Weekly Digest #50!
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The power of “sorry”
By: Abhimanyu Rao
Humans, as a collective species, hold their pride very carefully, and find it hard to swallow it (generally). This usually means that people find it very difficult to apologise, or to accept that they are wrong, which leads to heated arguments. There may also be some more drastic effects (which I will discuss later), which depend on various factors.
We are repeatedly reminded about the value of apologies (yes, parents - we do listen when you give us those long talks). Now we all know the power of an apology, and what they can do to repair broken bonds. If one sentence can do such immeasurably powerful work, why are we always so reluctant to use it?
The answer is simple, pride and ego. We believe that our self esteem is linked to winning arguments and being right, and this growth of self esteem makes us feel good.
This good feeling is something we cherish, which is why we sometimes do anything to convince ourselves that we are right, even when we aren’t. We do not accept that we are wrong, in order to keep that feeling intact. This is why so many people find it hard to apologise, because they feel that they will be weakening themselves if they say that they were wrong.
Moving on to - why should we apologise? Simple - Apologies are somewhat healing. This is because a majority of the human population knows how difficult it is for anyone to swallow their pride and apologise. Due to this, humans understand how much people mean when they apologise.
They may only say, “I’m sorry”, but you understand how difficult it would have been for them to actually do this. This connection between people makes these apologies even stronger, making this moment all the more effective.
Additionally, apologies are efficient ways to stop conflicts. They are only a few words long, and like I said before, are extremely effective. There are no negatives to apologising, because you don’t lose anything by accepting your mistake, which makes this THE foolproof method to repair broken bonds. The only time apologies won’t work are when they are insincere.
This is where you will begin doubting the validity of my words, saying, “You dummy, you say sorry, and they think you are sincere, they aren’t lie detectors or anything!”. Well, we are close to lie detectors, closer than you know. We are all very perceptive creatures, and can usually tell when someone is lying. This is why your insincere apology may be caught, and damage your bond more than it was before you “apologised”.
Are there any other benefits to apologising? Yes! Apologising lifts a great weight off of your shoulders. When you know that you are
wrong, but you try to convince yourself otherwise, it usually leads to you constantly remembering that situation where you made the fateful mistake, and gnawing at your brain for ages. By accepting that you were wrong, you not only help the feelings of the person you hurt, but also help yourself, by knowing that you did the right thing.
Are you finding it difficult to apologise? Don’t worry, it happens! All you need to do is imagine what you would feel like if the person you are trying to apologise to did to you what you had done to them. If you dislike that feeling, then would you want to feel it for much longer? If not, then imagine what that person feels like now? Once you have done all of this, you will automatically feel this urge to apologise, because you humans (usually) don’t want others to feel pain.
With this, I sign off - I bet there are some apologies my brother and I need to exchange, for our numerous fights 🤣
This week, we chat with Dr Salisha Correia, veterinarian at CGS Hospital, Gurgaon. Watch our video and know more - What’s an average day in a vet’s life like, has she faced any funny moments in her career, what it takes to have a career like hers (and much more.)
Our New Home..?
By: Mihir Rao
We all are told to reach for the stars. With our planet slowly becoming less habitable by the decade, we may have to do that exact thing, someday.
But, just hold your horses right there! Who is to say that day is soon? We do not need to move out of our homeworld so soon. Earth is still quite habitable, case in point being, well, 7 billion people living on the planet as of this moment. But, there are a few cons that come here too..
Pro: We haven’t even explored the entirety of Earth yet! We’ve mainly just explored the land of Earth, and land only accounts for 29% of the entirety!
Con: Global Warming is taking place right now, and it’s depleting the atmosphere. It’s the best time to look for a new habitable planet.
Pro: We haven’t even begun expanding at all, and we are at a great point in human civilization's progress. Why should we rush?
As you can see, there are 2 sides to this argument. The former arguing for humans to continue inhabiting Earth, and the latter arguing that we should look for another Earth-like planet to inhabit. But, there is one thing that you need to know before this:
Nikolai Kardashev was an esteemed scientist, and he created a scale which I have mentioned many times before: The Kardashev Scale (very well thought out name, if I
may say so 😂). The scale accounts for a civilization based on its energy usability, and ranks it higher if it consumes more energy. The scale goes from 0 to 5, from lowest energy usability to highest energy usability. So you may be thinking, where are we on the scale? Are we a 3 or a 4?
Well, no. We’re a measly 0.73, since we’re not able to utilise the full capacity of our planet yet. This is why a lot of scientists take the ‘let’s advance while we are still on the Earth before going to new lengths’ approach. Other scientists believe that you don’t need to worry about that, if you take a leap of faith and expand into space.
You never know, we could make a discovery that could help us immensely, which wouldn’t have happened if not for space travel. Now, there is a burning question that presents itself: If we are going to expand beyond the current reaches of human civilization, what are possible ‘New Earths’ that we could inhabit in the future?
Gliese 581c: This Super-Earth was discovered in 2007, and although it’s tidally locked, it has Earth-like conditions, maybe even fit for habitation! The planet is actually relatively close, being about 20 light years away from the Solar System.
