INTERNET – TOOL OF SALVATION OR DAMNATION WHO WILL DECIDE?

Featured

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Introduction

In dark hours of the chilly winter night of 2015, I was lying under my blanket reasoning with oneself about recharging my monthly internet pack and my salary account balance looked paltry. At that time, it was a gritty decision to make whether to recharge my “Smart Phone” or not. The Internet revolution had already knocked the doors of India by then, so now it was only the decision to be made of sacrificing dinner at my favorite place and with the money I could recharge my phone with Tata Docomo pack of Rs 256 for 1GB/Month (Disclaimer:- Those days it was 1 GB/month not 1GB a day). I still fondly remember those days when we survived with that 1 gb pack for whole month, the most we could do was to glimpse our whatsapp, instagram or facebook account twice in a day and then turn off the internet.

Then suddenly came a moment where all the rumors were floating around of a telecom operator named ‘Jio’ of Reliance industries which will be providing free internet to all the users. To us ‘Indians’ it was really hard to digest, as we do not have the habit of getting any freebies. But the fantasy soon became reality in 2016 and we have not looked back since then. The emergence of this telecom operator led to ‘smartphone revolution’ in Indian markets. Now the scenario is such, people find it difficult to separate themselves from mobile phones/smart devices. They may feel high levels of separation anxiety and experience feelings of panic and stress, the term coined by scientists for such type of disorder is ‘Nomophobia’ the phobia of being out of contact with cellular phone.

Effects of media/screen use on brain activity

We as a society need to rethink, re-evaluate and analyse where we want to go from this juncture. The toys of the 20th century have been replaced by the smartphones of 21st century, we call TV sets as idiot box and refrain our young minds from watching excessive TV shows but at the same time presenting them with similar tools like smart phones/tablets which leads to harmful effects like

headaches, nomophobia, sleep disorders etc.; reason being parents have more urgent matters to attend to then their own kids. Parents now a days widely use it as a bribery tool to make kids behave in public places, movie theaters or even to go to potty. Parents have discovered an easy tool to engage their kids, but they are unaware of the consequences. World Health Organization in 2019, on the recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016 have endorsed that children between age of 02-05 years should be limited to 1 hr of screen time per day and lesser is better for their mental health. The main reason behind this was that a child devote more time on screen or phone rather than physical activity and exercises which offers a lot of benefits needed for child’s physical and mental development. Mindful Awareness Research Centre has published a research paper in Jan 2020 that involved MRI scans of brains of children between 03-05 years old, found those who used screens/smart devices more than the recommended rate without parental involvement has disorganized and lower levels of development in the brains white matter, an area key to language, literacy and cognitive skill development(as shown in Fig). There are endless studies and research papers pointing towards ill effects of smart devices on toddlers and even on adults.

Many big corporate debate about the smartphone not harming the general populace as there are no ground results indicative of their relationship with any of the disorder. Our so naive populace fail to realize that the evolution has just began, even the dangerous radiation takes time to show the ill-effects and it’s been only half a decade of using the smartphones/devices. We will start getting the more detailed analysis by the end of 2030 perhaps. It is just a ticking timebomb which is ready to explode and we are just busy in celebrating its success and unaware as to when it will devour us as a whole.

Growth of OTTs in India

Now I would like to express my grief for all those “young minds” who have become prey to these cheap internet tactics and have been exposed to a devil. Being a movie buff, I visit theatres quite frequently and noticed the big ‘A’ rated signboard for specific movies on the entrance of the theatre. The sensor board tries hard to keep away the explicit content from the users who are not supposed to watch it, but they are miserably failing on all fronts. “The devil you know is better than the devil we don’t”, this paraphrase has proven to be more significant in today’s world where behemoths like ‘Netflix’, ‘Amazon’, ‘Hotstar’ and many more are capturing the Indian cyber space and have given rise to trend of web series in India. They are often scientifically termed as OTT(Over-the-top media services) who have grown like mushrooms over the last few years as shown in Fig.1. They are giving

uninterrupted supply of violence, bloodshed and sexual explicit content to our young and creative minds as there is no age filter or barrier to filter out the young populace. Even the apps like ‘Youtube’, Instagram, Facebook are endorsing them. India has approximately 300 million video streaming audience and number is likely to grow up to 550 million by 2023. Cisco Systems Inc. has estimated the country will have 829 million smartphone users by 2022.

The youth of our country confuse progressive thinking with sexual promiscuity and functional alcoholism. It should be realised that the accessibility of sexual content by young populace have more harmful consequences than one might expect. The way an immature mind perceives such sensitive issues can be easily measured by the increasing number of minors participating in acts of rape and violence against women in India. This has led to rise in anxiety, depression, violence and other mental problems to the young and naive minds. In developed countries like US, UK lot of studies and research been done by the psychologists, neurologists to assess the effect of these on the mass, but in India it is at a very nascent stage but at the same time rate of growth of users for these apps is astonishing(as shown in Fig). After recently reading a journal about the effects of web series

where the questionnaire was formed and target group was 18-30 years old Indians. In the survey majority of the youths accepted of being influenced by the violence, intimate scenes, drinking and smoking habits of the lead actors in the show. Majority of the youth spend 3-6 hrs on daily basis watching the series, no study being done till now in India about the cognitive effects of this on human minds.

