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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia Goes Dark on Piracy Bill Protest Day

Any student burning the midnight oil Tuesday may have been disappointed as what has become a primary research tool, Wikipedia, blacked out its Web pages as part of a global protest against anti-piracy legislation making its way through Congress.
Wikipedia's English home page says, in part,
"Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation
that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.
For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia."

"Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!," warned Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on Twitter, and with that, one of the most heavily visited websites began a 24-hour "blackout."

Google slapped a virtual black tape across the word "Google" on its home page, as if it were muffled, although it continued to be available for search. Social news site Reddit said it will be blacked out for 12 hours, starting at 8 a.m. ET. The metaphor by the protesting sites: To shutter and silence the Internet the same way many in the tech world say will happen if the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate move forward.
Google's protest of proposed anti-piracy
legislation includes blacking out its own name on its home search page.
You could still access Wikipedia in Spanish, or French, or German or Russian or many other languages; just not English. "This is going to be wow," Wales said on Twitter. "I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!"
The two bills, supported supported mainly by the entertainment industry, are aimed at stopping illegal downloading and streaming of movies and TV shows. But many in the tech world — including giants Google and Facebook — say the legislation would let federal authorities shut down portions of the Internet without due process, and fundamentally alter the Internet's ability to provide a platform for free speech.
( is a joint venture of Microsoft and Comcast/NBC Universal. Comcast/NBC Universal is listed as a supporter of SOPA on the House Judiciary Committee website. On Tuesday, Microsoft itself said it opposes SOPA as it is "currently drafted.")
"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take," Wikipedia's Wales said earlier in the week about the blackout, adding, "...we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."
Wales said the English version of Wikipedia gets about 25 million visits a day, according to comScore.
The site has become almost a staple of daily Web surfing, whether it's directly sought out or cited on search engines like Google.
It's not just desperate students looking to it for information on their way to getting a degree; it' about 53 percent of all adult Internet users in the U.S., said the Pew Internet & American Life Project last year.
"The percentage of all American adults who use Wikipedia to look for information has increased from 25 percent in February 2007 to 42 percent in May 2010," Pew said.
It also noted that Wikipedia is "more popular than sending instant messages ... or rating a product, service, or person ... but is less popular than using social network sites" or watching videos on sites like YouTube.
Tech website Boing Boing also went black, saying in part: "Boing Boing is offline today, because the US Senate is considering legislation that would certainly kill us forever. The legislation is called the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and would put us in legal jeopardy if we linked to a site anywhere online that had any links to copyright infringement."
Boing Boing's home page as of Wednesday.

Several other sites plan to go dark Wednesday to protest the legislation. Among them: icanhazcheeseburger sites (those goofy ones you visit to see cats on the Internet or serial killers) including Know Your Meme and The Daily What).
A list of websites participating in the protest is available here.
The Internet Archive, a non-profit site that works with the likes of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian to catalog and make documents, audio and video available to the public, plans to be dark from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT.
"Legislation such as this directly affects libraries such as the Internet Archive, which collects, preserves, and offers access to cultural materials," the Internet Archive said on its blog. "These bills would encourage the development of blacklists to censor sites with little recourse or due process.  The Internet Archive is already blacklisted in China — let’s prevent the United States from establishing its own blacklist system."

Adapted from MSN

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 4:05 PM

9 Secrets of Motivated People

Real-life strategies that will help you to actually accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself this year.

New year, new you. It's the perennial January catchphrase that holds such conquer-the-world promise. And then, well, you get sidetracked with conquering your to-do list. But even the loftiest resolutions (running a marathon, writing a book) don't have to fall by the wayside come February. Staying motivated―and achieving what you set out to do on that bright New Year's Day―is surprisingly possible. Just follow these nine mantras, provided by researchers who study motivation and backed up by women who have used them to realize their biggest ambitions.

