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S. African mine discovers 507-carat white diamond !

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Mining group Petra Diamonds has discovered a 507.55 carat white diamond at South Africa's Cullinan mine, one of the largest high-quality rough diamonds ever found, the firm said on Tuesday.
"This spectacular gemstone was recovered on Thursday 24 September and is currently with experts for analysis," said a statement released by the London-listed company which operates mainly in Africa.
Initial examinations of the diamond which weighs just over 100 grams (3.5 ounces), have shown it to be of exceptional colour and clarity.
The diamond is undergoing colour grading, but is believed to be a rare Type II diamond, with very low traces of nitrogen -- considered an impurity -- making them among the most transparent and colourless of the gems.
"The Cullinan mine has again given the world a spectacularly beautiful and important diamond... we now eagerly await the findings of the expert analysis," said Johan Dippenaar, Petra's chief executive.
The precious stone was found alongside three other special white gems of similar colour and clarity, a large diamond of 168.00 carats and two other stones of 58.50 and 53.30 carats.
The mine which was previously owned by diamond mining giant De Beers, is renowned for the discovery of the famed Cullinan Diamond in 1905, which is part of the British crown jewels and weighed 3106 carats.
In May 2008, the mine produced a sparkling 101.27 carat diamond, roughly the size of a ping-pong ball.
The Cullinan Diamond Mine is the third richest diamond producing mine in South Africa.

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5 Most Overpaid CEOs

Despite last year's financial tumult, these five CEOs are still sitting pretty.
Here is the Corporate Library's list of the "Highest Paid Worst Performers" of 2008.
Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch :
The Corporate Library, a corporate governance research firm, reviewed regulatory filings from 2,000 publicly traded companies and came up with a list of five chief executives they're calling the "Highest Paid Worst Performers" of 2008.
To make the list, a CEO had to have total realized income -- including base salary, bonuses and stock -- of at least $30 million last year. At the same time, the share price of the companies they oversaw had to have underperformed rivals and the broad sampling of stocks in the S&P 500 over the last five years.
Abercrombie's Michael Jeffries was awarded total compensation of $71.8 million last year, with a base salary of $1.5 million, according to the Corporate Library.
His compensation package included a $6 million "stay bonus" designed to keep him on board, despite his 17-year tenure, as well as perks such as the use of a corporate jet.
The Corporate Library notes that Jeffries is compensated at "the upper quartile" of his peer group. In other words, the compensation committee that determines his pay assures he'll be paid more than what 75% of his rival CEOs get.
"If you do that, you're almost guaranteed to overpay your CEO," said Paul Hodgson, a senior researcher at the Corporate Library.
An Abercrombie spokeswoman declined to comment.
James W. Stewart, BJ Services Company :
The bulk of James Stewart's $34.6 million windfall came from value realized on stock options, which resulted in a $30 million jackpot, according to the Corporate Library.
Stewart was granted those options more than five years ago. So they were still valuable despite the fact that the company's stock was halved in 2008.
Shares of BJ Services have outperformed other energy companies over the last 12 months, but the stock has trailed its peers and the broader market over a 5-year period, according to the Corporate Library.
BJ Services was acquired last month by rival Baker Hughes for $5.5 billion. Stewart remains chief executive until the deal closes at the end of 2009.
BJ did not respond to efforts requesting comment.
Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp. :
While the cable and Internet provider's stock has performed well over the last 12 months, the company has lagged the industry over the years.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts received total compensation of $40.8 million last year, Corporate Library said. That includes a $2.7 million base salary and over $22 million in earnings related to stock options. Roberts received a relatively small "discretionary bonus" of $881,027 and a "very substantial" bonus of $7.4 million under a non-equity incentive plan, Hodgson said.
Comcast said in a statement that its 2008 performance was "strong despite what was one of the most challenging economic and competitive environments in decades." The company said its executive compensation practices are "closely aligned with shareholders' interests" and a "major factor in our success."
John Faraci, International Paper :
Shares of the Memphis, Tenn-based paper company sank 63% last year, compared with a 38% drop in the S&P 500 index, according to the report.
Despite such a drubbing, the company's CEO got total compensation of $38.2 million.
According to the Corporate Library, John Faraci's compensation included $21 million in pension payments he received while still working at the company. Faraci, 59, has been CEO for six years.
International Paper said in a statement that Faraci's total compensation was $13 million and that the Corporate Library "mistakenly included" the pension payments.
Eugene Isenberg, Nabors Industries :
With total compensation of $79.3 million, Eugene Isenberg ranked No. 8 on the list of 10 highest paid CEOs, according to Corporate Library.
In 2008, shares of the oil and gas drilling company plummeted 51%, although the company's stock has outperformed industry rivals over the last 12 months.
Isenberg's total compensation was driven mostly by a $58.7 million bonus, which was calculated based on a percentage of the company's cash flow. Over the years, this formula has resulted in $625 million in "aggregate bonuses" for Isenberg.
A Nabors spokesman said Isenberg recently renegotiated his contract and that his bonus formula is now based less on company cash flow.
by Ben Rooney/ CNNMoney.


