Archive for February, 2009
RIO DE JANEIRO – Betto Almeida is the Mr. Lucky of Rio’s Carnival. The 36-year-old artist awakes at 8 a.m. Has a little breakfast. Survives a commute through the city’s tough traffic. Arrives at the office by 11.
Then he spends hours painting the bodies of gorgeous women — and earning as much as $2,000 a day.
“You wouldn’t believe how many applications I get for an assistant,” Almeida deadpanned, never taking his eyes from his work as he brushed bright orange paint on the stomach of a model in his glass-enclosed studio under the grandstands at the Sambadrome, where Rio’s Carnival parades ended Tuesday at dawn.
“But it’s hard work, man. I take my job seriously.” Slight, soft-spoken and unassuming, Almeida devotes his art to a sideshow of the samba parades: models who earn about $250 a night to mingle, clad only in paint, with high-rollers in the luxury boxes. Wearing plaid pants, a green shirt with a red phoenix on it and a denim-and-camouflage hat, Almeida goes about his work with a nonchalant air as the party-crazed hordes outside press their noses to the glass and snap photos.
His day job is art director on television soap operas, but for the past 12 years he has been brushing, dripping and spraying paint on some of the most beautiful bodies Brazil’s Carnival has to display. Michele Peres, a 28-year-old model wearing tiny black shorts, snakeskin stilettos and a watch, said the quality of Almeida’s work was vital to her professional success.
“I’ve been doing this for nine years, for Carnival and other events,” she said as Almeida painted a jaguar on her breasts. “He is the best body painter I’ve come across and his work draws more attention to me. It is good for him, it is good for me.” A gentleman tapped on the studio window and, as gingerly as a drunk Carnival reveler could, requested that Peres turn toward the growing crowd. With a barely perceptible sigh, she complied, not hesitating to light up a smile once the cameras started popping.
Luana Minini, a 22-year-old actress, was making her first appearance as a Carnival body paint model and she took a slightly more timid stance: She had Almeida paint critical areas of her body in a back room before agreeing to have a red parrot with green wings covering her chest completed under the public’s gaze. “I’ve always worked in theater and dance. This is a bit more free- spirited. But I’ve learned to control my nervousness. The paint acts as a cover, it makes me feel protected,” she said, motioning toward the jungle foliage in which the parrot on her breast resided.
Both women said some men — mostly foreigners — get a little frisky in the box seats, where the models mingle for 15 minutes before taking a champagne break for 15 minutes in a glassed-front room next to Almeida’s work space.
“It gets a little rowdy. Not too many men grab us or anything, but there is always one or two who get a little confused,” Minini said. “Brazilians understand the ambiance of Carnival and they come here prepared to see this.”
As the models answered questions, Almeida kept working. On his knees behind Peres, he dipped his brush into one of a dozen plastic water bottles cut in half to hold his paint, carefully painting jaguar spots on the back of the model’s thighs.
Sweat on his brow, he said the hard work is worth it. A modeling agency that employs the women pays him $1,000 for the roughly two hours it takes to paint each model. During the samba parades, he paints two women a night. And in a typical year will paint a minimum of 50 women for various events.
“I started doing it for theater and one of the samba parade officials asked if I would do it for Carnival models. How could I say no?” he asked, diving into a cheeseburger after finishing up with Peres. “A lot of guys are jealous of my job.”
We live on Earth, which orbits the sun. Our sun is really a star, one of the hundreds of billions in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Our galaxy has a few galactic neighbors, and together we’re called the Local Group. Until recently, scientists thought that our beloved galaxy was about half as massive as Andromeda, a nearby galaxy in the Local Group. They also thought the Milky Way was spinning slower than our neighbors.
Just as it’s difficult to tell how large the ocean is when you’re in the middle of it floating on a raft, scientists have been mistaken about the size of the Milky Way. Based on new information, astronomers — scientists who study the universe — have produced a new map of the Milky Way. It turns out our galaxy is about 50 percent more massive and spinning about 100,000 miles per hour faster than scientists thought. These two measurements are connected: The more mass a galaxy has, the faster it spins.
Our galaxy, far from being the littlest member of the Local Group, is actually one of the fastest-spinning and most massive. The new study suggests that our galaxy has as much mass as roughly 3 trillion suns, That’s about as hefty as Andromeda, which the Milky Way now ties with as the largest member of the Local Group. The new measurements also mean that these two galaxies will smash into each other earlier than astronomers thought. (But don’t worry — that’s not for a long, long time.)
The new study also turned up surprising findings about the shape of the Milky Way. Astronomers found that our galaxy has four arms. Two of them contain all kinds of stars (like the sun), and two of them contain only newborn stars. The researchers were also able to count how many times each arm wound around the galaxy’s center.
To study the Milky Way, astronomers led by Mark Reid of Harvard University used an unusual type of telescope called a radio telescope. Instead of looking into the sky for visible light — like we see in the night sky — these telescopes measure the radio waves that move through space. On Earth, we use radio waves to send information through the air. In space, however, cosmic objects also send out radio waves, though they tend to be spaced much closer together than the radio waves we use on Earth.
When astronomers use light telescopes, they can’t see through thick layers of dust in space. But when they use radio telescopes, dust isn’t a problem, and astronomers can “hear” what’s going on in space. In this study, astronomers listened to regions of the galaxy where the radio waves were amplified, or increased, by clouds of methanol gas. By measuring how fast the sources of these waves moved through the sky, scientists were able to calculate the speed of the galaxy. And from the speed, they were able to better estimate the galaxy’s mass.
The new, more accurate map of our galaxy may lead to a new understanding of it. A more accurate mass will give scientists clues about how our galaxy has changed over time. But some astronomers say that more research needs to be done before we’re sure what, exactly, the Milky Way looks like.
View more pictures of Milkyway at Photo Gallery
Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process — from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.
The statistical representation of Six Sigma describes quantitatively how a process is performing. To achieve Six Sigma, a process must not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities.
Different definitions about Six Sigma from around the web are as follows:
- Six Sigma TerminologyA methodology that provides businesses with the tools to improve the capability of their business processes.
- Process Improvement Glossary -A method or set of techniques. Six Sigma is generally used to indicate that a business process is well controlled.
- Circuit City - In 2001 Six Sigma was introduced as an initiative within Circuit City’s annual report.  Six Sigma is applied to Circuit City’s operational side such as supply chain and distribution centers.
- Tamworth Quality Services - This is a complete system of quality management originating in the USA, but now becoming popular in the UK.
- Wikipedia - Six Sigma is a business management strategy, originally developed by Motorola, that today enjoys wide-spread application in many sectors of industry. Six Sigma seeks to identify and remove the causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and business processes.
- Quality Glossary - A failure rate of 3.4 parts per million or 99.9997%
- Glossary of terms and definitions - A set of practices first created by Motorola that attempts to systematically remove imperfections in manufacturing processes while improving quality and efficiency; also, a set of practices that specifies the mathematical precision of measurements.
- eMJA Glossary - A systematic method for improving the operational performance of an organisation by eliminating variability and waste (“sigma” stands for standard deviation from the mean in a normal distribution).
- Mayo Medical Laboratories - A statistical concept that represents the amount of variation present relative to customer requirements or specifications.
- Industry Forum - A ‘measure of goodness’ involving the application of statistical methods to business processes to improve operating efficiency, reduce variation, avoid defects and reduce waste.
- Pulse - It is a methodology to manage process variations that cause defects and to systematically work towards managing variation to eliminate those defects. The objective of Six Sigma is to deliver world-class performance, reliability, and value to the end customer.
- Obis Omni - A quality management program to achieve “six sigma” levels of quality. Pioneered by Motorola in the mid-1980s, it aims to have the total number of failures in quality, or customer satisfaction, occur beyond the sixth sigma of likelihood in a normal distribution of customers.
