My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

How to make a Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake

Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake are a staple of Christmas. They're even nicer for children, especially if they glow in the dark as pointed out in my blog article entitled “How to make Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake”.

But this Christmas, the Pineapple is set to rule the Cake world. Imagine a pina colada in fruit cake form but all sparkly; that's a Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake.

With Sorrel being in short supply and JP Tropical Foods is now selling pineapple slices in supermarkets as reported in my blog article entitled “Why JP Tropical Foods Pineapples will be a hit in Jamaica this Christmas”, you knew that Pineapple Cake was going to be a thing in Jamaica!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my latest creation, the Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake. Run to your nearest Hi-Lo Supermarket an gather these ingredients:

1.      1 pineapple, peeled & cored
2.      1/4 to 1/2 grated coconut
3.      2-1/4 cup butter divided into 1 cup & 1-1/4 cup
4.      1-1/4 cup buttermilk
5.      3/4 cup evaporated milk
6.      1 Cup Schweppes Tonic Water
7.      5 large eggs
8.      3-3/4 cups flour
9.      3-3/4 cups sugar, divided into 2-1/2 sugar & 3/4 cup sugar
10.  1 cup confectioners sugar
11.  1/2 teaspoon salt
12.  2-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
13.  3 tablespoons Jamaican Wray & Nephew Rum
14.  1-1/4 teaspoon pineapple extract
15.  2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The directions are so easy, even if you were already taste-testing the Jamaican Wray & Nephew Rum, you could still make heads and tails of this recipe:

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
2.      Peel and core the pineapple. 
3.      Finely chop or crush enough of the pineapple to make 1-1/2 cups.
4.      Place leftover pineapple in the refrigerator to use in another dish or to garnish the cake.
5.      Grease and flour four 9 lb cake pans.
6.      Place 1-1/4 cup butter and 2-1/2 cups sugar in large mixing bowl. 
7.      Cream until smooth and well-blended.
8.      One at a time, add the eggs, beating each one into the butter/sugar mixture before adding the next one.
9.      In another mixing bowl,  mix together the dry ingredients i.e. flour, salt and baking soda
10.  In a third bowl, combine the liquid ingredients i.e. pineapple extract, the rum and the buttermilk 
11.  Add a small amount of the dry ingredients to the sugar/butter mixture and stir in. 
12.  Then add a small amount of the liquid ingredients and stir those in. 
13.  Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients, stirring after each addition.
14.  Fold in the pineapple when all of the liquid ingredients and all of the dry ingredients have been thoroughly mixed with the sugar/butter mixture
15.  Divide the batter between the four pans and bake approximately 20 – 25 minutes. 
16.  Check for completeness by sticking a toothpick into the center of the cake; if clean, the cake is done. Cool cakes completely before removing from pans.

The Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake has now been upgraded with new super-powers. It’ll glow the dark once you have a UV lamp handy. Even better, you can make glow-in-the-dark glaze from the remaining butter, sugar, evaporated milk, vanilla extract and Schweppes Tonic Water.

Just add to a saucepan and boil over a medium heat for five (5) minutes. With some leftover pineapple and cherries as garnish, you glaze can be layered on top of the cake and the cakes will serves a family of 10 hungry-belly children. The Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake will look like a super-cool oozing yellow volcanoes that makes you a little tipsy.

Even more awesome is when you turn off the lights and only your fiber optic Christmas tree as described in my blog article entitled “Why Jamaicans Purchasing Fiber Optic Christmas Tree makes sense - Save on your Electricity Bill this Christmas”  illuminates the living room irradiated by the glow of your Glow-in-the-Dark Jamaican Pineapple Rum Cake! 

739 Zika Virus Cases in Brazil and 2 adult deaths - How Zika Virus is causing birth defects in unborn Brazilian babies

Zika Virus is dangerous after all!

Reports are now surfacing from the Brazilian Health ministry that suggest that persons infected with Zika Virus are giving birth to babies with birth defects as reported in the article “Zika Virus linked to birth defects in Brazil”, published November 30, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

Specifically, it's causing micro-encephalitis, an inflammation of the brains of babies in the first few months of pregnancy. The baby girl, who lives in the Ceara state had eventually died, effectively making her death attributable to the Zika Virus as noted in the article “Brazil links Zika virus to birth defects”, published Monday, November 30, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

This is very big discovery as even the BBC World Service has it covered as reported in the article “Brazil links Zika fever to birth defects”, published November 30th 2015, BBC News. Already scientists from the CDC (Centers for disease control) are in Brazil examining the body of the baby killed by micro-encephalitis to determine the link between the condition and  Zika Virus.

