Mango is one tropical fruit that most people carve for all years. Almost everybody knows much about the conventional health benefits of this mouth-watering drupe (stone fruits), but there is very little that we know about the merits of its skin.
Though most people usually throw away the outer skin while relishing the king of fruits, a new research states that eating mango peel may protect human body against obesity as its contains certain components that restrains the formation of fat cells.
The research by Australian scientists highlights the nutritive and fat-busting properties of mango skin.
"We know mangoes have many excellent nutritional properties, but more work needs to done to understand the complex natural compounds found in these and other fruits," Professor Mike Gidley, the lead researcher who heads QAAFI's Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, said.
The detailed analysis by the researchers of the University of Queensland found that the mango peel is one of the greatest fat-reducing food stuff.
The researchers did a detailed chemical analysis of the skin and flesh of three varieties of mango to discover the findings.
"This research reminds us that we should be looking at the whole fruit when considering how to take advantage of natural goodness."
"The next stage is to identify the useful molecules in the peel that inhibited fat cell formation", he further added.
Scientists have discovered that there are two common varieties of mango, the Irwin and Nam Doc Mai, which contains high concentration of bioactive that helps lose weight, while eating the wrong variety of fruit, like the Kensington Pride mango, may have the opposite effect.
"A complex interplay of bioactive compounds unique to each peel extract is likely responsible for the difference, rather than just a single component," Professor Greg Monteith from the UQ School of Pharmacy, said.
On the contrary, it is supposed that an organic allergen present in the mango sap causes allergic reactions to many people sensitive to Urushiol.
The findings published in the journal Food & Function suggest that the study might be "extremely valuable for mango growers and processors, who are always looking for new ways to value-add their fruit," according to the researchers.
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In a rare interview, El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu talks about his passion for Venezuela's extraordinary musical programme that gives children a route out of poverty
Maestro José Antonio Abreu works in an office situated in an unremarkable shopping mall in central Caracas, a few steps from one of the city's major thoroughfares. On the afternoon we meet, the sun is shining and the streets are bustling. Nevertheless, to make the short journey by foot from a nearby car park, we are accompanied by three conspicuously armed guards.
This grisly statistic is on my mind as I am ushered in to meet Abreu, the 73-year-old former economist and conductor whose visionary philosophy has, since 1975, been based on the notion that a free, immersive classical musiceducation for the poorest of the poor might positively influence the social problems plaguing the country.
Abreu's hypothesis has been overwhelmingly vindicated, with more than 380,000 children engaged in national music programmes, more than 80% of whom come from low- or middle-income areas. Of the two million graduates of the programme since its inception, many have gone on to become not just musicians, but lawyers, teachers, doctors and civil servants. Yet it remains one of the great paradoxes of "El Sistema", as Abreu's Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar has come to be known, that no matter how successful it is, how manyGustavo Dudamels it creates, how many wealthier nations seek to emulate it, the Venezuelan crime rate still climbs.
Abreu agrees that the statistics are "extremely grave". But he points to evidence that also seems to prove that without El Sistema's extensive network of nucleos(community music schools), orchestras and choirs, they would be considerably grimmer. "The Inter-American Development Bank, the Venezuelan State and the Andean Development Corporation are continually supervising the foundation's projects," he says, "because they have invested so many resources. Wherever there is an impact evaluation study, the results are unanimous. Children engaged in the programme attain above-average results in school and show a tremendous capacity for collective community action. The orchestra and the choirs, the heart of the programme, help create a sense of solidarity. Involvement becomes a weapon against poverty and inequality, violence and drug abuse."
Abreu himself is a humble and ascetic figure who has dedicated his life to what he describes categorically as a "human development" project. "The idea came to me because I saw that in Venezuela, music education did not include orchestras for young people," he explains, "but I also could see, in the few existing music schools at that time, that the children who were participating in orchestras developed with a much more humane perception of their role within society. They had a completely different set of values."
The scheme was launched, famously, with just 11 kids in a local garage – a far cry from scenes at, say, the Royal Albert Hall 30-odd years later, but his conviction of the possibility of social transformation through music was absolute even then. "At our first rehearsal, I was certain of it," he says, beady brown eyes glittering. "I told those first 11 members of the orchestra that we were creating the beginning of a network that would eventually turn Venezuela into a musical power by rescuing children from low-income families."
A few days later, I ask Frank di Polo, the violinist and original leader of the orchestra, if he remembers the moment. "Of course," he laughs. "Maestro Abreu knew all along what he was creating and what it could achieve."
El Sistema, despite the nickname, is not actually a "system" of music education, but, as Abreu insists, "a conception regarding the function of music within society". It is a vast network of schools, orchestras and choirs that now extends to all 23 provinces in Venezuela, and touches an estimated three adults for every child engaged in the programme. Whether Hugo Chávez or Henrique Capriles triumphs in October's forthcoming presidential elections, it is inconceivable that they should withdraw support for the programme. Seven successive Venezuelan administrations from across the political spectrum have supported El Sistema – to the tune of around 90% of its operating budget. The funds, tellingly, have always been disbursed by the social services rather than culture departments. This is surely down to the laser political vision of Abreu, whose tiny form and Mother Theresa-esque manner belie a formidable, strategic intelligence. "The fundamental element that has determined support has been the results El Sistema has proved in the social field," he says. "For Venezuelans, music education is now a constitutional and legal right."Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in a performance of Bernstein's Mambo, one of the encores at this 2007 New Year's Eve concert in Caracas. Link to this video
Next week, the most visible and thrilling exponent of that principle returns to the UK, when Dudamel, 31-year-old music director of Los Angeles Philharmonic, brings his "other" orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Symphony, toRaploch, Scotland, for a concert alongside the El-Sistema-inspired initiative Big Noise. The gig launches the London 2012 Festival and, along with the orchestras' subsequent residency at the Southbank Centre, which will be live-streamed on the Guardian website, is likely to unleash a new wave of Dudamania in Britain.