1. When you make a plan, anticipate bumps. Before even trying to achieve a goal, target potential pitfalls and troubleshoot them. Peter Gollwitzer, a professor of psychology at New York University, in New York City, says that people who plan for obstacles are more likely to stick with projects than those who don't. In a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Gollwitzer compared two groups of women who wanted to be more active. Both groups were given information on leading healthy lifestyles. But the second was also taught how to foresee obstacles (example: "The weather forecast is bad, but I'm planning to go for a jog") and work around them using if-then statements ("If it rains, then I'll go to the gym and use the treadmill rather than skip exercising altogether"). No surprise, those in the second group fared better. Michelle Tillis Lederman of New York City practiced this strategy when she was writing a book last year. She installed blinds on her home-office door to minimize disruptions and hired an editor to give feedback on each chapter so she wouldn't get stuck along the way. She also established rules, like checking e-mails only after she had written for two hours. "It was easier to follow this plan," says Lederman, "than to wrestle with every distraction in the moment." Her book, The 11 Laws of Likability (American Management Association), will be published later this year.

2. Channel the little engine that could―really. A person's drive is often based on what she believes about her abilities, not on how objectively talented she is, according to research by Albert Bandura, a professor of psychology at Stanford University. His work has shown that people who have perceived self-efficacy (that is, the belief that they can accomplish what they set out to do) perform better than those who don't. That self-belief is what helped Ingrid Daniels of Newark, New Jersey, leave a stable corporate job to develop a T-shirt line after the birth of her first child. "It never occurred to me I could fail, even though I had no experience," she says. Today Daniels runs two successful small businesses (the T-shirt company and a line of stationery), which allows her to stay at home with her three children.

3. Don't let your goals run wild... When your sights are too ambitious, they can backfire, burn you out, and actually become demotivating, says Lisa Ordóñez, a professor of management and organizations at the Eller College of Management, at the University of Arizona, in Tucson. Instead of aiming unrealistically high (such as trying to save enough money for a down payment on a home in six months), set goals that are a stretch but not an overreach (come up with a doable savings plan for your budget).

...But work on them everyday. According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us ($27,, taking small steps every day will not only help hold your interest in what you're trying to achieve but will also ensure that you move slowly, but surely, toward your goal. So, for example, set up a down-payment-fund jar and dump your change into it every night. You'll get a sense of accomplishment each day, to boot.

4. Go public with it. Instead of keeping your intentions to yourself, make them known to many. "Other people can help reinforce your behavior," says James Fowler, a political scientist who studies social networks at the University of California, San Diego. After all, it's harder to abandon a dream when you know that people are tracking your progress. Take Stefanie Samarripa of Dallas, 25, who wanted to lose 20 pounds. She created a blog and told all her friends to read it. "I wanted something to hold me accountable," she says. Samarripa weighs herself weekly and announces the result on Desperately Seeking Skinny ( During her first three weeks, she lost six pounds. "People read my updates and make comments, which helps me keep going," she says.

5. Lean on a support crew when struggling. Think of the friends and family who truly want to see you succeed. Enlisting those with whom you have authentic relationships is key when your motivation begins to wane. Choose people who may have seen you fail in the past and who know how much success means to you, says Edward L. Deci, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, in New York. For Jane Arginteanu of New York City, support came in the form of her fiancé, Glenn. Arginteanu had smoked from the time she was a teenager and had tried to quit before. When she decided to give it another go, Arginteanu says, "Glenn stood by me and told me, without ever issuing an ultimatum, that he wanted to grow old with me. That was terrific motivation." A year later, she's smoke-free.

6. Make yourself a priority. Put your needs first, even when it feels utterly selfish. You will derail your progress if you sacrifice yourself for others in order to please them (such as eating a cupcake that a coworker baked even though you're on a diet). A few years ago, Karen Holtgrefe of Cincinnati was at the bottom of her own priority list. "I had a demanding full-time job as a physical-therapy manager and was teaching physical therapy part-time," she says. "Plus, I had a husband and two children to care for." As a result, she found herself stressed-out, overweight, and suffering from constant backaches. "I hit a wall and realized I needed to make some changes for my sanity," Holtgrefe says. So she quit the part-time teaching job, joined Weight Watchers, and scheduled nonnegotiable walks six days a week―just for her. In a year, she lost 85 pounds, and her back pain (and stress) disappeared.

