Fully Open Shoes, Future clothing
Fully Open Shoes have been designed to solve all problems we might be dealing when we put shoes on our feet. According to these industrial designers, putting on shoes is a whole body movement, such as bend over, squat or use our hands. Unfortunately to some people, putting on their shoes is impossible without the help from other. This is where Fully Open Shoes come in handy.

Fully Open Shoes, Futuristic clothing
All these designers focus on modern industrial design, therefore, the result is stylish and convenient shoes to wear. User can put on these shoes simply by stepping on them. It is suitable for everyone, giving them a new experience of convenience and freedom.
Fully Open Shoes, Fantastic clothing

Fully Open Shoes, Innovation clothing

Source: TUVIE.com


Radio Portable X-Ray Machine

Radio Portable X-Ray
Inspired by the designer’s own personal experience of waiting too long during a stay at the emergency room, the Radio portable x-ray was imagined as a way to cut back on time spent in the radiology process. The device uses the same dental imaging technology that exists currently and incorporates it into a compact, portable unit that can detect broken bones or other abnormalities. the sRadiologists can instantly read the screen or print radiographs via from the unit’s charging dock.
future medical gadget, Portable X-Ray

Radio Portable X-Ray, health gadget

future device, Portable X-Ray

Radio Portable X-Ray

future X-Ray Machine

Designer: Francois Rybarczyk
Source: YankoDesign.com

Soliloquy Futuristic Luxury Superyacht

Luxury Yacht, Soliloquy, Superyacht, Solar Sailor Holdings, Futuristic Design, Watercraft
Eco-friendly luxury yachting is one of the newest travel trends among the super rich. Taking clean boating to the next level, the super green luxury superyacht called “Soliloquy” designed by Alastair Callender of Coventry University will get its power from wind, solar and Hybrid Marine Power (HMP) technology from Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd. Initially aimed at an owner of an eco-friendly stance, with a sailing or non-sailingbackground, Soliloquy shows the trend toward the eco-friendly yachts of the future. The use of renewable and hybrid-electric energy will bring zero-emission capabilities and result in greater savings in fuel costs. The innovative overhead beam not only adds to the overall aesthetics, but also houses three automated and pivotally mounted, rigid-wing solar sails. The rigid wing rig and architecturally dynamic form will be an inimitable sight to all mariners. The patented technology and automation of Solar Sailor Holdings Ltd’s solarsail pivot, combined with Callender’s highly-efficient design, will enhance the yacht’s propulsion.

Luxury Yacht, Soliloquy, Superyacht, Solar Sailor Holdings, Futuristic Design, Watercraft

Luxury Yacht, Soliloquy, Superyacht, Solar Sailor Holdings, Futuristic Design, Watercraft
CEO of Solar Sailor, Dr Robert Dane said…

When Alastair approached us to sponsor his final year major project, we were immediately impressed by his resume, and the concept itself seemed a perfect matchwith Solar Sailor. As a result, Alastair has developed a radical 58m, rigid-wing superyacht, powered by our solar, wind and hybrid marine power technologies.

Alastair Callender said…

In this ever-increasing environmentally conscious time, I wanted to focus my attention on looking at possible solutions to some of the current problems associated with the superyacht industry. Eco-luxury should no longer be viewed as an oxymoron. ‘Soliloquy – the Super-Green Superyacht’ is a true metaphor to show that this ideal is viable.
Luxury Yacht, Soliloquy, Superyacht, Solar Sailor Holdings, Futuristic Design, Watercraft

Soliloquy is not just eco-friendly, but offers all the luxurious amenities you’d expect from a superyacht. Salient innovations on the Soliloquy super green superyacht include an ever-evolving superstructure that will create a striking visual display to all onlookers. Socializing areas include alfresco living spaces on the main deck. The use of the superstructure has been improved by the photovoltaic surfacing, which is 600 square meters of solar collection area.

