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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FOOD/HEALTH SPECIAL....Pistachios can protect your heart during acute stress

Pistachios can protect your heart during acute stress

Scientists say eating a handful of pistachio nuts a day can help reduce the damage done to the body by acute stress.
Experts at Pennsylvania State University have claim that the nuts help lower blood pressure and heart rate in difficult situations.
In a study participants were given a variety of healthy diets, some containing pistachios, some without.
The scientists then measured their subjects’ cardiovascular responses, first as they took a challenging mental arithmetic test and again as they immersed their feet in cold water.
The largest drop in blood pressure was associated with eating about 1.5oz of nuts a day.
"Daily events, such as a tight deadline or public speaking can increase blood pressure,” the Daily Mail quoted Dr Sheila West, lead author of the study published online in the journal Hypertension, as saying.
"These results are significant because they show that physiological responses to stress are affected by the foods we eat,” she noted.
ANI London 120628


Startups Bloom in Small Towns

Entrepreneurs are tapping small towns that are low on cost and high on talent to live their dreams

Based in Thiruvananthapuram, Waybeo Technology Solutions was launched in 2009 by a group of six friends and focuses on wireless communication. The company, which is based in Technopark, an IT technology park in the Kerala capital, has developed an inbound calling platform, BounzD. The product is embedded on any online campaign, like an email, which a company sends out and with just a click of the mouse, a customer can dial up the company right from the online campaign. The product was commercially rolled out in September. The company has around 500 enterprise clients, including Sahara Group, Landmark, Puravankara Projects and Mantri Developers. Waybeo is launching the product in the US next month in the Software-asa-Service version. “We have sales and marketing offices in Mumbai and Gurgaon and we are opening another office in Bangalore. But our main development centre will continue to be in Thiruvan-anthapuram,” said Bushairusalam AP, the CEO of the company, who is targeting a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore this financial year.
Waybeo Technology Solutions
LOCATION: Thiruvananthapuram
FOUNDED BY: Bushairusalam AP and team
AREA OF OPERATIONS: Browser-based inbound calling platform, BounzD
Peerzada Abrar and Radhika P Nair ET120629

TECH SPECIAL...Windows Phone 8: Brilliant or dud?

Windows Phone 8: Brilliant or dud?

A few days after it announced the Surface, Microsoft dropped the bomb on its upcoming ‘Apollo’ mobile OS -- Windows Phone 8.
Now that it’s official, Microsoft has announced a whole bunch of new features as well as support for better and faster hardware in order to keep up with the competition. It didn’t announce any new handsets although you can expect Nokia and HTC to be working on them and perhaps, a Microsoft branded phone as well if we’re lucky. Let’s run through the new feature that matters.
New homescreen
You now have the ability to resize the live tiles, so you can cram in more tiles on the homescreen. You get to choose between three different sizes as well as different colours, so there are more options to customise. We can also expect higher resolution screens and WP8 now supports up to 720p displays.
Support for faster hardware
While WP7 was limited to single core CPUs, WP8 has full support for multi-core CPUs and can scale up to 64-cores, if needed. All the new handsets that will run WP8 will have a dual-core as a bare minimum and Qualcomm will continue to be the official supplier of SoCs. There’s also NFC support built-in as well. For the first time, Windows Phone will also support microSD cards, so users can expand the storage.
Better app support
Since Windows Phone 8 shares the same core architecture as Windows 8, this opens the door to richer apps with full support for their DirectX runtime. OpenGL support does seem to be missing though, which is used heavily by Android and iOS. So, porting those apps/games over won’t be straightforward. Microsoft has promised some exciting games and apps, so let’s wait and see. It has also integrated Havok Technology into the OS, so developers have access to APIs that will allow for more realistic gaming. The same games can also be ported over to the desktop.
Enterprise features
The whole suite of Enterprise features that was present in Windows 6.5 was taken out in Windows Phone 7, but it seems like Microsoft is adding those features back into WP8. The IE 10 browser built into WP8 features anti-phishing technologies like SmartScreen filter to block malicious websites. IT professionals can also monitor WP8 handsets through remote monitoring tools in Windows 8.
DNA Jun 26, 2012



Restaurants across the country, from an artisanal pizza joint in Bangalore to a five-star in Udaipur, are gradually warming up to the idea of growing kitchen gardens and acquiring produce from local farms