As I have mentioned out only the ill effects of the internet and web series, it is pertinent to mention that at the same time they are the ocean of knowledge with apps like Netflix providing various documentaries on war history, mindfulness exercises and other learning aspects. But with time it has proved more to be a Bane than Boon for the Indian society and after effects are yet to arise. The cyber space share of these OTT’s is increasing at an alarming rate.

Remedial Measures

The treatment for internet/Web series addiction is still in its infancy, with the wider categories of internet and screen addiction still not being included as behavioural disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders – the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals. The most viable solution is enhanced parental control and instead of trying to engage their kids with distractions like phones, web series a more humane touch is expected from the parents. In India, a 26 year old is first case of ‘Netflix addiction’ and being treated at Service for Healthy Use of Technology(SHUT) clinic at Bengaluru’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences(NIMHANS).The treatment plan includes regular meditation and therapy sessions. Therapy sessions at psychologist and rehabilitation centres are being provided in the western countries for the individual but it is not so viable due to the high cost involved in it which can be only afforded by few. There is a “Hard Reduction” approach which is gaining momentum among the common populace, under which one have to set goals and install technology(CALM app at android is gaining popularity) that will help you limit your screen time and reduce it until you are only watching as much as you have decided to watch. This is doable but one have to be highly motivated to make that work.

The pitching in of Censorboard of India is required, the reason why a film certifying board exists in the first place is to ensure that any kind of mass display of movies, shows is properly screened first so that it does not create chaos in the society directly or indirectly. Censerboard considers internet not exactly the means of mass screening, but they need to consider that tide has turned now, the youth and public is more indulged in movies and TV series over internet which are going uncensored and being delivered to anyone having the access to them regardless of their age. Due to ongoing COVID-19 scenario, reach of the children have increased to other smart devices for educational purposes because of which screen time have also been increased significantly. Not only parents, we as son, daughter, relatives all need to spread the awareness and mutually decide what kind of future we want for our future generation.

References

1.       “Awareness Academy of Pediatrics announces for children’s media use.” www.aap.com. Retrieved 25 Feb 2020.

2.       “MRIs show screen time linked to lower brain development in pre-schoolers.” www.cnn.com. Retrieved 27 Feb 2020.

3.       “Explained: The OTT boom in India.” http://www.moneycontrol news. Retrieved 01 Mar 2020.

4.       “Analysis of various effects of web series streaming online on internet on Indian youth.” Vinod S Koravi MD PHD(Sch) Swasthvritta and Yoga. Asst Prof. Yashwant Ayurveda College,Kodoli. Retrieved 01 Mar 2020.

5.       “Netflix addiction: NIMHANS gets its first case, 12 signs you are addicted to Netflix.” www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 03 Mar 2020.

2020 – YEAR OF SKIRMISHES AND REVOLUTIONS?

INTRODUCTION

The most common misconception which is being spread that Corona Virus treats us equally whether we are rich or poor, but in fact it doesn’t neither on medical front nor economically, socially or psychologically. Everyone these days is bit exited and optimistic about life post this lockdown, a world free from COVID-19. Posts related to “Post Lockdown Shenanigans”, “Post Lockdown trips & parties” are trending over all social media circles from Facebook to Twitter, entire world is hopeful for a better tomorrow. But are we going to see a new dawn or life is going to change forever for many. There are so many questions but only few answers, let’s find out how the world economic bodies or labour organizations foresee the life after lockdown.

Changing World Scenario

The world had become a chaotic place even before the spread of COVID-19, with rising of ISIS to extermination of Rohingyas in Myanmar to violent anti-govt. protests in India against CAA, NPR and Farmers bill.

Since the COVID-19 lockdowns world has been following big protests and skirmishes across the globe:-

  • India-China Border Dispute
  • Black Lives Matter movement in USA and across the World
  • Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Dispute
  • Protests in Hong Kong against Chinese Govt.
  • Protests in Thailand against Monarchy
  • Protests against Govt. in Belarus
  • Protests against Govt. in Israel
  • Protests by Farmers in India
  • Protests by Climate Change NGO’s in Germany against use of Fossil fuel
  • And there are many more going on in different parts of Africa, Asia and Western World

According to a count, there have been 100 large anti-govt. protests across the globe since 2017, from the Gilets Jaunes riots in a developed nation like France to demonstration against strongmen in poor countries such as Sudan, Bolivia to fighting against alleged rights for citizenship in developing country like India leading to heavy casualties. About 20 of these uprisings toppled leaders, while several others were brutally crushed and some were intervened by COVID-19, simmering until the next opportune moment post lockdown.

Predicted Economic Aftermath

The International Labour Organization has warned that this pandemic will destroy 195 million jobs worldwide and will drastically bring down the income of around 1.25 billion people of which mostly belong to low income category.

Large reduction in labour force are foreseen in the Arab states(8.1% equivalent to 5 million full-time workers), Europe(7.8% or 12 million full time workers) and Asia & Pacific(7.2% or 125 million full time workers).

Huge losses are expected across the globe within different income groups but especially in upper middle income countries(7.0%, 100 million full time workers), far exceeding the effects of the 2008-2009 global recession. More than 04 out of 05 people (81%) in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently affected by full or partial workplace closures.