Source:  Bornrich.org

Houston’s family prepares for funeral

Click to play
Houston’s body arrives in New Jersey

  • Source: Funeral scheduled for Friday or Saturday
  • “Not many prescription bottles” were found in singer’s hotel room, coroner says
  • Coroner: Houston was seen within an hour of her death

Share your thoughts about the passing of musical superstar Whitney Houston.

Los Angeles (CNN) — A hearse and a large police procession arrived just before midnight at a New Jersey funeral home that is handling the funeral arrangements for Whitney Houston.

The hearse was escorted by police from Teterboro Airport to Whigham Funeral Home in Newark late Monday as a large crowd gathered. Cissy Houston, Houston’s mother, was inside the funeral home, waiting, police said.

And as Houston’s grieving family members prepared for her funeral, the exact cause of Houston’s death remained a mystery.

Despite widespread media speculation, a Los Angeles County coroner official Monday downplayed the suspicion that drugs played a major role.

Moody’s warns may cut AAA-rating for UK and France

A pedestrian walks past a mural by French street artist Tilt, which includes the lyrics to the Sex Pistols ''Anarchy in the UK'' in the Shoreditch area of London January 14, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

(Reuters) – Rating agency Moody’s warned it may cut the triple-A ratings of France, Britain and Austria and it downgraded six other European nations including Italy, Spain and Portugal, citing growing risks from Europe’s debt crisis.

Moody’s move was less aggressive than rival agency Standard & Poor’s, but its action puts London’s prized top credit rating in jeopardy for the first time.

It said it was worried about Europe’s ability to undertake the reforms needed to address the crisis and the amount of funds available to fight it. It also said the region’s weak economy could undermine austerity drives by governments to fix their finances.

The euro and sterling fell after the announcement, with pound falling 0.4 percent to $1.5703 and the single currency dipping 0.3 percent to $1.3154. European and U.S. equity index futures were also lower.

The U.S. rating agency said it changed the outlooks for the ratings of France, Britain and Austria to negative due to “a number of specific credit pressures that would exacerbate the susceptibility of these sovereigns’ balance sheets.”

Germany’s top-tier rating was described as “appropriate” by Moody’s, and it affirmed the triple-A rating on the euro zone’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF).

Moody’s, which said late last year it was reconsidering its European ratings, cut the ratings of Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta by one notch. It downgraded Spain by two notches.

Moody’s said the scope of the downgrades was limited due to “the European authorities’ commitment to preserving the monetary union and implementing whatever reforms are needed to restore market confidence.”

The announcement came a day after Greece’s parliament approved a deep new round of budget cuts in the hope of securing new bailout funds and avoiding a chaotic default in March.

Bart Oosterveld, managing director at Moody’s sovereign risk group, declined to comment on the state of the negotiations between Athens and its creditors, but said that if Greece were to leave the European Union the impact on financial markets and credit ratings “would be quite profound.”

And he warned that European credit markets may still deteriorate despite efforts by the European Central Bank to ease financing pressures with its three-year refinancing operations.

“The markets are better in the short term but probably not in the longer term,” Oosterveld told Reuters in an interview. “We think the markets remain quite fragile.”

The rating outlooks of the nine countries affected by Moody’s action was set to negative, “given the continuing uncertainty over financing conditions over the next few quarters and its corresponding impact on creditworthiness,” Moody’s said.


Britain’s finance minister responded by saying the country must keep its promise to slash its large budget deficit.

“This is proof that, in the current global situation, Britain cannot waver from dealing with its debts,” Finance Minister George Osborne said. “This is a reality check for anyone who thinks Britain can duck confronting its debts.”

The government in Britain has come under increasing pressure to soften its austerity measures to give a stalling economy room to breathe.

The French government said it would press ahead with its policies to improve competitiveness and growth while reducing the government deficit.

“The government is determined to press ahead with its actions to boost growth and competitiveness, notably the reform of the financing of welfare, of employment and the reduction of public deficits,” Finance Minister Francois Baroin said in a statement.

