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Petra sets record, sells diamond for $35 million

LONDON (Reuters) – Petra Diamonds sold a 507-carat diamond for $35.3 million on Friday, breaking a record as the highest price ever paid for a rough diamond.
Analysts had estimated the value of the stone, one of the 20 biggest high-quality rough diamonds, at around $25 million.
"It is fitting that the Cullinan Heritage should achieve a sale price of $35.3 million, the highest sale price on record ever achieved for a rough diamond, as it has the potential to produce one of the world's most important polished gems," Chief Executive Johan Dippenaar said.
London-listed Petra said in a statement the gem was purchased in a tender by Chow Tai Fook Jewelry Co Ltd in Hong Kong.
Proceeds will help boost Petra's profit for its fiscal year to end-June after the firm swung to a first-half profit on higher production and sales.
AIM-listed Petra found the gem last September at its 74 percent owned Cullinan mine in South Africa, which it bought from sector giant De Beers in 2007.
The Cullinan mine has been the source of many large diamonds, including the world's largest rough diamond -- the Cullinan -- at 3,106 carats. That gem was cut into the Star of Africa stones that are now set in Britain's Crown Jewels.
Petra was a member of a consortium that paid $148 million when buying the Cullinan mine from De Beers, which is 45 percent owned by mining group Anglo American.

Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence

It's not a particular brain region that makes someone smart or not smart.
Nor is it the strength and speed of the connections throughout the brain or such features as total brain volume.
Instead, new research shows, it's the connections between very specific areas of the brain that determine intelligence and often, by extension, how well someone does in life.
"General intelligence actually relies on a specific network inside the brain, and this is the connections between the gray matter, or cell bodies, and the white matter, or connecting fibers between neurons," said Jan Glascher, lead author of a paper appearing in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "General intelligence relies on the connection between the frontal and the parietal [situated behind the frontal] parts of the brain."
The results weren't entirely unexpected, said Keith Young, vice chairman of research in psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Temple, but "it is confirmation of the idea that good communication between various parts of brain are very important for this generalized intelligence."
General intelligence is an abstract notion developed in 1904 that has always been somewhat controversial.
"People noticed a long time ago that, in general, people who are good test-takers did well in a lot of different subjects," explained Young. "If you're good in mathematics, you're also usually good in English. Researchers came up with this idea that this represented a kind of overall intelligence."
"General intelligence is this notion that smart people tend to be smart across all different kinds of domains," added Glascher, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of humanities and social sciences at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Hoping to learn more, the authors located 241 patients who had some sort of brain lesion. They then diagrammed the location of their lesions and had them take IQ tests.
"We took patients who had damaged parts of their brain, tested them on intelligence to see where they were good and where they were bad, then we correlated those scores across all the patients with the location of the brain lesions," Glascher explained. "That way, you can highlight the areas that are associated with reduced performance on these tests which, by the reverse inference, means these areas are really important for general intelligence."
"These studies infer results based on the absence of brain tissue," added Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "It allows them to systemize and pinpoint areas important to intelligence."
Young said the findings echo what's come before. "The map they came up with was what we expected and involves areas of the cortex we thought would be involved -- the parietal and frontal cortex. They're important for language and mathematics," he said.
In an earlier study, the same team of investigators found that this brain network was also important for working memory, "the ability to hold a certain number of items [in your mind]," Glascher said. "In the past, people have associated general intelligence very strongly with enhanced working memory capacity so there's a close theoretical connection with that."
By Amanda Gardner/ (HealthDay News)


The Most Dangerous Bird on Earth !

The Most Dangerous Bird on Earth is now Endangered.
The Southern Cassowary may not be as much of a household name as its cousins the
Ostrich and the Emu, but even though it is classified as
"only" the third largest bird on the planet it has a less welcome claim to fame.
This species is believed to have undergone a rapid decline in the last three generations (30 years) in Australia, and declines of a similar magnitude may have occurred elsewhere in its range, with local extirpation reported from parts of New Guinea.
It is therefore classified as Vulnerable. However, the decline in Australia resulted from an extraordinary rate of habitat destruction which has virtually ceased.
Further information from New Guinea may indicate that the species would be better listed as Near Threatened if hunting does not increase in the large areas of existing habitat there.
Take a look at officially the most dangerous bird on the planet.
Claimed by the Guinness Book of Records as the most dangerous bird in the world.


