Yoga in the office? Firms should help us stay well, says public health chief

A standing desk is one of the ways firms can boost employees’ health.

Lunchtime yoga classes, providing help to remove ingrowing toenails and holding meetings while walking around the office – these are just some of the strategies that employers should use to boost staff fitness, according to the NHS public health chief.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England, is also backing workplace running clubs, standing desks to improve posture and staff uniting to try to quit smoking as useful ways businesses can improve employee wellbeing.

In an interview with the Observer, Selbie made clear that Britain’s 5.5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could do much more to tackle the £29bn annual bill for sickness absence while improving productivity and increasing profits at the same time.

“SMEs are the backbone of the nation’s workforce and can kickstart a revolution in helping their staff to improve their health. People spend 30, 40 or sometimes 50 hours a week at work. That’s a unique opportunity for employers to use that big chunk of someone’s week to care for their health,” said Selbie. His plea is aimed at the 5.5 million firms which make up 99% of all private sector businesses and employ 60% of those who work in the private sector.

“Forward-thinking companies are already offering help such as podiatry services to employees who are on their feet all day or group posture exercises for people who stand in the same position for a long time because of their job.

“Employers could adopt group exercise challenges, such as ‘Couch to 5k’ or lunchtime run clubs, and promote active travel like cycling to work. Being regularly active is one of the best ways to prevent and manage poor musculoskeletal health and combat stress, which are both major causes of sickness absence,” he added.

Employers should take a “bottom-up” approach to improving staff health and wellbeing by putting in place ideas that employees want, rather than things that would be “nice to have”, he said.

“We want to see every business take a custom-made approach to employee health by looking at what staff need. We encourage employers to create dynamic environments, workplaces where people can be more active, move more and change positions, with things like standing desks.”

Firms could encourage staff to hold “walking meetings” in the local park rather than sitting down in an office and always eat lunch somewhere other than their desk, Selbie said. Ergonomic assessments of posture could help identify stiffness and pain that may indicate that back problems are emerging which can then be tackled early.

He wants action to encourage more staff to cycle to work. HR Magazine recently found that 33% of employers believe that cyclists are more productive at work than non-cycling colleagues. In addition, 44% of bosses polled said cyclists were more productive

Firms could also use camaraderie between staff to help smokers quit. Selbie suggested using group workplace challenges, such as smokers all signing up to take part in Stoptober together, and that employers could alert workers when mobile bus clinics were due to be in the area.

The PHE boss wants businesses to help staff with their mental health too. “The main way to reduce stress levels is through training line managers in mental health and educating workforces to increase their mental health literacy, and to recognise the signs which indicate that they need support,” he said.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that small firms did not have the advantage of large corporations in being able to use their employees to get discount deals for gym memberships or private health providers, for example.

“The average small employer has around seven employees and their approach is often more akin to a family unit than it is a large business. So while many small businesses are not sedentary or desk-based in their work, we know that many are encouraging fitness breaks for running or gym classes, while others have indeed innovated through things such as walking meetings.

“The key is not to instruct or compel them, but for the small business owner and their team to come up with ideas that work for them.”

Selbie added: “Everyone benefits from a healthier workforce: employees, who will enjoy better health and be less likely to be off sick; employers, who will reap the benefits of increased productivity; and the NHS, which will have less poor health to deal with.”

and 89% thought that those who used two wheels had more energy during the day. Research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has found that physically active staff take 27% fewer sick days.

[Source:-theguardian]

Sam Johnson wants us to rethink the way we look at cancer

With sister Connie in the final stages of advanced cancer, actor Samuel Johnson has once again expressed his frustration that there is still no cure for the hideous disease.

And while his latest Instagram post could be considered offensive to some, we’re positive that was not his intention.