The precarious state of European sovereign finances was underlined on Monday, when the head if China’s sovereign wealth fund brushed aside an appeal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to buy European government debt, saying such bonds were “difficult” for long-term investors.

A retreat from European government debt has already been boosting relatively high-yielding Australian and New Zealand debt, as cashed-up Asian sovereign wealth funds and other major bond investors look for safe havens to diversify their holdings.

Reserve Bank of Australia Assistant Governor Guy Debelle said on Tuesday that net purchases of Australian debt by foreigners over the first three quarters of 2011 amounted to more than 3 percent of gross domestic product, markedly larger than Australia’s current account deficit.

“Our discussions with market participants suggest that a sizeable share of recent purchases has been by sovereign asset managers,” said Debelle.

Moody’s move on Monday follows one last month by Standard & Poor’s, which stripped France and Austria of their triple-A status, while Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia were downgraded. S&P also cut the EFSF by one notch.

Also in January, rating agency Fitch downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, Slovenia and Spain, indicating there was a 1-in-2 chance of further cuts in the next two years.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos in New York, Daniel Flynn in Paris, Matt Falloon in London, Alex Richardson in Singapore and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Leslie Adler, Andrew Hay andAndre Grenon)

Rapunzel number helps scientists quantify ponytails

A woman is silhouetted next to a solar panel display by solar module supplier Upsolar at the fourth International Photovoltaic Power Generation (PV) Expo in Tokyo March 2, 2011.  REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

(Reuters) – British scientists said on Friday that a “Rapunzel Number” may have helped them to crack a problem that has perplexed humanity since Leonardo da Vinci pondered it 500 years ago.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick said they had devised a “Ponytail Shape Equation,” which when calculated using the Rapunzel Number and a measure of the curliness of hair can be used to predict the shape of any ponytail.

Cambridge’s Professor Raymond Goldstein told Reuters that he and his colleagues took account of the stiffness of individual hairs, the effects of gravity and the average waviness of human hair to come up with their formula.

The Rapunzel Number provides a key ratio needed to calculate the effects of gravity on hair relative to its length.

“That determines whether the ponytail looks like a fan or whether it arcs over and becomes nearly vertical at the bottom,” Goldstein said in a telephone interview.

The research also took into account how a bundle of hair is swelled by the outward pressure which arises from collisions between the component hairs.

Scientists said the work has implications for understanding the structure of materials made up of random fibers, such as wool and fur and will have resonance with the computer graphics and animation industry, where the representation of hair has been a challenging problem.

“Our findings extend some central paradigms in statistical physics and show how they can be used to solve a problem that has puzzled scientists and artists ever since Leonardo da Vinci remarked on the fluid-like streamlines of hair in his notebooks 500 years ago,” Goldstein said.

The research was conducted by Goldstein, Professor Robin Ball from the University of Warwick and their colleagues. It will be presented to the American Physical Society in Boston on February 28.

(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang, editing by Paul Casciato)

Adele triumphs at Grammys with six wins

Singer Adele holds her six Grammy Awards at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 12, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) – Soul singer Adele triumphed in her return to music’s stage on Sunday, scooping up six Grammys and winning every category in which she was nominated including album of the year for “21” and best record with “Rolling In the Deep.”

As joyous as the show was for Adele, it was equally as serious with tributes to late pop star Whitney Houston, who died suddenly on Saturday. She was remembered by fellow artists in acceptance speeches and songs. Jennifer Hudson sang Houston’s signature hit, “I Will Always Love You,” and Grammy host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Houston’s family, friends and fans.

But it was Adele who stole the show. The 23-year-old, who has taken the music world by storm, underwent surgery on her vocal cords late last year and had been resting her voice on doctor’s orders until music’s biggest night. For the first time since then, the British singer took the stage to belt out “Rolling In the Deep” and finished to a standing ovation.

