Did you know…
… that today is the beginning of National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month? This month encourages people to adopt pets, especially dogs, from animal shelters. Celebrate today by trying to find a good home for a shelter dog… or any other animal!
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“I think having an animal in your life makes you a better human.”
— Rachel Ray
Flipkart, which already has a new parent— global retailer Walmart— providing fund infusions and offline retail push, is speculated to be looking for strategic investors to raise fresh capital. Along the lines of Flipkart, digital payments company PhonePe is also speculated to raise funds separately as it seeks to catch up with bigger rival Paytm.
Gurugram-based Origo Commodities, that offers post-harvest management services for agricultural commodities, has raised $10.9 Mn (INR 80 Cr) funding from impact investors such as Netherlands-based Oikocredit, Triodos Investment Management and Caspian SME Impact Fund IV.
Delhi-based online skill-based gaming startup 9stacks has announced that it has successfully closed Series A round of funding after raising $3.84Mn (INR 28 Cr) led by WaterBridge Ventures and other existing investors. 9stacks is India’s first online poker company to reach this funding milestone.
Delhi-based online tea brand Vahdam Teas has raised $2.5 Mn (INR 16 Cr) in its third institutional round of fundraising led by existing investor Fireside Ventures. The company plans to use the funding to expand its presence in the US, which forms Vahdam’s largest market. A large part of the capital raised will be used towards customer acquisition and brand building as well as exploring new markets in India.
Jakarta-based point-of-sale (POS) provider Moka has announced the acquisition of Mumbai-based contextual marketing company GetFocus for an undisclosed amount. The companies are looking at combining their synergies to strengthen their technology capabilities and leadership.
Last week, Inc42 successfully hosted the fourth edition of its Founders Meetup, which witnessed enthusiastic participation from several startup founders who shared their unique growth stories with the audience present at the event. After an eventful week, we are here to book your calendars for another busy week ahead! Here is Inc42’s latest edition of startup events coming up this week.
Platinum jewellery, the market for which is currently estimated at INR 3,000 Cr and is growing at a rapid 25% CAGR intrigued Jaipur based Sambhav Karnawat, Khushboo Patwa, and Ruchika Beri who launched an online platform for authentic platinum jewellery, Jewelove, in January 2016. Jewelove offers minimalistic jewellery for people who prefer elegance over bling.
- Send flowers to a friend or a family member!
- Start the day right – make breakfast for everyone
- Old laptop or mobile lying around? Donate it
- Pay for someone else’s meal today
- Feeling inspired? Make a meal for your family or roommates
- Make your voice count – sign a petition for a good cause
- Feed a stray animal if you spot one
- Make amends with someone you may have wronged
- Recycle 3 things today
- Save water – take a shorter shower today
10 Uplifting Stories To Get You Through The Week (9/30/18)
If the week has got you down, this list is the solution. It serves as a counter to all the gloomy, serious, and weird happenings in the world by focusing only on stories that are cheerful and inspiring.
There were quite a few positive things to talk about this week. We have a couple of promising new medical procedures that give hope to people who are paralyzed or in a vegetative state. We’ll also sprinkle in heartwarming animal stories, archaeologists who get excited over a shipwreck, and a stirring tale of survival.
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10New Therapy Can Restore Signs Of Consciousness
A man who has been in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for 15 years showed signs of consciousness following a revolutionary new medicaltherapy involving nerve stimulation.
The treatment targets the vagus nerve which runs from the brain stem to both sides of the neck and connects the brain to many vital organs throughout the body. A 20-minute surgery saw a small electrical device implanted in the neck which regularly stimulated the vagus nerve. A month later, the patient showed improvements in movement, attention, and brain activity and was upgraded to a state of minimal consciousness.
The man is still paralyzed and cannot talk, but he does track objects with his eyes and stays awake while hearing stories. He can even turn his head upon request, although it is rather laborious and time-consuming.
Team leader Angela Sirigu with the Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, France, is hopeful that the therapy could prove even more effective when dealing with patients with less severe injuries. It could be particularly useful for patients with damaged brain stems but intact cortices.
The treatment challenges the current view that there’s no coming back once a patient has been in PVS for more than 12 months.
9The Young Man And The Sea
A teenager from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi survived for 49 days at sea after his fishing hut drifted into open water.
