ROLE OF SCIENCES FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT – TODAY AND TOMORROW

What exactly do peace and development refer to?

Peace in today’s world can very well be described as a sort of abstract utopian concept longed for, ie a common goal and state of rest. This is clearly contradicted and humiliated in today’s world with the ongoing thirst and hunger for power, territory, and capital. At the same time, development refers to a long-drawn process which can contribute towards creating growth, positive change, or simply an improvement in the physical, mental or social surroundings of any human being.

So now the crucial question which comes into mind is, “where exactly does science fit into this complex demographic?”. Science, whose nature is yet to be known and harnessed, its power unmatched, put into such a dangerous and volatile situation.

Limiting the capabilities of science to plainly its subjective attributes- physics, chemistry, biology etc. is an injustice to the core of the subject. Its scope includes the likes of social, economic, and environmental science, which are increasingly being incorporated into our daily lives and can be said to bring about tangible positive changes. For peace, science provides the greatest boon in today’s disease-stricken world in the form of medicines. Even in today’s highly sensitive virus-stricken environment, countries all over the world are able to share and discuss their individual discoveries, findings and hence contribute towards improving the world situation as a whole and henceforth try to bring about a state of rest and normalcy for all. Science furthermore opens up various new horizons for career opportunities and hence improves the employment conditions, further enabling stability to exist that can eventually contribute towards peace within a country or area. It also creates the environment needed for learning and education.

This is a beneficial effect because by improving education in a country, we improve the society for future generations. Hence, it can inculcate within them an early habit of staying in a state of peace and maintaining peace which will only be helpful in building society. Suppose I were to illustrate this argument further using an example. In that case, we can educate even five children who have been born and brought up in dire conditions; they might grow up and learn to sustain themselves by good means, in contrast to today’s scenario where many of the poverty-stricken, unemployed people, especially the youth is turning to crime or even war as seen in the northern parts of our very own country. These are the parts where the resources are so scarce and underdeveloped that the people have no choice but to try and survive of anything, desperate and needy for minimum sustenance.

Science hence if not directly, indirectly, can bring out a sure-shot habit of peace.

While at the same time, if we were to talk about the direct implications of science on bringing about peace, a prominent successful example necessary to include would be the current dealings and proceedings of the honest attempt to foster harmony between the war-stricken nations and people – the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The conflict between these two has been raging on since 1948 imply after the modern Jewish state was newly founded. It is not as though attempts haven’t been made to bring peace in these countries. on several occasions, there have been attempts to find common ground to arrive at a consensus to achieve peace and stability for peoples of both sides. These efforts even included endeavours to promote interaction, collaboration and peace-building between the two groups, but somehow always ended in hostility. There was no tangible change seen until 2002 when the IPSO, the Israeli Palestinian science organisation, was launched to bring together scientists from both sides to pursue joint projects.

The grants issued under the program require the consensus and partnership of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Following its mission statement, the IPSO proposes to establish a model of infrastructure that promotes, creates and sustains development educations and, most importantly, the collaboration between the communities through the universal language of science using innovative projects and initiatives. Scientific research endeavours involving people working together as equal partners would produce practical results and would likewise engender personal trust and friendship between people living in the two communities. Hence improve the conditions required to attain common goals and further peace by enabling the parties to arrive at a common ground beneficial for growth and support for both.

Surprising too is the lack of awareness of institutions such as IPSO and its vision for promoting peace through collaborative interactions between Palestinian and Israeli scientists. The workings of the IPSO can be used as an important model to base future organisations and missions upon in such similar conflict-prone areas, which will eventually benefit from common associations applicable to both concerned parties with a common independent goal and indirect implication on peace.

If I was to talk about science and development, there is no doubt that these two factors go hand in hand. Without science, there can virtually be no development. In fact, one of the largest and effective strategies devised in the last century of sustainable development, which includes the idea of using resource judiciously, is the very component of earth and economic sciences.

Sustainable development in the past century has proven to be an advantageous strategy in terms of its terms for use and mission statements which include using only for our own needs and preserving enough for the coming generations for them to undergo development with exactly the same freedom present generations have been able to.

Furthermore, suppose we were to analyse the implications of the actions of ancient civilisations and colonies. They have constantly been developing themselves and their organisations using new techniques and methodology as the basis of trials and errors, which can be deduced as the first scientific experiments seen in modern civilisations. Whether it includes discoveries in the forms of new materials, technologies, etc. that have found practical application in various areas of production of economic goods that have become in common use by people, they have increased prosperity and made life easier.

This may have worked for them progressively and effectively, however recently, the norms and uses of the world with the increasing global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, increased risk of various climatic cataclysms, increased environmental pollution, declining resources of raw materials, arable land and clean water, the need to develop renewable sources of energy, electromobility, recycling have created the need to develop business processes according to the model of sustainable pro-ecological development and the green economy concept which are also constantly evolving. We can say that the two do go directly hand in hand.

