Amazing i phone 6 design and display

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The iPhone 6 is expected to be introduced at the 2014 iPhone event on September 9 in California. While alleged parts leaks (see the video below) have, like every year, kept us entertained while we wait, it'll only be then, when someone from Apple holds them on stage, that we'll see the real thing. However, it's still a worthwhile exercise to go through the rumors and the speculation and try to figure out what makes sense, both for Apple and for us as customers.
For the last 6 years, new iPhones have included a completely new design ever second year. For the last 4 years, they've included a completely new display target, in density or dimension, ever two years. This is every two years. So, if past behavior really can be used to predict future behavior, we'll get both a new design and a new display target with the iPhone 6. What could those be like?
With the current iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s, Jony Ive has taken his Platonic ideal for the iPhone, as first expressed in the early prototypes for Project Experience Purple back in 2005, and made them close to manifest. With very few compromises, we now have a perfect rounded rectangle made out of an almost solid block of aluminum. That original design is done. It's time for what comes next. However, there are still considerable constraints when it comes making an iPhone that works like an iPhone.
It has a front dominated by the display. It has a Home button that not only serves as an escape hatch for stressed or lost customers but, now, as the sensor forTouch ID. It has an earpiece so you can hear calls, and a front FaceTime camera so you can take selfies and make video calls. It has RF transparent elements so the cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth radios can send and receive signals. It has a mic and speaker to input and output sound, and a Lightning port to charge and send and receive data. It has to have an iSight camera and TrueTone flash, along with an iPhone logo and additional information on the back.
Rumor has it the iPhone 6 will once again be larger than its predecessor. It may even come in two models, larger and much larger. Back in February of this year I wrote about the problems solved by a larger iPhone, both for Apple and for us as customers. They still hold true today:
  1. It gives Apple a share of the lucrative over 4-inch phone market. That's where Samsung et. all make their money and Apple currently makes precisely zero. Adding a big screen iPhone 6 not only gives Apple access to that premium customer base, it takes money away from their competitors.
  2. It eliminates size alone as a differentiator. Since the North American market is subsidized, it's the equivalent to walking into Best Buy and seeing all TVs, from 50-to 120-inches, for $200 or less on-contract. Adding a big screen iPhone 6 forces the competition back to areas where Apple's strong, like experience and ecosystem.
  3. It makes the iPhone more functional as a primary computing platform. Some people don't want to have to carry around — or simply can't afford — multiple devices. They need a phone, but they want something closer in size to a tablet. Adding a big screen iPhone 6 fills that gap.
  4. It makes the iPhone more accessible. Whether it involves eyesight or motor skills, a larger screen can support larger interface elements, including type and images. Adding a big screen iPhone 6 makes the technology easier to use.
  5. It allows software to become more sophisticated. One-handed-ease-of-use can be handled by gesture navigation and dynamic interface, but 1136x640 is a fixed constraint. Adding a big screen iPhone 6 opens the platform up for the future.
Apple says their goal is to solve problems and to make technology more mainstream. To make better products that improve their customer's lives. They don't just want to sell more iPhones — they're avoiding the high-volume, low margin market like the plague — they want to sell better iPhones to more people and increase the overall value of their ecosystem. That makes them more profitable, makes us happier, and ensures our mutually beneficial relationship lasts as long as possible.

No antidote or vaccine for Ebola decease

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WATCH: Doctors are treating two infected Americans with an experimental Ebola serum, never before used on humans … and it’s working. Anthony Robart reports.
TORONTO – As the death toll from Ebola in several West Africa countries climbed to 887, a special plane was sent to evacuate the second American missionary who contracted the disease in a Liberia treatment facility. But the experimental serum being used on the Americans remains somewhat of a mystery.
Missionary Nancy Writebol’s plane is set to arrive in the U.S. Tuesday, where she will join Dr. Kent Brantly in an Atlanta hospital’s special isolation ward. Brantly has already received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy, an Ebola survivor, who had been under his care, said the aid organization he works for.
But neither organizations are commenting on further treatment for their workers or which serum is being used.
Kent Brantly