In mid-July, 18-year-old Aldi Novel Adilang was fishing 125 kilometers (77 mi) off the coast of Indonesia. He was in a rompong—a wooden hut with no engine which acts as a fish trap and is anchored to the seabed with a rope. Sometimes, these structures are unmanned and someone regularly comes to collect the fish.
However, in this case, Aldi was employed to stay on the rompong and someone brought him fresh water and food. On July 14, strong winds knocked off his moorings and Aldi was adrift. He managed to survive by rationing his supplies and catching fish which he cooked by burning the wooden fences from the rompong.
Over 10 ships sailed by Aldi and didn’t see him. Finally, on August 31, he was picked up by the Panamanian vessel MV Arpeggio. By then, the teenager had drifted for thousands of kilometers and reached the waters of Guam. They took him to their destination, which was Japan.
The Indonesian consulate flew him back home, and Aldi was reunited with his family on September 8. He later revealed that this was the third time he had gone adrift, although the other two occasions were much shorter.
8Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroo Photographed For First Time
A lost species of tree kangaroo has been seen and even photographed for the first time in 90 years.
Back in 1928, evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr collected the first specimen of the Wondiwoi tree kangaroo in the mountains of the Indonesian part of New Guinea. The species was described in 1933 from that specimen. Until recently, it was the only Wondiwoi tree kangaroo known to science. We didn’t know if the species was thriving, endangered, or even extinct.
The recent sighting was made by Michael Smith, an amateur botanist from Farnham, England. He likes to take vacations to remote parts of the world to look for rare flowers. He had heard of the Wondiwoi last year and decided to put together an expedition and try his luck.
His efforts were rewarded when he was able to see the elusive creature and take the first photograph of it. Smith came out of the Indonesian forests in late July and consulted with animal experts to confirm his find before going public.
The Wondiwoi has managed to stay hidden for decades because it lives in nigh-impenetrable bamboo forests high up in the mountains. The numerous scratch marks and piles of dung attributed to the tree kangaroo give naturalists hope that the species might have thrived all this time.
7A New Shipwreck Mystery
Archaeologists are excited after discovering a 400-year-old shipwreck near Cascais off the coast of Portugal.
At the moment, the identity of the vessel is still a mystery, but the well-preserved contents have led some specialists to hail it as the “discovery of the decade.” Chinese porcelain and bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms have been found around the wreck. Cowry shells, which were used as currency throughout parts of Asia, have also been located.
The clues seem to indicate that the ship was a spice trader that sank sometime between 1575 and 1625 on its way home from India. The porcelain belonged to the short-lived Wanli period.
Marine archaeologists are confident that closer study of the recovered artifacts will reveal information about the maritime history and culture of Cascais and perhaps even help to identify the ship.
6A Place To Park My Bike
Random acts of kindness aren’t meant to change the world, but they can make someone’s day. If the right person also snaps a picture, it has a good chance of going viral. That is what happened this week when a four-year-old got his own “parking space.”
Over the last year, food and travel writer Christie Dietz has brought her son almost every day to her workplace in Wiesbaden, Germany. Every time, he parks and secures his stylish green-and-blue bicycle to the same lamppost outside.
Clearly, the neighbors have taken notice. One of them placed a parking sticker with an image of the bicycle on the lamppost, ensuring that everyone else knows that spot is reserved.
Dietz took a picture of the random act of kindness which was shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times on social media. She also mentioned that her son was delighted with his “parking space” and that she placed a thank you note next to the sticker for her son’s kindhearted anonymous benefactor.
5Hero In A Half Shell
An injured turtle from the Maryland Zoo can now cruise in style with the help of a wheelchair made from LEGO bricks.
The reptile was found in a park in Baltimore by a zoo employee. It had multiple fractures on its plastron, the underside of the shell. Vets used metal bone plates, surgical wire, and sewing clasps to piece it back together. While the turtle could make a full recovery, it was important to keep the shell off the ground so that it could heal.
This presented a conundrum. Although various harnesses and wheelchairs for animals do exist, they don’t really come in tiny turtle size. Fortunately, one of the vets had a friend who was a skilled LEGO builder. After a quick brainstorming session, the prototype was ready a few weeks later.
The turtle took to its LEGO wheelchair immediately and was able to move without any noticeable hindrance.
4Birthday Surprise For Devoted Centenarian Patron
Fast-food chain Chick-fil-A decided to reward one of its most loyal customers with a surprise party and free food for life to celebrate his 100th birthday.