Adele claimed three of the music industry’s top awards – album, record and song of the year – and added best pop solo performance, pop vocal and short video to her stack of trophies.

Tearing up and having difficulty speaking as she took the stage to claim the night’s top award, album of the year, Adele talked about “21” and its heartfelt songs dreamed up after a failed love affair.

“This record is inspired by something that is really normal and everyone’s been through it, just a rubbish relationship, and it’s gone on to do things I can’t tell you how I feel about it, it’s been the most life-changing year.”

Indeed, her sophomore album has sold more than 6.3 million copies in the United States and broken many sales records, including spending 19 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Now it can add the Grammys to its many accolades.

Rockers Foo Fighters were the other big winners, picking up five Grammys including best rock performance for the hit “Walk.”

“This is a great honor because this record was a special record for our band. Rather than go to the best studio … we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine,” said frontman Dave Grohl. “It shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important.”

But as jubilant as the audience was for Adele and as much as Foo Fighters rocked the house, Grammy organizers were equally as serious about Houston, whose body was found in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room. The cause is still unknown.

Host LL Cool J took the stage and offered a prayer for Houston, her fans and her family. “Although she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed by her musical spirit,” he said.


Grammy organizers give out awards in more than 75 categories and many early winners mentioned Houston. Singer Melanie Fiona, who won with Cee Lo Green for traditional R&B performance for “Fool For You,” said she was inspired by the singer.

“Whitney Houston, I would not be standing up here if not for you,” Fiona said. Backstage, she told reporters her mother had rocked her in the cradle to Houston’s songs when she was a baby.

Other major Grammy winners included country’s Taylor Swift, who picked up Grammys for solo performance and country song with “Mean,” which she performed to a standing ovation. She had been expected to take best country album, too, but Lady Antebellum swooped in and took that prize with “Own the Night.”

The other big surprise came when indie folk band Bon Iver took the Grammy for best new artist over rapper Nicki Minaj, who had been widely expected to win behind hit album “Pink Friday.”

DJ Skrillex won two Grammys for best dance recording and top dance/electronica album with “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.”

Jay-Z and Kanye West won best rap performance with their song “Otis” from the album “Watch the Throne,” but they failed to show up to claim their prize. Chris Brown won the Grammy for best R&B album “F.A.M.E.”

West entered the night with seven nominations, more than any other artist, but came away with the Grammy for “Otis” and another for best rap album with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

Rousing performances were given by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Chris Brown, Coldplay and Rihanna, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson. Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang a duet of “A Sunday Kind of Love” from Etta James, who also died in 2012.

Minaj gave fans an over-the-top performance toward the show’s final act, and Sir Paul McCartney ended in a guitar-heavy number with Springsteen, Grohl and others. Memorable moments came in a reunion of members of the Beach Boys and a lifetime award for Glen Campbell, who sang “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Finally, one of the show’s more poignant moments came early in the day when Mitch and Janis Winehouse, parents of the late singer Amy Winehouse who died of excessive drinking in 2011, accepted the award for best pop duo or group performance – Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett for “Body and Soul.”

“Long live Whitney Houston. Long live Amy Winehouse and long live Etta James,” Mitch Winehouse said, referring to the “At Last” singer who died earlier this year. “There’s a beautiful girl band up there.”

Stricken Japan nuclear plant ‘heating up’

The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window in Okuma on November 12, 2011

The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station is seen through a bus window in Okuma on November 12, 2011

  • TEPCO says a faulty temperature gauge may be behind higher readings
  • Temperatures in Unit 2 at the Fukushima plant have been steadily rising
  • The plant was declared to be in “cold shutdown” on December 16
  • Earthquake and tsunami caused nuclear chaos in Japan last March

          A faulty thermometer is likely to blame for rising temperatures inside a stricken nuclear reactor at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, authorities said Monday, as Japan prepares to mark one year since a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown.