Did Abreu always realise what he had on his hands with Gustavo? "Of course," he says; he knew "from the very beginning" that his was a "superlative" talent. Yet Dudamel is far from unique.
Take Christian Vasquez, 28-year-old music director designate of Stavanger Symphony Orchestra; or Diego Matheuz, who has taken over at La Fenice, Venice's legendary opera house, aged 27. It is not at all fanciful to propose that in coming years, many more European, American and Asian music institutions will have a spirited young Venezuelan at their helm, usually with terrifically emotive hair.
This represents something of a dilemma for Abreu, mentor and father figure to all these wildly gifted young maestri. One reason why El Sistema works so well is its familial mechanism: as soon as a child is accomplished enough, they begin to help teach younger generations. If the most talented teenagers leave as soon as the big musical agencies – including the Berlin Philharmonic, in the case of Sistema double bassist Ericson Ruiz – come calling, the system may falter.
Abreu admits it can be difficult to reconcile the need to allow his brightest proteges to spread their wings internationally with the need to keep them in Venezuela as all-important role models, but he repeats that this is a "human development project". El Sistema exists, he maintains, "to strengthen the moral and spiritual development of the country" in whichever form that takes.
There are many who believe this quietly charismatic man should be in line for the Nobel peace prize. Sir Simon Rattle, who describes El Sistema as "nothing less than a miracle", has been advocating it since 2008. But Abreu shakes his head. "The biggest reward is the opportunity to keep doing our work," he says. The international attention his system receives "creates a great sense of reward and responsibility". He indicates a poster on the wall emblazoned with the phrase "Tocar y Luchar", the official motto of the programme ever since that afternoon in the garage. "To play and to struggle: that came from our earliest experience when we had so many obstacles for undertaking the project – lack of spaces, instruments, financial resources," he explains. "To play – it's a form of striving, so we can show the validity of the efforts we are committing ourselves to. The struggle is against the obstacles that present themselves. So there was always this double meaning within the kids, to be both artists and social fighters."
The slogan is more applicable today than ever. "We are still facing the gravest social problems, and we have a challenge to incorporate as many excluded children as possible," Abreu admits. "We need more teachers, instruments, space, funding." The number of kids engaged in El Sistema programmes is estimated to hit the half-million mark by 2015, which seems mind-boggling; but Abreu points out that 33% of Venezuela's 30m population is under 14. I get the sense that he will not rest until every one of those children has access to a local nucleo.
"We know that the efforts we put into it are not enough, given the size of the challenge ahead. But this is our dream. And we will keep fighting for it, every day."
Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra open London 2012 Festival in Raploch on 21 June, then perform at the Royal Festival Hall on 23 and 26 June as part of Southbank Centre's Festival of the World. Both RFH concerts will be live-streamed atguardian.co.uk/bolivarlive. More about the Southbank Centre's Sounds Venezuela festival here.
May 25, 2012
No one doubts Chris Gayle 's ability to hit the cricket ball long and hard - he has done it repeatedly in both Tests and ODIs, in all sorts of climes and conditions. Yet even his staunchest supporter will probably be amazed by the kind of numbers he has racked up in 20-over cricket. The very nature of the format demands that batsmen take risks all the time, and in doing so attempt low-percentage shots and get out. An average of 30 is considered acceptable in this version, at a strike rate of around 125.
Not for Gayle, though. The spat with the West Indies board has been terrible news for the international team, but it has given Gayle ample time to play 20-over cricket for various sides, in various conditions, all over the world. (The list reads as follows: Barisal Burners, Sydney Thunder, Matabeleland Tuskers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Western Australia, Kolkata Knight Riders, Stanford Superstars, Jamaica and PCA Masters XI.) It has given him the opportunity to hone his skills, and work out his best strokes and scoring areas. The result has been awesome - Gayle is, quite simply, the best batsman in the world in 20-over cricket; no one even comes close.
The IPL was only the latest example of what he is capable of achieving in this format - his tally of 733 was easily the highest in this edition of the tournament - and also the highest in any edition - while his 59 sixes are as many as the sum of the next three batsmen put together. His IPL performance took his tally of Twenty20 runs for 2012 past 1000, the second successive year he has achieved this. (In fact, his T20 averages in 2011 and 2012 are exactly the same - 57.57.)