    In the restaurant business, the circle of influence is closing in. Early on, table talk was about sourcing produce from within a short radius, supporting neighbouring farmers, scaling down food miles, going seasonal and biting your tongue before you asked for bluefin tuna. Then restaurants decided to raise the stakes, and plant their own gardens. Food now has added cachet if it arrives gate-to-plate. The best of them grow it in their backyard: L’Arpege in Paris, Pied Terre in London, Henne Kirkeby Kro in Henne, Denmark, Manresa in California, Mugaritz in Spain, and The White House (not Michelin-starred, but difficult to land a table).
    India has yet to mosey up the garden path. Progress has been made on shortening the supply chain, and tapping local resources, but when it comes to growing their own crop restaurants are not yet up to seed. Most of them, particularly in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, barely have enough room to accommodate their diners comfortably. Surely a veggie garden was a distant dream.
    “A kitchen farm has amazing potential, but there’s not much space for one in Bombay,” says Gauri Devidayal, who with her husband, Jay Yousuf, owns The Table, a restaurant in Colaba. Located at an intersection, and flanked on two sides by buildings, the only room for greens here is in the decorative pots. And yet, The Table gets its spinach, white onions and mangoes from its very own garden — removed though it may be from its kitchen by a few nautical miles.
    On certain mornings, Devidayal’s gardener will ride the ferry across the harbour from her farm at Alibaug, hauling the day’s harvest straight to The Table. “We’ve been using the produce in salads, desserts and cocktails,” she says, acknowledging that the current supply cannot satisfy her establishment’s demand. They get about 84 mangoes once a week, and 40 bunches of spinach every three days — because the quality is good, these hold up for two or three days. But they need to step up production (in range and quantity) if they want to rely on the farm — one acre of which has been earmarked for the purpose. “I’ve enlisted a young urban farm specialist, Adrienne Thadani, who is putting together a production schedule for us,” Devidayal says. “We will experiment with 20 fruit and vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and micro greens, which are normally very expensive. By growing them ourselves, we want to make them cost-effective for the guests.”
    If Devidayal is gung-ho about her greens, Chef Moshe Shek is anticipative about his lemons. Shek, who runs the eponymous chain of cafés and restaurants in Mumbai, has a 2,000 sq ft garden behind his bakery in Navi Mumbai, where a single lemon tree (raised from a seed shipped over from Israel) will yield its first bounty later this year. The garden also grows herbs like basil, oregano and spearmint that Moshe dispatches to his central kitchen in Colaba where the food is prepared.
    Rithika Gupta, co-owner of Bangalore’s artisanal pizza joint, Huckleberry, sources coffee and herbs for the restaurant from her fields in Sakleshpur in the Malnad region of Karnataka. “All our coffee needs are met by our own produce,” Gupta says. “We don’t need to buy any commercial coffee at all.” Huckleberry gets its cheese from a cheese-making Benedictine monastery, whose speciality is the Vallombrosa, a mozzarella made from buffalo milk.
    Space, in this regard, may indeed be the final frontier to immediate and proximate food supply, but even those with plenty ought to see the virtue in greening it. Some have. The Leela Palace Udaipur grows a variety of micro-greens like basil, cress, arugula, nasturtium, cilantro and spinach, and is ready to sow a new batch of sorrel, microbeetroot, watercress, Japanese green Shiso, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, parsley and bell pepper. “In Udaipur greens and fresh herbs are often in short supply, and while we don’t expect the kitchen garden to meet our daily requirements, we know it will serve as a substitute should the need arise,” says Senior Sous Chef, Chandra Kumar T K.
