to malaria; everyone in a non-vaccinated comparison group did not, and developed malaria when exposed to the parasites later.
The study was only a small proof-of-principle test, and its approach is not practical on a large scale. However, it shows that scientists may finally be on the right track to developing an effective vaccine against one of mankind's top killers. A vaccine that uses modified live parasites just entered human testing.
"Malaria vaccines are moving from the laboratory into the real world," Dr. Carlos Campbell wrote in an editorial accompanying the study in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. He works for PATH, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, a Seattle-based global health foundation.
The new study "reminds us that the whole malaria parasite is the most potent immunizing" agent, even though it is harder to develop a vaccine this way and other leading candidates take a different approach, he wrote.
Malaria kills nearly a million people each year, mostly children under 5 and especially in Africa. Infected mosquitoes inject immature malaria parasites into the skin when they bite; these travel to the liver where they mature and multiply. From there, they enter the bloodstream and attack red blood cells — the phase that makes people sick.
People can develop immunity to malaria if exposed to it many times. The drug chloroquine can kill parasites in the final bloodstream phase, when they are most dangerous.
Scientists tried to take advantage of these two factors, by using chloroquine to protect people while gradually exposing them to malaria parasites and letting immunity develop.
They assigned 10 volunteers to a "vaccine" group and five others to a comparison group. All were given chloroquine for three months, and exposed once a month to about a dozen mosquitoes — malaria-infected ones in the vaccine group and non-infected mosquitoes in the comparison group.
That was to allow the "vaccine" effect to develop. Next came a test to see if it was working.
All 15 stopped taking chloroquine. Two months later, all were bitten by malaria-infected mosquitoes. None of the 10 in the vaccine group developed parasites in their bloodstreams; all five in the comparison group did.
The study was done in a lab at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and was funded by two foundations and a French government grant.
"This is not a vaccine" as in a commercial product, but a way to show how whole parasites can be used like a vaccine to protect against disease, said one of the Dutch researchers, Dr. Robert Sauerwein.
"It's more of an in-depth study of the immune factors that might be able to generate a very protective type of response," said Dr. John Treanor, a vaccine specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., who had no role in the study.
The concept already is in commercial development. A company in Rockville, Md. — Sanaria Inc. — is testing a vaccine using whole parasites that have been irradiated to weaken them, hopefully keeping them in an immature stage in the liver to generate immunity but not cause illness.
Two other reports in the New England Journal show that resistance is growing to artemisinin, the main drug used against malaria in the many areas where chloroquine is no longer effective. Studies in Thailand and Cambodia found the malaria parasite is less susceptible to artemisinin, underscoring the urgent need to develop a vaccine.
By Marilynn Marchione, Ap Medical Writer

Scientists Claim New State of Matter Created

Scientists claim to have created a form of aluminum that's nearly transparent to extreme ultraviolet radiation and which is a new state of matter.
It's an idea straight out of science fiction, featured in the movie "Star Trek IV."
The work is detailed in the journal Nature Physics.
The normal states of matter are solid, liquid and gas, and a fourth state, called plasma, is a superheated gas considered more exotic. Other experiments have created strange states of matter for brief periods. This one, too, existed only briefly.
To create the new, even more exotic stuff, a short pulse from a laser "knocked out" a core electron from every aluminum atom in a sample without disrupting the metal's crystalline structure, the researchers explain.
''What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before," said professor Justin Wark of Oxford University's Department of Physics.
"Transparent aluminum is just the start," Wark said. "The physical properties of the matter we are creating are relevant to the conditions inside large planets, and we also hope that by studying it we can gain a greater understanding of what is going on during the creation of 'miniature stars' created by high-power laser implosions, which may one day allow the power of nuclear fusion to be harnessed here on Earth."
Fusion is a dream of scientists who would create cheap and plentiful power by fusing atoms together, as opposed to nuclear fission that generates electricity today.
The discovery was made possible with a high-powered synchrotron radiation generator called the FLASH laser, based in Hamburg, Germany. It produces extremely brief pulses of soft X-ray light, each of which is more powerful than the output of a power plant that provides electricity to a whole city.
The Oxford team, along with their international colleagues, focused all this power down into a spot with a diameter less than a twentieth of the width of a human hair. At such high intensities the aluminum turned transparent.
While the invisible effect lasted for only an extremely brief period - an estimated 40 femtoseconds - it demonstrates that such an exotic state of matter can be created using very high power X-ray sources.
"What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminum into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser," Wark said. "For a brief period the sample looks and behaves in every way like a new form of matter. In certain respects, the way it reacts is as though we had changed every aluminum atom into silicon: it's almost as surprising as finding that you can turn lead into gold with light."



