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Weekly Digest #31

Updated: Mar 15


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THE GameStop Saga-Part 3

By: Abhimanyu Rao


In Weekly Digest #29 I talked about why GameStop had suddenly dominated headlines across the world, and I introduced you to r/wallstreetbets. In Weekly Digest #30, I talked about what Wallstreetbets did, why they did it, and how it seemed like a very David Vs. Goliath story (Or did it?). We shall now pick up from that point, and discuss whether or not they were Davids anymore, or if they were actually vigilantes…


Wait…What??

I know, I know. This does not sound like David vs Goliath anymore!! It sounds much closer to Batman taking on criminals than a scrawny boy defeating a giant! The truth is, many feel that Wallstreetbets have taken on a more vigilante role in their manipulation of the stock market, and while they believe they are doing the right thing, they are bending, or even possibly breaking a whole lot of rules! This does sound very vigilante-esque, doesn’t it?

What happened next?

Gripping, isn’t it? This story is full of twists and turns, and stunning character reveals, almost like a good book! But what happened next will shock you! After this momentary increase in stock prices, starting on the 1st of February 2021, the stock price began to steadily decline, till it reached a low of $40.65 a share. Then it stayed in the 40-50 range until the 24th of February. On the 24th, the most surprising thing happened, GameStop’s stock doubled, and from a price of $44.97 a share, it reached a mighty $91.71 a share, and as of the 25th, it is hovering the gap between $100 and $160 per share. This is because of a renewed buying frenzy, as many people have bought shares in GameStop again.

However, this time it is slightly different. This time, instead of causing it, the people of Wallstreetbets were surprised by this surge of buying, wondering who was doing this, and if, once again, this was just hedge funds trying to cover up their losses. Mysterious as it is, the truth is, no one knows! This question has baffled many business news agencies as well. Many analysts wondered if it was at all possible for a group of small, inexperienced people to affect the stock price of a company to this extent, or if there was a shadowy presence of stockbrokers / hedge fund players who were gaming the short squeeze by investing money to recover their losses.

What does this mean for the future?


The GameStop saga occupied the news cycle for a long time and is sure to leave an impact on the financial world. Here are a few immediate and some indirect implications of the situation.

Immediate Implications: The first and foremost of these implications has been the resignation of the Chief Financial Officer of GameStop. This is a part of Ryan Cohen’s attempt to restructure GameStop’s management, which is now more important than ever, as GameStop is currently riding on the success on its stock surge, and if it wishes to stay that successful, it needs to remodel everything, from its management to its business model. This also feels like the impact of common people on the market, and it questions where the line of legal and illegal must be drawn. Another immediate impact was that on the 24th of last month, Reddit’s website crashed because of the nonstop chatter on the issue of GameStop.

Indirect Implications: One of the most important indirect implications of the GameStop saga is the flaws in the American legal and financial systems coming to the fore. Questions have been asked as to whether the uptick rule which was removed in 2007, should never have been done away with, to prevent traders from exploiting failing stock. The impact has been felt in the power corridors of Washington, DC and perhaps we can expect some amendments in the laws. As highlighted in news all over, it showed us the power of common people, but also brought up questions of colluding. It also impacted hedge funds in a HUGE way, one that was really unexpected, and ‘Melvin Capital’, a hedge fund closed its position in GameStop with a significant loss.

To conclude, the American stock market and the world’s market watchers have lived through an exciting time. Whether these events will be seen as the increasing role of internet groups as players in the stock market, or whether this will be viewed as a loophole in the system and require a re-look at even the entire concept of short selling, is a question that will have us riveted until a solution can be found.

For an equally exciting film narrative on the dark side of short selling, the movie The Big Short, based on real events, is highly recommended. Watching it may even help get a better understanding of the GameStop controversy.

Until then, it looks like the Game is ON.

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Cover Story-

The Next Generation - DNA Modification - Part I

By: Mihir Rao


Our World is a world of imperfections. Some people are really good at one specific thing, and others are good in other things but bad in that particular aspect. This world of imperfections has been here with us for eons and eons, but soon, a tidal wave of change may hit us and we have to be prepared for it. DNA modification.