Dr. Kent Brantly is shown in this 2013 photo provided by JPS Health Network.
AP Photo/JPS Health Network



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According to local reports the sale of water buckets has increased dramatically, because they are used by Liberian people to fill with disinfectant and to wash their hands to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Dozens of local doctors and medical staff are among the dead, as foreign aid workers are arriving to help fight the Ebola outbreak and the Liberian government Information Minister Lewis Brown announced that all Ebola victims are to be cremated as fears rise that the disease could spread with bodies being buried in residential areas. ()West Africa Ebola deaths near 900 as Nigeria confirms 2nd case

Ebola5 things to know about the Ebola outbreak amid fears of global spread

This handout photo provided Friday, August, 1, 2014, by Emory University, shows the isolation room at Emory University Hospital set up to treat patients exposed to certain infectious diseases and where an American aid worker infected with the Ebola virus in Africa will be treated in Atlanta.Canadian-made Ebola drug not used on U.S. missionary

Dr. Kent BrantlyDoctor with Ebola gives experimental serum to infected colleague

“It’s one of two possibilities,” suggested Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive medicine expert from Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.
“One is they could have taken some serum from a patient who has recovered from Ebola and used that in and of itself as the treatment. Or they could have …made a monoclonal antibody to Ebola and used that.”
Schaffner said a monoclonal antibody means producing an antibody in a molecular-biological fashion rather than taking it from a recovered patient.
“When we first heard that plasma or a blood transfusion had been given to these two patients—the plasma first to the lady, and then the blood transfusion to Dr. Brantly—we actually thought it was the first of the two possibilities: that these were harvested from survivors of Ebola and then infused into the sick patients,” said Schaffer.

No vaccine or antidote

Ebola has no vaccine or antidote, but international relief group Samaritan’s Purse (the group Brantly works for) said both workers were given the experimental treatment last week. Samaritan’s Purse has been providing emergency response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa for months.
Writebol has received two doses of the serum and is showing marked improvement, said Palmer Holt, a spokesman for Service in Mission (SIM), the aid organization for which Writebol works.
Ebola


Nancy Writebol with children in Liberia. Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia that have been diagnosed with Ebola.
AP Photo/Courtesy Jeremy Writebol
“She is walking with assistance….strength is better…has an appetite,” wrote Holt in an email to Global News. When asked for details on which serum Writebol received, Holt said, “Medical questions not our area of expertise.”

Companies testing Ebola treatments

Aside from using survivor plasma, there are two pharmaceutical companies that have been working with the U.S. military to help find a treatment for the drug, according to the International Business Times.
One is Canadian company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., which has already issued a statement that no one infected in the ongoing outbreak in West Africa has been treated with its drug, called TKM-Ebola.
Although there are a number of Ebola therapies in development, Tekmira’s is thought to be the furthest along in the regulatory process, though its clinical trial was recently put on hold by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which asked for additional data related to an inflammatory reaction seen when the drug was given at higher doses.
A second company working on the treatment is Mapp Biopharmaceuticals, developed with the help of tobacco leaves, according to the IB Times. CNN reports this is the company responsible for the drug administered to Writebol and Brantly.
A 2011 Arizona State University Report suggested Mapp’s plant-derived vaccine for Ebola “provided strong immunological protection in a mouse model” in which 80 per cent of mice given the treatment compounds survived.

‘Desperate times’ and life after Ebola

Ebola, which causes hemorrhagic fever, spreads through close contact with bodily fluids and blood, meaning it is not spread as easily as airborne influenza or the common cold. Doctors and other health workers on the front lines of the Ebola crisis have been among the most vulnerable to infection as they are in direct physical contact with patients.
Schaffner said experimental serums have a long tradition in the history of the treatment of infectious diseases.
Ebola


This image by the CDC shows an Ebola virus.
AP Photo/CDC, File
“If you have experimental, possibly therapeutic mechanisms or devices available, you can use them in individual patients in exigent circumstances—and this is the kind of emergent circumstance in which you might try something even in advance of a clinical trial.
“Desperate times demand desperate measures, and you do those things only in very controlled and limited circumstances.”
While the fatality rate for Ebola can be as high as 90 per cent, health officials in the three countries say the current crisis is killing at least 60 per cent of the people it infects in Africa.
But there have been some survivors. Schaffner said not many survivors have been studied, but the body would eventually rid itself of the virus for a complete recovery, unlike other diseases.
“You don’t create a chronic infection like HIV or sometimes Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, where the patient for months and years continues to have the virus in the body with the risk of a resurgent disease; that does not happen with Ebola.
“It is not an auto-immune disease, and it is not a chronic infection.”