Heaviest Element Officially Named Copernicium

The heaviest element yet known is now officially named "Copernicium," after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
Copernicum has the atomic number 112 - this number denotes the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom. It is 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element officially recognized by international union for chemistry IUPAC.
The name for the element was suggested by the team that discovered it, led by Sigurd Hofmann at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Germany.
The suggested name "Copernicium" in honor of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) follows the tradition of naming chemical elements after merited scientists. IUPAC officially announced the endorsement of the new element's name on Feb. 19, Nicolaus Copernicus' birthday. Copernicus' work in the field of astronomy is the basis for our modern, heliocentric world view, which states that the Sun is the center of our solar system with the Earth and all the other planets (in our solar system) circling around it.
On the periodic table of elements, Copernicium will have the symbol "Cn." The team had originally suggested "Cp" as the element's symbol, but because this abbreviation has other uses in science (such as a material's specific heat), the team agreed to "Cn."
Other elements named for famous scientists include: Einsteinium (for Albert Einstein), Fermium (for nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi), and Curium (after Marie Curie and her husband Pierre).
Hofmann and his team were able to produce the element Copernicium at GSI for the first time on Feb. 9, 1996. Using the 100-meter long GSI accelerator (an atom smasher), they fired zinc ions onto a lead foil. The fusion of the atomic nuclei of the two elements produced an atom of the new element 112. But the atom was only stable for a fraction of a second.
Further independent experiments confirmed the discovery of the element. Last year, IUPAC officially recognized the existence of element 112, acknowledged the GSI team's discovery and invited them to propose a name.

Bloom Energy unveils fuel cell of the future

SAN JOSE, California (AFP) – Stealth start-up Bloom Energy on Wednesday publicly unveiled an innovative fuel cell that promises to deliver affordable, clean energy to even remote corners of the world.
Compact Bloom Servers built with energy cells made from silicon -- a plentiful element found in sand -- made their formal debut in an eBay building here partially powered by the energy source.
"Bloom fuel cell technology has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry," California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said while introducing Bloom founder K.R. Sridhar.
"He is someone shaping the future of energy not just for California but for the world," Schwarzenegger said.
A high-powered audience gathered for the invitation-only event included Google co-founder Larry Page, eBay chief executive John Donahoe, and former US secretaries of state George Shultz and Colin Powell.
"The core of our technology simply is sand," Sridhar said pulling a black cloth off a clear glass container of sand and then holding up a greeting-card sized cell made from the material.
"It is available in plenty... and it has the scientific property that enabled us to make a fuel cell," he said.
Fuel cell technology dates back to the mid 1800s, but Bloom found a way to eliminate the need for expensive metals such as platinum and to generate electricity by pushing around oxygen molecules.
Bloom servers work with a variety of fuels, meaning users can freely switch to whatever is locally available or most affordable, according to Sridhar.
The servers, referred to by some as "Bloom boxes" despite Sridhar cringing at the nickname, have been secretly tested in California by a group of major corporations including eBay, Wal-Mart, and Coca Cola.
Google was Bloom's first customer, buying four servers that it installed at its campus in Mountain View, California.
"I'm a big supporter of this," Page said during an on-stage chat with renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, a major backer of Bloom.
"I'd love to see us have a whole data center running on this at some point when they are ready," Page said.
Bloom servers capable of pumping out 100 kilowatts of electricity each cost 700,000 to 800,000 dollars but the price is expected to plummet as production ramps up and efficiencies of scale are achieved.
Sridhar predicted it will take about a decade for the technology to get to the point where it can be used in homes.
Bloom servers are 60 percent cleaner than coal-fired power plants and produce reliable energy on-site instead of having electricity routed through wires from far-off generation plants, Schwarzenegger said.
The inspiration for the fuel cell is rooted in Sridhar's decade as a university professor working on ways to sustain a human colony on Mars.
"I was trying to make Mars our second home," Sridhar said. "The technology was robust but, unfortunately, I couldn't say the same thing about the funding and the rockets."
Sridhar focused his inventive energy on Earth's need to curb pollution and sate growing energy demands. "If we continued the way we were going we would be handing our children a broken planet," he said.
The cells are described as being twice as efficient as the US electricity grid, meaning it takes half the fuel to produce the same amount of energy.
Sridhar hefted a brick-sized fuel cell in one hand, saying it could power a standard light bulb but will soon be able to satisfy the electricity needs of a typical US home.
"In a few years we will use it to make a home energy server of the future," Sridhar said.
Sridhar pulled back a curtain to reveal a set of Bloom Servers -- refrigerator-sized metal boxes housing stacks of fuel cells.
"That's my baby," he said. "Isn't she beautiful."
Electricity generated by Bloom servers costs about nine cents per kilowatt/hour as opposed to the 14 or 15 cents typically charged here by utilities.
The cost of the servers is recovered in three to five years by energy savings, according to Sridhar. The servers are guaranteed for 10 years. Sridhar would not disclose the lifespans of the fuel cells.
"We sent our chief financial officer to make sure this thing penciled out," Donahoe said of eBay's decision to try Bloom technology. "It is something that makes good green sense making good business sense."
Former secretary of state Colin Powell, a Bloom board member and retired general, said the servers could be a boon to the military, which has grown increasingly energy-dependent as technology infuses the tools of war.
"This is a breakthrough," Powell said. "Sooner or later it is going to be in homes all across America. Think what it will ultimately do for humankind."
/by Glenn Chapman