Conclusion

People across the globe have lost their dear ones, jobs, homes and now even struggling for one time meal. With lockdown measures, rise in frustration and hunger of people, the world may have to pay a very heavy economic and social price for this pandemic. After the COVID-19 subsides, it will be interesting to note what economic measures will be taken by govt. with all their economic wells already dried up.

Many predict that this boiling pressure and exasperation will give rise to revolutions across the globe with dire consequences. The test of leadership lies ahead in front of the governments. After all one of the leader said –

“We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.”

President Akufo-Addo

RISE OF FASCIST REGIME IN KERALA

Introduction

Communism was able to set foot in Kerala as early as in 1930’s owing to movements lead by the local peasants and labour community. Later, the Communist parties were able to establish a strong foothold in region with the help of radical section of the anti-colonial native Muslims in the Malabar region which eventually led to rise of fascist regime in the region.

For years now the systematic movement of ethnic cleansing started in the state with Hindu Dharma at the receiving end of it. In the recent past, the region is not only proactive in actions against Hindu Dharma but also funding and providing valuable human resources to different International Terrorist Organizations like ISIS,   Al-Qaeda etc.

“Love-Jihad” in Kerala

Love Jihad remains an “alleged effort” by Muslim youths to convert non-muslim community girls/women to Islam for many big media houses and newspapers, but the ground reality is shocking and an eye opener for Hindu community. According to media reports, many non-muslim girls were forcefully converted to Islam and were sent to different parts of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq where the caliphate(ISIS) was operating. Now many of those girls/women are in the jails of Kabul, Syria pleading to Indian government for their safe return to their home states.

Similar type of incident was brought to limelight from a Kochi Marriage Registrar office, where almost 72 cases with Hindu or Brahmin girls/women of age between 18-30 years were married to Muslims youths who are indulged in petty jobs like Coolie at Railway station, Construction workers etc. Such extent of ethnic cleansing is prevailing in the state that soon Hindu dharma will be completely eradicated.

On similar grounds, a forum of Catholic Bishops representing Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala have accused that scores of Christian women in Kerala are being lured by the Muslim youths on pretext of love or marriage and are forcibly converted to Islam. The Church even stated that the Christian girls/women are even being killed in the name of Love Jihad and accused the Police and Local Administration for not taking cognizance of the rising cases of such forcible conversions and killings in the state.

A statement was given by junior Home Minister G Kishan Reddy in the parliament that – “The term “love-jihad” is not defined under the extant laws. No such case of “love-jihad” has been reported by any of the central agencies.” After reading several media house reports about Indian women’s in Kabul jail, data leaked from Kochi registrar office, serious concern by the Syro-Malabar Church, this statement from the government official rather seems preposterous in present scenario.

Increasing footprint of Islamic State in Kerala

A small group of survivors which emerged from the remnants of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2004 led to chaos and destruction in the larger parts of Iraq and Syria, popularly known as ISIS(Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Since the uprising of this group in 2013 across the international circles, it has attracted youths from all across the globe to join the caliphate. In Bharat, the hotspot for the ISIS recruitment was Kerala where several news related to Kerala Muslim youths joining the caliphate have emerged in recent past.

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi got killed on 26 Oct 19 and American forces along with other rebel groups were able to recapture the larger parts of Syria and Iraq from the ISIS grip, the fighters got disintegrated into rather small modules which are now operating in different parts of the world. Now many of these youths and women want to return back to India which could be catastrophic for internal security as intelligence agencies suggests that many of them would work as sleeper cells for the caliphate thereby strengthening the IS module in Bharat.

Recently the UN report on terrorism has warned that there are significant number of ISIS terrorists in Kerala and Karnataka. According to the reports ISIL Indian affiliate(Hindu Wilayah) has between 180-200 operatives active in Bharat. Delhi Police on 22 Aug 20 captured an ISIS operative from Central Delhi’s Ridge Road area, who was planning lone wolf attacks on national capitaL. Recently 09 terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda Pakistani module were also captured of whom many belonged to Kerala. This news validates the UN report and is a wakeup call for our security agencies against the rise of ISIS in India.

Killing of RSS activists

This fascist regime in Kerala is slowly killing the RSS activists who are working for betterment of Hindu culture and society in different parts of Kerala. Between 2000-2016, in Kannur district alone many politically motivated murders were registered. Data available shows that there have been 160 political murders since 2000, where the person belonging to Hindu dharma and RSS activists were targeted by the perpetrators.

Conclusion

The Central Govt. is taking considerable efforts in West Bengal where the condition has deteriorated to the level that the proceedings of festivals like Durga Pooja, Diwali are being hampered by the other local communities and even the local administration. Central Govt. is determined on bringing changes in the state and efforts are quite visible. The UN report has already suggested the extent of spread of radical Islam in the Kerala state, but still no efforts are visible by the central govt. to curb this menace. A state which is slowly turning into a heaven for the terrorists and ethnic cleansing is on rise, it’s time for Central Govt. to interfere in the workings of the State administration and push the state govt. to bring in “Anti-Conversion” laws or India Freedom of Religion acts that are enacted to regulate religious conversions.