    Even though they are presently unable to invest heavily in kitchen gardens, restaurants in India have made a start. Ones that are outside the city had a head start on their urban counterparts. Rajwadu, a Gujarati restaurant in Ahmedabad — a favourite with IIM-A and NID students — set up a sustainable business model in 1998. This eco-friendly eatery has been utilising ingredients straight off its farms, without preservatives or additives. Even the curd arrives directly from the barn. “We grow our own vegetables to bring the freshest flavours to the table,” says owner and agriculturist Manish Patel. He has a posse of 12 farmhands, whose reliance on natural farming practices and technological innovation guarantees a healthy farm dividend and keeps the customers coming.
    Kitchen gardens make sense for restaurateurs as they yield produce that is tasty and economical. Because they operate on a smaller scale than commercial farms, they use sustainable (often organic) practices that palpably refine the flavour of vegetables.
    “If I had the space, I would consider it God’s gift,” says chef Ritu Dalmia about the kitchen garden. Deprived of this endowment, she relies on a substitute — a friend’s organic farm, Encore Organics. “I give her my wish list, and she grows whatever I need,” says Dalmia, who obtains freerange poultry and meat from Delhi’s French Farm, an organic outfit. For many restaurateur-chefs like her, ‘outsourcing’ the farming to a reliable local is the next best alternative to owning a kitchen farm. Although, this has its problems too.
    Olive Beach in Bangalore has made many serious attempts at buying small and local, but the list of small growers has whittled down to a couple, says Manu Chandra, executive chef, Olive Beach Bangalore and Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mumbai. While the restaurants continues to buy fresh produce like fruit — mostly passion fruit and avocados — from kitchen gardens and small farms, Chandra makes it clear that a restaurant the size he runs cannot depend on this source. “It is quite erratic,” he says. “We do have small suppliers for some ingredients. For instance we buy chillies from a gentleman who is passionate about them and grows varieties such as the habanero that are not easily available in the market. But are they consistent suppliers? I’d have to say no. At the same time, it’s a pleasure to support any endeavour with passion and I believe that product also tastes and feels better.” At Olive, the produce from small farms ends up on the specials menu because it is not possible to put them on the regular menu.
    One of the suppliers at Olive is Amin Manjrekar, a farmer-by-choice who started his own company Green Fundas a few years ago. Green Fundas supplies fresh organic greens and veggies to several Bangalore restaurants and hotels.
    Local sourcing is also a form of community outreach. The twin eco resorts in the Western Ghats — Wildernest and Swapnagandha — have commissioned the villagers of Chorla in northern Karnataka to run a two-acre kitchen garden for them. “But they only keep a winter garden, as the rains in these parts are unreliable, summers are scorching and there’s no guarantee of the crops lasting,” say Nirmal Kulkarni, Director Ecology of Wildernest. The two restaurants on the 450-acre expanse plan their menus around available produce and don’t ask the farmers to customise production. “We get our onions, pumpkins, capsicums and so on from the farm; the rest of our supply comes from local, chemical-free farms in Belgaum,” Kulkarni says.
    The restaurant kitchen garden will only flourish when restaurateurs pay closer attention to urban farming, terrace and balcony gardening and vertical gardens. The concept is ripe for the picking.
•     Inputs from Shrabonti Bagchi in Bangalore and Chitra Unnithan and Runa Mukherjee Parikh in Ahmedabad



