5 Reasons to Love Bananas

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Time to celebrate all the health benefits of your favorite yellow fruit

They can sub in for sports drinks

Bananas could give sports drinks a run for their MONEY. A study published in PLoS ONE analyzed the blood samples of 14 trained cyclists, who were given either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana to consume every 15 minutes during a simulated 2.5- to 3-hour road race. Researchers found that performance was the same for both, but bananas come with added benefits. “They pack more nutrients than sports drinks and have a healthier blend of natural sugars with bonus antioxidants,” says Health‘s contributing NUTRITION editor, Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD. And if you’re low on key electrolytes like potassium that help regulate nerve and muscle function, you might suffer from MUSCLE CRAMPS. So grabbing a banana to replace what you sweat out during an intense workout isn’t a bad idea.

Health.com: 20 Ways to Stick to Your Workouts

They may boost your metabolism

Bananas are a good source of resistant starch, a starch found in carbohydrate-rich foods that may help you slim down. Your body digests resistant starch slowly (it literally “resists” the process), making it a natural appetite suppressant because you feel fuller longer. RS also encourages your liver to switch to fat-burning mode.Health‘s CarbLovers DIET recommends eating 10 to 15 grams daily. A medium, slightly green banana has 12.5 grams of RS, but even ripe bananas have almost 5 grams.

Health.com: Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

They can help keep blood pressure in check

Another upside to the high potassium content in bananas: it may help regulate blood pressure. The more potassium you consume, the more sodium that can exit your body, according to the American Heart Association. That’s because the mineral acts like a natural diuretic. “It triggers the kidneys to release excess sodium and fluid the body is holding onto,” Sass says. Lower blood pressure is great news for your heart: It means the muscle won’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. It doesn’t hurt either that a diet with potassium-rich foods was found to cut your risk of stroke by 21% and may also lower your risk for heart disease.

Health.com: 18 Superfoods for Your Heart

They’re good for your gut bacteria

You’ve probably heard of probiotics, the “good” bacteria that aid digestion and are found in certain foods like yogurt. Well, there’s also such a thing as prebiotics, and bananas happen to be a great source of them. Prebiotics are actually carbohydrates that can’t be digested by the human body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Still, they play a vital role in maintaining a healthy gut. “Prebiotics supply food for probiotics,” Sass says. “So they help the ‘good’ probiotic bacteria grow.” Bananas aren’t the only food that will help you get your fill of prebiotics: You’ll also find them in raisins, asparagus, onions, and garlic.

RELATED: 13 Foods That Help With Acid Reflux

They can ease stomach troubles

Bananas can help with several tummy issues. The 3.1 grams of fiber you’ll find in a medium banana is split into two different types: soluble and insoluble, which can help ease digestion and relieve constipation, respectively. Bananas could even aid recovery after a bout of diarrhea, when fluid loss depletes levels of key electrolytes like potassium, Sass says. That’s not all. “Bananas neutralize the acidity in the stomach and coat the lining to reduce irritation,” Sass says. So they are thought to help fight heartburn and stomach ulcers, too.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

By Gowtham Grosz

5 Beauty Tips Women Can Learn From Dudes

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This post originally appeared on Refinery29.com.

When we’re looking for expertbeauty advice, there are certain sources we always turn to. And, typically, the men in our lives don’t make that list. It’s not because we don’t trust them — it’s just that we don’t think they have any idea what they’re talking about regarding beauty (with a few notable exceptions, of course). Really, does your brother or boyfriend or best guy friendactually know the best way to craft a perfectly tousled beach wave?

While they might not know how to make Gisele hair happen for you, these dudes do prescribe to a few key beauty theories we might learn a thing or two from. We know. So, we quizzed three experts on some of the guy tips we can and should adopt. Ahead, what men do behind (closed) bathroom doors — the lessons you can take away may just surprise you.



Since men shave their faces, they’re getting regular exfoliation —without the extra step. “Exfoliation helps to get rid of the top layer of dead skin cells, called the stratum corneum, and in doing so, it helps to force the skin to turn over,” says Dr. Anthony Rossi, a New York dermatologist. “By shaving, men are actually causing slight trauma to their skin, causing it to repair itself. It’s just like what dermatologists do when they perform a dermabrasion or laser resurfacing — we’re causing a controlled trauma that forces the body to make new collagen to repair it.”

