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Weekly Digest #73



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In this digest-


1. A Virtual World: Let’s get real


2. Happiness Quotient from around the world


3. Did you Know?


4. Entertainment Quotient


 

-Cover Story-

A Virtual World: Let’s get real

By: Mihir Rao


What if I told you that in a few years, we would have an entire alternate virtual world to live in?

I’m sure you may think I’m crazy, but this is going to become a reality soon. As you all may know, Facebook changed their name to Meta, and this is because of a new concept being worked upon, called the Metaverse.


DISCLAIMER: The Metaverse is a very new, and rapidly changing subject, and new opinions, facts, and findings could appear anytime. So please do not rely on this article for the latest facts, as some things could change, too.



What is it?

The metaverse is a proposed virtual reality that people could access, using… virtual reality headsets! But the thing is, it is bigger than that. The metaverse is supposed to be almost like an augmented version of our normal reality, where different things that normally cannot happen, can happen. Things like people around the world playing games together, holograms, and more.


How would you create it?

Now, this may seem all good on paper, but how would one even go about creating it? Well, Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Meta are working on it right now. Using a mix of augmented reality (virtual additions to the real world) and virtual reality, they are trying to achieve this goal. Using extremely fast internet, powerful processors and virtual reality headsets, a metaverse could be achieved!


Are we even close to achieving it?

Believe it or not, we are maybe just a few decades away from the metaverse becoming a real thing. Even billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg estimate that within a decade or two, the main features of the metaverse would be available to the public. This is the reason why he renamed his company to Meta, because he wanted the company to also focus on ushering in the metaverse. With our technology right now, paired with more powerful processing chips coming on the market each year, the metaverse is a tangible possibility.



The Good Side:

The metaverse could help us a lot. Socializing has changed and evolved rapidly over the past century, and it will evolve a lot more with the help of the Metaverse. The metaverse could bring people from all around the world together, better than the internet could ever achieve! The metaverse could also help by becoming a whole new platform for people to work, buy things, sell things, even maybe eat and drink and live!


Virtual reality could also be a great way to socialize, since it would probably be the next step after social media. People could meet virtually, and play together, talk, and do almost anything that one could do in reality, and this could be great for many reasons, since this is destroying the problem of distance.



The Bad Side:

Right now, we do not know any of the side effects of having virtual reality encompass someone’s daily lives, and we do not know the side effects of using virtual reality for such a long period of time. Also, living in a virtual reality would just be like daydreaming, in the sense that people are trying to distract themselves from the real world that they are living in.


To add on, a person would have to be in a safe and secure place while in the metaverse, since they wouldn’t know what is going on around them in the real world while they are using virtual reality, and this takes me to the next part.



Crime:

Just like how technology has evolved over the ages, crime has also evolved, and cybercrime has become a problem in today’s day and age. Like mentioned before, in virtual reality, one doesn’t know what is happening in the surrounding area, and other people could take advantage of that and use it the wrong way. Tackling crime in the metaverse may even prompt for a whole new section of police to be created (CyberCops would be a nice name🤣).



The Business Perspective:

The Metaverse could also offer a different way of doing business. Since it is completely virtual, models of projects could be created in virtual reality, and looked at in a completely different way. The Metaverse could become a platform for trade, and it could even be the next revolution in terms of business, since many companies and celebrities are pushing for it.


Playing God:

One more point that could be interpreted as a good and a bad thing, is playing God. In this virtual universe, since it is our own creation, we can manipulate it however we want. That means that people can change their appearance, areas can be changed completely, and you can basically do anything you want. Since people can change their appearance, it can help a lot of people who are insecure about how they look. Also since you can change how landscapes look, and create whatever you want, it can be a great tool for modelling prototypes for things that will be put in the real world.


Uncertainty:

The metaverse brings in a lot of good things as well as bad things, but it also brings in a lot of uncertainty. Questions arise, like:

  • What laws will there be? How will they be different from the normal laws we have now?

  • Will there be any side-effects to staying in virtual reality for so long?