For the past two decades, Stephen Bellissimo has visited his local Chick-fil-A restaurant in Oldsmar, Florida, several times a week. He quickly became a favorite patron as he always took the time to chat with everyone who served him. He was known as “Mr. Steve” to the employees and even received a 50 percent discount.
This week, Mr. Steve turned 100 years old. When he went for his usual meal at the fast-food joint, staffers were on hand to throw him a party. The big surprise came at the end as Stephen was offered free food for life at his favorite restaurant. He described it as “the best gift I could ever receive” and intends to eat there every day for the rest of his life.
3Recipe For Love
Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has a collection of roughly 900 papyri and papyrus fragments. One of them was recently deciphered and turned out to be an ancient love spell.
The papyrus features two birdlike creatures facing each other and surrounded by text written in Coptic. Parts of the text are missing, but it makes several references to characters and events from the Bible. The parchment was analyzed and decoded by Korshi Dosoo from the University of Strasbourg. He believes that the papyrus is 1,300 years old because it matches the style and content of other documents dated to that time period.
According to Dosoo’s interpretation, the two creatures depicted on the parchment feature slight differences to suggest that they are male and female. The fact that they are facing each other indicates that the magical recipe is a love spell.
There is also mention of deer musk perfume, a common ingredient in such incantations, and talk of avoiding Ahitophel, a biblical character who deserted King David and is meant to symbolize bad influences.
Dosoo believes that the goal of the spell may be to aid star-crossed lovers. Similar texts from that time often imply that the problem isn’t love but that the girl’s family forbids the relationship. At the same time, the researcher admits that other interpretations of the magic spell are possible, such as the two creatures actually being demons looking to manipulate someone.
2Geoffrey Owens Turns Job Shaming Into Positive
Actor Geoffrey Owens donated the money gifted to him by Nicki Minaj following his “job shaming.”
Owens is primarily known for playing Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show. Afterward, he had only a few guest roles on various TV shows and needed ways to supplement his income. This became a pressing issue in recent years after The Cosby Show reruns were taken off the air due to the trial of Bill Cosby. Owens took work where he could find it, which meant a recent position as a cashier at Trader Joe’s.
Earlier this month, someone recognized him at his workplace and took a picture of him which went viral. A few publications ran with the story in a derisive tone, taking shots at Owens for where he ended up working after being on a hit TV show. This led to accusations of “job shaming.”
Many people, including other celebrities, rallied behind Geoffrey Owens. Tyler Perry offered him a 10-episode role on his soap opera The Haves and the Have Nots. Rapper Nicky Minaj pledged a gift of $25,000.
Although Owens was grateful for the money, he announced that he will donate it to the Actor’s Fund in memory of fellow The Cosby Show actor Earle Hyman.
1Electrical Implant Helps People Walk Again
Three patients who were paralyzed from the waist down have been able to walk again following a revolutionary electrical implant.
Research teams from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Louisville talked about the technique in papers published in Nature Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine. The implant consists of an electrical patch fitted to the spinal cord and placed below the injury. It acts as an intermediary between the brain and leg muscles, helping signals that get lost on the way.
It should be noted that the operation still requires months of rehab therapy to work. Also, the patch does not repair the damage but rather bypasses the injury. If it is turned off, then the patient can no longer perform conscious movements of his legs. Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon Dr. Kendall Lee described the new technology as “very exciting” but still in its research stage.
10 Really Weird Chinese Medical Treatments And Their Effects
Chinese medicine has been around an extremely long time. Systematic records of medical techniques first appeared in China around the second century BC. Since then, hundreds of thousands of doctors have worked their magic, eventually giving birth to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of today.
TCM is well-known for its bizarre and unorthodox approach to medicine. We are only just beginning to understand how it works from a contemporary scientific perspective. Although few comprehensive studies exist to make sense of everything, there is just enough research to let us put together a list of interesting, sometimes scary, and downright weird TCM treatments.
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If we take a look past the bruise-covered Michael Phelps, a whole new world of cupping promises a lot more than a little placebo. Beyond aiding athletic performance, cupping is generally used to help chronic pain. It may also be a treatment for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
According to recent research, cupping can increase vasodilation and bloodcirculation, allowing your body to get rid of waste and toxins faster. Although there might not be evidence that cupping will rid you of your heart condition anytime soon, it may be an effective treatment for relieving all sorts of aches and pains with minimal side effects.
With the pain out of the way, you’ll be ready to hit the pool again. But you may want to take a lesson from Phelps and keep your shirt on.