7. Challenge yourself―and change things up. It's hard to remain enthusiastic when everything stays the same, says Frank Busch, who has coached three Olympic swimming teams. To keep his athletes motivated, he constantly challenges and surprises them―adding a new exercise to a weight routine or giving them a break from one practice so they can recharge. Amy Litvak of Atlanta did the same thing. She had several half-marathons under her belt but wanted something new, so she signed up for a series of mini triathlons. "Each race was longer than the last or had a slightly different challenge," she says. She breezed through them and is now training for a full marathon.

8. Keep on learning. To refuel your efforts, focus on enjoying the process of getting to the goal, rather than just eyeing the finish line. Janet Casson of Queens, New York, set out to teach yoga. She completed her training, but finding a position took longer than anticipated. So she wouldn't lose steam and become discouraged, Casson used the time to perfect her skills. She attended workshops and studied with different teachers. "It was invigorating and kept me working toward my goal," says Casson, who now teaches five classes a week.

9. Remember the deeper meaning. You're more likely to realize a goal when it has true personal significance to you, according to Deci. (For example, "I want to learn to speak French so I can communicate with my Canadian relatives" is a more powerful reason than "I should learn French so that I can be a more cultured person.") And when the process isn't a pleasant one, it helps to recall that personal meaning. Not all dedicated gym-goers love working out, Deci points out, but because they have a deep desire to be healthy, they exercise week after week. Jennie Perez-Ray of Parsippany, New Jersey, is a good example of this. She was working full-time when she decided to get her master's degree. However, she knew that pursuing that goal would mean spending less time with her friends and family. "But I was the first person in my family to get a degree, so it was very important to me," Perez-Ray says. She kept this in mind every evening that she spent in the classroom. Although the sacrifices she made were hard, she reflects, "reaching my goal made it all worthwhile."

Adapted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:23 AM

How Long Should You Be Dating Before You Get Married?

Kim and Kris had a fairy-tale courtship and ceremony. But here’s the big mistake they made—one that dooms other couples’ marriages as well.

Meeting, getting engaged, and tying the knot faster than a season of Gossip Girl sounds so passionate and romantic. But rushing to the altar isn’t such a smart move. In fact, experts agree that you should wait at least a year to make sure you and your guy are really a match—for a few simple, common-sense reasons:

You need more than a few months to see your worst sides.
It can takes a good six months or so to remove the love-colored glasses and begin to really see the other person, flaws and all. That’s because the longer you steadily date, the more you get out of your comfort zones and settle into a routine—and that’s when your true personalities emerge. Is he lazy about doing household chores? Is he disrespectful to your family and friends? Experiencing different scenarios together can help size up whether you two are right for each other, says Linda Miles, PhD, author of The New Marriage. 

You need time for the early-stage dopamine haze to clear.
This is the brain chemical that’s responsible for triggering that head-over-heels feeling when you first get together. Dopamine makes us feel overly positive, which can mask the fact that maybe your union doesn’t have long-term legs, says Miles. That high usually starts to wear off in six months to a year, and those behaviors you thought you could live with or were even cute and quirky—for example, his forgetfulness or penchant for being 10 minutes late for everything—suddenly become super annoying potential deal breakers. 

It takes time to find out if your future plans sync up.
Before you can determine if your love will go the distance, you need enough time to go by to make sure you have similar outlooks on handling money, whether you want kids, where you want to live, and other crucial thoughts about the future. “To sustain a relationship, couples have to share common goals, values, and interests along with sexual attraction and emotional maturity,” says Christine Meinecke, PhD, author of Everybody Marries the Wrong Person.