Is whipping out your razor the answer? Not exactly. (Though, it’s safe. More on that in a second.) Rossi does urge women to exfoliate regularly — even daily, if you can get away with it. “Try using an exfoliating beard scrub, like Jack Black Face Buff Energizing Scrub. Products like this can really help women exfoliate — this one has vitamin C and menthol in it.”

Getting back to the topic of razors, Rossi says it’s perfectly fine to shave your face — there is no scientific evidence to show hair grows back thicker or faster. “Some patients may feel that, after shaving, the quality of the hair may change, but there has not been scientific evidence to prove this,” he says. “There is no proof that if you shave, it will come back thicker.” So, shall we finally put a pin in that complaint, ladies?

(MORE: Beauty Cheat Sheet: 10 Shortcuts For Lazy Girls Everywhere)

Keep It Classic


Ever notice how there doesn’t seem to be a ton of variety with regard to dudes’ coiffs? “This isn’t a fact, but I think probably 80% of men’s haircuts are the exact same shape,” says hairstylist Ashley Streicher, who has worked on the manes of Jason Segal, John Krasinski, Andy Samberg, and more. “Sure, lengths and textures differ. But, a classic men’s haircut is usually the base of all haircuts.”

Keeping this in mind, Streicher advises women to stick to timeless haircuts. “I think that women can learn that timeless is pretty,” she says. “Rather than always fighting to be avant-garde, sometimes just a really well-done, classic haircut can be different and gorgeous, whether it be a bob, beautifully cut layers, or a blunt fringe.” When in doubt, stick with what never goes out of style.



Slicking on some lotion after we shave is standard practice for us. But, men also hydratebefore their razors get anywhere near their skin.
“A preshave oil creates a barrier on your skin from the blade of your razor, preventing ingrown hairs, razor burn, and bumps,” says Tony Sosnick, founder of Anthony Logistics. “Women can really benefit from a good prehsave oil, like Anthony Pre-Shave Oil, which is formulated with essential oils and healing calendula, to achieve a flawless shave.” Not only will the oils soften your skin, they’ll also soften your hairs, which makes them easier to shave.

(MORE: The Korean Secret to Poreless Skin)

Go With The Flow


Natural texture? Not something we ladies always like to deal with — as evidenced by the fact that we started straightening, curling, and beating our hair into general submission early on in life. But, Streicher says most men figure out the texture of their hair right away and then just learn how to deal. “They learn their texture and work with it,” she says. “Women are constantly fighting curls by blowing them straight. Or, if their hair is fine, they fry it with a curling rod.”

Basically, we’re never satisfied. So, instead of pulling out your toolsevery time you wake up with frizz, work with what you’ve got. Undone hair is pretty in right now, anyway, so you’d be doing yourself (and your hair) a favor.



Now, this doesn’t mean you should hop into a steam room daily. (Although, we admit that sounds heavenly.) “Men oftentimes use warm face towels to steam the facial skin to release trapped hairs and make it easier to shave,” Rossi says. “It’s a technique that’s been used by barbers for many years and gives a better shave.”

(MORE: 44 Magical Beauty Buys That Will Sell Out)

You can certainly get steamy by making your own barbershop towel at home, but there’s an even easier way. “If you don’t have time for a hot towel, shaving in the hot shower can produce a very similar effect,” Gowtham says. Just be careful not to stand in the direct stream of hot water — it can scald your skin and dry you out.

By Gowtham Grosz

Young artist makes stunning Hyrule Warriors art using just coloured pencils


By Gowtham Grosz

New tools for managing AdWords at scale

We’ve rolled out new bulk editing features that help you update your settings across your campaigns quickly and easily in the AdWords interface. Since updating your settings is an important but time-consuming task, the new bulk editing features let you make these changes at scale in just a few clicks, even across hundreds or thousands of campaigns.

With the new bulk edit features, you can:
+filter for campaigns targeting a specific location,
+update multiple campaigns with a new targeted location, and
+adjust other settings like language, campaign end dates, and ad rotation.

Let’s say you’ve just extended your business operations to Mexico, and would like all of your US campaigns to target Mexico as well. You can filter to quickly find all of your campaigns targeting the US, so you can add Mexico as an additional location to those campaigns with just a few clicks (see image below).

Check out our help center (http://goo.gl/flMrF2) to learn more about how you can use bulk editing features to make changes to your settings at scale across your campaigns.  

