Food waste. Let’s not contribute to this. How to keep produce fresh.. Read on


Next time you saw food thrown into the dust bin think hard how many resources get wasted such as water, fertilizers, farmers tirelessly working in the fields(labor),Land used for food production,  food storage and the whole supply chain for bringing food to where we live. We waste lot’s of food without any reasons. More food is cooked then required in a family in most of the houses and excess thrown out. Food is also wasted by restaurants, hotels ,in parties and in many other ways.

According to food and agricultulture organization of United nations http://www.fao.org/ (FAO) Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. We all should know that millions of people somewhere on this planet are dying with hunger and on the other hand we throw away lots of food.  We also loose food and meat due to poor storage facilities, improper transportations and bad handling.

Agriculture uses largest amount of water. Food waste leads to water waste. The food thrown into garbage rots and produce methane gas which is much more deadly than carbon dioxide and depletes ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet rays of Sun and Methane gas contributes to global warming. This whole thing effects food production with no rains or too much rains and leads to FOOD LOSS. Food loss is crop lost to natural calamities or deadly farm diseases whereas FOOD WASTE is a careless act of humans not paying attention to details of how they are getting food to their tables. Inadvertently we are all contributing heavily towards food loss, food wastage leading to global warming and racing towards food crises and water crises.

Other key findings of FAO of United Nations are.

Industrialized and developing countries dissipate roughly the same quantities of food — respectively 670 and 630 million tonnes.

Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).

Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.

The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010).

Food waste is more a problem in industrialized countries, most often caused by both retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash. Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia each throw away only 6-11 kg a year.

There is this infograph on how food is wasted globally click on the link for more details http://www.publichealthdegree.com/ 

Read more by clicking here http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ags/publications/GFL_web.pdf

http://www.unwater.org/downloads/Paper_13_Field_to_Fork.pdf

How to keep Fruits and vegetables Fresh…

A group of Scientists from Malaysia found out that if they coat the fruits, vegetables with  gum Arabic, a natural product from the Acacia trees of Sudan, Africa they are able to keep fruits, vegetables from rotting. Also a company has used the rotten fruits, vegetables and extracted a natural chemical and coated fresh fruits , vegetables with that liquid to keep Food fresh. More details about this can be obtained here.  http://apeeltech.com/

I request you to educate your family, friends and others as much as possible to reduce wastage of food and water. Be a part of the solution.  Next time you look at food think of this blog. Please Spread this information to save people from hunger

Competency based education


Time and again I’m revisiting education because there is a seismic change happening in Educating our young population. I have written blogs that focused on the the changes that are happening due to Massive online open course ware (MOOC) movement, big companies such as Microsoft, Wipro, IBM’s investment in this sector, how universities, colleges , students need to re orient themselves to stay relevant  to the present conditions and how to learn smartly using technology tools in the following blogs.

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/classroom-learning-with-concert-of-technology/

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/uncommon-sense-and-common-nonsense/

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chance-favors-the-connected-mind/

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/free-online-resources/

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/students-this-is-for-you/

http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/where-there-is-a-why-there-is-a-way/

But most of these practices are still not able to make students employable right away after coming out of colleges. There are still many factors that contribute for  success of new employee other than the core skill that is basically needed to work. Realizing this, below universities along with industry collaborations came up with a new way of imparting skills to students. This approach is considered more relevant to industries needs and is called competency based education. I want students to take a look at the following universities that are providing this education because getting jobs is very much likely.

https://www.brandman.edu/cbeducation

http://www.capella.edu/flexpath-self-paced-learning/

http://flex.wisconsin.edu/

http://pl.nau.edu/

http://collegeforamerica.org/

http://www.wgu.edu/why_WGU/competency_based_approach

I personally feel that time has come to club medicine, engineering , agriculture, life sciences and other fields together, create a course and impart training to solve some of the great challenges of the world.  I wrote about my opinion here. please check http://www.ghdonline.org/innovation/discussion/5-innovations-in-global-health-maybe-not-what-you-/?ref=dashboard#reply-14103

 

So why waiting just start learning. your feedback is appreciated.

