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Neo-Slavery: An Introduction to Forced Labor in China



What would you do if you were separated from your family, denied your identity, and trapped into forced labor?


Communism rears its ugly face once more as thousands of people from the minority groups of China are forcibly detained in ‘camps’ in an attempt to ‘re-educate’ them; to strip away their cultural identify and assimilate them into the majority Han Chinese population. Most of the victims are form the Uygur/ Uighur community, a minority Muslim community in China. Parents are separated from children and whole families are brought even for just being related to someone who is slightly religiously radical.

Who Is Exploited?

Chinese officials claim that there are no adverse psychological effects on the children who are separated from their parents; being housed in separate boarding schools. There is evidence to show hundreds of schools and building being constructed of recent to house these minority communities, including the Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz.

Who Benefits?

Major companies such a Nike, BMW, Samsung and others have been implicated in a report on forced labor of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang. Most of these have responded to the allegation except Apple, Esprit, Fila, and Victoria’s Secret.

The Crackdown

However the crackdown on the Uighur community has been a long time in the making. In July 2014, some Xinjang government departments banned Muslim civil servants from fasting during the holy month of Ramdan.

Chinese officials claim that the crackdown is a form of ‘anti-terrorism’. One report shows how Chinese Communist Party supporters were given the task of befriending certain members of the minority community and keep detailed records of their activities. Things commonly noted were whether they prayed or not, what sites they used on the internet, what language they spoke etc.

The Fear

People from the area are reluctant to speak about the atrocities to reporters as they are constantly being watched. There is a strict regulation on filming in China, enabling only a few glimpses into the atrocities, but these are enough to raise concern. One crew was asked to stop filming as they approached a camp where the minorities were held.

Back Home

When one hears about the Orwellian predicament in China, it is easy to forget that big brother is watching, he has eyes and ears everywhere. As we read and philosophize about the situation in China, let us open our eyes to what is happening around us, in our neighborhoods and workplaces; in our streets.

A writer, poet, lyricist, and musician who is in his early twenties and is pursuing his MA in English Literature at Goa University. His work deeply reflects his Christian faith and the testimony of all the good that Jesus Christ has done in his life once he accepted Him as his Lord and Saviour. He hopes that through his work others would know Jesus the way he has come to know Him.

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Human Evolution: Bionic Eye



As constantly evolving species humans are redefining their own evolution by interconnecting the natural and synthetic world. Bionic technology is the major pay role that is inter-winding Human-Machine interface. Today let us know about one of the applications of this bionic technology; Visual Prosthesis or Bionic eye.

A visual prosthesis or bionic eye is a medical device that is intended to restore functional vision to those who are suffering from partial and complete blindness. 

eSight is one the visual prosthesis that uses a video camera to capture activities that are happening in front of the user in real time, it also allows the user to control the video processing and then through a series of advanced optics and very high resolution display it presents the video in such a way that the user can see the activities happening in front of him/her. eSight is developed for the people who are legally blind ( the person who’s vision is 20/200 is considered to be legally blind). 

This is Yvonne Felix an eSight 3 user. Her eyes have a blind spot that covers 98% of her visual field. She was 8 years old when doctor realised that Yvonne has a macular degeneration, over the years she lost her vision. But thanks to eSight that helped her to restore her vision

But the product like this is useful for the people that are partially blind or legally blind. 

There are over 39 million people in the world completely blind. Second sight a U.S based medical product company is working in their next generation product called the Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System, an investigational device intended to bring artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, or forms of cancer and trauma. Their previous product Argus® II, approved by the FDA for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, has been implanted in 350+ individuals worldwide, restoring functional, artificial vision by renewing light perception and transforming the daily experience in the majority of individuals.

Orion® Visual Cortical Prosthesis System is goggle shaped with a camera setup. One end of the goggle is connected to a Video Processing Unit (VPU) where the user can adjust parameters like zoom, contrast etc. The processed video signal is sent to the other end of the goggle where a transmitting antenna is attached that transmits the signal as well as power to the implanted or receiving antenna in the brain. 

The signal then reaches an electronic circuit that decodes the signal received from the antenna and sends simulation pulses to the electrode ray which is implanted in the visual cortex between the halves of the brain. Once the implant is in position it requires a thorough and complex calibration which involves making changes in electrodes individually and mapping where the user could perceive vision. After the device is properly setup one will experience flashing lights, but later would experience vision.

The company is working with 6 blind patients to test the prototype. During the calibration of 12 month one of a patient got a seizure, from the result released in June 2019. The product is going through lots of development which may take little longer before entering the market.

The product would be a life-changing for the sightless once entered the market. Evolution of humans hasn’t stop just because we are here, we are changing the evolution by interconnecting natural and synthetic life.

– Abhishek Sharma

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Human Evolution: Bionic Limb



Modern advances in the field of prosthetics are changing the lives of the disabled all across the globe. Bionic technology is rapidly growing since the 2000s, with changing the view of how humans can look like? From Rigid prosthetics to modular prosthetics, this technology has come a way long to combine human to machine. Bionic technology is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature that inspire engineering to make a replica of these methods artificially. And today let’s understand more about, most common prosthetic ‘Bionic Limbs’.

