Archive for September, 2012

  • Image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

    Yahoo! Finance UK – Image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

The average person takes nine minutes in the shower and has five showers a week, new research from E.ON has found. Women also typically take longer in the shower than men, the report.

But by reducing your average shower time by two minutes, the average home could save £20 a year, on top of the environmental benefits of saving water and energy.

By timing our showers on a typical day, I found that my husband spent just seven minutes washing, while I lazed under the water for a whole 12 minutes.

Being slightly obsessed with finding ways to save on bills, I decided to cut more than two minutes off my daily shower. If my husband can manage just seven minutes then I decided I would not spend more than that.

After investing in a dedicated shower timer (and then replacing it with my existing egg timer because it was easier to work), I was ready to go.

For the last three days, I have set a timer for seven minutes, thinking that at least that way I’m not costing more than my other half. I thought it would be easy.

It’s not. Getting clean and getting out in seven minutes flat means there’s no time for staring into space, vaguely wondering whether to have muesli or porridge for breakfast. There’s definitely no time for using that ‘3 minute miracle’ conditioner I like.

It’s bad enough waking up to an alarm, but having to leap out of the shower at the sound of a bell is even worse.

A price worth paying

I doubt very much that I will keep the timer in the bathroom. I also don’t think the financial savings are that impressive – £20 a year by cutting back two minutes in the shower isn’t actually that much.

For a household where everyone showers every day, it’s less than 0.05p a day. I like small savings that add up, but this one doesn’t seem that impressive to me.

However, I do like the idea of cutting down on wasted water from an environmental point of view.

According to the Environment Agency, the average UK family uses 500 litres of water a day, including communal appliances – that equates to 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.

That’s quite a strong argument in favour of cutting down. In short, I’m going to ditch the alarm but I’m also going to make a concerted effort to speed up my showers.

Ways to cut water use

Even though the savings made by cutting two minutes off your shower aren’t that huge, reducing water use in your home more generally can save money.

Here are some tips for cutting back:

Fix your drips – According to the Energy Saving Trust, a dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year.

Be more efficient – Attach a flow regulator to your shower and cut the water it uses (Don’t try this with electric showers though as they could be damaged).

Reuse unused water – Don’t throw away leftover water, instead, poor them into houseplants. The same goes for running the tap to get it hot – catch the water and use it elsewhere.

Don’t run the tap unnecessarily – Turn it off while you brush your teeth or shave. Also, most modern showers are hot straight away, so don’t run them before getting in. Consider turning off the shower while lathering up – and use a shower puff or sponge as they lather up really quickly.

Buy efficient models – When you come to replace your bathroom fittings, consider investing in more efficient models like low-flush and duel-flush toilets – saving up to six litres per flush! More efficient appliances like washing machines also use less water and electricity.

Ask for help – Some water companies will issue free cistern hippos and other water-saving devices, get in touch with yours to see if it offers any help.

Turn down the temperature – This isn’t to suggest you should have a freezing shower, but turning down the dial a few notches can save real money and you’ll soon stop noticing. Also, it’s better for your hair and skin.

Think about where else you can shower. If you work out or go for a regular run, you might need more than one shower a day. But if you could time your fitness regime so you shower at the gym, the pool, or even at work if there are facilities, you could really make a difference to your water and heating bills.

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is that our money just disappearing? what do you think?


The Ukrainian league was shocked on Saturday when a fan leapt from the crowd and attempted to choke a linesman.

The incident happened during Chernomorets Odessa’s 1-1 draw against Metalist Kharkiv.

The referee and his assistant went to the technical area to talk to Chernomorets coach Roman Grigorchuk, who was upset by the award of a corner against his side.

The assailant then sprinted onto the pitch and grabbed the linesman round the neck.

Stewards and riot police quickly wrestled the man to the floor, but he continued to struggle violently as he was led off the pitch.

Despite the disturbing episode, play continued and the match was completed normally.

It ended 1-1 after Metalist substitute Willian scored a late equaliser with a ‘scorpion kick’ reminiscent of Colombian goalkeeper Rene Higuita, who pulled off the trick against England at Wembley.

“It was a beautiful goal – quick thinking – there was nothing else I could do,” Willian told Globo Esporte.

“The goalkeeper saved the ball and I was a bit ahead of it, so I allowed my body to go forward and shot with my heal. It was similar to the save of Higuita.”

Two women, a Briton and an Australian, have been rescued near Ecuador’s border with Colombia a day after they were kidnapped.

Ecuadorian army officials have named the 23-year-old Briton as Katherine Sara Cox and the 32-year-old Australian as Fiona Louise Wilde. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was unable to confirm the names.

Police and armed forces rescued the pair who are “in good condition”, according to Ecuador’s interior minister Jose Serrano.

The women were abducted while visiting the Cuyabeno nature reserve in the Tarapoa region, in Sucumbios province, officials said.

They were travelling in a canoe as part of a group of seven tourists – five foreigners and two Ecuadorans – and two local Ecuadorans working as guides. The other foreigners were not kidnapped.