Some interesting and useful tidbits for starting your own “startup ” or for your academic project submission


This blog post will be updated with commercial worthy Project ideas for those entrepreneurs and Engineering, Medical students who wish to develop localized solutions that might lead them to start their own company or develop real products as part of their Project work.

Medical technology offers immense potential for new business ideas and I will put some cutting edge information of what’s going on in that field. 

The  innovations of the world can be put to good cause of the society’s needs in Asian countries by localizing and cross implementing the ideas or generating new ones with the gained knowledge.

Cross pollinate the ideas that are presented here with your knowledge and skills and come up with something that can benefit the society in general.

You may use the comment section for floating your ideas to get feedback from international audience who read my blog.

Here is the steps to follow. Read this innovations. Think of how you can localize this ideas for commercial purpose or for your academic real project and work with your friends or teams that post their comments for this blog.

1. Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group has developed a smart watch that had four micro lasers that are capable of emitting simple icon shapes. These icons can be home button for navigation, to play or pause controls for music, to push notifications for email, to rudimentary up and down arrows. At the same time, infrared sensors watch for when your finger taps a button, effectively turning your skin into a touch-screen display.  The link for more information on this is here http://www.figlab.com/

There are several interesting Projects at Fiblab  so go and check them out for details.

2. During a Doctor’s visit for symptoms like cough and cold we are prescribed antibiotics which do not have much effect in curing the illness but this antibiotics act as a Placebo  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo and by taking Antibiotics and other Medicines indiscriminately (prescribed by Doctors) we also end up developing resistance to diseases and next time that drug does not work on our bodies. So a group of physicians have come up with a number to find out how many times a drug will have good effect on a particular disease and this Number will help us or Doctors to decide whether to prescribe that drug to patient or not. Get more details on this here and pass on this information to Doctors so that they will prescribe the Drugs that are absolutely necessary for our treatments.  http://www.thennt.com/

Also those interested in learning more about high quality health information there is a great website. Here is the details of that site “The Cochrane Library is a collection of six databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making, and a seventh database that provides information about groups in The Cochrane Collaboration.”    http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html

3. Gesture controlling technologies. Smartphones have multiple antennas that can take signals from our gestures. You can learn more about their uses and present state of what is getting developed here but there is no limit to imagination and I wish to see that this technologies are tapped  to come up with products that can be useful in operation theaters for doctors and in other industrial applications. Learn the present here and come up with your own project.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect   2. http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/09/19/reflected-smartphone-transmissions-enable-gesture-control/   3. http://blog.leapmotion.com/

4.Smart connected Products (Internet of things). This is the next wave of big opportunity for creating new solutions, products by smartly leveraging the information of the products, sensors and other industrial equipment communicating via Internet. (Internet of things). In order to know what products, sensors and services are connected there is a search engine just like google  for that. Here is the link. https://thingful.net/  “is a search engine for the Internet of Things, providing a unique geographical index of connected objects around the world, including energy, radiation, weather, and air quality devices as well as seismographs, iBeacons, ships, aircraft and even animal trackers.”. Using this a company has created a product that helps asthma patients to identify which part of the US cities are causing asthma to them..Learn more here http://propellerhealth.com/   so why wait go ahead and think what else can be done.

5. Big data company Ayasdi is working with several Universities, companies to solve the problems of Brain and uncurable diseases such as Diabetes. Regarding type 2 Diabetes in their own words

“With Ayasdi Cure, Mount Sinai was able to gain new breakthrough insights that can dramatically impact how Type 2 Diabetes patients are diagnosed and treated. Based on the shape of the data, Mt. Sinai discovered that Type 2 Diabetes is not a singular disease. This breakthrough in Precision Medicine can lead to more effective treatment protocols and better patient outcomes for all Type 2 Diabetes patients.”  More here

http://www.ayasdi.com/company/media/pr-ayasdi-named-best-of-show-and-best-practices-winner.html

Come back to this blog for more such interesting posts in coming days

Students this is for you


India is still considered as developing country and I feel extremely upset with this thought. We produce so many well learned people and this country ranks high in the number of PhD’s and master students who come out of universities. But still not a single university ranks high in the top 100 lists of the world.