The plant’s operators,

. (TEPCO) said temperatures inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel of Unit 2 have been gradually increasing since February 2 and on Monday hit a high of 89.2 degrees Celsius.

The reading is significant because an error margin of 20 degrees Celsius for the gauges takes the temperature well above 100 degrees Celsius, one of the pre-conditions for a “cold shutdown.”

Japan declared the shattered plant was in “cold shutdown” last December, a welcome milestone in a fraught battle to contain one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters.

Should we be concerned?

A nuclear expert agreed that a faulty temperature gauge inside the Unit 2 reactor is the most likely cause for the higher heat reading.

Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at U.S. nuclear power plants, told CNN that the prospect of another catastrophic explosion at the Fukushima-Daiichi is “virtually zero.”

“If the reactor was going to become critical it would have become critical in March of last year, not now,” he said.

Another possible, though less likely, explanation, according to Friedlander, is that re-routing of pipe work in the last month or so has inadvertently taken cooling water away from where it was needed.

How has TEPCO responded?

Under Japanese nuclear safety regulations, operators are obliged to begin cooling methods when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Celsius.

Authorities at the Fukushima plant have been pumping more water and boric acid into the feed water system and into the core spray system in attempt to bring the temperature down. Boric acid is included in the water to mop up stray neutrons.

TEPCO said the higher reading is at odds with temperatures taken at other points within the reactor which indicates that it’s probably faulty.

“Following our cooling efforts temperatures at the two other locations are declining steadily while that at the location in question keeps rising. This leads us to think that the thermometer at the location in question is not functioning properly, rather than the actual temperature rising,” Junichi Matsumoto, TEPCO spokesman, said Monday.

The company said it has also been analyzing gas levels within the building and says there’s been no increase in radiation, or any other reading that would indicate that the reactor is heating up.

TEPCO said it was continuing to monitor the situation.

What happens if the temperature gauge is correct and the reactor is heating up?

According to Friedland, one year on from the accident the amount of residual heat and radioactivity inside all three stricken reactors is relatively low.

“In the worst case scenario, if they were to completely lose injection and lose the cooling impact, the water in there would heat up and at some point it would begin to boil. And at some point they would have to get rid of that heat, but we’re talking about something that would transpire in a matter of days and weeks, not in a matter of minutes and hours,” he said.

He said the greatest risks the reactors now pose are to the environment, and that any threats to the surrounding area pale in comparison to the devastation already delivered.

“The biggest real risk is that a pipe breaks and that hundreds of thousands of gallons of highly radioactive water ends up underground or ends up leeching back into the ocean or something like that. That’s the real bottom line.”

What is the state of the stricken reactors?

It’s been almost one year since an 8.9-magnitude earthquake sent a tsunami on a collision course with the Japanese coast killing more than 15,000 people, wiping out whole villages and industries and threatening nuclear mayhem.

A hydrogen explosion then fire at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant triggered a nuclear emergency on a scale not seen since the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine in 1986.

Amid criticism that it was acting too slowly and indecisively in the face of disaster, TEPCO flooded three of its unstable reactors with water. It continues to do so while efforts continue towards long-term recovery.

“The reactors are no more or no less stable than they were in April of last year. They fundamentally continue to be reliant on a feed-and-bleed cooling mechanism,” Friedland said.

The other three reactors at the plant weren’t operational at the time of the disaster but they’ve since been shutdown, as have nuclear installations across the country.

Where to now?

It’s a long road ahead, and one that the Japanese have acknowledged could take decades to navigate.

“They have to get the spent fuel pools stabilized and that’s largely done,” Friedland said. “The next issue is going to be getting the fuel out of the reactors, the fuel that was in the reactors when the accident occurred. That’s probably going to be four or five years in the making, maybe even longer,” he said.

The disaster displaced more than 100,000 people as faraway as 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the plant. The levels of radiation in the area closest to the plant are still dangerously high.

