Category ArchiveOpinion

“The genius thing that we did was we didn’t give up”

Don’t give up. But turn and look at other things too.

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Buffet

Travel lays the table for the feast you enjoy sitting still back home. Stillness is the end point of any trip. It’s the way you convert the sights into insights and bring the experience home.

 

We are failing the giants

There are far fewer African elephants than we thought. New elephant study shows catastrophic decline in Africa.

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Even the artists have been calling us out.

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Bharti Kher’s ‘The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own’

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Lustwarande’s “Rapture and Pain”

 

Asher Jay’s Times Square art installation::

Help a brother out

Antonio from Zagreb, Croatia is planning to propose his girlfriend in a special way.

He plans to show her pictures of friends and well-wishers from the 194 countries, recognized by UN, holding up a note which reads “JELENA UDAJ SE ZA MENE” ( translation: Jelena marry me).

So far he has received pictures from few countries, but time is running out :).

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Whichever country you are reading this from, if you would like to help Antonio with his plan, share a similar picture:

1. Click a photograph at a famous place in your town
2. Hold up a note reading : JELENA UDAJ SE ZA MENE / JELENA MARRY ME
3. Mention the name of your city and country

Make this your good and happy deed of the day :).
Drop a comment against this post, so I can share Antonio’s email ID with you.

When generations share stories


Stories, new experiences, new people and a new perspective on life are essential at all stages of life. Studies in neuroscience, shed light on the transformational impact on the brain when different generations interact.

My recent visit to a well known old age home left me wanting for more inter generation interactions. This isn’t a radical idea – when two generations interact, it is beneficial for all, in a majority of cases.

After a study of generational interaction between teens and elders by randomly pairings of high school students and community members over the age of 55, the teens has this to say about their experience:

“My partner taught me to always do something. She taught me to never settle for being okay. Never do something you don’t want to do, do something that makes you happy. ”
“I learned from my partner that there are many unknowns, about yourself and about what the world holds. I learned everyone has many stories to share, no matter their age or gender. ”
“I learned that there is not one right way to go through life and that everyone makes their own path. Everyone makes mistakes and it is how you deal with them that matters in the end.”
“I learned to search for courage, especially, in all moments.”
“I learned that you can give back to your community in ways I would have never even thought of.”

When elders were asked what they learned from their teen partners, these comments were reflective of many others:

“I learned what it is like for a young person to struggle with problems and how that allows people to develop compassion.”
“My partner showed me the importance of showing up in relationships and the importance of being loyal to friends.”
“I learned, one more time, that there is no such thing as a safe life; that living, by definition is difficult. But it is also fun and funny if you continue to open yourself up to new possibilities.”
“My partner’s tolerance and acceptance of herself and others for who they are has encouraged me (once again) to examine my own ability to do the same.”
“Regardless of our age differences, I learned we have the same hopes and dreams for a good future and compassion and caring for the present. It was Interesting how one can bear your soul to essentially a stranger.”

You and I can make a huge difference, even with the systems that are in place by volunteering to visit these homes and by spending some time with a partner. When we interact with people whose stories are different than our own, it forces us to reexamine our values and perceptions, sometimes in ways you wouldn’t think you were capable of.

The messages we continue to send ..

A side by side comparison of September 2016 issue of two magazines, and the light it sheds on everything we are doing wrong with the messages that are send out to girls and women.

 

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Below is designer, Katherine Young’s vision on how the Girls’ Life cover could do better, by focusing more on empowering and inspiring girls:

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Tall man

This message has been floating around, for a while:

” We sent a delegation of 117 sportsmen to the Rio Olympics.  They returned with 2 medals. There was widespread media coverage . There was no shortage of sponsors . Why even Sachin was on call !

Compare that with the Rio Paralympics .

We sent a delegation of 19 . That’s right – nineteen . They’ve already bagged 4 medals ! No media coverage . No sponsors . And God knows where Sachin is !”

Pls Invest your time in forwarding this msg if you are in support of Indian Prides…!!”

 

 

I have a problem, when messages that are constructed this way.

People, teams, delegations do not stand tall, because someone else fell short. They stand tall, because of their achievements.

This message would have been so much more uplifting if it spoke of victories, without comparing it with another’s failure. There is no pride to be taken when you compare victory with someones moment of dejection. There is no victory, in another mans downfall.

That said, the Indian athletes did perform well at the Rio Paralympics bringing home two golds and one each of a silver and bronze.

This year India had sent its largest ever delegation in the history of summer paralympic games i.e.19 competitors in 5 sports . Also, it has been India’s best ever performance in the history of the summer Paralympic games with a total of 4 medals won till now ( 2 Gold , 1 Silver and 1 Bronze ) with Devendra Jhajharia breaking the World Record to win a gold medal at the Paralympics. 🙂

Beautiful inspiration that hardwork and determination, can equal gold.

 

 

Blockchain for dummies

Blockchain is the new Bitcoin.

Well not literally.

But it is the term, that has people as confused as Bitcoin once had.

Everyone has their vague understanding of what it means and hopes that it’s just a fad that they wouldn’t have to take seriously.

But like the Bitcoin, the concept of Blockchain is rather simple and here to stay. To put it in the simplest of definitions – blockchain is a public ledger where accounting transactions are recorded and confirmed anonymously. These records of transactions are shared among many and the real-time information that is once recorded cannot be altered.

The owning of crypotocurrencies is solely digital, and the transfer of the their ownership is what creates a record in the blockchain. Now, since Blockchain is a public ledger, it isn’t run/managed or located in one space, rather it is located on multiple nodes – wherein each node hosts a copy of the entire Blockchain. This is what makes this public ledger secure and sturdy.

Just like the charm of Bitcoin, the charm of Blockchain is that it is anonymous, decentralized, and there are no fees or third parties trying to grab a percentage. This means that functions such as transferring currency overseas no longer requires that you pay a hefty cut of 20% to a third party like Western Union, or have to go through a series of procedures to get the money transferred. Within Blockchain a debit in one account is a direct credit in another , which also means that currency transfer is realtime and not a tedious wait.

This is just one of the many benefits of cryptocurrency transactions.

Coming back to how Blockchain works, lets see what a Blockchain “entry” look like. The traditional 2 value entry of debit and credit is replaced by 4 elements :

  1. A reference to the previous block
  2. Summary of transaction
  3. Time stamp of transaction
  4. Proof of work which went into creating the block

This 4 entry link makes for one block, and many such blocks are strung into a chain of valid and consistent cryptocurrency transactions. While this may sound easy enough to be misused – block creation needs numerous independent confirmations and add to that a complex to crack system and substantial hardware capabilities. These blocks are created by miners , who get incentives for their work, i.e. this is how they make their coins.

While crytocurrency and block chain have been around for quite some while, their true potential is yet to be realized. All sorts of complicated currency transactions can benefit from public ledger systems, not to mention the obstacles of boundaries, logistics etc that can be safely breached.

New York-based fintech startup R3 has over 21 major banks in partnership to develop Blockchain technologies. These include Barclays, BBVA, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, State Street, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, Banco Santander, Danske Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Westpac.