Btu what exactly is micro-encephalitis?

Zika Virus causes micro-encephalitis in Babies - 739 Zika Virus Cases in Brazil and 2 adult deaths

Microcephaly is a condition where the size of an infant’s head is smaller than normal due to  slowed or incomplete brain development as note in the article “CARIBBEAN: CARPHA continues to appeal to persons to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes”, published November 30, 2015, St. Lucia Online.

The condition is usually hereditary but it can also occur in the fetus is exposed to infection contracted in the first few months of pregnancy. Brazilian doctors had found traces of the Zika Virus in the blood and tissues doctors of a baby with micro-encephalitis.

So far Brazil has not been faring well against the Zika Virus as noted in the article “Brazil finds Zika Virus causes deformities in babies”, published November 29, 2015, Medical Xpress:

1.      739 cases
2.      2 adult deaths

So what does this really mean? And can this potentially happen in Jamaica!?

Brazil discovers Zika Virus causes micro-encephalitis in babies – How Zika is now a Baby Killer

Brazil become the first country in the world, actually to recognize that people have actually died from a disease that was perceived to be milder version of the chikungunya Virus. The Zika Virus is related to the Virus that causes Dengue Fever and it is even transmitted by the same mosquito.

Worse, it may already be in Jamaica as CARPA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) has confirmed that there are already five (5) cases is in the Caribbean, possibly in Jamaica as predicted in my blog article entitled “CARPHA's 5 Cases of Zika Virus might be Jamaica - Why Zap-a-‘quito needed to educate people about Zika Virus”.

The symptoms manifest within three (3) to twelve (12) days after the first bite by an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Symptoms will last for four (4) to seven (7) days after the initial infection. The infected experience mild Chikungunya-like symptoms that last for up to four (4) weeks or longer:

1.      Conjunctivitis
2.      Fever
3.      Headache
4.      Joint and muscle pain
5.      Rash
6.      Swelling of the lower limbs
7.      Weakness

A diet rich in Vitamin C will boost your immune system against the debilitating effect of the Zika Virus as explained in my blog article entitled “Vitamin C and the Chikungunya Virus - How to increase your Vitamin C Intake, Glutathione and Interferon by White Blood Cells”. 

However, this latest bit of news proves that babies in the womb can now be added to the list of those susceptible to the Zika Virus as they too have weak immune system i.e. babies, children suffering from an illness or elderly persons with other health problems.

It was easy for the Ministry of Health to deny that people died from Chikunguyunya Virus back in 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Chikungunya Deaths – 14 Deaths in Jamaica, 183 in the Caribbean with Young, Healthy Deaths difficult to explain”.

It'll be a lot harder this time around when the Zika Virus finally comes to Jamaica, possibly by the First Quarter of 2016!

Here’s the link:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

How Discarded Meat from Riverton City Dump is still being sold in Downtown Kingston

Folks, this article is really more of a PSA (Public Service Announcement) than analysis, so listen up!

Unscrupulous Jamaicans from Downtown Kingston are still stealing meat from the Riverton City Dump and reselling it Downtown as reported in the article “Dumped Meat Still Leaving Riverton”, published Sunday November 29, 2015 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Don't buy meat Downtown as it seems they're recycling imported meat and Eggs that should have be discarded due to the H5N2 Avian Flu outbreak in the US of A since March 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “Ministry of Agriculture bans US, Canadian Chicken Products - Why H5N2 Avian Flu is Shadows of 2014 Chicken Shortage during Easter 2015”.  

They're basically making a living from it, based on a recent Gleaner investigation as apparently they still have unfettered access and may even be planning another fire as noted in the article “Guarding Garbage - Lack Of Security Leaves Riverton Open To Arsonists”, published Sunday November 29, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.  

The  possibility of yet another fire at the Riverton City dump is looming.

