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Calm, the 7-Year-0ld Meditation App, Says It's Now Valued at $1 Billion

Posted on 2019/4/17 12:37:18 ( 285 reads )


UNITED STATES, February 6, 2019 (Business Insider): On Wednesday, meditation app Calm announced it has raised $88 million in a Series B financing round -- taking its current valuation to $1 billion and making it the first so-called unicorn startup focused on meditation. The round brings Calm's total funding to date to $116 million. Calm, which launched in 2012, aims to quell issues of the modern age including anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It's a crowded market with rival apps including Headspace and special gadgets like the Muse meditation headset.

More so than many other types of subscription services vying for consumer dollars, meditation and mental wellbeing appears to be an area that consumers are comfortable paying for. Calm says it has well over 1 million paying subscribers and over 40 million downloads worldwide. Calms' Sleep Stories feature offers subscribing listeners bedtime stories (for adults, per the company) read aloud. It also includes guided meditations and calming sounds, like pouring rain and white noise. In 2017, Calm was named Apple's iPhone App of the Year and has since become the top-grossing health and fitness app, according to App Annie.

Vegan and Meat-Free fast-Food Options are Growing: Here's Where to Find Them.

Posted on 2019/4/17 12:37:04 ( 280 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 15, 2019 (USA Today): Two weeks after Red Robin became the largest restaurant chain to serve The Impossible Burger [a plant-based meat substitute] and Burger King announced the pilot of the Impossible Whopper [likewise] in St. Louis, two more restaurants announced Monday that they are joining the growing plant-based foods movement. Blaze Pizza is adding a vegan Spicy Chorizo topping at its 300-plus restaurants nationwide Tuesday. Then on April 25, Del Taco will become the first national Mexican fast-food chain to offer plant-based meat across all 580 locations with two new meatless tacos, officials told USA TODAY. Chipotle Mexican Grill is considered the first major chain to offer a vegan option when in 2014 it introduced its Sofritas, a spicy, shredded, organic tofu. That same year, White Castle released its first vegan veggie slider. Last year, KFC announced it was testing a vegetarian equivalent of its famous chicken in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In January, Carl's Jr. added the plant-based Beyond Burger to its menu and Taco Bell announced it would test a dedicated vegetarian menu.

The demand for plant-based products is growing as more people want to reduce meat consumption because of health concerns, said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat's founder and CEO. "We are about accessibility and meeting people where they're at in their journey - whether you're a hardcore carnivore or a strict vegan, you should be able to have our tacos, enjoy what you're eating and feel great afterward," Brown said. According to a June 2018 Nielsen report, while only 6% of Americans said they follow a strictly vegetarian lifestyle and 3% a strictly vegan lifestyle, 39% of Americans said they were trying to eat more plant-based products. To Michele Simon, executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, the growth of plant-based products in restaurants and stores isn't a trend, but a movement. "We're talking of a mainstreaming of this way of eating," Simon said, adding meat and dairy alternatives are growing in popularity. "You can't get more mainstream than Burger King and Carl's Jr."

The Two MPs of British Descent Who Do not Have to Stand in Indian Election

Posted on 2019/4/17 12:36:51 ( 266 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, April 15, 2019 (The Guardian): Winning a seat in India's parliament can take months of gruelling campaigning across vast electorates, often in stifling heat. Unless you are George Baker. The award-winning actor from eastern India is one of just two members of the country's 545-seat lower house whose name will not appear on any ballot in India's six-week election season, which kicked off on Thursday. A vestige of India's colonial history, and a sign of the magnanimous spirit with which the country said goodbye to its British former masters, his is one of two seats in the country's parliament still reserved for Anglo-Indians: Indian citizens of European descent.