Johnson, 39, shared his thoughts on the Love Your Sister social media page today, starting by saying, “If cancer wore a burqa would we have cured it already?”

image: http://prod.static9.net.au/_/media/Network/Images/2017/07/12/13/21/HONEY-Insta-cancer-rant.png

Image: Instagram @loveyoursister

What we think he meant by that comment is that if cancer were vilified the way those who wear burquas are WRONGLY targeted, if we focused all that energy wasted on mistakenly assuming all Muslims are terrorists, then cancer would probably have been eradicated by now.

His message seeming to be: Stop inventing fake problems and focus on targeting the real ones, like cancer.

The actor writes, “We want all the freedoms and we want them all now. We hate and kill other humans, for freedom from each other.

“For a freedom cancer doesn’t permit.

“75% of us live in real fear of a home-grown terrorist attack, while cancer will detonate and kill 50,000 of us this year. In our own backyard. Not in some province we can’t pronounce, let alone point to on a map.

“Rather than chanting for death, I choose to fight for life. Ideological rant over. xsam”

Followers of the cancer fundraising page have chosen to accept Johnson’s comments in the spirit in which they were intended, with @maso_chick who has experience with breast cancer saying, “Nope .. a burqa hides everything.”

The actor responded, “Cancer cares not of burquas or bikinis…”.

Connie before her final public appearance. Image: Instagram @loveyoursister

@amelie73 also chose to take his comments at face value, saying, “I know of no-one personally that has been killed by terrorism, but have lost two relatives, two colleagues, a dear neighbour, and one sweet young man to cancer.

“My father-in-law lost all his eight siblings to cancer.

“I live every day with the feeling that if I get it, it won’t be a huge shock. Governments please fund our defence against this actual menace, that’s killing thousands of Australian’s each year.

“Help us.”

Sam and Connie promote a fundraising drive. Image: TODAY

Samuel Johnsons’ sister Connie, 40, is dying from an aggressive form of cancer, her third experience with the disease since the age of 12.

Initially diagnosed with bone cancer, she recovered and lead a normal life until being diagnosed with uterine cancer at 22, and then breast and liver cancer at age 33.

Since her most recent cancer battle, brother Sam has dedicated his life to raising money for cancer research, establishing the charity Love Your Sister which has raised $5 million to date.

Last week the devastated actor wrote a love letter to his sister who is suffering through the final stages of the cruel disease, saying, “I wish I could soften your pain, or lessen your fear, or give you something tangible, but tangible clearly isn’t in season.

“I’m proud to walk you to the hardest part of the road. The end. The only part of the road in your life that must sadly be traveled alone.”

[“Source-honey”]

Honor 8 Nougat update will start rolling out in US on February 11

While it was earlier announced to be coming on February 10, Huawei has now confirmed that the Nougat update for the Honor 8 smartphone will actually start rolling out a day later, i.e, on February 11.

The announcement came in the form of a tweet from the US subsidiary of the Chinese company:

GIPHY ‎@giphy

Follow

Honor USA @Honor_USA

EMUI 5.0 is coming to Honor 8 from Feb 11th! Check out the new App Drawer on EMUI 5! Excited? http://gph.is/2kS4gUa 

  • 1616 Retweets

  • 6060 likes

As is usually the case with OTA roll outs, it may take time for the update to hit your device, so you need to keep patience. It is expected that all Honor 8 units in the US will get the update by the end of the month.

Source

source”cnbc”

Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us

IANS | Jan 22, 2017, 07.01 PM IST

Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us (Image Courtesy: Pexels)Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us (Image Courtesy: Pexels)
Every time we eat food, it may trigger an inflammatory response that acts as a protective mechanism to fight the bacteria consumed along with the food, a study has found.

The findings showed that this inflammatory response, which acts as a protective mechanism, fails in overweight individuals leading to diabetes.

On the other hand, in healthy individuals, short-term inflammatory responses play an important role in sugar uptake and the activation of the immune system.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland, showed that depending on the concentration of glucose in the blood, the number of macrophages — a type of immune cell or “scavenger cells” — around the intestines increases during meal times and produces the messenger substance Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta).

