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Some people seem to be celebrating simple minded Independence day. I wish I could be this simple minded. I am celebrating and contemplating the very complex Independence day. A day that was declared with too many ifs and buts, way too many riders, too many scars of divided people and incomplete independence. Gora (white, colonial) babus (bureaucrats) finally left India this day, so there is reason for Euphoric celebrations but they left behind legacy of hatred, division and system of incompetent and evil Bhura (brown, ethnic South and South-east Asian) babus to rule across South Asia and South East Asia. It is official independence of one section of grander South Asia and South East Asia, a significant bit called India but it is not independence day for everyone that lives in India. Everyone never got independence. Vast populations continue to live in such abject conditions that independence is merely a hypothetical concept to them.

I am trying to celebrate this day remembering how often after moving to West Bengal, locals have asked me what is my country and look puzzled when I say India. They insist no, whether it is Punjab, Himachal or Bihar. I am celebrating knowing how parochial the mindset of vast population of Indian continues to be. I am trying to celebrate, when a policeman insists that I cannot talk in Hindi because I am in Bengal but runs away when he realizes that he might be recorded. He passes on this information knowing fully well it would be distorted and misused by politicians who abound the stagnant “innovation sector” of India, where politics is the favorite pastime of people. I think of independence when criminal elements that are responsible for the rot of education and research in the country, find moral rectitude and patriotism an oddity and try to frame anyone who is not leaching off the system like them. The celebrations of Indian Independence day remains complicated and somber to me like it was for the Indians who celebrated the first Independence day in 1947 amid scars, pain but yet had hopes of better future, a better India.

Just as a thought experiment, I wonder how much worse things would have been, if the babus would have continued being gora instead of bhura? While I think of that I am also wondering can the can-do spirit be sparked in India in dark distant corners of eyes of have-nots. Maybe it is merely the need to celebrate that is so essentially human that makes me delusional but hope is what makes life worth living anyway. Hope continues to be the biggest dope. Maybe the only difference in having the bhura babus rule us, instead of gora ones is that we feel less slave for the same enslavement and feel like doing something for the place on the name of country, community or whatever box we define to be ours.

It is not ancient history, boundaries but living culture and living people that define a country. I am celebrating with the hope that India and all of South Asia and South East Asia would be more worth celebrating in the coming years. I am celebrating with the hope that one day the campaign of make in India would one day transform into Innovate and think in India and would be part of living culture that it would not require campaigns anymore. Happy Independence Day India. Hope for better ones for you to come in the coming years.

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Dr. Sukant Khurana is a New York based scientist, artist and writer of Indian origin. His basic research involves neurophysiology, computational neuroscience, sensory perception, addiction, learning and memory, while his applied research extends into many areas of drug discovery and problems of the developing world. Both his visual art and writing explore the issues of modernization, displacement and identity.

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3 Steps to Becoming a Better Person

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We only get one life so it’s important to live it well, make the most of things and seize opportunities that come your way. If you’re hoping to make the most of your time on earth, here are just three ways you can go about it. 

Be more understanding

We all want to be the best person we can be, and a big part of that is relating to and getting on with other people. But it’s not always in the way we think, we don’t need to make grand gestures, we don’t need to be able to give therapist level advice or be a perfect friend in every sense. The main thing we need to do is be empathetic and understanding- be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It can be easy to be irritated, annoyed or upset if a friend lets you down, cancels plans or does something else undesirable but when you’re understanding you’re able to empathise about why this might be. Maybe they’re busy, have other priorities (as we all do) or double booked themselves. We’re able to cut ourselves slack as we know that we’re only human, do others the same justice. Being understanding doesn’t mean being a doormat and being walked over, you do still need to know when someone is taking advantage. But for the most part, the people in your life won’t be purposely trying to upset you, be more understanding and it’s easy to realise this. 

Find your own spiritual path

Having beliefs in something that matters to you can be a great way to live your life, it seems counterproductive but realising how small you are on this planet and as part of the greater universe can feel reassuring. It means that your problems are also small and often irrelevant, and as a result can help you to just get out there and live your best life. Being spiritual and having beliefs doesn’t have to mean being religious, there are many reasons you might be put off from traditional religion. While it helps many, there’s no denying that it’s also a cause of many wars, there are numerous church abuse lawsuits that have been filed across the globe and to some, it simply doesn’t fit their beliefs. But don’t write off finding greater meaning altogether, find your own spiritual path. This could be anything from numerology to deep meditation to trusting in the universe and it’s signals. Do some research and find a path that suits you. 

Find a good work/ life balance

Work is important, not only does it give your life purpose but it allows you to earn the money you need to have the lifestyle you want outside of work. Most of us have no choice but to work, but it’s easy to go overboard with it. Maybe you’re passionate about your job or are just a bit of a workaholic, take a step back. Find the balance between work and life such as travel, family, pets and hobbies. You’ll be much happier for it.

