Weekly Digest #29
Updated: Mar 4
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The Hand of God: Left Hand Discrimination
By: Agastya Rao
Our lives would be extremely hard to live without our hands. We all know that there are 3 types of hands- Right Handed, Left Handed or Ambidextrous (which means you can use both your left hand and your right hand equally well). According to Ted Ed, one tenth of the world’s population are Left Handed. Despite such large numbers, they face a huge amount of stigma, bias and difficulty in using everyday objects due to the way objects are made keeping right handed users in mind (more on this later). Even though some famous people in the world are left handed, including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey to name a few, and it is the 21st Century, why is left handedness still an issue? In case you are wondering about this bias, well let me answer that question for you-
The hand-based bias
The bias in language
For a very long time, being left handed has been considered evil in some cultures. In many parts of the world, from a very young age, left handed children are forced to use their right hand. By forced, I mean that in many cases, their left arm was tied behind their back and they had to go through the excruciating pain of using their right hand instead of the left. A study published by the US National Institutes of Health a decade ago mentions that almost 60% of left handed students in Taiwan had been forced to convert to right handed use. Even royals were not exempt from this bias. In the film ‘The King’s Speech’, we learn that King George VI started to stammer as a result of being forced to use his right hand to write when he was a child.
Looking back at the origins of some commonly used words will help us understand this inbuilt linguistic bias better. The word “sinister” evokes in us a feeling of evil or something harmful. Guess what the word originates from. The origin lies in the Latin language where it meant “on the left side”. Take another example - the word “gauche” means someone lacking in social graces when used in the English language, and its origin from the French meant.. You guessed it, “left”. Taking this further, ever wondered how the correct thing to do is referred to as the “right” thing to do? If you are a bad dancer, you have “two left feet”. Someone who stands by you and helps you is your “right hand man.” If I were giving you a left-handed compliment, that would be my way of insulting you.
The “evil” connotation
In many religions and cultures, the left hand / side is associated with being unclean and sometimes even immoral. I shall not dwell on all the negative connotations in this article. This bias found its way in the writings of Cesare Lombroso, who is thought of as the “father of modern criminology”, when he referred to left handed people as “primitive and abnormal” and associated with criminal tendencies. There were psychologists in the early 20th Century who continued to propagate such claims. Ancient Celts did not agree with this negative association though. They worshipped the left side and associated it with femininity and fertility, and therefore the source of all life.
Daily objects and their right handed bias
I am right handed and have never had a problem using a simple object like a scissor. Yes, most scissors are made exclusively for right handed people and it is impossible for people who use their left hand or ‘southpaws’. Day to day objects are impossible for them to use, some of them being-
1. A camera- the only way to click the button to take a photo is on the right side.
2. Scissors- 90% of the scissors are impossible to hold and properly if you are left handed.
3. Knife and Fork- Weren’t you always told to keep a knife in the right hand and fork in the left?
4. Using a Fountain Pen is much harder with the left hand than the right hand.
5. It is nearly impossible to cut food knives when left handed ones are not available.
6. Sometimes left handed doctors and nurses need left handed medical instruments in order to perform an operation etc., these are not easily available, and without them- the doctors may not be able to operate properly.
7. Most study desks in schools and colleges have the writing flap towards the right side.
8. Most spiral notebooks are more convenient for right handed users, because of the rings that make it tough for left handed users to place their hands comfortably.
9. Vegetable peelers, most can openers, rulers, tape measures are some of the objects from daily use that are tough for left handed people to use.
The Way forward.
Doctors say the brains and bodies of left handed people operate differently from those of right handed people. Scientists do not have certainty about the reasons behind this differential usage of hands, but they do say that genes are responsible for this in about 25% of the cases. However the common belief that left handed people are more creative or “artsy” compared to their right handed peers has been debunked by scientists. Fun fact - did you know that 13th August is International Left Handers Day?
Even though the stigma of being left handed still remains, changes are being made and people are slowly starting to make more items that can be used by left handed people as well. Golf clubs and kits are slowly adapting to making clubs for left handed golfers, these left handed clubs are more expensive. There are definite advantages to being left handed in sports. Being a left handed bowler in cricket makes the bowler a formidable opponent. Today there are stores and online portals that sell items especially made for left handed people. It is becoming less common to hear about students being forced to write with their right hand. So all is not bad and we are confident that things will get better.
We can’t just force people to change the way they were born and to use the hand that someone dictates is “right”. A few things we can do to stop the left hand stigma are- To spread awareness about how it is normal, to ensure that the government mandates products be made for left hand users as well. There are millions of types of discrimination and it must end in all forms, even left hand discrimination.
THE GameStop SAGA-Part 1
By: Abhimanyu Rao
Among all the news headlines we have read in recent months, one name that has been in the limelight globally is “GameStop”. In this article, I shall try to simplify the complicated world of “GameStop” and the shorting business. So, without further ado, let’s dive in!
What is GameStop?