Kidnappings are common among Colombian gangs.

Australia’s foreign ministry said its embassy in Chile was “working urgently with Canadian and British authorities in Ecuador to obtain more information”, and officials were also in contact with the Australian’s family.

Ecuador’s environment ministry has quoted local people as saying that three members of a Colombian gang of ex-paramilitary fighters known as the Black Eagles were behind the abduction.

A spokeswoman for the FCO said: “We are pleased it has been confirmed that the two women missing in Ecuador have been found and that their families have been informed.”

The FCO currently advises against all travel to the areas immediately bordering Colombia in Carchi province due to criminal activity and organised crime.

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what do you think is going on around here? what is happening to this world? leave your thoughts in a comment.

Evander Sno plays for the Netherlands at the 2008 Olympics

NEC Nijmegen midfielder Evander Sno suffered a cardiac arrest during their game at Feyenoord but was able to walk off the pitch after his defibrillator resolved the problem.


“Evander (Sno) had a cardiac arrest which was followed by a shock from his internal defibrillator,” Feyenoord doctor Casper van Eijck said.

“And the shock is what he felt and that terrified him, which I could see in his eyes on the pitch.

“He was transported to a hospital because the defibrillator caused arrhythmia (abnormal heart beat) so he has to stay there for the night.”

Sno had the defibrillator fitted after suffering a cardiac arrest playing for Ajax Amsterdam’s reserves in September 2010 when he was revived by the use of an external defibrillator.

The 25-year-old Dutchman, who started his career at Feyenoord before spells with NAC Breda, Celtic, Ajax, Bristol City and RKC Waalwijk, was substituted after 34 minutes of Saturday’s Dutch league match which Nijmegen lost 5-1.

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as one of my commenter’s  said football players are always getting into trouble.

2012 Manchester United Nani

The Daily Mail and The Sun both report that the winger punched reserve-team player Davide Petrucci in an astonishing incident this week.

The pair exchanged words after a hefty challenge in training at Carrington.

Nani is said to have confronted Petrucci in the gym later and appeared to land a punch on the 20-year-old Italian.

It is the latest episode in a sorry year for Nani, who has lost his status as a first-team regular for United.

The Portuguese international stayed at Old Trafford in the summer despite speculation linking him with a move away – a £25m move to Zenit St Petersburg reportedly stalled over wages.

He has failed to turn his fortunes around, and this week’s incident could persuade manager Sir Alex Ferguson that the 25-year-old’s future lies elsewhere.

Ferguson has not yet decided what action to take, but a parting of ways seems ever-more likely.

Nani’s contract expires at the end of next season, and talks over an extended deal have broken down. United would look to sell rather than face the prospect of losing a highly-rated asset on a ‘Bosman’ free transfer.

The club have not commented on the training-ground incident.

Meanwhile, Ferguson Alex Ferguson has admitted he never felt Nemanja Vidic had recovered full fitness after his cruciate ligament injury.

The United skipper attempted his comeback in pre-season after snapping his ligaments in Basle last December. But just four games into the Premier League campaign, the Serbian has been forced to go under the knife again for further surgery that will keep him out for two more months.

It is a grievous blow to United, who are already without Chris Smalling and Phil Jones and are left with just two fit senior central defenders, but Ferguson is not entirely surprised at the turn of events and he said: “I don’t think he was ever 100 per cent. I noticed a couple of times in training that he was limping a little bit. Then he started feeling tightness in his knee.”

He added: “He wanted to carry on and in that situation that is what tough guys can do.

“Obviously the main operation was to correct the cruciate but when you do cruciates there is always the danger that the cartilage or meniscus is damaged also and that was the case.”

It means Rio Ferdinand will partner Jonny Evans against Tottenham at Old Trafford this evening, with Birkenhead-born rookie Scott Wootton acting as cover.

Under the circumstances, it is understandable why Ferguson might hope Roy Hodgson does not call Ferdinand back into the England fold when he unveils his squad for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland next Thursday.

Ferguson said: “I wouldn’t think he’ll get called up. I think Roy made his decision for the Euros and I can’t see him changing that.

“It would be difficult for him to go to Rio now and welcome him back. If that happens, it’s entirely up to Rio in terms of what he wants to do.”

At least United have an unbeaten home record against Tottenham that dates back to 1989 to comfort them. And there is also the potential for Wayne Rooney starting alongside Robin van Persie for the first time, even if Ferguson insists he does not know what his best strike partnership is going to be.

“It is early doors but at the moment I don’t know where I am going in the sense of what my best partnership will be,” said Ferguson. “Probably the strongest part of the club will be in the striker department. It (Van Persie’s arrival) should give everyone a push.”

“Danny Welbeck is in the same position as Javier in that they are not the first-team choices at the moment. That doesn’t mean to say it will stay that way because competition is always healthy and them being the kind of young lads they are will be desperate to establish themselves.”

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A search operation is under way for a British woman believed to have fallen overboard from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean.