So, you may be thinking that there are only two possible options: Stay on Earth, or look for Earth-like planets to inhabit; well, that’s not true, since there is one last option that I would like to talk about:
Terraforming is the process of deliberately changing many elements of a planet, so it becomes inhabitable. These include the topography, climate, atmosphere, maybe even shape. This may be the most viable option that we can go through with, since the range for what planet to use greatly increases. With this, a lot of planets which weren’t available before, become available now.
For example: Venus. I can’t even dream about living on this planet, but it is theoretically possible. The hottest planet in our solar system may be a place where future humans live! Since the planet is already Earth sized, and it exhibits some properties that resemble Earth’s, this could be a possible candidate for our new home.
To conclude, there are 3 different methods that we can use, each one having its own benefits and liabilities. However, they all are great. I think terraforming is the way to go, unless we can find an Earth-like planet, but we shouldn’t abandon our planet too quickly.What do you think?
Athletes are humans too!
By: Agastya Rao
We look up at athletes as superhumans. With their incredible feats, speed, strength and for many; a squeaky clean public image: athletes look like gods living with humans. However, the key thing that many people forget is that athletes are humans just like us, who do what they do because they enjoy it. They are here to play the sport they love, not be treated like robots who don’t have emotions and are only meant to eat, sleep, win- repeat.
There are two or more sides to each story, and the same goes for this one. Some of the most hotly debated arguments in the entire sporting world right now are-
1. Naomi Osaka retiring from the French Open and not speaking to the media
2. Simone Biles pulling out of 2 finals of the Olympics.
3. The mental health of athletes- why is it important?
1. Naomi Osaka- A 4 time Grand Slam winner, one of the greatest tennis players of today and a squeaky clean, controversy free public image- until the 2021 French Open. The French Open, and almost all other sports tournaments require all athletes to participate in Post Match media conferences.
(Photo Credit-Hindustan Times)
Naomi Osaka was one of the first people to refuse to participate in these media conferences citing the mental pressure that media conferences put on athletes. For putting her mental health in front of media interviews, she was fined 15,000 Dollars and was even threatened with being disqualified from the tournament! She decided to withdraw from the tournament.
Normally, you would expect that her sponsors would get annoyed and drop her as a promoter, they backed her! Thank god we live in the 21st century. Her sponsors Mastercard and Nike (among others) came out to support her wholeheartedly.
We all know that the media can be very intrusive, negative, critiquing, and insensitive. The most recent example was when a reporter asked World Number 2 tennis player Daniil Medvedev whether Russian athletes carry a stigma of being cheaters with them to the Olympic Games. Medvedev was shocked and insulted by this question.
Obviously asking one of the foremost tennis players in the world, who just played an extremely long and tiring tennis match in the blistering heat about whether his country is full of cheaters would enrage him. He said that for the first time in his life he would not answer a question, that the reporter should be ashamed of himself, and that he would request the IOC to ban him from the Olympics.
Back to the topic. It's true that the media puts a lot of pressure on athletes, and sometimes unnecessarily unfairly. If an athlete underperforms in a competition, or in this case withdraws from a tournament- they face enormous amounts of scrutiny. I can’t even think of how painful it must be for any celebrity or athlete to open the newspaper in the morning, and find a painful headline heavily critiquing them, or just insulting them or their performance altogether.
Naomi Osaka herself faced a lot of backlash for withdrawing from the French Open stating that press conferences are a part of being an athlete. She has spoken about the times she has faced depression even after winning her first Grand Slam. She also stated that she is an introvert and finds it hard to talk to people.
(Photo credit: The Independent) \
Ironically, one of her fellow athletes who did not support her at this time happens to be Novak Djokovic, who only yesterday threw a big fat tantrum at the Olympics because he was losing (and later said something to the effect of he is only human after all.)
While the Press Conferences being a part of the athlete package is true to some extent, that doesn’t mean that we put an athlete's mental health at a lower level of importance.
Mental health is not something that we can scoff at and take lightly, and that holds true not only for athletes but also for all humans. Several athletes have brought mental health to the spotlight of being a sportsman. Being an athlete is not all medals and pomp. Star swimmer Michael Phelps has brought the mental health of swimmers and athletes into the spotlight.
2. Simone Biles- Regarded as one of the best gymnasts in the world, with a total of 31 World Championship and Olympic medals combined (6 olympic medals), Simone Biles is an amazing athlete. She was also expected to pick up 6 more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She withdrew from three finals events at the Summer Olympics this year, stating that she had to take care of her mental health, and that she had the twisties*.
(Photo Credit: The Guardian)
*(A mental block/condition where a gymnast thinks they are in the air, but lose track of their space and how to land back on the ground). Imagine a gymnast performing dangerous maneuvers and losing track of their landing, leading to injury or worse.