Right now, our world is a very diverse world. We have intelligent people, and we have non-intelligent people. We have rich people, and we have poor people. We are an imperfect world. Our population has been affected by many diseases (hint hint) but for the most part, we have been able to overcome them. But, we can’t overcome every imperfection that occurs, since some imperfections and flaws of people can’t be changed, or can they?


DNA Modification is an extremely new method that just came to be in the past decade or two! This, as the name suggests, is the method that allows people to modify DNA. But wait a second… What is DNA exactly?


DNA, or deoxyribo nucleic acid is the BUILDING BLOCK of all of civilization. It provides the code, through which our body functions. It is such an intricately made thing, that even one change in our genetic code could have us look completely different, or be something much stranger than what we are now. This intricate tool through which civilisations are made, is very, VERY powerful, but it’s very volatile too, like I explained previously.


But imagine a world, where we would be able to harness this power and use it. What kind of world would we live in? Well, you don’t really need to imagine anything anymore, thanks to CRISPR.



What is CRISPR, you may ask? Well, you know that DNA is an extremely intricate thing and very delicate. Making tools by ourselves would take an EXTREMELY long time, so we found CRISPR. In a certain organism, CRISPR is like a guard and a surgeon all rolled into one. When bacteria enters the organism, the organism normally dies. But if it doesn’t, CRISPR remembers the organism, and keeps part of its DNA as a ‘memory’ or relic of the organism. So, when the organism is subject to an attack from the same bacteria, CRISPR matches the DNA sample and kills the bacteria completely!


With this, scientists performed tests on infected rats, and around 50% of the infected cells were removed from their bodies! So with this power, let me tell you what we could do:


  1. LITERAL SELECTIVE BREEDING - Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Before, we had to keep breeding animals and plants until there was a mutation to our liking, but now, we can change the genetic code of these organisms, and SELECT what features we want! We can make an extra long cob of corn with plenty of kernels - the options seem to be endless.


2.CURING THE WORLD OF DISEASES - Yes, you heard me right again. The world is in a pickle right now (a possibly extra juicy one because of CRISPR, heh heh) with the coronavirus, but we can prevent these kinds of diseases from happening because of CRISPR! Imagine, no AIDS, no rabies, nothing. Imagine that in like a decade, you’re going to go for your cancer vaccine. That is the power of CRISPR.


3.CREATE YOUR OWN CHARACTER - Those of you in the audience who have played video games, would know that in a lot of the games, you have to create your own character in the beginning (most evident in the game The Sims). You can customize their eyes, nose, mouth, height, even personality traits and intelligence. Well, that could become a reality soon. With CRISPR, parents can choose the traits that they want in their children, and they could adjust them however they see fit. You could have babies that were unbelievably intelligent, and you could have babies that were amazingly beautiful or handsome, or you could have both in one!


But, with all this comes a question, is all this ethical? Is it correct and okay to modify the DNA that has been sustaining us for eons? Well, you’ll have to wait for my opinion, since I will be talking about that soon, in Part 2of this Article. But until then, thanks for reading!



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The Bechdel Test and Stereotypes in Cinema

By: AgastyaRao



If I ask you what a movie means to you, and what your favourite movie was, your answers would probably differ. Movies have a major impact on our lives, and even if we don’t always follow what we see in movies, something from the films we watch stays deep in our subconscious. Aside from positives that we take away from films, some movies may include certain stereotypes or biases, and these biases can, directly or indirectly, find a home in our way of thinking. Even if they are not used by us in our daily lives, they may influence your way of thinking. Is there a way to filter out such biases? Let me tell you about one such “test”.


What is the Bechdel Test?


In order to test for equality in the media (i.e. Cinema), cartoonist Alison Bechdel and her friend Actress Liz Wallace created a test, known as the Bechdel Test / the Bechdel-Wallace Test, which tests the role of women in movies - to see whether women have been stereotyped, and whether they have received a proper role and representation in a movie.


What is the criteria for the test?


1: The movie must have at least two female characters.