international World Beard and Moustache Championship

Frenchman Herve Diebolt, a participant of the international World Beard and Moustache Championships smiles in Gruendau near Frankfurt September 19, 2009.
Over 160 participants compete in 17 categories of beard and moustache styles.


Moon Myths: The Truth About Lunar Effects on You

The moon holds a mystical place in the history of human culture, so it's no wonder that many myths - from werewolves to induced lunacy to epileptic seizures - have built up regarding its supposed effects on us.
"It must be a full moon," is a phrase heard whenever crazy things happen and is said by researchers to be muttered commonly by late-night cops, psychiatry staff and emergency room personnel.
It's been a long time since the Big Cheese revealed any new secrets as important as this week's announcement that traces of water exist all across its surface. Coincidentally, a study this week found zero connection between the full moon and surgery outcomes.
In fact a host of studies over the years have aimed at teasing out any statistical connection between the moon - particularly the full moon - and human biology or behavior. The majority of sound studies find no connection, while some have proved inconclusive, and many that purported to reveal connections turned out to involve flawed methods or have never been reproduced.
Reliable studies comparing the lunar phases to births, heart attacks, deaths, suicides, violence, psychiatric hospital admissions and epileptic seizures, among other things, have over and over again found little or no connection.
One possible indirect link: Before modern lighting, the light of a full moon have kept people up at night, leading to sleep deprivation that could have caused other psychological issues, according to one hypothesis that awaits data support.
Below, I'll review several studies - the good, the bad and the in between - but first some basic physics:
The moon, tides and you
The human body is about 75 percent water, and so people often ask whether tides are at work inside us.
The moon and the sun combine to create tides in Earth's oceans (in fact the gravitational effect is so strong that our planet's crust is stretched daily by these same tidal effects).
But tides are large-scale events. They occur because of the difference in gravitational effect on one side of an object (like Earth) compared to the other. Here's how they work (full explanation of tides):
The ocean on the side of Earth facing the moon gets pulled toward the moon more than does the center of the planet. This creates a high tide. On the other side of the Earth, another high tide occurs, because the center of Earth is being pulled toward the moon more than is the ocean on the far side. The result essentially pulls the planet away from the ocean (a negative force that effectively lifts the ocean away from the planet).
However, there's no measurable difference in the moon's gravitational effect to one side of your body vs. the other. Even in a large lake, tides are extremely minor. On the Great Lakes, for example, tides never exceed 2 inches, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which adds, "These minor variations are masked by the greater fluctuations in lake levels produced by wind and barometric pressure changes. Consequently, the Great Lakes are considered to be essentially non-tidal."
That's not to say tides don't exist at smaller scales.
The effect of gravity diminishes with distance, but never goes away. So in theory everything in the universe is tugging on everything else. But: "Researchers have calculated that a mother holding her baby exerts 12 million times the tide-raising force on the child than the moon does, simply by virtue of being closer," according to, a Web site that applies logic and reason to myths and urban legends.
Consider also that tides in Earth's oceans happen twice every day as Earth spins on its axis every 24 hours, bringing the moon constantly up and down in the sky. If the moon's tugging affected the human body, one might presume we'd be off balance at least twice a day (and maybe we are).
Studies of full moon effects
Here are some of the reputable studies in peer-reviewed journals that have failed to find connections:
EPILEPSY: A study in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior in 2004 found no connection between epileptic seizures and the full moon, even though some patients believe their seizures to be trigged by the full moon. The researchers noted that epileptic seizures were once blamed on witchcraft and possession by demons, contributing to a longstanding human propensity to find mythical rather than medical explanations.
PSYCHIATRIC VISITS: A 2005 study by Mayo Clinic researchers, reported in the journal Psychiatric Services, looked at how many patients checked into a psychiatric emergency department between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. over several years. They found no statistical difference in the number of visits on the three nights surrounding full moons vs. other nights.
EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS: Researchers examined 150,999 records of emergency room visits to a suburban hospital. Their study, reported in American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 1996, found no difference at full moon vs. other nights.
SURGERY OUTCOMES: Do doctors and nurses mess up more during the full moon? Not according to a study in the October 2009 issue of the journal Anesthesiology. In fact, researchers found the risks are the same no matter what day of the week or time of the month you schedule your coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
Not all studies dismiss lunar influence.
PET INJURIES: In studying 11,940 cases at the Colorado State University Veterinary Medical Center, researchers found the risk of emergency room visits to be 23 percent higher for cats and 28 percent higher for dogs on days surrounding full moons. It could be people tend to take pets out more during the full moon, raising the odds of an injury, or perhaps something else is at work - the study did not determine a cause.
MENSTRUATION: This is one of those topics on which you will find much speculation (some of it firm and convincing-sounding) and little evidence. The idea is that the moon is full every month and women menstruate monthly. Here's the thing: Women's menstrual cycles actually vary in length and timing - in some cases greatly - with the average being about every 28 days, while the lunar cycle is quite set at 29.5 days. Still, there is one study (of just 312 women), by Winnifred B. Cutler in 1980, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, that claims a connection. Cutler found 40 percent of participants had the onset of menstruation within two weeks of the full moon (which means 60 percent didn't). If anyone can tell me how this oft-cited study proves anything, I'm all ears. Also, one should be skeptical that in the intervening 29 years, nobody seems to have produced a study supporting Cutler's claim.
ANIMALS GONE WILD: A pair of conflicting studies in the British Medical Journal in 2001 leaves room for further research. In one of the studies, animal bites were found to have sent twice as many British people to the emergency room during full moons compared with other days. But in the other study, in Australia, dogs were found to bite people with similar frequency on any night.
SLEEP DEPRIVATION: In the Journal of Affective Disorders in 1999, researchers suggested that before modern lighting, "the moon was a significant source of nocturnal illumination that affected [the] sleep-wake cycle, tending to cause sleep deprivation around the time of full moon." They speculated that "this partial sleep deprivation would have been sufficient to induce mania/hypomania in susceptible bipolar patients and seizures in patients with seizure disorders." Best I can discern, however, these oft-cited suggestions have never been tested or verified with any numbers or rigorous study of any kind.
Myths persist
If one presumes that modern lighting and mini-blinds have pretty much eliminated the one plausible source of human-related moon madness, why do so many myths persist?
Several researchers point out one likely answer: When strange things happen at full moon, people notice the "coincidental" big bright orb in the sky and wonder. When strange things happen during the rest of the month, well, they're just considered strange, and people don't tie them to celestial events. "If police and doctors are expecting that full moon nights will be more hectic, they may interpret an ordinary night's traumas and crises as more extreme than usual," explains our Bad Science Columnist Benjamin Radford. "Our expectations influence our perceptions, and we look for evidence that confirms our beliefs."
And that leads to this final note, which is perhaps the biggest logical nail in the coffin of the moon madness myths:
The highest tides occur not just at full moon but also at new moon, when the moon is between Earth and the sun (and we cannot see the moon) and our planet feels the combined gravitational effect of these two objects. Yet nobody ever claims any funny stuff related to the new moon (except for the fact that there is more beach pollution at full and new moon ...).
Robert Roy BrittEditorial



