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Thursday, November 30, 2006
HOPING TO SHARPLY CUT HIV/AIDS transmission rates in the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention took the unusual step of recommending that doctors ask all patients from ages 13 to 64 whether they want to be tested or the virus. One in four Americans living with HIV don't know they are infected; for them, early diagnosis could mean early treatment and longer lives. Antiretroviral drug therapy has already saved nearly 3 million years of life in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS around the world continues to grow, to 40 million, according to estimates released last week by the U.N.

WHEN MADRID BARRED ULTRATHIN MODELS from the city's fashion week in the aftermath of a model's death, it was clear acknowledgem,ent that culture can fuel unhealthy body images. But genes play a role too. Researchers studying 31,406 identical and fraternal twins born in Sweden from 1935 to 1958 found that if one identical twins suffered from Anorexia, the odds were significantly higher that the other did as well. Just because someone is genetically predisposed to anorexia, however, doesn't mean she or he will develop the disorder. The next step will be to figure out which genes are involved andhow they affect the brain.

BACTERIA ARE ON THE MARCH. Researchers found that nearly 75% of serious skin infections treated at clinics in Atlanta were resistant to the antibiotics that are normally used to cure such infections. The bacteria responsible, known as methicillin resistant Staphyococcus aureus (MRSA), used to be seen mostly in hospitals but are now turning up all across the U.S. MRSA can still be treated with other antibiotics, but the Infectious Diseases Society of America has called for Congress to pressure the pharmaceutical industry to develop new, stronger drugs to fight the superbugs.

NEARLY 5,000 DEATHS A YEAR IN THE U.S. ARE ATTRIBUTED TO ASTHMA. But on the basis of as statistical analysis of 19 trials involving 35,000 patients, researchers believe that 4,000 of these deaths are actually being triggered by two drugs found in inhalers sold under the names Serevent, Advair and Foradil. The drugs relieve symptoms but can, without warning increase dangerous bronchial inflammation. Asthma, on the rise since the 1980s, afflicts more than 20 million Americans.

WOMEN WHO PUT ON POUNDS AS ACULTS HAVE NOW REASON TO BE WORRIED ABOUT BREAST CANCER. As study of 44,161 postmenopausal women linked adult weight gain to a higher lifetime risk for all types, stages and grades of breast cancer, particularly advanced malignancies. The risk for women who gained more than 60 lbs, was three times as great. Reason: breast cancer risk is linked to lifetime levels of the hormone estrogen. Fat tissue increases circulating estrogen, thereby adding to the risk.

BACON MAY BE STAPLE OF THE AMERICAN BREAKFAST, but it's probably not a terrific idea to eat it everyday. Or sausage or corned beef hash, for that matter. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm pooled data from 15 students and found that eating just over an ounce of these smoked and processed delicacies each day increased the risk of developong stomach cancer from 15% to 38%. The culprit may be the high salt content pf such meats,which could irritate the lining of the stomach, or perhaps the nitrate and nitrate additives, which are known to have cancer promoting qualities.

COUGH SYRUPS CAN DAMAGE CHILDREN'S TEETH, and it's not necessarily the sweetness in them that do it. Many over the counter remedies that contain antihistamines are slightly acidic in nature, and a new study showed that this acid can cause cavities in healthy tooth enamel. Fortunately, flouride counteracts the problem, so make sure your children brush their teeth after swallowing cough syrup, Also try giving the medication with meals, when the body's natural production of saliva hleps protect the teeth.

THINK YOU'RE SAFER BECAUSE YOU TALK ON A HANDS-FREE CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING? Think again. Using either type of phone while trying to drive a car is roughly equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is high enough to get you arrested in any of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for driving under the infleunce. Folks who used hands free cell phones in simulation trials also exhibited slower reaction times and took longer to hit the brakes than drivers who weren't otherwise distracted. Data from real life driving tests show that cell phone use rivals drowsy driving as a major cause of accidents. SUV drivers, it turns out, are more likely to talk on a cell phone - and to resist wearing their seat belt.

IS COFFEE DESTINED TO HE THE NEXT HEALTH FOOD? Researchers found more evidence that drinking coffee - with or without caffeine - decreases the risk of Type 2 daibetes in those who are prone to develop the condition, perhaps by boosting the body's metabolism a bit. (Excercise is, of course, even more effective, but maybe you need that extra jolt to get yourself moving). Coffee also seems to decrease slightly the risk of liver damage in patients with a history of alcoholism,perhaps because coffee contains lots of antioxidants. But the news isnt' all good. Drinking lots of coffee during pregnancy increase the risk of having a stillborn child.

NOT ONLY IS THE AIR CLEANER IN THE CENTENNIAL STATE, but the people there also live longer. A Harvard study showed that the seven U.S. counties with the greatest average life expectancy - 81/3 years - were in Colorado. (Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Park and Summit, for those of you thinking about packing a U-Haul). exactly what's so special about Colorado is nit entirely clear, since the study authors controlled for any bias cause by race or income. Perhaps the residents good fortune has to do with the fact that they all live in mountainous areas, where being physically active is easy, as opposed to more lowland, sedentary portions of the U.S.

NOBODY LOOKS FORWARD TO A COLONOSCOPY, but there's still no better way to detect and prevent colon cancer. There may however, be a less intrusive alternative to the dreaded test. Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City tested a newly improved version of a noninvasive fecal DNA test to screen for early signs of the deadly cancer. Fecal samples from 162 patients eho had undergone colonoscopies in the previous 14 days (compared with 40 detected in the colonoscopies). That trasnlates into an impressive 88% sensitivity rate. The fecal screen, however, also mistakenly indicated cancer in 22 individuals who had been properly given a clean bill of health by their colonoscopy. Not perfect yet, but still potentially lifesaving.

RESEARCHERS STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY SEVERELY DEPRESSED teen-agers are more likely than adults to commit suicicie while taking antidepressant drugs like PAXIL, but a major study out of UCLA concluded that the drugs do more good than harm. Starting in the early 1960s, the annual U.S. suicide rate held fairly steady at 12 to 14 instances per 100,000 - until 1988, when the first of a new generation of antidepresants, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, was introduced. The suicide rate has been falling ever since, to around 10 per 100,000. The investigators estimate that nearly 34,000 lives have been saved.

DOCTORS HAVE LONG KNOWN THAT AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE and sensible eating habits can help keep peopl who are at high risk of Tyoe 2 diabetes from developing the condition. But takng diabetes medication before you hae symptoms also helps. A study of more than 5,000 predibetic men and women found that treatment with rosiglitazone, a drug aht controls blood sugar levels, decreased their risk of progressing to diabetes 62%. About half the participants who were given the drug returned to normal blood sugar levels, compared with 30% of those who relied on diet and exercise alone. About 41 million Americans are thoguht to be prediabetic.

THINGS GOT EVEN MORE CONFUSING for women considering hormone-replacement therapy. Studies had shown that a combination of estrogen and progesteroner increased the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots. A new study found that estrogen-only treatments appear safer, with no increase in breast cancer risk but some increased risk of stroke or clots. A later study found a breast cancer risk from estrogen therapy, however, among some postmenopausal women. If you must have hormone therapy, get it in small doeses for short periods.

PEOPLE SEEKING THE HEART PROTECTIVE POWERS OF OMEGA-3 fatty acids in fish have been warned about the mercury, dioxins and PCBs thatthey might be consuming withe their meal. But a study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that while those contaminants pose a danger, particularly for women of chilbearing age, for most people the benefits of fish outweigh the risks. Eat modest serving of fish each week - particularly salmon and bluefish and you may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease 36%. Elsewhere, researchers at Louisiana State University reported that omega-3 s can help protect cells in the retina, slowing the damage caused by such blinding diseases as retinities pigmentosa and macular degeneration.

WANT TO GET OUT OF THE HOSPITAL QUICKER? Chew gum. People who undergo abdominal surgery often suffer from postop ileu, essentially an intestinal shutdown, leading to pain, vomiting and other problems. The sooner the digestive engine gets up and running, the sooner patients can go home. Researchers at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California found that chewing sugarless gum can help things along, probably by stimulating nerves and hormones associated with eating. No word on whether any flavor works better than others.

NEWS FROM THE FRONTIERS OF HEART RESEARCH WAS MIXED. Researchers discovered two genes that appear to contribute to early heart attacks, in part by causing blood to clot abnormally. A small emergency-room study found that drugs used to break up clots may help revivie cardiac-arrest patients when such methjods as CPR and electrical shock have failed. There were murkier findings regarding people with high elevels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease. Folic acid and B vitamins help bring homocysteine down, but one study cast doubt on whethere this actually improves heart health.

SCIENCE FOUGHT BACK AGAINST AVIAN FLU with a successful test of a new vaccine. In a study of 451 subjects, the preparation caused no significant side effects and produced antibodies at a level that is usually sufficient to protect against common strains of flu - a good sign that it will work against the avian flu variety too. It's the common strains, of course, that ought to cause us concern,since avian flu has yet to kill anybody in the U.S. and the common flu kills 36,000 each year. Girding for this winter's assault,the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new vaccine against several flu strains likely to cause infections n North America, bringing to five the number of vaccines in this season's anti-influenza arsenal.

WE'VE ALL SHARED IN THE PAIN OF A BAD JOKE, but can good laugh help the heart? Watching 15-to-30-min. clips of comedies- one used by researchers was There's Something About Mary - increased blood flow to the heart up to 50%, compared with, say, the opening battle scene of Saving Private Ryan. Watching a funny film was like a jolt of activity; a sad film triggered the same vascular response as doing a match problem or remembering an incident that made one angry.

DOCTORS DIAGNOZE 173,000 CASES OF LUNG CANCER in patients each year, 95% of whom will die from it - more than from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. But New York - Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center researchers found that low-dose, spiral-computed tomography (CT) screening drastically improved the odds. In a study of 31,567 people, annual CT screening (about 600 images per scan) detected Stage 1 lung cancer in 412 patients, and when the cancer was surgically removed within one month of diagnosis, their 10-year survival rate was an impressive 92%.

