Thursday, 31 January 2013

Babies can read your mind! Research shows one-year-olds can guess thoughts through empathy

  • Study shows children as young as 18 months old can see the world from another's perspective
  • It was previously believed that this ability only emerges by the ages of four to seven
  • Study also shows that the development of the ability occurs at the same time across cultures
By Damien Gayle

Infants as young as 18 months old can guess what other people are thinking, a new study claims.
A study of children from rural China, Ecuador and Fiji found that their ability to see the world from others' perspectives emerges much earlier than previously thought.
It was previously thought that this ability to empathise only emerges in children between the ages of four and seven, but children from different countries develop it at different ages.
I'm sensing a degree of annoyance: A new study claims that toddlers can see the world through another's eyes from as young as 18 months, contradicting previous research which suggested the ability emerged later
I'm sensing a degree of annoyance: A new study claims that toddlers can see the world through another's eyes from as young as 18 months, contradicting previous research which suggested the ability emerged later
Researchers say their findings could also shed light could shed light on the social skills that differentiate humans from chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relatives.
The team from the University of California, Los Angelese used a form of the false-belief test - which is one of the few cognitive tasks that youngsters can do that primates cannot.
In the classic version of the test, one person comes into a room and places an object like a pair of scissors into a hiding place. A second researcher then enters and puts the scissors in his pocket.
When the first person returns, researchers ask the child: 'Where do you think the first person will look for the scissors.'

The task evaluates whether children have developed a theory of mind, which is an ability to understand the perspectives of other people - in this case that of the person who doesn't know where his scissors have gone.
Children in Western countries usually start to give the correct answer - that the person will look in the original hiding place - by the ages of four to seven, but children in other countries give that answer at different ages.
But noting previous studies that showed children seemed to understand the concept earlier if researchers tracked youngsters' eye movements rather than directly asking the question, the UCLA team decided to investigate whether cultural differences in dealing with adults could be obscuring the cognitive leap.
Universal: The findings show no only that children develop this kind of mind-reading ability much earlier than was previously thought but also that it emerges at a similar time across disparate cultures
Universal: The findings show no only that children develop this kind of mind-reading ability much earlier than was previously thought but also that it emerges at a similar time across disparate cultures
The researchers studied 91 children from three communities in China, Fiji and Ecuador aged from about 19 months to five years old with a live-action play that was similar to the classic false-belief test.

General Electric to Invest $1 Billion in Nigeria

FILE - Due to Nigeria's decrepit national power grid, a man refuels a small generator in central Lagos, Nigeria, August 2010.

Heather Murdock

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

World Bank To Spend N785 Billion On Projects In Nigeria

The bank’s country director, Ms Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, said 60 per cent of the total amount would be spent on sustainable development projects, including infrastructure, construction and rehabilitation, energy, water and agriculture.
According to her, human capital development, which is the second area of intervention, would take about 40 per cent of the amount.
She gave the assurance that the bank would continue to help in strengthening government institutions and private sector development.

Monday, 28 January 2013

What's One of the Fastest Ways to Handle Your Debt Problems?

What's One of the Fastest Ways to Handle Your Debt Problems?
When people think of New Year's resolutions, they often speak about eating right, losing weight, and drinking less. These are fantastic goals but a person's first priority should really be getting their personal finances in shape. Proper money management not only reduces stress, it also helps form a solid financial foundation—both of which are vital for a family's long term well being.
Here's a startling statistic: According to the American Payroll Association, 2 out of 5 Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and 46% are carrying credit card debt. That means if you're struggling with debt, it's incredibly hard to find the funds to resolve your debt.
But don't worry, we've got some smart solutions.
Most people know that paying only the minimum payment amount on the debt you owe results in a long and slow road to debt resolution. This sometimes leads people to turn to friends or family for financial help. The problem is that once the money is loaned, they often feel entitled to give you advice on how to handle your money—and your life. That can obviously lead to bad decisions and damaged relationships.
Credit counselors can be a good idea, but watch out for those who want upfront fees for their advice. Likewise, taking out a new high-interest loan to pay off debt sounds great but when fees and interest are added up it usually increases the total amount of money you have to pay back.
Then there's declaring bankruptcy, but this can seriously hurt your credit and finances for years.
Debt Settlement
For many people, working with a debt settlement company can actually take care of the whole situation. Debt settlement is the process of negotiating with creditors so they forgive a big portion of your unsecured debt. Unsecured debt includes credit cards, some forms of student loans and most medical bills, but does not include mortgages or auto loans, student debt and taxes.
Why would a credit card company settle debt for less than what you owe?  Because when you are represented by a reputable debt settlement company the creditors know for certain that they will be able to recover some of the money owed to them, rather than recovering little or nothing if you are forced into bankruptcy.
Debt settlement companies work with individual consumers to determine a reasonable monthly amount that they can afford to save in anticipation of paying off their debt. Debt settlement clients save an affordable amount every month, setting it aside in a special-purpose account and, as these funds accumulate, the settlement company negotiates a final settlement amount for each debt.
Typically, debt settlement companies negotiate on behalf of thousands of people every day, and the savings they obtain for consumers can be significant.
There are many debt settlement agencies, but one great way to start is by visiting Freedom Debt Relief. They offer a free, no-obligation consultation that will help you evaluate your options. Then, if you chose to proceed, they will develop a plan that meets your specific needs and start negotiating on your behalf with your credit card companies. 
Click here to learn how much of your unsecured debt is eligible for debt settlement, and how quickly you could resolve your debt.

Build your muscles, look desirable

Build your muscles
Muscle building is the current craze for many men these days. It is specifically so among middle aged men who desire an attractive body shape. Besides discipline and determination, there are several other things that have to be in place before you can achieve your aim. A few of these are:
Fuel up: Start reading food labels to get a sense of how many calories you’re already eating. Then add 500 to that number and start eating that many calories every day. Aim to take in about one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day.

Enhance pre workout nutrition: Most men focus on what they take in after they’re done with training. While consuming a rapidly digesting protein and carbohydrate drink immediately after your training will help replenish your muscles’ energy stores, it still takes time for these nutrients to be digested and absorbed. According to, taking down a drink is better than eating a chicken sandwich because it takes less time to be digested and absorbed. For the same reason, consuming your training drink immediately before and/or during your training session will help ensure that the nutrients are being delivered to the working muscle as quickly as possible, leading to a faster recovery process.

Increase caloric intake: The most common complaint among men who want to add mass is that they can’t put on weight, no matter what they do. If you’re struggling to gain weight, you need to eat more. If you think you’re eating a lot, you aren’t. Eat more. Sneak in food whenever you can but make sure they are calories. If you’re extremely lean, your body can probably tolerate a higher amount of calories from quality carbohydrates, so try to add more whole grain bread and pasta to your diet, especially early on your training days. Every couple of weeks, spend three or four days writing down everything that you eat to see how many calories you’re taking in and where they’re coming from.

Do full body workouts or a split routine: You’ll get the best results from your workout by either training the whole body in a single workout or concentrating only on the upper body in one session and the lower body in another. Concentrate on lifts that involve lots of muscles at once, such as squats, dead lifts, presses, rows, and pull-ups.