This stimulates insulin production in pancreatic beta cells and prompts the macrophages to increase IL-1beta production.

Insulin and IL-1beta work together to regulate blood sugar levels while IL-1beta ensures that the immune system is supplied with glucose and thus remains active.

This mechanism of the metabolism and immune system is dependent on the bacteria and nutrients that are ingested during meals, the researchers said.

With sufficient nutrients, the immune system is able to adequately combat foreign bacteria, said Erez Dror from the university.

Conversely, when there is a lack of nutrients, the few remaining calories must be conserved for important life functions at the expense of an immune response, Dror added.

The study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

source”cnbc”

Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us

IANS | Jan 22, 2017, 07.01 PM IST

Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us (Image Courtesy: Pexels)Every meal triggers inflammation that may protect us (Image Courtesy: Pexels)
Every time we eat food, it may trigger an inflammatory response that acts as a protective mechanism to fight the bacteria consumed along with the food, a study has found.

The findings showed that this inflammatory response, which acts as a protective mechanism, fails in overweight individuals leading to diabetes.

On the other hand, in healthy individuals, short-term inflammatory responses play an important role in sugar uptake and the activation of the immune system.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland, showed that depending on the concentration of glucose in the blood, the number of macrophages — a type of immune cell or “scavenger cells” — around the intestines increases during meal times and produces the messenger substance Interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta).

This stimulates insulin production in pancreatic beta cells and prompts the macrophages to increase IL-1beta production.

Insulin and IL-1beta work together to regulate blood sugar levels while IL-1beta ensures that the immune system is supplied with glucose and thus remains active.

This mechanism of the metabolism and immune system is dependent on the bacteria and nutrients that are ingested during meals, the researchers said.

With sufficient nutrients, the immune system is able to adequately combat foreign bacteria, said Erez Dror from the university.

Conversely, when there is a lack of nutrients, the few remaining calories must be conserved for important life functions at the expense of an immune response, Dror added.

The study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.

source”cnbc”

How does China respond to US chip threats? With a $30 billion factory

SW26010 chip

For China, actions speak louder than words, especially in the escalating chip battle with the U.S., which has been hurling out verbal threats in recent months.

The Chinese chip infrastructure is getting a serious boost from Tsinghua Unigroup, which is investing US$30 billion in a new foundry to make chips. The state-owned Tsinghua Holdings is a majority shareholder in Tsinghua Unigroup.

This news comes just two weeks after U.S. accused China of rigging the chip market and artificially reducing the prices of semiconductors. The tough talk came from the administration of former President Barack Obama but will continue under Donald Trump, who was sworn in as president Friday.

The factory in Nanjing will primarily make 3D NAND flash and DRAM chips to bulk up the country’s semiconductor and storage markets. The first stage of investment will be $10 billion and produce 100,000 chips per month. The manufacturing facilities will stretch over 1,500 acres, or 2.34 square miles.

Beyond the investment in the chip factory, Tsinghua Unigroup will also invest about $4.3 billion to build a complimentary IC (integrated circuit) international city that will include a science technology park, a school, commercial facilities, and apartments.

China has a poor chip-manufacturing infrastructure, and this investment should fill a hole in the country’s long-term effort to be self-reliant with technology products.

Companies like Intel, Samsung, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) and GlobalFoundries, which invest billions in fabs, will feel the pinch. Intel and GlobalFoundries operate factories in the U.S., and those companies also spend billions to upgrade manufacturing facilities.

But the U.S. will certainly take notice. Earlier this month, a White House working group said China was not playing fair in the semiconductor market, by artificially reducing the prices of chips through government assistance. The working group, called the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology or PCAST, recommended the U.S. respond to the Chinese chip threat by investing more in innovation and education and creating new types of quantum and neuromorphic computers.