Bionic limbs are artificially designed limbs (like hands and legs) that help a physically disabled human to perform a motor function like walking, grabbing a ball, etc. These limbs use motor sensors or myo-electronics that capture and convert muscle signals to electrical signal helping to move the prosthetic attached. Being a very useful technology bionic limbs are still unavailable for common people due to high price.

But thanks to the revolution in 3-D printing, Callum miller made the first 3-D printed prosthetic for his son Jamie which took over 18 months at his home. After building the 3-D printed prosthetic Callum is looking for a new approach to add myo-electronics in the prosthetic to have better motion. The problem with these prosthetics is the patient wearing it lacks a sense of touch. The patient couldn’t feel his prosthetic arm as part of his body.

John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory situated in Baltimore, Maryland has become an incubator for the new emerging bionic technology that is pushing the limits of human-machine interfaces. It all started in 2005 when DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Programme Agency) initiated a program to take prosthetics to a whole new level. Engineers at this laboratory have developed a Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) a bionic arm that responds to human thoughts. The MPL interprets and converts signals from the body’s nervous system to motion when MPL interacts with object signals from over 100 Sensors send information back to the brain creating a sense of touch. The technology of MPL has revolutionized bionic technology by adding the sense of touch. This is the first step of human to become a cyborg. We have successfully created a machine which is a part of our own body.

Melissa Loomis is one of the first amputee from Ohio in the world to be able to feel through a robotic prosthetic. Before getting an MPL Melissa went through a surgery called sensory re-innervation which helps the sensor attached to her arm to perfectly sync with the MPL.

As humans, we develop new tools for better living and that changes the way we live in the future. The effect that robotic bodies will have in our future is already raising serious social questions. Today the imagination of human evolution into cyborg is near. Our future with a human-machine interface is near. Are you worried or excited for the future of cyborgs?

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Higgs Boson : The God Particle



In 2012 at CERN laboratory, scientist found a new particle with mass of 125 GeV which was later confirmed to be the ‘Higgs Boson ‘ with more precise measurement. Before understanding what is higgs boson?, let us know how scientist at CERN detected the presence of Higgs Boson.

A particle like higgs boson cannot be found in nature even if it is produced at some point we couldn’t detect it due to its nearly zero life time. So the only way remains to check the presence of higgs boson is to produced in lab. In particle collision we take two light weight particles and accelerate them to nearly speed of light that generates kinetic energy and later collide them at collision point which create a massive particle. At Large hadron collider (LHC) scientist accelerate two beam of protons in a vaccum pipe surrounded by magnets moving in opposite direction generating kinetic energy, now these protons are smashed together an the sum of energy of both beams is now available for the creation of mass. This is how scientist produced new particle.

Above image is a particle detector that can detect electrons, muons and various other but cannot detect Higgs Boson, this is because higgs boson doesn’t exist for long and never gets a chance to reach the detector. So how do we know that higgs boson was produced ?. The only method remains here is through its decay. Higgs boson decays into different particles like photons, muons, electrons etc. At LHC scientist focused on higgs decay into two photon, these two photon are what the particle detector will measure. Now if we consider a stationary higgs boson decaying into two photon, according to Einstein’s energy mass equation the mass of higgs would be equal to sum of energy of two photons and mc² ( m=mass of photon, c= speed of light), as we know mass of photons is zero, the mass of higgs would be the sum energy of two photons. As we have mentioned that higgs it at rest this method wont work because there is always some momentum associated with higgs in the detector. This problem can be tackled by taking momentum of photons into consideration in the frame of reference of detector. Hence, the general formula would be E²=(mc²)² +(pc)² . The second problem is there are lot of photons produced in the detector. Which leads to two possibilities,

1) The photons are coming from higgs boson decay and the mass would be the mass of higgs.
2) The photons are not coming from higgs decay and the mass of would be a random number.

To reduce this error scientist needed to perform the experiments many times and calculate the mass after each experiment. After plotting the graph of the invariant mass of two photon system they found a peak rising at 125 GeV mass of two photon system. The peak that showed up defines the presence of higgs boson. If there was no higgs boson the graph must have been curve. Below graph is the invariant mass of two photon system.

This is how higgs boson was discovered. In above graph the peak contains about 500 photon pair at 125 GeV. Hence, out of 150 thousand pairs of photon only 500 made us sure about the presence of higgs boson.

Now let us know what exactly is higgs boson and does it give mass to a particle?. Higgs Boson is an elementary particle that as a special stand in the standard model. It has mass of 125 GeV and is a result of slight excitation in the higgs field. It has no charge, no spin and can decay into various other lighter particle. Higgs boson doesn’t give mass to particles but presence of higgs boson confirms the presence of higgs field, higgs field is everywhere filling whole universe around us, when particle move through higgs field they gain mass by interacting with it. Physicist also suggests that due to higgs bosons interaction with mass, may be higgs boson could transform or decay into dark matter particle.

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