Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What is the world eating?

A look at various breakfasts of the world and you will be left hungry for different things at the same time.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Conserve water or stay thirsty

As the water level goes down with every passing day in Bangalore and all across the world, it is time to get up and fight for saving the wetlands or else your kids and mine would have to walk thousands of miles every year to get a small bowl of drinking water.

The most prolific group working on wetlands in and around Bangalore is IISc ecologist Professor T V Ramachandra and his team of resea­r­chers. 

“We’ve been studying the shapes and forms of the wetlands for 20 years. Every characteristic of lakes and wetlands in Bangalore has been mapped by us. But I am sorry to say that the technology city has suffered from depletion of wetlands over the last 20 years,” says Prof Ramachandra.

As per their research, over 300 lakes/wetlands have disappeared in Bangalore’s eco-system, with the City now having only 93. But seasonal lakes, lakes which come alive during monsoon are high in number at around 190.

“Wetlands are different from lakes, in that lakes would be the actual water body, while wetland would be all the soggy area and lands around the lake. The wet areas where weeds grow and where water is absorbed are all wetlands. At one point, we had almost all the lakes with extensive lands around them. The sixties and seventies saw a very exuberant green landscape dotted with water bodies. But by the nineties, the waterbody ecosystem completely changed,” Ramachandra explains.

What has been the major factor causing disappearance of the lakes? The ecologist puts things in perspective: “Urbanisation is at the core of Bangalore’s lake depletion. Too many buildings, construction of structures over lakes, encroaching wetland area around the lakes are responsible for the decline in lakes. 

Typically wetlands are denotified by government agencies and passed on to builders who pay a hefty bribe in return for the land bought. This agency-builder nexus should be taken out if we have to ensure strict regulation of waterbodies.”

There is also an opinion that orders on lake regulation by bureaucrats smack of ignorance of the ground situation. Says a researcher: “Ï have never seen bureaucrats visiting or inspecting lakes periodically. There is no long-term plan in place on how to preserve and protect the lake bio-diversity. 

Of course, there is the Lake Development Authority (LDA), but how much authority does it really have in the face of other powerful government agencies that do away with the land? Environmentalists have not been able to deal with the land mafia. 

A set of vested interests develop around a lake and at the right time, things move in the government to denotify areas and money is exchanged liberally. The committees that have bureaucrats must also have credible ecologists and environmentalists, thinkers and credible urban planners.”

Groundwater in Bangalore has been taking a hit for some time now. Researchers have pointed out that many groundwater areas have gone dry in and around Bangalore. All Bangalore residents don’t have access to water from the Cauvery river. 

So there is heavy dependence on borewells and underground water. In many areas, it is common to see women collecting water from taps and pipes in a corner or from a public borewell facility. 

This shortage could have been mitigated to an extent by expanding and preserving the water bodies around Bangalore. While it would not solve water problems on a huge scale, there could be a case for water body rejuvenation via water regulation.

Social researchers fear that water shortage will lead to conflicts and everyday fighting among residents of particular districts or regions. 

“Water wars are not impossible to anticipate in the near future. There is already a difference of opinion on water sharing between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu who depend on the Cauvery river - southern India’s lifeline. 

From urban residents, both rich and poor, to farmers in the agrarian regions, Cauvery is vital for survival. In such a context, drawing water from other reservoirs would help.

Experts say water bodies close to the T G Halli reservoir (which also supplies water to the city), at the border of Western Bangalore, need to be protected to rejuvenate underground water. Unfortunately, industries were given permission to operate from around the area. But a sustained campaign against industrial presence has resulted in positive changes. 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked nearly a dozen industrial units to shut shop from areas close to the reservoir, called Zone-3. The Tribunal also ordered that units vacate from Zone-4, stating that there can be no justification for granite cutting and polishing units around the reservoir. 

Chemicals were dumped on the river bed and into the reservoir and canals. Anti-pollution activists are reasonably happy that orders were given to factories to relocate. Hopefully things will get brighter as awareness picks up on the need to protect and preserve precious water bodies in and around Bangalore. “We would be very happy to share our studies on wetlands to help in their preservation,” says Ramachandra.

