Coca-Cola Hug Me Machine Spreading Happines

Coca-Cola has teamed up with the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather for a brilliant ad campaign. As part of their “Open Happiness” global marketing campaign, they’ve introduced a new Coca-Cola Hug Machine in Singapore.  As Leonardo O-Grady, ASEAN IMC Director for the Coca-Cola Company said,

“Happiness is contagious. The Coca-Cola Hug Machine is a simple idea to spread some happiness. Our strategy is to deliver doses of happiness in an unexpected, innovative way to engage not only the people present, but the audience at large.”

The new machine, at the National University of Singapore certainly lived up to the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” mission.

As did this part of the marketing campaign delivered a few years ago.

Nice job Coca-Cola!

Discovery Takes Off on Last Journey to New Home

Discovery, the oldest surviving space shuttle of NASA’s fleet, is about to embark on her last journey- to the Smithsonian Institution.

Discovery’s maiden voyage was launched in 1984, and she has traveled to outer space 39 times since then. Her experience makes her the number one shuttle in history, completing more missions in our solar system than any other.

Discovery’s feats include delivering the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit; connecting with Mir, the Russian space station with the first female shuttle pilot; being the first U.S. spaceship to launch a Russian cosmonaut; boosting shuttle flights after the Challenger and Columbia tragedies; and returning John Glenn to orbit.

Discovery will arrive at the Smithsonian’s hangar via a modified jumbo jet, after a farewell flight over Cape Canaveral and Washington D.C. Security officers, firemen, shuttle workers and, of course, Discovery’s last astronaut crew all gathered at Kennedy Space Center to say their goodbyes.

“It’s good to see her one more time, and it’s great that Discovery is going to a good home. Hopefully, millions of people for many, many years to come will go see Discovery,” Steven Lindsey, the last astronaut to command the shuttle, said emotionally. “It’s also sad…it’s sad to see that the program is over.”

Discovery will replace Enterprise, the spaceship prototype that was used only in landing tests over four decades ago. Enterprise will go on display in New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Stephanie Stilson, a NASA manager, said “To see her like this is quite an amazing site. We’re finally here.” She added that it’s been almost exactly one year since Discovery’s last mission.

Still, “there’s no denying the sadness associated with it,” according to another of Discovery’s last crew.

Tree Nuts Have Slimming Effect, Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Though many avoid nuts because of their high fat content, recent studies have found that they may in fact have a slimming effect.

The research involved 13,292 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999-2004. It found that people who consumed more than one quarter of an ounce of tree nuts every day were found to be significantly thinner, and with lower risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

“One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers,” revealed lead researcher Carol O’Neil. “The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in the consumers than non-consumers, respectively.”

In addition, nut consumption is associated with high levels of the ‘good’ cholesterol, health blood pressure, and healthy blood sugar levels. Now, experts recommend a daily intake of 1.5 ounces of tree nuts per day. These nuts include almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias and hazelnuts.

O’Neil said: “Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals- especially registered dieticians.”

O’Neil is not the only expert to appreciate the results. Maureen Ternus of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation said of the research: “In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issues a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, we need to educate people about the importance of including tree nuts in the diet.”


Titanic Memorial Cruises Launched in New York and Southampton

Would you willingly participate in a Titanic memorial cruise?

The tragic story of the ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank on April 14th, 1912, has been famous for a century. More than 1,500 lives were lost with the ship, and the event is considered one of the most romantically tragic in history. This reputation was enhanced by the film ‘Titanic’ in 1997, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Now, 100 years after the shipwreck, organizations across the globe have worked to commemorate the event and the lives lost. Memorial cruises were launched from New York and Southampton, tracing the doomed route of the Edwardian cruise liner and stopping at its final resting place to pray and commemorate the shocking deaths. Wreaths were thrown on the water, while guests reflected on the event and the numerous lectures they had attended while en route to the watery mass grave.

Helen Edwards attended a memorial cruise on the Balmoral. After learning about the Titanic’s history throughout the cruise, she explained that the undying appeal is a result of several aspects, such as romance, history, fate and tragedy.

“There are all the factors that came together for the ship to be right there, then, to hit that iceberg. All the stories of the passengers who ended up on that ship,” she said. “It’s just a microcosm of social history, personal histories, nautical histories… Romance is an appropriate word right up until the time of the tragedy- the band playing, the clothes… And then there’s the tragedy.”

On the two Titanic memorial cruises, many of the passengers had a personal connection to the event. The travelers dressed in period-appropriate costume, and participated in the balls and formal dinners served to accentuate the drama of the era.

The cruises were surely breathtaking and emotional, and undoubtedly used all safety measures. Still, would you be willing to retrace the steps of an ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage, despite its believed immortality?

Simon Cowell Floored by Britain’s Talent

If you have yet to see this awe-inspiring snippet from Britain’s Got Talent, it’s time to do so.  With judges Simon Cowell, Carmen Electra, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams mesmorized, Charlotte Jaconelli performed Andrea Bocelli’s and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” with rising star Jonathan Antoine.

Sadly, Jonathan revealed to the UK Sun that he has not been in school lately, as he’s been the butt of much bullying.  As he said, “I had a nervous breakdown back in October. At that point I left the school I was at and rejoined the school I was at previously in the New Year. But then I couldn’t handle at either, so I’m currently not at school but still enrolled. Me and school just don’t get on. That’s just the way it has always been. I’ve never felt right there. Ever since I was quite small I’ve had weight problems, and the bullying was related to that. People would be nasty about my weight and say nasty words.”

However, he is certainly worth watching. Let’s hope that Britain’s Got Talent allows Jonathan to turn a corner with his amazing talent.

Beer Belly May Not Be Due to Beer, Says New Study

A scientific team from Germany has made a discover that will, undoubtedly, shock many.  That beer belly that everyone blames on beer – may not actually be caused by those fatty drinks.

Following nearly 20,000 people for four years and watching their weight and hip and waist measurements, they have concluded that drinking beer is not the main cause of beer belly, but rather it might be a contributing factor to overall bulk.

As they wrote in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study

“does not support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly. Beer consumption seems to be rather associated with an increase in overall body fatness.”

The scientists hailed from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Fulda University of Applied Sciences and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.  Their methodical work, that included categorizing the women into four areas from “no beer” to “moderate drinkers” and the men into five categories from “no beer” to “heavy drinkers,” concluded that beer consumption did lead to a thicker waist line. It did not, however, account for the actual beer belly.