Xiaomi Redmi 1S launch in India delayed, listed on Flipkart

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Xiaomi Redmi iS
Xiaomi has set a new record in the country by launching high-end smartphone for very low costs. After Micromax, which is known to introduce low-cost smartphones in India, Xiaomi seems to topple the smartphone market in India. The recent craze has seen Xiaomi and Flipkart selling a whopping 70,000 Mi 3 smartphones within a month. Another set of 20,000 Mi 3 handsets are expected to be swept off the counter this week.
Xiaomi is now gearing up to launch the Redmi 1S and the handset will be priced at a sweet Rs 6,999. The Redmi 1S sports a 4.7-inch HD IPS display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset running a quad-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz. A good 1GB of RAM and an internal storage of 8GB has been provided. The dual SIM Redmi 1S will also sport an 8MP primary camera and a 1.6MP front-facing camera.
Expect the Redmi 1S to also give you a good gaming experience, thanks to the onboard Adreno 305 graphics processor. The internal storage can be expanded to 64GB using a micro SD card. The micro USB port can also be used to expand the storage even further buy plugging in a USB pen drive (OTG mode). Lastly, the Redmi 1S will sport the famous Xiaomi MIUI Android operating system based on Android KitKat v4.3. Media reports earlier stated that the Redmi 1S will launch on 26 August, but there was no official confirmation from Flipkart or Xiaomi on the same.
We did have a word with Xiaomi about the launch of the Redmi 1S and got a confirmation that  the smartphone will not launch on 26 August. Xiaomi also mentioned that they are in process of shipping a huge stock of handsets to India and the launch would be somewhere in the first or second week of September. Xiaomi seems to be buying some time in order to have a huge inventory after the results of the Mi 3 handsets in India. 
The Redmi 1S was  spotted on Flipkart for a very brief period with a specification stating that the display will be a full HD. Our inputs from Hugo Barra, VP of Xiaomi, Global, confirms that the Redmi 1S has no Indian variant and will sport an HD display with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels.

7 Things About Salaries Every Employee Wish To Discuss With Their Boss

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Even if you're a great boss there are a lot of things you don’t know about your employees.


That's especially true where salaries are concerned. Here's what employees think and feel about their pay... and what the great bosses do:

1. "We don’t care about pay scales."

Pay scales are like a pacifier for a weak boss: falling back on pay scales is often the easiest way out of a difficult discussion about pay.
Pay scales—and pay practices—are important to a company, but they’re largely irrelevant to an employee who, often with good reason, views them as as arbitrary rule.
Saying, “That’s just how our system is set up,” is a cop-out. If the company can’t afford to pay an employee more, smart bosses say so. If they think a certain percentage raise is fair, they explain why. Smart bosses use pay scales to build their budgets, and use reason and logic—and empathy—to explain pay decisions to employees.

2. "Forget policies. We talk."

Many companies actively discourage staff from talking to each other about their salaries. I know a few companies that require employees to sign agreements stipulating they won’t disclose pay, benefits, etc to other employees.
Doesn’t matter. Employees talk. I did, both when I was “labor” and when I was “management.” Generally speaking, the only employees who don’t share details about their pay are the ones who are embarrassed by how much or how little they make.
Smart bosses never assume raises, bonuses, starting salaries, perks—basically anything related to compensation—will stay confidential. Most of the time, everyone knows everything.

3. "We think about our pay a lot."

