Category Archives: World

Knowing your Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation concerns the direction of one’s sexual or romantic attraction. The most commonly found sexual orientation in all cultures, including the United Kingdom, is heterosexuality, a sexual or romantic attraction for persons of the opposite sex (hetero comes from the Greek word meaning ‘other’ or ‘different’). Today the term gay is used to refer to male homosexuals, lesbian for female homosexuals, and bi as shorthand for bisexuals, people who experience sexual or romantic attraction for persons of either sex. Sexual orientation is the idea that people are sexually attracted to either men or women or both women and men. This leads to the categories of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. Some people identify with this idea very strongly. They may believe that their sexual desires are natural, that evolution or genetics causes them to be attracted to certain people. Others may believe that they choose a sexual orientation, often for political reasons. Still others may not be concerned with the cause of their desires, but identify strongly as straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Some people identify with this idea less strongly or perhaps not at all. They may feel that the three categories of sexual orientation do not do a good job of describing their sexual desires. They may choose other labels, like queer (Homosexual or arousing homosexual desires), dyke (a lesbian who is noticeably masculine) or pervert (A person whose behavior deviates from what is acceptable especially in sexual behavior).Or they may choose to avoid the use of labels for various reasons.

Understanding sexual orientation is an important part of understanding the society we live in. Attitudes about what it means to be a man or a woman are often based around expectations of heterosexuality. Fear that children might learn to become homosexual, or otherwise sexually ‘deviant’, leads to a great deal of anxiety around sex education. Violence, both physical and emotional, is used against people who do not conform to expectations around gender and sexuality.

Here are a few examples of various sexual orientation identities:

  • simply gay OR lesbian OR heterosexual OR straight OR bisexual OR queer
  • “I don’t like labels”
  • “Mostly straight”
  • “I used to call myself bisexual, but now I prefer queer”
  • “I used to be straight, but now I am lesbian”
  • “I am gay, but butch dykes really turn me on”
  • “All of the people I fancy are of the other sex, but I wouldn’t call myself straight or heterosexual”
  • “I am bi-curious”
  • “I think I am heterosexual, but I am very open to changing”

Most sociologists currently believe that one’s sexual orientation – whether homosexual, heterosexual or something else- results from a complex interplay between biological factors and social learning. Some scholars argue that biological influences are the most important, predisposing certain people to become homosexual from birth. biological explanations for homosexuality have included differences in such things as brain characteristics of homosexuals and the impact on fetal development of the mother’s uterus hormone production during pregnancy.

Differences between gay and straight sexual orientation appear at a very early age. In a study, a group of openly homosexual men were asked when they first became aware of their attraction to men and boys, when they realized that they were gay and when they “came out” to others. The group reported becoming aware of their attraction at a very young age, between 5 years old and puberty. Self-awareness of their sexual orientation took place around puberty, and coming out of the closet took place much later.

Finally, there is some evidence that the brains of homosexuals may be different from those of heterosexual men and women. The differences have been found in the hypothalamus, which controls eating, drinking, temperature regulation and sexual behavior. Studies done in the Netherlands and in Southern California have found such differences in several areas within the hypothalamus. One region, the mid sagittal area of the anterior commissure, is larger in females than in males, but also appears to be larger in homosexual males. Another area, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which controls circadian rhythm, is larger in heterosexual males and females than it is in homosexuals.

But the question whether sexual orientation is inborn or learned still remains in a controversial stage, all that we can say is in the modern contemporary world the notions of gender and sexuality are fast changing, for instance homosexuality is now a more accepted part of everyday society than it used to be before. The modern world has become quite liberal and open, this is evident by the decision of the Delhi High Court which has legalized gay marriages. The fact that, now we can see people freely accepting their sexual orientation in public which 10 years ago would have been considered deviant and would have been looked upon as sin suggests that times are changing and we should all embrace the change.

Even gender roles and traditional beliefs that girls have to be pure and chaste and boys have to be macho and aggressive are fast loosening. The age old gender stereotypes are no longer operating rather a new society which is liberal in accepting different kinds of sexualities is coming up. Gender roles and norms regarding how men and women ought to behave have undergone a paradigm shift. Girls can now be seen in jobs which were earlier deem fit only for boys. All this shows that our society has come far away from the earlier prejudices but there is still a long way to go.

 

 

The Perfect Date

Dating: an event which can even make a very confident person to lose his cool and act like a school kid. What to say, when to speak and when to just shut up and listen, where to go for the date, how to make it exciting and adventurous, how to impress the other, what to wear and many other similar questions haunts you at every hour of the day and by the time the blessed moment arrives you’re totally nervous.  Does the situation sound similar? Do all these remind you of your first date?