Every part of the government machinery is still limping with inefficiencies, bureaucracy and off course corruption. It is a nightmare to get work done with government still. How long we take to become transparent, modern and nimble?

But what puzzles me is why our education system is suffering from status Quo with antique teaching methods and subjects that do not align with our modern industry?  These same students someday become government employees and they continue the same old tradition. Why are they not questioning this and why are they not attempting to change except handful of very dedicated officers and employees?

I know many will disagree with some statements above but the point I want to drive is things that needed to be done at the college levels. Present state of affairs is basically the result of our education system that needs drastic disruptive changes.

I request “Universities and colleges : Please wake up and fix your systems”.

Majority of young student’s lifestyle follows a predictive path once they steps into the college. They read the same stuff their friends read, they go to the same movies their friends go, they play the same games their friends play and everyone studies for just marks/grades and finally waiting to get into job thru campus recruitment or some other methods. Then they enter workforce and live life depending on their lifestyles.

This result in massive waste of brain power, youth’s energies, strengths, will power, time and many qualities that otherwise wisely tapped, would have developed the nation to highest degree of living standards. In a Billion population there are handful who are contributing to the  growth of the nation’s living standards but why are we collectively not thinking of following those brilliant people who strive for the nation.

This is because we never question anything and just follow the protocol. We never develop skills such as creativity, innovation, the quest to live a better life, the craving for quality and the interest to dive deeper into our subject matters. Many students won’t learn subject for knowledge but just for getting grades. Universities take long time to adjust syllabus that follow industry best practices. Even if they introduce the syllabus the faculty is not trained to the latest and greatest trends in business so they cannot teach the same to the students.

Read what The CEO of one of the largest software company has to say about teachers here http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/20-of-teachers-in-the-country-not-sincere-azim-premji-says/articleshow/43212004.cms

Inspiration to do things differently is low in teaching community and there are several reasons for that but that will be for a different blog.

But I blame partially students and parents for not willing to question the status quo. Here are some steps required by students to initiate a change for a better life and a better country . This same can be used by any other developing and under developing nation’s  students.

  1. Change in lifestyle. I absolutely agree that students should have good memories of college life with loads of fun but I totally disagree that they should feel that this is the top priority. They should first take a snap shot of daily life and confine fun to couple of hours a day. This should be done collectively by all students because if one follows the rule the other will break it and the overall change is not possible.
  2. Learn from Internet. I do not know why universities take so long to keep syllabus fluid and aligned to ever changing business needs, but that should not stop young students to spend time to learn the best practices of the industry online. So instead of spending time on Social networks spare time to learn what’s going on in your area of subject matter. There are several exciting stories in business circle that will inspire you and energizes you with knowledge and opportunities you may not get if you just study for marks.
  3. Engage fellow students: Form a team from different educational backgrounds and take up a local problem and try to solve. For example during winter most of the babies and children become sick from viral fevers and hospitals are packed with patients. It is painful to sit for long hours to get treated and you know it is much more painful if that hospital happens to be government hospital. So as a team you should collaborate with fellow medical students and come up with preventive steps from diseases and conduct community classes to educate parents and others from having good health for themselves and their children. This helps you to learn communication skills, project execution skills and time management skills. These soft skills are very vital skills needed for business.
  4. Engage with professionals that visit campus or on social networks. Students should join professional networks such as LinkedIn and start participating in group discussions and identify opportunities from the challenges industry is facing and brainstorm of ideas to solve the problems. That way you become expert in that subject matter and you will do much better when you join the business.
  5. Yoga and Meditation: Modern life style is full of pressures and pulls from every direction. Maintaining top health is very difficult if you are not disciplined. So from very young age it is best to practice Yoga and Meditation to maintain top health.
  6. Sports : It is mandatory that students come out of Facebook and internet games to play real games to develop good and healthy body/mind, otherwise we end up with sick nation with no hope for becoming most developed. Remember Swamy Vivekananda’s call for youth.
  7. Reading and listening skills: Spend time reading books online and newspapers every day. Search for business videos, ted talks that inspire you and teach you some very important life lessons and listen to them. Bookmark some best sites that help you to get the best and the latest in your area of interest. This helps you to improve your vocabulary and also general knowledge which are useful during interviews.
  8. Try teaching: Start teaching your juniors whatever you learnt on a daily basis. Adopt a school and go and teach them what you learnt. This will help you to memorize the subject matter and also keeps you on your toes to learn something new to teach some other day.
  9. Form teams and go to a nearby village and check what problems exist there. Then come back and see if you can use your learning to solve their problems. In the process you may even start your own company and give jobs to fellow students.
  10. Finally remember every student attends the same schools, read the same books, go to the same movies, play the same video games, and watch the same TV shows so how can you expect to have a  life experience, ideas of  your own or world views? If you do not follow a better living standards?