World’s most romantic nationalities

Or: the worst people to hang out with if you’re single on February 14

For some, it’s a bunch of roses (never carnations); for others, a weekend break in a mountain cabin. 

For others still, romance comes in the form of a cold beer on the couch and “Die Hard” on the TV. He kisses her in the end …

So to some extent romance is a subjective concept.

But there are some people for whom it’s not just an act saved up for special occasions, it’s a way of life, a never-ending journey, and they are forever trying to buy a ticket to your heart.

And when you are on the road, those foreign fellow travelers or locals always seem to have something that the girls or blokes back home are missing.

So here they are — the world’s most romantic people.

If you didn’t make the list, consider it a let-off. Because the pressure’s now on these guys to be the most charming flirts in the world.

 World’s coolest nationalities 


romantic nationalities

Luckily, the hats double as crash helmets.


10. Vietnamese

Look past the often harsh-sounding language and the fact he picked you up on his dad’s scooter and you’ll find a nation as romantic as any.

Here, however, the meaning of amour is skewed depending on your gender. While the guys lay the syrup on thick in the form of love poems, drippy texts and gifts of giant teddy bears, a good proportion of them have as many love interests as they have SIM cards to keep them compartmentalized.

Seduction secret: A timely motorbike upgrade.


irish lovers

The Blarney Stone has a lot to answer for.


9. Irish

When slushy novel publisher Mills & Boon ran a poll to find the world’s most romantic nationalities in 2009, the inclusion of the Irish in the top three came as a surprise to some -– not least to the Irish themselves.

Self-deprecation and not self-aggrandizement is generally the way they do things in the Emerald Isle. But it’s exactly that “Oh I didn’t mean to charm you, but I guess I did” smile that wins them a spot here.

Seduction secret: Memorize some stanzas from the work of Oscar Wilde or Pàdraic Pearse.


swedish romance

Swedes think about tidying every seven seconds.


8. Swedish

The Swedes’ egalitarian approach to romancing offers hope to folk without sultry Latin looks or silver-tongued repartee.

Famed for his well-scrubbed appearance, the secret weapon of the Swedish male is not his golden mane or perfect teeth but his willingness to do his thing with a duster. A recent study of 12 countries by Oxford University economist Almudena Sevilla-Sanz found that Swedish males’ enlightened attitudes toward gender roles make them the best potential husbands in the developed world.

Seduction secret: Scrubbing, vacuuming and cooking.


american romantics

A kiss — the quiet side of American life.


7. American

Look past the Crocs, morbid obesity and Lycra-clad wrestlers and you’ll find that the United States practically invented the modern lovelorn teenager.

American innovations such as drive-in cinemas, mass production of the automobile and the nurturing of musical genres from jazz to house added frisson to courtship rituals that had till then been the domain of only those who could recite Shakespeare or dance ballroom.

At its heart, the American dream is fueled by an aching tenderness.

Seduction secret: Every mall in the country has shops dedicated to candles, chocolates and lingerie.


lebanese lovers

Wait till he dresses up.


6. Lebanese

They are different from the rest of the Arab world and they know it. Blessed with olive skin, soulful dark eyes and smoldering looks (not to mention a penchant by some for surgical enhancement), the Lebanese make full use of their physical attributes.

Combine this with Beirut, the region’s most liberal capital with a ton of slick nightspots, and you have the ingredients for a host of sexy, but classy, encounters.

Just wear something bright — there’s a fair chance he’ll be wearing expensive shades.

Seduction secret: Liberal application of hair gel and a designer shirt.


Brazilian romance

“Great hair.” “Great hat.” And BAM!


5. Brazilian

Take a measure of caipirinha-fueled debauchery and balance it with a shot of saudade –- a word that roughly translates into English as a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing -– and you are on the way to understanding Brazil’s romantic appeal.

The Brazilians are not shy about sex; witness the ass shaking that goes on at carnival (and much of the rest of the time) and the many themed love motels catering to lusty couples.