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Preventing Mould: Use These Simple Tips

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Maintaining a healthy and happy working environment is perhaps the most important thing we can do as homeowners. When buying a house, it becomes our responsibility to ensure that the space is kept clean and hygienic to keep us healthy throughout our lives.

One of the biggest health risks in the home is mould, and this can spread throughout the home quicker than wildfire without you even realising. Breathing in mould spores is bad for your respiratory system and it can cause a whole load of health issues if not fixed. That’s why today we are taking a look at how to prevent mould in the house once and for all. Use these easy tips to keep mould away from your home this year.

1. Know your weak spots

Every house will have its own weak spots and areas that are more susceptible to mould than others. Take a look around your house and see what weak spots you can uncover. Do you have a basement? If so, is it prone to flooding? The installation of a sump pump with liquid level sensors to keep water controlled might be helpful. Do the windows often accumulate a lot of condensation? If so, think about wiping them with a cloth and a squeegee regularly. Consider where the worst spots for mould are in the house and you should be able to find ways to fix them.

2. Getting drying

If you are looking to create the ideal environment for mould to grow, keep everything moist and wet. Mould spores thrive in humid conditions so if your house is often wet in places and hot, you need to remedy this right away. Get yourself a dehumidifier to clear the air and wipe all wet areas to make sure they are as dry as possible. If you do this every day you will prevent mould being able to make a home in your home.

3. Ventilate the house

It’s a delicate balance when looking at insulation versus ventilation, to know which one is more important. They are both equally important for different reasons, and if you have gone a bit over the top with insulation, this could be a solid reason why you have mould in the house. Air needs to be able to flow through the house to keep it dry, and if you don’t have airflow, your home will become humid and attract mould.

4. Seal cracks

Even the smallest cracks in your walls or ceilings can be a breeding ground for mould, and if you don’t seal up cracks you’ll run the risk of letting water into the home and therefore mould too. Seal up any small cracks and chips in your walls and this will make a big difference.

5. Clean the gutters

One way for mould to creep into the home is from above, and when water seeps into the foundation of your home the mould will follow. Cleaning your gutters will ensure that water doesn’t build up and end up seeping into the home without you realising. 

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For Enea Angelo Trevisan and Ealixir, better than solving the problem of cyberbullying is preventing it

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One of the most commentated news regarding Instagram for the past weeks was their investigation on whether to ban likes counter on the platform or not, but mostly from the perspective of marketing strategy. It turns out that the social media platform is actually considering this new feature as a means to avoid a much bigger problem: cyberbullying.

A recent studied carried by Pew Research Center showed that fifty-nine percent of teens reported to have experienced at least one of six types of abusive online behavior, cyberbullying included. Another concerning fact brought by the study shows that 16% of these teens were already subject of physical threat of some kind due to incidents in social media.

In addition to that, a report published by the Journal of Abnormal Psychology has highlighted the popularity of smartphones among teenagers – a statistic that only grew during the past seven years. “More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” stresses the study’s lead author, Jean Twenge, who also wrote the book iGen, in which he ponders about the influence of smartphones in teenage and child mental health.

Besides hiding how many likes a photo has received, Instagram is also considering another feature: a “nudge” alert that is activated while the user is still writing a comment that is flagged as potentially aggressive. According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, this could give an extra incentive for people to think twice before committing to an attack.

“Of all the obnoxious activities that can be carried out on the web, cyberbully is in my opinion the worst”, says Ealixir’s CEO and founder Enea Angelo Trevisan. “Cyberbullying targets those who cannot defend themselves: often minors or minorities. This is why one of our priorities as a company is to invest our technology in the fight against this plague.” In that sense, Ealixir gives support to individuals by making an early detection of offensive and troublesome contents, so they can be immediately erased and monitored to avoid further reloading. 

For Trevisan, the case for cyberbullying starts in schools, and this is the reason why Ealixir is also responsible for organizing sessions with children, so they can be warned about the dangers of the internet. “At this young age, kids think of internet as a huge playground. We teach them not to trust strangers and to think about the consequences of their virtual actions, exactly like in real life,” he explains.

Moreover, families also need to be aware of their children’s presence on the internet – they should not underestimate the possibilities and dangers of giving a smartphone to a child or a teen. “This is due to the fact that older generations were born and raised without the web, so they struggle to identify with their children. With Ealixir, we try and fill in this gap most of all through prevention, but also actively by deleting offensive contents and/or preventing harassment.

Besides monitoring and removing offensive contents published online, Ealixir also gives support to families and individuals who found themselves victims of cyberbullying by offering contact with specialized lawyers that can handle a case with expertise in the court. However, as much as in the case for health, prevention is the best scenario when coming to cyberbullying too, so internet literacy becomes an important competence to be learned by children for a healthier future of the web.

Sources: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-instagram-plans-to-take-a-stand-against-cyberbullying

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