According to the account of one man who goes by the nome de guerre “Shorty”, you can literally get rich from reselling discarded meat from the Riverton City Dump whether the meat is spoiled or otherwise, quote: “The truck come up there come throw it weh, so if yu want it yu just go tek it up. People take it up go sell it too. All kind a meat ... but a only chicken mi tek up. Sometimes it spoil, but anytime it spoil mi just look another piece, because a several trips per day come up there”.

This incidentally includes Eggs, another discarded product from chicken problem about which SERHA (South Regional Health Authority) has given warning as these discarded imported eggs may cause a salmonella outbreak as predicted in my blog article entitled “SERHA warns of Salmonella laced Eggs - Why Salmonella Poisoning on the Rise as Egg and Meat Shortage loom”.

So why shop downtown this Christmas 2015 for food!?

Meat from Riverton City Dump being resold Downtown - Why I still like Downtown Kingston despite the Raw Sewage 

I still like shopping Downtown, as the vendors are people from my parish, Clarendon and elsewhere.

They have prices that are hard for the Supermarkets to beat as noted in my blog article entitled “Why Jamaica's Basic Item Food Bill mostly from 1st World Countries despite being Made in Jamaica”. 

Still, even I do not buy meat when I’m shopping in Downtown Kingston, as that’s the one thing I actually go to Hi-Lo Supermarket in Cross Roads to purchase.

Ditto too for anything that’s processed and contains milk, as the presence of Bacteria cannot be easily undone by heating in a microwave or in the oven, the usual way to make stale items fresh again!

Vegetables and other stuff is ok though!!! Just don't buy the meat!!!

How Nationwide Waste Services Ltd makes money from Recycling Cardboard and Bauxite Topsoil

“NWS has humongous plans to increase the variety of recycled products for export. We plan to increase the awareness of the Jamaican population about the importance of recycling through advertising. We also have plans to hire more skilled and unskilled to work in the areas of marketing, machine operation and general collection of waste and recycled materials”

NWS (Nationwide Waste Services) Ltd Marlon Grant commenting on the progress of his recycling company

Making money from the recycling garbage is possible.

Already an American company is coming to Jamaica to recycle or organic waste, particularly cooking oil to make biodiesel as reported in my blog article entitled “HERO BX commercial-scale biodiesel plant - How Jamaica can recycle Cooking Oil to supply US$614.92 billion market”.  

But what of local entrepreneurs in recycling in Jamaica?

NWS (Nationwide Waste Services) Ltd is an example of a company that is doing just that 2009 as reported in the article “Nationwide waste renewal sees gold in recycling”, published November 29, 2015 by Avia Collinder, The Jamaica Observer.

 The company's CEO Marlon Grant, who has sunk some JA$16 million into the expansion of his operations, collects cardboard from the Riverton City dumps as well as other dumps across Jamaica:

1.      DLK (Double line kraft)
2.      OCC (Old Corrugated cardboard)

Located at 154 Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston, the 10 man strong team compacts the cardboard for recycling by their main clients Corrpak Jamaica and AMG Packaging. However they branched into export, which is a recent activity started since 2014.

NWS Ltd collects garbage from the landfills under contract, using a combination of the following trucks:

1.      Garbage trucks
2.      Roll-on and roll-off trucks

Forklifts then the garbage is weighed using commercial scales before being packed into bundles onto pallets, placed into containers ready for shipping abroad. To make additional revenue, they also provide haulage service for the bauxite companies.

This is to presumably cart away waste topsoil from the bauxite extraction process, to quote Marlon Grant, owner and CEO of NWS (Nationwide Waste Services) Ltd: “We also collect and dispose of solid waste at the landfills and, additionally, provide haulage for bauxite”.
Now, they are in a unique position, as there is a demand for their recycled cardboard business model.

NWS Ltd in expansion mode thanks to DBJ - How recycling is Jamaica only way to manage our increasing waste disposal problem

The company is now in expansion mode, having recently borrowed and additional JA$5 million from the DBJ (Development Bank of Jamaica).

This is in a bid to achieve some 10% in revenues as they already have a healthy ROI (Return on Investment) of 20%, with 2015 being a good year for them, to quote NWS Ltd CEO: “....steady and stable and the demand for our products and services have been spiralling upward. Revenues have been steadily increasing this year in comparison to last year because we have increased the pool of customers, and our network of collection of used cardboard has increased”.