The New Ferrari !

Power system would recharge without wires !

Oxford, England (UPI)
A power system now in development could charge cell phones and other gadgets without the use of wires, researchers at a conference in Britain said.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are experimenting with the physical phenomenon of "resonance," which causes an object to vibrate when energy frequencies are applied, MIT Professor Marin Soljacic said in Oxford at the TED Global Conference on "ideas worth spreading."
It is resonance, for example, that causes a glass to explode when a singer hits exactly the right note.
Exploiting the resonance of electromagnetic waves could send energy from a power source to cell phones, laptop computers and myriad other gadgets that today are charged through wire hookups, Soljacic told the BBC in a story published Friday.
Such a system could replace miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries, said Eric Giler, chief executive of the U.S. firm Witricity, who demonstrated a wireless television at the conference.


Summer Food Mysteries Solved

Can eating garlic ward off mosquitoes?
If it's true, I'll start pounding garlic shakes right now. After enough evening barbecues with Terminator-strength DEET, I'll happily try any non-toxic solution.
But before I jam cloves into a juicer, I thought I'd ask EatingWell, an expert source for good health and good food, for the answers on garlic and a few other food-related quandries.
EatingWell's some Summer Food Mysteries Solved :
True or False? :
Eating garlic wards off mosquitoes.
False. Researchers at the University of Connecticut tested the theory. It didn't work, but maybe because the participants didn't eat enough, say the scientists. Tip: Conduct your own experiment
True or False? :
Watermelon isn't very nutritious; it's all water !
False. Watermelon is mostly water: 92 percent. But it also has its share of nutrients. One cup of watermelon provides good amounts of vitamin C and red watermelon contains lycopene, an antioxidant that's associated with reduced risk for certain types of cancer.
True or False? :
Licking ice cream is more satisfying than eating it with a spoon.
True, according to Kay McMath, a food technologist for New Zealand's Massey University. "Flavor in ice cream is released when the fat-which carries the flavor-is warmed to at least body temperature," says McMath. When you lick ice cream it coats the tongue and fully warms the frozen treat. A spoon, on the other hand, insulates the ice cream. And then there's the psychological aspect of savoring the treat more slowly: you just cannot lick ice cream as fast as you can spoon it.
True or False? :
The antioxidants in raspberries help keep your heart healthy.
True. Two antioxidants found in raspberries -- anthocyanins (where raspberries get their red) and ellagic acid -- are associated with increased levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health. The yummy berries are also loaded with vitamin C and are high in fiber.

Nepal mulls toilets-for-passports scheme !

