Friday, October 28, 2005

'Driverless cars' may become reality

'Driverless cars' may become reality

Las Vegas/Wolfsburg, Oct 27: Auto researchers are working on the next generation of driving assistance systems that will in theory make it possible to navigate a car to its destination without a driver at the wheel.

What is already technically feasible was revealed recently in the 220-km Grand Challenger desert race for autonomous cars in the US Mojave Desert. A computer-controlled Volkswagen Touareg won the race after six hours and 54 minutes.

The computer-controlled car, dubbed "Stanley", found its way without a problem through tunnels, dry riverbeds and a rugged mountain pass.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Your brain knows more than you think - India, UK, USA

Your brain knows more than you think - India, UK, USA

New York, Oct 25 : Clouds darkened the horizon, yet you went out without an umbrella because you forgot it -- but your brain had not and many of its neurons kept associating clouds with umbrellas even while you left home without one.

Neurobiologists at California's Salk Institute for Biological Studies have carried out experiments that prove for the first time that the brain remembers, even if we don't and the umbrella stays behind. They report their findings in the Oct 20 issue of Neuron. "For the first time, we can look at the brain activity of a rhesus monkey and infer what the animal knows," lead investigator Thomas D. Albright, director of the Vision Center Laboratory, was quoted as saying in a Salk Institute release. First author Adam Messinger compares it to subliminal knowledge: It is there, even if it doesn't enter our consciousness. "You know you've met the wife of your colleague but you can't recall her face," he said, giving an example.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

NEW RULES - For today’s woman


For today’s woman, etiquette’s not just about proper speech and table manners

IS it time for all well-mannered modern women to throw Emily Post out of the window? Or, at least, relegate her definitive book on etiquette to the archives? Because today, what constitutes good manners is very different from what once was. While Post’s 1922 tome speaks of debutants, chaperones and dances; today’s woman needs to know how to behave at the office party and not to yell on her cell phone.

This has prompted the Good Housekeeping Institute to publish a ‘noughtiquette’ guide on modern manners for women. Don’t get drunk at parties, never show a thong above your waistband or yell loudly in public, they advise. Peeking at your partner’s cell phone messages or stripping in gym changing rooms is also bad manners today, says the book.

So just how necessary is etiquette today? “It’s essential,” says etiquette consultant Saloni Duggal, “Old is gold when it comes to good manners.” An ex-student recently told her that the finer points of table etiquette came to her rescue during a breakfast job interview. “She felt so much more confident knowing which cutlery and glassware to use.” Another student who had to meet Bill Clinton during a US project was first given an official intensive oneweek etiquette course. “She said she was told how to introduce herself, how to shake hands, how to enter and leave the room. You are expected to know all this. It prevents chaos and adds confidence.”

Other essentials: how to be a good host, how to balance work stress with your personal life. With the increase in broken marriages, intricacies of dealing with exes and their respective families is another must. Yet, much needs to be added. “Business etiquette has changed with women entering the corporate world,” she points out, “Public speaking is more casual, colour psychology and body language is studied to make good impressions.”

Etiquette is not given adequate importance in India, adds Saloni, though educational institutions are now adding soft skills to their curriculum. “Learning how to handle yourself is as important as anything else. Perhaps what needs to be added is cultural sensitivity,” Saloni feels. “With the constant inflow of people, awareness of one another’s cultures is important.”

So true, agrees jewellery expert and modern woman Deepti Sudhindra. “What’s outlandish is defined differently by different people.” A woman dancing alone is no longer regarded as shocking, but gross misbehaviour still raises eyebrows everywhere. “Women today are ready to take chances, and so they are willing to cross boundaries. Yet, it’s important to define those boundaries. Or else we’d all be streaking on the road! On one hand, you need to shake up the system, on the other, keep within boundaries to avoid shocking for the sake of doing so.”

So etiquette is not about at which point a woman should cross her legs, she adds. “It’s more about knowing where your limits should start and end,” says Deepti.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Six Ways to Thwart a Backstabber at Work

Today’s team-oriented work environments encourage employees to be open, work collaboratively and share ideas and insights. But while these conditions can be positive for productivity, they can also make you vulnerable to the office backstabber. You know, that devious co-worker who acts all friendly and supportive to gain information – even your trust – then jabs a knife between your shoulder blades when you're not looking.

Marcy, a marketing manager at a Fortune 100 company, fell victim to a backstabber early in her career. Marcy routinely ate lunch with Michael, a co-worker, and the two used to bounce ideas off of one another. Then one day in a staff meeting, Marcy’s boss presented a concept for the new brand campaign that was identical to one Marcy had shared with Michael – and credited Michael with creating it!

After the meeting, Marcy went to her boss’ office to tell her the idea was actually hers. However, she left feeling as though her boss doubted her story and possibly even considered her petty for complaining.

Then there’s Jack, whose manager would praise him to his face, all the while telling his own boss that Jack was incompetent. His motive: to look like a hero for all he accomplished despite the “dead weight” employee he had inherited.

And let’s not forget Irene, whose boss used to support Irene’s ideas in private, but then rip them to shreds and slime all over Irene in public if something went wrong and the ideas didn't work out.

None of this surprises Dr. Gary Namie, author of "The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job." Namie says backstabbing generally stems from jealousy, ambition and/or greed and that it is especially prevalent in environments that combine scarce resources, weak people and little or no accountability.

Namie also points out that supervisors backstab even more frequently than colleagues: “They kiss up the ladder and attack down below.”

What can you do to avoid turning your back into a knife rack?

1. Think Before You Speak. Be careful not to say anything to anyone in the office that you wouldn't want repeated. Instead, find a mentor outside the company to reduce the likelihood that your secrets will be used against you.

2. Know How to Spot a Backstabber. Is there a mismatch between a colleague’s words and actions? Do you continue to “misread” a co-worker’s intentions? Does a colleague’s smile or praise seem false or a bit forced? Finally, does the individual have a history of backstabbing? People who have backstabbed before are likely to do so again, so learn from their past victims’ experience.

3. Ally Yourself With Others; Distance Yourself From the Backstabber. Stay as far away as you can from backstabbers while still maintaining your professionalism. But do form alliances with trustworthy colleagues for support, protection and to stay tuned into the grapevine.

4. Get Clarification. If the backstabber is your boss, Namie suggests you ask for and record in writing the specific procedures your boss wants you to follow, the result he or she is after and the performance standards by which you will be evaluated. Supervisors can get away with backstabbing when there is ambiguity. Clarity usually puts an end to the confusion – and the backstabbing.

5. Handle Confrontations Publicly. Namie advises politely calling the backstabber on his actions in public. For example: “Your being critical of this idea surprises me, as you gave me your full support and endorsed it when we met in my office last week.”

Namie says that backstabbers are obsessed with appearances and want to appear cool and collected. As long as you remain emotionally in control when you confront them in public, you will embarrass them enough that they will leave you alone.

6. Take the High Road. Don't get into a mudslinging match. It will only make you look worse. Acting with integrity and dignity usually pays off in the shortrun and always pays off in the longrun.

Source : MSN