By Gowtham Grosz

Morning Coffee


Good morning to all of you!

We hope your day started with a lovely cup of coffee or a nice cup of tea. May it end with beautiful memories!

Siri and Selma from Hvaler, Norway 🙂 🙂

Guten Morgen, ihr Lieben!
Wir hoffen euer Tag begann mit einem leckerem Kaffee oder einer gepflegten Tasse Tee. Möge er mit angenehmsten Erinnerungen enden!
Das wünschen euch Siri und Selma aus Hvaler in Norwegen 🙂 🙂

morning coffee, Hvaler, NorwayHowgood

We wish that all your days will start happy and stay like this. And now we say “Goodbye!” We are holidaying for one month. We, the Bookfayries, are already very very excited because we will go with our beloved Master and our dear Dina first to the Farne Islands and then further north to the Highlands – and this for a whole month!
We will be back in the middle of September and, please, come back to our blog! We will miss you, well, a little bit …  

Wir wünschen euch, dass all die kommenden Tage, und nicht nur die, wunderbar beginnen und so bleiben und verabschieden uns für einen Monat. Wir werden mit Masterchen und Dina bis Mitte September in den Ferien sein, auf den Farne-Islands zuerst und dann in den schottischen Highlands. Bleibt uns treu, bitte, bitte! Wir werden euch vermissen, naja, ein kleinwenig zumindest 😉 Huch! Wir sind schon sooo aufgeregt und können gar nicht mehr still sitzen …

Cheers and all the best from the four of us

By Gowtham Grosz

Why do so many anime characters have non-Japanese names?


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There are a lot of things that surprise newcomers to anime. Why are the characters’ eyes so big? How come everyone has funky hair colors? What’s up with all the panty shots?

A lot of those have simple answers. The giant eyes are an influence from legendary manga artist Osamu Tezuka, who was in turn inspired by classic Disney designs. Anime artworkuses a relatively small number of lines in drawing faces, and a large palette of hair colors is a quick and easy way to differentiate otherwise similar-looking characters. Male anime fans in Japan are extraordinarily open about their love of undies.

With those questions out of the way, let’s take a look at something a bit less cut-and-dried:Why are there so many anime characters with non-Japanese names?

For those not used to it, it can be a little startling to sit down to watch cartoons from Japan, only to find the hero is named Ed, Spike, or Eren. In a case of things coming full circle, anime enthusiasts in Japan have started to become aware of the fact that foreign fans are puzzled over how many major figures in Japanese animation have Western-sounding names. Website Byokan Sunday culled the following theories put forth by Japanese Internet users.

1. It makes it easier for the show to become popular overseas

Overseas revenue sources, whether through home video sales or broadcast and streaming license fees, are becoming increasingly important to Japanese content creators. Of course, it’s hard to get people to remember to buy your DVDs when they can’t remember the main character’s name, and the logic behind this explanation goes that avoiding Japanese names makes them easier for foreign fans to remember.

While that reasoning definitely has some plausibility, Naruto, Bleach, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica each went on to international success despite the monikers of protagonists Naruto Uzumaki, Ichigo Kurosaki, and Madoka Kaname, who have unusual names even by Japanese standards. In light of that, we’re not sure how big a role overseas sales potential plays in naming anime leads.

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2. The character was originally inspired by a Westerner

This likely had a bigger impact during the golden era of the Hollywood action blockbuster, but the fact remains that mainstream Japan consumes far more Western movies and TV programs than vice-versa. With people accustomed to seeing non-Japanese action heroes and on-screen adventurers, some just don’t feel a need to make their anime leads the same ethnicity as the core audience.

The pool of foreign acting talent in Japan may not be large enough for live-action producers to fill their works with surrogates for their favorite international stars, but anime is a different story. Sometimes the homage goes beyond their physical appearance, and the creator may even give the character part of the original inspiration’s name as a tip of the hat.

3. The creator doesn’t want to designate an ethnic background for the character

While giving a character a set ethnicity can help flesh out their back story, that same informational tidbit can also backfire and become a distraction if it’s incorrectly or inadequately portrayed. On the other hand, picking a name that’s not only not Japanese, but doesn’t seem to indicate any nationality at all, leaves all storytelling options open.