Above suggestions will elevate your career and help nation to become better. Please take time to rethink your priorities and strategies and try your best to live quality life with best practices. Comments are appreciated.

The stories we tell in Cinemas and elsewhere


Cinema; the thought of it, the emotions, Heroes, heroines, action sequences, the story and what not brings great feelings. Cinemas are made of stories. Stories are mostly about love, good verses bad, heart touching, memorable actions, twists, turns and melodrama. We see people making movies for mainstream audience and some young aspiring artists making movies for online channels such as YouTube, waiting for a big break.

Stories are created from live events, from the rich imagination of some, some follow the proven formula, some come from historical events and some follow a template theme. One such template is called “story spine”, originally created by playwright Author Kenn Adams, is a tool for creating well-structured stories. The template helps to quickly build a story. It consists of

The platform.  Examples..

          Once upon a time….

           A man walking on a road ..

The catalyst

          But one day..

          Suddenly something happened to the man walking on the road..

The consequences

          Because of that….

          The Man started chasing another man

The climax

          Until finally..

          The man stopped the other and said “hello friend”…

The resolution

          Ever since then..

          The moral of the story is..

          The man and the friend both went to a restaurant and recollect their memories.

Then there is another way of building stories , called what story, how story and why story.

What story.  They simply tell what happened  

Examples…

          A story about an incidence that happened in a village….

          A story about a family that saw their ancestors…

          Boy meets a girl and falls in love but friends don’t like it….

How story. Stories that tell how that happened.

          There is a big hole made in a haunted house.. Villagers are thinking how that could be..

          how are ancestors show up like that …

          How can friends think the boy should not love the girl..

Why story,  analysis of the issue.

          Villagers found some ancient coins near that house…

          Why are the ancestors interested in that house…

          When the boy talked to the friends they told a story about their childhood incidence…

So by having a template like above we can make our imagination work to create stories. Modern cinemas are now made using cutting edge technologies and are influenced by modern society’s change of tastes.

Now being a Software guy I thought of creating a cinema template in the form of a flow chart. I’m using Microsoft word flow chart diagrams , so there will be a limit to my imaginations. But let me try.

The idea is to create a flow chart which can give us multiple choices for a particular theme. The flow chart enables us to come up with several logical conclusions while building some complex themes. So this template will be quite useful to test different ideas with a particular theme.

To create some great stories the trick is not to use the language Cinema people use. We have to change the language in order to come up with more creative stories. one such tip is to select a word and build a story on that word. For example in my flowchart i used a word called “Whisper”.

 I know there are experts on movies but I just want the movie makers to know that we can use innovative way of building stories. Ultimately I love to watch movies that are refreshing, touch the raw nerve, memorable, different and at the same time make me laugh. I made a story while building this template but want you,  the reader to build on the different choices I gave for the story to build your own story out of it. Please do write your conclusions to the story i created as comments…

Story telling

The flow chart for making Movies by RK skillsnest.. Better life with Best practices.

The art of leading life.


“Time, not money, is the most valuable commodity of all”

We have proven track record of achieving extraordinary success in things, projects or big goals that we never imagine we can do it. Belief in attempting things that are beyond our imagination and achieving them enriches our lives with fulfilment and many times makes us famous and rich. “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible”.--Albert Einstein Theoretical Physicist, Philosopher, Nobel Prize Winner

We are living in a very competitive era and we all have onus of making some impact with our way of living life on ourselves and the community around us. We should develop the habit of liking to be challenged, stay self-motivated in spite of negative pressures on us; take big challenges and try our best to accomplish them and people will start noticing you. There is a need for every one of us to make a difference in whatever we attempt to do.