The DBJ is very interested in his business, as obviously, with our increasing population and waste management problems at the Riverton City dump, NWS Ltd can only grow, as NWS Ltd CEO Marlon Grant points out, quote: “The DBJ convinced me that it had a genuine interest. Furthermore the interest rate was very competitive. The loan will be used to purchase new equipment such as balers, pallet jacks and forklifts and to hire more employees to facilitate our anticipated growth”.

This means he can now expand into recycling other items such as Car tyres which were the cause of the Riverton City dump fire back in 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “How to make Diesel and Gasoline from the Pyrolysis of Car Tyres and Plastics - Jamaican Riverton City Dump Fire Ecological Disaster solution that reduces Jamaica's Oil Bill”.

Recycling tyre and Electronic Waste – Entrepreneurs wanted as Waste set to increase as population increases

These tyres are part of the reason why the fire at the Riverton City Dump  on Wednesday March 11th 2015 burned for so long as reported in the article “Riverton dump fire spreads”, published Friday, March 13, 2015 BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter, The Jamaica Observer  and “Riverton City Dump On Fire”, Published Wednesday March 11, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner.

To date, the Riverton City dump is poorly guarded, leaving open the possibility of yet another fire at the Riverton City dump as suggested in the article “Guarding Garbage - Lack Of Security Leaves Riverton Open To Arsonists”, published Sunday November 29, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner

He might even look into expanding into organic waste and even electronic waste, which the NSWMA has been pioneering successfully as noted in my blog article entitled “NSWMA's E-Waste Collection Pilot Project - Why End-of-life Policy for E-Waste Collection needed in Jamaica”.

The increasing population of Jamaica is putting pressure on the Riverton City Dumps. Being able to recycle our garbage is going to become big business in the next five years both for local entrepreneurs as well as multi-nationals, who realize there is Gold in Garbage.

Hopefully before they set the Riverton City Dump on fire again!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why Amazon has best deals on sub-US$100 headphones for Cyber Monday

With Black Friday out of the way and Cyber Monday coming up, most Americans should be quite thankful with the cornucopia of deal post Thanksgiving Day as listed in the article “Your ultimate guide to Black Friday”, published November 27, 2015 by Kent German, CNET News. 

As Jamaicans we don't celebrate this strange holiday, as we didn't force the Native Indians from their lands after inviting them over for popcorn and smokes. Still we do like deals, which is we why we held our own mock Black Friday as explained in the article “Jamaican retailers prepare for Black Friday”, published November 25, 2015 BY KARENA BENNETT Business reporter, The Jamaica Observer.

Hopefully, our relatives heeded our advice and pack that barrel really well with food, clothing and some Laptops and Amazon Tablets as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “How US$80 Amazon 6-inch Kindle Reader (2014) is on sale - Why pack US$50 Amazon Fire Kindle in a Jamaican Barrel”. 

But for those of you Jamaicans still doing last minute shopping online, headphones are still a good buy. They also go well with your Tablet or laptop and cost less than US$100 so they can be shipped in duty free as pointed out in my blog article entitled “ Jamaica Customs Agency Stats - Why US$100 Duty Free shopping coming as Jamaicans shopping online this Christmas”.

So without further ado, here's a very good list of high quality Headphones as noted in the article “The best headphones under $100 offer superior sound for less than you’d guess”, published November 25, 2015 By Ryan Waniata, Digitaltrends that cost less than US$100 on Amazon and Best Buy:

1.      US$$49 SE112
2.      US$100 Plugged Crown Over-Ear 
3.      US$100 Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 
4.      US$100 Sol Republic Shadow Wireless
5.      US$14 Monoprice Hi-Fi Lightweight On-Ear Headphone
6.      US$39 Shure SRH145
7.      US$68 Audio Technica ATH-M30X
8.      US$80 Jays a-Jays Five 
9.      US$84 Marshall Major II
10.  US$89 Marshall Mode EQ
11.  US$92 Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear
12.  US$99 Grado Prestige Series SR80e
13.  US$99 Klipsch R6i 

This by no means an exhaustive list, but this is the best list for those of you last minute shoppers looking for a quick deal and you only have US$100 to spare. Have a merry Christmas 2015 and a Happy Year of the Monkey 2016 when it comes!