2: They must both have names.

3: They must talk to each other about something other than about a man.


Why is it important


It is important to have equality and equal representation in the world, and in every industry of the world; and this includes the cinema, if nothing else then for its popularity and impact. By now we know that we need equal representation in all spheres of life, and if us children see these stereotypes and acts of bias and discrimination in movies where the only thing women talk about are boys or they conform to certain stereotypes, what will we learn?



The Bechdel Test tells us which movies have passed the criteria, and which movies have not. If more people write about movies not passing the Bechdel test, it will have an impact. Production houses will slowly start making their movies to fit the Bechdel Test, which in turn, will help increase the equality and improve the quality of roles for women. If this too is implemented, viewers all across the world will learn that women are equal to men, and this will move humanity one step closer to gender equality.

Before we continue to the next part of the article, be warned that some of your favourite movies, including many Oscar winning movies, failed the Bechdel test. But don’t worry, there are also quite a few movies that didn’t fail the Bechdel Test.


Some of your favourite movies that passed the Bechdel Test- (Not 1st-6th in rank, but for the reader’s convenience)


1. Frozen 1 (Academy Award Winner)

2.Hidden Figures (Academy Award Nominee)

3.Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Academy Award Nominee)

4.Wonder Woman

5. The Avengers: Infinity War (Academy Award Nominee)

6. The Imitation Game (Academy Award Winning)


Some of your favourite movies that failed the Bechdel Test- ((Not 1st-6th in rank, but for the reader’s convenience)


1.Tenet

2. The Art of Racing in the Rain

3. Fast and the Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

4. Gully Boy

5. Green Book ( 3 Academy Awards Won)

6. Johnny English Strikes Again


Conclusion-


The Bechdel Test is just one example that points us towards a more fair and equal representation in movies, from the point of view of women’s representation. The test by itself is not accurate and has faced several criticisms. Many criticise the test for being too simplistic. For instance, a movie like Gravity fails the test but Legally Blonde does not, simply because Gravity does not involve a conversation between two female characters.


Having said that, our world, and the world of cinema, is still a long way away from a completely diverse representation. The Bechdel test does not account for other categories, for instance, race. As a starting point, it has been an important test. The next time you watch a movie that shows a female character as simply a damsel in distress, you’ll know it does not pass the Bechdel test. Maybe if enough viewers learn about this test and raise questions, it will be a small step towards equality.

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THE YOUNG CHANGEMAKER REPORT


There are those who complain about inaction by those in power, and those who do decide to take action without waiting for anyone to suffer. This week, we introduce you to three teenagers who have taken up the cause of stray animals in their neighbourhood and have come up with a creative initiative for this.


Meet Ananya Bansal (16 years old), and 14 year olds Anaia Singh and Anaaya Dhar. They are animal lovers and an inspiration for all of us. They have been helping a group of fellow residents in their neighbourhood in Gurgaon, with feeding, deworming and looking after a group of stray dogs. There was more to this than just the feeding of dogs - Anaaya bakes delicious brownies and Ananya handcrafts beautiful dog name tags, and they use the proceeds towards deworming the dogs and buying high visibility collars for them, to ensure they are visible to drivers at night.


Their latest initiative is to raise funds for neutering their friendly neighbourhood strays. The trio has come up with a photo shoot for families and their pets. Their plan has been a huge success - Anaia Singh has been busy with her camera, a bunch of props and an unlimited supply of patience, and brought joy to many families with fun, creative photographs. Who says children can not make a difference in the world? Here is an example of teenagers being the change they want to see around them.

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By: Agastya Rao

  1. Nature has always been essential to humanity, and now, we are finally using it wisely, instead of exploiting it for resources. Inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, The Uttarakhand Forest Department opened a Forest Healing Center, where people can get in contact with nature, and this safe 13 acres of land will leave them rejuvenated, and they will never feel anything as relaxing as nature!

  2. The British Government plans to launch the world's first ever "sovereign green bonds" for retail investors. This is in pursuance of their intention to create a net zero carbon emission economy by the year 2050, as the bonds will fund projects in the area of renewable energy.