If yes and you have still got no answer to the million dollar question, “how to make your date a perfect one?”Let me tell you at the start there is no single set of rules which you need to follow to make your date a perfect one. The most important point to be kept in mind is that you should first get to know the other person, what does he/she likes, what is his idea of adventure, what is his idea of a perfect date, for someone it might be a candle light dinner in a posh restaurant but for some other it may be a pub or even an amusement park.

Respect the other’s wish and give it more importance than yours, it makes them feel special and lucky to have got a mate who is willing to sacrifice his preferences just for yours. You should choose a location very carefully, you need to make your date comfortable and the surroundings do play an important role.

Dress for the occasion: wearing shorts and a casual t-shirt for dinner in a restaurant is not a good idea, you might like those cool and comfortable shorts but keep in mind that you’re going out with a lady and should dress as per the occasion. Never make the other person feel embarrassed because of your poor dressing sense.

Always appear with a gift: you don’t need to buy an expensive one, just a bunch of flowers or some chocolates would do, but appearing with a small token of appreciation would surely earn you some brownie points.

Compliments and attention: Chris Rock, the famous comedian once said that any woman needs three things to survive oxygen, food and compliments. Well, this statement does has some truth. So make her feel comfortable and compliment her. Your compliments should never sound fake or too much stretced from the truth. Don’t just pay compliments like, you’re beautiful, tell her why is she so beautiful to you, tell her what do you specifically like about her but don’t overdo it, it may have the opposite effect. Every girl wants to feel special, tell her that she is different, try using adjectives like beautiful rather than hot or sexy.

As compliments are to girls similarly attention is to a guy. Listen to a guy, not just with your ears but with your expressions, your body language and actions. Be sympathetic.  Appreciate him for his efforts, say how much you liked it, and he would love it.

Talk a lot:  By talking a lot, I don’t mean mindless chatter or you telling your whole life history and the other one listening as if there is no other option. What I mean is be open, frank, don’t talk in monosyllables, try to include the other one. If your date is a bit shy and doesn’t speak much, start speaking and sharing, ask about his opinion so that he is bound to answer. Show interest and never be self absorbed.

Now you know, just put in that little extra and you can easily make your ordinary date an extraordinary one. The key is to make the other feel important and special. Let your special one know that you’re happy and there’s no place on earth you’d rather be than here.

Make way ! The “God” of all particles is here!

Peter Higgs must have been very happy in this week. And the reason is not just elating him, but the entire scientific community is joyous over the momentous discovery at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN at Geneva,Switzerland. The elusive Higgs Boson , popularly called the God Particle has been tentatively confirmed . A particle which is consistent with the Higgs Boson ‘s characteristics has been discovered. The Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs , who in 1964 wrote one of three ground breaking papers alongside the work of Robert Brout . Francois Englert ,Tom Kibble, C R Hagen and Gerald Guralnik covering what is now known as the Higgs mechanism and described the related Higgs field and boson.
SOME QUOTES
“We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature,” said Rolf Heuer,the Director general for the European Organisation for Nuclear Research which has been carrying out experiments in search of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle accelerator.
“The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe,” Heuer said.
Prof Joe Incandela, spokesman for the CMS, was unequivocal: “The results are preliminary but the five-sigma signal at around 125 GeV we’re seeing is dramatic. This is indeed a new particle,” he told the Geneva meeting
Prof Peter Higgs, after whom the particle is named, wiped a tear from his eye as the teams finished their presentations in the Cern auditorium.
“I would like to add my congratulations to everyone involved in this achievement,” he added later.
“It’s really an incredible thing that it’s happened in my lifetime,” he said.
Famous scientist Prof Stephen Hawking said,”This is an important result and should earn Peter Higgs the Nobel Prize.”
WHAT EXACTLY IT IS :In particle physics,elementary particles and forces give rise to the world around us. Physicists explain the behaviors of these particles and how they interact using the Standard Model—a widely accepted framework believed to explain most of the world we see around us. Initially, when these models were being developed and tested, it seemed that the mathematics behind those models, which were satisfactory in areas already tested, would also forbid elementary particles from having any mass which showed clearly that these initial models were incomplete. In1964 , three groups of scientists,(Peter Higgs Robert Brout . Francois Englert ,Tom Kibble, C R Hagen and Gerald Guralnik), almost simultaneously released papers describing how masses could be given to these particles, using approaches known as symmetry breaking. This approach allowed the particles to obtain a mass, without breaking other parts of particle physics theory that were already believed reasonably correct. This idea became known as the Higgs mechanism (not the same as the boson), and later experiments confirmed that such a mechanism does exist—but they could not show exactly how it happens. The leading and simplest theory for how this effect takes place in nature was that if a particular kind of “field” (known as a Higgs field) happened to permeate space, and if it could interact with fundamental particles in a particular way, then this would give rise to a Higgs mechanism in nature, and would therefore create around us the phenomenon we call “mass”.
WHY THE HYPE ? “Whatever form the Higgs particle takes, our knowledge of the fundamental structure of matter is about to take a major step forward,” the Geneva-based CERN or European Organisation for Nuclear Research press release on Wednesday stated. Professor Soldner-Rembold says:
“Today’s discovery teaches us something fundamental about the building blocks of the universe and how the fundamental particles that build the world around us acquire mass. The Higgs boson matters because it tells us about ‘matter’. This is curiosity driven research and addresses basic questions about the evolution of the universe.
In addition, this curiosity driven research also leads to many important applications. It was exciting to see how today’s seminar at CERN was broadcast via the world wide web to all continents, using the technology pioneered at CERN Particle accelerators have many applications in material science and medicine.
The Higgs discovery pushes the boundary of modern physics and it will
take a while to understand what lies beyond the door we have opened today. No doubt there will be many more exciting discoveries coming out of CERN and the LHC in the next decade.”