- Lean Manufacturing Glossary - Six Sigma is a statistical term that equates to 3.4 defects per one million opportunities. Typical manufacturers operate at around three sigma, or 67,000 defects per million. Six Sigma can achieve dramatic improvement in business performance through a precise understanding of customer requirements and the elimination of defects from existing processes, products and services. Key tenets of Six Sigma: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control. To fully embrace Six Sigma, an organization must work intimately with all internal disciplines in addition to external suppliers and customers.
- Qmi Solutions - A methodology and set of tools used to reduce quality problems to less than 3.4 defects per million or better.
- ISSEL - A quality management and process improvement methodology particularly well-suited to process-intensive industries like manufacturing. Six Sigma measures a given process by its average performance and the standard deviation (or variation) of this performance, aiming to reduce the occurrence of defects in a given process to a level of “”Six Sigma”outside the norm; no more than 3.4 times per million.
Maran’s modeling career began at the age of 12; when an agent spotted her at a local barbecue restaurant, she began modeling part time. Maran graduated from the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, then began to pursue modeling more seriously. As those in the fashion industry consider her height of 5′7″ to be too short for runway modeling, Maran works mainly in editorial modeling and advertising/image modeling.
Signed at age 17 with the Elite modeling agency of Los Angeles, Maran appeared on her first cover with Glamour magazine in 1998, and she was the featured Guess? Girl in their summer 1998 and fall 1998 campaigns. After building a résumé of over 25 commercials and advertisements, including playing Howie D’s companion in the music video of Backstreet Boys hit Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), in which she was bitten on the neck by Count Dracula (played by Howie D), Maran moved cross-country to join with Elite in New York City. In 1999, she landed a multi-year deal with Maybelline. Maran appeared in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for three consecutive years; from 2000 to 2002. Maran is also signed with London agency Storm Model Management, and 1/One Management in New York City.
Maran’s interest in the arts extends beyond film. When not in acting class, she is training herself in “dance classes… violin classes, speech classes, everything. I’m just trying to train myself in the arts, you know? Nobody else is gonna do it so I’m going to. I’m gonna take on the world”. Her interest in music led her to play casually in two bands: Darling, with socialite Nicole Richie, and Hollywood 2000, where she sang and played violin.
In 2001, Maran appeared in an independent film, as title character Mallory in The Mallory Effect. Maran followed this by appearing as Susan in Swatters in 2002. In 2004, she appeared in three films - as a French model in Little Black Book, as one of Dracula’s brides, Marishka, in Van Helsing, and briefly as a cigarette girl in The Aviator. Maran appeared in a short film “The Confession” alongside Wentworth Miller in 2005, and as Kira Hayden in The Gravedancers in 2006. Maran will not play Polly Hudson in The Final Season, scheduled for release in 2007. This role is now played by Rachael Leigh Cook.
She was recruited in 2005 by EA Games to appear as a main character in the street-racing computer and video game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which was released on November 17, 2005. She plays the game’s second lead Mia Townsend, who guides the lead character through the game.
In June 2007, Maran launched her own natural cosmetics product line, named Josie Maran Cosmetics. Beyond her business activities she commits herself to the protection and improvement of nature and the environment.
Maran competed in the 2007 season of Dancing with the Stars, but she and dance partner Alec Mazo were the first couple eliminated. Maran subsequently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and in reference to getting voted off first, said, “I should have cut my legs off”.
View more pictures of Josie Maran at Photo Gallery
Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh allrounder, is the first player up for sale from Pool F.
There were no bids for him initially but just before the hammer went down, Kolkata made a bid at the base price of $50,000. It was the start of the most dramatic sale at the auction.
