Tuesday, May 6, 2008


‘Dasavatharam', the most expected movie of the year 2007, features Kamal Haasan and Asin in the lead roles. Planned for release sometime in the middle of the year, ‘Dasavatharam' is a class in itself. For it features Kamal in ten different roles. K S Ravikumar is directing this mega budget movie for Oscar Ravichandran. Himesh Reshammiya from Bollywood is scoring the music. This is his debut in Kollywood. 

Kamal, always known in the industry for trying out something new, is handling ten different roles in this movie. It looks like he is trying to break the record of Sivaji Ganesan's nine roles in ‘Navaratri'. 

The movie is being shot in different locations in India , Malaysia and the US . When the hero does something, should not the heroine follow? Kamal's ten roles are countered by Asin's dual role in the movie. This is the first time in her career Asin is playing dual role. Mallika Sherawat dons an altogether different cap in this movie. She appears as a CIA agent while Jayapradha, the well-known character artiste, plays another important role in the movie.
Kamal appears in ten different avatars like God Vishnu. His ten roles are as follows: The director of the movie says that except three roles Kamal will be totally “unidentifiable" in all the others. Kamal will be playing the role of both the hero and the villain in the movie. An Australian is handling the camera and is said that his work has come out very well. The storyline of the movie has been kept a secret till now. Michael Westmore from Hollywood is taking care of the make ups for Kamal. The first scene of the movie was alone shot at a cost of 3 crores and Kamal appeared as a Brahmin in it. The movie is planned to be dubbed in Telugu, Hindi and French.

‘Smart’ biofuel crops ensure food and environmental security

While the global debate rages on whether the biofuel revolution is causing imbalances in food security systems and increasing the greenhouse gas emissions the ‘smart’ biofuel crops developed, utilized and promoted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, ensure energy and environmental security.

According to Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, the time has come to ensure that only smart biofuel crops are developed and utilized so that they can link poor dryland farmers with the biofuel market, without compromising on their food security, or causing environmental damage.
Energy security 

“Smart biofuel crops are those that ensure food security, contribute to energy security, provide environmental sustainability, tolerate the impacts of climate change on shortage of water and high temperatures, and increase livelihood options,” he said.

Through its BioPower Strategy, ICRISAT is developing and promoting sweet sorghum as a major feedstock for producing bioethanol. 

Sweet sorghum is a carbon dioxide neutral crop, which is a big contributory factor to being called a smart crop.

ICRISAT-bred sweet sorghum varieties and hybrids have increased sugar content in their stalks. 

It has a strong pro-poor advantage since it has a triple product potential, that is grain, juice for ethanol, and bagasse (waste) for livestock feed and power generation. 

Its highlight is that there is no compromise on farmers’ food security, since the grain is available for the farmers, along with sugar-rich juice from the stalk that can be distilled to manufacture ethanol.

There are other benefits also. It is a cost-effective and competitive feedstock. It has a shorter crop cycle of 4 months compared to sugarcane, which is a 12-month crop and requires lesser water. 

It requires only half of the water required to grow maize and one eighth of the water required to grow sugarcane. The cultivation cost is less when compared to sugarcane.

The juice from the stalks is used for fuel alcohol production. The leftover stalks (called sillage), after juice extraction, can be used for animal feed, according to Dr. Belum Reddy, Principal Scientist, Sorghum Breeding, of the Institute.

Sweet sorghum is tolerant to water scarcity and high temperatures, two qualities which will keep the crop in good stead in the context of climate change. It also has high water use efficiency. 
Environment friendly 

It is a carbon dioxide neutral crop that makes it environment friendly, and does not add to greenhouse gas emissions. During its growth cycle, a hectare of sweet sorghum cultivation absorbs about 45 tonnes of carbon. 

It has been found from studies that gasoline blended with ethanol has lower emissions when run through an automobile engine than pure gasoline. 

Field experiments conducted have proved that from one hectare of sweet sorghum, a farmer can harvest about 30 tonnes of fresh stalk. The cost of cultivation of sweet sorghum works out to Rs.10,500 per hectare. It generates a total income of Rs. 21,000 with a net return of Rs 10,500. 

Good animal feed 

The stalks of sweet sorghum are relished by cattle and the digestibility is higher compared to grain sorghum. In the absence of a distillery, the farmer can sell the stalks to animal feed manufacturers. The sillage from sweet sorghum stalk is a good animal feed like grain sorghum.

ICRISAT’s initiative to produce biofuels is not limited to bio ethanol from sweet sorghum alone. 
Water shed project 

Through its watershed development project, it is promoting the cultivation of Pongamia and Jatropha also from which biodiesel can be extracted.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

All about Aerobics

Aerobic Cross Training for Weight Loss
Do you sometimes get bored with your aerobic exercise? Do You sometimes feel like you're not getting the results you should from your aerobic exercise? If so, then aerobic cross-training is for you.

Aerobic cross-training refers to using two to three different types of aerobic exercise during an exercise session. For example, if you plan to exercise for 60 minutes, you might start with 20 minutes of walking or jogging, followed by 20 minutes of biking, and finish with 20 minutes of rowing.

Now, please don't get the impression that you have to be in great shape to do this or that it has to be 60 minutes long. You can start with something as simple as a ten minute walk followed by ten minutes with an exercise video. This is cross-training too. You can gradually build up from there.

Here are some of the exercises you can use in your cross-training program; walking, jogging, biking, rowing, stair climbing, swimming, exercise videos, etc. Any combination of aerobic exercises will do. You simply go from one to the next with very little time between them.

Aerobic cross-training is beneficial to you in several ways:

1. It provides variety which eliminates the monotony often associated with doing the same exercise for a long period of time.

2. If your exercise sessions are less monotonous and more enjoyable, you are much more likely to exercise more often and for longer periods of time.

3. You are less prone to over-use injuries that sometimes occur from doing the same exercise movements over and over again.

4. You tone more muscles because you are using more muscles. For example, walking tones mostly the lower body muscles and rowing tones upper body muscles also. Even exercises like walking and biking that both tone lower body muscles, tone them at different angles and each tones some small muscles that the other doesn't.

5. Aerobic conditioning is very specific to the muscles being worked. For example, you can walk ten miles a day and still be somewhat breathless after climbing stairs because you haven't trained the muscles for that specific movement. Aerobic cross-training allows you to develop more comprehensive aerobic training.

6. Aerobic cross-training is effective for weight loss because your are toning and training the fat-burning systems of more of your muscles. It turns more of your muscles into 24-hour fat-burning machines! You are also more likely to exercise on a regular basis and for longer periods of time. this also promotes weight loss and fitness.

Author and exercise physiologist, Greg Landry, offers free weight loss and fitness success stories and targeted, highly affective weight loss programs for women, men, type 2 diabetics, and people with slow metabolisms and hypothyroidism. http://www.Landry.com


A sample schedule for the beginners fitness enthusiast: Note you can replace walk for run- if you have been a runner, if not don`t start running unless you are prepared to find all your sore, and injured places coming to the surface.

Day One
Take an easy twenty-minute walk at a nice bright place. Find a nice place to walk, away from pollution. If there is no such space drive to a park, beach, grassland or the countryside away from pollution. You need to be able to keep up a conversation. If you are in oxygen debt you wont burn calories as well so take it easy at first. Upon returning, spend about ten or fifteen minutes stretching. You should do it regularly, otherwise the extra calories can store in thighs or butt." When you start with some regular activity, the brain begins to think this body is active and needs to increase the metabolism. Then the brain will take to a higher metabolic level. As you increase your exercise program you will have more byproducts called free radicals. This is the reason for us to work with nutrition as well, because you need to increase the antioxidants to keep the body healthy from the free radicals.

Day Two
Just stretch for ten to fifteen minutes. If you find a pool, may be opt swiming for ten to fifteen minutes.

Day Three
Walk fast for twenty-five minutes. Stretch for fifteen, or if you have it down, it could only take ten minutes to get a good stretch.

Day Four
Swim and stretch for at least twenty minutes and ten respectively.

Day Five
You might miss one. Or walk maybe longer and easy or hard depending on how you feel.

Day Six
Walk a good deal faster for thirty minutes. If you feel tight walking, stop after you break into a light sweat and stretch for a few minutes. Regarding the legs and gluteus muscles. Then continue, finishing up with a good ten minute stretch.

Day Seven
If you didn`t miss one day, take an easy walk, swim or stretch, may be do something with family or friends. If you got distressed at all during the week, then rest and just stretch or swim. 

Continue this program until you can walk thirty minutes without losing your breath at all. This can take two weeks for most people and up to four weeks for others. If it takes you longer, stay with twenty-five minutes for two months, and then move into the next level. If within two weeks your body serves you well, you can proceed with the next level.

Continue on the following day with a brisk walk for thirty minutes. Now we will start to burn some fat. From now on, you workouts should last about forty-five minutes. As you get stronger, your easy days become more like your hard days when you first started. Walking can increase to five times per week within the first few months, depending on your body. At this level its not as critical as it will be when we start the strengthening program using weights, running or strengthening exercises.

Six to Eight Weeks
After six or eight weeks, start your strength-training program. Once again, listen to your body. If you dont feel quite ready at six weeks, take eight. You can go in either of two directions with this addition to your program, with various levels of intensity depending on your body and your abilities.

If you are able and willing to run for your particular goals, you may now start to run. Start with easy jogging for twenty minutes every other day, and weight training every other day. Running at this time should be at least three days a week, the same for weight training. There is some evidence, however, that we could get by with two days of weight training and still do okay. Include one day of rest. The day you rest could be a very easy workout, either stretching, swimming or family fun.

For weight training we need to start just as easy. Many of us think that weight training will build large muscles. We see all these big bodybuilders, and although some of us admire the dedication it takes to build that kind of body, it is not necessarily true that weight training builds large muscles. It all depends on how you train, how much you train, and your age as well as the system of training. We know that by stressing any muscle naturally or unnaturally, we work with the law of irritation and adaptability to produce the result we want. Basically, this means the body will adapt to irritation. 