AMERICANS MAY BE MEETING MORE PEOPLE ONLINE, but the number we count among our closest friends - the ones with whome we discuss important - matters - shrank over the past 20 years, from three friends to two. At the same time, the number of Americans who have no one at all to confide in more than doubled, to 1 in 4. Sociologists from Duke Universoty and the University of Arizona report that we increasingly rely solely on family members (80%) and spouses (9%). There could be health consequences; other studies link robust social networls to lower blood pressure, reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and greater longevity.

THE FACT THAT THE DIET FAVORED BY THE GREEKS IS GOOD for the heart seems as ancient as Greece itself. But now the mediterranean diet-high in fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish, olive oil and topped with a glass of two of wine daily-has been linked to a lower risk of Alzehimer's, even in patients with vaccular disease. When researchers from Columbia University Medical Center scored the diet of nearly 2,000 subjects on a 0-to9 scale depending on their adherence to a Mediterranean-style food plan-each additional point on the scale corresponded to a 19% to 24% lower rish of developing Alzheimer's. The one-third of patiients with the best score reduced their risk 68%, compared with the bottom third.

CHOCOLATE in small quantities is known to be good for the heart and blood vessels, but in a new biochemical analysis, researchers have identified a component in cocoa that reduces platelet clumping, helping blood flow smoothly.

CINNAMON AND CLOVES two related studies suggest cinnamon and cloves can reduce risk factors for diabetes and heart disease up to 30% by controlling glucose levels in Type 2 diabetics and reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels.

FRUIT JUICE antioxidants in the skins of fruits and vegetables seem to have reduced risk of Alzheimer's 76% among Japanese Americans who drank juice more than three times a week.
GINGER known to reduce inflammation and ease nausea, ginger powder was also found to kill ovarian-cancer cells in the laboratory at a rate of comparable to conventional chemotherapy drugs.
TUMERIC (a spice used in curry sauces) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (a phytochemical found in broccoli, kale and cabbage), alone or in combination, significantly reduced prostate tumor growth in mice.

THE EPIDEMIC SHOWS NO SIGN OF ABATEMENT, in act, it's spreading. The Chinese government reports that 60 million Chinese people are overweight in a country that never had that problem before. The culprit: prosperity, which permist Chinese people to eat more fats and junk food, fewer grains and vegetables. In short, they can now eat just as irresponsibly as Americans. High blood pressure and diabetes are also up. In teh U.S., the epicenter of the problem, a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology offered the isturbing news that heart problems can be seen in obese teens, in the form of coronary enlargement. Another study, meanwhile, in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that being overweigth at age 18 correlates with a higher risk of early death in youn and middle-age women.

MOST WOMEN KNOW THAT OSTEOPOROSIS, or thinning of the bones, is a big risk after menopause. Probably most don't know that drinking cola increases the risk. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 1,125 men and 1,413 women ages 29 to 86. Among the women - but not the men - there was significant loss of bone density in cola drinkers, whether they drank diet or regular. It's not the first eveidence, but it's the strongest to date linking cola to bone loss.

YOU MIGHT THINK RIDING IN A TAXI WOULD EXPOSE YOU TO LESS AIR pollution than you would get walking down a city sidewalk, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Researchers at Imperial College London gave volunteers particulate detectors and had them walk, bike, drive, bus or taxi their way up and down streets in central London, taking a total of 584 individual trips. To everyone's surprise, riding in a taxi resulted in the worst exposure - nearly twice as much as walking. The suggested explanation: taxis tend to get studk in traffic surrounded by other pollution-belching vehicles; pedestrians are a little father from the exhaust pipes.

WHEN RUSH LIMBAUGH ACCUSED MICHAEL J. FOX of going off his Parkinson's meds to make a political ad in favor of embryonic stem-cell research - and against Republican candidates who oppose it - the insult backfired. A pro-stem-cell law passed in Missouri, and Democrat Claire McCaskill was elected to the Senate in a tight contest.But it isn't just celebrity endorsements that make people favor embryonic cells as a possible treatment for Parkinson's (and a long list of other diseasee); clinical results are starting to come in too, including those from a 10-year study of implanted embryonic cells in human patients. Preliminary findings suggest the cells can survive, divide and moderate symptoms, without rejection although significant clinical trials have yet to be done.

AFTER YEARS OF BACK-AND-FORTH DELIBERATIONS, the FDA finally approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B, a contraceptive that can be taken after sex to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. The drug had been available by prescription since 1999. In a 2003 ruling, the agency refused to change thedrug's status, over the objections of its own scientific advisory committee. That ruling angered pro-choice groups. The reversal predictably infuriated right-to-lifers, but those who favor reproductive rights weren't thirlled eigher; the FDA allowed over-the-counter sales only to women over 18. Anyone younger will still need a prescription. Barr Pharmaceuticals, which makes Plan B, had proposed prescription-free purchases for girls over 16, and will challenge the latest ruling.

IN AN ATTEMPT TO NAIL DOWN the question of whether prayer really can heal, six hospitlas had strangers say prayers for 1,800 coronary-bypass patients and then studied the post-operative complications. Patients who were told they might or might not be prayed for had roughly the same complication rate, whatever their prayers status turned out to be. But those who were told for certain that they were in someone's prayers actually did worse. The doctor's tentative explanation: people who know they were being prayed for might have thought they were sicker than they reaslized, which could have made their outcomes worse. But anyone tempted to think this study disporves the power of prayer should think again. The doctors and clergy who ran the study had no control over whether friends and family were also praying for the patients - and they certainly couldn't have forbidden persoanl prayers even if they know about them. Beyond that, the prayers said by strangers were provided by the clergy and were all identical. Maybe that prevented them from being truly heartfelt. In short, the possible confounding factors in this study made it extraordinarily limited.

STUDIES HAVE SUGGESTED THAT DRINKING modest amounts of red wine can hlep the heart. The key appears to be an antioxidant called resveratrol found in grape skins (and in fact, grape juice seems to be just as effective if not a much fun). Now researchers at Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging say that high doses of resveratrol fed to obese mice seemed to prevent problems usually seen in chubby rodents (and people), including diabetes, liver damage and premature death. But you would need more than 100 glasses of wine a day to get that much resveratrol. And even if you took it in supplement form, there is no proof it woild work as well in humans as in mice.

NOBODY HAS EVER FULLY EXPLAINED WHAT USED TO BE CALLED CRIB DEATH and is now known as sudden infant death (SIDS), but a report in teh Journal of American Medical Association may point to at least part of the answer. In a study of 31 babies who died of SIDS and 10 who died from other causes, the SIDS babies had many more abnormalities among the neurons in their brain stem than did the other infants. The defect involved the processing of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that, among other things, controls aropusal from sleep. When SIDS babies get into a position in which their access to fresh air is blocked, they can fail to wake up and move.

THAT MORNING CUP OF COFFEE MIGHT SMELL BETTER after you get up from bed. It has been shown that lying down can dampen such senses as hearing and spatial perception, and now researchers have found that reclining can also smother your ability to pick up odors. More than 60% of test subjects sniffing rose odor had decreased sensitivity tot he smell when recumbent. The phenomenon could be the body's way of turning off potential distractions while you're trying to fall asleep, or itmight be the result of fluids that rush thorugh thebrain while you're supine. Either way, the shifting effect may be an important consideration for reading MRI or PET scans, which take images of the body while lying down.

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS, AFTER DROPPING OVER THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, rates of smoking in the U.S. leveled off in 2005 at 1 in 5 adults, according to the CDC. The good news is that the FDA has approved a new drug - only the second to get its' OK - to help smokers quit. This one, Chantix, was designed specficially to address nicotine cravins thatmake the habit so hard to break. Chantix mimics the active ingredient in nicotine and can fool the brian into thinking it has had its nicotine fix - without nicotine's addictive qualities or all the damage smoking popping a few pills will make you kick the habit; the most successful long term quitters also participated in counselingang and cognitive behavior therapy.

YOU TAKE YOUR WORK HOME WITH YOU, the whole family feels the effects - especially your kids. A Canadian study analyzed the employment history and psychosocial work conditions of nearly 30,000 sawmill workers and found that there was a direct correlation between teh stress fathers, left on the job and their children's mental health. The most striking result; 252 of the approximately 20,000 children in the survey whose fatehrs had stressful jobs attempted or committed suicide from 1985 to 2001. Girls were more likely to attept suicide when their fathers had little control over their work; biys when fathers had jobs that didn't last long and demanded a lot of them psychologically.

IN JUNE THE FDA APPROVED A VACCINE to protect against cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women. The vaccine, called Gardasil, immunizes against four of the most prevalent strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of 70% of cervical cancer cases. Because the vaccine is most effective when administered before gilrs become sexually active, a government committee recommended that it be given routinely to girls ages 11 and 12 - which immediately triggered cries of alarm from pro-abstinence groups that feared doing so would encourage promiscuity. Some health advocates were also worried that women might see the vaccine as a substitute for yearly screenings like Pap smears.

DO BABIES FEEL ANTIDEPRESSANT-WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS? Researdhers at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel think they do. A study of 120 newborns found that among those whose motehrs took the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS), nearly one-third experienced neonatal-abstinence syndrome drug withdrawal characterized by such symptoms as tremors, gastrointestinal distress and sleep disturbances. Depression wil affect between one tenth and one fourth of women and is often exacerbated by pregnancy. Doctors arent telling severely depressed mothers-to-be to stop taking antidepressants, but they should be aware that doing so poses certain risks for newborns. The researchers recommend thatnewborns exposed to SSRIS in utero be monitored for at least 48 hours.

(Source:TIMEMAG/The Year in Medicine by :David Bjerklie,Christine Gorman,Jeffrey Kluger, Michael Lemonick, Coco Masters, Alice Park and Carolyn Sayre)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:04 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Nearly twice as many Americans commit suicide eay year as are murdered.
More than 10 times as many die falling out of bed as from lightning strikes.

Terrified of bees, snakes and swimming pools?
Thousands of Americans die in accieents every year, but the odds are extremely high that you won't be one of them. A look at what killed Americans in 2003, the most recent year for which date are available, shows that just 4% of fatalities were accidental. So go ahead and take that plane trip or swim in the ocean. Just be careful out there.