In recent times Munambam, Kochi has become a hotspot for illegal migration into foreign countries like New Zealand. Munambam was used as a major transit point by LTTE for trafficking refugees to Australia and other countries when it was active and now it is being used by mafias to illegally migrate people to various countries. Munambam is preferred by the mafia since more than 300 fishing boats are operated from the harbour everyday and there is no system to track them and due to absence of CCTV or any other tracking mechanism, criminal and illegal migration activities are on a rise in the area. Intelligence inputs suggest that if the authorities fail to set up fool proof security along the coasts, they could be used by terrorists and anti-national forces to carry out their illegal operations and carry attack in India equivalent to 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Further considering all the facts above, the intelligence agencies need to increase their footprint in the region and efforts to be made by central govt. to revive the dying Hindu population in the region.

RISING GLOBAL E-WASTE

“BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION, NOT PART OF THE POLLUTION”

Introduction

The rise of technology in recent decades has been a boon to mankind. Most of the jobs which were tedious before can now be completed in minutes or seconds. One of the best example would be the Smartphone, earlier people had to wait for days to get in touch of their loved ones or pass any emergency message but now it’s just two clicks away and you can be connected to anyone across the globe.

But the rising Smart devices and other E-devices have led to rise of E-waste at a very considerable rate, more than the world was prepared for and now this is going in the form of landfills thereby polluting the land and environment. E-waste contains harmful chemicals such as barium, arsenic, lead, mercury etc. When these chemicals are broken down in landfills, they tend to leak these hazardous chemicals into surrounding air and water bodies creating a toxic environment.

Amount of E-waste produced per year

The world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) a year, weighing more than all of the commercial airliners ever made. The e-waste produced annually is worth over $62.5 billion, more than the GDP of most countries. There is 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore.

More than 44 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste was produced globally in 2017, over six kilograms for every person on the planet. Global e-waste production is on track to reach 120 million tonnes per year by 2050 if current trends continue, according to a report from the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) and the UN E-Waste Coalition.

The Rising Concerns

Less than 20% of e-waste is formally recycled, with 80% either ending up in landfill or being informally recycled – much of it by hand in developing countries, exposing workers to hazardous and carcinogenic substances such as mercury, lead and cadmium.

According to the report, in addition to health and pollution impacts, improper management of e-waste is resulting in a significant loss of scarce and valuable raw materials, such as gold, platinum, cobalt and rare earth elements. As much as 7% of the world’s gold may currently be contained in e-waste, with 100 times more gold in a tonne of e-waste than in a tonne of gold ore. The failure to recycle is also leading to shortages of rare-earth minerals to make future generations of electronic equipment.

Dumping of e-waste in 3rd World Countries

Millions of mobile phones, laptops, tablets, toys, digital cameras and other electronic devices bought in Christmas are destined to create a flood of dangerous “e-waste” that is being dumped illegally in developing countries, the UN has warned. Most of the e-waste from European countries and USA is dumped in African and Asian countries like Somalia, Ghana, India, Bangladesh etc. thereby damaging the environment and ecosystem in these poor and developing nations. An old-style CRT computer screen can contain up to three kilograms of lead, for example.

An indication of the level of e-waste being shipped to the developing world was revealed by Interpol. It said almost one in three containers leaving the EU that were checked by its agents contained illegal e-waste. Criminal investigations were launched against 40 companies. Although it is legal to export discarded goods to poor countries if they can be reused or refurbished, much is being sent to Africa or Asia under false pretenses, says Interpol.

Conclusion

It is not only the responsibility of the government to recycle the e-waste but also all the citizens must contribute in better and efficient management of  e-waste. The rising problem of e-waste and its management thereby polluting the local river bodies or land is also contributing in the factor for global warming.

Solutions include durable product design, buy-back and return systems for used electronics, ‘urban mining’ to extract metals and minerals from  e-waste, and the ‘de-materialisation’ of electronics by replacing outright device ownership with rental and leasing models in order to maximise product reuse and recycling opportunities.

INTERNET – TOOL OF SALVATION OR DAMNATION WHO WILL DECIDE?

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

Introduction

In dark hours of the chilly winter night of 2015, I was lying under my blanket reasoning with oneself about recharging my monthly internet pack and my salary account balance looked paltry. At that time, it was a gritty decision to make whether to recharge my “Smart Phone” or not. The Internet revolution had already knocked the doors of India by then, so now it was only the decision to be made of sacrificing dinner at my favorite place and with the money I could recharge my phone with Tata Docomo pack of Rs 256 for 1GB/Month (Disclaimer:- Those days it was 1 GB/month not 1GB a day). I still fondly remember those days when we survived with that 1 gb pack for whole month, the most we could do was to glimpse our whatsapp, instagram or facebook account twice in a day and then turn off the internet.

Then suddenly came a moment where all the rumors were floating around of a telecom operator named ‘Jio’ of Reliance industries which will be providing free internet to all the users. To us ‘Indians’ it was really hard to digest, as we do not have the habit of getting any freebies. But the fantasy soon became reality in 2016 and we have not looked back since then. The emergence of this telecom operator led to ‘smartphone revolution’ in Indian markets. Now the scenario is such, people find it difficult to separate themselves from mobile phones/smart devices. They may feel high levels of separation anxiety and experience feelings of panic and stress, the term coined by scientists for such type of disorder is ‘Nomophobia’ the phobia of being out of contact with cellular phone.