Robotic kidney surgery has good outcomes

Robotic kidney surgery has good outcomes
Winston-Salem, N.C. (UPI)

A Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center study shows robot-assisted kidney surgery is faster and has better outcomes.
Dr. Ashok Hemal, a urologic surgeon, compared laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgery for repairing blockages that prevent urine from draining normally into the bladder. The researchers followed the patients for 18 months and determined both options were equally successful, but the robot-assisted technique had several advantages.
On average, robot-assisted surgery was 50 percent faster, resulted in 60 percent less blood and required a two-day hospital stay, versus 3.5 days for laparoscopic surgery.
"This was one of the first studies where a single surgeon at one center performed both types of surgery and compared the results," said Hemal, director of the Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Surgery Program at Wake Forest Baptist. "It allows for a more accurate comparison of surgical options than multiple physicians performing the surgeries. The results showed that robot-assisted surgery had significant advantages for this condition. It is also generally easier for surgeons to learn."
The research, which included Drs. Satyadip Mukherjee and Kaku Singh at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, is reported in the Canadian Journal of Urology.

Alien Invaders Pack The Milky Way

Melbourne, Australia (SPX)
Around a quarter of the globular star clusters in our Milky Way galaxy are invaders from other galaxies, according to a team of scientists from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.
In a paper accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Swinburne astronomer Professor Duncan Forbes has shown that many of our galaxy's globular star clusters are actually foreigners - having been born elsewhere and then migrated to our Milky Way.
"It turns out that many of the stars and globular star clusters we see when we look into the night sky are not natives, but aliens from other galaxies," said Forbes. "They have made their way into our galaxy over the last few billion years."
Previously astronomers had suspected that some globular star clusters, which each contain between 10,000 and several million stars were foreign to our galaxy, but it was difficult to positively identify which ones.
Using Hubble Space Telescope data, Forbes, along with his Canadian colleague Professor Terry Bridges, examined globular star clusters within the Milky Way galaxy.
They then compiled the largest ever high-quality database to record the age and chemical properties of each of these clusters.
"Using this database we were able to identify key signatures in many of the globular star clusters that gave us tell-tale clues as to their external origin," Forbes said.
"We determined that these foreign-born globular star clusters actually make up about one quarter of our Milky Way globular star cluster system. That implies tens of millions of accreted stars - those that have joined and grown our galaxy - from globular star clusters alone."
The researchers' work also suggests that the Milky Way may have swallowed up more dwarf galaxies than was previously thought.
"We found that many of the foreign clusters originally existed within dwarf galaxies - that is 'mini' galaxies of up to 100 million stars that sit within our larger Milky Way.
"Our work shows that there are more of these accreted dwarf galaxies in our Milky Way than was thought. Astronomers had been able to confirm the existence of two accreted dwarf galaxies in our Milky Way - but our research suggests that there might be as many as six yet to be discovered.
"Although the dwarf galaxies are broken-up and their stars assimilated into the Milky Way, the globular star clusters of the dwarf galaxy remain intact and survive the accretion process."
"This will have to be explored further, but it is a very exciting prospect that will help us to better understand the history of our own galaxy."