Exhausted ? How to Get Your Willpower Back

If a hard day at work leaves you feeling unable to exercise, you can at least rest easy knowing there's a scientific explanation.
Using your willpower for one task depletes willpower for entirely different task, a new study finds. But there are strategies for getting it back, researchers say."Cognitive tasks, as well as emotional tasks such as regulating your emotions, can deplete your self-regulatory capacity to exercise," said study leader Kathleen Martin Ginis, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University. The study used a Stroop test to deplete the self-regulatory capacity of volunteers in the study. The test consists of words associated with colors but printed in a different color. For example, the word "red" is printed in blue ink.) Subjects were asked to say the color on the screen, trying to resist the temptation to blurt out the printed word instead of the color itself. "After we used this cognitive task to deplete participants' self-regulatory capacity, they didn't exercise as hard as participants who had not performed the task," Martin Ginis said.
The more people "dogged it" after the cognitive task, the more likely they were to skip their exercise sessions over the next 8 weeks. "You only have so much willpower," she said.
A similar conclusion was reached by a 2003 study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. After completing tasks that required self-control, study subjects had less physical stamina and impulse control and increased difficulty with problem-solving activities. In particular, resisting temptation consumed an important resource that was then less available to help the person persist in the face of failure on subsequent tests.
But you can work on your willpower. "Willpower is like a muscle: it needs to be challenged to build itself," she said."There are strategies to help people rejuvenate after their self-regulation is depleted," she said. "Listening to music can help; and we also found that if you make specific plans to exercise - in other words, making a commitment to go for a walk at 7 p.m. every evening - then that had a high rate of success."By constantly challenging yourself to resist a piece of chocolate cake, or to force yourself to study an extra half-hour each night, then you can actually increase your self-regulatory capacity, the researcher said.
Sleep may also be important. "Most forms of self-regulation failure escalate over the course of the day, becoming more likely and more frequent the longer the person has been deprived of sleep," said Florida State University researcher Roy F. Baumeister, who led the 2003 study.The new study, detailed Thursday in the journal Psychology and Health, was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


It's Official: Water Found on the Moon !

Since man first touched the moon and brought pieces of it back to Earth, scientists have thought that the lunar surface was bone dry. But new observations from three different spacecraft have put this notion to rest with what has been called "unambiguous evidence" of water across the surface of the moon.
The new findings, detailed in the Sept. 25 issue of the journal Science, come in the wake of further evidence of lunar polar water ice by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and just weeks before the planned lunar impact of NASA's LCROSS satellite, which will hit one of the permanently shadowed craters at the moon's south pole in hope of churning up evidence of water ice deposits in the debris field.
The moon remains drier than any desert on Earth, but the water is said to exist on the moon in very small quantities. One ton of the top layer of the lunar surface would hold about 32 ounces of water, researchers said.
"If the water molecules are as mobile as we think they are — even a fraction of them — they provide a mechanism for getting water to those permanently shadowed craters," said planetary geologist Carle Pieters of Brown University in Rhode Island, who led one of the three studies in Science on the lunar find, in a statement. "This opens a whole new avenue [of lunar research], but we have to understand the physics of it to utilize it."
Finding water on the moon would be a boon to possible future lunar bases, acting as a potential source of drinking water and fuel.
Apollo turns up dry
When Apollo astronauts returned from the moon 40 years ago, they brought back several samples of lunar rocks.
The moon rocks were analyzed for signs of water bound to minerals present in the rocks; while trace amounts of water were detected, these were assumed to be contamination from Earth, because the containers the rocks came back in had leaked.
