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Assam floods: Unpredictable,uncovered disaster.



Water, the second most important factor of living can also turn tables to us unexpectedly! The “unpredictable” disasters of nature have shown a colossal effect on Assam. 

Every coming year brings loss of human and animal lives, broken chain of infrastructure and an emotional breakdown of that every civilian who voted. The another channel of floodwaters washed over Assam last week. Over 27,63,719 people in 25 districts had vastly been affected, the death toll had risen to 79. Some 47,465 people have taken shelter in 649 relief camps across the state. Excess of water took a huge toll on livestock and affected deepening the loss of over 1,16,404 hectares of cultivated area according to report by Hindustan Times.

Among the mightiest rivers of India is Brahmaputra, a trans- boundary river that passes through Assam. Instability of sedimentation and steep slopes makes it extremely dangerous. Additionally, the entire area falls under in an earthquake- prone zone under disastrous blessings of coal mines.

Coal, one of the main reasons for the pollution of India. Out of World’s top 10 polluted cities, 6 are of India. India’s coal industry kills 1,20,000 people every year, says Greenpeace.

‘First flooding’ was considered a good omen previously as it was precious for replenishing the fertility of the land. However, undue flooding leaves the region staggering on an annual basis and ironically they are affected by the side effects of good human causes in the form of coal mining.
Human good causes have given nature so much that a well derived formula: Human Factor+ Good cause= Natural DisastersCoal mining is a responsible factor for flooding to fire and explosion. With numerous tragic and major loss events in the headlines over past months, let’s see what are the main risks affecting this sector and how these can be mitigated.

While, the mining industry has the potential to disrupt ecosystems by wiping out wildlife populations in many different ways, the clearing of land i.e. Deforestation, leads to floods in downstream areas as it reduces the upstream area’s capacity to absorb rainwater, resulting in greater proportions of runoff flowing water into the city. Tailings also wash into the area’s rivers from mines, which restrict their flow.
Assam is endowed with both the monsoon rains and the Himalayan rivers, of which the major contribution is by the Brahmaputra. No geographical good news can match this. Although each year, lives are lost, millions are displaced, villages, crops, and basic infrastructure get destroyed in Assam. The melted water in summer merges with the monsoon, causing the annual flooding.

At the time when we look at the solutions for flooding, the faulty embankments worsen the situation.

What would console the flood hit citizen when the structure meant to control the floods worsens it more?
4,500 km immense Embankments encircling 103 tributaries, alongside the Brahmaputra have been built costing Rs 30,000 crore over last 60 years by successive governments in Assam reported by The Quint.
While Embankments protects some, they destroy some!Taking the instance of Dibrugarh village, which falls on the southern bank of Brahmaputra. Its massive embankment protects it from the floods but a village nearby Patra Gaon, strikes with flood frequently as it does not have Embankments. So when the floods come, the embankments channel the floodwater in abundance and high intensity towards these suburbs. While one village is saved, the other is left to deal with a double-whammy waters doubling their trouble. Landslides due to Mining and faulty drainage have weakened Assam’s aging embankments. Moreover, 80% of them are poorly maintained.
Civilizations have always development around rivers and so is the situation in North East. Townships have sprung up across Assam without proper flood-risk management.

Is it limited to North-East regions?

Not only kaziranga but every other national parks faces problems because of Mining. Extensive deforestation and cutting of highlands have only worsened the situation.
The NTCA has blamed the “stone mining or quarrying established in the intervening area” between Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong hills for “destroying the wildlife habitat which is essential for long-ranging species like tigers, wild buffalos and Indian elephant.”
After the glance of Elephants slaying in Kerala, the whole nation felt sorrow and irony is that the permissions are granted for mining in an elephant reserve. Dehing Patkai, amazon of India where 98 hectares of land is eroded because of mining. Also, in Chattisgarh the Mahanadi which is a livelihood for local people, and Hasdeo Arand forest. Is drying up, and also getting polluted just to fulfill the demand for coal. This affected more than 4 crores of people.
Why animals are killed due to floods?It is told that the flooding is essential for the survival of Kaziranga National Park, world-famous for its one-horned rhinos. Earlier the animals could simply shift to higher surface within the park. “The Karbi Anglong hill is as a hill that is visible to the wild animals from a distance,” explained Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, CEO of NGO Aaranyak, which works on nature and wildlife preservation. But in 2019, as 90% of Kaziranga got flooded, the water engulfed every inch of the park even the higher ground. Unexpectedly, the animals had nowhere to run. And according to the numbers of government of State, animal deaths are shocking – 350 animals killed in 2016, 503 in 2017.