Limit your cardio vascular exercises: You can do up to two days of light jogging on the treadmill at 30 minutes per session, three times a week.

Do less: Do no more than 20 sets per muscle group; closer to 12 is even better. In lieu of more volume, use heavier weights and move at a controlled speed. Your sets should last between 40 and 70 seconds; any less, and you’re not tensing your muscles long enough to shock them into growth.

Eat regularly: You should be eating at least five to six small meals a day.  As long as good-quality fuel keeps coming into your body; particularly protein and carbs, you’ll have the calories to build muscle and the metabolism boost to lose fat.

Change everything: Every four to six weeks, try to alter some part of your routine; the amount of time you rest, the exercises you perform, or any other training variable. Keep a journal of your workouts to record your progress.

Drink shakes: Whole foods are not the best option after workout; they take too long to digest.
Surround your workout with nutrition, starting with a high protein and carbohydrate meal about an hour beforehand. Mix up a protein shake that has a ratio of about two grams of carbohydrates for every one gram of protein, and sip that throughout your workout. Afterward, finish the drink or mix a new one and drink that quickly.

Recovery: The ideal amount of sleep is seven to eight hours per night. You can let loose a night or two each week, but when you do, try to make up for it as soon as possible. Train no more than four times a week. As for your job, do whatever you can to avoid excess stress; chronic nervousness elevates the hormone that makes your body store fat and burn muscle.

Remain hydrated: In order to stimulate muscle growth, you need to provide your muscles with an overloading stimulus. It is a well-known fact that you can’t perform maximally, mentally or physically, if you’re dehydrated. Ensure that you’re drinking adequate water throughout the day.

Quitting smoking by 40 restores life expectancy to near normal

The lifespan of a smoker tends to be ten years shorter than that of a never-smoker. But smokers who quit by their 40th birthday can expect to live nearly as long as those who never took up the habit, according to a new analysis of health survey and death record data from the US.
Prabhat Jha, a a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at Canada’s University of Toronto, and colleagues, write about their findings in the 24 January online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM.
Jha, who is also head of the Centre for Global Health Research at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, says in a statement:
“Quitting smoking before age 40, and preferably well before 40, gives back almost all of the decade of lost life from continued smoking.”
However, this is by no means a way of saying it is safe to smoke until that time and then stop, says Jha, who adds:
“Former smokers still have a greater risk of dying sooner than people who never smoked. But the risk is small compared to the huge risk for those who continue to smoke.”
Unique Study
The study confirms recent evidence from Britain, Japan and the US that smoking tends to take ten years off people’s lives, wherever they live in the world.
But it is unique in that it looks at the risks of smoking and the gains of quitting in a sample that is representative of the overall American population, as opposed to groups like nurses or volunteers who tend to be healthier.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Why You're Not A Leader

Everybody thinks they’re a leader – most are far from it. The harsh reality is that we live in a world awash with wannabe leaders. As much as some don’t want to admit it, not everyone can or should become a leader (my take on the born vs. made argument). Simply desiring to be a leader doesn’t mean a person has the character, skill, and courage necessary to be a leader.
If you think you’re a leader, but haven’t been recognized as such, you have a problem. Either you’re incorrect in your self-assessment, or those you report to don’t recognize your talent. Here’s the good news; handled correctly, either scenario can be resolved if you’re willing to do some work.
I’m often asked what it takes to get to the top – it’s as if people want an add water and mix recipe for leadership. While there are many paths to leadership, they’re certainly not all created equal. Perhaps a more telling issue in today’s world is many of those desiring to get ahead, have no desire to help others get ahead.
I never cease to be amazed at the numbers of people in leadership positions that shouldn’t be. Likewise, I’ve stopped being surprised when those charged with leadership development can’t seem to figure out what constitutes a leader. It’s my hope the following list will eliminate the confusion about why someone isn’t a leader. You’re not a leader if…
1. You don’t get results: Real leaders perform – they get the job done – they consistently exceed expectations. No results = no leadership – it’s just that simple.
2. You get results the wrong way: If the only way you can solve the deficit described in point #1 above is through chicanery or skullduggery you’re not a leader. The ends don’t justify the means. If you abuse your influence, don’t treat people well, or confuse manipulation with leadership, you may win a few battles, but you’ll lose the war. Optics over ethics never ends well, and being a jerk doesn’t make you a leader.
3. You don’t care: Indifference is a characteristic not well suited to leadership. You simply cannot be a leader if you don’t care about those you lead. The real test of any leader is whether or not those they lead are better off for being led by them.
4. You’re chasing a position and not a higher purpose: If you value self-interest above service beyond self you simply don’t understand the concept of leadership. Leadership is about caring about something beyond yourself, and leading others to a better place – even if it means you take a back seat, or end up with no seat at all. Power often comes with leadership, but it’s not what drives real leaders.
5. You care more about making promises than keeping them: Leadership isn’t about your rhetoric; it’s about your actions. Leadership might begin with vision casting, but it’s delivering the vision that will ultimately determine your success as a leader.
6. You put people in boxes: Stop telling people why they can’t do something and show them how they can. Leaders don’t put people in boxes, it’s their obligation to free them from boxes. True leadership is about helping people reach places they didn’t know they could go.
7. You follow the rules instead of breaking them: Status quo is the great enemy of leadership. Leadership is nothing if not understanding the need for change, and then possessing the ability to deliver it.
8. You churn talent instead of retain it: Real leadership serves as a talent magnet – not a talent repellent. If you can’t acquire talent, can’t develop talent, or can’t retain talent you are not a leader.
9. You take credit instead of giving it: True leadership isn’t found seeking the spotlight, but seeking to shine the spotlight on others. The best leaders only use “I” when accepting responsibility for failures. Likewise, they are quick to use “we” when referring to successes.
10. You care about process more than people: But for the people there is no platform. Without the people you have nothing to lead. When you place things above the people you lead you have failed as a leader.
Follow me on Twitter @mikemyatt

Huawei Creeps up on Apple, Samsung

As Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -2.48% and Apple Inc. AAPL -14.10% try to defend their dominance in the smartphone market, the latest data show China’s Huawei Technologies Co. coming third in terms of market share for the first time, indicating that a rapid increase of smartphone users in China and other emerging markets may be starting to alter the global landscape.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Huawei’s Ascend Mate smartphone.
According to research firm IDC, Samsung’s smartphone market share in the fourth quarter through December rose to 29% from 22.5% a year earlier, while Apple’s share dropped slightly to 21.8% from 23%. Meanwhile, Huawei’s share rose to 4.9% from 3.5%, ahead of Japan’s Sony Corp. 6758.TO +8.49%, whose share also increased to 4.5% from 3.9% a year earlier. Another Chinese company ZTE Corp. 000063.SZ 0.00%, came fifth with 4.3%.
“The fact that Huawei and ZTE now find themselves among the Top 5 smartphone vendors marks a significant shift for the global market,” said IDC research manager Ramon Llamas.
To be sure, the Chinese handset makers’ global presence is much smaller compared to Samsung and Apple, and Huawei’s rise comes amid the struggles of Nokia Corp. NOK1V.HE -4.85% and HTC Corp. 2498.TW +1.07% Profitability is also another story. Closely-held Huawei this week projected a net profit growth for last year, but the company doesn’t disclose its earnings from the smartphone business. A Huawei spokesman said that the company is not only focusing on the low-end market, but it has been offering more higher-end models.
Even so, Huawei’s rise may have broader implications

if only we knew

- Sterling Bank Nigeria tackles rent problem with Rent-A-Month scheme

Sterling Bank StaffSterling Bank StaffSterling Bank and RSL Derivatives have introduced Rent-A-Month scheme, a lending facility designed to help individuals solve rent problem.