THE GOD PARTICLE ? This coinage is debatable. According to wikipedia : The Higgs boson is often referred to as the “God particle” by individuals outside the scientific community, after the title of Leon Lederman ‘s popular science book on particle physics:” If Universe is the answer,what is the question?” While use of this term may have contributed to increased media interest, many scientists dislike it, since it is sensational and overstates the particle’s importance. Its discovery would still leave unanswered questions about the unification of quantum chromodynamics , the electroweak interaction, and gravity, as well as the ultimate origin of the universe. Higgs, an atheist himself, is displeased that the Higgs particle is nicknamed the “God particle”,because the term “might offend people who are religious”.
Lederman said he gave it the nickname “the God particle” because the particle is “so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive,” but jokingly added that a second reason was because “the publisher wouldn’t let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing.”
Though the elusive Higgs Boson is believed to be discovered, this in no way is an end to anyresearch its just the beginning of our understanding the infinite universe that is around us.

The Right Way to Watch a Movie

Many a times we have read articles suggesting us as to whether  we should watch a particular movie or not but rarely we come across articles that guide us  as to how to watch a movie. This is one of the latter kind.Movie- watching has become one of the most loved pastime for young and old alike. It is an experience we all like to take pleasure in but there are people who are capable of totally annoying you and robbing you of the fun and joy you would have felt and rather makes you a sulking and irritated viewer. If you don’t want to be that someone, then  keep in mind that there are certain rules for watching movies.

Switch off that ever-ringing phone: Yes we are aware that you are a very important person and a celebrity amongst your friends, each one of them turns to you for advice and your mobile never stops ringing and you are totally proud of the fact. But seriously nobody at the movie hall is here to know what a flourishing social life you have, so kindly keep your cell phone switched off or in silent mode.

Hush up or go out and talk : Even if you take up a call which is very important, kindly keep it as soft and short as possible. If you can’t do that there’s always the exit gate, go out and finish the conversation.

Keep your comments to yourself: You are here to enjoy the movie and so is everyone else. Its fun to come in a big group with friends but stop passing those snide comments which you and your friends think are very funny and are howling with laughter. Always keep in mind there are other people as well, so just hush up a little.

Get a room guys: If you turn to movies to spend some “alone time” with your partner by getting all romantic and mushy mushy, please get a room guys. This is so not the place for stuff like this, maintain the decency of the place, you might be comfortable with public display of affection but others are not.

Don’t bring the crying babies: Avoid bringing your little baby to movies and if you do, take the kid out when he cries so as not to disturb others.

Stop kicking the front seats: Many people have a habit to just swing their legs and keep kicking the front seat, you might not even be aware about it but you’re totally pissing off the person sitting on the chair.

No smoking, drinking or littering: Most theatres nowadays don’t allow taking any eatables inside, which solves the problem of smoking or drinking but it won’t hurt you if you avoid making a bloody mess throwing packets here and there, spreading popcorn everywhere and sticking chewing gums under your seats.