Is There a Solution?
Well, to stop mining is not possible. As India is developing nation and coal has a lion’s share in it. But the stakeholders of India can direct the country towards sustainable development.
Himanshu Thakkar, Head of South Asia Network on dams, rivers and people suggests:Better Flood forecasting i.e. Information about floods forecasts should reach the affected villages in time. We must strengthen just those embankments that are really required. And in place of constructing embankments, we should create more space for the river, inspite of restricting it. 

Another possible solution is a Sponge City. A sponge city is a city that is designed to passively absorb, clean and use rainfall in an ecologically familiar way that reduces hazardous and polluted runoff. It is connected to the main water plant of city.Associated techniques contain spongy roads, rainwater harvesting, rooftop gardens and water conservatives such as ponds and lakes, even China and Japan is working on the same concept.
In the latest budget for 2020, the government has allotted Rs. 600 crores for “exploration of coal and lignite”, an increase of 20% compared to the Rs. 500 crores allotted in 2019. Meanwhile, the budget for “conservation, safety, and infrastructure development in coal mines” have been reduced by almost 33% from Rs. 200 crore in 2019 to Rs 135 crore in the budget (Data taken from
It’s high time for us to realize the importance of Sustainable development. The actions are taken, NTCA has instructed the Assam government to take “immediate action” to end mining, quarrying and stone crusher undertakings within a 10 km radius of the tiger reserve. But that’s not enough
India needs to shift it’s focus from coal to solar, before the outbreak of COVID-19, Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, said there was “a clear indication that coal will not fuel future electricity growth,” which will mostly be provided by renewables such as solar and wind. Reported by Boell organization.
Climate challanging crises are a new normal across the world. A magic pill that is specified to battle these impacts is complete phasing out of coal and transitioning to renewable power.
A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) said that renewable energy could assign more than 40 million people by 2050. It said that total energy sector job can reach 100 million by 2050, so the growth can be achieved even faster. If we take a step to make a change.Perhaps it’s time that we end being normalizing on the yearly demolition and act, not just react.
Remember, the most important stakeholders of a country are it’s citizens!

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Our Social Dilemma



When I ask a question to people about why they use social media? The common answer people give is that they have access to interact with their friends and other people. Technology bought remarkable changes in human life, they increased communication between people, they found organ donors, and they spread news faster and many more. This technology bought meaningful and positive changes to human life. Nevertheless, we are unaware of the flip side of the coin.

Many people think that Facebook is just a place to see their friend or YouTube is just a source to see videos around the world. What we don’t realise is they are competing for our attention. How it is possible? Let us dig down deeper into it.

Large tech companies like Facebook, Google, Tiktok, Instagram, Pinterest have a business model to engage people onto their screens, to get people’s attention as much as possible and making money simultaneously within that span of time. All that we think is free on the internet is not in reality, they are paid by advertisers. The advertisers pay these companies in exchange to show their advertisement. 

If internet wasn’t a free source, the engagement rate towards it would drop down drastically. As we, don’t pay for the product we have become the product. Where the tech companies are the sellers, advertisers are the customers and the product being sold is our attention.

Every business thinks that if they place an advertisement they will reach their goal of success early. In order to reach the success in that particular business they need to have great prediction and lot of data.

The tech companies whose business model is to make sure the advertisers are successful in that business track your data, all the clicks you have made, all the likes, screen time, almost everything is tracked and monitored. They know everything thing about us whether we are lonely or happy. They even know our personality type.

There are lot of techies in Silicon Valley learnt to use all the knowledge about human psychology that persuades people and build that into technology. This is persuasive technology, A design technique that can modify someone’s behaviour. Instagram has infinite scrolling feature that persuades people to keep on scrolling until they find something interesting.