Our Opinions:

Mihir - “For me, the Metaverse may seem like a good opportunity, however I do think that it comes with its fair share of problems, and shortcomings. I am very interested to see what this brings us, however I do hope that this doesn’t detach us from the real world.”


Agastya - “I think it's going to be an interesting project living in a virtual world. However, we need to remember not to get lost in this world and forget about the actual one. Global warming won’t solve itself!”


Abhimanyu - “The Metaverse seems to be an exceptionally exciting project. However, the more you think about it, the more issues you notice. How safe is it? Can it affect your brain? How can you balance two worlds? There are several Sci-Fi plots dealing with virtual worlds, and they all talk about the risks. We need to use those as reference, and not get excited enough to forget what risks the Metaverse brings.


To conclude, The metaverse has a lot of potential, and I am looking forward to what the metaverse has in store for us. Stay tuned for more in PART TWO!

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By: Agastya Rao



1. In times of life and death, last minute efforts can sometimes save a LIFE. A surgeon from the United States of America transplanted, wait for it … the heart of a pig, into a human body, and IT WORKED! A man from Maryland, who was about to die and sadly was not eligible for a heart transplant that he desperately needed, agreed for a transplant for a heart of a PIG. While after the operation at the University of Maryland the man is still connected to a “heart-lung” machine to help his new heart work, doctors are currently monitoring the functioning of his new heart. If this works in the long run, it can help save the lives of countless patients who require transplants but are not eligible to receive them.

2. The Philippines has passed a law banning child marriage. You would be shocked to know that 1 in every 6 girls in the Philippines is married before the age of 18 and this law aims to stop that.


3. In good news for conservationists and animal lovers all over the world, a Lowland Gorilla was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga national park. This birth takes their number to 7, which isn't a large number because the mountain gorilla remains critically endangered. However, every small win is one to be celebrated, with the hope for more births.

4. The sad truth of the world is that people often use superficial qualities as the only criteria while judging someone’s character, which used to (and sometimes still does) leave people with darker skin marginalised, and denied the privileges of their melanin deficient counterparts. Luckily, British Vogue, the British faction of the massive fashion magazine is one of the many corporate supergiants advocating for change. They recently featured 9 African models on their cover.

5. India will begin vaccinating 12 -14 year old children against COVID 19 by March this year. This is good news in the battle against the pandemic.

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By: Abhimanyu Rao



1. Ever hoped that you would live on Mars? Well, those dreams may soon become realities! NASA’s Chief Scientist, Mr. Jim Green has said that it is possible to terraform barren planets like Venus and Mars, to make them habitable! Particles of powerful energy from our very own Sun are obliterating the atmosphere of those unfortunate planets, and therefore making it nearly impossible to live on them. Using a magnetic shield on Mars, and that, along with a heat shield on Venus, can make both those planets sanctuaries where life can thrive!


2. Greta Thunberg is now one of the very few people to have the honour of having an organism named after them. With the christening of the Pristimantis Gretathunbergae, Greta joins the ranks of legendary celebrities like Freddie Mercury, Sir Elton John, Sir David Attenborough, Barack Obama, Beyoncé, and Prince Charles, all of whom have had animals named after them! The environmental activist rose to fame at the young age of 15 for initiating the School Strike for Climate in 2018. She is the perfect modern day example of what we at The Paperless Press strongly believe, that young people can make a colossal change!


3. There are a few plants, which get into our gardens and become incredibly annoying and don’t really have a use. Well, one such plant known as the ‘invasive gorse bush’ can reportedly make enough protein to feed millions of people. While starting as an annoying plant with no use in Scotland and had to be removed regularly, it now has a shot at ending world hunger!You know what they say, “ Nature reveals itself in the times when you need it the most”!



4. The Earth’s moon has always been mysterious, and surrounded in countless conspiracies. It seems another one has arisen from the moon with China’s Yutu spacecraft that found a mysterious “hut” on the Moon. Well, when a rover went to investigate further, it turned out that it was just a rock on the moon which was not as large as it was thought to be. The Moon is giant, and there is a lot to be discovered, and who knows what we might find in the future?

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Netflix

- World War 2 in Colour: Road to Victory

Disney+

- Rays of Change



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