ACCIDENTS (Seleced Causes) .... 109,277
MOTOR-VEHICLE ACCIDENT (excluding motorcycles).... 44,757
DRUG OVERDOSE .... 11,212
FIRE.... 3,369
DOG ATTACK .... 32
(Nos. varies widely by year. The Average nos. of annual fatalities for the past 10 years is 82, including the 265 people who died on airplane on Sept.11,2001.)

Maybe you should worry more about your heart
Even if you exercise regularly and son't smoke or drink, you will probabl dies of a disease. Two ailments - heart disease and cancer - cause half of all deaths in teh U.S. Exotic bugs like avian flu and mad cow disease mgith grab a lot of headline, but so far they haven't killed a single person in the states.

DISEASES (Selected causes) ....2.3 Million
HIV .... 13,658
ANEMIA .... 4,594
ASTHMA .... 4,099
SIDS .... 2,162
ANOREXIA .... 79
MEASLES .... 1
BIRD FLU .... 0

(Source: Abstracted from TIMEMAG/Science by:Jeffrey Kluger)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:14 PM   1 comments
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Ticket prices are rising, and U.S. airlines, trying to pump up their bottom lines, keep stripping amenities. So book a flight overseas; international carriers are rolling out unique luxuries that could offer solace to the weary.

Ryanair is testing its luck. The budget Irish carrier recently formed a partnership with the Internet bingo group Jackpotjoy.com to feer in-flight gambling - with winnings as high as $380,000 - by mid-2007.

Guess what the new German airlines Smintair (Smokers international Airways) will let you do? When flight begin next Ocxtober, every passenger - and crew member - is welcome to light up, from takeoff to landing.

As early as January, Dubai based Emirates will become the first airline to let passengers use cell phones during flight, provided they're set to vibrate. And please, no loud yapping with on-ground friends during the in-flight film.

The Spanish low cost operator Vueling prides itslef on landing below industry averages for lost luggage. It also names its aircraft after passengers and occasionally brings a string quartet on board to serenade them.

(Source:TIMEMAG / Notebook by: Clayton Neuman)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:37 PM   0 comments
Monday, November 27, 2006
The world is consuming more fish....
which could lead to the extinction of many species.


U.S.A - 5.5 million tons.

South America - 5.9 million tons.

Peru - 10.5 million tons.

Norway - 2.9 million tons.

Russia - 10.8 million tons.

China - 16.3 million tons.

Inida - 3.1 million tons.

Thailand - 2.9 million tons.

South Korea - 1.7 million tons.

Indonesia - 5.6 million tons.

Japan - 4.9 million tons.

1. STURGEON - This ancient fish was around at the time of the dinosaurs. Its eggs (true caviar) are a gourmet delicacy, but sturgeons of the Caspian Sea are nearing extinction.

2. PACIFIC SALMON - Nearly 30 runs fo salmon in Washington and Oregaon are endangered due to construction of dams and habitat loss. However, Alaska's salmon population thrives.

3. GROUPER - These sendentary, long-living fish dwell in deep waters and reproduce for short periods. They're overfished in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida's west coast and in Hawaii.

4. RED SNAPPER - Not to be confused with "Pacific red", they are heavily fished in the Gulf of Mexico, exported by Mexico and Brazil and listed as overfished by the U.S. in 1980.

5. BLUEFIN TUNA - One fo the world's most valuable fish, these 300-lb. giants are favored for shushi. The Atlantic population has declined almost 90% since the 1970's.

6. SWORDFISH - It was overfished in the late 1980s, but public pressure led to tighter regulations, which helped the species rebound. Today most of the swordfish Americans eat is imported.

7. ATLANTIC COD - Its abundance attracted Europeans settlers to America, but recent overfishing has altrered the ecosystem. Scientists say we are fishing the last 10% of this species.

8. CHILEAN SEA BASS - The trendiness of this fish, also called the Patagonian toothfish, could be its downfall. The fish is often caught illegally, especially in the remote waters of the Antarctic.

9. SHARKS - Almost all are in trouble in part because they mature slowly and bear few offspring. They are being hunted to extinction. Often to make traditional delicacies like shark-fin soup.

(Source: Sea Around Us;Fisheries Center, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations;Monterey Bay Acquarium;NOAA Fisheries Service)
(Source: Abstrated from TIMEMAG by: UnmeshKher
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:36 PM   0 comments
Monday, November 20, 2006
With his blunt talk on Islam, Pope Benedict XVI is altering the debate between the Muslim world and the West.
Just 19 months on his tenure, the Pope had become as much as a moral lightning rod as a theologian; suddenly when he speaks, the world listens. And so what takes place over four days in three Turkish cities has the potential to define hsi papacy - and a good deal more.

The Pope's original invitation came in 2005, form the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which represents a nervous 0.01% of the country's population. The Turkish government, miffed that as a Cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger had opposed Turkey's urgent bid to join the European Union, finally issued its own belated offer for 2006. But even now, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discovered a previous engagement that will take him out of the country while Benedict is n it.Although modest, sales of a Turkish novel subtitled Who Killed the Pope in Istanbul? ( the book fingers everyone but Islamists) have increased as his trip approaches. The country is expected to place about 22,000 policemen on the streets of Istanbul whle he is there. "This is a very high-risk visit", says Cengiz Aktar, a Turkish politcal scientist. "There is a vocal nationalist movement here, and there is the Pope, a man who likes to play with fire."

(In his speech at the Unviersity of Regensburg, Germany, Sept. 12,2006)

The decisive statement ....against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. [But] Theodore Khury observes... for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with ....rationality.

To a group fo moderate Muslims in Cologne, Germany, during his visit on Aug. 20,2005:

Those who instigate and plan these attacks evidently wish to poison our relatins, making use of all means, including religion, to oppose every attempt to build a peaceful, fair and serene life together.

From his interview book Salt of the Earth (with Peter Seewald) in 1996:

In the face of deep moral contradictions of the West and of its internal helplessness... the Islamic soul reawakened... 'We know who we are; our religion is holding its ground; you don't have one any longer.'


589 - 632
Koran revealed to Muhammad; it shares stories with Judeo-Christian texts.

711 - 718
Arabs conquer Spain, which becomes center of commerce and culture.

1096 - 1291
Christian Europe launches the Crusades against Islam.

Ottoman Turks take Constantinople, captial of Orthodox Christianity.

King Ferdinand drives the Moores from Spain and next expels the Jews.

The Ottoman siege of Vienna falls, marking the end of its Islamic expansion.

Vatican issues Nostra Aetate, which calls for Interfaith discussion.

Pope John Paul II is first Pontiff to visit a mosque in Damascus, Syria.

Sept. 2006
Pope Benedict XVI links Islam to violence, igniting debate and protest.

(Source: Abstracted from "The Passion of the Pope" from TIMEMAG by David Van Biema and Jeff Israely/Rome)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:38 PM   1 comments
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
What goes from zero to 60 in 4 sec., tops out at more than 130 mph and appears to be missing a gas tank? The Testa Roadster 110. It's pure California; a hot sports car that doubles as a statement against pollution and oil dependence. Its massive lithium-ion-battery array can power it for up to 250 miles of highway travel, and even though it will fatten your electricity bill, the Roadster is still twice as efficient as a Toyota Prius.
INVENTOR: Testa Motors
TO LEARN MORE: testamotros.com

What to do if your car battery goes kaput in a storm, and you don't have a jumper cables or roadside assistance? With Black and Decker's Simple Start you can get rolling again without getting wet. The self-contained battery booster plugs into the 12-volt accessory outlet and will restart your car in about 10 minutes. The device beeps when your cr battery is charged, and the LED area light lets you read while you wait. Schumacher Electric has a new E-Charge Emergency Car starter that works similarly, but we prefer the Simple Start for its slick design.
INVENTOR: Black and Decker
TO LEARN MORE: blackanddecker.com

It floats unsupported - though lightly tethered at tis four corners - 16 in. above the floor. The hovering bed is the daydream of a Dutch designer who says he was inspired by the monolith in the movie 2001:Space Odyssey. Its secret is a matching set of repelling magnets, built into the bed ad the floor below, that's powerful enough to support almost 2,000lbs. The magnetic fields are supposed to be perfectly safe for sleepers, but you've advised to take off your earrings before vacuuming underneath.
INVENTOR: Janjaap Ruijssenaars
AVAILABILITY: Now, $1.5 million
TO LEARN MORE: universearchitecture.com

You've scorched your last shirt. When you let go of the Oliso steam iron, it automatically lifts itself to stand about an ince above the board. To resume ironing, jut touch it again, and the legs gently retract. The little trick is triggered by sensors located in the patented "smart touch" handle. Leave the iron facedown for longer than eight minutes, and is shuts itself off.
TO LEARN MORE: oliso.com

It looks like an ordinary laptop, but it's not. Unlike virtually every other PC in existence. Samsung's Q30 laptop doesn't have a hard drive; instead, it's built around 32 GB of flash memory, the solid state stuff we're more used to seeing in digital cameras and iPod nanos. With no hard drive to slow it down, the Q30 boots up faster, resists shocks better, runs quieter and uses less power.
AVAILABILITY: Only in Korea; $3,700
TO LEARN MORE: samsung.com

For years, people prayed to St. Anthony for help finding misplaced items. Now you can attach radio-frequency-emiting tags to your most losable possessions. When something is missing, flip up the Loc8tor, and it points you in the right direction - not just left or right, but up or down too. It homes in to within an inch of your item, while the tag itself emits helpful beeps. The only thing the system can't do is located the Lo8tor itslef. For that you still need St. Anthony.
TO LEARN MORE: loc8tor.com

Spanish culinary mastermind Ferran Adria is famous for tinkering with food at the molecular level to produce wonders like liquid ravioli and frozen Parmesan air. His latest gastronovelty; solid espresso, dubbed 'espesso. It's made by combining regular espresso with sugar and a secret ingredient, then squirting it out of a canister like whipped cream. You eat it with a spoon. The mousse like treat arrived in the U.S. in September, and is available in espresso, cappuccino and macchiato flavors.(Reported by Wendy Cole)
INVENTOR: Ferran Adria
AVAILABILITY: At Lavazza in Chicago: $2.49
TO LEARN MORE: lavazza.com