Another feature very commonly used is refreshing. You pull your screen down and there will new feed on the top. So the infinite scrolling and refresh feature gives you a reward at a regular basis, when you scroll down there is something new on the screen that looks interesting for you which release dopamine into your body, to get back the dopamine hit you have to keep on scrolling. Now this action of pulling down the screen and scrolling becomes an unconscious habit. This in psychology is positive intermittent reinforcement.

We have surrounded our lives with perceived sense of perfection, we get short-term rewards of dopamine hit through likes, thumbs up, comment etc,. We get a fake popularity that we consider as real. These short-term rewards force us to fall into the loop to do something new to get that reward again. Technology is not only controlling our attention but technologies like social media have changed psychology of kid’s as well as teenagers; they have lost their self-worth through this fake reality. Today’s young generation is more anxious and more depressed.

Processing power has advanced quadrillion times since 1960s but our human brain has not evolved and fundamentally, it would never change. We all think the same that Artificial intelligence will be the destructor of humans in far future, what we need to understand is Artificial intelligence is running our world right now.

The big tech companies have tons and tons of computers stored in a massive room that runs all algorithms from simple task to complex task. However, Artificial intelligence isn’t the problem, it is just like a machine with a define task to do and it learns by performing different experiments to reach the task and gets slightly better every single day.

Famous basketball player Kyrie Irving believed that earth is flat, later when he apologized he blamed to YouTube’s rabbit hole. Basically Kyrie Irving fell into the trap of YouTube recommendation, YouTube’s A.I used recommendation feature to engage Kyrie onto his screen by displaying all the videos that were promoting the flat-earth conspiracy theory, its like the YouTube finds the nearest rabbit hole to dig down deeper and deeper.

Finally, Kyrie was convinced that the earth is flat because all the videos he was watching sound true to him. When he apologized for believing that earth is flat, few student were interviewed saying “the round-earth people got Kyrie”. The algorithm is getting smarter exponentially today people are convinced by the flat earth theory tomorrow there would be new conspiracy theory that people will believe into.

There is lot of fake news spreading faster than real news; It has increased polarization among people, nations are dividing themselves. Internet has become as market place, a market place where human futures are being sold, a market place where you are just a zombie who look at the screen for a long time. This is undermining democracy, if this goes on for years we won’t survive.

People often say that technology has ruined the world but this isn’t true. It is simultaneous utopia and dystopia, you can call anyone from any corner of the world, and on the flipside, your calls could be tracked to use it against you.

Social media was built to spread love amongst people but the business model of different business and their financial incentives have ruin the fabric of healthy society, and there is no financial reason for the tech companies to change their services. There is no law on the tech companies to regulate data and to use is ethically

We need to admit these bad outcomes of technology are because of our work. We can demand the tech companies to built this humanely and not like an attention extraction source. The very fabric of healthy society depends on getting off the corrosive business model.

if we have built something we have a moral responsibility to change it and make it ethically possible.

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Humans and Climate Change: Our Energy Produce



A general definition of energy is Capacity to do work. About 99% of human history , man used muscle energy either  humans or animals to do work. Using muscle energy wasn’t an efficient way for us to perform tasks as it consumed large energy. To match our needs and to increase efficiency we started making and developing tools. The first energy development happened when humans learnt to use the force of nature. Wind mills and water power increased the food production and irrigation in farms respectively. As technology advanced Coal became the dominant commodity to generate energy. In 1698, an English engineer named Thomas Savery invented steam engine. It was the first machine that provided significantly large amount of power not derived from muscle, water or wind. Coal powered industrialisation gave a boost to scale the production of goods. It was the industrial revolution where we discovered a clean and efficient form of energy called electricity. Electricity allowed people to work in dark and power heavy machinery. Coal that was used to generate energy was then used as a raw material to generate electricity. Soon after we discovered Oil and gas which were relatively efficient and clean source of energy than Coal. Oil was revolutionary because it could power not only ships, electricity and trains but also internal combustion engines which made cars and aeroplanes possible. 