Unless a business is struggling, most bosses only see employee salaries as an item to consider when it’s time to prepare an expense budget.
Employees think about pay all the time. Every time they deposit their paychecks they think about their pay. To a boss their pay is a line item; to employees, pay is the most important number in their family's budget.
(Unfortunately many bosses spend a lot of time thinking about their own pay but rarely apply that same perspective -- and empathy -- towards their employees' pay.)
Smart bosses spend a little time each week thinking about ways they can improve employee salaries and benefits. While they may not be able to make substantial changes to what they pay, they find other ways to improve how they compensate employees: flexible hours, flexible benefits, better developmental opportunities, etc.

4. "We will sometimes let you take advantage."

Occasionally the job market is a seller’s market, but many new employees are just really happy to land a new job. And since business owners are born cost cutters, it’s natural to hire every new employee for as low a wage as possible.
Then the employment honeymoon wears off and the employee feels the company -- and the boss -- took advantage... and that feeling never goes away.
Smart bosses never take advantage of a naive or desperate employee. They know the gain is never worth the pain.
Plus it’s just wrong.

5. "When we have to negotiate... we both lose."

Here's why. Employees lose if only because they resent justifying a certain pay level; in their view their boss should already know their value. And the boss loses because at some point her or she may have to say, in so many words, “I’m sorry, but you’re just not worth that much.”
Great employees are worth a lot more than their pay. You get what you pay for, so smart bosses pay whatever they can to get and keep the best employees they can.
When smart bosses find great employees they always make their best offer, knowing that if their best offer is too low, there is nothing they could have done.

6. "No matter how much we earn, it’s not enough."

We all grow accustomed to what we have. A big new house eventually seems normal. The effect of a big raise eventually wears off; eventually, that raise is just pay as usual.
We all want more. It’s natural. Unfortunately no boss can always give more. And that’s okay, because…

7. "Still, reasonable pay is okay."

People are smart. They understand market conditions, financial constraints, revenue shortfalls, and increased competition. They understand when a company can’t pay top-of-market salaries. What they don’t understand is when they don’t feel fairly compensated compared to other employees in similar positions, both inside and outside the company.
Once pay is reasonable and fair, other things become important: recognition, respect, challenging work, opportunities for development… basically the feeling that their job is more than just a job.
The happiest and most engaged employees feel they work for something more than just money. It’s a smart boss's job to provide that sense of belonging and meaning. Without meaning, employees are stuck simply working for a paycheck.
Higher pay is great... but the effects are fleeting.
Smart bosses know that respect, recognition, and a sense of real purpose last forever.
What about you? What do you wish you could tell your boss about your pay?

Google search tips and tricks you need to know

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Everybody knows Google, but not everybody knows its secrets, the little things that make finding what you want faster, that make searches more specific and that uncover entertaining Easter eggs.
Here are 25 of our favourite ways to find Google's G spots.

1. Use search operators
Google does a pretty good job of working out what you're looking for, but the more specific you are the better your results will be.

Using operators does just that, so for example enclosing a phrase in quotation marks — "like this" — searches for that specific phrase, adding a minus sign excludes that word (salsa recipe — tomatoes) and using OR gives Google a choice, eg. World Cup location 2014 or 2022..