Along with another Anglo-Indian, Richard Hay, Baker was appointed to parliament in 2015, where he has the same powers as any MP to vote and spend money on the development of the estimated 150,000 members of his community who remain. Their terms last until 2020. Anglo-Indians are distinct from Indian Christians, who have existed in the country since shortly after Jesus's reputed death. Nor were they British citizens, who were free to return home after India became independent in 1947. The community who have been called "Midnight's Orphans" were caught in the middle: descendants of Europeans who had married Indians or else migrated and settled in the country; Christians who spoke English and cultivated British lifestyles but with Indian lineages stretching back hundreds of years, in some cases.

More at "source".

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/4/17 12:36:37 ( 255 reads )


There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point; that is the secret.
-- Swami Vivekananda

New Crematoria Provisions for the UK Hindu Community Announced

Posted on 2019/4/16 12:13:05 ( 282 reads )


LONDON, ENGLAND, April 16, 2019 (Press release from Hindu Forum of Britain): On April 8, the Government Ministry of House, Communities and Local Government issued their response to the Crematoria Provision and Facilities consultation. As a result of this response and the consultation which had been carried out earlier in 2016, the Ministry has presented a series of measures designed to meet the needs of users of crematoria. This has been a pressing issue for the Hindu community in the UK for a long time and the review states that the majority of the users were Hindus with 28.1% concentrated mainly in North West Boroughs of London and in the city of Leicester.

In 2015, the President of the Hindu Forum Britain, Mrs Trupti Patel had said, 'We at the HFB have been campaigning for culturally sensitive crematorium facilities for many years. It is indeed good news that the present Conservative Government has recognised this very important issue and will be conducting a major consultation exercise that we hope will result in meeting the needs of our community." She stated that the Forum has been at the forefront of this issue for more than a decade, demanding from the Government specific measures to meet the needs of the Hindu community who have rituals and ceremonies performed pre and post mortem which are very important for the departed and the families of the departed. When these are not carried out according to religious and cultural norms can create distress to family and friends of the departed. This is the time when large numbers of family, relatives and friends of the family come to attend the final rites and the crematoria are not adequate for all mourners to be accommodated, sometimes having to stand outside the main hall.

Down load the government's report here: https://www.public-sector.co.uk/articl ... w-government-response.pdf

Venture Capitalists Put Their Money Into Astrology

Posted on 2019/4/16 12:12:52 ( 287 reads )


NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 15, 2019 (New York Times, by Erin Griffith): As an Aquarius, David Birnbaum is naturally skeptical of astrology. But as an investor, he has zero doubts about the business potential of the $2.1 billion "mystical services market." It's an area that he has been trying, unsuccessfully, to invest in for nearly two decades. Now he's found one, Sanctuary, an app that can be described as "Uber for astrological readings." For $19.99 a month, you can receive a monthly one-on-one chat consultation with an astrologer. (The app also provides free daily horoscopes.) Mr. Birnbaum's decision to back a horoscope company through Five Four Ventures, the incubator he runs, "gets a lot of grins" from people in the finance world, he said. But they get it. Astrology is having a cultural moment, and for investors, that translates to dollar signs.

The article, which definitely takes a skeptical view of astrology, goes on to describe other apps, such as Co-Star and Pattern, but none that appeared based in India or on Indian astrology.

Hinduism Today Seeks On-Line Sanskrit Learning Teachers and Tools

Posted on 2019/4/16 12:12:38 ( 301 reads )

KAUAI, HAWAII, April 16, 2019 (HPI): Hinduism Today magazine is doing a piece on the on-line presence of tools, teachers and organizations for learning Sanskrit. Kindly share with us any app you're aware of that help you learn Sanskrit as well as any Web sites that feature Sanskrit or Devanagari learning. Email to: ar@hindu.org.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/4/16 12:12:25 ( 292 reads )


To trust a man who has not been tested and to suspect a man who has proven trustworthy lead alike to endless ills.
-- Tirukural 510

Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peeth Concerned about Jagannath Temple Management

Posted on 2019/4/15 13:47:27 ( 365 reads )


PURI, INDIA, April 10, 2019 (Odisha Bytes): In the wake of Supreme Court's proposal to hand over the management of the Jagannath temple to the Shankaracharya of the Gobardhan Peeth in its recent hearing, the latter is of the view that from the spiritual and religious perspective, the management of the temple should remain in his charge. "There will be no disparity if the management adheres to the ethics and rituals specified under the record of rights and Shree Jagannath Temple Act," Shankaracharya of Gobardhan Peeth, Swamy Nischalalanda Saraswati, told the media here on Wednesday.

