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How do I lose 10 pounds in a week? Behavior change is key to losing weight and maintaining, says Lauren Ott, dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.
Cheryl Stritzel McCarthyChicago Tribune
A couple of pounds here, a few more there. Weight gain for Matt Baretich, a biomedical engineer in Loveland, Colo., was insidious but steady. By his early 60s, he weighed 300 pounds.
"As I approached that number, I was aghast and began to stagger back from the brink," says Baretich, who's 5 feet 11 inches tall. "I managed to fitfully get myself down to 260 over the next several months, but I lost a lot of muscle along with the fat."
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At 260 pounds, with his body mass still registering as obese, Baretich committed to a yearlong behavior-change program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. The first week was immersion at the center. After that, coaching took place online or on the phone.
Eight months later, Baretich achieved his goal of 180 pounds. His waist measurement went from 50 inches to 38. Ceremoniously, he cut the extra length off his belt before setting out on a backpacking trip.
How's maintenance going?
"It's hard, but I know how to do it. Getting older and losing a lot of weight both cause metabolism to slow. The answer is to move away from food as a reward. I still enjoy good food, but it's fuel, not solace.
"Something the program taught me to say is this: 'Choose your hard.' It was hard to lose the weight. It's hard to keep it off. It's hard to find the time and willpower for exercise. But it was hard being fat too. In so many ways, the 'fat old days' were harder. It's important to keep that in mind when I'm tempted to snack instead of getting on my bicycle and hitting the road."
Behavior change like Baretich's is key to losing weight and maintaining, says Lauren Ott, registered dietitian at the center. Her tips for lasting change:
• Plan ahead. Healthful, low-calorie meals and snacks don't just magically appear. Plan, buy and prepare before you're hungry.
• Eat more vegetables. They're low-calorie and high-fiber.
• Consume protein at each meal. It's key to feeling full.
• Make your environment conducive to health. Keep fruit on the counter, and vegetables in plain sight.
• Stash athletic shoes at work or in the car; you might find a few minutes to walk.
• Change your route so you don't drive past favorite fast-food outlets.
• Replace a happy-hour date with friends with a walk in the park.
• Allow the occasional treat, and ditch any guilt. An all-or-nothing mindset can't last, and guilt pushes you off track.
• Schedule workouts. Knowing when, where and how you're going to exercise beats a vague promise that you'll work out sometime this week.
People want a magic diet, but those don't change behavior, Ott says. Instead of fixating on carbs, as with the currently popular Paleo diet, fixate on behaviors. Think of how you can manage stress without food. Examine the messages you send yourself.
"Our thoughts define our reality," Ott says. "Telling yourself that you've failed before, and therefore will never succeed, is not reality. Instead, try: Yes, I've failed in the past, but I'm approaching it in a new way, with a new mindset, so it's likely I'll succeed."
Tammy Waldschmidt had tried and failed. In college she lost 76 pounds, but she gained it back. She started working and lost 35 pounds, but gained it back plus more. At age 34, a borderline diabetic, she lost 110 pounds, but gained most of it back. At one point, she weighed 316 pounds.
A computer engineer in Highlands Ranch, Colo., 5 feet 7 inches tall, now in her early 50s, Waldschmidt weighed 244 when she started at the center. Ten months later she hit 173, and she is working to lose more.
"Before, I really was not feeling alive," Waldschmidt says. "I felt hopeless about my personal future. My negative self-talk was out of control."
She says she now feels transformed. "I went zip lining! I went on a roller coaster. You couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I am full of energy. I can wear cute clothes. I've gone from size 24 to size 10. I go hiking, and walk or jog in 5Ks and 10Ks. I went speed dating, had a blast, and went on some dates. I'm excited to go dancing. I'm about to get rid of satellite TV; I don't have time to watch it. No more hiding on the sidelines and standing in the back row for pictures. … No, I'm now in the front row of life!
"My big thing now is to pay it forward. I want to inspire people to get involved and live the life they want."
Like Baretich and Waldschmidt, Elaine Brown's weight loss boosted confidence. A nurse in Denver, Brown weighed 207 pounds when she started a 20-week program at the center. Six months later she was 147. At 5 feet 6 inches tall, she's kept her weight at 142 pounds for nearly two years.
"My whole life, from high school on, I weighed 180. At 40 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through chemo, steroids, stress and sadness … eating made me feel better. After treatment, I went to 190 and 200. When I hit 207, I didn't want to do it anymore."