Kings XI Punjab entered the race, competing against Kolkata, for Mortaza. The bids spiralled slowly towards $400,000 and the auctioneer asked Punjab if they want to go $410,000, Priety Zinta nodded. The raises were slow and the bidding went on and on and on. Kolkata touched the $500,00 mark. Punjab went further at $550,000. The atmosphere in the room grew quieter as the bids rose and the auctioneer attempted to speed up the process. Kolkata was the first to bid $600,000 for Mortaza at which point Punjab bowed out of the race. It was the longest lot in the auction, almost as long as a short chess game. Kolkata’s purchase of Mortaza was a bit similar to Ishant Sharma’s surprise $950,000 tag at end of the auction last year. It is a 1100% appreciation from base price for Mortaza, beating the 575% for Ishant Sharma last year.
Bet there are celebrations in Narail, Mortaza’s hometown. What a moment for Mortaza, he’s the first Bangladesh player to be bought at the IPL auction this year. Wonder what Shakib is thinking? He’s had such a fabulous year with bat and ball and yet there were no bidders for him. Do the franchises look at ICC rankings? Mortaza’s base price was $50,000 and he went for $600,000. I think I missed out England allrounder Samit Patel who was on sale in the previous pool. He remained unsold.
There are ten players in Pool E. Tamim Iqbal, the Bangladesh opener, is the first player from the pool up for sale. His bidding starts at $50,000 but there are no bidders. All the Bangladesh players - Shakib, Ashraful and Tamim - have not been bought.
Well, the name says all about it. Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan) comes down to Bollywood town Mumbai from Delhi to become a star. At his fellow struggler friend’s house he meets Sona (Konkona) for the first time. Sona too has dreams in her eyes of becoming a lead actress in an A grade film. For the past three years till then she has been living with this hope in her eyes. Taking advantage of her is Chaudhary (Aly Khan) a small time producer who has been assuring her of that one big break and in return of which he is sexually exploiting her and assigning her B grade projects.
That’s the plot of the movie. Giving a lucky start to 2009 is the film ‘Luck By chance’ which opens up at the box office on the 30th of January, 2009. The film marks the directorial debut of Zoya Akhtar.
The plot of the film deals in and around Bollywood and how people from different walks of life come to the dream city to make it big in an industry where luck clicks more than hard work.
Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Kapoor, Isha Sharwani, Hrithik Roshan, Saurabh Shukla, Aly Khan.
Director: Zoya Akhtar.
Music: Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Norani, Loy Mendonca.
Lucy Hill is an ambitious, up and coming executive living in Miami. She loves her shoes, she loves her cars and she loves climbing the corporate ladder. When she is offered a temporary assignment–in the middle of nowhere–to restructure a manufacturing plant, she jumps at the opportunity, knowing that a big promotion is close at hand. What begins as a straight forward job assignment becomes a life changing experience as Lucy discovers greater meaning in her life and most unexpectedly, the man of her dreams.
That’s the Synopsis of the newly released movie in Hollywood New I Town. The movie was released on 30th January, 2009.
Looking like something that might have been made 50 years ago, there is nothing even remotely “new” about New in Town. Lucy (Renee Zellweger) is a big-city Miami career woman sent by her company to check out a small town Minnesota plant and devise a plan to downsize it. Almost immediately she locks heads with the local Union rep, Ted (Harry Connick Jr, ) and further alienates the folksy employees who “all tawk like theeese doncha know” by instituting firings and a new streamlined work ethic. Things get dicey when initial conflict turns into romance (surprise!) between Ted and Lucy, and her bosses inform her she must shut down the entire plant, putting everyone out of work.
People from accross the world celebrate the 14th February as a ‘Valentine day’, though the celebration continues between the loved ones throughout the month. Young stars waits mostly for this day with deep love and enjoy and express their feelings to one whom they love.
This day involves mutual exchange of Valentines. Loved ones celebrate by presenting flowers, gifts , offering candies ,sending e cards , sending love messages and much more all in the name of St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers.
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. Some experts state that it originated from St. Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He died on February 14, 269 A.D., the same day that had been devoted to love lotteries. Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. Other aspects of the story say that Saint Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Claudius then had Valentine jailed for defying him. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine.
Valentine’s Day was started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.