|Period||Innings||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s||4s/ 6s|
|Overall||105||3970||43.62||155.93||8/ 26||315/ 281|
|2012||23||1094||57.57||164.26||3/ 8||69/ 91|
|2011||31||1497||57.57||174.67||4/ 10||112/ 116|
|Before 2011||51||1379||29.97||134.79||1/ 8||134/ 74|
Gayle's record in the last 17 months has been especially formidable - it has helped that during this period he has played a couple of tournaments that have featured less than top-class cricket, but largely, Gayle's stats reflect that he has worked out the format perfectly, and figured out what works best for him. In IPL 2012, for example, he usually gave himself a couple of overs to settle in - scoring only 52 from 61 balls during this period - before shifting to a higher gear in the rest of the Powerplay overs (167 runs off 118). He then took a breather in the seventh over after the Powerplay mayhem (15 off 23) before really turning it on: from the tenth over onwards, his scoring rate was 12.43 per over (429 off 207). Despite scoring at such a frenetic pace, he was dismissed just seven times during this period.
|Overs||Balls faced||Runs scored||Dismissals||Run rate||4s/ 6s|
|1 and 2||61||52||0||5.11||4/ 3|
|3 to 6||118||167||4||8.49||17/ 11|
|7 to 9||70||85||1||7.29||3/ 5|
|10 onwards||207||429||7||12.43||22/ 40|
And then there was the manner in which he scored his runs: unlike other batsmen, who tried the scoop, paddle, switch hit, reverse sweep, and all other sorts of unconventional strokes, Gayle largely stuck to conventional shots, mostly presenting the full face of the bat to the ball, and scoring most of his runs in the arc between cover and mid-on: 493 of his 733 runs, and 54 of his 59 sixes, came in that region. On the other hand, he scored only 44 runs in the third-man and fine-leg areas.
In the last seven Twenty20 series that he has played, Gayle has been remarkably consistent: he has averaged more than 58 in four, and more than 42 in two more. In all of them he has achieved a strike rate of 150 or more. In the one series in which he averaged less than 40 - 36.40 in the 2010-11 Big Bash in Australia - he compensated by scoring at a strike rate of 193.61.
|Series||Innings||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s||4s/ 6s|
|IPL 2012||14||733||61.08||160.74||1/ 7||46/ 59|
|Bangladesh Premier League||5||288||96.00||187.01||2/ 0||19/ 26|
|Big Bash League (Aus, 2011-12)||7||252||42.00||150.00||1/ 2||11/ 22|
|Stanbic Bank 20 Series (Zimbabwe)||6||293||58.60||151.03||1/ 2||19/ 19|
|Champions League 2011-12||6||257||42.83||178.47||0/ 2||15/ 24|
|IPL 2011||12||608||67.55||183.13||2/ 3||56/ 44|
|Twenty20 Big Bash (Aus, 2010-11)||5||182||36.40||193.61||0/ 2||18/ 13|
A comparison with other top Twenty20 batsmen during the last 17 months shows how far ahead of the others Gayle is. Not only is his average much superior to the rest, his strike rate is also the highest among batsmen who have scored 750 or more runs during this period. Gayle's eight hundreds overall in this format is the best too, three better than David Warner. Currently three batsmen have scored more Twenty20 runs than Gayle - David Hussey, Brad Hodge and Brendon McCullum - but a few more such IPL seasons and Gayle could well go past all of them.
During this period Gayle has struck 26 more sixes than fours; Kieron Pollard is the only other batsman to have scored more sixes than fours, but the difference in his case is only three. Gayle's 207 sixes means he has scored 1242 runs in sixes, out of 2591 - a percentage of 47.94.
|Batsman||Innings||Runs||Average||Strike rate||100s/ 50s||4s/ 6s|
|Chris Gayle||54||2591||57.57||170.12||7/ 18||181/ 207|
|Virender Sehwag||31||1011||33.70||160.47||1/ 7||117/ 41|
|Richard Levi||30||804||29.77||157.95||1/ 7||75/ 48|
|Keiron Pollard||60||1299||31.68||152.28||0/ 8||83/ 86|
|Luke Wright||29||844||32.46||149.38||1/ 4||94/ 31|
|Ahmed Shehzad||23||870||43.50||146.95||1/ 8||96/ 32|
|Dwayne Smith||33||1047||40.26||142.25||1/ 8||88/ 58|
|Shane Watson||30||924||33.00||141.71||0/ 7||89/ 51|
|Azhar Mahmood||45||1300||35.13||141.30||2/ 7||136/ 39|
|David Warner||44||1525||40.13||140.94||4/ 9||147/ 68|
And Gayle kept up that pattern of scoring in IPL 2012 too, with 354 runs in sixes, a percentage of 48.29. In fact, his sixes make a difference of one percentage point to the overall percentage of runs in sixes in IPL 2012 - in the entire tournament, 19.43% of the total runs were scored in sixes; excluding Gayle's stats, that percentage drops to 18.42.
With the World Twenty20 coming up later this year, West Indies could be a truly formidable force if Gayle, Dwayne Smith and Pollard joined forces - more so since they have Sunil Narine in their ranks too.
|Batsman||Innings||Runs||Run rate||6s||% runs in 6s||Balls per 6|
|Chris Gayle (2012)||14||733||9.64||59||48.29||7.73|
|Chris Gayle (2011)||12||608||10.98||44||43.42||7.55|
|Sanath Jayasuriya (2008)||14||514||9.98||31||36.19||9.97|
|Adam Gilchrist (2009)||16||495||9.13||29||35.15||11.21|
|Yusuf Pathan (2008)||15||435||10.74||25||34.48||9.72|
|Murali Vijay (2010)||15||458||9.41||26||34.06||11.23|
|Virender Sehwag (2008)||14||406||11.07||21||31.03||10.48|
|Suresh Raina (2009)||14||434||8.45||21||29.03||14.67|
|Rohit Sharma (2010)||12||404||8.87||19||28.22||14.37|
|Murali Vijay (2011)||16||434||7.68||20||27.65||16.95|
“Dood!” cried the former jockey Jerry Bailey, shaking the hand of Doodnauth Shivmangal.