The behavior-change program taught her to question whether extra food was worth it. "I learned to recognize boredom or stress, and make better choices. Every day, I have two servings of fruit and three of vegetables. That was a big shift, and I've stuck with it."
Like Waldschmidt, Brown discovered new activities.
"I went spelunking! In my former body, I never would've fit through those cave holes," she said. "I can wear clothes that are fun, such as leggings and high boots.
"It's given me more confidence."
Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy is a freelancer
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Mike Pence puts North Korea on warning after missile test, saying 'era of strategic patience' is over
|PHOTO: US Vice President Mike Pence looks toward North Korea from inside the DMZ (Reuters: Kim Hong-Ji)|
Scientists measure brightness of the universe with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft
Scientists struggled for decades to measure how much light produced by all of the galaxies in the universe. But NASA found something unexpected during its New Horizons mission. They discovered a tool for measuring the brightness of the all the galaxies.
Talking about the discovery, an assistant professor in RIT’s School of Physics and Astronomy and member of RIT’s Center for Detectors and Future Photon Initiative, said
“Determining how much light comes from all the galaxies beyond our own Milky Way galaxy has been a stubborn challenge in observational astrophysics,”
The finding is published in the Nature Communications this week. According to the study, the latest observation could be possible with the help of New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, or LORRI instrument. The light shining beyond the Milky Way is known as the cosmic optical background. Zemcov’s findings give an upper limit to the amount of light in the cosmic optical background.
“The study is proof that this kind of measurement is possible from the outer solar system, and that LORRI is capable of doing it,” Zemcov said.
He futher added “This result shows some of the promise of doing astronomy from the outer solar system. What we’re seeing is that the optical background is completely consistent with the light from galaxies and we don’t see a need for a lot of extra brightness; whereas previous measurements from near the Earth need a lot of extra brightness. The study is proof that this kind of measurement is possible from the outer solar system, and that LORRI is capable of doing it.”
Spacecraft in the outer solar system give scientists virtual front-row seats for observing the cosmic optical background. The faint light from distant galaxies is hard to see from the inner solar system because it is polluted by the brightness of sunlight reflected off interplanetary dust in the inner solar system.
Cosmic dust is sooty bits of rock and small debris that moved, over time, from the outer solar system toward the sun. Scientists launching experiments on sounding rockets and satellites must account for the dust that makes the Earth’s atmosphere many times brighter than the cosmic optical background.
NASA’s New Horizons mission has been funded through 2021, and Zemcov is hopeful for the chance to use Long Range Reconnaissance Imager to re-measure the brightness of the cosmic optical background.
“NASA sends missions to the outer solar system once a decade or so,” Zemcov said. “What they send is typically going to planets and the instruments onboard are designed to look at them, not to do astrophysics. Measurements could be designed to optimize this technique while LORRI is still functioning.”
Zemcov’s method harkens back to NASA’s first long distance missions Pioneer 10 and 11 in 1972 and 1974. Light detectors on the instruments measured the brightness of objects outside the Milky Way and made the first direct benchmark of the cosmic optical background.
“With a carefully designed survey, we should be able to produce a definitive measurement of the diffuse light in the local universe and a tight constraint on the light from galaxies in the optical wavebands,” Zemcov said.
Archived data from New Horizon’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager show “the power of LORRI for precise low-foreground measurements of the cosmic optical background,” Zemcov wrote in the paper.
Chi Nguyen, a Ph.D. student in RIT’s astrophysical sciences and technology program, mined data sets from New Horizons’ 2006 launch, Jupiter fly-by and cruise phase. She isolated four different spots on the sky between Jupiter and Uranus, captured in 2007, 2008 and 2010, that met their criteria: looking away from the solar system and looking out the galaxy.
Poppy Immel, an undergraduate majoring in math and computer science, generated the data cuts and determined the photometric calibration of the instrument. Other co-authors include Asantha Cooray from University of California Irvine; Carey Lisee from Johns Hopkins University; and Andrew Poppe from UC Berkeley. Zemcov is affiliated with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel
The average Facebook user spends almost an hour on the site every day, according to data provided by the company last year. A Deloitte survey found that for many smartphone users, checking social media apps are the first thing they do in the morning – often before even getting out of bed. Of course, social interaction is a healthy and necessary part of human existence. Thousands of studies have concluded that most human beings thrive when they have strong, positive relationships with other human beings.