The passenger was reported missing on the Aurora ship as it sailed from the Portuguese city Oporto to Barcelona, P&O Cruises said.

The ship’s crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search of the area which has so far failed to find the as-yet unnamed woman.

Authorities are now providing assistance for the missing woman’s family, the cruise operator said.

The Aurora left Southampton for a 14-night western Mediterranean cruise on September 26. P&O Cruises confirmed all passengers on board were British.

A statement from P&O Cruises said: “We can confirm a missing female presumed overboard from Aurora sailing from Oporto to Barcelona. The ship turned round to search for her and all relevant authorities have been advised.

“Aurora is on a 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise which left Southampton on Wednesday September 26. Our care team is supporting the family and offering assistance.”

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  • Iran claims cyber war is deadlier than physical attacks - is it paranoia, or reality? (Image: Rex)


A spokesperson for the Iranian military said this week that the country viewed cyber war as MORE dangerous than physical attacks.

Iran has already been victim of a cyber attack designed to damage equipment at its Busehr nuclear plant. The attack is thought to have been ordered by the U.S.

“We have armed ourselves with new tools, because a cyber war is more dangerous than a physical war,” said Abdollah Araqi, deputy commander of ground forces in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

But is this paranoia – or a justifiable fear of a new kind of invisible war?


President Obama was the victim of cyber crime in 2008, with hackers rifling through his campaign website and stealing emails in an attack the President described as a ‘powerful reminder’ of the scope of cyber crime.

But the President is also widely suspected of having personally issued orders regarding the Stuxnet worm, a sophisticated attack which targeted Iran’s Busehr nuclear plant, with the aim of destroying equipment by spinning it out of control.

David Sanger’s book Confront and Conceal alleges that the President was not only fully aware of the attack, he ordered it to continue after the worm spread beyond the initial computers it was built to target.

America is widely thought to be the ‘world leader’ in cyber weaponry – with a history of hi-tech attacks that stretches back to a CIA attack on a Russian oil pipeline, thought to be have been blown up with corrupted software in 1982. One of the predecessors of the internet, ARPANET, was funded by a wing of the U.S military.

The same wing’s successor, DARPA  – the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency – is currently soliciting bids for a new Plan X capability to help with ‘managing cyberwarfare’.

Defence companies are open – at least off the record – about the fact there are ‘black’ versions of the defensive software and hardware they sell to governments and private enterprise.

These are the test-beds built to refine cyber weapons. More than 100 nations are thought to be developing some kind of cyber weapon capability.

‘It’s a very complex problem,’ says Kevin Haley, Norton’s Director of Security Response, ‘There need to be treaties about cyberspace, and more rules around this. There needs to be more regulations – and more enforcement of existing laws.’

At present, cyberspace is something of a Wild West – with states able to disown cyber attacks as the work of rogue individuals.

As a result, it’s often difficult to tell whether ‘cyber war’ is an illusion dreamed up by defence companies – or whether it’s already happening.

Chinese hackers penetrated Nasa systems including ones used to manoeuvre the International Space Station. The Chinese government has always denied any association with such cyber attacks, but it is suspected of having been behind cyber attacks stretching as far back as 2003 and the sustained ‘Titan Rain’ attacks against US companies.

In 2011, U.S. government accounts were penetrated by hackers in China, after their Google Mail accounts were hacked. The targeting of government officials led many to suspect the Chinese government was involved – and the attacks originated in Jinan, home of the Chinese army’s ‘Technical Reconnaissance Bureaus.’

‘Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable,’ said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei after the attacks.

‘Hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim. The claims of so-called support for hacking are completely unfounded.’
Google’s Mail service now has a specific warning that states, ‘We believe state-sponsored attackers are attempting to compromise your account.’

‘When we have specific intelligence—either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts—we show clear warning signs,’ Google said in a blog post. ‘Today, we’re taking that a step further for a subset of our users, who we believe may be the target of state-sponsored attacks.’

A series of linked attacks by Russian cyber attackers blacked out banks, newspapers, comment websites and government websites in Estonia in 2007, after a dispute between the two countries over the relocation of a Soviet-era grave marker.

It was widely speculated that the Kremlin had ordered the attacks.

With other attacks, the sheer sophistication of the software hints that nations must have been involved. Run-of the-mill hackers don’t spend $1 million up front on software – the amount the Stuxnet worm is thought to have cost to develop. It is thought to have taken at least six months to create.

Stuxnet is thought to have been part of a family of related malicious software packages – including Duqu, used to steal data from computers in the Middle East, all created by governments, perhaps the United States in collaboration with other powers. In cyber war, governments will have a serious advantage over smaller groups.

But the sheer unpredictability of ‘rogue’ hackers may give them an advantage the lumbering machinery of government can’t deal with.

‘The challenge with hacktivist groups,’ says Norton’s Director of Security Response, Kevin Haley, ‘Is that they are a non-state actor. So far, they haven’t achieved great things – they have stolen people’s logins and passwords and launched denial of service attacks. But we don’t know where they will attack – or what.’

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