“This scheme creates an opportunity for prospective and existing tenants who belong to the working class and self-employed professionals to access rent finance and pay on a monthly basis over a maximum period of two  years”, said Abubkakar Suleiman.

He spoke at the media launching of the scheme on Wednesday at the Bank’s head office in Lagos. He said, “As we are all aware, rent in Lagos is always paid in advance, either for a year or two. For some tenants, it is difficult to raise the rent amount when it is due.  The Rent-a-Month scheme enables eligible individuals solve their rent problem by taking a facility for the tenor of the rent, which they can now repay on a monthly basis, thus making house rent convenient and affordable.”

Sterling Bank’s Group Head, Consumer Lending, Kike Kuponiyo said the product was introduced in conjunction with RSL Derivatives Global Services Limited, a risk financial consulting firm which facilitates the availability of these facilities to eligible customers, while indemnifying the bank against the risk of default.

RSL Derivatives, she said, is also expected to pre-qualify interested customers using agreed standards, to ensure that all recommended customers meet the bank’s credit risk criteria.

She said credit relating to the product is processed swiftly and allows quick approval on receipt of full documentation, convenient and flexible repayment pattern as well as concessionary pricing. Also, the loan is structured in a way that the bank does not exceed 33 per cent of the borrower’s income at all times.

Kuponiyo said the bank is starting the product in Lagos, and will extend it to other markets in the future. According to her, the bank will charge an interest rate that is in tandem with the borrower’s perceived risk level, adding that such rates will always be competitive and within the consumer lending rate.

UK PM 'doesn't want country called Europe'

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants nothing to do with a United States of Europe, an idea that's gaining currency as the countries that use the euro struggle to fix their debt crisis.
But what if it's a choice between a single country called Europe or a splintered continent? Cameron is determined to avoid that scary scenario.
A day after he shook up Europe's political landscape by offering British citizens the prospect of a vote on whether to stay in the 27-country European Union, Cameron insisted on Thursday he wants Britain to remain a part of the bloc but that more unification would not be the answer.
"To try and shoehorn countries into a centralised political union would be a great mistake, and Britain would not be a part of it," he said at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.
In an interview with The Associated Press afterwards, Cameron insisted said he wanted to make Europe "more open, competitive, flexible - so that we can secure Britain's place within it".
"I think it is eminently achievable," he said.
Many in the EU, particularly among the 17 countries that use the euro, are on a drive for closer political unification, and that's raised particular concerns recently in Britain, which has often viewed the bloc through a business prism.
"If you mean that Europe has to be a political union, a country called Europe, then I disagree," said Cameron. On Wednesday, Cameron put an end to months of speculation by revealing he intends to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, if he wins the next general election, expected in 2015.
But many politicians in Europe think closer political ties are exactly what is needed to maintain continental unity in the face of a debt crisis that's laid bare fundamental flaws in the euro.
Some even think Europe's end-game has to be to resemble the United States of America. Countries would be so tied together in their economic and social fabric to make war inconceivable.
After decades of bit-by-bit integration, the links are now so tight many European leaders refuse to publicly acknowledge a British exit is a possibility.
Several accuse Cameron of putting the bloc at risk to deal with domestic political problems. His Conservative Party has a hardcore element that is highly sceptical of the EU, while an anti-EU party, the UK Independence Party, is gaining ground in the polls most notably at the expense of Cameron's Conservatives.
Italian Premier Mario Monti said Britain should set aside ideology and look at its membership in the EU with "pragmatism, which should be a British attitude of mind".
He argued that Britons, for all their hostility to EU regulations and bureaucracy, benefit so much from the single market they would be scared to leave - a ready access to markets and over half a billion people would be a gamble too far.
Most of British business appears to want to stay in the EU but out of the integrationist drive - but the question is whether that can be achieved.
"The vast majority of businesses across the UK want to stay in the single market, but on the basis of a revised relationship ... that promotes trade and competitiveness," said John Langworth of the British Chambers of Commerce.
He was among 56 British business leaders who issued a public letter to the Times of London on Thursday complaining about demands from Brussels and calling for "a more competitive, flexible and prosperous European Union that would bring more jobs and growth for all member states".

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Must Read, To all Fathers – Please Read On

Posted on 23 Jan 2013 at 1:06pm
Barack Obama met his father only once before he died. Pierce Brosnan was abandoned by his father before his first birthday. Eric Clapton never knew his real father. He grew up thinking his grandparents were his parents and his mother his sister. Bill Clinton lost his father in a car accident 3 month before he was born grew up with his stepfather, a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and half brother.
Jamie Foxx was abandoned by both his parents and raised by his adopted grandparents. Samuel L. Jackson only met his father twice during his life. Jay-Z was abandoned by his father. Jack Nicholson never knew his real father. Shaquille O’Neal grew up without his birth father. Al Pacino grew up in his grandparents’ home with his mother. Keanu Reeves was abandoned by his father when he was 13.

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Gene Simmons was abandoned by his father when he was 3.Jon Stewart was raised primarily by his mother. Alex Rodriguez was abandoned by his father when he was 7. Shania Twain was abandoned by her birth father. Kanye West was abandoned by his father when he was 3. Maya Angelou grew up with the Grandma, whom they called Momma, and their uncle.Share for others..
Moral of this story is, if Men who refuse to be part of their children life, Will LIVE to watch from FAR as a VIEWER rather than a FATHER, as their children grow to become an HISTORTY MAKING……..TAKE CARE AND BE PART OF YOUR CHILDREN’s Lives! Share for others..