Effects of media/screen use on brain activity

We as a society need to rethink, re-evaluate and analyse where we want to go from this juncture. The toys of the 20th century have been replaced by the smartphones of 21st century, we call TV sets as idiot box and refrain our young minds from watching excessive TV shows but at the same time presenting them with similar tools like smart phones/tablets which leads to harmful effects like

headaches, nomophobia, sleep disorders etc.; reason being parents have more urgent matters to attend to then their own kids. Parents now a days widely use it as a bribery tool to make kids behave in public places, movie theaters or even to go to potty. Parents have discovered an easy tool to engage their kids, but they are unaware of the consequences. World Health Organization in 2019, on the recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016 have endorsed that children between age of 02-05 years should be limited to 1 hr of screen time per day and lesser is better for their mental health. The main reason behind this was that a child devote more time on screen or phone rather than physical activity and exercises which offers a lot of benefits needed for child’s physical and mental development. Mindful Awareness Research Centre has published a research paper in Jan 2020 that involved MRI scans of brains of children between 03-05 years old, found those who used screens/smart devices more than the recommended rate without parental involvement has disorganized and lower levels of development in the brains white matter, an area key to language, literacy and cognitive skill development(as shown in Fig). There are endless studies and research papers pointing towards ill effects of smart devices on toddlers and even on adults.

Many big corporate debate about the smartphone not harming the general populace as there are no ground results indicative of their relationship with any of the disorder. Our so naive populace fail to realize that the evolution has just began, even the dangerous radiation takes time to show the ill-effects and it’s been only half a decade of using the smartphones/devices. We will start getting the more detailed analysis by the end of 2030 perhaps. It is just a ticking timebomb which is ready to explode and we are just busy in celebrating its success and unaware as to when it will devour us as a whole.

Growth of OTTs in India

Now I would like to express my grief for all those “young minds” who have become prey to these cheap internet tactics and have been exposed to a devil. Being a movie buff, I visit theatres quite frequently and noticed the big ‘A’ rated signboard for specific movies on the entrance of the theatre. The sensor board tries hard to keep away the explicit content from the users who are not supposed to watch it, but they are miserably failing on all fronts. “The devil you know is better than the devil we don’t”, this paraphrase has proven to be more significant in today’s world where behemoths like ‘Netflix’, ‘Amazon’, ‘Hotstar’ and many more are capturing the Indian cyber space and have given rise to trend of web series in India. They are often scientifically termed as OTT(Over-the-top media services) who have grown like mushrooms over the last few years as shown in Fig.1. They are giving

uninterrupted supply of violence, bloodshed and sexual explicit content to our young and creative minds as there is no age filter or barrier to filter out the young populace. Even the apps like ‘Youtube’, Instagram, Facebook are endorsing them. India has approximately 300 million video streaming audience and number is likely to grow up to 550 million by 2023. Cisco Systems Inc. has estimated the country will have 829 million smartphone users by 2022.

The youth of our country confuse progressive thinking with sexual promiscuity and functional alcoholism. It should be realised that the accessibility of sexual content by young populace have more harmful consequences than one might expect. The way an immature mind perceives such sensitive issues can be easily measured by the increasing number of minors participating in acts of rape and violence against women in India. This has led to rise in anxiety, depression, violence and other mental problems to the young and naive minds. In developed countries like US, UK lot of studies and research been done by the psychologists, neurologists to assess the effect of these on the mass, but in India it is at a very nascent stage but at the same time rate of growth of users for these apps is astonishing(as shown in Fig). After recently reading a journal about the effects of web series

where the questionnaire was formed and target group was 18-30 years old Indians. In the survey majority of the youths accepted of being influenced by the violence, intimate scenes, drinking and smoking habits of the lead actors in the show. Majority of the youth spend 3-6 hrs on daily basis watching the series, no study being done till now in India about the cognitive effects of this on human minds.

As I have mentioned out only the ill effects of the internet and web series, it is pertinent to mention that at the same time they are the ocean of knowledge with apps like Netflix providing various documentaries on war history, mindfulness exercises and other learning aspects. But with time it has proved more to be a Bane than Boon for the Indian society and after effects are yet to arise. The cyber space share of these OTT’s is increasing at an alarming rate.

Remedial Measures

The treatment for internet/Web series addiction is still in its infancy, with the wider categories of internet and screen addiction still not being included as behavioural disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental Disorders – the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals. The most viable solution is enhanced parental control and instead of trying to engage their kids with distractions like phones, web series a more humane touch is expected from the parents. In India, a 26 year old is first case of ‘Netflix addiction’ and being treated at Service for Healthy Use of Technology(SHUT) clinic at Bengaluru’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences(NIMHANS).The treatment plan includes regular meditation and therapy sessions. Therapy sessions at psychologist and rehabilitation centres are being provided in the western countries for the individual but it is not so viable due to the high cost involved in it which can be only afforded by few. There is a “Hard Reduction” approach which is gaining momentum among the common populace, under which one have to set goals and install technology(CALM app at android is gaining popularity) that will help you limit your screen time and reduce it until you are only watching as much as you have decided to watch. This is doable but one have to be highly motivated to make that work.