  3. The Ugandan village of Okere Mom-Kok is using Shea butter and solar energy for most of its power needs. These people are being enterprising and finding alternate ways to produce energy, and we all should be trying to help the environment too! So thank you, to the people of Okere Mom-Kok!

  4. Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites on this planet. For all the information it stores, there is a shocking lack of information about Africa. The WikiAfrica Education Program, initiated by the Moleskine Foundation, aims to encourage students all over Africa to contribute articles about the continent and its culture to Wikipedia. What a great way to cover up for this lack of information!

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By: Mihir Rao

  1. Recently, a team of astronomers discovered a quasar. But not any quasar, one of the most radio loud quasars and the most distant radio loud quasar ever. P-172+18, emitted wavelengths which had a redshift of 6.8.

  2. In the Sahara Desert last year, a meteorite landed which was not like any other meteorite. It was approximately 4.56 billion years old, the Earth being 4.54 billion years old. This meteorite was actually older than the Earth by a few million years! The meteorite, named Erg Chech 002, is believed to be from a protoplanet which orbited the Sun when the solar system was very, very young.

  3. One of the most lavish burial sites of the Bronze age in Spain, had a peculiar thing in it, which sparked an all-out investigation. This site made archaeologists suspect that females may have been among the ruling class that time. One of the most amazing and interesting finds was a ceramic jar, in which 2 bodies, a male and a female, were buried. But the amazing thing is that most of the belongings (29 extremely valuable objects) belonged to the female, and it seemed that all the female touched was silver.

  4. Salda, a lake in southwest Turkey, may be the key to understanding life on Mars itself! Scientists are sending rovers to the Red Planet (i.e Mars) and comparing sediment samples from craters on Mars to the beach of Lake Salda, and this could be the key to understanding or finding out about ancient life on Mars...


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Entertainment quotient for the week:



A. Netflix

Made You Look

B. Disney + Hotstar

Marvel Studios Assembled


















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By: Abhimanyu Rao


Tennis (Open 13 Marseille, The Qatar Open and the Dubai Tennis Championship)


This week has been big for tennis. The G.O.A.T Roger Federer returned to playing tennis, due to an injury. In his first match post his return, he defeated Dan Evans, and moved to the Quarter Finals where he suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6,6-1,7-5. He pulled out of the Dubai Tennis Championship citing more training as a reason.


The Dubai Tennis Championship is an ATP 500 tournament, with heavy waders like 2020 US Open winner Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev who recently won the Rotterdam title and the Qatar Open Doubles title with fellow countryman Aslan Karatsev. We hope to see him (Roger Federer) back on the tour in a short while, the Miami Masters to be held this month maybe?


Moving on, Andy Murray too pulled out of the Dubai Tennis Championship because of the birth of his fourth child. We also expect to see him at the Miami Masters, provided he receives a wildcard.


World Number 3 Rafael Nadal too pulled out of the Dubai Tennis Championship.


Qatar Open-


Nikoloz Basilashvili defeated Robert Bautista Agut to clinch the singles title at the Qatar Open.

Petra Kvitová defeated Garbiñe Muguruza to win the Women’s Singles Title.


Dubai Tennis Championship


Garbiñe Muguruza defeated Barbora Krejčíková to win the Women’s Singles Title at the Dubai Tennis Championship.


Open 13-


Daniil Medvedev shall take on P.H Herbert in the Finals of the Open 13 at Marseille. It shall take place on the 14th of March.


[New Update] Danill Medvedev won his 10th ATP title after defeating P.H H, and achieved a career high ranking of Number 2, sending Rafael Nadal to number 3.




Basketball (NBA)


The Philadelphia 76ers continue their massive lead at the top of the Eastern Conference Table with 26 wins and 12 losses. The Utah Jazz lead the Western Conference with an even better W/L 18 wins for 9 losses.



Cricket


India’s ODI Women’s Team captain Mithali Raj recently became the second woman cricketer to surpass 10,000 international runs. What a big achievement!


India shall take on England in the T20 series where England lead 1-0. It shall take place on the 14th of March.

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