How to boost sales from existing customers

How to boost sales from existing customers
Existing customers are more profitable than new ones, experts say. In this report, Okechukwu Nnodim writes on how small business owners can increase sales by dealing with their existing customers
Many entrepreneurs believe that the only way to increase sales is to find new customers. But experts say this strategy leaves out an obvious potential source of new sales. According to them, it’s much easier to get an existing customer to buy from you than to convince a new customer to take the plunge. They note that entrepreneurs who pursue new customers at the expense of existing ones are forgetting the low hanging fruit, which is their existing customer base. Professionals say if you want to expand sales, the number one place to go is the existing customer base, as they already trust you.
Business owners often talk about the lifetime value of customers, without realising that their value is far more than just the sales value of them staying with the same model car, as an often quoted example gives. Existing customers are more profitable than new customers, yet businesses are constantly extolled to sell more, without any qualification whatsoever. It is quite true that revenue is tied to sales volume and no one would argue with the proposition that business begins with the sale, but which sale and to whom can be important. The wrong sale can cost you profits either directly or as an opportunity cost.  By opportunity cost, the same sale elsewhere might have made you a higher profit. Remember the 80/20 rule, which states that 80 per cent of your profits as an entrepreneur always come from 20 per cent of your customers.
Small business analysts say it’s infinitely easier and always more profitable to work at increasing the purchasing of your satisfied customers than it is to go out and add new ones. They note that there are many reasons for this, but amongst the most important are that you have established your expertise, credibility and trust. It costs money to acquire new customers and to set them in your system. And new customers tend to buy in smaller amounts. Businesses often spend a small fortune to get new customers. Think of your advertising. Some of it is intended to remind people of your business, but mostly it is intended to encourage new customers to buy. Some of the reasons why it is important to concentrate on existing customers include the fact that they cost less to service and are easier to deal with because you are more likely to know and understand their requirements.
Experts say this is because they trust you they are likely to buy more often, and to buy more expensive products or services. If they become raving fans they are also more likely to refer others to you. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of promotion which you are will enjoy from existing customers. The benefits of intentionally focusing most of your selling and marketing efforts on your current customers, according to experts are: lower costs for additional sales, greater customer loyalty, higher customer satisfaction scores, and more profits. So just how might you go about increasing sales to existing customers, and increasing the profits to your business by more than if you just got out on the street and chased more sales. If you could keep the same number of customers but increase the size of their orders you’d increase your revenue, and if you managed to do that without reducing your margins, you would increase your profits. Or if you could keep the same number of customers, and the size of their order, but persuade them to consume more often and therefore order more often you would also increase revenue. Below are other means to boost sales from existing customer base, according to experts:
Offer some products in bundles
You can offer some of your products or services in bundles for a special price to try to get an existing customer to try some of your other offerings. Look for ways to boost sales and draw your customers the more to your services. Convince your sales employees to go back to existing customers and try to sell those clients related products or services. A common example is a warranty, experts say. Think of how many times you’ve purchased electronics and a sales person has tried to sell you on an extended service plan. Customers sometimes take the bait, expert say.

Eating Less Sugar May Reduce Body Weight

A new study suggests that eating less sugar may moderately but significantly reduce body weight.
Eating foods high in refined sugars causes a large increase in blood glucose. When the blood glucose rises, the pancreas is signaled to release insulin. Instead of turning the glucose into glucagon, which can immediately be used as energy in the body, the body releases too much insulin. The result is increased storage of fat in the body.
Many health conditions, including obesity and diabetes, have been associated with excess sugar consumption. Obesity occurs when an individual has an increased amount of body fat. Overconsumption of foods such as candy, sodas and desserts may lead to weight gain and obesity. Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce enough insulin and properly break down sugar in the blood. About 80 percent of individuals with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
In a recent study, researchers conducted a comprehensive literature search for studies evaluating the effects of sugar consumption on body weight in both adults and children. To be included, each study needed to report total sugar intake, intake of foods or drinks containing sugar or intake of a component of total sugar, along with a body fat measurement. Thirty well-designed clinical trials and 38 cohort studies were ultimately identified for inclusion.
The researchers found that in adults who did not previously maintain any regular dietary restrictions, lower sugar intake was associated with a significant reduction in body weight (0.80 kilogram). Conversely increased sugar intake was significantly linked to weight gain (0.75 kilogram). A change in body weight was lacking when sugar was substituted with carbohydrates of equal energy.
The results for children showed that overall weight was not affected by lower sugar intake; however, the authors noted that there was a low compliance rate to the recommended diet in these trials. When reviewing data on the consumption of sweetened beverages, the highest consumption was linked to a 55 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese when compared to those who consumed the least.
The authors concluded that sugar consumption may significantly affect overall body weight. Additional research is warranted to further evaluate these findings.
For more information about sugar free diets, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.

International students shun UK MBAs

Business people sitting in mostly empty auditorium©Getty
Empty chairs: UK business school enrolment is falling
The number of students enrolling on the UK’s prestigious MBA programmes has fallen dramatically in the past year as changes in work visa regulations, a lack of student funding and the failing economy continue to bite.
Business schools have traditionally been a strong earner for the UK economy, but even the leading full-time MBA programmes have been unable to attract overseas students in the latest enrolment cycle, according to data supplied to the Financial Times Global MBA rankings, to be published on January 28.
Student numbers on the 18 MBA programmes regularly ranked by the FT in the world’s top 100 – there are about 150 UK MBA programmes in total – show that overall enrolment figures are at their lowest for the past eight years and 21 per cent lower than at their height in 2010.

Steven Haberman, dean of the Cass Business School at City University, says the UK is simply less attractive: “The package we can put to a student from India and China is difficult. The big thing that is missing is allowing students to work for one or two years [after graduating].”
What do the numbers look like?
● Last year only four of the top 18 UK schools admitted more than 100 students, compared with nine out of 18 in 2010. In 2012 half the schools – nine out of 18 – enrolled fewer than 50 students compared with one in 2010.
● Just three of the 18 schools – London, Cass and Warwick – enrolled more students in 2012 than in 2010.
● Those schools that have withstood the pressures most effectively are those that are most highly ranked: London, Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Warwick. These top five have seen a decrease in enrolment of 6 per cent over the past two years; the remaining 13 programmes have seen an average decrease of 35 per cent.
● The fall is because of a decline in international students – 86 per cent of all MBA students studying in the UK are from outside the country.


Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at S.F. General, cautioned that the findings need to be verified. Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle
Dr. Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at S.F. General, cautioned that the findings need to be verified. Photo: Mike Kepka, The Chronicle

For the first time, scientists think they have detected in living patients a protein that accumulates in the brains of people suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disorder tied to repeated brain injuries that afflicts football players and military veterans.
Doctors have only been able to diagnose CTE during autopsies based on the presence of a protein called tau, but UCLA researchers write in a paper published Tuesday that they believe they have identified tau in five living former NFL players.
The study was limited by the small number of participants, and the scientists could not definitively determine the protein was tau. But brain researchers said the findings open new doors to diagnosing people with chronic traumatic encephalopathy while they are still alive. That could lead to developing therapies to target tau and recognizing patients who could benefit from cognitive and psychological therapies early on.
"This is the first step toward identifying markers of this nature anytime post-injury while a person is still alive," said Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, the director of rehabilitation research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, who did not work on the study.
"If you've got a way to diagnose this, if you can target it ahead of time, you might be able to alleviate it before it starts," she said.