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self”. –Aldous Huxley Novelist

We are known from what we achieve.  But our achievements have a shelf life. That means we cannot just stop improving ourselves and impacting others as role models.  World moves dynamically and age, values, knowledge, experiences are constantly progressing and where we stand is what matters. Taking risks and learning from setbacks and moving forward are the only way to stay relevant in this world. There are problems small to complex that needs to be solved and we have the capability of solving many of them.

Some examples are “Genetic sequencing of human genes that help in target medication for individuals instead of generalized prescriptions”.  Similarly we have global warming challenges to solve. We have challenges to reach Mars, Venus and colonize Moon. Our imagination is what matters the most.

There are people who are able to achieve some extraordinary feats such as  mimic human behaviors, experiences and creativity by using some complex machine learning techniques, Mathematical algorithms such as K-nearest neighbor ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-nearest_neighbors_algorithm ) to analyze music ( http://vfacstaff.ltu.edu/lshamir/) , predict Hollywood movies whether they will be hits or flops even before starting on the projects ( http://www.epagogix.com/ ) and finally computers creating music (we don’t need music directors anymore)  http://geb.uma.es/melomics/melomics.html

But for a beginner in life like young students there is ample opportunity for you to start building your life and leading on the edge of achieving some extra ordinary things. Here are some basic principles of achieving some extra ordinary things.

  1. Ignore the Noise. Once you firm up your mind and motivate yourselves to start working for great achievements you will find naysayers around you all the time. They will try to pull you down. Just ignore them and slowly and steadily start building knowledge and experiences in what you really want to achieve that is beyond your imagination.

           Do remember “It is not who is Right but what is Right” matters.

  1. Have clear objective. Start reading/learning diversified information. Today world needs people who are deep in one knowledge area but also very good in every subject matter that is not related to their fields. I wrote a blog on this http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/chance-favors-the-connected-mind/

    3. Stay focused: As you continue your journey of achieving great goals you may be distracted         by many events, circumstances, constraints, family pressures and many unknown   factors.            Coming back on track is very important. Doing regular Yoga and Meditation will help you to             regain focus.

                          “Innovation is rewarded, execution is worshiped.”

  1. Develop patience. Today digitally connected and instant gratification world is making young students to be restless and expecting instant results. But in order to achieve great things you have to be patient enough and continue your journey until you reach your goals.

                “There is no limitations except those we create for ourselves” ―Lolly Daskal, Thoughts Spoken From The Heart

  1. Watch your progress: we all make judgmental mistakes and sometimes it may be that we may choose a wrong direction. So occasionally checking where we stand in our achievements should be monitored and measured. Otherwise all our efforts may be ultimately futile .

               “Opportunities for us to make a difference are everywhere, and usually they’re found in                   the little things. Everything we do matter. If we keep our eyes open we’ll see that the                      little things – the ‘inches’ we need – are everywhere around us. It’s the 1,001 of                             these little things, or inches, that add up to be the ‘Diff.’

                       Source –      http://www.quickenloans.com/press-room/fast-facts/our-isms/

  1. Not able to accept failure: We should never become possessive of our tasks, work or people we work with. Sometimes if things won’t work out we should be able to ignore our failures and continue on a new path. Possessiveness makes us Sad and creates mental distress and other health problems. I wrote a blog on this subject here http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/failure-is-not-final/

            “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail”                   .– Ralph Waldo Emerson Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

         7. Question your acts: You should constantly ask why you are doing something in a                        particular fashion. By questioning your way of doing you will get a chance to do it much                better.  I wrote a blog on this

              http://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/where-there-is-a-why-there-is-a-way/

                  “Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do,                                 something to love, and something to hope for”.–Joseph Addison English                               Essayist, Poet, Playwright And Politician.

Good luck to you.

“Change yourselves and the world is a better place with You” –RK  This is my quote for you.