"The isotopes of oxygen that exist on the moon are the same as those that exist on Earth, so it was difficult if not impossible to tell the difference between water from the moon and water from Earth," said Larry Taylor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who is a member of one of the NASA-built instrument teams for India's Chandrayaan-1 satellite and has studied the moon since the Apollo missions.
While scientists continued to suspect that water ice deposits could be found in the coldest spots of south pole craters that never saw sunlight, the consensus became that the rest of the moon was bone dry.
But new observations of the lunar surface made with Chandrayaan-1, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, and NASA's Deep Impact probe, are calling that consensus into question, with multiple detections of the spectral signal of either water or the hydroxyl group (an oxygen and hydrogen chemically bonded).
Three spacecraft
Chandrayaan-1, India's first-ever moon probe, was aimed at mapping the lunar surface and determining its mineral composition (the orbiter's mission ended 14 months prematurely in August after an abrupt malfunction). While the probe was still active, its NASA-built Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) detected wavelengths of light reflected off the surface that indicated the chemical bond between hydrogen and oxygen — the telltale sign of either water or hydroxyl.
Because M3 can only penetrate the top few millimeters of lunar regolith, the newly observed water seems to be at or near the lunar surface. M3's observations also showed that the water signal got stronger toward the polar regions. Pieters is the lead investigator for the M3 instrument on Chandrayaan-1.
Cassini, which passed by the moon in 1999 on its way to Saturn, provides confirmation of this signal with its own slightly stronger detection of the water/hydroxyl signal. The water would have to be absorbed or trapped in the glass and minerals at the lunar surface, wrote Roger Clark of the U.S. Geological Survey in the study detailing Cassini's findings.
The Cassini data shows a global distribution of the water signal, though it also appears stronger near the poles (and low in the lunar maria).
Finally, the Deep Impact spacecraft, as part of its extended EPOXI mission and at the request of the M3 team, made infrared detections of water and hydroxyl as part of a calibration exercise during several close approaches of the Earth-Moon system en route to its planned flyby of comet 103P/Hartley 2 in November 2010.
Deep Impact detected the signal at all latitudes above 10 degrees N, though once again, the poles showed the strongest signals. With its multiple passes, Deep Impact was able to observe the same regions at different times of the lunar day. At noon, when the sun's rays were strongest, the water feature was lowest, while in the morning, the feature was stronger.
"The Deep Impact observations of the Moon not only unequivocally confirm the presence of [water/hydroxyl] on the lunar surface, but also reveal that the entire lunar surface is hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day," the authors wrote in their study.
The findings of all three spacecraft "provide unambiguous evidence for the presence of hydroxyl or water," said Paul Lucey of the University of Hawaii in an opinion essay accompanying the three studies. Lucey was not involved in any of the missions.
The new data "prompt a critical reexamination of the notion that the moon is dry. It is not," Lucey wrote.
Where the water comes from
Combined, the findings show that not only is the moon hydrated, the process that makes it so is a dynamic one that is driven by the daily changes in solar radiation hitting any given spot on the surface.
The sun might also have something to do with how the water got there.
There are potentially two types of water on the moon: that brought from outside sources, such as water-bearing comets striking the surface, or that that originates on the moon.
This second, endogenic, source is thought to possibly come from the interaction of the solar wind with moon rocks and soils.
The rocks and regolith that make up the lunar surface are about 45 percent oxygen (combined with other elements as mostly silicate minerals). The solar wind — the constant stream of charged particles emitted by the sun — are mostly protons, or positively charged hydrogen atoms.
If the charged hydrogens, which are traveling at one-third the speed of light, hit the lunar surface with enough force, they break apart oxygen bonds in soil materials, Taylor, the M3 team member suspects. Where free oxygen and hydrogen exist, there is a high chance that trace amounts of water will form.
The various study researchers also suggest that the daily dehydration and rehydration of the trace water across the surface could lead to the migration of hydroxyl and hydrogen towards the poles where it can accumulate in the cold traps of the permanently shadowed regions.
By Andrea Thompson/