Olympic cauldron built in 'Bond-style gadget workshop' says architect as organisers vow to make giant flame carbon neutral

  • Thomas Heatherwick surprised unique design given go-ahead by 2012 chiefs
  • Fuelled by natural gas which is pumped through each of its 204 petals stems
  • Petals made from steel using acid treatment that gives it 'bad black' colour
  • Organisers working with EDF energy to ensure all emissions will be offset
  • Rehearsals carried out at night to keep details a closely guarded secret
  • Entire structure weighs just 16 tonnes. Cauldron in Beijing was 300 tonnes
By Daily Mail Reporter

The lighting of the Olympic cauldron at last night's opening ceremony was, if nothing else, wonderfully unique.
The giant flame's design was so sophisticated the studio where it was crafted looked more like James Bond's gadget workshop, its architect revealed today.
Thomas Heatherwick said he was pleasantly surprised when the idea to have 204 separate petals come together to form one giant flame got the go-ahead from a range of officials including Prime minister David Cameron and London 2012 chairman Lord Coe.

Going green: Each of the 204 petals is fuelled by natural gas, which means energy consumption can be reduced significantly and the flame will still burn brightly
Measuring just 8.5 metres high and weighing 16 tonnes, it is far smaller and lighter than ones from previous events. The one lit in Beijing four years ago weighed a staggering 300 tonnes.
Mr Heatherwick, who developed it at his Heatherwick Studio in Kings Cross, London, said: 'We were aware cauldrons had been getting bigger, higher, fatter as each Olympics happened and we felt we shouldn't try to be even bigger than the last ones.
'This incredible event has 204 nations coming together, so we had a child from each country bringing these copper polished objects in.
'At the end of the Games, this cauldron will dismantle itself and radiate back down to the ground and each of those copper pieces take away by each nation and put in a national Olympic cabinet somewhere.'
Blooming marvellous: This series of photographs shows each of the 204 copper and steel petals of the Olympic cauldron being lit before being lifted up to form one giant flame
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) requested the flame be powered by natural gas, which is pumped individually through the stems of each petal.
A spokeswoman told MailOnline: 'The multiple burners means that the burn-rate is flexible.
'The gas flow can be reduced very significantly - this means we can reduce our gas consumption from 100 per cent down to 15 per cent.
'We are constantly monitoring the flow rate to ensure the minimum quantity of gas is burned.'
Locog is also working with energy company EDF to see that all of the carbon emissions will be offset.
Intricate engineering has gone into the design to ensure the flame does not go out, in any 'unforeseen circumstances' it will relit by the 'mother flame' kindled in Olympia, Greece.
 The copper petals, created to be 'very small and humble objects', were made using traditionally skilled craftsmen of the sort who used to roll sheet metal to make body parts for car makers such as Bentley, according to Mr Heatherwick.
He said: 'It is like the biggest gadget that anyone can make in a shed but this shed is the most sophisticate shed in Harrogate.
'It was like the Bond gadget workshop.'
More than a billion people who watched globally along with the 70,000-plus crowd inside the stadium saw the unique petals being carried by each of the children as they accompanied each Olympic team into the stadium for the athletes' parade.
The rods which make up the stem of the cauldron are made of stainless steel with a heat and acid treatment that makes it a colour called bad black, which is actually slightly blue.
The petals are copper and the entire structure is about 8.5 metres tall and will be moved from the centre of the stadium overnight tomorrow.
It will move to the end of the stadium where the huge bell was struck to signal the start of the opening ceremony.
Like the cauldron the London 1948 organisers used when the Olympics were last staged in the capital, the cauldron will stay alight inside the stadium rather than being pitched above it.
The cauldron design team used the fact that the athletes' parade is a long event, lasting at least 90 minutes, to retrieve the elements from the centre of the parade and discreetly fix them to specific spots on the cauldron.
Practice had to be done at night as the lighting of the cauldron had to be kept secret.
Rehearsals were held in the north of England, but were switched to the stadium nearer to the grand event.
Mr Heatherwick said: 'It had to stay a secret. We had to wait until the dancers had gone home so it was about 3am - that was the time that it (the stadium) was available for use to use.'
The seven teenage up-and-coming athletes who made up the final torchbearers had 45 seconds to light the cauldron. There was then a 45-second wait before it all lifted into place.
By the time the first ring was in place the last one was lifting and coming together. 'So it was like a dandelion seed being blown - but it seemed to work, which was a huge relief,' Mr Heatherwick said.
Mr Heatherwick said he and artistic director Danny Boyle, the mastermind behind the opening ceremony, wanted something that was not about being bigger than the last Olympic cauldron, in Beijing, but was about the people involved in bringing it together.
This is one of the reasons why is was set in the centre of the stadium with the parading athletes surrounding it.
He said: 'We were thinking about this incredible object with 204 nations coming together. It was a challenge but it did not feel enough to design a different shaped bowl.'
The cauldron will be split up at the end of the Games and each piece will be returned to a competing national Olympic committee (NOC).
Mr Heatherwick said: 'The cauldron will dismantle itself and come back to the ground. These pieces will be taken away by the NOC.
'They will be these heated elements, maybe they will get buffed, but everyone will have a piece.'
Heatherwick Studio was established in 1994 by Mr Heatherwick, an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art.
He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from four British universities – Sheffield Hallam, Brighton, Dundee and Manchester Metropolitan.
He has won the Prince Philip Designers Prize and, in 2006, was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry.
He has served on numerous judging and advisory panels and has given lectures, tutorials and talks at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Yale University.
The opening ceremony, put together by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, had been cut to three hours to ensure athletes did not get stranded and left unable to get home.
It was only when organisers put the final rehearsals together that they realised it would run too late for public transport.
But some viewers were miffed that it still didn't finish until gone 12.30am.
Ben Wilson tweeted: 'A great opening ceremony for @Olympics last night. But I am very tired this morning as it was a late finish.'
Darren Huckerby ‏added: 'Not a bad opening Ceremony, late finish though!'
Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson previously denied the cut had been forced because of problems with the G4S security firm who failed to employ enough guards for the Games.