Saturday, 29 November 2014

Is space exploration a necessity?

   Outer space has puzzled man since ancient times. Many Greeks,  Babylonians, Indians, Mayans and other people from ancient civilizations were astronomers. Many worshipped, and still worship the celestial bodies. The ancient people also recognized patterns in the sky, now called constellations. They named these constellations. The Great Bear (Ursa Major), The Little Bear (Ursa Minor) Orion the Hunter are just some of them. The progress in technology just fueled man's desire to know more about outer space. Science fiction made man fantasize about living in outer space and meeting extraterrestrial creatures. The invention of the aeroplane
made people felt that their dream of exploring space will finally come true. And it did with the launching of Sputnik 1 and Yuri Gagarin's trip to space.
   Now space exploration is developing at a rapid pace. Many countries launch satellites, rockets, space shuttles, etc. for the sole purpose of discovering the unknown facts regarding space. Space is, as far as human curiosity is concerned, a place full of new discoveries and adventures. Movies about space travel, like Gravity and Interstellar, increase people's curiosity regarding what lies beyond the atmosphere. Almost every person has, at least once in his life, dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Why? The answer is simple. It is the same reason why people venture into the unknown or go on adventures. Curiosity and thrill.
   This brings us back to the topic of this writeup... Is space exploration necessary? Or rather, is it necessary to spend money on space exploration? This question is quite controversial with three answers- Yes,  No and I Don't Know.I shall encourage my readers to form their own answers.

   Many agree that space exploration is necessary. It is true to a certain extent regarding the progress in science and technology in space. The search for life away from  home arouses peoples' curiosity. Many scientific breakthroughs have taken place due to research in space. Space exploration helps us identify the places where life is possible, places where we can go to if any calamity threatens our existence. Such programs also help to unite countries. It promotes trade as far as satellite or rocket parts are concerned. All in all, it's really beneficial.
   However, many disagree with this fact. Their concerns are that we have enough problems on earth. Instead of spending money on space missions, we must address issues such as poverty, corruption, pending debts, maintaining law and order, etc. Some are of the opinion that while millions are starving to death, a lot of money is spent on sending machines or a handful of people to space. Others say that instead of searching for a habitable planet which will most probably be littered like earth, we must make our planet a better place to live in.
   There are innumerable arguments, all valid, for and against space exploration. I personally am of the opinion that it is necessary, but must not be overdone. The basic thing still remains that like every topic of discussions,  valid arguments exist for either side. If an opinion is to be made, it must be made considering all the aspect of this topic.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Change

 


   We say that change is for the better. Agreed. Change can create revolutions. It can inspire a story. It can create an organization working towards the development of the poor and needy. Change has shaped our past, it shapes our present and will always shape our future.
   But what exactly is change? The Oxford Dictionary defines change as 'to become or make different'. Very concise and clean. No terms or conditions. Just making things different.
   This, though, happens to be just the definition. Like almost everything else, there's more to it. Various things are concerned with the word change. Change is not simply making things different as far as humans are concerned. We, being intelligent creatures, tend to complicate things. Thus, we started making two types of changes- for the better and for the worse. And to top all of this, good and bad are just relative terms! What's good for one may be bad for the other.
   Change being good or bad is relative. So when we look at something being good or bad, our opinions usually match the opinions of the majority of the people for we tend to think that that opinion is more 'humane' . So let's talk about each of the changes as viewed by the majority.
   Change for the better basically is that chance which would result in the well-being of the needy, poor, etc. or that change which will result in the development or progress of the region or the individual. For example, constructing dams or windmills. Or introducing a new law to prevent the spread of certain diseases. A better budget or a more lucrative business plan. On the other hand, change for the worse usually consists of the changes which harm the peacefulness of the society. We can consider policies which essentially worsen the conditions of people or regions as changes for the worse.
   The world, as a whole, has innumerable problems. Famines, droughts, starvation, pollution,etc. are affecting the world on a large scale. Most of the problems are caused by the people's opinion regarding each other. Many of us pass beggars without paying them any attention, but go to our respective places of worship and pray for a better world. This takes place everywhere.
   The weirdest part of this is that people expect things to happen. They expect the world to change without changing themselves. They forget that they are also a part of this world. That if the world is to change then they should too. That they should take the initiative and change themselves to change the world. What is wrong with performing a small, random act of kindness? We shouldn't expect much in return, for the other person may not be resourceful enough to pay back the kind gesture. But by acting out of kindness, we show others that being kind doesn't cost much. We show ourselves that we can change ourselves as well as others. We show everyone that we can all pitch in to make the world a better place to live in.