“Dood!” yelled the reporters chasing down Mr. Shivmangal in the backstretch ofBelmont Park on Thursday to ask him if he really thought his horse Guyana Star Dweej had a real shot in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.
His colt has the longest odds in the field, but Mr. Shivmangal — whose nickname is not to be confused with the ubiquitous casual greeting “Dude,” but rather a shortening of his first name — vowed that his horse would “show you what a cheap horse can do.”
He boasted that he bought Guyana Star Dweej for $5,500 last year and only recently turned down the chance to resell him for $300,000.
“The horse doesn’t know his odds — he doesn’t know how much you paid for him,” said Mr. Shivmangal, the owner and trainer of Guyana Star Dweej. “Besides, the Belmont Stakes is known for long shots.”
Mr. Bailey agreed, saying, “There are so many upsets in the Belmont that you can’t discount anybody.”
Mr. Shivmangal, who is of Indian descent and emigrated from Guyana in 1984, settled in Far Rockaway, Queens, and went from working low-paying delivery jobs to building a cargo delivery company, from which he retired several years ago. He now trains horses full time out of his stables in Barn 59 at Belmont.
Although he is known as Dood to racetrack regulars, he goes by another nickname, Shook, among his fellow immigrants along Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens, an area known as Little Guyana. The nickname is emblazoned in diamonds on a bracelet on his left hand made of Guyanese gold.
All along the avenue on Thursday, Guyanese immigrant racing fans buzzed about their countryman’s long-shot bid on Saturday.
“This is Shook’s big shot,” said Robert Reynaurd, 70, who was watching acricket match at the St. John’s Express bar and restaurant. He said he hoped the colt would do well but admitted, “Realistically, he doesn’t belong in the race.”
A few blocks down the avenue, at the New Thriving restaurant, several men at the bar were more hopeful. Roopnarain Ramdayal, 62, said he would bet on Guyana Star Dweej because “he represents our country — how could I not want him to win?”
He said he would go to the track on Saturday because “my country is in the Belmont Stakes.”
Next to him, Mark Ramrattan, 33, nodded and boasted that he hailed from the same village, Guava Bush, that produced Guyana Star, a winning horse that Mr. Shivmangal trained years ago in Guyana.
After coming to New York, Mr. Shivmangal worked as a deliveryman and gradually built a small business delivering cargo from Kennedy International Airport, with a fleet of 30 trucks and vans. He got back into training horses in the early 1990s, but had limited success and left horse racing for a spell. Now retired, he devotes his time to buying and training racehorses.
“I buy cheap horses and make them into racehorses,” he said.
Mr. Shivmangal said that simply getting Star entered into the Stakes set him back $26,000 — $6,000 to nominate him for a Triple Crown race and $20,000 to enter him in Saturday’s race.
On Thursday, he was savoring every minute of his fame. He wheeled around the backstretch in a courtesy car provided to trainers this week, and watched Guyana Star Dweej practice on the main track.
“This horse could be a stealer in the race because he’s got speed,” he said in his thick Caribbean, singsong accent.
He said that he learned about horse training from his father, a prominent trainer in Guyana, and that racing rookie horses in competitive fields is something he took from him. He named the horse after Guyana Star, who he said tallied more than 50 victories in Guyana.
Mr. Shivmangal, a Hindu, fingered his necklace with its gold pendant of Krishna playing a flute, and said, “I hope it will bring me victory on Saturday.”
“I’ve come here and made good use of this country, despite having many hurdles,” he said. “I’m a New Yorker, I went through 9/11, and I’m a Mets fan from Queens. I want a New York-trained horse to win a Triple Crown race.”
His accent and affable, quirky personality help him stand out from, and have endeared him to, the American trainers. Speaking to several of them on Thursday, he put his hands together and offered a mock prayer to the heavens to help these men’s horses stay with Guyana Star Dweej on Saturday. They laughed as he walked away, and he said to them, “I’ll get big one day, don’t worry about it.”
“You’re already big, Dood,” one yelled back. “You’re in the Belmont.”
In the absence of any play on the first day at Edgbaston, here are some thoughts, as promised, on Marlon Samuels, whose long-overdue success has illuminated a series which has thus far proceeded largely according to pundits’ predictions, form-lines, statistical likelihood, Nostradamus, and the secret diktats of the shadowy Bilderberg Group who allegedly run the global economy and probably have a few fingers in cricket’s various pies as well.
Samuels, hitherto an unfulfilled talent, has proved that spending a few weeks attempting to clonk a white ball around in the high-octane frenzy of the IPL is, contrary to what most cricketicians have always believed, ideal preparation for playing old-school Test innings of patience and classical technique in English conditions. We live and learn.
In accordance with modern West Indian tradition, Samuels has come to the crease with his team in deep trouble in all four innings this series (100 for 4, 65 for 4, 63 for 4 and 31 for 3), and, since a studious 31 in his first knock at Lord’s was spoiled by a careless sploot to cover, he has played three innings of startling, career-average-defying quality.
It has been the kind of batting you would have expected of a man who, in his second Test, at the MCG in December 2000, against an Australian pace attack of McGrath, Gillespie and Bichel, scored 60 not out and 46 after coming to the crease at 28 for 4 (soon 28 for 5) and 17 for 5 (soon 23 for 6); but not the kind of batting you would have expected of a batsman who had scored two Test centuries and averaged 29 in 37 Tests, splattered over 11-and-a-half years as if Jackson Pollock had been chairman of West Indies’ selectors. Which he might as well have been.
Samuels’ on- and off-pitch travails in his interminable apprenticeship since that seemingly portentous teenage performance (in which he was only dismissed when last man out in the second innings, caught on the boundary off Colin Miller, perhaps unwilling to trust the batsmanship of Courtney Walsh to score the 363 runs West Indies still needed for victory) are eloquently examined by Rob Steen in this recent ESPNCricinfo article .
There is a fascination in seeing a player who has long disappointed finally crack the curious nut that is Test cricket, and particularly in seeing a player with an average of below 30 suddenly break out and bat like a timeless legend of the game. Steen draws comparisons between Samuels and Carl Hooper, who in his first 38 Tests, averaged 26, a frankly laughable figure for a man who could (and occasionally did) play like a computer-generated simulation of The Perfect Batsman, and who, like Samuels, had excelled in his second Test, scoring an unbeaten 100 in Calcutta as a 21-year-old (although this being still the 1980s, Hooper came in with the West Indies at 288 for 4, rather than 28 for 4).
In his 39th Test, the final match of the 1993 series against Pakistan, Hooper, moseying to the wicket with that average of 26 peeking mournfully out of the record books, and with an eyebrow-furrowing 75 runs in his previous eight Test innings, played what Wisden described as “an innings of stirring virtuosity”. In an innings of 178 not out off 247 balls, he “overwhelmed the bowling with strokes both majestically orthodox and cutely improvised”, against an attack featuring Wasim and Waqar. Over his next 58 Tests, up to an including his final Test hundred in 2002, he averaged 45, not earth-shattering, but a figure far more befitting the supernatural ease of his strokeplay, and, over that period , alongside Saeed Anwar, Ponting, Azharrudin, Mark Waugh, and Aravinda de Silva.
In the early phase of his career, his average placed him in the company of Kiran More, Jack Russell and Saleem Yousuf, suggesting that Hooper was in fact a wicketkeeper trapped in a batsman’s body.
Before the Kolkata Test of March 2001 ‒ a game most Indian readers will probably remember rather fondly, although Australians may have marked it down as “the game in which Glenn McGrath scored a then-career-second-best 33 runs, and Michael Slater bowled a couple of tidy overs, conceding only four runs” ‒ VVS Laxman had scored one century and averaged 27 in 20 Tests over half a decade.
VVS hit a rapid 59 in India’s disastrous and seemingly series-losing first innings, and then unleashed what is unarguably the Finest Innings Ever Played By A Batsman With A Career Average Below 30 ‒ partly because it is arguably The Finest Innings Ever Played By Any Batsman With A Career Average Of Anything. If he has never quite matched the staggering splendour of his 281 in that miraculous victory, it nevertheless proved his watershed as a cricketer – he averaged 52 in 100 Tests over the next 10 years.
In the previous Test in that series, at the Wankhede in Mumbai, a player who bounced vigorously on the opposite end of the stylistic see-saw to Hooper and Laxman, Matthew Hayden, had finally played his breakthrough innings. At the age of 29, after 13 Tests dotted over seven frustrating years in which he averaged 24 during an era of potent Australian batsmanship, Hayden was not only drinking in Last-Chance Saloon, he had been asked to leave by several punters and was receiving some filthy looks from the barman. Hayden called for a lock-in, scored 119 under pressure to set up a baggy-green victory, and unleashed a three-year bombardment of biff in which he thunder-clouted 19 centuries in 42 Tests, and averaged 70.
Who knows how Samuels’ career will pan out. Perhaps he will revert to the level he has occupied for most of his decade-and-a-bit in Test cricket. Perhaps he will be the lynchpin of a newly emergent West Indies. Or the lynchpin of a still-quite-rubbish West Indies. Not all breakthrough innings herald the fulfilment of a talent. Mark Ramprakash, grotesquely mishandled by selectors after showing technique and temperament in his 1991 debut series, in which he batted for 17 hours in nine innings against Marshall, Walsh, Ambrose and Patterson (and was rewarded by being dropped on England’s tour of New Zealand in favour of Dermot Reeve’s only ever Tests), had averaged 19 before his maiden Test hundred, a textbook 154 in 1998 in Barbados that rescued England from 53 for 4. Ramprakash seemed to have solved the impermeable riddle of his own batting. However, after a decent 12 months of medium-weight run-scoring, he slumped again, and ended his Test career (assuming England’s selectors do not get wildly carried away with their new hobby of resting players from Tests) averaging just 27), still awaiting the true Laxman moment his talents could so easily have sparked.
● The first-day Edgbaston washout which means that James Anderson is now only being rested from four days of Test cricket, rather than the intended five, meaning that he has in effect lost 20% of the resting time he was supposed to be resting himself in. Does this mean he will now have to rest from an ODI as well, or merely try to rest 25% harder over the next four days?