The proposal comes as Nepal is struggling to deal with a diarrhoea outbreak that has reportedly killed around 150 people in a remote western region. Disease outbreaks are common during the monsoon, when floods mean water sources can easily become contaminated.
A remote region of Nepal is hoping to improve local sanitation by asking everyone who applies for a citizenship card or passport whether they have a toilet at home, an official said Thursday.
Authorities in the rural midwestern district of Surkhet say only one in three households there has a toilet, below the national average of 45 percent, while the district headquarters has only one public toilet for 44,000 people.
They say there is a lack of awareness of the health risks related to open defecation, and are hoping the proposed scheme will help to eradicate the practice.
"We decided we have to motivate and put pressure on people to build toilets in their houses," regional sanitation engineer for Surkhet, Prem Krishna Shrestha, told AFP.
"Of course, we cannot deny them their right to citizenship. The idea of the programme is to make sure that people understand the value of having a toilet in their houses.
"So when someone comes to get a passport or citizenship card, the officials will ask if they have a toilet in their house."
The proposal comes as Nepal is struggling to deal with a diarrhoea outbreak that has reportedly killed around 150 people in a remote western region.
Disease outbreaks are common during the monsoon, when floods mean water sources can easily become contaminated.
The government has promised to eradicate open defecation by 2017, but Shrestha said it was well behind schedule on the building of new toilets.
"Nepal should be building 320,000 toilets a year and records show only around 100,000 to 125,000 toilets are being built. We have a lot of catching up to do," he said.


Switch The Shampoo To Get A Radio !

Video killed the radio star, but I think digital players did more damage.
Call me old fashioned if you like, but I still prefer the randomness of a radio station, you can never really know which song they will play next.
The Muji Bath Radio by Industrial Facility is perfect for eccentrics like me and to top it off, it serenades as a shampoo bottle!
The controls are at the bottom and the top twists left or right as volume adjustment.
Me really wants this…but fret… its available only in Japan.
Oh..and its a given that this piece is water resistant…..
Designer: Industrial Facility for Muji [ Buy it here ]

Induction Iron

The brief was to optimize the application of BASF’s plastic material ULTRADUR and the result was an Induction Iron.
Utilizing ULTRADUR’s heat resistant heat resistant properties to his advantage, Therese came up with a bare minimal design that has been “stripped down to the essentials.”
This cordless induction heating iron works through an electromagnetic field that transforms the energy directly and heats only the ironing plate.
You may recollect the ironing board that is being used here, it’s that same flip-mirror one we showcased earlier.
Designer: Therese Glimskär in collaboration with BASF