The pitching in of Censorboard of India is required, the reason why a film certifying board exists in the first place is to ensure that any kind of mass display of movies, shows is properly screened first so that it does not create chaos in the society directly or indirectly. Censerboard considers internet not exactly the means of mass screening, but they need to consider that tide has turned now, the youth and public is more indulged in movies and TV series over internet which are going uncensored and being delivered to anyone having the access to them regardless of their age. Due to ongoing COVID-19 scenario, reach of the children have increased to other smart devices for educational purposes because of which screen time have also been increased significantly. Not only parents, we as son, daughter, relatives all need to spread the awareness and mutually decide what kind of future we want for our future generation.

References

1.       “Awareness Academy of Pediatrics announces for children’s media use.” www.aap.com. Retrieved 25 Feb 2020.

2.       “MRIs show screen time linked to lower brain development in pre-schoolers.” www.cnn.com. Retrieved 27 Feb 2020.

3.       “Explained: The OTT boom in India.” http://www.moneycontrol news. Retrieved 01 Mar 2020.

4.       “Analysis of various effects of web series streaming online on internet on Indian youth.” Vinod S Koravi MD PHD(Sch) Swasthvritta and Yoga. Asst Prof. Yashwant Ayurveda College,Kodoli. Retrieved 01 Mar 2020.

5.       “Netflix addiction: NIMHANS gets its first case, 12 signs you are addicted to Netflix.” www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 03 Mar 2020.

AYURVEDIC HERBS FOR IMMUNITY BOOSTING AGAINST COVID-19

Following Ayurvedic herbs which are easily available near your homes or in medicine shops goes a long way in improving overall body immunity against COVID-19:-

Tulsi – Tulsi is one of the key ingredients used in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi, also known as the Holy Basil is popular all around the world for its medicinal properties. You can add tulsi to your kadha for immunity, herbal teas, etc, or can just chew a few leaves on empty stomach. Tulsi is rich in anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and is known to improve immunity against pathogens, especially those that cause respiratory and throat infections.

Ginger – Ginger or dry ginger is used as a common ingredient in Ayurveda. Ginger is rich in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is used as a common home remedy for cough and cold in the form of tea, or kadha. It can help boost immunity naturally. However, if you have a lot of body heat, or are the Pitta body type in Ayurveda, you must keep your consumption of ginger under control, especially in the summer.

Turmeric – Turmeric is one Ayurvedic ingredient that has made Ayurveda popular all around the world. With the western world adopting to the consumption of turmeric in the form of tablets, indigenously, turmeric is used as a common spice added to foods in India. Golden milk, also known as Haldi Dudh, is often used to treat muscle pains, or even as first aid in case of an injury. Turmeric contains many components that can help fight diseases.

Giloy – Giloy is an ayurvedic herb that is also hailed as the “ayurvedic root for immortality”. Giloy is a powerhouse of antioxidants which help in detoxing the body and reducing free radical activity. Giloy is also rich in anti-microbial properties and is used in various ayurvedic treatments. 

Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is another Ayurvedic herb that has been used in various treatments. It is good for physical as well as mental health. Ashwagandha can help people with stress, anxiety or insomnia as it helps to calm the mind down. Since sleep plays such an important role in overall health, ashwagandha is an important Ayurvedic herb to keep your body and mind healthy. It is also rich in antioxidants and helps in boosting immunity.

Super Women’s of India

“THERE IS NO FORCE EQUAL TO A WOMEN DETERMINED TO RISE”

Introduction

Recently I came across an article on Bloomberg which shed light upon few of the “Women Seaweed Harvesters” in India. Being a sailor myself, I can very well appreciate the unforgiving nature of the roaring seas and how difficult it is to perform any job related to sea, be it fishing, security, transhipping etc. These women come from beautiful South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and every day they risk their lives to sketch a better future for their family and children.

Seaweed Harvest in Tamil Nadu, India

Women’s who indulge in diving and finding the seaweeds, wake up at 0500 hrs to cook meals for their kids before going to work. Around 1300 hrs they bring the seaweed to the shore, remove the waste and stones, then separate the seaweed into piles for drying. When the merchant arrives, they give him the dried seaweed and he weighs it. A day of harvesting seaweed gives these women about 300-500 rupees(5-6$) a day with which they sustain their families.

The Global Warming effect

Due to the rapid rise in Global Warming levels, the sea levels in many parts of the world have increased substantially posing further risks and threats to these women. Most of these women are neither equipped with any lifesaving equipments and solely relies on mercy of the nature.

Another adverse effect to their livelihoods is due to global warming effects, the size and density of seaweed have shrunk to significant levels. A decade ago they were able to collect more amounts of seaweed and were able to earn more, but now the deteriorating sea conditions have made a huge dent on their daily incomes leading to loss of livelihood for some.

But I salute these ladies, who fight every day like a brave soldier to sustain their families. Such “Women Empowerment” is required in every strata of our society today, not the false idols like Greta Thunberg or Yousuf Malala.