But, as anyone who has watched the nation’s football team, caught a samba band or watched the stars above Corcovado in Rio knows, there’s as much emphasis on sensuality as there is on straight-up rumpo.

Seduction secret: Some serious samba moves.


French lovers

Only fourth best, but you can bet he still thinks he’s no. 1.


4. French

It’s a predictable cliché but just like American brashness and Australian beer worship, the French fluency in “la langue de l’amour” is not just a myth.

The combination of a seductive capital city, a history drenched in heroism and a laissez-faire vocal brogue makes resisting a Frenchman’s pass even less likely than the chance he won’t try it on.

Throw in their appreciation for life’s fine things and you can occasionally even find yourself declaring their physical shortcomings (see Serge Gainsbourg, Gérard Depardieu) and fiery temper as “endearing.”

Seduction secret: Keeping a good stock of fine Bordeaux wine.


italian lovers

Romantic by default.


3. Italian

When Madonna famously sported a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Italians Do It Better” she wasn’t referring to pasta sauce.

The word “romance” originally meant from or about Rome, which means that, by default, just about anything Italian is considered romantic.

Notwithstanding Tuscan blood cake and prices in Milan — two obvious turn-offs — you’d be hard-pressed to resist the evocative landscapes, the rich history and the vowelgasmic accent.

Seduction secret: Freshly baked focaccia and a bottle of Chianti in the Tuscan countryside. Bunga Bunga optional.


tango romance

The best way to keep fit.


2. Argentine

With a lineage heavily drawn from both Italy and Spain, it’s no wonder many Argentines consider themselves superior to both when it comes to wooing the opposite sex.

More than any other Latin American nation, the country has traditionally looked to Europe for cultural inspiration; the fire and passion, not to mention the propensity for dramatics, associated with its two main foreign influences are very much evident.

The perfect expression of Argentine romanticism can be found in the tango -– arguably the world’s most sensuous dance -– but is detectable in everything from the heady red wines to the sublime football skills of stars such as Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi.

Seduction secret: Tango shows at Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires, one of the world’s most beautiful music venues.


Spanish romantic couple

A nation in love with love itself.


1. Spanish

Europe’s most convincing Casanovas, the Spanish, are often overlooked in favor of the French and the Italians. They shouldn’t be.

Sure, the ongoing popularity of the mullet hairstyle and its hideous near cousin, the rat-tail, counts against the Iberians, but they are more than willing to showcase plenty of charm-positive attributes to offset these follicular sins.

Consider its rambunctious eating and drinking scene — perhaps the liveliest and most social on the planet — ponder its flamenco; dwell upon the three-hour lunch breaks and ear-melting linguistics, and you have a people that appear to focus every task in life with bringing man and woman together.

Seduction secret: The ability to drink long into the night and still make sense.

Whitney Houston found dead in Calif. hotel, age 48

Whitney Houston bows after performing 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2009. REUTERS-Mario Anzuoni
A Los Angeles County Coroner's van exits the Beverly Hilton Hotel with the body of Whitney Houston, who died in a hotel room there on Saturday, in Beverly Hills, California February 12, 2012.  REUTERS-Jonathan Alcorn
Singer Whitney Houston gestures at the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills, California, in this file photo taken February 9, 2008. REUTERS-Mario Anzuoni-Files

(Reuters) – Whitney Houston, whose soaring voice lifted her to the top of the pop music world but whose personal decline was fueled by years of drug use, died on Saturday afternoon in a Beverly Hills hotel room. She was 48.

The pop superstar died on the eve of the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles at the same hotel where her mentor, record mogul Clive Davis, was holding an annual pre-event party featuring scores of music industry celebrities.

A dramatic scene unfolded at the Beverly Hilton hotel as guests arriving for the party expressed shock at her death, while reporters swarmed the hotel, fans gathered outside to light candles in her memory and helicopters hovered overhead.