GameStop is a company that sells video games to people, and then, once those people have completed the game, they can sell it back to the company in exchange for money. This business model was a craze when it started, but now in an era where most video games are digital applications, this business model was failing. They had been going into loss every year, and things were not looking good for them. Then came one Ryan Cohen. Mr. Cohen is the Co-founder of the pet website “Chewy” and what he did was an attempt to reignite the spark that had set GameStop’s business on fire all those years ago. He bought 13% of GameStop’s shares for $76 million and pushed them to go digital in order to improve their sales. This caused GameStop to add Mr. Cohen, along with two other co-founders of “Chewy”, onto their board. So far so good. Seems like a straightforward business story.
What is an Activist Investor?
In case you are wondering why a savvy business person would pay good money to buy shares in a company that has been failing to expand its business and likely go out of business in a few years, the answer is people who do this (like Mr. Cohen) are called activist investors. They buy enough shares in a company to have some influence, and then try to improve the company’s management. They only do this with failing companies, which is why they are called activists.
After Mr Cohen joined their Board, Gamestop’s stock price shot up. However, this stock price shooting up was actually a result of a negative phenomenon called Short Selling.
What is short selling?
Short selling is often referred to as a sly way to earn a profit off failing companies with rapidly declining stock prices. While hedge funds usually buy stock from a company whose stock is increasing to gain a profit, these hedge funds have found a way to earn money off stocks that are failing too! While short selling (or shorting, as it is also called), a trader will borrow some shares from a stockbroker. They will then sell these shares to the market at a price ‘A’. Now, as that stock was failing, the price would have slowly declined. Then, once you believe the price has reached the lowest possible, you buy it back, at the price ‘A/2’! As this price is half of the original price, after you return the stock to the broker (possible with a small commission), you would have made a profit, as you would have somewhere around ‘A/2’ of the money you sold the stock for, still in your pocket!
Allow me to use a simple example to explain what seems to be complicated stock market lingo. Imagine that your cell phone is broken and you borrow your friend’s old phone to use until you can get a new one. Then, you get a new phone, but you have an idea to make some easy money. So, you ask your friend if you can keep his phone for a while longer, just in case you somehow break this phone too (I know, bad excuse, but those who break their phones regularly will relate to this!). Then, you check how much this phone will cost if it has been used already. Say its current price is Rs. 13,000. You sell it for that much, and when time passes, and an even newer phone is launched, the craze for that one has blown over. So, you buy that phone back, for a subsidised price of Rs. 9,000, and voila! You have made a neat Rs. 4000 profit!
Is this practice even legal?
This practice sounds really smart, but does something this clever be a borderline criminal activity? You are probably questioning how legal it would be for you to borrow someone else’s stock, and then earn money off it, only to give the stock back to them. Well, as it turns out, until 2007, it was kind of illegal as per US laws, at least the way it is practiced today. Rule 10(a)(1) of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which said that you could only short a stock at a price higher than the previous day’s stock market close, therefore making the risks of shorting higher, and the profit lower.
How is this related to GameStop?
Due to its current failing business model, GameStop was a source of profit for several hedge funds, as they would regularly short stock. In fact, according to S&P, GameStop was the most shorted stock of 2020! This meant that all traders had noticed the tailspin that GameStop was in and had taken advantage of this. These Goliaths had begun using GameStop to create more and more profit for their companies.
If you remember the story of David and Goliath, you will also remember that everyone thought that Goliath was invincible, and did not expect anyone, especially tiny David, to defeat him. Nevertheless, David tried, and he succeeded. What does this old tale have to do with GameStop? The mystery unfolds below...
Have any of you ever joined a group where you all follow similar passions, and therefore, you can advise each other on how you can take a certain project forward, and give you tips and suggestions along the way? Well, the reddit group r/wallstreetbets does the same thing. It is a group of day traders who take advice on which companies they should buy stock in, which companies to not invest in, and many more things. This group of traders were not professional hedge fund managers, or even professional traders, but as you shall see, they were a force to be reckoned with!
Want to know what Wallstreetbets has to do with GameStop? Is the lack of conclusion tearing you up? Well, we shall conclude this tale… Next Time!
The Power of Choice in Education
By: Mihir Rao
So, everyone knows about our normal educational method which we use in school: CBSE, IGCSE, IB, and many others. These methods have their pros and cons, but there is one element which all of these methods of education are missing: Choice.
In the contemporary world, education has become an evolved form of its original self. Students in India used to sit together and learn from a teacher, without any form of age based classes. Nowadays, we have 12 grades ranging from the first grade to the twelfth grade, where the student progressively learns harder and harder material as they age. Although the number of the subjects that they learn in the grade varies from school to school, it generally remains locked and all subjects compulsory for all the students.
Now, the change that I am talking about isn’t that big of a change to the contemporary educational method, but it provides much more freedom to the students. In this change that I want to propose, the students can choose what subjects they want to do a little earlier.
We should switch to this method because it provides a lot more freedom to the student, and it allows them to learn what they want to learn.