Most commercial ice cream machine disperse pre-frozen desserts. The MooBella makes its treats on the spot, strong milk, sugar and other natural ingredients in sterile, airtight containers (think Parmalat). Key in an order - your choice of flavor, premium or light - and it mixes, flash-freezes, aerates, then serves fresh ice cream, all in about 45 seconds. How does it taste? Our tester gave the coffee with M$M's (mix-ins are optional) an enthusiastic thumbs up, mumbling "excellent" and "really, really fresh", between mouthfuls.
AVAILABILITY: Two machines operating in Boston; $2 to $3 for a 4.5 oz, scoop
TO LEARN MORE: moobella.com

In the wake of the spinach scare, even the friendliest food can seem like a biological hazard, and scrubing alone won't necessarily wipe out pesticides or bacteria. The Lotus Sanitizing System, turns ordinary tap water into superoxygenated water that kills microbes and removes toxins. The machine which sounds scarier than it is - it just means the water carries a form of oxygen that acts as a natural sanitizer.
AVAILABILITY: Now, $200.00
TO LEARN MORE: tersano.com

You already drink organic milk, buy free range chicken and shun foie gras. But have you assessed your seafood-eating habits? After watching a lobster thrash about as it was boiled alive at a grocery store, a British barrister devised a kinder way to kill crustaceans. His CrustaStun electrocutes them with a 110-volt shock, dispatcvhing them in about five seconds, vs. the twominutes it takes in hot water. A commercial version is already being used by a pair of seafood wholesalers in Britain. A smaller, home version - meaning about 1.5 feet in width and depth - will be out by year's end.
INVENTOR: Simon Buckhaven
AVAILABILITY: December; $4,740.00
TO LEARN MORE: crustastun.com

Umbrellas are supposed to keep the water out, but those $5 throwaway models will soak through in a downpour, and even the best umbrellas drip annoyingly when you bring them indoor. Here's a dryer, albeit pricier, althernative. The NanoNuno umbrella dries after a quick shake, so you don't have to park it outside the door on rainy days. The canpy is nanotech polyester surface is designed to repel water droplets, so they don't end up on you or your floot. Its inventors were inspired by the way moisture and dirt roil off the leaves of a lotus plant.
TO LEARN MORE: proidee.co.uk

Your life may not be a fairy tale, but you can make it a little more like one with your very own magic mirror. Created by a Hollywood special-effects expert, the mirror is designed to be integrated with your home security and home automation networls.(if you're lucky enough to have either of those), It looks like an ordinary mirror most of the time, but when it's activated, an ethereal face appears on its surface, and it makes timely pronouncements - that a car has arrived in your driveway, for example, or that the Jacuzzie is warm - in the voice of snooty English butler. Just don't ask it, Who's the fairest of them all?
INVENTOR: Craig Barr
AVAILABILITY: Now, $19,995.00
TO LEARN MORE: themeaddicts.com

Lots of robot toys look like real animals, but they can't walk the walk. Pleo, which is modeled after a baby camarasaurus (a plant eating dinosaur), aims to be more lifelike. When it walks, its whole body sways. It's equipped with more than three dozen touch, sound, light and tilt sensors, and it even has moods. Ignore Pleo, and it will get depressed and sleep all day. Give it some TLC, and it will wag its tail when you get home and purr like a cat. O.K., maybe it's confused about which animal it's supposed to be -- but its' sure got (a mechanical ) heart.
AVAILABILITY: 2007; $250.00
TO LEARN MORE: ugobe.com

Parents who have a hard time talking to their kids about sex should have no problem explaining why a new vaccine to prevetn cervical cancer is a must. Designed to immunize adolescents against the sexually transmitted human papllovavirus, a major rick facto for cervical cancer, Gardassil could help save teh lives of estiated 3,700 women nationawide who die of cervical cancer each year. Available for girls ages 9 and up, the three shot regimen is best taken before the onset of sexual activity - giving parents plenty of time to initiate "the talk".
AVAILABILITY: Now, $360.00
TO LEARN MORE: gardasil.com

Love cats but your nose does'nt? A San Diego company is breedint feelines that are naturally hypoallergenic. Most cats produces a protein in their salvia that can trigger an allergic reaction in humans; some breeds, like the Siamese, produce less of it than others. But in Allerca's mixed breed (not genetically engineered), cats, the protein is virtually uindetectable. Allerca tests each cat and offers a one year money back guarantee, Demand is high; there's already a 15-month wait for the sniffle-proff kitties.
AVAILABILITY: 2007; $3,950.00
TO LEARN MORE: allerca.com

The science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishale from magic". Case in point; this water-harvesting machine, which can pull up to 500 gal. of drinkable water per day out of thin air; it's precise workings aren't public, but they use a chemical process similar to the one that causes salt to absorb moisture from teh air (and clump up your saltshaker). The water machine isn't particularly portable - it's 20 ft long - but will be godsend for disaster victims or troops in desert combat.
INVENTOR: Aqua Sciences
AVAILABILITY: now, about $300,000
TO LEARN MORE: aquasciences.com

(Source: Abstracted from TIMEMAG:"Best Inventions 2006")
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:27 AM   1 comments
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I HAVE A VERY PRECIOUS DOG named Misty. She was a pure breed Bichon Frise, hairy white colored little dog, as big as a cat. She came to our lives when she was only 2 yrs old and I was practically the one who stand for her like her mom. I have to give her milk in a medicine dropper little by little so as not to choke her and she will be like sucking on her mother's nipple.

Misty became the playmates of my two boys, when they were growing up. She sleeps in all the rooms, either mine or the two boys individual rooms. Life with Misty is a bliss and very fun. She rarely bark, unless she can see that there is a lurking danger ahead or within the house. But in general, this dog of mine is a treasure and a pleasure to be with.

When we leave her behind and go to work or out for chores and all, as soon as we walk in, she will start whining and crying and run back and forth the house, as if telling me or my family that she was left behind and we did not take her with us. She comes and greet us by kissing our feet and we always reward her with pat on the head and many good words of praise.

I love Misty so dearly.

She is trained to relieve herself on the old newspaper down in the basement. She will always watch the squireel by the window, during fall and springtime when then are knocking by the window asking for peanuts and nuts. Misty has a very peculiar eyes. It is not black nor it is blue. When the light is shining directly towards her eyes, there is a color of blackish, gray that I cannot figure out.

When she was 5 yrs old, in human life - she had a medical problem in her kidney. We took her to the veterinarian and was advised that blood transfusion should be given to her. Blood from a Roth Weiler was immediately given to her and she did survived the ordeal. She hates being dressed up during winter time so she could take a walk outside in the snow. So, I don't take her out during winter time to frolicj in the snow. She loves to play at the front lawn, amongs the plants and the chrysantemums and the daffodils and tulips when they are in bloom. When I work on the front lawn and at the back yard, cleaning and raking the leaves from the trees and the cutting the grass -- Misty watches over me without any noise or a whimper.Inside the house, she follows me anywhere. During the day, it is only me and my dog left at home since I work nights. She watches over me and for some reason, she will wake me up between the hours of 11am and noon time, because this is the time I need to take my prescription medications.

I took Misty home to the Philippines in 1987. We stayed in the Philippines for two years. She was always with me even at my office and keeps me company during the boredom that overcome me, thinking of my family that I left behind. I was working in the Philippines for a big shipping company that has a Japanese partner and needed a Filipino-American passport holder that has background in public relations and shipping laws. I qualified, so I signed for a five years contract and the two years I have stayed in the Philippins I was accompanied by my dog. When I travel abroad on orders of the company,(which I did for more than 6 years), I will leave my dog Misty to my house keeper and she will be looked upon, with full instructions that my dog be treated like a human being, not like an animal. It was a shocker for the housekeeper, and to lots of Filipinos. They are not used to see a dog, being pampered, taken cared of and being talked to and being treated like a human being. It was so hard to explain to them why I treat my dog like that and how the Americans treat dogs like human beings.

It was so funny, my housekeeper talks to Misty in Tagalog, with a heavy Visayan accent (one of the regional dialect in the Philippines)my dog does not and will not respond to her. I will talk to Misty in English with an American accent and my dog will respond immediately. The housekeeper cannot accept the fact that the dog sleeps with me underneath the covers and eats with me at the foot of the table in a carpeted area exclusively for my dog.

When my contract in the Phillipines and Japan expired, I did not renew it anymore and returned back to the U.S. I took Philippine Airlines, with Misty in her prescribed kennel with my full address. This airline told me that they will be interlining my dog all the way to Chicago, so I just let it that wat. Then when I arrived in Chicago, my dog Misty and the kennel did not showed up. Then we got a call from Philippine Airlines that the dog was rerouted all the way to Salt Lake City by mistake. Three days after I arrived in Chicago, finally my dog Misty on his kennel came out of the carousel. As soon as I got her out of the kennel, she was whining and running all over the floor of the airport terminal. All the passengers who saw her kept on laughing. When we finally arrived at home, my dog kept on sleeping. She has jet lag for travelling more that four days in her kennel.

Two nights ago, I did not notice my dog. It is only now that I was recalling, when I noticed her walking round and about in the bedroom and was whinning and has a fit, so at 4am, I took her downstairs so she could relieve herself at the old newspapers at the basement. Then we came up again to bed and she slept at the foot of my bed and I went back to sleep. Yesterday, I went out with my wife to do some groceries, when we came back, Misty cannot walk, and was so immobile, standing and making no noise at all -- she was just standing and will not move even if I call her name loudly. So then I carried her to the bedroom down at the basement and settle her down on her cushion bed. I continued my project down at the basement and kept on watchng her once in while. She was just lying down and was so gentle and quiet. The whole night I was watching my dog and tried to give her some medication thru the water that she was drinking, but will not touch the water. Early morning, I checked on her, she was breathing contineously and fast. She was making some noise and I kept on patting her head and re-assuring my dog everything will be okey and kept on telling her she will be alright. My eldest son was crying and wanting to take her to the emergency, but we can't find an open animal hospital on the weekend.

Noon time, I caressed my dog in the head and she made some noise and cried to me. I told my wife, I need to go out because I cannot watch the suffering of my dog. She was in pain and I have a feeling she will not last the day. When I returned back this afternoon at 4pm, she was just lying still on her bed, still warm and moist in her fur. She was no longer breathing and the life on her is gone.I took her in my hands and say a prayer for this wonderful and loving creature -- that has been part of this family for the past 17 years of our human life (84 years dog life).