Beverly Hills police said they were called to the Beverly Hilton at around 3:43 p.m. PST, and fire department personnel who were already at the location responded immediately. Houston was in her fourth-floor room but was unresponsive to CPR, and she was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m.

“She has been positively identified by friends and family (who) were with her at the hotel, and next of kin have already been notified,” Lieutenant Mark Rosen told reporters. Police said there were no obvious signs of criminal intent.

Los Angeles County coroners removed Houston’s body from the hotel after midnight through a backdoor to avoid the crush of media set up to cover her shocking death.

Typically, coroners conduct an autopsy within a day or two, at which point they might release some preliminary information about the death. If drugs or alcohol are involved, however, an official cause of death would not be released until after toxicology tests, which could take six to eight weeks.


Tributes poured in from around the world for a singer whose remarkable vocal power and range produced some of the most memorable music of her generation, including her signature hit, “I Will Always Love You.”

“I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends,” Davis told a somber crowd at his gala dinner and party just hours after Houston’s death. “I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years.”

Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, told the audience at Davis’s party that Jennifer Hudson would sing a tribute to Houston at Sunday night’s Grammy Awards.

“We will do something appropriate tomorrow, and nothing could be more appropriate than having Jennifer Hudson sing on stage for Whitney,” Portnow said. “In our community, we celebrate things … let’s celebrate Whitney Houston.”

Outside the hotel in the wealthy enclave of Beverly Hills, a phalanx of hotel security personnel guarded the perimeter to prevent reporters and fans from entering. Some of Houston’s admirers gathered on the sidewalk, lighting candles and singing her songs.

Over the course of a 30-year career in which she established herself as one of the most-admired and influential singers of her time, Houston won six Grammys, 30 Billboard awards and 22 American Music Awards. She released seven studio albums and sold some 170 million CDs, singles and videos. The soundtrack for a hit movie in which she starred, “The Bodyguard,” was among the best-selling soundtracks in movie history.

Her 1985 debut, “Whitney Houston,” became the best-selling debut album by a female act at that time, and spawned several hits including “How Will I Know.” Her second studio CD, 1987’s “Whitney,” became the first album by a female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

She crossed over from music success to TV and movies, appearing in “The Bodyguard” (1992), as well as “Waiting to Exhale” (1995) and “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996).

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1963, Houston was inspired to perform as a child by soul singers in her family, including mother Cissy Houston and cousins Dionne Warwick and the late Dee Dee Warwick. Her godmother was Aretha Franklin.

“I just can’t talk about it now,” Franklin said in a statement. “It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen. My heart goes out to Cissy, her daughter Bobbi Kris, her family and Bobby (Brown).”


By the early 1990s, Houston reigned as the queen of pop, but her critical and commercial success on stage was accompanied by an increasingly troubled personal life. In 1992 she married singer Bobby Brown, who had a bad-boy reputation, and their tumultuous 14 years together were marred by drug abuse and domestic violence.

In 2000, she and Brown were stopped at an airport in Hawaii and security guards discovered marijuana in their luggage. In a 2002 TV interview, she admitted using marijuana, cocaine, alcohol and prescription drugs.

The pair also starred in a reality TV series, “Being Bobby Brown,” which painted an often unflattering portrait of the couple.

The last 10 years of Houston’s life were dominated by drug use, rumors of relapses and trips to rehab.

She launched a comeback tour in 2009, and in April 2010 she called media reports she was using drugs again “ridiculous.” In May 2011, Houston enrolled in a drug and alcohol rehab program.

Despite her personal troubles, Houston commanded great affection among her music industry colleagues, and emotional tributes flooded the media in the hours after news broke of her death.

“I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney’s passing,” legendary music producer Quincy Jones said in a statement. “… I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly.”

Barbra Streisand said in a statement: “She had everything, beauty, a magnificent voice. How sad her gifts could not bring her the same happiness they brought us.”

Pop star Rihanna posted on Twitter “No words, just tears.”