Adapted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:02 AM

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The World’s Tiniest Frog Has Been Discovered, Smaller Than a Dime

Measuring roughly a quarter of an inch, the Paedophryne amauensis frog has been crowned the tiniest vertebrate in the world. This newly discovered frog is so small, it can rest comfortably on a dime or a fingernail. Discovered by a team of American researchers from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, the frog was located deep in the jungles of Papa New Guinea in 2009. On Wednesday, the science journal PLoS One dubbed the frog with the teeny-tiny honor.

A frog sits on a U.S. dime in this photo taken by
Louisiana State University herpetologist Christopher Austin
near the Amau River in Papua, New Guinea.
The species was claimed as the world's smallest vertebrate
With the discovery of this petite leaper, the world’s former smallest frogs — the Brazilian gold frog (Brachycephalus didactylus) and the slightly larger Monte Iberia Eleuth (Eleutherodactylus iberia) — have been knocked down to the second and third place, respectively. And the world’s former smallest vertabrate, a tiny type of fish known as paedocypris progenetica, has been stripped of its title as well. Tough break, guys.

While many are going hopping mad over the littlest (and arguably cutest) new frog, Steven J. Beaupre, from the University of Arkansas and president-elect of the American Society of Icthyologists and Herpetologists, says that the discovery is also a boon for scientists. He told the Associated Press that the new species will help scientists better “understand the advantages and disadvantages of extreme small size and how such extremes evolve. Fundamentally, these tiny vertebrates provide a window on the principles that constrain animal design.”

Adapted from TIME
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 4:06 PM

Miss Wisconsin Crowned 2012 Miss America

(LAS VEGAS) — A 23-year-old beauty queen from Kenosha, Wis., has won the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.

Laura Kaeppeler won the pageant Saturday night after strutting in a white bikini and black beaded evening gown, singing opera and answering a question about whether beauty queens should declare their politics by saying Miss America represents everyone. “Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well,” Kaeppeler said. “And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all.”

Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson came in second, while Miss New York Kaitlin Monte placed third.

(PHOTOS: Miss America Then and Now)
Kaeppeler wins a $50,000 scholarship and gets the title for one year. Her platform during the competition was supporting and mentoring children of incarcerated parents. Kaeppeler was chosen as the winner by a panel of seven judges during a live telecast on ABC. The event was the culmination of a week of preliminary competitions and months of preparations for the titleholders from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler reacts after being crowned Miss America Saturday Jan. 14, 2012 in Las Vegas.
The new Miss America will spend the next year touring the country to speak to different groups and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, the Miss America Organization’s official charity.

Teresa Scanlan of Nebraska won Miss America last year at age 17 to become the pageant’s youngest winner ever. She said contestants’ nerves likely were at their highest point just before the pageant. “You can always breathe a sigh of relief” once the live pageant begins, Scanlan said.

Pageant officials earlier announced the winners of preliminary competitions, including Miss Hawaii Lauren Cheape, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson and Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler for talent, and Miss New York Kaitlin Monte, Miss Texas Kendall Morris and Miss Utah Danica Olsen for swimsuit.

Officials also said Miss Idaho Genevieve Nutting won the $2,000 Fourpoints Award, while Miss Kentucky Ann-Blair Thornton won the $6,000 Quality of Life scholarship.

The Miss America Organization touts itself as the world’s largest giver of scholarships to women, with about $350,000 to be given this year at the national level.

Scanlan said she planned to use her scholarship to help pay for law school en route to a life in politics.

Republished from TIME
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:38 PM

Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?

How many ping-pong balls would fit in the Mediterrean Sea? Can you swim faster in water or syrup? When there’s a wind blowing, does a round-trip by plane take more time, less time, or the same time? Today, a number of companies have taken a page out of the Google playbook and have begun asking interviewees brainteasers, logic puzzles and mind-bending riddles. The question you probably have right now is, Why?
If you had a stack of pennies as tall as the Empire State Building, could you fit them all in one room?
Tech companies have long asked prospective employees to answer off-the-wall questions in an effort to identify the most nimble-minded applicants. But since the Great Recession, many non-tech companies are now asking would-be employees to estimate the number of bottles of shampoo produced in the world every year, or how many integers between 1 and 1,000 contain a 3.