Make Money By Searching Online (Really)

Looking for some extra cash?
All you have to do is search for stuff online. You’re probably doing it right now anyway, so why not earn a buck for it?
Swagbucks, a new Web site, offers consumers the chance to win prizes every time they search the web. Users are prompted to register (for free) with the site and have the option to add a Swagbucks toolbar to their Internet browser. Each time you type in a search term, you may win a Swag Buck. When you get enough of these, you can redeem it for gift cards and prizes from big name companies like Starbucks and Amazon.
If it sounds like a giant scam, it’s not. Swagbucks is powered by Google and, and it’s been tested and endorsed by some people we think very highly of, including Julia Scott at Wallet Pop.
play around with the site for a few minutes and it’s very addictive. While it seems doubtful that their search engine is any better than Google (Stock Quote: GOOG), Bing (Stock Quote: MSFT) or Yahoo (Stock Quote: YHOO), there’s no doubt that turning search into a constant lottery adds a certain thrill. I for one haven’t been this excited entering search terms since the first time I Googled my own name.
After about five minutes of trying, I won two Swag Bucks – the first was for the term “gloves” (it’s very cold here in Manhattan) and the other was for the term “mainstreet” (no, I’m not kidding!) The site claims you don’t really improve your chances by searching obsessively or by clicking on various search results; instead you are encouraged to use Swagbucks as you would normally use a search toolbar. But that didn’t stop me from typing in every term I could think of…
The easiest way to earn Swag Bucks is by getting your friends to sign up.
Although you can also win up to 100 Swag Bucks in a single search.
To give you an idea of what that’s worth in real money, 185 Swag Bucks buys you a $15 iTunes gift card, and 70 Swag Bucks can buy you Yankee’s t-shirt (like I said, I’m a New Yorker, so that’s very appealing).
/By : Seth Fiegerman

What are the Longest-Lasting Batteries?

Store brands may save you money on household necessities, but generic batteries might not be your best bet, according to recent tests comparing name brand and store brand batteries.
CVS AA Long Lasting alkaline batteries didn't actually last longer than other batteries tested under the same conditions by Consumer Reports. In fact, those generics had less than half the power as Panasonic Evolta alkaline batteries, Consumer Reports found.
Among the longest-lasting AA batteries overall were Energizer's Ultimate single-use lithium batteries, which took 678 pictures before dying, compared with 92 shots taken with a camera using the CVS batteries. As a group, lithium batteries lasted the longest, but budget-friendly rechargeable batteries performed nearly as well, Consumer Reports said.
And rechargeables like those made by Energizer and Duracell could be your best bet for use in digital cameras and favorite toys, Consumer Reports suggests.
For remote controls, flashlights and other devices, alkaline batteries might be your best bet since their charge could last you several years, while rechargeable ones can lose their charge over time, as MainStreet previously reported.
Consumers may not want to rule out store-brand batteries completely, however. Kirkland Signature AA batteries, sold at Costco only in packs of 48, lasted nearly as long as the Panasonic batteries, according to Consumer Reports.
by Althea Chang/Provided by : MainStreet


Six steps to protect your computer

1. Turn on automatic updates . After installing your operating system, you usually forget to pay attention on operating system updates. If your operating system is not updated for protection against loopholes and security threats found after you installed it, your computer may be vulnerable to outside world. Hackers can get access to your computer by using these loopholes and they can do anything with your computer. So, to keep you safe, turn on automatic updates. When automatic updates are turned on your operating system is updated frequently and you will be safe from unwanted trouble. You can turn on automatic updates from Control Panel => Security Center => Automatic Updates. You must be logged in as Administrator to change this setting.
2. Turn on Windows Firewall . Windows Firewall is a barrier between your computer and outside internet. It protects you by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic and allows only trusted programs to communicate through internet. You can turn on Windows Firewall from Control Panel => Windows Firewall. You must be logged in as Administrator to change this setting.
3. Install good anti-virus software . Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses that can damage your computer. Only installing anti-virus software is not enough. Your anti-virus software must be updated regularly with latest virus definition database, as new viruses are found daily.
4. Run windows in a restricted mode . When you log in using a limited account, you are protecting your computer from various threats, as limited account runs in restricted mode and can not damage your computer by changing system files or registry. In fact, limited account can not install new programs and can not write to system files or registry, thus making you safe from unwanted programs which gets installed automatically from internet without your knowledge. Log in as Administrator only when you want to do some maintenance work or install new programs.
5. Do NOT click on untrusted links . You should not click any link received in your email, unless you trust the sender. If you click on this untrusted links, it can take you to fake websites and can steal your user name, password, credit card details, or can install unwanted programs without your knowledge. Instead of clicking on the link you received in your email, copy the link address and paste it in a new browser window. Before writing your user name, password, credit card and any other personal details, recheck the domain name in address bar.
6. Do NOT write in pop up windows . You should write your user name, password, credit card and any other personal details in main window only. If during your work, any pop up window opens asking your password or credit card details, close it immediately. DO NOT write your personal information in any pop up window.
/From : Rajesh



One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

"The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?

