Weekly Digest #70
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In this digest-
1. Covid Travel: The silver lining
2. Happiness Quotient from around the world
3. Did you Know?
4. Entertainment Quotient
Covid Travel: The silver lining
By: Abhimanyu Rao
The pandemic was a crushing blow to several industries, both major and minor, and one of the most significantly affected industries was the travel industry. In a world locked down, travelling simply wasn’t possible. That, along with the uncertainty of the whole situation and the fear surrounding the virus, and it looked like ‘game over’ for this once gargantuan industry.
Here are some statistics about how close the industry was to ‘game over’. According to the World Trade Organization, not only was there a 72% decrease in international tourist arrivals, but there was also a loss of approximately 935 BILLION DOLLARS. This reportedly sent the industry to a state similar to its state in the 1990s! It seems that Covid-19 did what humans could not - invent time travel! This loss could have been the end of travel for ages, but…
Luckily, travel adapted, and the ‘Flights to Nowhere’ were born. You can read all about them, and the pros and cons that came with them in the article linked above, but I’ll just give you a gist of what they were. “Flights to nowhere” were advertised as a way to heal cabin fever, and a short journey where you have minimal exposure and were in full protective gear. You board a plane, take off, take a short journey, and land again.
This gave you the feel of travelling, and even gave you a break from the depressing reality back on the ground. They gave people a sense of normalcy, and were also distracting for them, but that’s not all they were good for. These flights were paid, and each ticket you bought contributed to the travel industry, one that was being completely demolished by the pandemic.
Right now, the rise of the Omicron Variant has led to a decline in travel again, but before that, people were travelling happily, and in large numbers, as recently as the Christmas weekend! What’s interesting about this travel spike is that it was majorly domestic, not international!
The fear of being trapped in another country if another wave hit was just too much to ignore. Nevertheless, people just had to travel after more than a year of being cooped up in their homes, and they decided to explore their own country. This may not have sounded exciting to most people, but it seems that this has been really beneficial for India, as much as it has been for the travel industry!
While talking to a representative of a leading travel company in Kerala, we learned that pre-pandemic Kerala
used to get a significant number of its visitors from abroad, but ever since the pandemic began, the majority of visitors have been Indian! This is just one instance we know of, where people have discovered the beauty of India due to restricted travel right now. In this article, we will offer suggestions of some beautiful places that you can go to, so that you, too, can discover the beauty in this country. Do note that we couldn’t possibly list all of India’s beauty in one short list, so we have given just a few select picks. However, if you have any suggestions, feel free to contact us!
The India List: Places all over the country that you should definitely visit!
1. Tamil Nadu & Odisha: Tamil Nadu and Odisha exemplify a beautiful mix of two amazing worlds - the world of fun experiences, and the world of beaches. Odisha has wonders like the Sun Temple in Konark, and is also a hatching area for the Olive Ridley Turtle! The State also has a great coastline, so you can definitely have fun there! Tamil Nadu is home to Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of India, is a treasure trove of temples, architecture and handloom, and again, has great beaches, so you can have a blast over there as well!
2.The North East: The North East is one of the most amazing places to visit! Whether you are feeling adventurous enough to walk across the longest hanging bridge in the country, located in Arunachal Pradesh, are looking for some relaxation in the clear waters of Dawki, or just want to see the majestic views in Sikkim, there is something there for everyone!
3.Ajanta and Ellora, Hampi: Places like these are steeped in history and art. The Ajanta and Ellora caves are majestic wonders, full of a variety of sculptures etched into the walls of the caves itself.
Hampi is dotted with ruins of one of India’s largest empires, the Vijayanagara Empire. These places are dreams come true for any lovers of either history, or art!
4.The Stark landscape of Leh: Leh is a place known for its breathtaking views. From its towering mountains to its delightful valleys, this landscape is perfect for a holiday, and is a breath of fresh air for anyone bothered by the pollution in cities! Even better, it’s got great places to hike or trek, making this a very unique experience.
5.Spoilt for choice with wildlife: National parks and sanctuaries in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Gir and Mudumalai are all across the country, and have some of the coolest animals that you may never have dreamed of seeing. Don’t get me wrong, you will see highlights like Tigers, Lions (in Gir), and if you’re very lucky, even a Leopard, but there will be other experiences that you will cherish as well. An example I have is seeing these really cute and fluffy owls huddled in a tree in Pench!