Study of 5 ex-NFL players

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, looked at five retired NFL players between the ages of 45 and 73 who had histories of mood and cognitive problems.
The researchers injected the participants with a chemical marker called FDDNP that fastens to tangles of tau protein and beta amyloid plaques, which are signatures of Alzheimer's disease. They then performed PET scans - a form of imaging - on the patients to track the FDDNP.
Compared to scans of healthy brains, the scans of the athletes showed the marker gathering in the amygdala and subcortical regions - the same areas where scientists have found tau during autopsies. The regions are connected to emotion as well as motor and cognitive skills.
"The thing that was so striking was that the pattern in the brain was identical to the pattern in patients who had died and had CTE in their autopsy," said Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute at UCLA.
What's more, the researchers found that a higher number of concussions correlated with a greater amount of FDDNP attachment, suggesting more buildup of the protein.

More to be done

Researchers cannot be sure if the protein was tau because the chemical marker binds to other proteins as well. Dr. Geoffrey Manley, a neurosurgery professor at UCSF and chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General, said the study raises interesting ideas but cautioned that the findings need to be verified.
"We need to make sure that all the basic science behind this is solid and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we're looking at tau," he said.
He added that scientists are still trying to understand how the presence of tau may trigger the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
In their report, the authors acknowledged that "the small sample size and lack of autopsy confirmation warrant larger, more definitive studies," but said that if their conclusions are validated, the method they used for their research could be replicated in patients to track protein formation as symptoms develop.
Small said the team is applying for more funding to expand the number of study participants and to be able to monitor them over the course of years.

A genetic factor

Scientists are also looking at the role of genetics in CTE. Many athletes and veterans will take repeated blows to the head and not develop the condition. And one of the players studied, a former quarterback, appeared to have tau in his brain but only showed signs of aging and not chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
"He just had normal aging - the question is why does one person develop problems and another does not?" Small said.
The other former players in the study were a linebacker and a center with mild cognitive impairment, a guard with dementia and depression, and a defensive lineman with mild cognitive impairment and depression.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Obama’s inaugural address: issues

Climate change
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure our forests and waterways; our croplands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
Gay rights and anti-discrimination
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
Equal pay for women
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
Gun control
Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
Foreign policy
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.
Partisan gridlock
Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.
For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.
Income equality
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labour liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.

Nigeria's foreign reserves up by 3.98%

Nigeria's external reserves stood at US$43.849 billion at the end of 2012, representing an increase of US$1.682 billion or about 3.98% from the level of US$42.167 billion recorded by the end-October last year.

“Relative to the end- December 2011 level of US$32.915 billion, the external reserves at the end of December 2012 had risen by US$10.934 billion or 33.21 per cent,” the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) said in a statement Tuesday.

It said the increase was driven mainly by proceeds from crude oil and gas exports, crude-oil related taxes as well as reduced funding of the Wholesale Dutch Action System (wDAS).

The apex bank explained that the foreign reserves level could finance about 9 months of imports.

It said relative stability was also recorded in the foreign exchange rates in the last 12 months.

At the wDAS, the exchange rate opened at N157.31/US$1 on 20 Nov. 2012 and closed at N157.33/US$1 on 31 Dec. 2012, representing a depreciation of N0.02 or 0.01 per cent.

At the Bureau De Change segment of the foreign exchange market, the selling rate opened at N160.00/US$1 on 20 Nov. 2012 and closed at N159.50/US$1 on 31 Dec. 2012, representing an appreciation of N0.50 or 0.31 per cent for the period.

At the interbank segment, the selling rate opened at N157.95/US$1 on 20 Nov. 2012 and closed at N156.25/US$ on 31 Dec. 2012, representing an appreciation of N1.70 or 1.08 per cent.

“Overall, the relative stability recorded in the foreign exchange market could be attributed to the combined effects of improved supply of foreign exchange by oil companies and enhanced capital inflows from portfolio investors during the period under review.

“Also, oil revenue increased at an average of 2.73 per cent monthly throughout 2012. In the first eleven months of 2012, oil receipts totaled US$40.087 billion,” the statement added.

Africa's Richest Man, Aliko Dangote, Acquires Luxury Yacht

My Boat Is Bigger Than Yours: Dangote's boat is on the right, beside Femi Otedola's. Photo Credit: Linda Ikeji
My Boat Is Bigger Than Yours: Dangote's boat is on the right, beside Femi Otedola's. Photo Credit: Linda Ikeji
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has just taken delivery of a new luxury yacht.
At the moment, very little is known about the yacht – who built it, how much it cost or even just how big it is. However, judging by pictures available on several Nigerian websites, the yacht looks significantly smaller than those owned by Dangote’s billionaire peers Roman Abramovich, Paul Allen or Andrey Melnichenko, making the Nigerian billionaire’s latest acquisition seem almost like a baby’s toy.
What we know for sure is that the yacht, which has been christened Mariya, was built specially for him. It recently arrived in Lagos and it’s currently sitting on the water at Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos just next to the yacht that belongs to Dangote’s close friend and former Forbes billionaire Femi Otedola.
Here’s an interesting dynamic: Dangote’s boat looks like a bigger, exact replica of Femi Otedola’s boat, as you’ll see in the picture above. Dangote and Otedola have become closer friends following a bitter 2009 conflict between the two in which Otedola, a prominent diesel marketer and chairman of Zenon Petroleum, claimed that Dangote broke a gentleman’s agreement by thwarting Zenon’s bid to buy Chevron’s local subsidiary. The two erstwhile friends were at each other’s throats for a while, but they made up shortly afterwards and have reportedly become closer than ever before. They’ve become so close, it appears, that they even own nearly identical yachts.
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Monday, 21 January 2013

The 12 Youngest Most Powerful People Of 2012

Mark Zuckerberg, 28
Developing and owning power on this level is mostly a middle-aged affair. The majority of people on the list are in their 50s (24) and 60s (22), with an overall average age of 60.
Then again, there are certain industries that embrace youth–and vice-versa. First and foremost is tech. Zuckerberg is joined by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both 39 (both No. 20 on list) , as well as Elon Musk (No. 66), the 41-year-old entrepreneur behind PayPal and SpaceX; Robin Li (No. 64), 44, the cofounder and CEO of Chinese search engine giant Baidu; Reid Hoffman (No. 71), 45, the most connected VC in Silicon Valley and founder of LinkedIn; and Jeff Bezos (No. 27), CEO of Notably, all are billionaires.
Youth can also be a driver of political ambition, as seen by five of the other youngest on the list. Kim Jong-un (No. 44), 29, took over as supreme leader of North Korea after his father’s death in 2011. David Cameron (No. 10), 46, is two years into office as prime minister of the U.K. Mexico just elected 46-year-old president Enrique Pena Nieto (No. 54). Earlier this year Dmitry Medvedev (No. 61) castled positions with Vladimir Putin (No. 3), now the former is prime minister and his mentor is back as president. Finally, Rostam Ghasemi (No. 57), 48, serves as both Iran’s oil minister and president of OPEC.

live like no tomorrow

PHOTOS: Meet the woman with widest hips in the world

PHOTOS: Meet the woman with widest hips in the world
PHOTOS: Meet the woman with widest hips in the world39-year-old Mikel Ruffinelli, who lives in Los Angeles has the widest hips in the world.

Mikel, who weighs 420-pounds and is the mother of four children claims that she is comfortable with her 8ft (in circumference) hips and also says that men don't like skinny girls.