Simple Itch-Free Strategies for Summer

It's the summer season, bringing with it a bounty of banquets and outdoor gatherings—and itchy discomfort from the elements. When the bugs bite, the sun burns, or the poison ivy comes creeping, simply use these all-natural remedies for sweet relief from nature's sting. Take the Itch Out of Bug BitesSummer's unwelcome guests include: fleas, mosquitoes, gnats, fire ants, wasps, bees, and ticks. It's humans versus bugs and, unfortunately, most of the time we lose. Though the bug bite itself is usually not painful, the body's inflammatory reaction may cause pain, itching, redness, and swelling. Try these all-natural remedies for a quick anti-itch fix:• First things first: Remove stinger, if any, and clean the area with water. If it's a tick, you must safely remove the tick with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers, grasp as close to your skin as possible, and pull straight out without twisting. It's not a bad idea to keep the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol; if you feel ill, this may help your doctor identify the illness and treat more effectively. Wash the bite with soap and water. An ice pack can provide temporary relief of pain and swelling. If you begin to feel achy, nauseous, fatigued, or otherwise ill seek a doctor's care.• Apply honey to a bug bite to bring relief and prevent infections. Honey has long been known for its antibiotic properties; in fact, honey-soaked gauze bandages were once used to heal burns and wounds. • Be as cool as a cucumber. Place cucumber skins on top of the bites to soothe the itching irritation. You can also cut round slices from a fresh eggplant and place on top of the bite to draw out toxins and appease irritation. • Apply tea tree oil to bites every 2 to 3 hours to relieve itching and aid healing. Tea tree oil possesses antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial actions and has been recognized by recent studies as playing a supportive role in skin care.
• For flea bites, soaking in a warm bath of Epsom salts and baking soda can ease itching.In some cases, a serious allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock occurs, which can involve breathing difficulties and requires immediate medical attention.Soothe a SunburnThere is a fine line between a suntan and a sunburn. We all know that prevention is your best method to avoid the skin damage caused by the sun. That means sunscreen with SPF factor of 30 to 50, a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding peak sun hours, and sitting in the shade.But once the damage is done, try these natural home remedies to heal sunburn:• Help yourself to this rehydrating, refreshing beverage. Mix equal parts of pineapple and black cherry juice together. Why does this work? Pineapple is packed with bromelain, which contains active substances helpful for reducing inflammation. The deep red skins of cherry juice contain the antioxidant compound anthocyanins, which helps the body relieve inflammation. Drink two or three cups daily to cool the burn.
• Apply a thin layer of plain yogurt to sunburn to cool and moisturize the skin.
• Aloe vera gel is a tried-and-true remedy. Fresh from the leaf or from the bottle, apply directly on the sunburn.
Relieve Heat RashThe combination of summer heat and excessive perspiration can produce the uncomfortable, burning, itching condition known as heat rash.
Alleviate the itching with these natural remedies:• Keep cool with the right diet. If you know you're prone to heat rash, eat more of these cleansing and cooling foods: cucumbers, collard greens, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, carrots, celery, broccoli, dandelion greens, oats, watermelon, olives, raspberries, and grapes.• Chrysanthemum and mint both possess cooling properties and cleanse the liver. Make as a tea and chill for the perfect beverage choice to beat the heat all summer long. • For a more adventurous, effective remedy, make a tea out of beet tops. Let it cool to room temperature and drink this during the hot summer months.• Many of these itchy summer conditions are related to allergies. In this case, there are many underlying issues that need to be addressed. A specially blended formula called Allergy Tamer contains traditional Chinese herbs that brings relief from allergic and inflammatory responses.Pacify Poison Ivy A neighbor of mine came to me with an unbearable itchy case of poison ivy over his entire face, so swollen that his nose was nearly shut. Without hesitation, I pulled up a couple of dandelion plants from my backyard and put them in a blender with honey and the aloe leaf gel. I applied this poultice to his face, and by the next morning his itching and rash were 75% better! Try these all-natural remedies to relieve poison ivy and poison oak:• Make the amazing remedy that worked wonders for my neighbor. In a blender, mix 1 cup of fresh dandelion greens, 1/2 cup aloe vera gel, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply liberally to the affected area. Want instant relief, sans blender? You can use just the dandelion greens. Crush and apply to the rash as poultice. Change every hour.• Scrape aloe gel directly from the plant and apply generously to the affected area to lessen the symptoms of burning, itching, and pain.
• Mash plantain leaves and apply to affected skin, changing every hour to relieve itching. Banana peels work almost as well.
• Jewelweed and tea tree oil can both be applied to rash for effective relief from the itching.
I hope you find the ways to take the sting out of summer! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me. May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
By Dr. Maoshing Ni -


The Trouble with Green Tea !

Did you know that most of the free-radical fighters in green tea never make it to your bloodstream?
But there's a solution.
To get a better grasp on the healthy catechins in your green tea, flavor your cup with a squeeze of citrus juice.
Green Tea BoosterCatechins -- the antioxidants in green tea famous for lowering your risk of chronic disease -- quickly lose their power in your intestine. In fact, as much as 80% of the catechins in green tea are never absorbed. The solution to boosting absorption, researchers recently found, is as simple as flavoring your tea with freshly squeezed and strained lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit juice.
Taking Tea with CThe vitamin C in citrus may help with absorption by increasing the acidity in your small intestine. Other unidentified substances in the juice probably lend a hand, too. Researchers found a 50-50 mix had the greatest catechin-preserving effect, and lemon did it best, closely followed by orange, lime, and, in last place, grapefruit.
It's Not All Bad NewsIf you do take steps to boost the power of your green tea, you may even get a few added benefits.
It may help you lose weight. At least one study shows green tea can stimulate moderate weight loss.
It may help keep your knees young and strong -- catechins fight inflammation and arthritis.
It can help your skin look great if used in conjunction with an antioxidant cream. Dab it on.
It can help you stay sharp -- try 2 cups a day to see benefits.
RealAge Benefit: Getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements can make your RealAge 6 years younger.
/By RealAge