If I were to compare the 3, science, peace and development, to an object, it would be to the branches of a tree called society. These three factors cannot grow and flourish in sanctity without the support of society. Furthermore, all contribute equally in some way or the other to the overall growth of the tree by bearing fruits etc. which implicates directly on society to maintain it economically and keep it standing, which is exactly the role science needs to fulfil in today’s changing world.

Written by – By Tanisha Rungta

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Upgrade your Brain and Body with BIOHACKING

Recently, people have come across the word Biohacking via certain Netflix series like Unnatural Selection and Biohackers. These series have fascinated people to this fantastic upcoming way of living. A trend that might make you feel like a superhuman amidst the others.

“First, forget inspiration.
Habit is more Dependable.
Habit will sustain you
whether you are
inspired or not.”
Octavia Butler

Biohacking is a term that defines better living through technology and science. It is a way by which one can upgrade oneself and make resistance to various health problems. It is actually one of the most emerging technology or rather a biotech trend in today’s date.

“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then is not an act,
but a habit.”
Will Durant

So what is Biohacking actually? How it came into Practice?

It is relatively a very new trend which will soon bring revolution in people’s lives. Techniques involved in Biohacking is all about optimizing human performance, making life healthier, happier, and stronger. Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Nutrition Inc., author, a Silicon Valley Investor, is also considered the Father of Biohacking. According to this man, Biohacking is an art and science by which you can change the environment around you and inside you and have full control over your own biology. This man has done several experiments upon his own body. He has injected stem cells into his joints, takes several supplements daily, bathes in infrared light, and even much more. All that this guy is doing is to live until the age of 180.


It sounds really cool when one can actually control his entire body system using science and advanced technologies. According to various data, Biohackers have improved health, well-being, and nutrition. They also have high-energy levels, optimized physical activity, and quality of sleep. Moreover, one can continue maintaining his youthful looks and be healthier for a long time.


In brief, Biohacking is actually a broad and intermediate-term which includes a huge range of activities, starting from performing experiments on yeast or other organisms to tracking your own sleep and diet. Some of the practices even include pumping a younger person’s blood into your own veins with a hope that it might fight to age.


There are two types of biohackers in society today. Some are PhDs while some are complete amateurs. Some Biohackers have even formed a branch of Transhumanism, a movement that says that human beings can and have the freedom to use technology to augment and evolve the species.
There are actually various ways of hacking your own biology. Some of the hacks are quite tricky to understand. That what makes it different from our daily intake of traditional medicines.

Certain things which are associated with Biohacking are as follows:

Biohacking

Boosting life expectancy


This includes following simple habits like an improved diet that is usually by avoiding non-veg. Then exercising regularly, avoid smoking, drinking as well as having improved quality and amount of sleep.
Endurance
Biohackers are very much focused on the word Endurance. Everything thing they perform they do to upgrade their lifestyle.

Cryotherapy


This is a therapy that includes ice treatment. This involves treatments with an ice pack and also take cold showers for three days in a row for 10 seconds letting the shower directly hit the forehead. According to the biohackers, it helps their body temperature to come down at tissue and cellular level. This would, in turn, increase metabolism. People who carry out this regularly feel energized and refreshed.

Osteogenic Machines


According to the biohackers, they can strengthen their bones within a few minutes using high-tech machines called osteogenic machines. These machines are based on osteogenic loading. Such a thing helps them to strengthen their body and also helps to gain athletic performance.

Nootropics (smart drugs)

These are cognitive enhancers that are natural or synthetic substances. They help in enhancing mental skills and boost memory.

Dopamine fasting or discontinuous fasting
The trend for this kind of fasting has begun in Silicon Valley. Now it is practiced in the rest of the world. This type of fasting is mainly used for losing weight and for boosting brain and clarity. This activity really helps the individual to enhance their brainpower. Moreover, it also helps them to concentrate on their work.

What is making people practice Biohacking over themselves?

It is actually a desire to live longer, stronger, and healthier. These desires come in a range of flavors. Some people have the desire to become smart and live strong as long as possible. While some desire to live an extremely healthy life, a totally disease-free life.
Commencing such practices even comes from frustration. A biohacker named Zayner has even injected himself with CRISPR DNA to cure himself of certain health problems. This man got irritated by the federal official as they always claimed sluggishness in allowing all sorts of medical treatments. It takes about 10 years in the US for a new drug to develop and get approved. This long wait really makes the life of people suffering from serious health issues worse and painful. This biohacker has even claimed that he wants to homogenize science and empower people to experiment on themselves.

Do all these activities involve in Biohacking legal?