Heigh alert with Ebola disease

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Hundreds of people are dead as the worst Ebola virus outbreak in history sweeps through West Africa.
It began as a handful of cases in Guinea in March but quickly spread to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Here are nine things to know about what the World Health Organization calls "one of the world's most virulent diseases."
Why does Ebola generate such fear?
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) describes Ebola as "one of the world's most deadly diseases."
"It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90% of the people who catch it, causing terror among infected communities," it says.
There is also no vaccination against it.
Of Ebola's five subtypes, the Zaire strain -- the first to be identified -- is considered the most deadly.
The WHO said preliminary tests on the Ebola virus in Guinea in March suggested that the outbreak there was this strain, though that has not been confirmed.
What is Ebola, and what are its symptoms?
The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding.
The virus is named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), where one of the first outbreaks occurred in 1976. The same year there was another outbreak in Sudan.
The WHO says there are five different strains of the virus -- named after the areas they originated in. Three of these have been associated with large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in Africa.
These are the Bundibugyo -- an area of Uganda where the virus was discovered in 2007 -- Sudan and Zaire sub-types.
There has been a solitary case of Ivory Coast Ebola. This subtype was discovered when a researcher studying wild chimpanzees became ill in 1994 after an autopsy on one of the animals. The researcher recovered.
Finally, Reston Ebola is named after Reston in the U.S. state of Virginia, where this fifth strain of the Ebola virus was identified in monkeys imported from the Philippines. The CDC says while humans have been infected with Ebola Reston, there have been no cases of human illness or death from this sub-type.
What are Ebola's symptoms?
Early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat. These symptoms can appear two to 21 days after infection.
The WHO says these nonspecific early symptoms can be mistaken for signs of diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, meningitis or even the plague.
MSF says some patients may also develop a rash, red eyes, hiccups, chest pains and difficulty breathing and swallowing.
The early symptoms progress to vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function and sometimes internal and external bleeding.
Ebola can only be definitively confirmed by five different laboratory tests.
How is it treated?
There are no specific treatments for Ebola. MSF says patients are isolated and then supported by health care workers.
"This consists of hydrating the patient, maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure and treating them for any complicating infections," it says.
There have been cases of healthcare workers contracting the virus from patients, and the WHO has issued guidance for dealing with confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.
Carers are advised to wear impermeable gowns and gloves and to wear facial protection such as goggles or a medical mask to prevent splashes to the nose, mouth and eyes.
MSF says it contained a 2012 outbreak in Uganda by placing a control area around its treatment center. An outbreak is considered over once 42 days -- double the incubation period of the disease -- have passed without any new cases.
What drugs exist to combat the drug?
Two American missionary workers infected with Ebola were given an experimental drug called ZMapp which seems to have saved their lives. The drug, developed by a San Diego firm, had never been tried before on humans, but it showed promise in small experiments on monkeys.
But rolling out an untested drug during a massive outbreak would also be very difficult, according to MSF. Experimental drugs are typically not mass-produced, and tracking the success of such a drug if used would require extra medical staff where resources are already scarce. ZMapp's maker says it has very few doses ready for patient use.
There are other experimental drugs out there.Tekmira, a Vancouver-based company that has a $140 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop an Ebola drug, began Phase 1 trials with its drug in January. But the FDA recently halted the trial, asking for more information.
At least one potential Ebola vaccine has been tested in healthy human volunteers, according to Thomas Geisbert, a leading researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch. And last week, the NIH announced that a safety trial of another Ebola vaccine will start as early as September.
And in March, the U.S. National Institute of Health awarded a five-year, $28 million grant to establish a collaboration between researchers from 15 institutions who were working to fight Ebola.
"A whole menu of antibodies have been identified as potentially therapeutic, and researchers are eager to figure out which combinations are most effective and why," a news release about the grant said.
How does Ebola virus spread?
The WHO says it is believed that fruit bats may be the natural host of the Ebola virus in Africa, passing on the virus to other animals.
Humans contract Ebola through contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals or the bodily fluids of infected humans.
MSF says that while the virus is believed to be able to survive for some days in liquid outside an infected organism, chlorine disinfection, heat, direct sunlight, soaps and detergents can kill it.
MSF epidemiologist Kamiliny Kalahne said outbreaks usually spread in areas where hospitals have poor infection control and limited access to resources such as running water.
"People who become sick with it almost always know how they got sick: because they looked after someone in their family who was very sick -- who had diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding -- or because they were health staff who had a lot of contact with a sick patient," she said.
Can plane passengers become infected?
While the CDC acknowledges it's possible a person infected with Ebola in West Africa could get on a plane and arrive in another country, the chances of the virus spreading during the journey are low.
"It's very unlikely that they would be able to spread the disease to fellow passengers," said Stephen Monroe, deputy director of CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases.
"The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of ill people, and indirect contact -- for example with needles and other things that may be contaminated with these fluids."
He added that most people who have become infected with Ebola lived with or cared for an ill patient.
"This is not an airborne transmission," said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of CDC's Division of Global Migration and Quarantine. "There needs to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood."
Travelers should take precautions by avoiding areas experiencing outbreaks and avoid contact with Ebola patients.
"It is highly unlikely that someone suffering such symptoms would feel well enough to travel," IATA said in a statement.
"In the rare event that a person infected with the Ebola virus was unknowingly transported by air, WHO advises that the risks to other passengers are low. Nonetheless, WHO does advise public health authorities to carry out contact tracing in such instances."
This means determining who had contact with the affected person.
What should flight crew do if Ebola infection is suspected?
The CDC has issued guidance for airline crews on Ebola virus infections.
"As with many other global infectious disease outbreaks, airline carriers, crew members, airports can be very important partners in that front line," said Cetron. "Being educated, knowing the symptoms, recognizing what to do, having a response protocol, knowing who to call, those are really, really important parts of the global containment strategy to deal with threats like this."
The CDC advises that when flight crew members encounter a passenger with symptoms that they suspect could be Ebola, such as fever and bleeding, that they keep the sick person away from other passengers. They've been instructed to wear disposable gloves and to provide the sickened person with a surgical mask to prevent fluids from spreading through talking, sneezing or coughing.
The airline cleaning crew are also instructed to wear disposable gloves, wipe down surfaces including armrests, seat backs, trays and light switches. The CDC says that packages and cargo should not pose a risk, unless the items have been soiled with blood or bodily fluids.
When someone becomes ill on a flight, the captain is required by aviation regulations to report the suspected case to air traffic control, according to IATA.
How many cases have there been ?
The CDC estimates there have been more than 3,000 cases of Ebola and more than 2,000 deaths since 1976.
The last recorded outbreaks before the current one in Guinea were in 2012 -- in Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Uganda outbreak involved a total of 24 probable and confirmed cases, and 17 deaths, according to the WHO, which declared it had ended in October 2012.
MSF said the Uganda outbreak had been the Sudan strain, while the virus found in DRC was the Bundibugyo sub-type.
Before 2014, the most deadly outbreak was the 1976 outbreak in then Zaire, when 280 of 318 infected people died, according to the CDC. In 2000, there were 425 cases of Ebola Sudan in Uganda, which resulted in 224 fatalities.