Acupuncture is a tried-and-true practice that is becoming more accepted around the world. Historically, it was thought to be able to stimulate life force and heal a myriad of diseases. Today, it is a common treatment for chronic pain. In China, it is even used as a form of anesthesia during surgery.
Studies have shown that patients have a good response to acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Its effectiveness as a supplemental therapy is becoming more apparent as time goes on.
Although not for the faint of heart, acupuncture gets the job done with a deceptively little amount of pain—as long as you can get past the idea of being simultaneously stabbed in multiple places in the name of health.
One of the most iconic ingredients in any TCM concoction, ginseng is translated as “person plant root” for its stark resemblance to a human with limbs. The obvious visual similarities shared with the human body have made ginseng a symbolic cure for all human ailments in Chinese medicine. However, beyond the mysticism, this root is known to have many beneficial effects that can promote well-being in the long run.
Due to its potent antioxidant effects, ginseng is thought to reduce inflammation. Research has shown its potential to reduce oxidative stress in the human body. This reduction of inflammation may significantly affect your health, with links being drawn to improvements in brain health, erectile dysfunction, and even cancer prevention.
One of our favorite sea-dwelling creatures, seahorses are defined by their unique ability to have male pregnancy. They are used worldwide as pets in aquariums and even as food, with TCM finding a myriad of potential health benefits in the majestic little creatures.
Seahorses are touted for benefiting the kidneys as well as sexual performance and libido, with links drawn to general well-being and vigor. Practitioners claim that seahorses bolster kidney strength as well as stimulate nerve activity.
Softshell turtles are an expensive ingredient thought to have cooling properties. It is believed that a soft turtle shell can moisturize skin, nourish blood, treat diarrhea, and boost the overall immune system.
According to some research, soft turtle shell promotes the production of immune globulin, which can prolong the existence of certain antibodies. This boosts the immune system and protects us from disease.
Beyond medical practice, softshell turtles are considered a delicacy in certain areas of China as they are full of minerals and collagen.
Cockroaches have really taken off in TCM over the last decade. Many farms all over China house billions of the hair-raising crawlers for use in medicine. In 2013, there was even a disaster where millions of cockroaches escaped from a cockroach farm.
Cockroaches are thought to help with burns and are used in many cosmetic products in China and South Korea.
They are also believed to help gastroenteritis, duodenal ulcers, and pulmonary tuberculosis. In fact, a Sichuan-based pharmaceutical company is developing a medicinal syrup that promises just that.
Another medicinal staple in Chinese households, deer sinew is thought to potentially benefit everyone with its ability to strengthen bones and tendons, reduce muscle spasms, and even bring temporary relief from arthritis. These effects are believed to be related to the high level of collagen peptide and proteins contained inside the sinews. Studies show the ability of this tissue to reduce bone loss and the progression of osteoporosis in rats.
Should you ever decide to invest in some deer sinew for bone health, do try to find a reliable source as there have been many reports of pharmacies selling cheap cattle tendons in place of the real deer.
Sea stars (aka starfish) are also known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. With inflammation linked to many ailments such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, allergies, asthma, and even cancer, it’s easy to see how an ingredient with anti-inflammatory effects would be sought-after.
These effects are even being explored in Western medicine. There, the slimy goo of a particular sea star is being investigated for its application in treating inflammation-related illnesses.
Known as “worm grass” in China, caterpillar fungus goes by the name Cordyceps in the scientific community. It is a scary fungus that starts life as a little spore infecting the backs of moth caterpillars that live high in the mountains.
Once the unsuspecting caterpillars die, the fearsome fungus grows out of the hosts’ bodies in the form of stringy, alien-like fingers. Thankfully, the infectious properties of the fungus don’t affect humans.
Cordyceps is known to help kidney and liver problems, and some athletes use it to boost performance. New research is even showing activity against cancer cells that could reduce the size of tumors, particularly in lung and skin cancers.
Geckos are used to fight coughs and colds with their supposed ability to affect the lungs and kidneys (both of which are linked to coughing in TCM). By nourishing the kidneys and strengthening the lungs, your cough will be gone in no time—and all with a simple pinch of dried lizard. Practitioners commonly prescribe it as a cure for impotence and premature ejaculation, too.
If you’ve ever wondered what that gross dried creature hanging ominously from the window of your local Chinese pharmacy is, now you know exactly what it does and just how magical its effects are.