Now, you may say that the student doesn’t know what they would want to pursue until they become mature enough to find out for themselves, and that is true. But, letting the strict subjects get the better of them is not a good option, either. Because of the students not liking/not being suited to a subject, they cannot perform well in it and it brings their entire average down, denying them opportunities.
But, you don’t need to have this method as the ‘main’ method. Schools can employ the use of the traditional methods of teaching and they can also keep one more period through which the students choose what class they want to take.
So, since some students are specialized in a specific subject, they can choose to also learn more of it, or learn it in depth. This allows the students to learn a lot more, and not learn what they don’t want to.
A student likes and is interested in Social Studies, but doesn’t like languages like Hindi or French. The problem isn’t that the student doesn’t like Hindi, it’s that the student is not able to perform well in it because the subject isn’t suited to them, and the subject is just being forced down their throat. With this change, the student would have an option to learn more about Social Studies and study the subject in depth. This would also help the student make a choice for their field of work and their field of study in college.
In a world with this change in learning, people would be much more knowledgeable in their field of study, so they can advance the country and evolve the world! After all, the most important thing in life is making a
By: Abhimanyu Rao
The Sun is so powerful that if you really could see its power physically, you’d probably spend a good few hours after that getting your jaw off the floor. Mr. Sonam Wangchuk understood this power, and also knew that cold is a problem for soldiers in unforgiving high altitude conditions! Merging these two facts, he decided to create a tent that uses solar power to keep the soldiers’ sleeping chambers warm!
At The Paperless Press, we have always asserted the fact that children mustn’t be underestimated, and this amazing story just seals the deal! Two high-schoolers, Kartik Pinglé and Jasmine Wright were part of a program where a satellite would send them pictures, and they would have to look for abnormalities. Through this, they discovered a unique planetary system. This system is unique as it is the only exoplanetary system to have three or more planets orbiting a bright star.
Jasmine Harrison became the youngest female to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean! She took 70 days, 3 hours, and 48 minutes to complete the 4800 kilometer long journey. However, the journey wasn’t always smooth sailing. She had a near collision with a drilling ship, and capsized twice, but she never gave up! This was a brilliant show of determination from Ms. Harrison, and we hope she is getting some well deserved rest!
By: Agastya Rao
1.The World has its oldest person, oldest fossil, but does it have its oldest Koi fish? Yes, it does. The world’s oldest Koi fish named ‘Hanako’ lived for 226 years before it passed away in 1977. What a fish!
2.Bitcoin. This word has been in the newspapers and media and has been very prominent this year. Ever since Elon Musk told the world that Tesla was buying 1.5 Billion Dollars worth of Bitcoin, it has boomed. Did you also know that the energy needed to mine bitcoin is more than the consumption of many countries. Think of all the power it wields!
3. Ever thought of including crosswords in your job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)? Well, an engineer working on the Perseverance Rover which recently landed on Mars (Read Weekly Interlude #4’s Did You Know section for more information) had a crossword secretly embedded onto its parachute! The solved puzzle gave the phrase, ‘dare mighty things’. This quote was originally said by the former 26th President of America Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt. Space has everything- aliens, space stations, astronauts and now… even a crossword!
4. Everyone knew that Solar Power would make a big impact in the future. Now, it is giving people a chance to store and save electricity- in a unique way! Scientists working at the Pentagon in the United States of America have successfully tested a Solar Panel that has been designed to send electricity from space beamed directly to any place on Earth.
5. Pompeii in Italy is a gift that keeps on giving, in a good way. At a dig site in Pompeii, a four wheeled chariot was unearthed. How amazing!
Entertainment quotient for the week:
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
B. Disney + Hotstar
Flora & Ulysses
By: Mihir Rao
Tennis- Open Sud De France (ATP 250)
On the 25th of February, Roberto Bautista Agut won against Grégoire Barrѐre in a landslide victory,and secured a birth in the Quarter Finals. On the 26th, he won in the quarter-finals against Ugo Humbert, winning both matches with 3 Aces. David Goffin won against Lorenzo Sonego, with 3 Aces also.
(New Update)- David Goffin clinched the Open Sud de France title after beating Roberto Bautista Agut.
On the 25th of February. The Atlanta Hawks won against the Boston Celtics by 15 points. The man of the match was Danilo Gallinari, with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 38 points in total. On the 26th of February, the New York Knicks won against the Sacramento Kings by 19 points. The man of the match was De’Aaron Fox, with 4 rebounds, 11 assists, and 29 points in total. In other news, the N.B.A is investigating the matter brought up by Jeremy Lin when he was allegedly called ‘coronavirus’.
Cricket (India Vs England Test Series)
In the India vs England Test Series, India won by 10 wickets, having Axar Patel as the man of the match. Another game will happen from the 4th to the 8th of March, and another one will happen on the 12th of March. India currently lead the series 2-1.
Visit these pages to see some of our other endeavours!
Visit A Dogs Daily Antics to laugh your heart out with crazy captioned dog photos!
Visit The Chinappa Channel to see some quirky but nice videos that will make you roll with laughter
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