At just five-foot-four, 39-year-old Mikel Ruffinelli, who lives in Los Angeles, is substantially wider than she is tall, but says she loves her shape and sees no reason to diet because she doesn’t have health problems, the Daily mail reported.

Interestingly, Mikel drives a truck as she can’t fit into a car. When at home, she has to sit in steel-supported chairs and sleeps on a 7ft-wide bed.

Mikel's husband, Reggie Brooks, is a 40-year-old computer technician and finds his wife's unusual shape sexy.

Apparently, Mikel has inherited her big hips from her mother.

Mikel is now modelling for a Big Beautiful Women website and earns up to 1000 dollars per shoot.
Photo Courtesy: Mikel Ruffinelli

Short people 'fatter than they think' under new BMI

Being short in stature has its difficulties but Oxford University researchers have found another drawback – they have been made fatter by a new weight index

Short people 'fatter than they think' under new BMI
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito starring in 'Twins' film. They new index would make five feet tall-DeVito fatter. Photo: REX FEATURES
Mathematicians found the formula used to calculate body mass index (BMI) has made tall people more overweight and those vertically challenged not fat enough.
They argued it did not take into account a person’s weight tends to grow with their height, giving taller people more room to bulge.
Consequently Prof Nick Trefethen, a leading mathematician, has devised a new formula after finding the current BMI divided weight by too large a number for short people and by too small a number for tall people.
“The NHS relies on the BMI pervasively in all of its public discussions of obesity,” he said.
“We deserve an explanation of what justification they have for using this formula.
“BMI divides the weight by too large a number for short people and too small a number for tall people.”
He added: “So short people are misled into thinking that they are thinner than they are, and tall people are misled into thinking they are fatter.”
The BMI formula is used by doctors to work out if someone is overweight or obese and so at risk of problems from high blood pressure to heart disease.
It is traditionally calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared with the aim of giving a measure of an individual's body fat.
But this assumes people scale up according to a model of growth, in which they get taller more quickly than they bulk out.
A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal, less than 18.5 is seen as underweight while 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A mark of 30 or above means a person is obese.
Prof Trefethen started investigating the problem after realising conventional BMI calculation methods failed to take into account that taller people tended to be bulkier than those who were smaller in height.
He found short people were misled into thinking that they are thinner than they are and tall people are misled into thinking they are fatter.
For those who are 150cm tall [five feet], the new formula would add a whole BMI point, enough to topple people lurking on the borders of the "normal" weight into "overweight" territory and a similar number would become "obese".
Those of 180cm or above (six feet), lose a BMI point. Only those of average height (170cm) will remain the same BMI.
The mathematical formula was devised by the Belgian scientist Adolphe Quetelet in the 1830s. But the professor insisted his formula was far from simply an academic exercise.
“BMI is only one of many factors and inevitably not everyone will fit the standard pattern,” he said.
“We know that BMI is a good indicator of population level trends, but not always a good indicator at an individual level."

Barack Obama inauguration: best of inaugural addresses

Barack Obama will today deliver the 57th inaugural address by an American president. Here we review some of the highlights from past speeches.

Barack Obama is relying on contractors and businesses to pay as much as $1 million (£624,000) for his inauguration party later this month.
President Barack Obama takes the oath as the 44th U.S. President with his wife, Michelle, and daughters by his side at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2009 Photo: EPA
Barack Obama - 2009
Begin again the work of remaking America
It was a scene that many Americans never thought they would witness in their lifetimes. Nearly two million visitors - from the US and abroad - carpeted Washington’s National Mall to watch America’s first black president sworn into office.
Although the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court mangled his delivery of the oath, Obama took to the podium and briefly pushed back the clouds of pessimism that had descended over a country gripped by financial crisis and mired in two foreign wars. Among the long list of ambitions was a programme of muscular domestic investment, a call to “roll back the specter of a warming planet”, and promises of “a new way forward” for tattered relations with the Muslim world.
Quote We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Boeing Debacle: Seven Lessons Every CEO Must Learn

Brake problems. A fuel leak. A cracked windshield. One electrical fire. Then another. An emergency landing in Japan. A safety investigation imposed by the FAA. Then two premier customers—Japan’s two main airlines, ANA and JAL, ground their fleet of Boeing [BA] 787s. Then the FAA grounds all 787s used by the only American carrier. Now other regulators around the world follow suit, grounding all 50 of the 787s delivered so far. The regulatory grounding of an entire fleet is unusual—the first since 1979—and relates to a key to the plane’s claimed energy-efficiency: the novel use of lithium ion batteries, which have shown a propensity to overheat and lead to fires—fires that generate oxygen and hence are difficult to put out.
And keep in mind: Boeing’s 787 project is already billions of dollars over budget. The delivery schedule has been pushed back at least seven times. The first planes were delivered over three years late. In fact, out of a total of 848 planes sold, only 6 percent have been delivered.
Yet grave as these issues seem, they are merely symptoms of a deeper disease that has been gnawing at the US economy for decades: flawed offshoring decisions by the C-suite. Offshoring is not some menial matter to be left to accountants in the backroom or high-priced consultants armed with spreadsheets, promising quick profits. It raises mission-critical issues potentially affecting the survival of entire firms, whole industries and ultimately the economy.

Not just Boeing: an economy-wide problem

Thus Boeing is hardly alone in making flawed offshoring decisions. Boeing is just the latest and most spectacular example of an economy-wide problem.
“Many companies that offshored manufacturing didn’t really do the math,” Harry Moser, an MIT-trained engineer and founder of the Reshoring Initiative told me. As many as 60 percent of the decisions were based on miscalculations.
As noted by Gary Pisano and Willy Shih in their classic article, “Restoring American Competitiveness” (Harvard Business Review, July-August 2009), offshoring has been devastating whole US industries, stunting innovation, and crippling capacity to compete long-term.
Pisano and Shih write: “The decline of manufacturing in a region sets off a chain reaction. Once manufacturing is outsourced, process-engineering expertise can’t be maintained, since it depends on daily interactions with manufacturing. Without process-engineering capabilities, companies find it increasingly difficult to conduct advanced research on next-generation process technologies. Without the ability to develop such new processes, they find they can no longer develop new products. In the long term, then, an economy that lacks an infrastructure for advanced process engineering and manufacturing will lose its ability to innovate.”
Pisano and Shih have a frighteningly long list of industries that are “already lost” to the USA, including: compact fluorescent lighting; LCDs for monitors, TVs and handheld devices like mobile phones; electrophoretic displays; lithium ion, lithium polymer and NiMH batteries; advanced rechargeable batteries for hybrid vehicles; crystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar cells, inverters and power semiconductors for solar panels; desktop, notebook and netbook PCs; low-end servers; hard-disk drives; consumer networking gear such as routers, access points, and home set-top boxes; advanced composite used in sporting goods and other consumer gear; advanced ceramics and integrated circuit packaging.
The list of industries “at risk” is even longer and more worrisome.
Now unless Boeing can quickly fix the technical issues afflicting the 787, its entire airline business will also be “at risk”. Manufacturing airplanes could even become an addition to the list of industries “already lost.”
These issues are a wakeup call not just to Boeing but to every CEO whose firm or whose suppliers have been or will be involved in offshoring. Every CEO must learn seven lessons.