TIME Moneyland talked to William Poundstone, author of the new book, Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?, about these unconventional interviewing methods, how Google revolutionized the interview, and how he would weigh his head.

When did this method of interviewing prospective employees begin?

Oxford and Cambridge, which for at least 100 years have had very difficult admission interviews. They give you curveball question like, “Does a Girl Scout have a political agenda?” But I think IBM was the first big company to do this. This was just after World War II, when computers were very new and they realized that programming a computer is not electrical engineering. They were getting people from all sorts of fields, so they started throwing in logic puzzles as a way to see if people were capable of thinking in new ways. These types of questions have been part of the culture of tech companies for quite some time. But the incredibly tough job market has done a lot to spread this to more mainstream companies.

What type of companies do this now?

I’m now finding that more people are reporting them from non-technology companies. It’s very big in banking and consulting, but even in retail, where you would never have had questions like that in the past.

So these questions are even popping at employers like Walmart?

Yeah, which is kind of overkill, I think. But companies are almost desperate in this job market because they’ll get 20 applicants, all of whom would’ve been great if the economy had been better. But they have to find some rationale for saying, This is why we’re going to hire this person and not these 19 other people.

The most famous example of this seems to be the Google billboards. Can you explain those?

Back in 2004, Google had these billboards where they would ask for the first 10-digit prime number found in the consecutive digits of e, and you were supposed to go to a certain website, if you were smart enough to figure that out. You could then send them an e-mail and your resume.

How are these questions better than the information gathered from a more traditional job interview?

There’s so much evidence that traditional interviews really don’t tell you very much. But research has shown that work sampling works: The best way to predict how someone is going to do on the job is to pose questions that are similar to the sorts of things they’d be doing. One of the reasons that Google’s interviews are so notorious is that there’s so much work in the interview. If you’re a coder, you might spend 80% of your interview doing actual coding problems. But they also throw in these offbeat questions. One of the things they hope to address in the interviews is, Are you open to new ideas? Can you think in flexible ways?

As the job market improves, do you think these types of interview questions will continue?

I think when it does get a little more normal, places like Walmart will stop asking really difficult questions.

I was surprised that your book is really meant to prepare anyone looking for a job, even outside the tech sector.

The book is designed for people who want to get a little confidence with these kinds of questions. Just reading them over, going through the explanations I give, tends to build people’s confidence.

So how can people prepare for these interviews?

These questions are difficult questions, which means that the first approach that pops into your head is probably going to be wrong. So a good approach is just to say, Well, I think the obvious approach would be this, but that’s probably not going to work, and then give your analysis of why the obvious approach fails. That gets you talking. You want to avoid dead air. And usually once you analyze how one thing’s wrong, that’s a good first step towards just brainstorming various other strategies. They like to see people who are very free with ideas, even if they’re half-baked.

Do you have a favorite brainteaser?

One that I like is: How would you weigh your head? Because there’s no really good answer to that. Smart people usually think of the Archimedes’ Principle. Archimedes had to weigh this crown for some king to find out if it was solid gold, and he stepped in the bath in ancient Syracuse and realized that the water level went up and he thought, A-ha! Eureka! He could dunk the crown in water to find it’s volume. You can kind of do that here. You could fill a basin of water to the brim and if you dunk your head in that water and collect the water that spills over, the volume of that water is going to be exactly the same as the volume of your head, which is helpful. But they’re not asking for the volume, they’re asking for the weight of your head. And you can say that the density of the human body is pretty close to that of water, just from the fact that we barely float in the swimming pool. It’s an approximation and it’s not necessarily a great answer, but maybe someday someone will come up with a definitive answer.