The fact that Anderson was resting at home rather than in the Edgbaston dressing room is a curious situation, in which cricket appears finally to have alchemically concocted a formula whereby two wrongs do probably make a right. Test matches should be the pinnacle of the game, and the idea of resting players from them undermines their status (albeit that one cursory glance at the West Indian batting line-up suggests that that status was already nervously clutching a receipt for one undermining (plus VAT)). The international schedule should, for the sake of its own validity and integrity, ensure that the top players are physically and logistically able to play in all their country’s fixtures. It does not do that. It does not even contemplate that. Thus, resting players has become at least desirable, and possibly essential. England may be right to rest Anderson, but it should never have come to this.
It is also a tad befuddling that the ECB is resting Anderson from a Test match against his will in order to prolong and maximise his utility, but would not accept Pietersen ‒ a cricketer who has the same effect on opinion that Ernest Rutherford had on the atom ‒ resting from ODIs in order (possibly) to prolong and maximise his utility in Tests and T20Is. Conclusion (again): cricket’s schedule needs urgent psychiatric help.
● Carl Hooper’s belated flowering as a Test batsman roughly coincided with the start of the seemingly irretrievable slump in West Indian fortunes – 1994 was the last year in which they won more Tests than they lost, which illustrates the extent of the trough from which the current side are attempting to extricate themselves. As anyone who has ever attempted to extricate themselves from any form of trough will no doubt testify, it is harder to do so when you have various conflicting forces that ought to be giving you a helping hand out of the trough, instead clinging limpet-like to your trouser-leg trying to rugby tackle you back down into the trough, whilst shouting: “We’ve paid for this trough, we want to use it.”
Hi Everyone, Each Caribbean nation has its signature bread-roll with its one-of-a-kind flavour and texture. Trinidad and Tobago has Hops Bread, Jamaica has Coco Bread, Barbados has Salt Bread and Guyana has Tennis Rolls. Many of us living away from home try to acquire recipes to recreate these unique tastes of home. Alas, while we may get something resembling the real thing in appearance and flavour, the real thing eludes us. Such is the case with the Tennis Roll; so called because of its perfectly round shape.
For a long time now, I (and countless others) have been trying to locate a recipe for Tennis Rolls without much success. I thought that I was close when I met one of the owners of the defunct Fung’s Bakery whilst on a visit to Barbados, but no such luck. However, I did get some fleeting insights into the complexity of making this much beloved roll. I resigned myself to thinking that one day when the time was right, the recipe would be shared and hopefully, I’d have the equipment necessary to make Tennis Rolls.
Tennis Roll & Cheese (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)
So when I received an email from a regular reader of my column and blog, who has been living abroad for more than 30 years, telling me that she had found a recipe online for Tennis Rolls and that, “It was the authentic thing and surprisingly very simple”, I knew I had to give it a try. I was skeptical, but the thing is, you just never know. I had a few articles to write that day and several assignments to grade but like I said a few weeks
ago, when I want to avoid work, I bake. So I set about trying this Tennis Rolls recipe.
I am not a big bread lover but visions of a warm, hearty Tennis Roll, sliced in half and protecting thick slices of cheddar cheese was more than enough to motivate me. To wash it down, an ice-cold glass of cream soda made creamy with carnation milk. Ooo la la! Childhood memories of this after school snack thrilled me. My dear aunt, Betty, loves this combo too. My mom is not a big bread lover either; she prefers salt biscuits with cheese along with the cream soda and milk. But I digress.
Freshly baked Tennis Rolls (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)
I am not going to spend time telling you about the process of making the Tennis Rolls, let me cut to the chase and give you my verdict.
● The rolls looked exactly like Tennis Rolls –
perfectly round and impeccably browned.
● The rolls smelt exactly like Tennis Rolls – bready and sweet .
● The rolls had the flavour of Tennis Rolls – sweet and with the orange
zest giving it that signature taste.
● The rolls did not feel like Tennis Rolls – they felt a little too soft but the next
day, they had that give that a Tennis Roll has when you press it. It bounces back.
● The rolls did not have the texture of Tennis Rolls – the crumb was not as
uniform and compact as Tennis Rolls.
● Overall – It is an excellent roll and the closest that one can come to making
Tennis Rolls at home but Tennis Rolls aficionados will tell you that’s not
I am not an expert baker, but based on what I have experienced, read and discussed about baking, I am pretty confident that the main “problem” area with the rolls – the texture when it is felt and the crumb – could be as a result of the amount of liquid in the dough and a lack of the kind of kneading/handling of the dough that is required for real Tennis Rolls. Let me explain.
First, you need to understand what the term “crumb” means.
Crumb is a term used to define the inside of bread – the “meat” of the bread so to speak. That is where you can see the holes in the bread, whether they are compact and uniform or airy and tender or if there are large holes. Experienced bakers can tell just by looking at the crumb, the hydration in the bread (amount of water in the dough), types of flour and yeast amounts as well as how the dough was mixed and shaped.
Hydration refers to the amount of water in a dough. And the amount of water in the dough defines the type of bread the dough will make. The more water (liquid) added to the dough results in the hole-structure of the crumb getting larger and more irregular. The less liquid, the tighter the crumb and the more uniform it looks. The recipe I used for these “Tennis Rolls” called for a lot of liquid and this resulted in an airy, light texture with a crumb not as compact or uniform as traditional Tennis Rolls.