There is another way to use weight training to develop strength as well as endurance. This system works on the premise that using progressively more weight builds size and strength. Starting with more weight and then progressively reducing the weight with longer repetitions, we build endurance in the muscle instead of bulk. This is a good way to shape the body without building mass.

Step Aerobic Routine
Step aerobics works as a good calorie-burning workout. A typical class of about 50 minutes will help you burn off 250-400 calories but can vary depending on the level of exertion. A session of step aerobics can be started as a 20-minute session and later increased to an hour, once your muscles and heart have become used to the workout. Step aerobic routine involves intensive lower body workout by making use of a step to increase muscle conditioning. This also makes for a low-impact workout. The perfect posture for a step aerobic session is head up, shoulders down and tight back, abs and butt.

Step aerobic routine must be preceded by adequate warming up. Stretching all the major muscle groups, especially the lower back is a good warm up for a step aerobic routine. This warm up session is critical since it causes gradual raising of the heart rate. Failing to do this can result in injuries. Ideally, a step aerobic session should alternate fast paced steps with slower paced ones. Squats, leg lifts and lunges are carried on to the beats of aerobic music. You can also use light dumbbells to add an additional upper-body workout. A typical step aerobic routine must be followed by a cooling down session. This is done to slow down the heart to a normal rate. It is also necessary to bring the blood circulation back to the earlier state without pooling in the extremities. Cooling down prevents sore muscles that are caused due to chemical build up in the muscles used in the step aerobic routine.


Technology today has provided us with innumerable comforts that have simplified our lives a great deal. Today we have the best most efficient automobiles to ferry us around from destination to destination, we have the most sophisticated household appliances that do most of the work for us around the house. In short, all these machines have made our lives more comfortable. However, this comfort has come with a price. The lack of physical activity has brought with it many health problems such as diabetes, hyper tension, chronic heart diseases, high blood pressure and more recently obesity.

To combat these problems people used medicinal drugs, pills and sometimes even go in for surgery in extreme cases( in case of heart attacks). But recently exercise, more specifically aerobic exercise has become popular. Exercise not only helps to cure these problems but it also helps us to keep fit in the long term.

Climbing up a staircase, jogging, brisk walking, working around the kitchen, doing normal household tasks all come under aerobics. Hence it can be done by almost anyone and does not require any special training or class. This is the reason why aerobics is more popular than any other form of exercise.

There are also more specific form of aerobics such as step aerobics, dance aerobics, water aerobics and low impact aerobics. These aerobics are done in a class and in the presence of an instructor. They help in reducing weight, maintaining the body shape and increasing flexibility. As they do not require any special training and are not very strenuous in nature, they can be done by anyone from working men and women, housewives and even overweight youngsters.

What is Aerobics?
Aerobic exercise is defined as any repetitive physical activity that is done long and hard enough, to enhance circulatory and respiratory efficiency. Aerobic means `with oxygen` and it requires the lungs and heart to meet the body`s increased oxygen demand. Hence, it may be called a system of physical conditioning that involves exercises such as running, swimming, cycling and skipping.

Ailments, such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancers can be avoided by regular aerobic exercise. The other benefits of regular aerobic exercises are that it can also lower our blood pressure, build stronger bones, improve muscle strength and flexibility. Aerobics also helps us to control depression and body weight thus enabling us to lead a happy and healthy life.

Exercises are not same in nature. It depends on an individuals own potential and capabilities. However, it is interesting to note that a certain form of aerobics called water aerobics suits most individuals. The reason is because it makes the body buoyant, thus causing less strain and stress on the joints and muscles. There are also many other types of aerobics such as low-impact aerobics, step aerobics and dance aerobics. Dance aerobics has become one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise as it not only gives an excellent workout but it is at the same time enjoyable. It is popular with the young crowd and also with housewives and working women as it is entertaining as well as useful.

There are various types of aerobics such as 
1. Low impact aerobics
2. Water/Aqua aerobics
3. Step aerobics
4. Dance aerobics
5. Sports aerobics

Advantages of aerobics
Normal day to day task is also a part of aerobics, though we may be unaware of it. These include walking running, hiking, bicycling, swimming, cross country skiing, stair climbing, rowing, aerobic dance and many other activities. Some of the benefits are as listed below: 
Aerobics helps to strengthen our heart and lungs which in turn leads to better expulsion of waste materials such as carbon di oxide.

It helps the heart by increasing its blood stroke volume. 

Efficient use of oxygen helps to burn fat more effectively.

It strengthens the defense system, lowers blood pressure and helps in reducing the risks of developing diabetes and other life threatening diseases.

Aerobics increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol and helps a person to recover faster form any sort of disease.

Our cardiovascular system is also affected. It becomes more efficient while doing aerobics and as a result it increases our chance of maintaining healthy weight later in life.