Taking a dig at the state government, the seer said that the senior bureaucrats, appointed as the chief administrators of the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) have tarnished the rich and pristine tradition of the temple with mindless governance. "No one should forget that the Adi Shankaracharya had reinstalled the statue of Lord Jagannath in the Srimandir 2503 years ago," he pointed out. Notably, the Supreme Court while hearing a PIL on mismanagement and exploitation of devotees in Jagannath temple in Puri on April 8 had questioned the role of the government authorities in taking over the administration of religious places. The apex court had observed that the task should be entrusted to devotees as it expressed concern over the failure of various state governments in managing temple affairs. Appearing on behalf of the Puri Shankaracharya, advocate Suchit Mohanty had told the bench that the spiritual guru had filed an application in the case to assist the court in deciding the issue.

There are now as many Americans Who Claim no Religion as there are Evangelicals and Catholics, a Survey Finds

Posted on 2019/4/15 13:47:14 ( 307 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 13, 2019 (CNN): For the first time "No Religion" has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity according to a new analysis by a political scientist. The non-religious edged out Catholics and evangelicals in the long-running General Social Survey. Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that 23.1% of Americans now claim no religion. Catholics came in at 23.0%, and evangelicals were at 22.5%. The three groups remain within the margin of error of each other though, making it a statistical tie. Over 2,000 people were interviewed in person for the survey. "Religious nones," as they are called by researchers, are a diverse group made up of atheists, agnostics, the spiritual, and those who are no specific organized religion in particular. A rejection of organized religion is the common thread they share.

"It is the first time we have seen this. The same questions have been asked for 44 years," Burge told CNN. The meteoric rise of religious nones began in the early 1990s and has grown 266% since 1991, he said. Burge estimates that 'No Religion will be the largest group outright in four to six years. Experts still debate the factors behind this wave of Americans declaring no religion. One reason could be the internet, says Nick Fish, the president of American Atheists. It provides a place for nonbelievers to find each other. Whatever the causes, the non-religious represent a growing constituency. Yet this demographic is greatly underrepresented in Washington's halls of power. There is not a single open atheist amid the most diverse Congress in history, according to a Pew study.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/4/15 13:47:00 ( 346 reads )


The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world. Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into various ornaments we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the ornaments gold. The one is real; the many are mere names and forms.
-- Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), Indian guru

What the Indian State Known as God's Own Country Can Teach Us about Eating to Our Health

Posted on 2019/4/14 11:27:52 ( 426 reads )


INDIA, April 11, 2019 (CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta): As an Indian kid growing up in the States, my parents did everything they could to create a little feeling of their ancestral land in our small Midwestern town. And, although neither of my parents was a doctor, they often treated me and my little brother with home remedies passed down to them over many generations. For example, to get us to calm down, my mom taught us an alternate nostril breathing technique. It's called Nadi Shodhana, and my mom, who is an engineer, had a very precise way of demonstrating it. Another was the regular use of a tongue scraper, which was as common in our childhood home as a toothbrush and is something I still use today. Truth is, all of my mom's remedies worked for us. Still, as I progressed through my own medical training in neurosurgery, I wondered how much scientific evidence really existed for these ancient home remedies. So last summer, while filming "Chasing Life," I traveled to the birthplace of many of these techniques and practices, a place known to locals and visitors as "God's own country": the state of Kerala.