I have laid her to rest in between two of the apple trees in my backyard. It was a grave that was dug immediatley. I cannot wait for the ground to freeze and or it will be hard for me to dig the pit for Misty. Then i have to place on top of her grave five hollow blocks to cover her up so no other creatures or animal will come and dig her grave. I have lighted a candle inside the hole of the hollow blocks and kept on looking from the window and kept on whispering my dog's name. Tomorrow, I will buy the solar collector light so that at night my dog's grave will have a light that will watch over her the whole night.

I will truly miss my dog.


posted by infraternam meam @ 5:16 PM   3 comments
Friday, November 10, 2006


Meeting and Greeting
Greet each person with a quick, light handshake (not a bone crusher or pumper), and use another handshake on departure. Friends and family will kiss each other on the cheeks (left and then right); you shouldn't initiate this, but be prepared to respond if someone greets you in this way (la bise). Wait for a woman to offer her hand first. When in doubt, shake hands.

The French often introduce themselves by stating their surname followed by their first name. They rearely smile on first meeting; this is not rude or standoffish, merely a more dignified and polite way of greeting. Business culture is especially formal in this respect.

Be prompt for appointments; punctuality is importnat.

The French are polite and cultured and they love language, so if you take the time to leave a few phrases and pronounce them correctly you will find French people very helpful. If you speak French incorrectly, you may be met with a shrug of apparent incomprehension. For instance, if you ask for "un baguette", it may seem obvious what you want, but a shopkeeper may appear to comprehend only once he has corrected your French-"Ah...une baguette".

Only use first name terms when invited. It is customary to address your elders with Monsieur or Madame. When entering a restaurant, shop or hotel, greet by saying "Bonjour Madame/Monsieur" or "Au revoir"
when you leave . Always say "Pardon" when you bump into someone on the street.

Being pushy will get you nowhere in France; you will simply be ignored. Say the magic words "Excusez moi de vous derangez, Monsieur, mais j'ai un petit probleme...." ("Pardon me for disturbing you sir, but I have a small problem") and most people will be willing to help.

Don't keep smiling making jokes, and being overly friendly too soon; you will gain more trust and respect if you are restrained and dignified at first. Friendship and trust are built slowly; over familiarity is considered superficial and is viewed with distrust.

In conversation (especailly wit bureaucrats and officials), cool logic will produce better results than hyperbole or emotional appeals. You will be judged on your intellect and your ability to discuss ideas. Business discussions are usually very protracted, and ever option is carefully and seriously scrutinized. French red tape is legendary. The French have a habit of politely restatin their position so that a compromise can seem impossible.

"Merci" means "Thank you", but when it is used in reply to a question, such as "Would you like some more?" it means "No, thank you". A response of "S'il vous plait" means "Yes". If you please.

Bread or breadsticks are an accompaniment to the main meal, so don't start nibbling until the food arrives.

Meals consists of many courses with smaller portions, so pace yourself and don't ask for seconds.

Attract a waiter's attention by tipping your head back silightly sayin "Monsieur", never snap your fingers.

Donot eat food with your fingers (even sandwiches). Always use a knife and fork. Fruit should be peeled with knife and eaten with a fork.

In a bar, take a seat and wait to be served a drink. If you buy a drink from the bar, it is cheaper, but you are expected to stay there to drink it.

Ice will only be added to your drink on request.

Don't help yourself to wine; your host or a wine waiter should ensure your glass is filled regularly. Expect the wine to change for each course.

Smoking is allowed in public places. Even in a restaurant you may see people smoking beneath the NO SMOKING sign.

Good posture is very important and a sign of class. Keep yiur hands out of your pockets, don't slouch or chew gum, don't point with your whole hand, and don't use the OK sign (it means "zero" in France).

Don't browse through newspapers and magazines at a newstand. If yoy want to read them, but them.

Dress conservatively in good quality, stylish clothes. Avoid wearing shorts unless you want to stand out as a tourist. Appearance metter; your social status is reflected by what you wear and how you wear it. Women never wear stocking in the summer.

Since French business culture is quite formal, gifts should be carefully chosen to avoid embarassing overfamiliarity. Don't incoued your business card.

When you are invited to a French home, don't bring wine - your host will have chose a wine especially to complement the menu. An odd number of flowers (except chrysanthemums and carnations, which are unlucky, or red roses which are romantic) or quality chocolates are acceptable gifts.


Punctuality is fairly flexible. If you are a newcomer to Italy, try to arrive on time, but be prepared to wait for your Italian counterparts. Greet with a firm handshake and direct eye contact, and say "Buon giorno" ("good day") in the morning and "Buona sera" ("good evening") in the ate afternoon and evening. Typically, you will be introduced to older people first (they are greatly respected in this culture). When you know someone better, you may embrace or kiss on both cheeks. Shake hands again with everyone in the group upon departure.

Only use first names, when invited to do so. In business it is common for colleagues who have worked together for several years to still address each other using surnames.

Titles are very important and show respect; use Signore (Mr.) or Signora (Mrs.) plus the family name (rather than the first names.)

When answering the phone, say "Pronto", which means "ready", not "Buon giorno".

Itlaians use a repertoire of gesturing when they are speaking, and conversations are often very animated, noisy and emotional. A passionate and eloquent speech will produce better results than cold reasoning as Italians are guided by their emotions rather than by their intellect and rules. This means they can be quite flexible and inventive when problem solving although business dealings are usually very protracted to allow friendship and trust to build.

Breakfast is very small; lunch is usally the main meal fo the day, and dinner is eaten very late. Cappuccino is a morning drink. After about 11a.m. Italians switch to espresso.

Alcohol is rarely drunk on its own for pleasure. Wine should be sipped slowly, and usually only as an accompaniment to a meal or drunk with friends in the evening. Italians pride themselves on being able to hold their liquor; getting drunk is an error, not an aim.

Sitting down to drink coffee is much more expensive than standing at the bar, which is why you will often see a crowd of Italians crowded at the bar drinking espresso.

When you buy a coffee or ice cream (gelato), you usually pay first, and then take the recipt and show it to the server.

It is polite to stay at the table until the meal is finished, rather than visiting the bathroom during the meal.

Don't mop up sauce or olive oil with your bread. You may use it to gather a little sauce, but not to wipe the plate clean.

Eating well is a compliment to your hosts, so east as much as you can and expect to be offered seconds and thirds.

Don't use a spoon to eat your pasta, Twirl it around your fork, using the side of the bowl if necessary.

Don't slurp up spaghetti.

Italians never cut lettuce. They fold it into a small parcel with their knife and fork.

Italians have an expression, bella figura, which refers to the ability to conduct oneself with dignity, pride and confidence in public. Be aware of the image that you are presenting to those around you. It will be noticed.

Lining up is optional. with much pushing and line-jumping.

There are feral cats all over Italy, especially in Rome. Don't approach them, they are wild animals and may carry disease.

If you place your hand on yur stomach and make a face , it means you dislike someone or something. Rubbing your chin with your fingers and then flicking them forward ia an expression of anger or frustration.

Chewing gum is considered vulgar. Smoking on the other hand, is widespread, even in nonsmoking sections in restaurants.

When it Italy wear the best shoes you can affors and keep them well polished. Dress in good quality, stylish clothes (not shorts) Appearance matter; your social status is reflected by what you wear and how you wear it.

Both men and women wear a lot of accessories, such as jewelry; expensive watches, and ties. Women tend to wear darker colors and accessorize with flashes of color. They don't wear stocking in the summer. Bith sexes wear cologne or perfume.

In business, only give agift if you have already recived one; otherwise, it might be interpreted as a bribe. Open any gifts immediately.

When you are invited to someone's home, an odd number of flowers (except chrysanthemums, carnations or red roses) or quality chocolates are acceptable gifts.


Mexicans place much importance on personal and family relationshps, so trust and respect, especially in business, are built up by your abilioty to interact with others, not by your credentials.

A Mexican handshake is a brisk, firm snap. Say "Buenos dias/tardes/noches" for "Good morning/afternoon/evening or night" or "Hola, como estas", (Hi, how are you?")

Friends greet each other with a touch on the elbow or a full-on abrazo, which is a bear hug with much backslapping. Don't be surprised if someone gives you a heaty abrazo after only the second meeting. Mexicans are very friendly.

Winking and whistling (called piripo) is quite common between men and women on meeting. Cheek-kissing is also popular.

Always use Senor(Mr.) and Senora (Mrs.) or Senorita (Miss) plus the paternal family name until you are invited to switch to first names.

Punctuality is very flexible in Mexico. It is common to arrive half an hour late for social events. The main adjustment you will have to make will be adapting to the slow pace of life.

Spanish is the main language, but about a third of the population also (and sometimes exclusively) speaks the indigenous Indian language of the Aztecs and Maya. Any attempt to speak Spanish, however inadequate will be appreciated.

Familiarize yourself with the concept of manana, which means "Tomorrow" and is a habitual response to questions that require a defintied answer. If you want to know when your car will be fixed, it will alwayd be manana This can seem like stalling or laziness, but actually Mexicans are reluctant to disappoint. If you ask someone for directions, they woul rather send you in the wrong direction than offer no help at all. Maybe can often means no.

If you hear someone saying "psssst-pssst", they are trying to get your attention, this is not considered rude.

When paying in shops and restaurants, always place cash or credit cards into the hand of the person who is serving you. It is rude to place in on the counter.

Personal space is small. Mexicans stand close so don't back away; they will think you are being shy and quickly close the gap again. Or, worse, they will think you are being unfriendly.

If you are invited to someon's fome, don't discuss business unless the subject is raised.

It is respectful to keep eye contact short and infrequent, especailly with your elders. Holding a stare is confrontational, as is standing with your hands in your hips.

Business dress is conservative, with dark suits for men and smart, feminie skirts and blouses along with nylons and high heels for women.

Gift giving is not an integral part of Mexican business culture, but a small gift is not inappropirate. However, if a businessman offers a gift to a woman, he should say it is from his sister or his wife to avoid potential embarrassment.

