What Does “Winter Solstice” Mean?


The winter solstice lasts for just one moment. It occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun. This usually happens around December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere or June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. 

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, during the solstice the sun will be at its southernmost point in the sky. The higher in latitude you are, the more you will notice that the solstice has the shortest day and longest night of the year.

(What is the relationship between the solstice and the equinox? Read about that here.)

In ancient cultures around the globe, the winter solstice was marked with ceremonies and celebrations. For example, in the days of the Inca Empire the winter solstice was honored with Inti Raymi, or Festival of the Sun. It involved a ceremony in which an Inca priest would “tie” the sun to a column stone in a symbolic effort to keep it from escaping.

Halfway around the world, indigenous people in Finland, Sweden, and Norway participated in the Beiwe Festival. On the winter solstice, worshippers honored the goddess Beiwe by sacrificing white female animals and covering their doorposts with butter for Beiwe to eat on her travels.

What does the winter solstice mean for you? Let us know below.

Important numbers to save on your cellphone

Mint January 20, 2012 India, Jan. 20 — Picture this: you are away on a business trip in a different city, when you realize that your pocket has been picked. While you were smart enough not to keep all your money in the wallet, you had your credit and debit cards in the wallet. Now you need to block your cards as soon as possible, but there’s a problem. You neither have your bank’s customer service number stored in your mobile phone, nor do you remember your credit/debit cards’ numbers. By the time you call home and get all these numbers in place and report the theft to the bank, your cards have been swiped clean by the fraudster.

While there is not much that you could have done about the theft, you probably could have avoided the theft from your cards by informing the bank well in time. And for that, you would have needed the numbers handy. One of the easiest and quickest ways to access such important numbers is to store them in your mobile phone.

But when doing this, make sure your phone has adequate security measures. For all you know, the phone may be picked instead of the wallet.

What can you store?

“Storing your credit card numbers and the respective banks’ contact numbers is a good practice. In fact, one should also store their bank savings account numbers and the banks’ customer service number on the phone,” says Ranjit Dani, a Nagpur-based financial planner. Of course, its common sense to store only 16-digit card numbers and not the CVV and expiry date of the cards.

There are other important numbers you could save on your phone for quick access. Permanent Account Number, or PAN, is one such number, which you need almost every time you fill a form these days. Other numbers such as your driving licence number and voter identity card number, when stored on your phone can come in handy. For instance, in an emergency, you may need to book an airline ticket for a foreign destination from your office laptop, but you can’t because you do not have your passport number handy. Obviously, you can’t carry your passport everywhere, but if the number was stored on your cellphone, your life would have become easier.

Carrying all the cards in the wallet isn’t practical either.

Dani says, “Today, we have various membership cards from retail outlets but carrying all the cards in the wallet isn’t practical. I save these card numbers in my phone and when I shop, I give the membership number to get the reward points.” You can even get a printout by just connecting the cellphone to the computer and the printer. this web site blackberry protect login

Where can you store?

You can store this data in either the phone memory or the card memory of your phone. While numbers can be stored in the notes and memo folders, you could store the scanned documents in the documents folder. Keep in mind that basic phones, unlike smartphones, may not have a facility to store documents, so don’t store important numbers as drafts in inbox folder of your basic mobile, that isn’t safe. in our site blackberry protect login

Security issues While storing important numbers and scanned documents offer a level of comfort, this comfort should not come at the expense of caution. Hence, while storing the information on the phone, you need to ensure two things.

First, the data should not fall in wrong hands in case you lose your mobile or your phone is stolen. Second, your data does not go in the hands of cyber criminals, who may have access to your mobile platform if you are connected to the Internet through your phone. In case you lose your phone or it’s stolen, you stand to lose all your financial data and also run the risk of data being misused by the person who finds your phone. Unless you have taken necessary precautionary measures, do not save numbers on your phone.

Phone locks: First, it’s important to have a SIM card lock. Second, the phone lock code should be activated; this gives access to your phone only with a permanent identification number (PIN).

Apps specific to some smartphones: Many smartphones have applications that help store important numbers and come with some in-built layers of protection. For instance, BlackBerry has an inbuilt application called the password keeper. Says Rajan Moses, product manager-India, Research In Motion, the maker of BlackBerry devices, “The password keeper stores sensitive information and comes with a PIN. If an incorrect PIN is used for a maximum number of 10 times, or as per the number of attempts you set, then the data is wiped off the device. This ensures that the data is safe.” Apart from that, one can also use the feature called BlackBerry Protect. “This free application allows you to take advantage of several features such as automatic back-up of your contacts, calendar entries and more. It is a great way to help ensure you do not lose important contact information,” says Moses. You can also remotely lock or wipe out data from a BlackBerry device. You could also encrypt the content of your phone as well as the memory card, to increase data safety.

Word of caution: “This is because cyber criminals currently have a window of opportunity to exploit a variety of mobile platforms, primarily because of the activities taking place on the platform. We expect cyber crime to increasingly migrate to devices, especially as more users are doing more on their devices and more vulnerable devices take off in the market,” says Vinoo Thomas, product manager, McAfee Labs, a security solutions provider.

From a platform perspective, Android is rapidly growing as a platform of choice for both vendors and customers. Hackers typically tend to target the most widely used platforms as their intent is to maximize gain. There are many malwares available on the Internet, you may download one of them by mistake. “Given that the platform is in the early stages of infancy combined with its increasing popularity, it is very likely that attacks on Android will significantly increase in the years to come,” says Thomas.

Safety tips: You can install anti-theft technology on your phone. Install apps only from trustworthy sources, activate the auto lock feature, refrain from browsing or connecting to unsecured wi-fi connections and backing up the information by storing in some other alternative as well. Make sure you buy certified apps from authentic online stores.

The way forward With cloud computing entering the country, storing your important numbers and data on your hand-held device and memory card may soon become obsolete. Says Gandhi, “There are a large number of third-party apps that one can use to protect important data on the mobile. However, with cloud-based vault, there is no need to store data on the phone at all. You can keep all your valuable information on the cloud and get a backup in case you lose your phone.” However, until then, you can carry your important numbers on your phone, but ensure that you take proper precautions.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from MINT.

For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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