Another key area that would affect the home baker from recreating real Tennis Rolls would have to be the mixing method. In other words, the kneading method. You see, in professional bread baking, there are three types of mixing methods that may be used – the intensive method, the improved method and the simplified method. Each method has its advantages depending on the type of dough being made. (Reinhart 2001). Sweet dough – the dough for Tennis Rolls is sweet – usually requires a long intensive mixing on high speed to accomplish fat incorporation and for the gluten to fully develop. I kneaded my dough by hand for 10 minutes but I am sure that the bakers at all the bakeries that make Tennis Rolls will tell you that the dough is kneaded for much longer, by mixers and at a high speed.
The shaping of the rolls is another important area that could affect the outcome of the Tennis Rolls. Shaping is another opportunity to work the dough into the shapes required for baking. In this case, the cut pieces of dough were made into balls. The dough-balls should be compact, I tried making them as compact as I could by hand. In a commercial bakery, a machine would do this expertly with the precise amount of intensity, an intensity that cannot necessarily be replicated in a home kitchen.
As I’ve said before, the rolls I made are excellent rolls though they are not the real Tennis Rolls. But you know what? I had mine with slices of cheese and chased down with ice-cold cream soda and milk, just like I used to when I’d return from school in the afternoons. Another taste of home – done! Thanks for the nudge Melissa.
Homemade Tennis Rolls
(Adapted from Jennifer Szala Snyder)
Yield: 24 – 26 large rolls
1 cup whole milk, scalded (when bubbles form around the edges)
¼ cup unsalted butter (2 oz)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon extract (or essence)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or essence)
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
1 package instant yeast (11 grams or 3 ¼ teaspoons)
¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
5 cups all purpose flour plus extra for work surface and kneading
1. Add the butter, sugar, salt, zest and extracts/essences to the scalded milk and stir to mix and dissolve sugar. Set aside and cool until warm (110 degrees F).
2. Dissolve yeast in water.
3. In a large bowl, pour in warm milk mixture along with eggs and yeast; mix thoroughly.
4. Add 2 cups of flour to the wet ingredients and mix to make a smooth batter. Let mixture rest uncovered for 6 minutes.
5. Gradually add the remaining flour to the mixture, ½ cup at a time until a dough forms.
6. Flour a work surface and transfer the dough onto the work surface and start kneading the dough, dusting with more flour. The dough will be sticky at first but the more you knead and dust with flour it will become uniform. Knead dough for 10 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
7. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Dab a little oil on top of the dough to avoid it forming a skin. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area to proof until doubled in size; about 2 hours (this will depend on your location and the warmth of the environment).
8. Turn dough onto work surface, the gas should escape naturally, deflating the dough (this is called punched down).
9. Cut the dough into equal pieces; I usually weigh my dough for uniformity and even baking.
10. Form each cut piece of dough into a compact ball and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap, place them somewhere warm and draft free and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
11. 20 minutes before the second-rising time is up, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls for 12 – 14 minutes or until evenly browned.
12. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Serve at room temperature.
Elusive Tennis Rolls
Dartmouth researchers found that, of the estimated 138,000 breast cancers detected annually in the US, the test did not help 120,000 to 134,000 of the afflicted women [REUTERS]
Philadelphia, PA - It is difficult to communicate medical risk to a large audience, especially when official recommendations conflict with emotional narratives. That is why, when the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in 2009 presented its guidelines for breast cancer screening, which recommended against routine screenings for asymptomatic women in their 40s and biennial, rather than annual, mammograms for women over 50, the public responded with confused fury. The key to understanding this response is to be found in the nebulous zone between mathematics and psychology. People's discomfort with the findings stemmed largely from faulty intuition: if earlier and more frequent screening increases the likelihood of detecting a possibly fatal cancer, then more screening is always desirable. If more screening can detect breast cancer in asymptomatic women in their 40s, wouldn't it also detect cancer in women in their 30s? And, if so, why not, reductio ad absurdum, begin monthly mammograms at age 15? The answer, of course, is that such intensive screening would cause more harm than good. But striking the proper balance is challenging. Unfortunately, it is not easy to weigh breast cancer's dangers against the cumulative effects of radiation from dozens of mammograms over the years, the invasiveness of biopsies, and the debilitating impact of treating slow-growing tumors that would never have proven fatal. The USPSTF recently issued an even sharper warning about the prostate-specific antigen test for prostate cancer, after concluding that the test's harms outweigh its benefits. Chest X-rays for lung cancer and Pap tests for cervical cancer have received similar, albeit less definitive, criticism. The next step in the reevaluation of cancer screening was taken last year, when researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy announced that the costs of screening for breast cancer were often minimised, and that the benefits were much exaggerated. Indeed, even a mammogram (almost 40 million are given annually in the US) that detects a cancer does not necessarily save a life. The Dartmouth researchers found that, of the estimated 138,000 breast cancers detected annually in the US, the test did not help 120,000 to 134,000 of the afflicted women. The cancers either were growing so slowly that they did not pose a problem, or they would have been treated successfully if discovered clinically later (or they were so aggressive that little could be done). A related concern is measurement. Since the patient's duration of survival is calculated from the time of diagnosis, more sensitive screening starts the clock sooner. Survival times can thus appear longer, even if the earlier diagnosis had no real effect on survival. Naturally, individual cases dictate which tests and treatments are best, but an additional concern about frequent screenings is the problem of false positives. When