Bring a small gift when you are invited to someone's house is optional. Avoid red or yellow flowers (according to Mexican folklore, the former cast spells, the latter signify death); also avoid silverware from another country, as Mexican silver is world-famous.


Punctuality is failry flexible. If you are a new comer to Greece, try to to arrive on time, but be prepared to wait for your Greek counterparts. Social events often begin up to an hour late and are open ended.

Greet with a firm handshake and direct eye contact. When you know someone better you may embrace or kiss on both cheeks. You will typically be introduced to older people firs (tyey are greatly respected in this culture), followed by men and then women. Shake hands again with everyone in the group upon departure.

Titles are very important and respectful. Use Keereeoss(Mr.) and Keereeah (Mrs), plus the family name (rather than first names).

Greeks are very friendly and gregarious and will talk very openly about themselves and ask all sorts of personal questions. It is okey for you to reciprocate and ask your host similar questions. Anger isn't always expressed directly; it might be vented with an ironic smile or a laugh.

The drinking age in Greece is 16.

In many rstaurants you are allowed (and even encouraged) to visit the kitchen to see how the foos is being prepared and to decide what you would like to order. "Tea eeneh aftoe?" means "What is this?".

Groupd of diners often order many communal dishes, which are placed on the table for everyone to help themselves. If you want more food, you many order it at any time during the meal, rather than only at the beginning. Greek waiters will leave you to enjoy your meal without continually returning to check that everything is okay. It is up to you to attract the waiter's attention if you need service.

Smoking during meals is not unheard of in Greece, although you should ask permission before lighting up.

In a Greek home, expect to be offered many seconds and thirs at meals. Eating well is a compliment to your hosts. If you are dining out, your host will usually pay the whole bill.

The most common toast is "Kalymata" ("Good health").

Greeks never rush their coffee, it is savored for at least half an hour. Frappe (chilled coffee) is very popular.

When entering a Greek shop or taverna, always acknowledge the owner with "Kalimera". The OK sign is considered a rude gesture with obscene connotations.

Greeks say NO with an upward nod and YES by tilting the head from side to side. More con-fusing still, the Greek for YES is Nai and YES is Oci.

If you compliment someone, you may see them opuff breath through their lips. This gesture wards off the jealousy of the "evil eye" (Greeks are very superstitious).

Greek men everywhere enjoy playing Tavli (backgammon), often very loudly and with good-natured taunting and banter.

In most toilets, paper goes in a special bin insted of being flused away, to avoid blocking the pipes.

Business dress is conservative and formal, even during the summer; otherwise, dress is casual and comfortable, simple and elegant.

Greek people are very generous. Don't make a big display of admiring an object or an ornament, or your host may feel obliged to give it to you.

When you are invited to a Greek home, make a big fuss over the children. Greece is a very child oriented culture, so don't exclude them when talking to the adults.


Being ounctual is not a priority. Arriving even 15 minutes late wil not be considered a serious breach of etiguette. Sometinmes lateness can feel like the national pastime.

When in business relationships are formed, you are there for the long haul. You will be expected to show loyalty and commitment rather than taking the money and running. Business is usally done face to face rahter than over the phone or by e-mail, and it usually takes many appointment to broker a deal.

Brazilians touch a lot, and perosnal space is very small. A first meeting will involve a handshake with sustained eye contact, but once you become more familiar, you may receive a quick hug and a back slap from a man, while women exchange air kisses to each cheel between one and four times while shaking hands. Married women more commonly use two kisses; single women generall use three.

Say "Oi" for "Hi" or "Ciao" for "Bye".

In business circles, shake hands with everyone in the group upon departure.

The national language is Portugeuse. Don't speak Spanish unless you want to offend someone.

Conversation may get quite loud and animated with much gesturing. Expect a lot of noise at restaurants, cinemas, and theatres. Be yourself and talk tin your normal voice; don't feel like you have to increase the volume and tempo to fit in, although if you do raise your vocie, it isn't a problem. But always maintain good eye contact.

If you're stuck for conversation (which is unlikely, because Brazilian are so gregarious and friendly), talk about futebol, the national obsession. Avoid taking about politics or Brazil archrival, Argentina.

Don't be surprised if you receive an invitation to the home of an acquaintaice.

Brazilians are very optimistic and believe that it is possible to find a solution to any problem. This is called Brazilian jeito; sometimes it refers to bribery, but often it excpresses a positive outlook that there is always a way.

Always use a knife and fork, even for finger foods, including sandwiches, fruit and pizza.

Brazilian tend to eat with the fork, while the knife sits with the blade resting on the plate and the handle on the table when it is not being used.

Keep your elbows off the table.

Smoking is not allowed in many public places.

Don't eat in public places or on the street. Brazilians don't like eatingt on the go. They prefer to eat slowly, so meals usually last a long time. Brazilians take their families out to dinner at all hours (dinner starts late), and children are commin in restaurants in the evening.

Expect a lot of physical contact - hugs, backslaps and arm-touching.

Yawning or stretching in public is rude.

If someone flicks his fingers underneath his chin, it means "I don't know" or "I don't understand". Don't use the OK hand gesture which is considered a rude gesture with obscene connotations.

Brazilian begin socializing late in the evening with many people not going out until 11pm. Dinner parties may easily last to 2am and beyond. If you're invited to a party, it will usually be at a club rather than at someone's home. Arrive about 15 minutes late.

Wear lightweight, quality clothes. A suit should be dark, and ties should bne well-made and conservative. Women shoukd aim for simple elegance with a minimal amount of makeup.

Make sure that gifts aren't black or purple, these are colors of moruning. Avoid sharp gifts such as letter openers, scissors or knives, which mean you wish to end a relationship. Small electronic items are more popular than wallets, perfume or jewelry.


In business, initial greetings are formal, with handshake and direct eye contact while saying "Buenos dias/tardes/noches" for "Good morning/afternoon/evening or night". Shaking hands upn departure is popular, though not essential.

Socially, male friends often enjoy and abrazo(a bear hug with much backslapping), whole women usually kiss men and women on both cheeks.

Personal space is small. Spaniards like to get up close and make frequent physical contact (pats and slaps), so don't back away; they will think you are being shy and quickly close the gap again. Or, worse, tehy will think you are being unfriendly.

Spain has one of the most flexible attitudes toward time in the world. Trains and buses seems to write their own timetables, and it is common to arrive half an hour late for social events. Spanish bureaucracy - in fact, anything involving documentation - is always infuriatingly prolonged. However, if you want to enjoy your visit, go with the flow rather than fighting this slow pace of life, because you'll never change it.

The Spanish is gregarious, livelym, and immediately friendly. They place much importance on personal and family relationships, so trust and respect, especially in business are built up by your company of others, not by your credentials or qualifications. Spaniards tends to downplay their achievements and dislike those who try too hard or show off.

Conversatin is often loud and very animated, with numerous hand gestures as signs of anger. Good natured banter is okay as long as you don't insult Spanish culture or highlight racial stereotypes. Familiarize yourself with the concept of manana, which means "tomorrow" and is a habitual response to questions thar require a definite answers\. If you want to know when your car will be fixed, it will always be "manana". This can seem like laziness, but actually Spaniards never like to be seen as trying too hard.

When dining out in the evening, Spaniards socialize and eat leate,a nd they bring their children with them, it is not uncommon to book a table for 10pm and many of the bars and clubs don't liven up until midnight.

For formal meals, the host and hostess sit at opposite ends of the table, wtih the guests of honor of the opposite sex placed to their right.

To make a toast, raise your glass and say "Salud"

Clear your plate, leaving food is considered wasteful.

Public dispalys of affection are very common and acceptable among the younger generation, but much like in other European countries, you rarely see older people being overtly affectionate in public.

To beckon someone in Spain, extend your arm with your palm downward and wriggle your fingers toward yourself.

Smoking is widespread, and it is difficult to escape the smoke wherever there are groups of people around, even at the dinner table.

Smoking is widespread, and it is difficult to escape the smoke wherever there are groups of people around, even at the dinner table.

If you need to use the bathroom, it is acceptable to use the facilities in a cafe or bar without buying a drink. The men's room is labeled "Caballeros" and the women's room is labeled "Senoras"

Yawning and stretching in public is rude.

Spaniards love taking walks, and there is a tradition of taking a stroll (paseo) before dinner. The street are full of people of all ages casually working up an appetite.

Older women wear dresses, but younger women also wear pants, although jeans are not as ubiquitous as in the U.S.A. and other parts of Europe. Leather clothes and accessories are very popular. Only tourists wear shorts or sweatpants. Designer brand names and high quality elegant clothing are appreciated.

The mantilla is a traditional black lightweight lace or silk scarf women worn over the head and shoulders by older Spanish women on special occasions, along with a rigid headpiece called a "peineta".

GIFTS AND TIPS Gifts are always opened infront of the giver. If you are invited to a Spanish home, bring a small gift. such as chocolates or flowers.


(Source: Abstracted from the book: BEHAVE YOURSELF: Essential Guide to International Etiquette by: Michael Powell)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:45 PM   0 comments
Thursday, November 09, 2006


Meeting and Greeting
On first meeting, greet with a firm handshake (men or women), while smiling and maintainint good eye contact, and say "How do you do?" or more generally "Please to meet you". In less formal situations or with a large group of people, using the American group wave and saying "HI" is okay. Outside the business it isn't customary to shake hands again when leaving.

Friends (not men) oten kiss on one or two cheeks. Because there is no longer a norm, few people in the UK really know whether they should shake hands or how many cheeks to kiss, so introductions can sometimes be quite awkward.

Punctuality is important, but it is customary to arrive about 15 minutes late to a dinner party.

In social events, you are expected to make small talk with those you have just met; favorite topics include the weather and your journey ("Have you come far?")
although any topic is acceptable as long as the conversation keeps flowing without uncomfortable pauses' and you are polite, smile and show genuine interest in what other people have to say.

Overt displays of status and wealth are vulgar, but often subtle social markers seep into the conversation because people casually drop in details about their lifestyle to establish their place in the pecking order.

Asking someone "What do you do?" is considered rather clumsy, and the British tend to take a more indirect route to find out such information. For example "Do you travel much for your work?" gives the other person the chance to reveal what he or she does for a living., should that person wish to slip it into the conversation.