"The old Cherokee simply replied :"The one you feed."

Extreme Breath-Holding: How It's Possible ?

The new record for breath-holding is 19 minutes and 21 seconds.There are tricks to holding your breath for long periods of time, but the practice can be dangerous.There may be long-lasting health consequences to extreme breath-holding.A Swiss freediver held his breath underwater for 19 minutes and 21 seconds, according to news reports this week. The gasp-inducing feat beat the previous world record by 19 seconds, and blew away the record of 17 minutes and four seconds that magician David Blaine set on Oprah Winfrey's talk show in 2008.For most ordinary humans, all that breath-holding can be hard to fathom. The feat might also bring up some basic questions about biology. For example: Is it really possible to survive without inhaling for that long? And is it healthy?"It is, as a matter of fact, possible -- with certain tricks," explained Claes Lundgren, a physiologist at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in New York.It is probably not, however, good for you, and consequences can be deadly."Sooner or later, kids will read this and do something silly," said Lundgren. "It's not recommendable at all. Anything written about this should be accompanied by a strong admonition not to try this without someone knowledgeable present."Breathing is obviously an important way to stay alive, and our bodies have a built-in system of sensors and signals to make sure we keep doing it. When you hold your breath, carbon dioxide builds up as your body uses up oxygen. After a minute or two for most people, the result is an overwhelming urge to breathe."All sorts of alarms go off," said Ralph Potkin a pulmonologist and hyperbaric physician at the University of California, Los Angles School of Medicine. "The brain tells the body to breathe. The diaphragm gets electrical signals to stimulate breathing."To fight those powerful instincts, a competitive breath-holder starts by hyperventilating for as much as 10 minutes while breathing from a tank of 100 percent oxygen. Breathing hard and fast expels carbon dioxide from the body, buying time before CO2 levels get too high. Likewise, boosting oxygen stores with pure oxygen buys time before O2 levels fall too low. After hyperventilating, if a person isn't unconscious, he'll probably feel dizzy and have extreme cramping in the arms and legs.The next step is to plunge into a tank of water. That triggers a primitive, mammalian reaction called the diving reflex. When confronted with water, especially cold water, the body shunts circulation from the rest of the body to the heart and brain.The reflex, which even chickens have, probably helps babies survive the trip through the birth canal, Lundgren said. By lowering how much total oxygen the body is using, the diving reflex also allows people to hold their breaths for longer stretches.The record for breath-holding on land is around 10 minutes, said Lundgren, who can go eight or nine minutes without breathing. The new record-holder, named Peter Colat, was able to last twice as long because he was in a tank of water.Training for competitive breath-holding often involves spending time in hyperbaric chambers, said Potkin, who helped David Blaine prepare for his Oprah performance. Like extreme mountain climbers, breath-holders want to get their bodies used to oxygen deprivation.Many competitors also practice Zen-like relaxation exercises to cope with a variety of discomforts, including the squeezing sensation of oxygen-deprived, deflating lungs."Some can drop their blood pressure like yogis and their heart rates as well," said Potkin, whose personal record is four-and-a-half minutes without a breath. "There is a lot of voluntary denial of pain. It's really an out-of-body experience in a way. You really have to disconnect from your body."Doctors used to declare patients brain-dead if they hadn’t breathed in five minutes, Potkin said. Intentional breath-holding is slightly different because the blood is still circulating. Still, studies of freedivers have turned up abnormalities in brain scans and markers that suggest brain damage. No one knows what the long-term consequences will be of feats like these."I wish I could tell you what their brains will be like in 20 years," Potkin said. "The medical diving community is a little concerned about it."


Toothpick Construction !

Mr. Stan Munro of Syracuse, NY works with toothpicks.
These are some of his amazing designs.
A miniature city made out of millions of toothpicks.
It took 38 year old Stan Munro 6 years to build this toothpick city.
He used 6 million toothpicks and 170 litters of glue.
He can spend up to 6 months to create a building and each of his creations is built to 1:164 scale. He works at the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse , New York ( USA ).
Look at the amazing works of one of the most patient men in the world.

Colony Of Humans On Moon Possible In Future

Thiruvananthapuram, India (PTI)
With the discovery of water on the moon, there was a distinct possibility of humans setting up a colony in the nearest satellite from the Earth, former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair has said.
The Chandrayaan-1 mission's finding that large quantities of water were present in the polar region of the moon opened up the possibility of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, Nair said at the function to present him with the `Malayali-2009' honour by Asianet News channel.
While hydrogen could be used as fuel, oxygen would help sustain life on the satellite.
Initially, robots could be sent to the moon to study whether the moon's surface was inhabitable before sending human beings, he said.
"The finding of water on the moon's surface was the most important scientific truth India gave to the world," Nair said.


