Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting to the "root" of the matter : US "discovers" turmeric

I could not help but chuckle reading this article in Time magazine: Can Turmeric Relieve Pain? One Doctor's Opinion

I realized that this article with an anecdotal evidence of one individual would do more for popularizing this wonder root in the US than the avid testimony of billions of Indians who have been partaking turmeric as food and medicine for thousands of years.
  • Minor cut or burn , apply turmeric paste (in fact yellow color of turmeric was so closely associated with burn treatment in India that Burnol when launched in India as a burn treatment cream had a bright yellow color).
  • Worms in the belly or body ache/inflamation and pain: add turmeric powder to milk and drink it before you go to bed.
  • Worried about your skin condition or want to keep your skin in glowing condition : apply turmeric and sandalwood paste. Most marriage traditions require both the bride and groom to be anointed with turmeric.
The list is endless....... Ayurveda- the ancient Indian medical system waxes eloquent about the benefits of turmeric. This is only some of the stuff I heard growing up as a kid. And the urging from my mother to make sure that anything with turmeric in it does not fall on my white school shirt for those yellow stains were almost impossible to make disappear.

And in any case for good measure, add it to whatever you cook. That sure came in handy as it now appears that Indian have low rates of Alzheimer's/Senile Dementia, attributable arguably to prevalence of turmeric in the diet .

And the chuckle turns into a guffaw when I see people rushing to specialty stores to buy small bottles of turmeric powder for tens of dollars when they can buy a few pounds of the stuff for the same amount at the local Indian ethnic store (every US town has one. If you don't know where it is, ask your Indian friends, they will love to direct you to it) . And Guys, don't end up pushing the prices up because it may be a fad for you it's food for many like me!

Looks like after yoga it is now the turn of turmeric to be "discovered" by the West!!

Since I originally wrote this post came across this another interesting validation of the benefits of "curcumin"- the key active ingredient in turmeric : "Turmeric cuts postmenopausal breast cancer risk"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Baseballers" from the Land of Cricket

The fertile fields of Indian villages and the bustling streets of its cities have been the breeding grounds for many a world class cricketer.

It was only some time before somebody figured out that the same soil which produces great cricketers can produce great baseball players too esp. given the strong similarities between the 2 games. That's why I was pleasantly surprised by a small news item in the WSJ recently about the first Indian players- Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel being hired as part of Major League Baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates) : Game-Show Winners Earn a Place in Minors

And in the land of the Slumdog Millionaire is it not apt that these players were selected after winning a game show "Million Dollar Arm" ? A victory that transformed their lives moving them across the globe from small hamlets in Uttar Pradesh, India to the bustling ballpark of Pittsburgh.

And obviously as Cricket tries to make inroads into the uncharted waters of the US sports marketplace, Baseball would also be planning similar moves in India: "Indian hurlers' inking opens new market:Contracts for Singh and Patel could pave way for their countrymen"

Watch these "Baseballers" in action: "I don't know who Babe Ruth is" . Neither of them knew what baseball is or had ever touched a baseball before they took part in this contest.

Maybe this will open the floodgates......What next, Indian cricket teams hiring ball players from the wheat fields of Kansas?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Business Intelligence Chronicles Part 16: Is Michael Jackson still alive? (aka Doubting Thomas/BI Skeptic)

One of the biggest challenges of Business Intelligence is dealing with the die hard skeptic who in the face of overwhelming evidence will still question the veracity and reliability of the information (just like the people who believe "Michael Jackson is still alive") .

How does one deal with these Doubting Thomases ("BI Skeptics")? Well, you can never truly satisfy them but the following measures should help keep their skepticism in check:
  • Clear traceability of the data flow from the source system to the presentation layer. Educate users how the data flows from the source to the final report(s). Make that part of end user training. Include a link to a high level data flow diagram from the presentation layer.
  • Reconciliation reports generated and widely disseminated on a regular basis. These should be user friendly and match check totals, counts etc. for key data chunks with discrepancies clearly flagged.
  • Error Handling process: which identifies and flags any significant data drops/misses and enables initiation of corrective action much before it hits the presentation layer.
  • Complaint Handling System and Feedback loop which allows the skeptics to raise their concerns and track them getting addressed.
  • Ensuring the presentation layer/tools clearly display the filter criteria used to generate the displayed report.

With all that in place you should have allayed most fears (Most, but no winning over the "Michael Jackson abducted by aliens" kind :-) )

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