In general, you will be judged more on your social confidence and how you present yoruself than on what you can say.

Place your napkin on your lap; don't tuck it under your chin.

With many courses, start with the cutlery on the outside and work you way in. Keep your knife and fork in your right and left hands, respectively, at all times; don't put down your knife to eat with your fork in the United States style.

To make a toast, raise you glass as high as your head and say "Cheers". It isn't necessary to maintain eye contact while toasting. A toast is usually only said once, rather than repeated as us customary in eastern Europe.

In business, the host usually pays; otherwise, it is normal to split the bill unless someone has expressly taken you out for a treat. Even then you should make a show of wanting to make a contribution before you graciously accept.

Avoid smoking during a meal, and donot smoke in a nonsmoking area in a restaurant.

Cutting in line is considered very rude. Sometimes Brit will be quietly indignant without actually confronting you about it, whereas other times, someone will curtly tell you to wait in line. It all depends on the size of the line (and the size of the people).

Public displays of affection are acceptable in moderation, but if a couple get too explicit, they are likely to be viewed with ridicule (rather than with any sense of moral outrage), since prolonged petting is considered adolescent and in poor taste.

Talking to strangers is more common in the north of the UK, but in the big cities (especailly London) it is uncommon. Also, people rarely speak to strangers on the Tube (underground train system).

Business dress among senior managers is quite conservative, although in many companies a shirt and tie without a jacket is acceptable, as are a skirt or pants and a blouse for women (or even casual dress, depending on the corporate culture). It is not uncommon to see all these styles of dress in the same company, depending on status and which people are in contact with customers or other corporations.

Unlike many egalitarian European countries, where everyone dresses the same regardless of status, in the UK social standing and wealth greatly influence choice of clothing. In general, an upper-middle-class preson would dress in smart casual clothing rather than a jogging suit, a football shirt, and designer tennis shoes, although everyone is free to express themselves. You would have to wear soemthing very outrageous to attract stares.

People dress up to go out in the evening, but this varies greatly depending on social status and corresponding choice of entertainment. For instance, in a cinema, practially any clothing is acceptable, whereas a first-class restaurant would expect diners to wear smart casual clothing or a jacket and tie.

In some homes you should remover your shoes (except during a dinner party), in others it does'nt matter. When in doubt, as.

Always bring a good bottle of wine to a dinner party. Flowers for the hostess are optional although much appreciated.

A service charge is usually only added to the bill in very fancy restaurants. You should add 10 percent as long as the service was acceptable.


Shake hands when greeting and departing. Greet every member of a group individually with a handshake.

Stand up when greeting a woman, and wait for her to offer her hand.

Belgians reserve les trois bises(three air cheek kisses, alternating right,left,right) for those they know well. Don't presume to initiate this greeting, but be prepared to reciprocate if someone offers his or her cheek.

Belgium is composed of three linguistic groups and 10 provinces. The north (Flanders) is Flemish (Dutch) speaking; the south (Wallonia) is French speaking enclave in the east. Always be aware of whom you are addrressing and to which group they belong. However, don't highlight this linguistia and cultural diversity, as it can be uneasy subject. Remember, Belgium has repeated been occupied by foregin powers.

The Belgians are not demonstrably patriotic, and their culture is very diverse and often difficult for an outsider to define in simple terms. If you are tempted to dismiss them as prarochial and lacking in a national identity, keep quiet and try to open yourself to the subtleties of this highly individualistic and prgmatic society.

Belgians appear reserved and starchy at first, but they have a subtel and self-pepracting sense of humor. Boasting or showing off your status is not welcome here, as the natives are egalitarian and antiauthoritarian, despite their apparent dormality. They are also very tolerant of other cultures and they dislike moralizing, so if you've got strong opinions, keep them to yourself. Live and let live.

Belgians subversive nature is demonstrated by the affection they hold for one of their most popular, if understated, tourist attractions - the Manneken Pis in Brussels - a tiny statue of a little boy urinating into a fountain.

Use Monsieur, Madame, or Mademoiselle for French-speaking, or Meneer,Mevrouw, or Juffrow for Flemish-speakkers, to mean Mr. Mrs., or Miss.

Speak in a calm and composed manner at all times. Raising your voice, gesturing or becoming too animated is unwelcome.

Maintain good posture - no slouching or hanging loose. Donot put your hands in your pockets.

When toasting reaise your glass twice - once while the toast is being said and again just before drinking.

It is polite to eat everything on your plate and enjoy your food. The Belgians relish the good life and they don't like to be wasteful. Compliment the food. Blegians take thier cuisine very seriously, and sets a very high standard.

Smoking is widespread and allowed in most places. Offer your cigarettes around before lighting up. Don't smoke during a meal, although it is acceptble to do so before the food arrives and after the dessert has been cleared away.

The penalty for drunk driving is severe and may result in a prison sentence.

Belgian are not comfortable with alot of bodily contact, so maintain an arms length of personal space and avoid backslapping and other overt physical expressions.

Don't drop into a Belgian home unannounced even family members phone first to make arrangement to visit.

Use your whole hand when ponting, and don't chew gum or blow your nose in public.

In keeping with their dignity and sense of decorum, Belgians dress well and judge others on their personal appearance. Good quality clothes and simple elegance are respected.

Gift giving is rare in business circles, but you should bring flowers or wine when visiting a Belgian home. Don't bother bringing chocolates form home, sicne they make some of the best in the world. Open gifts imediately and show your appreciation with quiet dignity.


The Dutch are very warm and welcoming although introduction can be quite formal, and often don't include a lot of smiling. Use a firm handshake with good eye contact. Shake hands with men and women. Close friends (except two men) may kiss each other on the cheeks three times (left,right,left)

Punctuality is very important, especially in business. Arrive on time to social events.

The Dutch are sticklers for good time managment and will not appreciate a sudden change of plans.

Discussion of politics is welcome in the Netherlands. But beware, because the Dutch are very well informed. However, it is very rude to ask how someone votes in an election.

Despite being very individualistic, the Dutch are attracted to logic and facts, so expect a hyperbolic emotional speech to be viewed with confusion and embarassment. Speak in a clam and composed manner at all times, and be direct and straighforward. Raising your voice, gesturing or becoming too animated is unwelcome.

Complimenting other people's clothes or achievements is customary in many cultures, but not in the Netherlands, where compliments are thought to highlight an individual above the group. Consensus and equality are very inmportant.

Dinner is eaten early. An invitation for 6:30 p.m. usually means dinner, whereas an invitation for 8p.m. is often for after dinner drinks. If you're not sure, check with your host.

The host and hostess sit at opposite ends of the table, and the guests of honor sit to the right of the hosts. Eat with your knife and fork, even for fruit, pizza and sandwiches.

There is a difference between a cafe and a coffee shop. Both sell coffee and food, but in the latter you can also legally buy and smoke marijuana or hash oil. Don't take or use the drugs outside of this establishment.

When entering a small shop, you should acjnowledge everyone and say hello. In other respects the Dutch are quite reserved and will not spontaneously enter into conversation in public with strangers.

Don't keep smiling, making jokes, and being overly friendly too soon; you will gain more trust and respect if you are restrained and dignified at first. Friendship and trust are built slowly; overfamiliarity is considered superficial and is viewed with distrust. Compromise and consensus are very important, but so are asserting own rights and making individual choices while toleratin the lifestyles and cultures of others.

Directness and honesty are important, so yo shoild only extend invitation or make offers on which you intend to follow through.

Dutch people are smart dressers who believe in presenting a clean and elegant image. Good taste and modesty are valued above showiness and ostantatious displays of wealth. Rich people do not flaunt their wealth wearing conspicously expensive clothes and accessories.

Business dress varies form the conservative to very casual, depending on the profession. In some cases, the more senior employees dress more casually than those in the lower positions.

If you are invited to dinner at a Dutch home, arrive on time and bring some flowers or a modest gift for the hostess. If you bring wine, it will probably be left unopened because your host will already have chosen wine especially to compliment the menu.

In restaurant a service charge of 10 percent is automatically added to the bill. You may add up to 10 percent for excellent service, but it is not obligatory.


Punctuality is very improtant in business and for social events. You must call ahead if you are going to be late.

Greet everyone in the room with a firm handshake and good eye contact say , "Good Dag", or "Good Day" Shake hands again when you leave, rather than using a group wave.

Even good friends rarely hug and kiss, so avoid bear hugs and backlaps even with those you know well, unless they initiate them. Allowe plenty of personal space between yourself and others unless the beer has been flowing in which case Norwegians get very touchy-feely.

Keep hand gestures to a minimum. Norwegians can be quiet and shy until you know them well, so don't draw attention to yoruself with gregarious behaviour. Norwegians, like many Scandinavians, like to party hard on weekeneds.

Most people will use du (you) if they don't know you well. Herr (Mr.), or Frue (Mrs.) is rarely used.

Norwegians are Scandinavian, but they aren't Danish ior Swedish, so don't offend people by lumping them together or confusing Norwegian withe these other nationalities.

Norwegians are polite and straightforward. They appreciate directness in conversation. Although they can appear reserved at first, they will quickly become warm and friendly as you gain their trust.

At a dinner party, don't wait for the host to introduce you to others, it is up to you to break the ice.

Don't call the Sami people Lapps or Laplanders. (It is akin to calling an Innuit person an Eskimo).

Eating and drinkin out are very expensive in Scandinavia, and especially Norway, so Norwegians like to save money by gathering at someone's house for a vorspiel or pre-party, at about 8p.m. to have a few drinks before hitting the town around midnight. Going to someone's house for a drink after closing time is called nachspiel or after party.

When dining at home, don't start eating before the host. To toast, lifet your glass, catch someone's eye, take a sip, look back at that person, and nod before putting the glass down.

Before leaving the table after a meal, always thank the hostess or cook, by saying "Takk for maten", or "Thanks for the food", The guest or honor, seated to the left of the host, will often make a short speech of thanks (called a Skol) The next time you meet your host you can even say "Takk for sist". (Thanks for the other night").

The standard of living is very high, Norwegian often take a trip to neighboring Sweden tot ake advantage of the lower prices.

When driving don't expect Norwegian to use turn signals.

When visiting an office, don't be surprised to see that someone's dog is sleeping under his or her desk.