I'm gonna make a change,
For once in my life.
Gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference,
Gonna make it right...


-Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Human nature

   Let's jog up our imagination. Imagine that we are looking at the universe. As a whole. Just imagine. Thousands, maybe millions of galaxies everywhere. Somewhere, if we zoom in enough, we see the Milky Way. Also the Andromeda, approaching the Milky Way at the speed of 250,000 miles per hour. Let us forget about the Andromeda and concentrate on the Milky Way. If we concentrate on one of the spirals, we will find the Sun. Helios. Revolving about the center of the galaxy. About this star revolves few celestial bodies. Let's concentrate on the Earth... The third planet from the sun. Zooming in further, there will be continents, then countries, then states, then cities or towns or villages, then houses, and then humans.
   Humans. Bipedal, social and intelligent creatures. This is basically what defines us as humans. Humans first appeared some 1-2 million years ago. Compared to the universe, our size can hardly be defined. And here we are, on dear old earth, fighting for supremacy. Humans are hardly evmillions whoo satisfied. That is good, one may argue, seeing that the moment we are satisfied we would stop progressing. But we must progress smartly. The moment progress is mentioned, we immediately visualize
hi-tech cars, weirdly designed buildings, space missions every two weeks, etc. Accepted... That's what we all want. But to achieve that, what about the resources?
What about the oil reserves which are depleting rapidly? What about the millions who die of hunger while the rest of the world builds marvels for the sake of 'progress'? The answer received? 'We are working on it...'
   Humans are considered to be social. That is true. Humans thrive and live together better in a society. With friends and family. We, in general, don't like loneliness. But when two societies have different principles, then depending on the tolerance levels,  either they respect each other, or they unleash hell. That too, in innumerable ways, each more innovative than the previous. As far as humans are concerned, competition is a must. And many people feel that they must win by hook of by crook. In such competitions, enmity rises. And the most affected are the poor, who many times have nothing to do with these competitions. The easiest example is war. The most affected are the poor or the homeless.
   Speaking of war, there have been far too many battle amongst ourselves. We consider ourselves as humans, yet kill each other for proving ourselves correct. That too at the cost of lives. Lives that would have otherwise lived peacefully. Humans are often hypocritic. We say we don't want wars, yet we end up having them.
   Humans are weird. We often come across posts on Facebook like- 'Like this picture of a farmer carrying a heavy load. 1 like=1 respect...' How can we blindly like such posts to show off the fact that we respect such people when we hardly pay any attention to the needy around us? How come abandoned animals get so much attention on social networking sites when we hesitate to help them in real life? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to look around us and care for others while donating money to charity organizations? How can we call ourselves humans if we fail to be human in the simplest of cases?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Is our life improving because of the internet?



   Technology has changed lives. For the better as well as for the worse. Frankly, I don't find this surprising. The thing that is really astounding is the way it changes lives. Imagination and technology combined can dramatically improve a person's life, or can create a weapon of mass destruction. Technology is basically science applied in real life. A tool we created for our own use. Nothing other than a tool.
   The internet, the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was born in CERN in the year 1989. For a 25 year old, the internet has reached great heights. Today, internet is a necessity, rather than a luxury. It connects people with others, no matter how far they are. The internet has encouraged the growth of cooperation, trade, globalisation, etc.
   Internet has improved many lives. People can be cured of a disease by interacting with doctors over the net. Charities can make their goals clear to a larger audience. Companies need to undertake less efforts to advertise. Security has improved. One can keep in touch with others around the globe. The applications of the internet seem limitless.
   As far as the negatives are concerned, there are too many. For starters, cyber bullying. This has a deep impact on people, especially young minds which are easier to mould. Insult someone over a social network and the victim's life is practically ruined. Leaving cyber bullying aside, another threat caused due to the internet is hacking. It technically means accessing personally sensitive data without permission. Hackers hack into systems for various reasons. Some for blackmail. Others for thrill. Some people just 'want to see the world burn.'
   Internet can be used to spread malware, to spread chaos. Career destroying
rumours get leaked over the internet, mainly for finishing off the competition, or to destroy the persons reputation. Internet  has made terrorism easy. One can trigger a bomb from anywhere. Detailed plans of a building can be viewed. Even pranking has its side effects. People become paranoid. They fail to trust others. Even the most idiotic claims can hold a persons mind and imagination hostage.
   The internet is a tool. An important one. A productive one. Only if used properly. If used with caution. Internet can change lives. For the good as well as the bad. Just like any other invention, it can be used to create or to destroy. That is all in our hands.