In a lot of these, it seems as if it’s not about the answer. It’s about working your way to an answer.

It’s about the thought process. Because with a lot of these, where you have to estimate something crazy, like how many ping-pong balls could fit in the Mediterranean Sea basin if it was drained, the interviewer doesn’t know the answer.

How frustrating. So I’m assuming that you’re qualified to work at Google now?

Probably not in terms of having the actual skills to work there, but I’m pretty good with some of these offbeat questions.

You could ace the interview, at least.

[laughs] Yeah, I suppose so.

Adapted from TIME
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:29 PM

Google Demotes Itself in Its Own Search Results

What happens when a company accidentally ends up breaking its own ethics rules? Google is having to deal with that embarrassing situation right now, with the revelation that promotion for its Chrome web browser may have strayed outside of the company’s guidelines on paid links.

The situation seems to have arisen via miscommunication between Google and two agencies responsible for the promotion, Unruly Media and Essence Digital. As part of a promotional campaign for Google Chrome, some bloggers wrote “sponsored” (i.e., paid) blog posts about the browser and inserted links so that readers could download it for themselves — a clear no-no in Google’s own rulebook, and the sort of thing that has previously led to JC Penney, Forbes and being penalized with severely reduced search rankings.

According to a Google+ post by Essence, who acted as intermediary between Google and Unruly, this is all the result of miscommunication and in no way Google’s fault: “We want to be perfectly clear here,” the post explained. “Google never approved a sponsored-post campaign. They only agreed to buy online video ads. Google have consistently avoided paid postings to promote their products, because in their view these kind of promotions are not transparent or in the best interests of users… We apologize to Google who clearly didn’t authorize this.”

Unruly chief executive Scott Burton puts the blame on the bloggers themselves, saying that “A blogger, who we didn’t ask to link to a Google Chrome page, linked to a Google Chrome page, and did so without using the nofollow attribute [necessary to avoid Google penalization]. Obviously they shouldn’t do this in the context of a blog post that embeds one of our sponsored videos.”

Nonetheless, the rules were broken on Google’s dime and the company has announced that it will “lower []‘s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days”. By yesterday evening, Google’s Chrome site had dropped from 5th to 58th result on Google for “internet browser,” and from 4th to 54th for “web browser,” with results seemingly falling farther as time goes on.

The site doesn’t even appear on the first page in a Google search for “Google Chrome” — support pages, Google+ pages and other pages show up instead. According to an official statement about the decision sent to Search Engine Land, the company has actually been more strict with itself than it would be for outside agencies: “While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.”

Adapted from TIME
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:25 PM

12 Cars We Can't Wait to Drive in 2012

For those with even just a passing interest in autos, the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit can induce serious sensory overload. For a true car nut, it's like being a kid with a severe sugar jones in a giant candy store — your head is spinning from all the tasty sheet metal, so much so that you can't decide on which vehicle you want to look at first, let alone drive first. To provide some focus, here are our picks for the 12 most drive-worthy machines on display here in the Motor City.

These are 12 cars we can't wait to drive
Acura NSX Concept

The original NSX was the everyman's supercar. The car, sold in the U.S. from 1990 to 2005, wasn't overly powerful, but handled like it was on rails thanks to a low curb weight, ideal weight balance and a low center of gravity. The all-new NSX, which is due out within the next three years, will rely on technology to achieve the same — or, hopefully, better — results in the twisties. The concept's midmounted V6 engine is connected to a dual-clutch automatic transmission with a built-in electric motor that sends power to the rear wheels. An additional pair of electric motors sits at the front axle to provide all-wheel drive. This new setup can shuttle torque from left to right just like in Acuras equipped with current SH-AWD, although in the NSX it's done electrically.