Monday Blues: Hang on

Hold on,Hang on 
Don't give up yet
For there's hope you bet

(Click on the pic to enlarge or http://500px.com/photo/65199249)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slow poisoning of India

I will recommend is to see an excellent documentary ‘The Slow Poisoning of India’ , a 26-minute documentary film directed by eminent Ramesh Menon and produced by the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). It deals with the dangers of excessive use of pesticide in conventional agriculture in India which is so rampant that people are eating a ‘cocktail’ of pesticides. India is one of the largest users of pesticide in Asia and also one of the largest manufactures.

The toxins have entered into the food chain and into our breakfast, lunch and dinner. The film showcases startling case studies from Kerala where villagers in Kasaragod district are paying a heavy price as it has been exposed to pesticide spraying for many years. It talks of the health impacts in other parts of India and also on how the magic of the green revolution in Punjab is fading as land and water bodies have been poisoned.

Cook yourself to keep your family healty

Renowned activist and author Michael Pollan argues that cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to improve their family's health, build communities, fix our broken food system, and break our growing dependence on corporations. The event was chaired by Tim Lang, professor of Food Policy at City University London.


Key Points in the Video
  • Poor women who cook have healthier diets than wealthy women who don’t cook.
  • In America, rates of home cooking have decreased 50% since the mid-60s.
  • On average in America, we spend 27 minutes cooking per day, and 4 minutes cleaning up (which means it’s probably fast food — who can do dishes and scrub pots and pans in 4 minutes?).
  • To be healthy, eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Blues: 10 things you shouldn't do when you start a business

NIKKI BOWMAN came up with these wonderful things you shouldn't do if you are an entrepreneur. I am not a big fan of lists but here is an exception.

  1. Launch a business without market research.
  2. Start without a plan (but don’t spend years reworking it
  3. Take no for an answer
  4. Launch without a budget for marketing
  5. Begin by focusing on making lots of money
  6. Be indecisive
  7. Be inflexible
  8. Be cheapest on the market
  9. Believe starting your own business will give you free time
  10. Spend your early profits on prestige items

Monday Blues: Grow like there is no tomorrow

When your roots are strong 
You will learn to grow strong
When you have a chance to grow 

Grow like there is no tomorrow

(Click on the pic to enlarge)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Touching Letter From Woman to Stranger Who Paid Her Grocery Bill

From Progressive Populist blog:

There are tons of judgmental people out there. We all know that.
Especially in a nation where being poor has been twisted into having personal and moral shortcomings, thanks to the rhetoric on the right.
Fox News regularly demonizes the poor, and the social programs that help them keep a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food on their table.
So when I first got wind of this letter, a quick glance at the headline made me believe that this was going to be a letter about someone standing in line at the grocery store and using food stamps to pay for their goods, all while being condemned and chastised from some unsympathetic, insensitive, holier-than-thou cretin who was in line right behind them.
But no. The woman who wrote the letter experienced much better than that. It restored her (and ours) faith in humanity. The person in line behind her paid for her groceries, and it made a bigger impact than the do-gooder will likely ever know.
And the woman’s children were there to witness the good deed and were equally moved by the gesture. And because of it, they are much more likely to grow up and do the same for someone else. What comes around, really does go around.
Here is the letter, which was published at Huffington Post and was originally posted on the woman’s blog.
Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,
You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.
You have no clue I have cried more days than not; that I fight against bitterness taking control of my heart. You have no clue that my husband’s pride was shattered. You have no clue my kids have had the worries of an adult on their shoulders. You have no clue their innocence was snatched from them for no good reason. You know none of this.
What you do know is I tried to buy my kids some food and that the EBT machine was down so I couldn’t buy that food. I didn’t have any cash or my debit card with me. I only had my SNAP card. All you heard was me saying “No, don’t hold it for me. My kids are hungry now and I have no other way of paying for this.” You didn’t judge me. You didn’t snarl “Maybe you should have less kids.” You didn’t say “Well, get a job and learn to support yourself.” You didn’t look away in embarrassment or shame for me. You didn’t make any assumptions at all.
What you did was you paid that $17.38 grocery bill for us. You gave my kids bananas, yogurt, apple juice, cheese sticks, and a peach ice tea for me; a rare treat and splurge. You let me hug you and promise through my tears that I WILL pay this forward. I WILL pay someone’s grocery bill for them. That $17.38 may not have been a lot for you, but it was priceless to us. In the car my kids couldn’t stop gushing about you; our “angel in disguise.” They prayed for you. They prayed you would be blessed. You restored some of our lost faith. One simple and small action changed our lives. You probably have forgotten about us by now, but we haven’t forgotten about you. You will forever be a part of us even though we don’t even know your name.
You have no clue how grateful and embarrassed I am that we pay for all our food with SNAP. We eat well thanks to the government. I love that. I love that the government makes sure my kids are cared for. It is one less worry for us. I also struggle with pride and embarrassment. I defiantly tell people we are on SNAP. Daring them to judge us.
Only those closest to us know why we are on SNAP. They know my husband is a hard worker who was laid off after 17 years in a management position with his former company. They know we were moved from our home to a new state only to be left homeless since the house we had came with the job he lost. Only those closest to us know my husband works part time while looking tirelessly for more; that he has submitted more applications than he has received interviews for. Too many jobs are only offering part time work anymore. It is not easy for a 40-something year old to find a job that will support his family of five kids.
You know none of this but you didn’t let that stop you from being compassionate and generous to someone you have never met.
To the woman behind me at the grocery store, you have no idea how much we appreciate you. You have no idea the impact you had on my kids. You have no idea how incredibly thankful I am for you. Your action may have been small, but to us it was monumental. Thank you.
Thank you for not judging us. Thank you for giving my kids a snack when they were quite hungry. Thank you. Just thank you.