6.Kerala: Backwaters, beaches, forests, there’s lots to see in Kerala! Whether you want to learn some history in Fort Kochi, relax on one of its luxurious beaches, or explore the wildlife of its forests and backwaters, there is no end to the experiences that await you in Kerala!
That brings us to the end of our list. We just have one last request for you, and that is to travel responsibly. Right now, the world is still not free from the pandemic, and so, you must take proper precautions wherever you go. You cannot leave anywhere without your mask and sanitiser!
Secondly, you all must have seen those “*insert person’s name* was here” messages on walls of places like the Red Fort. As fun as it seems to be on a national monument, please remember that this is a piece of history that you are defacing. It is a room in a wonderful home called India, and unless you would like someone scrawling their name on the walls of your room, please don’t do it anywhere else :).
By: Agastya Rao
1. Researchers have wanted to know more about the migration process of the Olive Ridley turtle. The Zoological Survey of India began electronically tagging Olive Ridley turtles 25 years ago. This process has been started again (at 3 major nesting zones) with the goal of studying the path taken by turtles to sea and which nesting sites they visit etc. The current goal is to tag 30,000 Olive Ridley turtles over the next 10 years, as opposed to the 25 years taken previously to tag roughly 1500 turtles. We hope these steps can help conserve this wonderful species.
2. For the week of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), The Municipal Corporation of Chennai has built a temporary wooden pathway on the city’s Marina Beach. This beach is made accessible for a short period of time (1 week) every December for the IDPD. While this move is a good idea and we support the promotion of the IDPD, the one question we have is - why isn’t this implemented for the entire year? Shouldn’t the beach be accessible to everyone at all times?
3. A lot of food gets wasted at colleges and hostels, and leftovers generally end up in the bin. However, 5 students from the Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Sindr have come up with a method to stop this wastage. They have created a company called Urja Viable Solutions with the goal of creating energy from this waste. They have built a plant that converts upto 100kg of food waste to 8kgs of Biogas to be used for cooking. This shall also decrease dependence on LPG. The BIT Sindri Alumni Association has sponsored INR 9 Lakh funding for the start up. Who knows, maybe this will be nation wide one day, and will decrease the dependence on LPGs?
4. Imagine a program so selective that only 20 people from the ENTIRE world get selected for. That is the International Air and Space Program(IASP) at NASA. Jahnavi Dangeti, an engineering student in her second year of college, recently became the first Indian to complete the IASP programme. During the programme she went through an underwater rocket launch, zero gravity training and much more. This is no small feat, and we congratulate her for it!
5. In response to a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filled by an NGO, the High Court of Karnataka ordered a 1 Percent reservation in the police for transgender people. The Karnataka State Police has opened applications for the posts of Special Reserve Sub- Inspector in the Karnataka Reserve State Police and the Indian Reserve Battalion. We laud this major move towards gender equality, and hope that other states follow the example set by the Karnataka State Police.
By: Mihir Rao
1. A team of Australian high school students have sent bacteria into space! This is mainly to study the effects of microgravity on the bacteria, but there is another motivation for this experiment: to perfect the conditions through which astronauts could make their own yogurt! Yes, you read it right, yogurt. 36 vials of frozen milk and bacteria were sent to the International Space Station, and once the yogurt returns, the students plan to study the yogurt, and maybe even taste it! A big Curd-os to them!
2.The successor to the Hubble telescope, the James Webb telescope, has just recently launched! Worth around 10 billion US dollars, the telescope is built to be a hundred times more powerful than its predecessor! Utilising a property of light (its speed is finite), the James Webb telescope can gain more insight into how the universe was a long time ago, and it may give us more information about what happened at that time.
3. Astronomers recently found the largest group of rogue planets yet! Rogue planets are planets that aren’t orbiting any star, just roaming around freely. The group consisted of over 70 planets, and scientists hope that by studying these planets, we could gain more knowledge on how these planets form.
4. Scientists just constructed the oldest family tree using extremely old DNA! Analysing the DNA from bones in a 5700 year old tomb in the UK, they found out that the bones belonged to 5 continuous generations of one family! This discovery is great, because it gives us more information about the practices that were used then.
Entertainment quotient for the week:
Lost in Space (Season 3)
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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