2013 Audi S4

The Audi S4 doesn't get an appreciably new look for the 2013 model year, but it does retain the traits that have makes it one of our favorite sport sedans. It's still well-balanced, and handling is still aided by lightweight aluminum suspension components and the Audi drive select system, which includes adjustable shock absorbers. The 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine offers plenty of willing power and decent fuel economy. Our only concern is the new electric-assist steering. Let's hope it has as much road feel as, or more than, the outgoing hydraulic system.

2013 Cadillac ATS

When an automaker is serious about developing a car with world-class handling, it sends a group of engineers to test that vehicle on Germany's famed Nurburgring road circuit. Cadillac did just that with the 2013 ATS compact sedan. Designed to compete with the BMW 3-Series, the ATS has true sport sedan credentials: low mass (it will be the lightest car in the class), extensive use of high-strength steel, rear- or all-wheel drive, Magnetic Ride Control suspension and Brembo brakes. We are looking forward to both the turbocharged 2.0-liter 270-horsepower four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter 318-horsepower V6 engines.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS

The Chevrolet Sonic was one of the pleasant surprises of 2011. Its solid structure gives the car a dynamic character unmatched in its segment. The 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, while a bit underpowered in the Chevy Cruze, is right at home in the lighter Sonic. The RS is a sportier version of the likable subcompact. With a lower stance and stiffer suspension, the RS will be even more agile than the base car. Revised gearing should make it slightly quicker, and some exterior modifications make it look a little meaner. We'll go so far as to say the Sonic RS could be the poor man's GTI.

2013 Dodge Dart

It's not too often we look forward to driving a mass-market compact car. They're usually pretty vanilla. The 2013 Dodge Dart is a clear exception to that rule. With its Alfa Romeo Giulietta roots and extensive use of high-strength steel, the Dart should have a nimble European driving character. We want to see how much Chrysler Group has improved the 2.0- and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines, and we are intrigued by the new turbocharged 1.4-liter four sourced from Fiat. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the interior. With extensive use of soft-touch materials, the Dart's cabin looks worthy of a luxury car.

2013 Ford Fusion

Midsize sedans are the best-selling cars in America. With the release of the 2013 Fusion, Ford may vault to the top of that important class. The looks are sure to attract buyers. With its sweeping lines and Aston Martin-like grille, it will be one of the prettier cars on the road. The Fusion will also boast class-leading fuel economy for both its turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder base engine and its hybrid model, and it will offer a highly efficient, plug-in hybrid Energi model, too. Ford also promises improved handling, safety technology worthy of a luxury car, and a richer interior environment.

Honda Accord Coupe Concept

Honda has underwhelmed us with dull styling in recent years. But if the Accord Coupe Concept is true to form, the automaker might be back on track. It's the most aggressively styled and best-looking Accord in years. Though this car is only a concept, Honda promises improved power from its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 engines, as well as class-leading fuel economy and an available plug-in hybrid. A shorter wheelbase may give the car a sportier feel, but Honda says it will lose no space inside. Interior materials are still a matter of speculation, but let's hope Honda ramps up the quality in light of improved new offerings from Ford and Chevy.

2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

The more the merrier, we always say, especially when it comes to power. The extra ponies are even more welcome when they come under the hood of a rear-wheel drive sports car like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Although we don't necessarily like the 2013 edition's styling changes, the modifications made to turbocharged 2.0-liter engine increase the power output by 64 horses without sacrificing fuel economy. Hyundai also gave its already powerful 3.8-liter V6 a boost by increasing its output by 42 ponies to 348 horsepower. Hyundai says the increased power will help the Genesis Coupe 3.8 reach 60 mph in the low five-second range and on to a top speed of 149 mph.