Andrea, the woman in front of you at the grocery store with the cart full of kids who are no longer hungry

Jamuna vs Brahmaputra

We were searching for a friend's house in Assam on Google Earth and found Jamuna river flowing through Guwahati to the shock of my life. Now how did that happen? This should have been Brahmaputra and not Jamuna. Refresh and it is still the same. I have loaded the screenshot here and am notifying the team at Google too.

Interestingly this is a prominent river and not a small tributary. In fact it is the only masculine-named-river in India. I hope Google quickly corrects it.

You can be really careful but there can be mistakes. If you wake up and rectify, there shouldn't be a problem. After all we are all human. Google... Are you listening? Or should I search for Taj Mahal here in Guwahati?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Water on Mars

Yep. There is. I am in the know how and have access to some classified information for quite sometime now and that makes me believe strongly that there is water on Mars and that this would not just be a good news to us humans but also a great chance to explore and move on to new worlds.

This announcement of the presence water or should I say the presence of an ocean on Enceladus, a moon, revolving Saturn just affirms that water and other life supporting elements can be existent all around the universe and we are in the process of discovering them.

When the Cassini spacecraft got its first closeup look at Saturn’s moon Enceladus after the probe’s arrival in 2004, it was rewarded with a jaw-dropping sight: giganticgeysers of ice particles and water vapor spewing hundreds of miles into space from the icy world’s southern hemisphere. These plumes are so prolific that they continuously resurface Enceladus’ sparkling white surface with a fresh coating of ice crystals—and still have enough left over to be the main source of ice particles that make up Saturn’s E-ring.

I sincerely hope Mars rover or our own Mangalyaan just affirms this and makes us proud. Fingers crossed. Waiting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The marketing logic behind Lungi dance

Or should I make the title the lack of marketing behind Lungi dance? I think I will keep the title.

Taking the nation frenzy, cutting across all ages, genders and should I say sizes (?) and reaching close to 2 crore views on all the youtube channels and easily reaching the multi-crore mark, I had to look at it and decipher the logic or the lack of it behind the whole marketing bandwagon.

It is simply the most silly and simple celebration of the South Indian mania behind the legendary Rajani and his fans who are innumerable and spread across the world and the celebration is lead by another superstar who is also loved across the world and blatantly tells you to get up and dance. The best way to explain this would be the celebration of the perfect cultural amalgamation when a Punjabi sings composed in south Indian style in Hindi and is loved all across the country. Rohit could easily be one of the bestest planners and SRK could only one of the best marketing geniuses in the country or it could be a great gamble that paid off or a properly planned and pulled off.

It succeeded as it brings to the forefront the eccentrics of the common man's fancy dance in the comfort of his friends in the effects of his evening exuberance when he is trying to dance off his troubles.

And as a Rajani fan I am not complaining. I should also roundu gumafy the moochen and start tapping.

Enna? What do you say?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Habits of the World's Smartest People

Wify forwarded this article by Kathleen Davis to me and it was worth the read. I am sure you would like it too.