Norwegians are not keen at all on working overtime, most people clear out of their office before the day finishes at 4p.m. (The workign starts at 8a.m.)

Norwegian men dress very casually, even at work, and may even wear jeans to a meeting. For fancier social occasions it is customery to arrive in a pair of outdoor shoes and change into dressier indoor shoes upon arrival. (especailly when it's been snowing). For casual visits remove your shoes at the door.

Many restaurants expect you to hang up your coat or hand it to the coat checkroom before being shown to your table.

Bring a small gift when you are invited to someone's house. Flowers, chocoltae or wine are acceptable.


Punctuality is very important. You must arrive on time, not even five minutes early and certainly not late. A social invitation for 8p.m. means just that-the food may already be on table. If you are going to be late, call the host ahead to warn and apologize.

Greet with a firm handshake (with men and women) while maintaining good eye contact, and say "God Dag" ("Good Day"). Shake hand again upon departure. "Hello" is "Hej"(pronounced hay)and "Goodbye" is "Hej da" (pronounced hay door). When entering a shop or restaurant, you shpuild acknowledge everyone (except customers) with a "Hej".

Swedes say "Tack" ("Thank you") a lot. If you want to say "Thank you very much" say "Tack tack" or "Tack sa mycket" (pronounced tak sa moo ka.)

Keep hand gestures to a minimum. The Swedes use few gestures when speaking and are not comfortable with alot of bodily contct, so maintain an arm's length of personal space and avoid backslapping and other overt physical expressions. Speak in a calm and composed manner at all times. You rarely hear people raising thei voices in Sweden.

Show respect to older people, who can be quite formal.

Swedes are Scandinavian, but they aren't Norwegian or Danes, so don't offened people by lumping them together or confusing them with these other nationalities.

Always be direct and honest. Avoid hyperbole and donot make idle promises or invitations. If a Swede says yes, you can be certain that he means it. He will only say it when he is sure that he can mean it, it avoid unfilled expectations.

The smorgasbord originated in Sweden. It is polite to try a little of everything (although if cold herring turns your stomach, no one will be offended if you pass), starting with sill (herring in a variety of sauces), boiled potatoes and sour cream, followed by cold cuts, hot food (often more fish), and then cheese, dessert, and coffee.

At formal dinner parties, the male guest of honor sits to the left of the hostess and the female guest of honor sits to the right of the host. There may even be a seating plan.

To make a toast, say "Skal", then look everyone in the eye, take a drink, and then make eye contact again before putting down the glass. Don't make a toast or start drinking until the host has made a toast.

When shopping for groceries, it is customary to buy what you touch.

If you see a Swede with a small lump under his top lip, he's using Snus, a moist ground tobacco product dating from the late 1700s, which is more popular than smoking.(it's actually regulated as a foodstuff). At a party, cigarette smokers often gather underneath the kitchen fan, since it's better than going outside into the cold.

Anywhere in the countryside that isn't fenced off is Allemansrotten, meaning "right for everyone" to walk or camp. However, you must leave the place as you found it and respect the land.

Manhole covers in Sweden are labeled with different letters. The most common is A, which stands for "Avbruten karlek" ("lost love") whereas K stands for "Karlek" ("love"). It's a fun superstition to step on or avoid manhole covers depending on what fortune they bring.

Always remove your shoes before entering a Swedish home.

It is illegal to spank children. Consequently Swede's are very skilled at disciplining their children using reasoning and understanding. They don't just obey the law, they firmly believe that spankign is wrong.

Swedes dress well and fashionably without being ostentatious, although business dress is often quite relaxed. Clothes are not used to demonstrate status or wealth. Everyone dresses well but more or less the same, in keeping with the egalitarian ethics of the culture.

It is customary to bring a small gift when you are visiting someone's home. Alcohol is very expensive, so a vintage whiskey or other spiriti is always welcome.


Punctuality is very important,especially in business. Arrive on time to social events.

Greet with a brief, firm handshake with direct eye contact and say your name. If you are introduce to a group of people, your host will usually make a public introduction so you won't have to shake everyone's hand. it is normal to shake hands with children.

Don't compicate the handshake by gripping the other person's elbow or touching his upper arm; it will make the person feel uncomfortable. Finns rarely embrace or jis cheeks,a nd if so, only with close friends and family. When introduce to a married couple, greet the wife first. At a formal occasion the person who received the invitation should greet the host first.

Donot use first names until specifically invited to do so. This is indicated when an older person shakes hands with a younger person and both parties say their first names and nod briefly while maintaining eye contact. From then on first names should always be used.

There is no special way to exchange business cards. Simply hand them over and put them in your pocket.

Finns will often ask you what you think of the country, so do some homework and bone up on Finnish culture. Finns have a strong national indentity and will feel slighted if you have no knwoledge of Finnish achievements (despite the fact they they themselves may be quite insular regarding other cultures).

Small talk is not important and is not often used. Finns attach great importance to language and choosing words carefully, making silence preference to empty chatter. It isn't necessary to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Finns speak unhurriedly and with much pausing. If someone is taking the biggest contribution you can make is to listen, don't interrupt. Always wait until the other person sits for five minutes without saying a word. However, in general, the younger generation is far less reserved than their elders.

Talking to strangers in the street or on public transportation is unusual, although if you ask for direction you will usually find Finns to be very helfpful.

Directness and hoensty are important, so you should only extend invitations or make offers that you intend to follow through. Comments such as "We must do this again sometime" will be taken literally.

Finns prefer to entertain at home rather than meet in restaurant. At a dinner party, the guest of honor sits to the right of the hostess and is expected to make a short speech of thanks on behalf of the other guests when the dessert wine or dessert has been served.

When a meal includes many courses, start with the cutlery on the outside and work your way in. Keep your knife and fork in your right and left hands, respectively, at all times; don't put your knife down to eat with your fork in the United states style. Don't start drinking the wine until the host has made a toast.

It is forbidden to smoke in public building and workplaces. Always permission in a private home; in a restaurant you should ask those around you whetehr they mind.

Although Finns arent' big talkers, cell phine use in Findlkand is greater than ij most other places in the world. (Nokia is a Finnish company not, as many believe, Japanese). However, they are used with considered discretion and respect for others. In public building you should always set your phone to vibrate. If your phone rings when you are at a theatre, a restaurant, the library, or even a sports stadium, you may be asked to leave.

Finnish sauna is a way of life, and even everyone has one at least once a week. The ration of people to saunas in this country is about two to one. You will definitely be invited to share the experience during yoru visit-no clothes allowed, although men and women sauna separately (except couples). Be prepared to whisk each other with vihta (birch twigs).

Dress conservatively in good quality, stylish clothes. Take your shoes off when entering a home.

Tipping is not customary, due to the pragmatic belief that one should expect to receive good service anyway, without having to reward it by paying extra. However, a tip is always appreciated. You can either roung up the bill or pay an extra 10percent.

If you are invited to someone's house, a small gift such as flowers or wine will be appreciated.


Punctuality is important, although arriving up to 10minutes late is acceptable.

Exchange a firm handshake with everyone in the group upon arrival and departure. Hugging and kissing on both cheeks is common only among good friends and family members.

Eye contact during the introduction is serious, direct and should be maintained as long as the person is addressing you.

If a German stranger holds your eye contact, it does not mean that he will acknowledge you, because he does not expect anything form you. Because he does'nt know you, it is logical to expect him to nod or smile, even politely.

Small talk is not an imprtant part of German interacton. They are more direct and say what they want, rather than wasting time with mere pleasantries.

Mingling is another rarity. Germans go to parties to mix with friends rather than to meet new people, so don't expect to be able to socialize with everyone in the room. Most likely the party will break up into close knit groups, which can make a stranger feel excluded.

If a German asks, "How are you?" it is not a rhetorical question (as it is in the U.S. for example) Germans traditionally use "Wie geht es lhnen" as a literal question that expect a literal answer.

Germans tend to receive compliments with slight suspicion, especiually from anyone who is not close friend.

If you are formally invited out to dinner, then your host will expect to pay, and he or she won't even expect you to make a show of politely offering. You should definitely not fight for the bill! Howefer, if you haven't been specifically invited, then you should accept to receive a separate bill and pay your own way.

Be patient when ordering a German beer. In some regions it can take 10minutes to pour.

Don't expect your host to serve you. If you want more wine, for example, it is acceptable to pour it yourself-unless you are at a small dinner party. Plates of food may be passed around the table, and such person should take what he or she wants, rathe than sampling a little of everything for the sake of politeness.

Refusing food is okay. Germans are direct communicators and will expect youi to be honest and direct.

In a busy restaurant, you may find yourself sharing a table with strangers, but don't have to socialize with them during the meal, as might be the case with more relationship oriented cultures.

When toasting, say "Zum Wohl!" withe wine and "Prost!" with beer (both equivalents of "Cheers"). Maintain eye contact until you have placed the glass back on the table. In a group make eye contact with everyone indivually.

Always say hello when you enter shops, especially small ones.

Get used to recycling everything even tea bags. Most public goes in the yellow trash (Gelbe Tonne);paper and cardboard go int eh blue trash (Blaue Tonne or Papiermulf); gl;ass is often separated into colors, e.g. green bottkes (Grunglas) and white bottles (Weissglas) Biodegradable kitchen waste goes in the green trash (Biotonne), and anything else is gray (Restmull).

Despite that Germany is very regulated and law-abiding society, lining up and waiting their turn is not one of many Germans strong points. It's first noticed, first served, like in a bar.

Germany is atime-dominated culture, so when it is your turn, keep your transaction efficient. For instance, at a suopermarket checkout, if you don't get your groceries into your bags and move away quickly for the next person, you may get some disapproving looks.

Germans dress quite conservatively, in muted colors, both in business and socially. Even a simple trip to the grocery store or the mall requires a tidier appearance than sweatpants and T-shirt.

Don't bother with gifts of beer, since the Germans are the beermeisters of the world, however, a good imported spirit or a quality wine is appreciated.

Don't give clothing, perfume, and other toilletries as gifts, these are considered too personal.

(Source: Abstracted from the book:BEHAVE YOURSELF: The Essential Guide to International Etiquette by: Michael Powell)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:00 PM   1 comments
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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