Lexus LF-LC Concept

Though the LF-LC is just a concept, the hybrid sports coupe signals a new design direction for Lexus. If the luxury car brand gets positive response here in Detroit, it might be inspired to build the car, which would be super. Ideally, we'd like it to possess the handling prowess of the automaker's celebrated LF-A, come in a rear-wheel drive platform and have the turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain pump out between 450 and 500 horsepower. Now that would be a world-class sports car.
2013 Mercedes-Benz SL

In Mercedes parlance, SL stands for Super Lightweight. But the SL roadster hasn't stuck to that philosophy in recent years. The 2013 SL550 gets back to those roots. With a body and structure rendered in almost all aluminum, the new SL is 242 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the equivalent of a good-sized middle linebacker. That should translate into improved handling for this grand tourer, as well as make the new turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine's 429 horses all that more effective. Add in Mercedes' responsive Direct Steer variable steering ratio and available active body control, and the new SL should be sportier than ever.

Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid

Hybrids aren't usually the objects of passion for auto enthusiasts. They are, after all, usually underpowered and bland in the handling department. But we appreciate the compatible technologies involved in the E300 BlueTec Hybrid. Diesel engines offer great highway fuel economy and hybrids do the same for city efficiency, so combining the two is only natural. Mercedes has said the E300 BlueTec Hybrid will be offered only in Europe, at least initially, so U.S. fuel-economy numbers aren't available, but we expect 50-plus mpg. Hopefully, Mercedes will see fit to bring this efficient car to these shores in the future. It'll offer Prius-level efficiency in a fun-to-drive luxury package.

Adapted from MSN

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 3:17 PM

The Crazy Sign Your Sperm Count Is Low

Surprising Body Quirks that May be Early Signs of Health Problems

Men's Hand
Women are naturally drawn to men with deep voices because a macho tone reminds them of all things manly. And while talking like Barry White packs its fair share of benefits, it could also mean bad news for your sperm.
A new study from the University of Western Australia found that guys with a low-pitched voice had reduced concentrations of sperm in ejaculations. The possible connection: “Testosterone, which deepens a man’s voice, also suppresses sperm production when it’s at high levels,” says lead researcher Leigh Simmons, Ph.D., an evolutionary biology professor at Western Australia.

Meanwhile, the pitch of your voice isn’t the only health clue your body is sending you. Here are five other surprising body quirks that may be early signs of health problems.

Finger length

As Men’s Healthpreviously reported, size matters — when it comes to your fingers. A study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that men whose index fingers were longer than their ring fingers were 33 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. As it turns out, people who have longer index fingers were exposed to less testosterone when they were a baby in their mother’s womb, researchers say. This may help protect against prostate cancer later on.

Nail color

Healthy nails are usually smooth and spotless, but “redness under your fingernails can be a sign of a collagen vascular disease like lupus,” says Neil Sadick, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “It gives you inflammation of the blood vessels, and that can present as redness or blood vessels under the nail itself.” Research has also found that white nails are linked with liver issues, and unusual curvatures can even be a sign of lung cancer.

Earlobe wrinkles

Diagonal creases on your earlobes may be a sign of potential cardiovascular problems, according to a study from the University of Chicago. Researchers found participants with a crease (and no prior coronary artery disease) were nearly eight times more likely to experience cardiac events as those without. Earlobes may give a reflective health warning because of the similarities between the blood vessels that supply the earlobes and the heart, researchers speculate. Or creases may just be a result of aging.

Sense of smell

The inability to identify certain orders may be a warning sign of Parkinson’s Disease. A study led by the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders and the University of Pennsylvania found that when given a small test, patients with Parkinson’s could only correctly identify half of the smells presented. An additional study in the Annals of Neurology found that this impaired sense of smell can predate Parkinson’s by about 4 years.

A Man Without Taste


Although going bald is natural, it could also be a clue to more serious conditions. “Hair loss can be a sign of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer,” Sadick says. “If you have an overactive thyroid, or a thyroid that’s not functioning well, you can get hair loss as a presenting sign of it.” Hypothyroidism may also manifest itself in unusual thinning of the eyebrows. Plus, “sometimes men can have very fine hairs along their temples early in life, and that can be a sign of impending genetic hair loss,” says Sadick.

Adapted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 2:15 PM