There are a lot of Biohacking pursuits that exist in the legal grey zone, disapproved by the FDA, but they are not fully an illegal practice. Though certain agencies now seeming to take actions against certain ill practices involved in this technique. But there is no straight forward way to stop these biohackers from continuing such practices.
One of the major issues involved in this technique is that if we make ourselves smarter, stronger, and potentially immortal, we may eventually create a society where everyone would feel pressured to alter their biology, even if they are not interested in it. It would become difficult for everyone to live as “merely” humans in a world of superhumans.

What conclusion can we draw to this technique?

It is now evident that Biohacking is just more than an RFID chip to open your front door. It is providing aid to disabled people as well as it is helping society to create progress in the health industry. Biohacking is quite interesting and inspiring. It exemplifies flaws in both the policies surrounding the tech-world and security concerns in the code itself. It is evident that soon a new era will be explored with Biohacking in the coming future.

Written By Saurabh Dey.

Scientists find evidence of “life harbouring gas” in Venus

Written by Shayani Das

This “Life harbouring gas” is Phosphine gas compound with the chemical formula PH₃, is classed as a pnictogen hydride.

Venus, the second planet from the Sun and also the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the moon. It has shown promise of comprising a life harbouring gas. A dry planet with high surface temperature, no trace of water, and largely composed of clouds of carbon dioxide with a droplet of sulphuric acid, recently showed promise of the life harbouring gas when a team of professionals while observing Venus found out that Venus contains traces of phosphine gas.

What is Phosphine?
Phosphine is a flammable gas that often occurs from the breakdown of organic matter. It is a colorless and toxic gas. It has a highly unpleasant odor like garlic or rotting fish.
Lead author Jane Greaves from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy told that the presence of phosphine alone is not only the proof of the presence of life on Venus.

Does the presence of Phosphine prove as the existence of life on Venus?
It should be noted that Venus has a dense atmosphere which is a hundred times thicker than Earth. There is no evidence of water and the temperature is hot enough to melt lead. Thus, the chance of containing this “life harbouring gas” may not be fruitful for living beings. In the same way, previous studies have revealed evidence of the existence of active volcanoes including signs of the recent lava flow.

The planet Venus

To conclude, it can be said that the discovery of such a gas is not all in all proof for the further sustenance of life. Moreover,the above text shows us that the Venus does have certain characteristics that would be a curse to life. Therefore, excitement regarding the news maybe justified, but the fact that in depth research is required prior to arriving at a conclusion needs to be kept in mind.

For further information, you can read: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/possible-sign-of-life-found-on-venus-phosphine-gas/

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INDIA TO WITNESS A RARE COMET, NEOWISE

The world is at the end of the rope and novel coronavirus put us behind bars. It is needless to say that Amphan in West Bengal and Assam flood made the situation more vulnerable. Wherever we look, all seems to be the procession of death. Despite the epidemic, only exciting news for the skywatchers is locating of a comet which is identified and named ‘C/2020F3 NEOWISE’ by NASA. July 14 onwards, the comet will be visible in the sky about 20 minutes which can be seen even with naked eyes. It can be found near the horizon in the dawn.

Odisha planetarium’s Deputy Director, Dr. Subhendu Pattanaik also added “In the evening to follow, the comet NEOWISE will rapidly climb higher in the sky and will be visible for a long period. The NEOWISE will be seen in the Northwest which is 20 degrees from the skyline.

What is a comet?

Comet is a cosmic snowball which consists of frozen gases, rock and dust particles. It goes around the Sun in a highly elliptical path. When it comes closer to the Sun it melts thereby releasing gases into natural fireworks. The size of a comet can be similar to a small town estimating up to a few hundred kilometers. The dust particle and gases form a tail-like shape that stretches away from the Sun for miles in the opposite direction. Currently, it has two tails, one is made of dust and the other one is consists of gases. There are billions over comets orbiting the Sun and 3650 is known comet amongst all.

The exceptional comet will be visible clearly from India for the next 20 days from July 14th. It is expected to fade away in the mysterious depth of the galaxy at the end of the month and would hence require telescope or binoculars to be spotted.

Hale-Bopp was the last comet that India observed widely in 1996-97 and it was one of the brightest seen for many decades.

According to the USA’s space exploration agency of NASA, the next NEOWISE is expected to emerge to the earth is after another 6,800 years.

Now the most interesting part is humans all over the world will be scrutinized at its fear, superstition, and suspicion. Some believed that the comets were demons or gods to destroy the earth but in the age of science, modern people do not think so.

Halley’s comet, one of the famous comets has a long story in ancient cultures. It was viewed as a bad omen majorly.

” Comet has a long history, usually as omens and bearers of bad news,” said Woody Sullivan, a professor of astronomy.

On the other hand, the death of Julius Ceaser was taken by a comet and Roman believes it as a sign of his divinity.

Putting aside the primitive beliefs, the sudden appearance of a comet even after so many years is an exciting moment for space lovers. Even amid pandemic, nature seemed to present us with such an aesthetic aura.

Saswati Chattopadhyay