IMPORTANT INGREDIENT FOR COVID-19 VACCINE : HORSESHOE CRAB BLOOD

“THERE IS A SUFFICIENCY IN THE WORLD FOR MAN’s NEED, BUT NOT FOR MAN’s GREED.”

MAHATMA GANDHI

Introduction

Enormous amount of efforts are being made all across the globe to produce viable vaccine for COVID-19. Russia being at the forefront of this race has already come up with “Sputnik V” as the possible cure for treating corona virus. Research is still going on in other countries to come up with the vaccine with rare blue blood of “Horseshoe Crab” being the key ingredient for this process of vaccine production.

Blood of Horseshoe Crab for Vaccine

Each spring, guided by the full moon, hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs clamber onto beaches across the U.S. mid-Atlantic to lay their eggs. For hungry birds, it’s a cornucopia. For drug companies, it’s a crucial resource for making human medicines safe.

That’s because these animals’ milky-blue blood provides the only known natural source of limulus amebocyte lysate, a substance that detects a contaminant called endotoxin. If even tiny amounts of endotoxin—a type of bacterial toxin—make their way into vaccines, injectable drugs, or other sterile pharmaceuticals such as artificial knees and hips, the results can be deadly.

Every year, pharmaceutical companies round up half a million Atlantic horseshoe crabs, bleed them, and return them to the ocean— after which many will die.

Why Over-dependence on Horseshoe Crabs?

Catching crabs and harvesting their blood is time-consuming, and the resulting lysate costs $60,000 per gallon. In 2016, a synthetic alternative to crab lysate, recombinant factor C (rFC), was approved as an alternative in Europe, and a handful of U.S. drug companies also began using it.

But on June 1, 2020, the American Pharmacopeia, which sets the scientific standards for drugs and other products in the U.S., declined to place rFC on equal footing with crab lysate, claiming that its safety is still unproven. Starting in July, Swiss-based Lonza will begin manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine for human clinical trials—and they’ll have to use lysate in the vaccine if they plan to sell it in the U.S.

Destroying the Habitat and Population of Horseshoe Crabs

In 1990, biologists estimated 1.24 million crabs spawned in Delaware Bay, a main egg-laying spot and prime collection point for the companies. By 2002, that number had dropped to 333,500. In recent years, numbers of Delaware Bay spawning crabs have hovered around the same amount, with the 2019 survey estimating about 335,211.

Meanwhile, conservationists are monitoring the impact to the species that rely on horseshoe crab eggs as vital food sources. Sport fish that once were numerous, such as striped bass and flounder, have plummeted in number in the region, in part due to fewer horseshoe crab eggs. Human greed is slowly consuming nature around us and we still can’t predict where this “Greed” will end or will it stop before eradicating Human Race from Planet Earth, only time will tell.

ERA OF THE CYBORGS

What is Cyborg?

cyborg, a portmanteau of “cybernetic organism”, is a being with both organic and bio-mechatronic body parts. The term was coined in 1960 by Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline. In 2020, a breakthrough in this technology is being taking rounds in the corridors of the Global Scientific Community where scientists funded by the United States Navy have revealed they have successfully augmented locusts and hijacked their ability to sense a wide range of chemical odours, including explosives.

The Locust Cyborg

Until now Locusts were a menace for farmers across the globe for having an extra appetite for farm products and their ability to reproduce fast thereby consuming large areas of farmlands and the crops growing in them. For more details, read the article below.

https://thesocialvigilante.wordpress.com/2020/05/27/the-locust-infestation-in-india/

According to a pre-print research paper published on February 11,2020 in BioRxiv, the insects have been used to detect gases released by substances like ammonium nitrate, commonly used by terrorist groups for bomb-making, and the military explosives TNT and RDX. Individual locusts were able to successfully sniff out incendiary material, but the results improved when the scientists compiled data from seven or more locusts, where the detection capability was distributed across a mini-swarm.

The Washington University scientists cocooned the locusts in tiny wheeled robots that could be positioned at will. The researchers chose to work with American locusts because they are “sturdy” and “can carry heavy payloads,” the preprint paper reveals. The real challenge was finding a way to read the locusts’ minds without subjecting them to extensive surgery. The procedure involved making a “minor” incision in the locusts’ heads that allowed the insects to continue moving their mouthparts and antennae freely afterward.

The robot-bound locusts were exposed to five different explosives and a few other chemicals. Within 500 milliseconds of exposure to each substance, a discernible and distinct pattern of activity appeared in the insects’ brains. Good-quality signals can be picked up by the electrodes for around seven hours after locusts receive their implants but fade beyond that, the researchers write. However, that there are still practical challenges in keeping the augmented locusts alive.

After reading this article I felt happy enough to know that these “small buggers” could be useful in some way rather than destroying our crops and fields.

2020 : YEAR OF MAN-MADE DISASTERS

“THE FIRST FEW DAYS WERE THE NATURAL DISASTERS, BUT THE LAST FOUR DAYS WERE MAN-MADE DISASTERS”

Introduction

We have only reached mid of 2020 and the world has already faced some natural or man-made disasters which will alter our future. In this article I bring along some of the disasters which happened in last few months which will change the world ecology.