The challenge is that most of the work on social interaction has been conducted using “real world,” face-to-face social networks, in contrast to the types of online relationships that are increasingly common. So, while we know that old-fashioned social interaction is healthy, what about social interaction that is completely mediated through an electronic screen? When you wake up in the morning and tap on that little blue icon, what impact does it have on you?
Prior research has shown that the use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, lead to internet addiction and erode self-esteem through unfavorable social comparison. Self-comparison can be a strong influence on human behavior, and because people tend to display the most positive aspects of their lives on social media, it is possible for an individual to believe that their own life compares negatively to what they see presented by others. But some skeptics have wondered if perhaps people with lower well-being are more likely to use social media, rather than social media causing lower well-being. Moreover, other studies have found that social media use has a positive impact on well-being through increased social support and reinforcement of real world relationships.
We wanted to get a clearer picture of the relationship between social media use and well-being. In our study, we used three waves of data from 5,208 adults from a national longitudinal panel maintained by the Gallup organization, coupled with several different measures of Facebook usage, to see how well-being changed over time in association with Facebook use. Our measures of well-being included life satisfaction, self-reported mental health, self-reported physical health, and body-mass index (BMI). Our measures of Facebook use included liking others’ posts, creating one’s own posts, and clicking on links. We also had measures of respondents’ real-world social networks. In each wave, respondents were asked to name up to four friends with whom they discuss important matters and up to four friends with whom they spend their free time, so that each participant could name up to a total of eight unique individuals.
Our approach had three strengths that set it apart from most of the previous work on the topic. First, we had three waves of data for many of our respondents over a period of two years. This allowed us to track how changes in social media use were associated with changes in well-being. Most studies done to date only use one period of data, limiting interpretations of conclusions to simple associations. Second, we had objective measures of Facebook use, pulled directly from participants’ Facebook accounts, rather than measures based on a person’s self-report. Third, in addition to the Facebook data, we had information regarding the respondents’ real-world social networks, which would allow us to directly compare the two influences (face-to-face networks and online interactions). Of course, our study has limitations too, including that we could not be certain about how fully representative it was because not everyone in the Gallup sample allowed us access to their Facebook data.
Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year. We found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.
Our models included measures of real-world networks and adjusted for baseline Facebook use. When we accounted for a person’s level of initial well-being, initial real-world networks, and initial level of Facebook use, increased use of Facebook was still associated with a likelihood of diminished future well-being. This provides some evidence that the association between Facebook use and compromised well-being is a dynamic process.
Although we can show that Facebook use seems to lead to diminished well-being, we cannot definitively say how that occurs. We did not see much difference between the three types of activity we measured — liking, posting, and clicking links, (although liking and clicking were more consistently significant) — and the impact on the user. This was interesting, because while we expected that “liking” other people’s content would be more likely to lead to negative self-comparisons and thus decreases in well-being, updating one’s own status and clicking links seemed to have a similar effect (although the nature of status updates can ostensibly be the result of social comparison-tailoring your own Facebook image based on how others will perceive it).
Overall our results suggests that well-being declines are also matter of quantity of use rather than only quality of use. If this is the case, our results contrast with previous research arguing that the quantity of social media interaction is irrelevant, and that only the quality of those interactions matter.
These results then may be relevant for other forms of social media. While many platforms expose the user to the sort of polished profiles of others that can lead to negative self-comparison, the issue of quantity of usage will be an issue for any social media platform. While screen time in general can be problematic, the tricky thing about social media is that while we are using it, we get the impression that we are engaging in meaningful social interaction. Our results suggest that the nature and quality of this sort of connection is no substitute for the real world interaction we need for a healthy life.
The full story when it comes to online social media use is surely complex. Exposure to the carefully curated images from others’ lives leads to negative self-comparison, and the sheer quantity of social media interaction may detract from more meaningful real-life experiences. What seems quite clear, however, is that online social interactions are no substitute for the real thing.
Original hbr.org thread:
Booby-trapped Word documents in the wild exploit critical Microsoft 0day. There’s currently no patch for the bug, which affects most or all versions of Word.
Booby-trapped Word documents in the wild exploit critical Microsoft 0day
There’s currently no patch for the bug, which affects most or all versions of Word.
code-execution exploits by adding the following to their Windows registry: Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\FileBlock\RtfFiles to 2 and OpenInProtectedView to 0. What follows is the report as it was published on Saturday.