 There is no one picture of intelligence, but many people with high IQs do tend to share some of the same habits -- both good and bad. For example, according to research complied by Online-PHD-Programs.org, while those with high IQs tend to set goals and read avidly, they are also more likely to drink more heavily and suffer from anxiety.

 For more on the habits of smart people, including a look at the IQs of icons such as Albert Einstein and Bill Gates, check out the infographic below. Click to Enlarge+

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to get your mails read

I get this question very often.

I sent many mails but there is no response from y client list. How do I get my mails answered?

Here is a simple strategy...

1. Keep your mails short
2. Keep it neat and clean, i.e., format for readability and clarity
3. Give a call for action
4. Tell me how simple the action is
5. Tell me how it would help me (save money/time and so on)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Trusting your gut?

Most marketers in the US are trusting their gut to determine the marketing spends finds out a survey. And the importance of using data is growing. Hail marketers.

There is a growing awareness of the need to use data in decision-making. According to the Adobe survey, which was conducted by ResearchNow, 39% of respondents used consumer data and behavior more last year to shape their marketing strategies. A larger share – 45% – hope to rely more on these data in the coming year. What’s more, 76% of marketers agreed that they need to be more data-focused to succeed.

Not surprisingly, those respondents from companies with high digital spend (25% of their budgets) are more likely than those from companies with low digital spend.
There seems to be a consensus among marketers that they need to reinvent themselves to succeed, particularly as the vast majority believe that marketing is undergoing a revolution. But few of those who want to reinvent their role know how to go about doing so. Part of embracing a new approach to marketing also involves experimentation, and 54% of respondents believe that the ideal marketer should take more risks. That risk-taking extends to new technologies, but marketers were twice as likely to agree that they are more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream (65%) they they were to agree that they make use of new technology even before it’s proven (31%).
With that in mind, some 6 in 10 hope to try more new things (59%) and learn new skills (58%) in the coming 12 months, while half are looking to experiment more and test and evolve their marketing strategies. Perhaps most significantly, while only 29% took more risks last year, 45% hope to this year.
The online survey was conducted February 19-27, 2014 by ResearchNow among 1,004 US marketers. The results have a margin of error at the 95% confidence level, for the total sample, of +/-3.1%. Some 465 companies had high digital spend, while 153 had low digital spend.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dog psyche

Any dog fans in here on my reading list?

I am sure you would love this even if you weren't and probably you would understand dog psyche a lot more.

Confessions of 30 naughty dogs.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Blues: Be true to yourself

I was not an admirer of Arnab Goswami till recently. I think I started to like his attitude these days. Here is a wonderful video shared by my prof and I am urging you to have a look at it and see how it is important to believe in yourself and follow your dreams.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Open the eyes of my heart

I am amazed at the gift of the Lord to this wonderful child and cannot stop praising him for the gifts he has given in my life.

Christopher Duffley sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart" in Concord, NH when he was just 10 years old in 2011. You can find out what has happened to him since then by going to www.christopherduffley.com

How can you not be thankful to the Lord who has given you so much.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Are you who you are?

Sometimes you need to rediscover yourself to see who you really are. Found this video online today and couldn't stop sharing it here. The joy of setting out in your life to discover your true passions, beliefs and probably change yourself and see who you really are is a journey very few intend to take.

Whenever life gives you a challenge, wake up and take it up and tread an unbeaten path, however small it can be. I am sure you will find it worth the effort.


Tatia PIlieva

Tatia PIlieva managed to stir up the marketing fundamentals.

Google more to find out!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Believe and you shall gain

'If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it in the beginning.'

- Mahatma Gandhi

The anchor

Who is your anchor? 

Everyone has an anchor. Including brands. 

Anchors ensure you stay connected to the brand. Anchors ensure you stay focused on the brand too.

Anchors have a story, mission, vision or to put in a better word: adds character to the brand. 

So who is your anchor and what is his/her story?

Water management in Gujarat India

I am not a big fan of Modi or any other politician but this is incredible as it brought in inclusive development. Why can't we do this in all other states? Especially in the newly formed Andhra.

I also love the simple way of presenting data in this video. Comparing the data points to internationally known information that brings the awe factor (like the great wall of china, Indian Railways and so on) was a brilliant decision. Also the credibility factor is high when you have actual non-related people testify the results in a non-data sharing way.

Sure you can use some of the pointers here.