Google, Apple, others ask in interviews

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Interviews are never expected to be a breeze, especially if you are appearing for industry giants like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook etc. However, it is still possible to get stumped by a question like: 'How do you cut a circular cake into eight equal pieces?'

This question is part of jobs and career community website Glassdoor's annual list of ‘25 Tough Interview Questions'. We bring to you 10 toughest questions from the list asked during job interviews at top tech brands.

1) A disc is spinning on a spindle, and you don't know which way. You are given a set of pins. Describe how you would use them to determine which way the disc is spinning.

Job: Software development engineer

2)  If you were given a box of pencils, list 10 things you could do with them that are not their traditional use.

Job: Administrative assistant

3) How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?

Job: Senior recruiting manager

4) What's the most creative way you can break a clock?

Job: Intern

5) You have a bag of with "N" number of strings. At random, you pull out a string's end. You pull out another string end and you tie the two together. You repeat this until there are no loose ends left to pull out of the bag. What is the expected number of loops?

Job: Business operations intern

6) You want to design a phone for deaf people — how do you do it?

Job: Product manager

7) How would you design an elevator?

Job: Intern

8) Why should we not hire you?

Job: Recruiter

9) How do you compute the collision of two moving spheres? Give me both the mathematical equations for the solution as well as an algorithmic implementation.

Job: Senior software engineer

10) Name as many Microsoft products as you can.

Job: Associate consultant

Success people stay calm

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The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. Talent-smart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.
If you follow our newsletter, you've read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn't prolonged, it’s harmless.













New research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.
“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.
Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
They Appreciate What They Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn't merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.
They Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can't think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you're ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
They Disconnect
Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favour of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behaviour. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.
They Sleep
I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.
They Squash Negative Self-Talk
A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It's time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you're doing and write down what you're thinking. Once you've taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.
You can bet that your statements aren't true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc.. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labelling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
They Reframe Their Perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren't sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to re-frame the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.
They Breathe
The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.
This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.
They Use Their Support System
It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.
Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 best-selling book,Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His best-selling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.