As soon as I landed, I was reminded of the remarkable diversity of India. Four world religions originated there: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. There are over 22 languages and hundreds more dialects spoken in India, and the culture is wildly different in the north vs. the south, east vs. west. Kerala is a part of India, but it very much feels like a completely different country, with lush green tropics filled with backwater brackish lagoons running in parallel to the Arabian Sea, near 100% literacy rates and a focus on health that has become the envy of the world. Thousands of years ago, in this tiny coastal state, began what some believe is the oldest medicine practice in the world. It is called Ayurveda, which means the science of life. All those home remedies my mom imported into our home on the other side of the world probably had their origins in Kerala. The region is believed to have given us breathing practices, meditation, tongue scrapers, massage and, perhaps most important, the Ayurvedic diet.

More at "source."

Meat and Agriculture Are Worse for the Climate than Power Generation, Steven Chu Says

Posted on 2019/4/14 11:27:39 ( 305 reads )


UNITED STATES, April 13, 2019 (Forbes): The world has focused first on energy in its effort to stop greenhouse gas emissions, but former Energy Secretary Steven Chu puts agriculture at the top of his list of climate challenges--particularly animal agriculture. The Nobel Prize winning physicist surveyed the world's carbon-polluting industries in a lecture at the University of Chicago, and he started with meat and dairy. "If cattle and dairy cows were a country, they would have more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire EU 28," said Chu, who recently assumed the presidency of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Chu lumped the greenhouse gas emissions from meat and dairy with other agricultural practices, such as fertilizer, and land-use changes, such as deforestation and soil disruption. He weighted the resulting greenhouse gases for lifetime and potency, showing that emissions from agriculture are a bigger problem than emissions from energy.

Chu described the unnatural effects of industrial agriculture: what he called "oversexed corn" that devotes all its life energy to making giant kernels, pigs that gain 280 pounds in a matter of months, turkeys so breast-heavy they can't mate and must be artificially inseminated--a planet dominated by animals modified and raised and slaughtered to feed humans. "Let me tell you how the carbon mass of animals is distributed," Chu said, referring to a recent study of biomass on earth. "Humans and the animals we eat are 96 percent of the carbon mass (of mammals) in the world." Chu is not the first to suggest that experts underestimate the climate impact of animal agriculture. Experts typically attribute about 15 percent of the world's carbon emissions to livestock, but the Worldwatch Institute audited that number in 2009 and found uncounted emissions that bring the livestock contribution to 51 percent. The answer, to Chu, is biotechnology. He profiled fake meat and a symbiotic fertilizer technology.

Daily Inspiration

Posted on 2019/4/14 10:54:05 ( 410 reads )


Should the perfect virtue of perfect men ever diminish, this mighty Earth would bear our burdensome weight no more.
-- Tirukural 990

India's Supreme Court: Don't Know Why Government Officials Should Manage Temples

Posted on 2019/4/9 12:04:38 ( 675 reads )


INDIA, April 9, 2019 (DNAIndia): The Supreme Court Monday asked as to why should government officials manage religious places and temples in the country while taking note of the fact that several devotees visiting the Jagannath temple in Puri were being harassed. A bench of Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer observed this while hearing a plea which has highlighted difficulties faced by the devotees at Jagannath temple and their alleged harassment and exploitation by the sevaks (staff). "It is a matter of perspective. I do not know why government officials should manage temples," Justice Bobde observed during the hearing. "In Tamil Nadu, there is theft of statues. These statues, apart from the religious sentiments, are priceless," the bench said. Attorney General K.K, Venugopal told the apex court that Kerala's Sabarimala temple was being run by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) while boards appointed by governments were managing several other temples in the country. "How far the government, in a secular state, can control or manage a temple?" Venugopal asked.

At the outset, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in the case, said he has already filed the detailed report after his visit to the shrine. To this, the bench observed, "People (visiting the temple) are harassed due to several reasons. Priests restrict them. Lot of them do not have voice. They are poor and uneducated." The counsel appearing for the petitioner told the bench that Jagannath temple administration should apprise the court as to what steps they have taken pursuant to the report filed by the Puri's District Judge in the matter.The bench said the matter would be heard next month.

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