This move came with tons of criticism, including criticism from the incredibly controversial (and rather annoying!) Piers Morgan [British TV presenter] calling Naomi Osaka an “arrogant spoiled brat” and Simone Biles by saying that “mental health issues are an excuse for poor performance in an elite sport”, (Both of these comments were promptly shut down by thousands of people who rose up against him online 😀). Countless other haters went on to say that she was putting herself before her country, and a lot of other rubbish. One example is of the notorious Fox News, where Mr Clay Travis, said that she should “apologise to her team.”
However, she shut all of them down and even said that if she participated her performance would not be to the optimum level due to the condition, and would affect her team as a whole. She also stated that it was not as if she had a bad performance in the competition and then decided to quit in the middle. She performed well during the early stages of the competition.
3. How important is the Mental Health of Athletes, is it something we should be focused on?
The answer? It is of the utmost importance and it is definitely something we should be focused on. Let me explain. If you have ever been a part of any sports competition, you would have almost always been told that winning is 50% physical effort and 50% mental effort. Now if we remove the 50% of mental effort, that would mean only half the effort.
The battle begins in the brain. If the athletes’ mental health isn’t well, then we should open our arms and help them rather than shunning them and slapping thousands of dollars worth of fines on them. It's high time that we start accepting Mental Health as an important issue and a real problem. We must not forget that it's not only us who have been in our homes for the past year. Athletes had to train at home, and had to live through the uncertainty of the pandemic as well.
The pandemic did help bring out Mental Health being a real issue rather than a stigma, and it is actually helpful that athletes like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are speaking up about Mental Health because all children who are reading about them or watching them on TV can learn that it is Ok to not be Ok.
In my Opinion-
Athletes are put up on really tall pedestals and are kept in high regard and are always in the limelight, and they know that they have to do everything correctly, because even the tiniest slip up can catch the eye of the media, and it can turn into a frenzy. The constant pressure and limelight can be too much to bear. In my opinion the quicker we humanise athletes the better they will be treated.
We must also not forget that Simone Biles and her teammates were abused by their own team doctor. Many athletes have their own problems, be it depression, a troubled childhood and much more. So if you do see your favourite athlete withdraw from a tournament, underperform in a big tournament, just remember that they have their reasons, and aren’t doing it on purpose`.
Everyone is going through something or the other, and just like Sir Isaac Newton rightly said, Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So when you see an athlete pull out of a competition, instead of scolding them for crying for example, give them a shoulder to cry on.
Athletes are humans too.
By: Agastya Rao
1. Special Focus- the O2D2
We interviewed Mihir Vardhan, a College Student from the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champagne about his disinfectant machine called the Terminator- Covid Killer in Weekly Digest #4. He is back with a new invention called the 02D2 (StarWars fans will get the reference), an invention that checks whether your O2 concentrator is working or not. This is the need of the hour, and is extremely useful! Check out his video explaining what it is on his YouTube channel,
2. The Olympics are the biggest sporting event in the world. Thousands of athletes and countless countries participate. One country had a lot to celebrate during the Olympics, becoming the smallest country to win an Olympic medal. Bermuda, a country with a population of just 68,000 people won its 2nd ever Olympic Medal. Flora Duffy clinched the gold medal in the triathlon! It just goes to show that no one is too small to fulfill their dreams!
3. Bhutan is a country with a population of roughly 800,000 people, and it's not a very big country. However, it has managed to vaccinate 90% of its vaccine eligible population which is roughly 480,000 people. While this may not sound like a big thing, for a small developing country, it is leading by example for all the other countries.
4. The 3 Olympic medals this year are eco-friendly. They are made from metal extracted from old electronic devices. They collected 30Kgs of Gold, 4,100 Kgs of Silver and 2,700 Kgs of Bronze, all in 2 years! The Olympics are so eco-friendly that even the medal podiums are made from marine plastic waste and recycled household waste. This just goes to show how humans can be creative and eco-friendly at the same time!
5. Who said you are too young to win an Olympic Medal? 13 year old Momiji Nishiya became the youngest person to win an Olympic Gold Medal. She won a Gold Medal in the Women’s Street Category. The silver medalist Rayssa Leal who won the Silver Medal in the same category is also 13 years old, and the Bronze Medal winner Funa Nakayama is also a teenager and is only 16 years old. You are never too young to win!
By: Mihir Rao
A scotch whiskey maker by the name of Glenfiddich has changed its fuel source. Instead of normal fuel, they are using biogas, made from waste from the whiskey distilling process! Another win for recycling
Recently, an absolutely giant comet was discovered, which is about a thousand times more massive than other comets, which normally measure up to between 100 and 200 kilometres. This comet is coming near us in 2031, so there is more than enough time to get ready to see it pass by.
Two Indian Astronomers visualised the Sun in a way that I had never even heard of: using sound waves. These sound waves proved the existence of a new layer of the Sun, which adds to many existing theories.
Everyone knows that DNA is extremely tiny, and since we have tens of trillions of cells in our body, there is a plethora of them. But if you take them out of the cell and lay them down, they would be two metres long!
Recently the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array in Chile gave new pictorial evidence that is the most promising proof of exomoons being made! It took a picture of a lot of potentially moon-forming material around a tiny exoplanet a few hundred light years away.
Entertainment quotient for the week:
The Who Was Show
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