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For example, Space Dandy’s Dandy (who is a dandy, in space) has the pompadour, jacket, and slouch of a Japanese rogue, which means if the director wants him to spend a whole episode wearing a traditional fundoshi loincloth or searching for an inter-dimensional ramen joint, he can. But if in a different episode he wants Dandy to spoof High School Musical and attend an American-style prom, he can do that too, all without having to take time out to worry about how a Japanese character’s sensibilities would make him react in that culturally unfamiliar situation. By giving the character a name with no real ethnicity, he can be whatever the script needs him to be at any time.

4. Using a Japanese name makes the world seem too realistic

Between the lack of extra costs for building sets and the relatively young age of the audience, a lot of anime falls into the fantasy and science fiction genres. To some creators, though, the escapist fun and drama would be spoiled by giving the characters Japanese names, which, being what the primary Japanese audience is most familiar with, seem the most immediately real.

Say you’re making a space opera, and aren’t trying to directly connect it to any historical political or military conflicts on Earth. That becomes harder to do if you name the captain of your space carrier Takeru Yamada. In this anime’s world, did Japan revise its constitution so that it would have an active military again? What sort of societal conditions brought that about, and what were the repercussions? Those sort of questions might be difficult for Japanese viewers to ignore, and have the potential to overshadow the story the director is actually trying to tell.

On the other hand, name the captain Bright Noa, like in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, and you can shift the focus back to the here and now of giant robot warfare.

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Likewise, most anime fantasy settings have a distinctly European flavor to them. Name your swordsman Yoshihiko, and people will be thinking about if this world has an equivalent to Japan. If so, why did Yoshihiko leave his homeland? What caused him to get rid of his samurai lamellar and buy a suit of Western-style plate mail? If you don’t want the narrative to get bogged down dealing with all that, why not just sidestep the whole issue by naming him Gourry?

▼ Problem solved (now get cracking on a new season of Slayers, please).

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Which leads us to the question, have you ever met someone named Bright or Gourry? In creating a deliberate break from reality, often the names used in anime don’t exist in any culture. Magic Knight Rayearth named most of its cast after cars. Knights of Ramune did the same thing with beverages.

Sometimes, this even sends a clear message of what to expect. The 2007 TV seriesBaccano largely takes place in the seemingly ordinary confines of 1930s New York, but one of your first clues about the supernatural events that lie ahead comes while the cast of characters’ names appear during the opening animation, and you see this.

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Seriously, any time you’re watching a show and a guy named Jacuzzi Splot shows up, you know things are about to get weird.

Source: Gowtham Grosz

By Gowtham Grosz

How to fix poor quality education in South Asia


How to Fix Poor Quality Education in South Asia

In today’s world of rapid technological change and global competitiveness, South Asian countries need a well-educated and skilled workforce to maintain long periods of growth. Although the region has made tremendous progress in expanding access to schooling over the past decade, a new report (Student Learning in South Asia) published by the World Bank proves that poor quality education is holding the region back.

According to the World Bank’s study on analysing the performance of South Asian educational systems, it highlights two main concerns: firstly, nearly 13 million children from 8 to 14 years old remain out-of-school; secondly, the quality of education for those attending school is low and does not equip students with adequate skills for the labour market.

In terms of the complex factors influencing student learning, including student background, school climate, community environment and system-level characteristics, the South Asia region faces particular challenges for improving student learning outcomes.

The report also identifies several key issues to improve education quality in South Asia, including putting the learning outcome at the centre of educational policies, improving teachers’ professional training and accountability, and encourage the contribution of non-state player and public-private partnership.

For more information, please click here.

By Gowtham Grosz

Hard work vs. talent


“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” John C. Maxwell

They say hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. And I do agree. After all, talent is never just an innate ability. It’s a lot more than just that.

It’s hard work, perseverance, discipline, vision, courage, faith, and a bunch of others all mixed up into one.

But can hard work alone make you a good artist?

In a way, yes. Of course, it’s not going to be easy, but there’s only one way to get better at anything: by doing more and more work.

Trying to be better than you were yesterday takes a lot of hard work. Then again, it’s also important to figure out what is it that you’re doing wrong and fix it.

So, yes. Hard work alone is not enough. You need to know on what to work, you need to acquire a certain vision that work alone does not offer… you gain than only by observing those who are better than you.

Watch and learn… watch and learn.

They adaptability is our greatest resource. It’s what actually makes us intelligent enough to do all the things that we do. We not only change ourselves to our environments, but we change our environments to suit our needs.