1.      Use the right metrics to evaluate offshoring

In analyzing offshoring, firms must get beyond rudimentary cost calculations focused on short-term profit,, such as the cost of labor or the ex-factory cost and incorporate the total cost and risk of extended international supply chains. This is easily done with the help of the Reshoring Initiative, whose website includes an analytical tool enabling companies to calculate the full risks and costs of offshoring. It’s called the Total Cost of Ownership Estimator[TM]. And the price is right. It doesn’t require hiring high-priced consultants: it’s free.
The Estimator poses a series of questions. What’s the price of the part from each of the destinations? How far is it away? How often are you going to travel to see the supplier? How much intellectual property risk is there? How long do you think you are going to make it? It uses the answers to calculate twenty-five different costs. When they are added up, that’s the Total Cost of Ownership.
Most companies have tended to make their sourcing decisions based on the wage rate or the ex-works price or the landed cost, and leave out another twenty cost categories. The Estimator makes it easy for the company to calculate the other twenty costs.
“Often what firms find,” says Moser, “is that whereas the offshoring price is perhaps 30 percent less than the US price, all these other costs add up to more than 30 percent. If they are willing to recognize all of them, then they can see that it may be profitable to bring the work back.”
“For instance,” says Moser, “I took the last 27 cases where users compared China to the US. On average, the US price was 69 percent higher than the production price in China. It turned out that the US total cost of ownership was 4 percent lower. So it made a huge difference to make that calculation. That’s an indication that a substantial portion of the work that has been offshored would come back if people would use the right metrics.”

2.      Review whether earlier outsourcing decisions made sense

Let’s back up a bit and note that Boeing’s problems have been visible for some time. In August 2011, my article drew attention to the perilous offshoring course on which Boeing was embarked.
In December 2012, fellow Forbes contributor Jonathan Salem Baskin wrote: “The company was convinced by one or more management consulting firms to outsource design and production of the 787’s components. While this idea might make sense for sourcing coffeemakers, it was a nonsense approach to assembling perhaps the most complicated and potentially dangerous machines shy of nuclear reactors. I’m sure blather from Harvard Business Review supported the idea that distances between factories in Seattle and Outer Mongolia were no farther than a VOIP chat, but the reality was a mess. Parts didn’t fit together with others. Some suppliers subcontracted work to their suppliers and then shrugged at problems with assembly. When one part wasn’t available, the next one that depended on it couldn’t be attached and the global supply chain all but seized up. Boeing had to spend $1 billion in 2009 to buy one of the worst offenders and bring the work back in-house.”
“The grounding — an unusual action for a new plane — focuses on one of the more risky design choices made by Boeing, namely to make extensive use of lithium ion batteries aboard its airplanes for the first time,” write Christopher Drew, Jad Mouawad and Matthew Wald in the New York Times: “The 787’s problems could jeopardize one of its major features, its ability to fly long distances at a cheaper cost… The maker of the 787’s batteries, Japan’s GS Yuasa, has declined to comment on the problems so far. “
What was Boeing thinking when they opted to embrace such extensive offshoring? Moser believes the error lay in using the wrong measure of the impact of offshoring on earnings. “Many companies that offshored manufacturing didn’t really do the math,” Harry Moser, an MIT-trained engineer and founder of the Reshoring Initiative told me. “A study the consulting company, Archstone,  showed that 60 percent of offshoring decisions used only rudimentary cost calculations, maybe just price or labor costs rather than something holistic like total cost. Most of the true risks and cost of offshoring were hidden.”
For many companies, it’s time to redo the math, and then verify whether they still have the expertise to bring manufacturing back.

3.      Don’t outsource mission-critical components

“Boeing has acknowledged, says Moser, “that its biggest problem was in outsourcing not only manufacturing but also a lot of the engineering. There were multiple tiers of outsourced companies who were supposed to be making their designs consistent so that the parts fit together. And they didn’t fit together. If Boeing had taken full responsibility for the engineering and then had jobbed the parts out and gotten them made to print, their problems would have been a lot less severe. It seems like they had this brilliant idea of outsourcing a lot of engineering with the manufacturing. There’s almost nothing as complicated as a Dreamliner.
“For example, an iPhone isn’t nearly as complicated. The downside risk isn’t as great. Apple has succeeded with outsourcing almost everything to Foxconn, mainly because they first completely manufacture the new product in the US. They make sure it’s right, while Foxconn is working in parallel with them, developing their tooling and whatever. So Apple has a finished product and they say to Foxconn: make it just like this! What Apple has done has worked amazingly well, because they have the capability to do the perfect prototype here, before it gets offshored to Foxconn. Most companies don’t have that.
“Thus Boeing didn’t have a finished product. So there were all kinds of risks of things not coming together. The tendency is too often for companies to try to do the engineering over here and the manufacturing over there. Eventually the innovation declines and the risk increases, as outlined by Pisano and Shih.”

4.      Bring some manufacturing back

Moser estimates that when the total costs are included, around 25 percent of manufacturing that is currently outsourced could be profitably brought home, if the manufacturing expertise still exists. Looking ahead, changes in relative economics are likely to increase that percentage.
It is important to take into account rapid changes in relative costs. Oil prices are three times what they were in 2000. Natural gas in the US is a quarter of what it is in Asia. Chinese wages are five times what they were in 2000 and are expected to keep rising rapidly. And in any event labor is a steadily decreasing percentage of the cost of manufacturing.
Reshoring is already happening to a limited extent. Apple [AAPL] announced recently that it will resume manufacturing of one of the existing Mac lines in the US next year. GE [GE] is spending some $800 million to re-establish manufacturing in its giant facility—until recently, almost defunct—at Appliance Park, in Louisville, Kentucky. Whirlpool [WHR] is bringing mixer-making back from China to Ohio. Otis is bringing elevator production back from Mexico to South Carolina. And Wham-O Toys is bringing Frisbee-molding back from China to California. Based on the reshoring articles in the ReshoreNow Library, Moser calculates that at least 50,000 manufacturing jobs have recently been reshored in the last three years.
Where companies see that it could be profitable to bring manufacturing back, they will need to ensure that they either have or can rebuild the necessary expertise—sometimes a daunting challenge.