Control your bodily functions: Stop farting or burping, if you really have to do it, please go use the washroom.

let’s make sure we follow these simple rules and turn the movie watching experience into a pleasure for all.

Awaiting the Federal Reserve’s next move!

There is high anticipation from the United States Federal Reserve Board that it might announce some new decisions so that USA financial or economical market can be improved and also the interest in the investors can boot up to make the more investment in the Unites States of America. Suppose that Federal Reserve is a rock concert as an economic amplifier but at a lowest zero level option seem like doing nothing. It might seem too unclear from this about the future of economic environment of the United States of America.  Chairmen Ben Bernanke and other senior executives of the Federal Reserve stated in their report that the economy of United States of America is slumping and the threats have been reported by the Europe’s debt crisis. The two day meeting of the Federal Reserve’s executives decides some rules and regulations and made some changes to the market as by setting the interest rates, that gave the bleaker picture for the United States of America economy. It has been investigated by the economic analysts that Federal Reserve will not give much support for the economic empowerment to increase the economic strength. Federal Reserve has given some options for their perceived likelihood as discussed below:

Extend Operation Twist:  Under this twist the Federal Reserve have planned to sell USD 400 billion in short term treasury securities from September 2012 and will go to buy the long term treasury securities that will make the financial situation better. Investor will be attracted to this for a long term to get the high return.  In order to take decision for this the Federal Reserve will go for to lower the long term rates and increase the short term rates. It has been decided to fasten the economic growth of the United States of America but instead of it the Federal Reserve has restrict the option to make easy the monetary policy. There is advantage of this decision in the economic environment is as potentially lowering the long term rates because it is due to not expanding the Federal Reserve’s record high portfolio. It was explained in the meeting of the executives that in case the Federal Reserve if it goes for expanding the portfolio of the investments it may raises the risk of high inflation later. The next move of the Federal Reserve indicates that operation twist that has been defined by the Federal Reserve will be expiring by end of this month. The economic experts and the analysts say that Federal Reserve will rethink on the deadline and will announce for the extension of the deadline.

Third round of quantitative easing

The analysts observe that when the Federal Reserve will expand its portfolio through buying the more bonds as long term, it is considered as the quantitative easing. The monetary policies of the government when occasionally go for increase in money supply after buying the securities issues by the government and also buy the securities from the market. Quantitative easing increase the options for the money supply by flooding the financial institutions that helps in increase the lending and liquidity for the economics and finance situations over the United States of America market. In case the interest rates has already been lowered by the Federal Reserve but still the quantitative easing has attracted the central banks towards the investment. Still these policies failed to produce the desired effect. The ultimate risk of this decision is that even because the more money is floating around still the fixed amount of goods can be used for sale. This decision will lead to higher prices or inflation.  Federal Reserve has already been involved in the number previous rounds for the sum more than USD 2 trillion. In the third round the budget has been increased by twice of the earlier in the QE3. It can be considered as the most dramatic move for the Federal Reserve that it can be made. It would also trigger the most criticism because it would expand the Fed’s holdings by billions more dollars.

Stronger Language

Federal Reserve also made the statement after each meeting so that the change can be made in the statement for the future decisions. It can be said by defining that the pledge of the economy can be improved further and also spells for these statements can be improved. The timetable given by the Federal Reserve can be changed based on the requirement to raise the short term rates beyond the current target of late 2014 till the late of year 2015.

Do nothing

This would lead to the continuation of the Federal Reserve’s decisions so that it can meet the policy standards decided in the meetings in March and April. After these meetings the policy making can be put on hold till the final decision.

IIT Delhi to go the Kanpur way ?

Another IIT has followed the path initiated by IIT Kanpur. Now IIT Delhi has rejected the common test proposal that was rolled out by the Ministry of HRD, by stating that the Centre’s policy is an impeachment on the autonomy of IITs across the country.
“The main reasons are whatever resolution has been adopted by theIIT Delhi Senate on May 2, those resolutions have been rejected by the IIT Council in their meeting on May 12 and 28 May, which we felt is not correct and that is why IIT Delhi Senate rightly has rejected the Council’s proposal and IIT Delhi’s Senate feels that it is an impeachment on our autonomy,” said Prof. Mittal of the civil engineering dept was quoted as saying .
“So, it is a broader issue of the autonomy of our IIT system. And then we say what is the way forward, the way forward is that IIT will conduct its own exam, so we have decided that we will conduct our own exam,” he added.
It is worth noting that the decision of conducting a common entrance test for admission into the IITs ,NITs and IIITs has met with nation wide debate and is being seen as an attack on the autonomy of the IITs. This test is proposed to have a significant weightage of class 12th board marks.
IIT Kanpur had earlier this month rejected the proposed test branding it ‘academically and methodically unsound’.
The IIT faculty federation has argued that the ISEET for admission to the undergraduate programme to the IITs and other Centrally-funded institutes will deteriorate the autonomous status enjoyed by the IITs. With these concerns the IIT faculty federation had met the Prime Minister , Dr.Manmohan Singh on 15th june and expressed their various concerns regarding the proposal and the PM had assured that the autonomy of these institutes shall not be tampered with.