How Prisoners Are Using Facebook to Harass Their Victims

Most of Facebook's 400 million members use the social-networking site to reconnect with long lost pals and keep in touch with friends and family. But dozens of prisoners in Britain have found a more sinister and predatory use for Facebook: after they've been locked up for offenses such as murder and assault, inmates are taunting and terrorizing their victims through status updates and group wall posts.
Barry Mizen, whose 16-year-old son Jimmy was murdered in 2008, says his family endured months of personal attacks on a Facebook page that was created after Jimmy's killer, Jake Fahri, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last March. "The words going back and forth were getting really nasty - it was just so undignified," says Mizen, who lives in southeast England. "My children were taking it very personally." Around the same time, taunting messages also started to come from Fahri's personal Twitter account, including one that said, "Jimmy Mizen was a pathetic loser." "There's got to be more control over this," Barry Mizen says. "Facebook and Twitter have to take responsibility for what goes on their sites." (See the latest geek culture stories at
British prisons ban inmates from accessing the Internet except for educational purposes, and then only under staff supervision. But prisoners are still finding ways to update their Facebook profile pages from behind bars, sometimes using smart phones they've smuggled into jail. More than 3,800 illicit cell phones were seized in British prisons in 2008, prompting authorities to start using mobile phone signal blockers and body orifice security scanners in some jails. Nevertheless, officials admit there's not much they can do to stop prisoners from having friends or family update their Facebook pages for them.
Facebook officials in the U.S. and Europe say they don't know whether this harassment problem extends beyond Britain, the only place where such cases have been made public. "We believe this is really a case of first impression," says Tim Sparapani, Facebook's director of public policy in Washington, D.C. "We've searched far and wide within the company and, among the collective memories of staff, we think this has no precedent." (Read: "Gift Giving on Facebook Gets Real.")
In an effort to solve the problem, British Justice Secretary Jack Straw recently called on Facebook to shut down the profile pages of more than 30 prisoners known to have used the site to target their victims. "The abuse of social-networking sites by prisoners is offensive to public morality and decency," he said. "Updating their profiles within prison is an offense under prison rules and using them to abuse victims is deplorable." Facebook obliged with the request to remove the profile pages on Feb. 11, and company officials met with representatives from the Justice Ministry and victims' advocates this week to formulate more concrete guidelines for reporting abuse. Straw said officials would discuss extending the Facebook restrictions to released prisoners, as well.
The sheer number of people using social-networking sites makes it difficult to monitor misuse, both for law enforcement officials and site administrators. Sparapani estimates that Facebook users spend 18 billion minutes on the site each day. "We have 400 million active users and a tiny, tiny staff. We need to find novel ways to handle that kind of crushing amount of activity. It's the burden of being so immensely popular," he says. Richard Allan, the Dublin-based director of policy for Facebook Europe, says an open dialogue between social-networking sites and police is key to stopping abuse. "The Ministry of Justice brought to our attention people who have been abusing the site," he says. "We want to have a regular channel of communication so we can deal with these cases." (See the best social networking applications.)
But for some, punishing abusers after they torment victims isn't enough. Gary Trowsdale, founder of a group called Families Utd, a British advocacy group for relatives of young murder victims, says people should automatically lose their cyber liberties in addition to their civil liberties if they're found guilty of a crime. Although Facebook currently bans sex offenders from using the site, it has no specific policy for people convicted of other crimes. "Until they serve their time they should lose the ability to have their profile on any of these social-networking sites," Trowsdale says. "Their information should be given to Facebook and Twitter by the relevant justice authorities and on that basis [the sites] should then self-police."
For the time being, Facebook will continue to rely on its system of user-based abuse reporting, although Sparapani says the company is fully prepared to cooperate with law enforcement officials when specific harassment cases come up. "We let users police the site, then we take action based on their reports and we review the reports," he says. "We triage based on the seriousness of the incident."
That is little consolation to Mizen, who is still waiting for Facebook to take down the page he reported as offensive months ago. Allan wouldn't comment specifically on Mizen's case, but said that, in general, all complaints are reviewed within 36 hours. Not in his case, Mizen says. "You don't get any acknowledgement," he says. "Nothing happens."

This is called creativity

"pady bamane"

Funny Creative Chairs !

"Ravi Shankar P"