5.      Adequately assess the risk factors of offshoring

In Boeing’s case, as  Jonathan Salem Baskin notes: “It didn’t help that the outsourcing plan included skipping the detailed blueprints the company would have normally prepared, and allowing vendors to come up with their own. Delivered components arrived with instructions and notes written in Chinese, Italian, and other languages. Oh, and they decided to build the airplane out of plastic along with other novel materials and technologies, so it would have been a big experiment even if Boeing approached manufacturing like it always had.”
Clearly firms have underestimated the risk of having extended international supply chains. I asked Moser whether Total Cost of Ownership Estimator can help firms get a better handle on that risk.
“The TCO Estimator assigns no factor values apart from freight,” says Moser. “The user assigns all the factors. The user answers questions about the delivery time, and the price. That enables the Estimator’s algorithm to assess the inventory and the inventory carrying costs. There’s a section on opportunity cost. If the firm will lose orders because it can’t deliver, then put a value on that. There are sections on natural disaster risk and political risk. “
If Boeing had been using this earlier what would be the implications? If they underestimated the delay risk or the technical risk as low, the Estimator would have reflected the underestimation of the risk.
“The Estimator would have encouraged them to try to estimate each of the risks,” says Moser. “When you have twenty-five of them, you only have to put in 1 percent in each to balance the savings you might get from going offshore.
“If you are buying pencils, not much intellectual property risk; if you can’t get it from this source, you can get it from somewhere else. The margins aren’t big, so you don’t lose so much. You don’t have much image to lose. But when you are making airplanes, there’s a lot of risk. Instead of having one size fit all, the Estimator lets you adapt for each product, each market, and make a more holistic and informed decision.
“The Reshoring Initiative site also offers resources. Library contains articles about transportation industry and equipment, and firms can understand where production was reshored and why. They might conclude: ‘Looks like a lot of companies are having problems with these things. Maybe we should increase our risk levels?’
“The Initiative also has information on what other users have found on the distribution of average costs. If they look at that, they might realize that some costs and risks have been underestimated. So the Estimator can help them make better decisions.”

   6.  Adequately value the role of innovation

Much of the offshoring that has taken place has assumed that the outsourced items are “little do-hickeys” with low value and so didn’t really matter much in the overall scheme of things. The little do-hickeys are worth pennies or less and have next-to-no margin. While those “little do-hickeys” might seem cheap in themselves, the lessons to be learned in improving their manufacture in the end can turn out to be highly valuable. (In cost accounting and economics, which usually don’t explicitly value knowledge, this loss is invisible and so doesn’t get taken into account.)
Firms often haven’t thought through how often they are going to redesign this product. “If it’s a bracket and you’re not going to redesign it for 30 years, it doesn’t matter very much,” says Moser. These days however there are very few components that are good for another thirty years. “If it is something that you are updating every six months or every year, then that becomes a lot more important. It’s the difference between a commodity and something that’s design-driven. The result of answering those questions is an ‘innovation cost of being at a distance.’ The Reshoring Initiative has resources so that firms can develop the understanding to make better decisions.“
The opportunity cost of lost innovation can be significant. Thus when GE decided to bring manufacturing of its innovative GeoSpring water heater back from the “cheap” Chinese factory to the “expensive” Kentucky factory, the cost of production went down. “The material cost went down. The labor required to make it went down. The quality went up. Even the energy efficiency went up. GE wasn’t just able to hold the retail sticker to the ‘China price.’ It beat that price by nearly 20 percent. The China-made GeoSpring retailed for $1,599. The Louisville-made GeoSpring retails for $1,299.
GE’s water heater as originally designed for manufacture in China had a tangle of copper tubing that was difficult to weld together. In the past, GE had been shipping the design to China and telling them to “make it”. Confronted with making the water heater themselves, they discovered that “in terms of manufacturability, it was terrible.” So GE’s designers got together with the welders and redesigned the heater so that it was easier and cheaper to make. They eliminated the tangle of tubing that couldn’t be easily welded. By having those workers right at the table with the designers, the work hours necessary to assemble the water heater went from 10 hours in China to two hours in Louisville.
“For years,” Charles Fishman writes in a great article in The Atlantic, “too many American companies have treated the actual manufacturing of their products as incidental—a generic, interchangeable, relatively low-value part of their business. If you spec’d the item closely enough—if you created a good design, and your drawings had precision; if you hired a cheap factory and inspected for quality—who cared what language the factory workers spoke? … It was like writing a cookbook without ever cooking…. there is an inherent understanding that moves out when you move the manufacturing out. And you never get it back.”
What is only now dawning on the smart American companies, Lou Lenzi, head of design for GE appliances says, is that when you outsource the making of the products, “your whole business goes with the outsourcing.”

7.      Get to the root of the problem: maximizing shareholder value

While several decades of outsourcing were under way, why didn’t these smart managers think about the importance of innovating and protecting intellectual property? Why didn’t these well-educated managers realize that it was important to have designers, engineers, and assembly-line workers talk to each other? Why didn’t these MBA graduates realize that outsourcing might be mortgaging the future of their firms?
“There was a herd mentality to the offshoring,” John Shook, the CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “And there was some bullshit. But it was also the inability to see the total costs—the engineers in the U.S. and factory managers in China who can’t talk to each other; the management hours and money flying to Asia to find out why the quality they wanted wasn’t being delivered. The cost of all that is huge.”
When managers manage with a spreadsheet rather than real-world knowledge about what is actually going on in the factory and what were its possibilities, they overlook hidden costs of the erosion of skills, the loss of quality and constraints on innovation. They also missed the potential added value to customers that could be generated by designing and manufacturing things differently. They also missed the costs and risks of an international supply chain, which is increasingly out of step with the shorter, faster product cycles.
Why did all these smart, highly educated people make all these mistakes? The root cause of these errors is a focus on the dumbest idea in the world: maximizing shareholder value. Focusing on short-term shareholder value ended up destroying vast quantities of long-term shareholder value.
A focus on maximizing shareholder value leads the firm to do things that detract from maximizing long-term shareholder value, such as offshoring, favoring cost-cutting over innovation, and pursuit of “corner cutting” and “bad profits” that destroy brand equity. The net result can be seen in the disastrously declining ROA and ROIC over the last four decades in large US firms as documented by Deloitte’s Shift Index.
The errors of offshoring are thus not isolated events. They are the result of the underlying philosophy of shareholder value, rather than the true purpose of every firm: create value for customers. The resurrection of American manufacturing will require more than simply bringing back production to America. Global manufacturing is at the cusp of a massive transformation as the new economics of energy and labor plays out and a set of new technologies—robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and nanotechnology—are advancing rapidly. Together these developments will spark a radical transformation of manufacturing around the world over the next decade. The winners in the rapidly changing world of manufacturing will be those firms that have mastered the agility needed to generate rapid and continuous customer-based innovation.
Success in this new world of manufacturing will require a radically different kind of management from the hierarchical bureaucracy focused on shareholder value that is now prevalent. It will require a different goal (adding value for customers), a different role for managers (enabling self-organizing teams), a different way of coordinating work (dynamic linking), different values (continuous improvement and radical transparency) and different communications (horizontal conversations). Merely shifting the locus of production is not enough. Companies need systemic change—a new management paradigm.
Pursuit of maximizing shareholder value at Boeing led to offshoring that has caused massive damage to shareholder value. The eventual scale of the damage can only be guessed at today. The remedy lies not in pointing fingers at Boeing’s management, but rather in treating the economy-wide disease that caused the problem.
And read also:
Steve Denning’s most recent book is: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management (Jossey-Bass, 2010).
Follow Steve Denning on Twitter @stevedenning