With IIT Delhi’s refusal to follow the new pattern, the shroud of uncertainty hovering around the test pattern in 2013 has darkened.This is definitely marring the interest of students who aspire these coveted institutes .The crisis needs to be resolved at the earliest for the best interests of students at mind.

We can ride out another global crisis, says Montek

India has the ability to ride out even the worst sort of financial shock delivered by the Euro zone crisis, assured planning commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia here on Monday. In the worst case scenario where European investors might recall their roughly $140-billion investment, he said India would still have half its foreign exchange reserves intact.

Ahluwalia argued that the forecast of an economic collapse, following a Euro zone blowout, “assumes that no one would want to lend to us in such a situation”.

But, he argued, bankers who looked at the global system would consider India’s lowered 6.5% growth rate to be impressive in comparison to the rest of the world.

Ahluwalia, however, admitted: “We’re slowing down and this is not just because of the world situation.”

He also admitted that New Delhi now had less “firepower’” to handle a financial crisis and it could take another two years to get a reasonable growth rate again.

[This article was published originally by Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times Los Cabos (Mexico), June 19, 2012]

Being Indian: A matter of shame or pride?

 Does being Indian entail a matter of great pride or humiliation? The question relates to how you perceive your mother nation, what it means to you ?

Is it just a country, you were born into through a chance of luck or shall I say bad luck?

Is it just a nation whose nationality is struck to you?

Is it just a convenient place where your ancestors settled?

Is it just a place where people seem to be fighting in the name of caste, class and religion?

Is it just a country where politicians follow the policy of ‘promise and forget’; where the little pieces of paper called money are the master and everyone else a slave?

well, I think its a lot more than that……

It’s not a country I was born into; it’s an enigma I’m still trying to grasp.

It’s not just a nation whose nationality is struck to me, because I’m proud to be an Indian.

It might be a place where my ancestors settled for convenience’s sake but it just proves that it’s a land full of resources and opportunities.

It’s not a place where people fight in the name of caste, class and religion because the constitution of India declares in its preamble that India is a secular state with equal respect for all religions.

And no it cannot be a country governed by lying hypocrites and money because there is a lot more to learn from the enigma called “India”.

When I study about people like Gandhi, Nehru and all those who gave away their life for the sole purpose of liberty……….I learn patience and persistence.

When I learnt the words of Bhagat singh, ‘it is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumble while the ideas survive’. I learned to strive for what I believe; in short I learned a way of life.

When I was told the story of Rani Lakshmi Bai I learned the power of women.

When I learned that Aryabhatta of India outshines everyone in the history of mathematics.When I learn that he was the one who made the discovery of zero, I become aware of the intellectual power India holds.

When I read the “Arthashastra’ written by Chanakya, which is a classic of statecraft and is reverently studied even in Europe and elsewhere, I grasp the concept of politics and marvel on these great Indian men and their works.

When I heard the success story of Dr. Kiran Bedi,I learned that, when you live in a world ruled by corruption, you don’t have to surrender.When you live in a society governed by men, you don’t have to be submissive and meek and just because you’re a woman, you don’t have to be powerless and weak.

When I see Anna Hazare fighting for the Jan Lokpal Bill, I can almost see the new India from the window sill, I can dream of a corruption free India….I get the point, that if you have a dream, you have everything And if you have no dream than everything means nothing.

And when I see the youth coming on the roads to help him,I ponder, why are they doing it? What motivation could they have for coming on the streets and going on fasts? Are they getting paid for it……no, so how can we say that India is governed by money…..it never can be because souls cannot be purchased.

And now I understand what India means to me,

India is a country full of shocks and surprises, full of life, colour and vigour. It’s a place where you learn the right way of life, where institutions like family, marriage and society have not lost their meaning, where people still care for the younger and respect the elders.

