Thursday, 17 January 2008

An Anti-Cancer Beer

Researchers in Germany say that a cancer-fighting substance found in hops could be enhanced to brew a special anti-cancer beer

I searched Wikipedia for Hops and understood that:

"Hops are the female flowers of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus). They are used primarily as a flavouring and stability agent in beer, and also for other beverages and in herbal medicine. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Hops contain several characteristics favourable to beer, balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing flowery, citrus, fruity or herbal aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer's yeast over less desirable microorganisms."

Now going back to the research,

The discovery could lead to healthier beers and food supplements. The result could one day be that when you hold up a glass and say, "To your health", you would actually be toasting a triumph of the brewer's art over disease.

The preliminary studies indicate xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a family of enzymes that can trigger the cancer process, as well as help the body detoxify carcinogens, according to the science newswire Ivanhoe.

"It's very healthy. I think the ingredients in the beer are very good," says Werner Back, a brewing technology expert at the Technical University of Munich.

Xanthohumol contains more powerful antioxidants than vitamin E and some studies indicate it helps reduce oxidation of bad cholesterol, the newswire reported.

"Xanthohumol has been shown to be a very active substance against cancer," says Markus Herrmann of Munich. "It comes in small sticky beads, which you find within the hops."

Hops have always been known to possess medicinal properties and are used in herbal medicines as a muscle relaxant. Other compounds found in hops are potent phytoestrogens. Scientists say these compounds could ultimately help prevent post-menopausal hot flashes and osteoporosis.

Xanthohumol shuts down enzymes called cytochromes P-4; they can activate the cancer process. They also help the body detoxify carcinogens, stopping tumour growth at an early stage.

Preliminary studies at Oregon State University show that xanthohumol can kill breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers, the newswire reported.

But don't toast your health too soon. The German researchers warn that it would take 60 regular beers to equal the amount of xanthohumol researchers are able to brew in this one beer.

That's why scientists are now working on ways to give all beers higher levels of Xanthohumol, and even find ways to add it to other foods, like chocolate.

And they say, just like chocolate - the darker the beer, the better it is for you.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


It's official.

The Tata Nano is the cheapest car in the world. It is a city car launched by India's Tata Motors at the 9th annual Auto Expo on January 10, 2008 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India.The standard version of the Nano (without air conditioning, radio and
power steering) will cost Rs 100,000 (not including levies such as VAT/LT, transport and delivery charges)

Technical details

2 cylinder petrol with Bosch multi-point fuel injection (single injector) all aluminium 623 cc (38 cu in)
2 valves per cylinder overhead camshaft
Compression ratio - 9.5:1
bore × stroke 73.5 × 73.5 mm
Power: 33 PS (33 hp/24 kW) @ 5500 rpm
Torque: 48 N·m (35 ft·lbf) @ 2500 rpm
Rear wheel drive, 4-speed manual transmission
Steering – mechanical rack and pinion

Acceleration: 0-70 km/h (43 mph): 14 seconds
Maximum speed: 105 km/h (65 mph)
Fuel economy (combined City + Highway): 20 kilometres per liter (5 L/100 km, 47 US mpg, 56 UK mpg)

Body and dimensions
Seat Belts: 2
Trunk capacity: 150 L (5.3 cu ft)

Suspension, tyres and brakes
Front brake: disc
Rear brake: drum
Front track: 1,325 mm (52.2 in)
Rear track: 1,315 mm (51.8 in)
Ground clearance: 180 mm (7.1 in)
Front suspension: McPherson strut with lower A arm
Rear suspension: Independent coil spring
12-inch tyres

Monday, 14 January 2008

Do they qualify for this hike?

Indian IT professionals have always been accused of taking home much higher salaries compared to professionals from other industries in India. Being an IT professional myself, i agree that we are far ahead of others in terms of compensation that we get but at the same time i also know how difficult it is to convince your line manager, his superior and the HR that you qualify for a decent hike.

Take the case of somebody like me who works as a manager in an IT company. This is how my appraisal works.Set KRA's at the beginning of the year, adhering to them all through the year, showcasing your management on the appreciation mails that you got from customers during the year, being in the good books of your manager, maintaining quality processes in your project, increasing your onsite numbers/overall resources in the project by convicing your customers and above all have a decent customer satisfaction metric. Even if you fail to deliver on two of these fronts, you can be pretty confident that your hike won't exceed 5-7%

This blog is not to put forth the plight of IT professionals in getting an hike but is in reference to an article in the rediff yesterday which says,

Salaries of President, Vice-President doubled

"Salaries of the President and the Vice-President will be doubled with the Union Cabinet on Thursday approving the increase with effect from January one last year.

After the meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said the President will get Rs 1 lakh per month compared to Rs 50,000 earlier.

Similarly, the Vice-President will get Rs 85,000 per month against the present Rs 40,000, he said.

Likewise, Dasmunsi said, the salary of Governors has been raised from Rs 36,000 a month to Rs 75,000.

The hike was necessitated in view of the fact that Members of Parliament were getting Rs 68,000, while the presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha was drawing less than them, he said.

Former Presidents' emoluments have also been doubled to Rs 6 lakh a year, while more facilities have been sanctioned for the spouses of late Presidents and Vice-Presidents."

I am not getting into a discussion on whether this is justifiable or not but look at the reason for the hike. The salary limits have been increased just because MP's were getting more than the president and vice-president.

So, now don't say IT professionals are paid more because we work at least 50% for the salary that we get but imagine having a luxury car, z category security, all allowances, free foreign visits etc plus 1 lakh as salary per month for doing nothing and thats exactly what irritates me.