From an energy use perspective the world since 1900 is a new era in human history, electricity and oil has become the core of our energy use. We use electricity for everything from lighting bulbs to powering our gadgets and oil for transportation. Scientists estimate that if we continue our current energy usage, we will run out of oil and gas  in next 50 years and Coal in next 100 years. Since 1900 our energy demands have increased exponentially and the usage is abrupt. Energy is cheap yet its most important factor that needs attention. We are not really concerned about our energy usage. So will renewable energy be our way to go ? Before answering this question let us know all about renewable energy.

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources like sun, wind and various others. It is the cleanest energy and doesn’t emit carbon dioxide in the air. Solar panels and wind turbines are the best example of technology to harness renewable energy. Renewable energy is the only category of energy that grew globally at double digits over the past decade. For perspective, in 2009 the world consumed 8.2 exajoules of renewable energy. In 2019, that had nearly quadrupled to 29.0 exajoules. At some point renewable seems a fascinating alternative that could also create new jobs. But the truth is it is not our way to go and why ? let us understand.

The electricity from solar rooftops end up costing twice as electricity from solar farms. Both solar and wind farms acquire significant areas of land with solar panels and wind turbines and it requires large transmission lines to bring the electricity from the country’s side into the city in which about 7-8 % of electricity is drained. Many big bird species that are endangered like kites, eagles and condors die due to wind turbines, in fact the most significant threat to these birds are wind turbines. In terms of solar farms, we need to clear the land and the wildlife to install the solar panels that threaten the species living there. To give an example, to build Ivanpah solar farm in California people clear all the desert tortoise, literally pulling and filling into the truck to shift them to other places. Many of these tortoises died while loading in trucks. At current estimates over 6000 birds die every year by catching on fire above the solar farm. Now using the cleaner energy and dealing with the environmental impact comes at a high cost. The electricity from the solar and wind farm can cost significantly high. We might think that it’s ok to pay high to receive clean energy.

Germany, the leader of solar, wind and renewable energy generates 48% of its electricity from clean sources. But at the same time the cost of electricity increased by 50% since the revolution. On the other hand, France produces about 75% of its electricity from clean zero-emission sources and pays almost half as much as Germany pays for their electricity. France produces its electricity from nuclear energy, about 75% of France is powered by nuclear energy. 

Nuclear energy turns out to be more reliable, It can generate electricity for 90% of the year. A 40 year study by the Environmental Progress shows that it costs less to produce electricity from nuclear power plants than solar, wind and other renewable sources. After understanding all these positives about nuclear power, a general question arises in each mind, is nuclear power safe ? Another 40 year study by British medical journal lancet finds nuclear power to be the safest. A climate scientist named James Hansen found out that nuclear power saved 2 million lives up to date. It turns out wind energy is far more dangerous than nuclear, two maintenance people died on a wind turbine while working on it in Netherland. Talking about environmental hazards by nuclear power is less due to less produce of nuclear waste that can be stored and managed in containment rooms. We need to change our views on Nuclear Power, this may help us a lot to fight against climate change for real.To all the readers, I ask a question. We know that Renewable Energy cannot save the planet, so could we allow them to destroy our planet? And would you support Nuclear energy in future to generate electricity? Think over it because our Future is in our hands.

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PUBG Mobile India Re-entry



South Korean game developer PUBG Corporation and publisher KRAFTON announced that they have fully merged into a single entity. The company will be renamed to PUBG Studio and solely focus on development as PUBG Corp’s publishing and support teams have previously been integrated into KRAFTON.

KRAFTON’s independent studio portfolio currently consists of four studios including PUBG Studio, Striking Distance Studios, Bluehole Studio, and RisingWings. The AAA development studio Striking Distance Studios is currently developing an original narrative experience in the gaming Universe, while the Studio “will continue to seek ways to develop and expand the IP in various fields, including its esports and entertainment business.”

For fans, the move should be a good thing. The Corporation becoming PUBG Studio under Krafton means that the team can work autonomously to create its own unique vision on games. The battle royale has been going strong, and continues to be a mainstay in the genre since it released in 2017. According to the press release, The Studio will continue to develop and support Mobile version moving forward. The team has constantly added new content to its games and now we can some new innovations around the games.

Though PUBG has yet not clarified any official launch date, several media reports have come up with various dates on the launch. The latest date was said to be somewhere in the last week of December.

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