There's a new zeroday attack in the wild that's surreptitiously installing malware on fully-patched computers. It does so by exploiting a vulnerability in most or all versions of Microsoft Word.
The attack starts with an e-mail that attaches a malicious
Word document, according to a blog post published Saturday by researchers from security firm FireEye. Once opened, exploit code concealed inside the document connects to an attacker-controlled server. It downloads a maliciousHTML application file that's disguised to look like a document created in Microsoft's Rich Text Format. Behind the scenes, the .hta file downloads additional payloads from "different well-known malware families."
The attack is notable for several reasons. First, it bypasses most exploit mitigations: This capability allows it to work even against Windows 10, which security experts widely agree is Microsoft's most secure operating system to date. Second, unlike the vast majority of the Word exploits seen in the wild over the past few years, this new attack doesn't require targets to enable macros. Last, before terminating, the exploit opens a decoy Word document in an attempt to hide any sign of the attack that just happened.
The zeroday attacks were first reported Friday evening by researchers from security firm McAfee. In a blog post, they wrote:
"The exploit connects to a remote server (controlled by the attacker), downloads a file that contains HTML application content, and executes it as an .hta file. Because .hta is executable, the attacker gains full code execution on the victim's machine. Thus, this is a logical bug [that] gives the attackers the power to bypass any memory-based mitigations developed by Microsoft. The following is a part of the communications we captured:
The successful exploit closes the bait Word document and pops up a fake one to show the victim. In the background, the malware has already been stealthily installed on the victim's system.
The root cause of the zeroday vulnerability is related to the Windows Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), an important feature of Office. (Check our Black Hat USA 2015presentation in which we examine the attack surface of this feature.)
FireEye researchers said they have been communicating with Microsoft about the vulnerability for several weeks and had agreed not to publicly disclose it pending the release of a patch. FireEye later decided to publish Saturday's blog post after McAfee disclosed vulnerability details. McAfee, meanwhile, said the earliest attack its researchers are aware of dates back to January. Microsoft's next scheduled release of security updates is this Tuesday.
Zeroday attacks are typically served only on select individuals, such as those who work for a government contractor, a government agency, or a similar organization that's attractive to nation-sponsored hackers. Still, it's not uncommon for such attacks to be visited on larger populations once the underlying zeroday vulnerability becomes public knowledge.
People should be highly suspicious of any Word document that arrives in an e-mail, even if the sender is well known. The attacks observed by McAfee are unable to work when a booby-trapped document is viewed in an Office feature known as Protected View. Those who choose to open an attached Word document should exercise extreme caution before disabling Protected View. There's no word yet if use of Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit prevents the exploit from working.
Original arstechnica.com thread:
Pyotr Levashov was arrested Friday in Barcelona on a U.S. computer crimes warrant, according to a spokeswoman for Spain's National Court, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with court rules.
Such arrests aren't unusual - American authorities typically try to nab Russian cybercrime suspects abroad because of the difficulty involved in extraditing them from Russia - but Levashov's arrest drew immediate attention after his wife told Russia's RT broadcaster that he was linked to America's 2016 election hacking.
RT quoted Maria Levashova as saying that armed police stormed into their apartment in Barcelona overnight, keeping her and her friend locked in a room for two hours while they quizzed her husband. She said that when she spoke to her husband on the phone from the police station, he told her he was told that he had created a computer virus that was "linked to Trump's election win."
Levashova didn't elaborate, and the exact nature of the allegations weren't immediately clear. Malicious software is routinely shared, reworked and repurposed, meaning that even a computer virus' creator may have little or nothing to do with how the virus is eventually used.
Levashov's name is familiar in cybercrime circles. He has been alleged to be spam kingpin Peter Severa, according to Brian Krebs, a journalist who has written extensively about the Russian cybercrime underworld, and Spamhaus , a group which polices spam.
Levashov himself couldn't immediately be reached for comment, and officials did not say whether he had a lawyer
The U.S. Embassy in Spain declined comment. Russian Embassy spokesman Vasily Nioradze confirmed the arrest but wouldn't say whether he was a programmer, as reported by RT. He wouldn't comment on the U.S. extradition order.
"As it is routine in these cases, we offer consular support to our citizen," he said.
The Spanish spokeswoman said Levashov remains in custody.