That’s one of the things they call talent: you shape the medium, you break through the norms and the rules, and you create something different. You adapt the work to suit your particular skill set.

I know talented people who have no vision. They can’t create something that’s theirs. They’re just really good at imitating other artists.

So, yes, it might sound as complicated or whatever, but, in all honesty, it’s not. If you want to be awriter, just write and read. If you want to be a painter, just paint and absorb as much art as possible.

And then there’s the other neat thing: live your life. Don’t forget to do that once in a while.

Art is simply the act of enhancing reality in a way that transmits a message.

Never forget that.

But art is also a craft, a job, and a business.

Never forget that as well.

By Gowtham Grosz

5 Things That Make Love Last


I’ve posted before about John Gottman. He can listen to a couple for 5 minutes and determine, with 91% accuracy, whether they’ll divorce. He was featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink.

What system do they use in his lab for quickly telling who will stay together?

Via What Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal:

We’ve settled on five basic dimensions that I believe express the richness of the subjects’ stories. Called the Buehlman Scoring, this assessment is extraordinarily accurate in predicting the death of a relationship. When applied to couples in another of my studies, which looked at 120 couples with preschool-aged children, the scoring predicted with 94 percent accuracy whether a couple would break up within the next four years

In the book, Gottman explains the five points that allow his lab to make such spectacular predictions.

#1: Fondness and Admiration

Happy couples tell their tales with warmth, affection, and respect for each other… Spontaneous compliments are common… couples with a weak fondness and admiration system tend to recall unfavorable first impressions of their partner.

#2: Me-ness vs. We-ness

Happy couples tend to relate stories where they worked well as a unit. The sense that they are “in this together” is palpable… The clue to the dead romance… is not that they aren’t able to resolve an argument. It’s why they are stuck in it: They are both focusing on me, not we.

#3: Knowing your partner

…Detailed descriptions indicate that they continue to understand and respect what makes the other tick: what their partner cares about, what makes him or her sad, or happy. We also note whether there is positive energy or a lack of it in their descriptions…Couples who lose this connection…remain impersonal and guarded when recounting their history, mentioning nothing specific about each other. Their view of their past is “generic” rather than individualized.

#4: Glorifying Your Struggles

Couples who describe their relationship history as chaotic are usually unhappy in the present. They don’t tell stories of pulling together or learning from their negative experiences. There’s no sense in their descriptions that their past troubles and conflicts strengthened their mutual trust... happy couples express pride over having survived difficult times. They glorify the struggle by emphasizing how it strengthened their commitment. They believe they steered their own course together, based on their common goals, aspirations, and values. They have built a system of shared meaning and purpose. Whether couples display this positive energy when recalling past hardships is not at all dependent on the depth of the difficulties they faced. How they interpret the negative and positive events is the key.

#5: Disappointment vs. Satisfaction

When couples are at risk for splitting, at least one of them will express disappointment that the relationship isn’t what it promised to be. Often, when reviewing the choices they made in the past, they express cynicism about long-term commitment… satisfied partners believe that their relationship has met their expectations.

And there is a point where the rift cannot be undone:

…once the Negative “Story of Us” switch is thrown, it is very hard to reverse. Any intervention is almost certainly too little, too late. Even if there’s a positive change in one partner’s behavior, the other remains suspicious, thinking something like, Well, the demon finally did something nice, but this relationship is still hell.

What’s the core takeaway you should keep in mind?

Either they emphasize their good times and make light of the rough spots, or they accentuate their failures and not their successes. Likewise, they either underscore their partner’s positive traits in favor of their more annoying characteristics (cherishing), or they do the opposite (trashing).


By Gowtham Grosz

Here’s How To Avoid Having To Use Facebook Messenger


Facebook is in the midst of forcing its mobile users to download a second app to chat in real time with their friends. Messenger, a standalone texting app, is replacing the “Messages” tab within Facebook for iPhone and Android users. Users aren’t happy about it—Messenger currently has a 1-star rating in the App Store—but there may be a workaround to avoid the new app, at least for now.

iPhone users will soon see a screen that compels them to download Messenger when they click the Messages tab. There’s no getting around this—you have to at least start downloading Messenger to send private missives to your friends. However, if you pause the download in the App Store, then return to Facebook, the old messaging interface will return. You can even give Messenger a test drive and delete it if you don’t like it. After that, Facebook won’t pester you to download…

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By Gowtham Grosz
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