10 principles for Peace of MIND

1. Do Not Interfere In Others' Business Unless Asked.Most of us create our own problems by interfering too often in others' affairs. We do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, our logic is the perfect logic and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, our direction. This thinking denies the existence of individuality and consequently the existence of God.. God has created each one of us in a unique way. No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way. All men or women act the way they do because God within them prompts them that way. Mind your own business and you will keep your peace.
2. Forgive And Forget:This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind. We often develop ill feelings inside our heart for the person who insults us or harms us. We nurture grievances. This in turn results in loss of sleep, development of stomach ulcers, and high blood pressure. This insult or injury was done once, but nourishing of grievance goes on forever by constantly remembering it. Get over this bad habit. Life is too short to waste in such trifles. Forgive,20Forget, and march on. Love flourishes in giving and forgiving.
3. Do Not Crave For Recognition:This world is full of selfish people. They seldom praise anybody without selfish motives. They may praise you today because you are in power, but no sooner than you are powerless, they will forget your achievement and will start finding faults in you. Why do you wish to kill yours lf in striving for their recognition? Their recognition is not worth the aggravation. Do your duties ethically and sincerely.
4. Do Not Be Jealous:We all have experienced how jealousy can disturb our peace of mind. You know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not. You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbor whose business is only one year old. There are several examples like these in everyday life. Should you be jealous? No. Remember everybody's life is shaped by his/her destiny, which has now become his/her reality. If you are destined to be rich, nothing in the world can stop you. If you are not so destined, no one can help you either. Nothing will be gained by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you anywhere; it will only take away your peace of mind.
5. Change Yourself According To The Environment:If you try to change the environment single-handedly, the chances are you will fail. Instead, change yourself to suit your environment. As you do this, even the environment, which has been unfriendly to you, will mysteriously change and seem congenial and harmonious.
6. Endure What Cannot Be Cured:This is the best way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Every day we face numerous inconveniences, ailments, irritations, and accidents that are beyond our control... If we cannot control them or change them, we must learn to put up with these things. We must learn to endure them cheerfully. Believe in yourself and you will gain in terms of patience, inner strength and will power.
7. Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:This maxim needs to be remembered constantly. We often tend to take more responsibilities than we are capable of carrying out. This is done to satisfy our ego. Know your limitations. . Why take on additional loads that may create more worries? You cannot gain peace of mind by expanding your external activities. Reduce your material engagements and spend time in prayer, introspection and meditation. This will reduce those thoughts in your mind that make you restless. Uncluttered mind will produce greater peace of mind.
8. Meditate Regularly:Meditation calms the mind and gets rid of disturbing thoughts. This is the highest state of peace of mind. Try and experience it yourself. If you meditate earnestly for half an hour everyday, your mind will tend to become peaceful during the remaining twenty-three and half-hours. Your mind will not be easily disturbed as it was before. You would benefit by gradually increasing the period of daily meditation. You may think that this will interfere with your daily work. On the contrary, this will increase your efficiency and you will be able to produce better results in less time.
9. Never Leave The Mind Vacant:An empty mind is the devil's workshop. All evil actions start in the vacant mind. Keep your mind occupied in something positive, something worthwhile . Actively follow a hobby. Do something that holds your interest. You must decide what you value more: money or peace of mind. Your hobby, like social work or religious work, may not always earn you more money, but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement. Even when you are resting physically, occupy yourself in healthy reading or mental chanting of God's name.
10. Do Not Procrastinate And Never Regret:Do not waste time in protracted wondering " Should I or shouldn't I?" Days, weeks, months, and years may be wasted in that futile mental debating. You can never plan enough because you can never anticipate all future happenings. Value your time and do the things that need to be done. It does not matter if you fail the first time. You can learn from your mistakes and succeed the next time. Sitting back and worrying will lead to nothing. Learn from your mistakes, but do not brood over the past. DO NOT REGRET. Whatever happened was destined to happen only that way. Why cry over spilt milk?