Maldives Oil Spill

Fuel spilling from a  MV Wakashio, owned by the Nagashiki Shipping Company a Japanese bulk carrier that ran aground on a reef in Mauritius two weeks ago is creating an ecological disaster, endangering corals, fish and other marine life around the Indian Ocean island, officials and environmentalists say.

OIL SPILL AT MAURITIUS

Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health.

Brahmaputra River Oil Spill

More than 200 incidents of oil spills have been reported in Assam, India over the last decade, of various magnitudes. Oil processing factories situated near the river banks pose a major threat and 40 such incidents have been documented by Assam Pollution Board in 2014-15.

One such incident initiated on the morning of January 28, 2020. By 30th January, huge quantities of crude oil had been spilled on the Burhi Dihing, a tributary of Brahmaptura from the Central Tank Farm (CTF) of public-sector Oil India Ltd (OIL). This broke out fire on the river for four days.

GANGETIC DOLPHINS KILLED DUE TO OIL SPILL

On 27th May, 2020, an uncontrolled release of natural gas was reported at Baghjan Oilfield of Oil India Limited (OIL) in Tinsukia district of Assam. The Dangori and Dibru Rivers are home to many highly endangered species including river dolphins, birds, and fishes, and there is no escape for them, as the river has been on flames.

Baghjan Oilfield is located right next to the Maguri-Motapung wetland, part of the eco-sensitive zone of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, well known for its migratory birds and feral horses. 

Russian Oil Spill

After a storage tank in Norilsk, northern Russia, collapsed in late May, 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel was released into the environment. Strong winds caused the oil to spread more than 12 miles from the source, contaminating nearby rivers, lakes and the surrounding soil.

As experts in Arctic ecosystems, it is worrisome that the long-term impacts of this diesel spill in such pristine environments where cold, harsh conditions mean that life is limited. While bacteria are known to “clean up” oil spills elsewhere in the world, in the Arctic, their low numbers and slow rates of activity could mean diesel products linger for years, if not decades.

Arctic Ice Melting

Sea ice loss accelerated in early- to mid-July, bringing sea ice extent which measures the area of ocean where there’s some ice cover, down to record-low levels for this time of the year. The Arctic as a region had an ice extent that was about 193,000 square miles below the previous record low for the date, using data from the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

In other words, the difference between the sea ice extent on 18 July, 2020, and the previous record low for the same date is equivalent to the states of Colorado and Oklahoma combined.

IMMIGRATION NATION

Introduction

I being a web-series and movie buff always swing between Netflix, Prime, Disney etc. Recently an amazing docuseries grabbed my attention called Immigration Nation on Netflix and I have no shame in admitting, it got me emotional and hit me up to the core. The series revolves around various changes done in immigration laws after Trump got into power. The series left me intrigued, so I searched some of the data and facts which you can find in article below.

Major Migration and Displacement Events

Few major events that occurred in last 02-03 years which caused great hardship and trauma as well as loss of life across the globe are:-

  • Conflict in Syrian Arab Republic, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
  • Rohingya violence in Myanmar.
  • Severe political and economic instability in Venezuela.
  • Increased cartel activities in Mexico, Honduras etc.

Such events in previous years led to rise in migrants population, i.e. almost 272 million globally in 2019 with nearly 2/3rd being labour migrants.

Illegal Immigrants in USA

Ascertaining the size of overall immigrant population is extremely difficult, but data suggests presence of around 10.5-12 million illegal migrants who are presently living in USA accounting to almost 3.2-3.5% of US populace.

Causes of Immigration to US

The higher rate of immigration to USA owes to:-

  • Living the “American Dream
  • Political and social threats in countries like Mexico, Uganda, Sudan etc.
  • Better healthcare facilities.

These are the few common causes for which people migrate in large numbers to US. The ICE(Immigration and Customs Enforcement) with new set of rules, guidelines and unlimited amount of power has proven to be the biggest roadblock between these migrants and their “American Dream”.

Difference between Trump and Obama Administration

During the Obama administration only those were usually deported who indulged into various criminal activities across the states.

Since the Trump administration stepped in, the story completely changed and overnight an executive order was signed by President to deport all illegal migrants on US soil. US citizenship or Asylum is granted to very few people now and earlier until the Asylum cases were pending in the court, immigrants were allowed to stay in US but now the new Law does not permits them inside US and often most of them stay in small camps near the US-Mexico border waiting for their court hearings.

Instances of Basic Human Rights Violation

There have been many cases where the most decorated “Marines” who came to US some 20-30 years back and served full terms in “US MARINE CORPS” were deported back to Mexico, Honduras etc. due to absence of relevant paperwork with them. I believe a man who served and protected the country, has the basic right to be a citizen of that country.

In other instances, construction firm named “Winterfell” duped many migrants of their hard earned salary and threatened to call police and reveal their illegal status to ICE.

There are 100’s and 1000’s of such stories on street which could be narrated day in, day out, but if this narration to the world will make any difference is a million dollar question.

Conclusion

Finally after watching the series “Immigration Nation” I felt sad and at the same time anguished by the Trump administration, but I believe what he is doing is for the betterment of his nation afterall he is responsible for safety and security of his country.

But as a World Leader, America have to step up to dire needs of these people and find out ways to help the world and people in need.