one is looking for something relatively rare (whether cancer or terrorists), it is wise to remember that a positive result is often false. Either the "detected" pathology is not there, or it is not the sort that will kill you. Consider the following hypothetical example. Assume that the screening test for a certain cancer is 95 per cent accurate, meaning that if someone has the cancer, the test will be positive 95 per cent of the time. Next, assume that if someone does not have the cancer, the test will be positive only 1 per cent of the time. Finally, assume further that 0.5 per cent of people - one of every 200 - actually have this type of cancer. If your doctor tells you that you have tested positive, does this mean that you are likely to have the cancer? Surprisingly, the answer is no. A little arithmetic shows why. Suppose that 100,000 screenings are conducted. On average, 500 people will have the cancer. Since 95 per cent of them will test positive, there will be, on average, 475 positive tests. Of the 99,500 people without cancer, 1 per cent will test positive, yielding 995 false positives out of 1,470 positive tests. In other words, even if you tested positive for the cancer, the probability that you actually have it is only about 32 per cent. That answer is decidedly counterintuitive and hence easy to reject. Most people do not think in terms of probabilities other than "50-50" and "one in a million". But, whatever the probabilities, the fact remains that there will generally be a high percentage of false positives when screening for rare conditions. Moreover, the patients who receive these faulty diagnoses will usually receive further treatments, which often will have harmful consequences. The "availability heuristic" - a pervasive cognitive bias caused by people's tendency to estimate the likelihood of a phenomenon by how easily an example of it comes to mind - routinely clouds the issue. People relate much more readily to a friend dying of cancer than they do to statistics about strangers suffering from the consequences of testing. But the bottom line is that the ongoing reevaluation of cancer screening is evidence-based. When it comes to policymaking, decisions must be based on facts and argument, not anecdotes and stories, however compelling those narratives may be.
John Allen Paulos is Professor of Mathematics at Temple University and the author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper. A version of this article first appeared on Project Syndicate. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Source: Project Syndicate
On his retirement from the University of the West Indies, Guyanese-born literature professor Gordon Rohlehr received many tributes. The Trinidad Express devoted its editorial page on October 8 2007 to “A Gifted Son”.
He is acknowledged for “the colossal contributions he has made to West Indian scholarship, to the intellectual and cultural traditions of the people of this region… but he was not simply a cloistered academic. He lent his enormous prestige to a wide variety of community and cultural causes, never disdaining to address an audience on almost any subject handed him. In halls and centres high and low, in gatherings large and small… he would enrich an audience's understanding of issues related to West Indian society and politics, art and culture, life and letters.”
“Prof Rohlehr pioneered the academic and the intellectual study of calypso and the calypsonian, tracing its history over several centuries, and surveying the enormous material produced by generations of West Indians from one territory to the other.”
“He made otherwise unknown connections between the calypsonians in his native Guyana with those in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Jamaica, among others. He revealed in more than a few contexts, the extent to which the calypsonian expressed the soul of the peoples over the years. He documented the movements from one genre to another, from one age to the other, from one part of the region to another.”
“And he kept making those crucial connections, refusing to romanticise any particular era over another, putting the same intellectual rigour and the intellectual's penetrating insights to the soca and the ragga, as he would have done with what he had described as the bhaji and the mento rhythms.”
“But for so much more than that, his place has already been assured as one of the region's best and its brightest, as well as one of its most human and humane of gifted sons. Absolutely devoid of airs, of professorial perch or of any sense of superiority, he presided over so many of the pursuits with which he was associated, with consummate ease and with unusual humility.”
“This is one of the many attributes which endeared him to the thousands of students who encountered him” in the four decades on the UWI campuses. Gordon Rohlehr, through his scholarship and personal example is an exemplar of the best of the distinct West Indian cultural identity.
This will explain a lot.
It turns out that incompetent people are too incompetent to recognize their own incompetence.
Luckily, we don’t just have to take the incompetent people’s word for it – there’s years of rigorous study to back this up.
For more than a decade, David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, has found in his research that it’s “intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don’t know.”
Dunning, working with Justin Kruger, a former colleague at Cornell now at New York University, told Life’s Little Mysteries , that in their studies, they give people a short test, tally their scores, then ask the subjects how they think they did.
People who didn’t do well on the test are only slightly less confident about their ability than those who performed well.
And everyone thinks they did better than average – even people who did very poorly on the test.
“People at the bottom still think they’re outperforming other people,” Dunning said.
It doesn’t matter what the test is about – logical reasoning, how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, grammar, the funniness of jokes.
Even when Dunning and his colleagues offer a $100 reward to those who can rate themselves accurately, study participants just can’t do it.
This inherent inability to accurately gauge our own level of knowledge may be an underlying cause of many of society’s ills, including climate change denialism, Dunning said.
“Many people don’t have training in science, and so they may very well misunderstand the science. But because they don’t have the knowledge to evaluate it, they don’t realize how off their evaluations might be,” he said.
Stay tuned. There’s more to come. Dunning’s related interest: “how people bolster their sense of self-worth by carefully tailoring the judgments they make of others,” he writes on the Cornell faculty website.
“That is, people tend to make judgments of others that reflect favorably back on themselves, doing so even when the self is not under explicit scrutiny.”