The U.S. and China have conflicting technology agendas. China has made it difficult for U.S. technology companies to do business in the country. Most hardware companies have turned to partnerships or joint ventures to operate, with the Chinese government having some level of ownership.

Security and intellectual property theft have also been major U.S. concerns. The U.S. has been placing more emphasis on China’s semiconductor market in recent months.

China today hosts the world’s fastest supercomputer called TaihuLight. Fast supercomputers are used in weapons development, economic forecasts, and scientific research, making them central to a country’s security and economic strategies. The U.S. in the past has banned the export of supercomputing chips to China, citing concerns that it could be against U.S. national interests.

In 2014, China said it would invest $150 billion to subsidize chip development over a 10-year period. That’s partly because China wants 70 percent of devices in the country to use homegrown chips by 2025. That investment helped spur the development of low-cost semiconductors, which are also shipping outside China.

But the U.S. charges that Chinese semiconductors are inferior and have affected the quality of devices. The flood of Chinese chips has slowed down demand for chips and hurt the bottom line of U.S. companies, giving them less money to spend on the research and development of new chip technologies.

Products like the iPhone and iPad are assembled in Chinese factories, helping to keep down the price of those devices. The cheap Chinese chips have also reduced the cost related to building electronics, appliances, and cars.

U.S. companies are also moving factories to China, which offers a cheaper way to make chips. Intel is making its memory chips at a factory in Dalian, China.

source”cnbc”

Google Daydream VR discounted to $50 for a month (US only)

Google Daydream VR discounted to $50 for a month (US only)

A week ago, a $500 “Oculus Ready” PC was unveiled, but still the cheapest way to experience VR is through a smartphone headset. Google’s entry, the Daydream, is discounted in the US to $50 (usually $80) from today until February 25. Yep, US only.

We were quite impressed with Daydream and especially the remote – something both the Samsung Gear VR and Google’s earlier Cardboard lack. Of course, the headset itself isn’t enough, you’ll need a compatible smartphone – here’s the list:

Current:

  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Moto Z / Moto Z Droid
  • Moto Z Force

Upcoming support

  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
  • ZTE Axon 7
  • Asus Zenfone AR

Of these, the Axon 7 is the most affordable – $400 in the US.

source”cnbc”

US Cellular LG G5 starts getting Nougat update as well

After Sprint and T-Mobile, now US Cellular has also started pushing out the Nougat update to LG G5 units on its network. Arriving as build version US99223A and weighing in at around 1,546MB, the update brings Android version 7.0 as well as some other changes.

Given that the update has just started rolling out, it may take time for the update notification to pop up on your device’s screen. Meanwhile, if you feel impatient, you can manually check for the update by heading to your handset’s Settings menu.

source”cnbc”

Top US universities stand in solidarity with international students

Following the election of the US president Donald Trump, universities give word of assurance to international students.

Representaional image

Representaional image

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Following the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election 2016, many countries, including the US itself, have been left in panicking, delirious state. Mitigating the topical state in the country, university students have come forward to tranquilise those who felt threatened. In short, they are propagating  a message that overseas students are safe in the campuses. Universities and colleges stood in solidarity with the students by agreeing to launch the campaign which assures overseas students that they will not be affected in Trump’s tenure.

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Foreign students to be welcomed?

According to a report published in the TOI, there will be no alteration in the inclusion of students as well as diversity. Also, campuses will always be welcoming foreign students.

source”cnbc”

OnePlus discontinues OnePlus 3 in US and Europe

Shortly after it seemed like the OnePlus 3 could be back in stock soon, OnePlus has confirmed that it will no longer be selling the smartphone in the United States and Europe. The device will be replaced by the newly-unveiled OnePlus 3T in these regions.

The OnePlus 3T comes with a somewhat larger battery (3,400mAh), extra storage option (128GB), an updated CPU (Snapdragon 821), and higher-resolution (16 MP) selfie-camera. The 64GB storage variant of the device costs $439, while the 128GB one carries a $479 price tag.

source”cnbc”