How I wish, I could explain what India means to me and how proud I’m being an Indian but words can’t be enough to express the emotion, the reverence, the respect, the love I feel for the nation.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard & Poor threat to junk India spooks investors

An unexpected warning by global ratings major S&P on the possibility of India losing its investment grade sovereign rating spooked investor sentiments on Monday, a day that started on a strong note for markets globally after the European leaders agreed to a $125-billion bailout for the Spanish banking system.

The S&P warning also led the rupee to weaken against the dollar by 27 paise to 55.73, while the sensex reversed its five-session winning run to end 51 points in the red at 16,668. The slide in thestock market left investors poorer by Rs 21,000 crore with BSE’s market capitalization now at Rs 58.9 lakh crore.

The warning that India may be relegated to a junk bond status jolted Dalal Street investors and led to a 225-point fall in the sensex from its intra-day high. However, institutional players who deal with FIIs, the most influential of the investor groups on the Street, feel the warning could turn out to be positive for the market and the country. “This is a warning to the government to pursue its economic agenda which will lead to faster GDP growth,” said Dharmesh Mehta, MD (institutional equity), Enam Securities. “After reading the logic behind S&P’s warning, I see this as a positive development for the economy and the market. This would push the government to move faster on reforms, with RBI helping through rate cuts,” Mehta said.

Several other top broking house officials and dealers echoed the same view and said for the current week and the next, there are two things that matter the most. First, the Greek elections on Sunday, which is being equated to a referendum to see if its people are willing to be in the Eurozone. And the other one is the monetary policy decision by RBI on Monday.

Expectations are that Greece would leave the currency block, which could be disastrous for India as its throws the market into uncharted territory, while back home, given low inflation and lower crude oil prices, RBI would cut rates further, a positive for the market.

Usually, a cut in ratings by a global major leads to outflow of FII money both from the stocks and the bond markets.

On Monday, however, FIIs in the stock market were still net buyers at Rs 130 crore while domestic funds were net sellers at Rs 215 crore.

 [This article was originally published on Times of India, TNN | Jun 12, 2012, 05.00AM IST]

LinkedIn works with FBI on password theft

* LinkedIn does not know of any accounts that were taken over

* Not able to determine if email addresses were also stolen

By Jim Finkle and and Joseph Menn

June 7 (Reuters) – LinkedIn Corp is working with the FBI as the social network for job seekers and professionals investigates the theft of 6.4 million member passwords, the company said on Thursday.

The company does not know of any accounts that were taken over as a result of the security violations, according to LinkedIn spokesman Hani Durzy.

A spokeswoman with the FBI declined to comment.

LinkedIn is still in the early stages of the investigation. Durzy said it was not yet determined whether the email addresses that corresponded to the hacked passwords were also stolen.

On Wednesday, LinkedIn confirmed that millions of passwords were stolen.

The company said on Thursday it would disable passwords that had been compromised and force customers to reset them. The company sent affected members emails explaining how to change their passwords.

Several security experts said that LinkedIn’s stolen passwords had not been adequately secured and that the company did not employ best practices utilized by the world’s largest websites.

When asked to comment on that criticism, Durzy said that LinkedIn had already boosted the security of its database. “We place the highest value on the security of our members’ data,” he said.

Online dating service eHarmony warned on Wednesday that some of its user passwords had been breached after security experts discovered scrambled files with passwords for millions of online accounts.

The dating website’s contents are sensitive and could subject compromised members to embarrassment or even extortion attempts, experts said.

The attack on LinkedIn did not last long as the latest in a series of security breaches that could affect sensitive consumer data.

On Thursday, Last.fm, which recommends music to users based on the songs they already listen to, also warned its website visitors to change their passwords after a leak which may have resulted from a hacking attack.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience around changing your password,” the London-based company wrote.

It is unclear if the three attacks are all related. Web application security expert Jeremiah Grossman said on Twitter that all three companies used common Apache software for serving web pages to visitors, though that doesn’t mean that there is a new flaw in the program.

The series of problems underscored the continuing issues with passwords, which are best complex, different for each site and changed every few months.

Major breaches often lead to scam emails and account takeovers, which can be used to convince acquaintances of the target to click on dangerous links that monitor online credit card or bank account use.

LinkedIn caters to companies seeking employees and people scouting for jobs. It has more than 161 million members worldwide and makes money by selling marketing services and premium subscriptions.

Shares of LinkedIn closed up 1.1 percent at $94.13 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

[This article was originally published by Reuters.com, 08 Jun 2012]