Warning from police !

Just last weekend on Friday night we parked in a publicparking area.
As we drove away I noticed a sticker on therear window of the car.
When I took it off after I got home,it was a receipt for gas.
Luckily my friend told me not to stop as it could be someone waiting for me to get out of thecar Then we received this email yesterday:
Heads up everyone! Please, keep this circulating.. You walkacross the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Youstart the engine and shift into Reverse.
When you look into the rearview mirror to back out of yourparking space, you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middleof the rear window.
So, you shift into Park, unlock yourdoors, and jump out of your car to remove that paper (orwhatever it is) that is obstructing your view.
When you reachthe back of your car, that is when the carjackers appear outof nowhere, jump into your car and take off.
They practically mow you down as they speed off in your car.And guess what, ladies?
I bet your purse is still in the car.So now the carjacker has your car, your home address, yourmoney, and your keys.
Your home and your whole identity arenow compromised!
If you see a piece of paper stuck to your back window, justdrive away.
Remove the paper later.
Please tell all your friends



An Amazing Man !

Warren Edward Buffett (born August 30, 1930) is a U.S. investor, businessman, and philanthropist. He is one of the most successful investors in history, the largest shareholder and C.E.O. of Berkshire Hathaway, and in 2008 was ranked by Forbes as the richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of approximately $62 billion.
There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the world’s second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity.
Following are some very interesting aspects of his life:
He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
Things were very cheap that time… Encourage your children to invest.
He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
One can buy many things with few savings.

Encourage your children to start some kind of business.
He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha , that he bought after he got married 50 years ago.
He says that he has everything he needs in that house.
His house does not have a wall or a fence.
Don't buy more than you "really need" and encourage your children to do and think the same. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him. You are what you are… He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.
Always think how you can accomplish things economically