Why JP Tropical Foods Pineapples will be a hit in Jamaica this Christmas

“We had done some sales to supermarkets last year, but we were less consistent with our supplies, so we didn't make a lot of noise about it. But we are getting to the point where pour volumes require us to pursue more retail and wholesale business”

JP Food Distributors General Manager Neil Crum-Ewing commenting on Pineapple sales in Jamaica General Manager, at Jamaica Producers Group

Pineapples are going to be big this Christmas, if the numbers from Jamaica Producers Group are real.

This as they’re selling more pineapples in grocery stores than ever before since July 2015 as reported in the article “JP Tropical Taps Grocery Channels To Boost Pineapple Sales”, published June 17, 2015 by Tameka Gordon, The Jamaica Gleaner

This is mainly thanks to JP Tropical Foods, a division of Jamaica Producers Group breaking the cycle of the fruit only being available between April and June by simply growing more of the fruit. Within the next three (3) years, they’ll be able to supply fresh pineapples all year round.

They had double the acres of land dedicated to pineapple production, so they have more of the exotic fruit to go around to quote JP Food Distributors General Manager Neil Crum-Ewing: “While this market channel has been one of the largest purchasers of JP pineapples since we started the pineapple project, we have tremendous growth opportunity as we execute our plan to make pineapples more available year round”.

This is an amazing feat, considering the fact that pineapples take 14 months to grow to full maturity. JP Tropical Foods supplies of the fruit have increased by 50% and they control about 60% of the Grocery market, expanding from hotels who use it to supply pina coladas and cooking food for tourists and downtown market sellers who also sell if along with bananas for retail.

To be honest, I mainly see it being sold by street side vendors in sliced form in Cross Roads, with the whole fruit being available downtown. But the grocery market appears to be maturing, despite not being so pervasive in such place as Hi-Lo and Empire supermarket in Cross Roads where I shop.

So why am I predicting that pineapples will be a hit this Christmas?

JP Tropical Foods ramp up Pineapple production in July 2015 - Why Pineapples will be a hit in Jamaica this Christmas

Pineapple is often eaten freshly sliced or as a juice in Jamaica as noted in the article “PINING for the flavor”, published July 31 2010, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It's also gaining traction as an alternative for marmalades, jam, jellies or candies and its good for making natural candies and sweet-and-sour meat dishes. 

It also boasts some health benefits, being a source of Vitamin C, manganese and calcium for strong bones. It also contains a protein digesting enzyme mixture called bromelain that encourages natural anti-inflammatory by basically eating bacteria and yes, your own dead body proteins.

Aside from garlic, it’s a great way to clear mucus during a cold. But don't let it sit in your mouth for too long; it might start dissolving your tongue! There are four different varieties of pineapple in Jamaica:

1.      Cowboy
2.      Ripley
3.      Sugar Loaf
4.      MD2

The MD2 was introduced to Jamaica in 2009 and globally is the most popular variety, with 90% of world demand being gobbled up by twelve (12) countries:

1.      USA
2.      France
3.      Japan
4.      Belgium
5.      Italy
6.      Germany
7.      Canada
8.      Spain
9.      England
10.  Korea
11.  Netherlands
12.  Singapore

They prefer it canned rather than fresh with most of the world’s pineapples being supplied by the Philippines and Thailand, with Indonesia being the concentrated juice specials supplying 70% of demand. Jamaica is no different, as we're catching on to the idea of convenience.

Being as Sorrel will be short this Christmas as predicted in my blog article entitled “Why Great Jamaica Sorrel Shortage of 2015 caused by increasing yearly demand - How Turner Innovations Sorrel picking machine might save Christmas 2015”, many people might be encouraged to switch to Pineapple now that JP Tropical Foods is on the case.

Especially if JP Tropical Foods start to sell it as a canned either in cans or conveniently packaged like sliced sweet potatoes in vacuum sealed bags as noted in my blog article entitled “JP Farms harvests first Sweet Potatoe Crop – How Potatoe chips and Potatoe Beer may be coming in 2016”. 

Pineapple might replace sorrel and also become a fruit salad dish, baked into cakes, garnish ham and chicken and even be fermented into wine! Let's hope that JP Tropical Foods can ramp up production in the next three (3) years to keep up with the year round demand or the fruit and the juice concentrate as Jamaicans love sweetness!

Here’s the link: