Sunday, August 1, 2021

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Human library #4 – Pavitra Rajaram

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The Ascent claims no ownership over this image.

by Siya Aggrawal

Good earth is advertised as a “Sustainable luxury with unique product stories and craft traditions that celebrate the heritage of the Indian subcontinent”. The products of this endearing store are not only visually appealing but also have a vibrant heritage and culturally rich tales behind them. The vivacious and unstoppable, Pavitra Rajaram conversed with us about her background, experiences and journey, that led her to be the lead designer and director of visual merchandising at the iconic and immersive brand, Good Earth.

Question: “How did your formative years contribute to your journey?”

“When I was around 12 or 13 I was often asked the question, “what do you want to do once you grow up”? I would answer it by saying ‘I want to have a shop with nice things.’ People would be shocked, because for a conservative South Indian family, the notion that your aspirations could revolve around something unrelated to medicine,engineering or mathematics is quite frightening. This led me to think  that the only way I could forge my own path was to pursue studies abroad as an undergrad. However, in 1985 this was an extremely daunting task. But I applied to four colleges and got into all of them. I decided on Smith’s College, for the only reason that I received a 100% scholarship there. This was an all-female university. Due to my experience in college, I learnt the importance of womanhood, sisterhood and how surrounding yourself with other females can be empowering. I was the president of my class and graduated with a double major in Politics and Art History. I spent my junior year engrossed in two internships. The first one was in Rome, where I spent 9 months restoring paintings. In those nine months I developed an interest in the story telling behind art, design and paintings. As part of my second internship I travelled to Bangladesh, where I saw women working in craft. Although I didn’t recognise it at the time, this was an extremely valuable experience and it contributed greatly to making me who I am today.”

Question: “What was your introduction into the working world?” 

“I happened to meet Jerry Rao, the CEO of Citibank, in DC, where I was offered a job. I then returned back to India to work with this  bank. It was here that I experienced my first failure, since I was an extremely useless banker. It did not call upon my skills nor was I remotely interested in the profession. I think this first failure was such a tremendously significant lesson for me to undergo because it helped me fully comprehend the importance of passion. I realised that If I didn’t feel passionately about something, I would not be able to give it my all. I understood that banking was not for me and I should make a step in another direction, but it was hard for me to find the courage to do so. At 23 years old, I became a young mother and lost my child. Facing such a tremendous tragedy forces you to reevaluate your life and it can make you choose between making it or breaking it. This caused me to take the plunge and leave my job at the bank, and move towards a completely different career choice in design. There’s a wonderful quote by Gengis Khan which I often think about at a turning point in my life, “If you’re afraid don’t do it, but if you do it, don’t be afraid”.”

Question: “What is the idea behind good earth?” 

“There are so many beautiful and culturally rich crafts, but the finest Indian craft has never been available to Indians themselves. We all travel abroad and that is where we see the best Indian products. Indian products in India were at the time mostly unoriginal substandard in one way or the other which led it to be not valued enough. When I met Anita, who shared my ideas about Indian craft, I was completely awestruck by her philosophy and her passion. Neither of us had any formal design training or background in art except a deep passion and interest. We eventually opened a store in Bombay on Jan 17th, 1996, called Good Earth. We had painted the walls of the small store ourselves, a tradition that I continued for my 25 years in Good Earth, because I felt like painting the walls brought out my involvement and my passion and it gave me so much joy. The day we opened the first store, we sold every single product and by evening we had a store but no more products to sell. And that’s how the process started. Every single thing in growth was learnt through a process of making mistakes through putting ourselves out there.”

Question: “Is there any advice you can give to young and creative entrepreneurs?”

“Many people believe that building a brand starts with going to the drawing board and having a simulation involving the calculation of the risk and spreadsheets with enormous amounts of planning. However, in my life, the most wonderful things have happened serendipitously through relying on my instinct. That is actually something that I consider one of the most important lessons from my journey with Good Earth — trusting yourself, and trusting your instincts. The importance of expression, especially in an oral culture like ours, where we experience things and we express it through words, expressions, and dance through how we engage with something. Because of this, I would say to any young aspiring designer, the most important thing is the voice of the customer. Since I spent 25 years on the floor of the shop, all my customers have taught me so much. We opened 9 stores in India and then in China and Turkey. The thing that I focused on consistently is, “voice of the customer”. This included trying to create products that have relevance, authentic stories, originality, and a positive impact on the planet and on people‘s lives. This didn’t spontaneously exist, It was a journey that occurred throughout many years and a vital component of this was consumer feedback. Consumer feedback became a means through which everyone had a voice. Whether it is the product itself or all the walls of the store, I will try to remain authentic and true to myself by attempting to piece together an experience rather than selling a product.“

Question: “Are there any learnings you have from your journey that led you to this point in your career?”

“To me, Good Earth became much more than just a store. The transaction between producer and consumer became the least important part of the equation. It is the joy that I receive by seeing something that I have contributed to creating being a part of someone’s life in their house. Sometimes I go to somebody’s house and I see them utilising a craft that I have created and they themselves don’t know that. Sometimes I think that we let go of this tradition of ownership. In the West it is an extremely common practice to sign your name to your craftsmanship and to declare ownership over it, but in the east and in Indian philosophy that is not the same case, because everything is collaborative and it is a team effort that requires cooperation from a multitude of sources. There is no such thing as ownership by one single human being in the Indian philosophy and I try to emanate that in my work. We believe that we are part of a continuum. Although ideas may not be original in our culture, what is authentic is my point of view, my sense of storytelling and the originality that I can bring to that moment. I believe that is my biggest takeaway from my entire journey up to this point. That and, regardless of whether you work in a creative business or in entrepreneurship: passion, engagement, the desire to be authentic and the motivation to be original should be present.” 

The Future of Genetic Engineering

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Source - https://barmstrong.medium.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-genetically-engineering-humans-49973778c349

by Anoushka Kumar

Genetic Engineering is the process of using rDNA technology, a technology that uses enzymes (proteins that accelerate chemical reactions) to alter the genetic makeup of an organism.

And it is far more prominent in our lives than most believe. In medicine it is used to mass-produce human-growth hormones, drugs, insulin, vaccines, and many more vital essentials.

In agriculture, genetic engineering is used to create genetically-modified crops to withstand harsh conditions, and other genetically-modified organisms. 

In research, organisms are genetically engineered to discover the functions of certain genes.It is used in industry by transforming microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast, or insect mammalian cells with gene coding for a useful protein. The genetic code is a set of rules detailing how the four-letter code of DNA is translated into the 20-letter code of amino acids, which are structural units that make up proteins.

Genetic engineering has already established itself as an integral part of our world. In fact, The BLS (Bureau of Labour Statistics) has reported that biomedical engineers can anticipate to see a 23% growth in demand for years between 2014 and 2024. 

And now, due to biotechnology’s rapid advancement, what were questions based on sci-fi movies, like genetically engineered humans, has become an ethics question. Genetic Engineering is something that might even reshape humanity; Jamie Metzl, author of the book ‘Hacking Darwin’ said ‘’Genetic engineering, in other words, could easily shift from being a health or lifestyle choice to becoming an imperative for survival.’’ 

Sources: https://www.economist.com/open-future/2019/04/25/how-genetic-engineering-will-reshape-humanity

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/2/15/14613878/national-academy-genome-editing-humans

Plastic Eating Bacteria

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Source - https://theconversation.com/how-plastic-eating-bacteria-actually-work-a-chemist-explains-95233

by Arjun Mehrotra

Plastic is one of the most ubiquitous materials ever. From our phones to our water bottles, plastic is all around us. It has a long life span, making it useful for storage. But what was once its biggest strength, is now its most fatal flaw. 

Plastic releases toxic chemicals into the air and takes thousands of years to decompose. Decomposition is the process by which substances are broken down naturally, meaning that they eventually turn into soil and are good for the environment. When materials such as plastic cant decompose, it means that they will stay there, in our landfills and our oceans taking up space and releasing harmful chemicals. This leads to an unhealthy ecosystem that can be downright dangerous. According to plasticoceans.org, more than 10 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans annually. More than a million marine animals are killed each year, due to this substance and the poisons it releases into their homes. Scientists estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. 

However, while things don’t look good for the Earth, there are still a few more solutions that may help us combat this evil polymer. Introducing Ideonella Sakaiensis, more commonly called the plastic-eating bacteria. The enzyme was first discovered in Japan,| in 2016, and has since then undergone many experiments to test the ropes and limits of its usage. . The bacteria is famously known due to its ability to eat polyethylene or PET, a very common plastic. Scientists have in recent years combined the plastic-eating bacteria with one that can eat cotton, thus producing a sort of “super enzyme” that could eat anything in a landfill. This is important because due to the lack of space in landfills most of them eventually get dumped into the ocean, so preventing this is essential.

A french company called Carbios has begun producing this enzyme and making demonstration plants to break down plastics. Carbios has partnered with companies such as Nestle and PepsiCo and could provide them with the necessary materials to recycle materials into their products.

While larger-scale industrial solutions using this bacteria are a few years away, its discovery could definitely help save our planet from plastic.

Steps Toward Gender Equality Through The Olympic Games

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Source - https://www.forbesindia.com/article/news-by-numbers/the-olympic-journey-towards-gender-equality/66919/1

by Amaara Bhupathi Chadda

Steps Toward Gender Equality Through The Olympic Games

Among the various causes for gender discrimination over the ages, one that remains and we need to consistently recognise and alter is our societal mindset. A big contributor to the change in this collective mindset is Sport. 

The world connects through sport in different ways – starting from our playgrounds as children, to having it be recreational as adults, some even choosing to take it up professionally as a career, or just enjoying and connecting through watching our favourite sports players or teams battle it out in various tournaments or events.

The Olympic Games is the biggest and most connecting platform in Sport, bringing together almost all nations of the World to a single venue to play for honour and glory for their countries. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was born in 1894 and the first Olympics was held in 1896, with no women participants!

Women were first invited to participate in 1900 in Women’s only events in Tennis and Golf, and some women participating in the Croquet, Equestrian and Sailing events. The total representation of women was 2.2% with just 22 ladies in 1900. We’ve come a long way from there having had 45% representation with 5,059 women having participated in 145 Women’s Events (which is 47.4% of the total 306 events) in 2016 Games at Rio. Getting even closer to the Olympic Movement’s target of 50% women participation, we can expect to see 48.8% representation from women athletes at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. There are 5 new sports introduced at the Tokyo Olympics – Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sports Climbing, Surfing – all of which include men and women participation, and contributing to the bringing about a completely gender-equal participation at the Olympics!

In addition to the positive trends in participation of women in Sport, the Olympic Movement also has consistently laid focus on women representation in decision-making positions in governing bodies. In 1981, the first two women were hired to be part of the IOC. The first woman on the IOC executive board was elected as recently as 1990. Progress through the years with women’s participation in decision making saw 3 IOC women Vice-Presidents, and all leading up to a stronger representation on the board today with four women members at 26.7% of the total.

A target of 30% women’s representation by 2020 had been achieved with 36 women out of a 100 active committee members contributing to the growth of the Olympic Games, as of January 2020.

In the latest big move to bring in gender equality across countries that may not have sent women athletes to the Olympics in the past, in March 2020 the Committee’s Executive Board put in place two key requirements for the Olympics starting with Tokyo this year – one of which is mandatory representation by at least one female and one male athlete at all Olympic Games henceforth, and the second which is a guideline change to include one female and one male representative to jointly bear their country’s flag at the Opening Ceremony. 

The commitment of the Olympic Movement towards gender equality is instrumental in worldwide progress on the cause, and also in encouraging separate Sporting committees to take up the cause at the level of their sport, all the way down to the grassroots level of participation of girls in sport at a very young age. We can do our bit to encourage women in sport by learning and participating ourselves, including our mothers, sisters and wives in the fun and excitement of sport, and also by watching the women at the Olympics with as much appreciation as we do the men!

Sources:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participation_of_women_in_the_Olympics
Factsheet: Women in the Olympic Movement – https://stillmed.olympic.org/media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/Factsheets-Reference-Documents/Women-in-the-Olympic-Movement/Factsheet-Women-in-the-Olympic-Movement.pdf

TENNIS RIVALRIES THAT HAVE MADE HISTORY!

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Source - https://www.sportskeeda.com/tennis/5-greatest-tennis-rivalries-of-all-time-sstl

by Ira Gandhi

From Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi all the way to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, tennis rivalries have been one of the most interesting parts of tennis and its history. In addition, rivalries have helped tennis maintain its position as one of the most popular sports in the world. With this in mind, let’s dive deep into the history of tennis and look at the top 5 tennis rivalries of all time! ( In a random order)

Laver – 11 Grand Slams

Rosewall – 8 Grand Slams

One of  the very first and biggest rivalries of tennis history from 1963 to 1977 were Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, both of whom were from Australia and grew up playing on grass. They went head to head 164 times but sadly most of those matches were before the open era began. Furthermore, out of those 164 matches Laver won 89 while Rosewall, only 75. In 1956 both of them toured in the amateur circuit but didn’t face each other.  They were known as two of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Grand slams

McEnroe -7 Grand Slams

 Connors -8 Grand Slams

Secondly we have John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors who before Sampras and Agassi were the top tennis duo. They were very alike with their hot tempers, love for the spotlight, ability to amaze the crowd, and never say never attitudes. However even though they were very alike they detested one another on court. Connors was on the upper hand in their rivalry until he lost 11 matches in a row to McEnroe between 1983 and 1986! Many say their fiercest battle was in the 1984 US Open semi-final which turned out to be their last match in a grand slam men’s singles tournament.

Grand slams

Sampras -14 Grand Slams

Agassi- 8 Grand Slams

Our third tennis duo is the great Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi who got to the scene just as McEnroe and Connors were fading and just in time to re-establish USAs role in men’s tennis. Their different styles of play, combinations and personalities is a big part of  what makes them great rivals and  catches the audience’s eye. Sampras had the upper hand in this rivalry. He had the better head-to-head record overall as well as in Slams (6-3). As mentioned before their personalities were one of the main things that made them different. Agassi was the wild one, with crazy hair, earrings and flashy outfits. Sampras was the simple and stoic one who rarely made the news.

Grand slams

Nadal – 20-Grand Slams

Federer – 30 – Grand Slams

Coming to the present day  we have the Federer – Nadal rivalry which has many parts but is mostly due to how different they are as people similar to Sampras and Agassi. Fedrer is calm and collected on court and mostly keeps a poker face while Nadal on the other hand is like a nearsighted rhino. He changed the game by showing such a kind of power and athleticism it hadn’t seen before. Another aspect of their rivalry is that Nadal is a lefty and Federer a righty making the leftys shots mirror images of the rightys. Overall their rivalry is definitely considered to be one of the greatest and is a tennis gamechanger.

Grand slams

Djokovic- 19 -Grand Slams

 Federer- 20 – Grand Slams

Lastly we have Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer who are two of the greatest hard court players of all time, and have made some of the most fascinating matches in tennis history. While Federer was off, defeating others like Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian, it was Djokovic who climbed up the ranks and placed himself on top. As far as scores go federer was alway just a little higher up until 2010 when in the coming 5 years djokovic evened things up by winning 16 of their 25 meets. By far Federer has only beaten Djokovic once, and has been ageing, giving the latter more opportunities for the future.

Tennis would be incomplete without the rivalries that went into it. It’s safe to say that the new generation and talent has a lot to bring so all we have to do is sit back and watch. 

For more information on these rivalries visitthis link.

Cloning an Animal Which Survived 24,000 Years

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Source - https://www.jagranjosh.com/current-affairs/microanimal-survives-24000-years-in-siberian-permafrost-1623148612-1

by Diya Barmecha

Our world lives in balance. For every few prey there are few predators. When the predators die out the prey increases and this is how the addition or subtraction of species affects everybody in the ecosystem. The bringing back of a species can help rejuvenate the environment as well as help scientists prevent endangered species from going extinct. De-extinction is also loosely known as the resurrection of animals that resemble or are extinct species. De-extinction research also leads to many developments in the treatment of endangered animals. 

As mentioned above, the extinction of any animal affects every other animal in the vicinity. One of the easiest and most widely proposed ways to de-extinct is to clone the animal found. This is done by creating a new multicellular organism which is in most ways genetically identical to the host organism. This is an asexual form of reporudtion where fertilisation or any inter-gamete conatnct does not occor. The first ever cloning of an extinct animal was done in 2003. The Pyrenean Ibex was cloned at the center of Food technology and Research of Aragon. They used the frozen cells of the skin samples they had found from the Ibexand some domesticated goat egg cells. 

Likewise, on June 10th, 2021 a similar case occurred. Russian scientists in the Arctic Siberian Permafrost found microscopic animals that had been in slumber for a long time. They justified this by saying that in an animal’s natural habitat, some organisms can be “preserved for hundreds to tens of thousands of years.” The radiocardboning of the animal showed that this animal was 24,000 years old. 

The animal in particular found was a multicellular animal called Bdelloid rotifers. They typically live in watery environments and have the ability to survive low temperatures due to their cell shielding mechanisms to protect their organs. They are more commonly known as the wheel animals due to their wheel-like ring of tiny hairs surrounding their mouths. Although they are known to survive and thrive in generally low temperature regions, earlier they had only been able to survive up to 10 years in a frozen state. However, with this revival of animals the scientists of Russia are able to understand this multicellular animal better as well as help develop their characteristics to benefit society. By isolating the organ, characteristic and mechanism and closing it, scientists are able to develop it into medicines, procedures and even learn from it. 

The Rotifers suspend most of their metabolism and accumulate some proteins to help them recover from cryptobiosis or the state of being immobile for very long until conditions improve. They also have mechanisms to repair damned DNA to protect the cells against the harmful moleculare. DNA is the most important element of our body which codes for our proteins and makes each human unique in their own way. 

With the help of DNA we are able to understand what makes each organism special and the scientists need to just create an exact copy of the host organism DNA to create an organism just like it. This process of cloning could be the answer to most animal related problems in the modern world. According to Stas Malavin,  a researcher at the Soil Cryology Laboratory at the Puschkino Scientific Center for Biological Research in Russia, this discovery is proof that such multicellular organisms can live for tens of thousands of years in a slumber. 

This discovery is very important as cloning extinct animals can lead to advancements within many scientific technologies and processes. The more knowledge we possess and the most sources we have, the wider range of help the scientist can provide. With many tries of cloning, the process itself can also improve. This discovery can help to study previously extinct animals and research cures to some diseases relating to the weider species. This knowledge can help us find ways for many species to be prevented from extinction. This would change the way we think about the ecosystem as well as the entire concept of balance.

This 24,000 year old animal has just shown us that if viable DNA is found on the skin, or cell of any animal,it can be copied and brought back to life. This would mean that an animal can be stored for thousands of years in their natural frozen habitat only to be revived and cloned years later. The idea of cloning dinosaurs or other extinct animals has always seemed like the works of a movie. However, with each discovery the idea of an animal truly going extinct is not going to be an option. Science has better plans for our animals…

Psychology In Sports

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Source - https://www.onlinepsychologydegree.info/faq/what-careers-are-in-sports-psychology/

by Aahana Khemani

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behavior, according to the American Psychological Association.” Writes Dr. Saul McLeod. “Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such areas as human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes.” Dr. McLeod continues. The major goals of psychology include describing behaviour, explaining behaviour, creating predictions relating to how we think and act, and last but not least, change and influence behaviour in order to create constructive and lasting changes. As one can conclude from these goals and this procedure, psychology is a very scientific field which also has a connection with logic and presence of mind. Psychology is the art of mind and behaviour, and applies to multiple fields. One of these fields is sports. Psychology plays an immense role in sports. As we know, sports is about determination, passion, effort, and such of the sort. Therefore, psychology relates to not only the physical aspect that goes into sports, but even the mindset and behaviour that is an enormous element of sports. 

“Sport Psychology addresses the interactions between psychology and sport performance, including the psychological aspects of optimal athletic performance, the psychological care and well-being of athletes, coaches, and sport organizations, and the connection between physical and psychological functioning.” Writes Psychology Today. Sports psychology covers a range of topics, some including attentional focus, visualisation and goal setting, motivation and team-building, coping with anxiety, and rehabilitation. For athletic achievers, having a well-rounded and positive mindset around sport psychology can take them a long way. 

How do we know if sports psychology is successful? Apart from case study’s conclusions proving psychological preparation has an impact on athletes performances, successful and renowned athletes such as Michael Jordan cite psychological preparation needing to be successful as being 80% of the game. Additionally, studies have figured that psychology in sport performance contributes around 45 and 48%, but when psychological variables are adjoined, the percentage rises to approximately 79% and 85%. Olympic Beach Volleyball Player Kerri Walsh Jennings says in regards to mental control, “There is something so simple about owning your thoughts and being aware of the fact that my mind is racing, let me bring it back to center—that is a big deal. It’s helped me a lot on my focus and endurance.” Through studies and statistical evidence, through experience and experiential evidence, we can see what a large role psychology has in sports, and how successful it has been previously, in the present, and how it should continue to do so. 

Examining the life of an athlete, and the competition pressure, the supporters pressure, the pressure to do well, is extreme. The stress of nailing their sport correctly, and playing well, is indefinite. However, psychology has contributed in ways unimaginable. Psychology, if explained accurately, could take a footballer to a tennis player, a wrestler to a gymnast. It could and can prevent disasters. Therefore, having psychology to help an athlete understand determination, patience, and such of the sort, is extremely important. So, in conclusion, we know that psychology has a great impact on sports, and athletes. However, it can be extremely handy for everyone, whether you are a student or a teacher, a doctor or an engineer!

Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets – The Series Recap

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Source - https://crowdwisdom.live/2021/04/boston-celtics-vs-brooklyn-nets-nba-odds-and-predictions/

by Tara Hebbar

The NBA playoffs. Weeks of excitement and entertainment, injuries and successes, celebrations and disappointments. In a time where the entirety of the world was in desperate need of hope, the playoffs laid it at our doorsteps. The cogs and workings of an NBA playoffs are simple. There are two conferences, the Eastern and Western, each comprising 15 teams. Out of these, 8 teams qualify for the playoffs, by winning more games than those below them. The team on top plays the team in the bottom, second plays seventh, third plays sixth and fourth and fifth battle it out. In order to “win” their series in each round, the team must win four out of 7 possible games. 

One of the 4 eastern conference matchups was the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn nets, by virtue of them being 7th and 2nd on the points table respectively. The Celtics had recently secured this position as they beat the Washington wizards in the Play ins. A more contemporary NBA concept, which provides teams in the 9th and 10th place a chance into the playoffs.  For those unaware of its functioning, 7th and 8th play for the 7th place. The loser plays the winner of the 9th and 10th, with the winner of that securing themselves the 8th and last playoff position. The Celtics, being 7th, cemented their place by taming Russel Westbrook and beating the Wizards, 118 – 110 as Jason Tatum dropped 50 points.

As the first game (Celtics vs Nets), played on the 22nd of May, approached, the Cetlics were the clear underdogs. Analysts, players and commentators among others, wrote them off before the series even began, with many even going far enough to assure them being swept (losing in 4 games; 4 – 0). This first game was to be played at Barclays Centre, home court of the Nets. Some things to note-

  • This was one of the first games where the big 3 were playing together for the Nets. Them being, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. Therefore, the big question was regarding their ability to work together.
  • Jaylen Brown, Celtics All Star, was out for the rest of the season, with a wrist injury, a huge loss for the Celtics.

As the jump ball marked the beginning of the game, it was clear that the Celtics were in it to win it. They controlled much of the first half, and managed to control the big 3 with their quick paced offense and efficient defense, things were looking positive for the Celtics. Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Kemba Walker and Jason Tatum were all looking ready to score some big points for the team. The second half, however, saw the mojo of the Nets return, as they stole the momentum from the Celtics who always have struggled in clutch. Durant and Irving played several shots from downtown, the paint and finished the game on top, winning 104 – 93. KD (Kevin Durant) scored 32 and had 12 rebounds by the end of the game, and James Harden’s role became clear. He was going to score, but was going to be more of a playmaker. His assists were a big part of the game and allowed KD and Irving to work their magic. “I think once your energy is focused on the defensive side of the ball, it will start to turn for you,” Durant said. ”So you saw that for us in the second half.” On the other side of the court, Jason Tatum finished the night with 22 points, and Robert Williams with 9 blocks and rebounds. However, they were unable to match the basketball put up by the Nets in the second half. The Celtics just managed to score 40 points in the second half, with a meger 37% scoring percentage. There were also some records set in the game, Brooklyn had it’s 39th different starting line up, a franchise record. KD also moved into 9th place with playoff points (4, 075), moving above Tony Parker (4, 045). It was 1 – 0 to the Nets after Game 1. 

The second game began with as much aplomb, this time from the Nets. This game took place at the Barclays centre as well. This game, in addition to the Big 3, Joe Harris showed he belonged, with 7 three pointers and 25 points, tying the franchise record and giving him a playoff career high. Although the Celtics tried to keep the Big 3 under check, they had no answer for the most accurate 3 point shooter in the league. This time, the Celtics barely stood a chance, they were routed through and through. It showed, as their star player, Jason Tatum left the game 21 minutes in, with a poked eye, with only 9 points, and a 3 for 12 shooting. The most points was scored by Marcus Smart (19) for the Celtics, followed by Walker’s 17. For the Nets, Durant had 26 points and Irving 15. Regarding the game, Celtics coach, Brad Stevens, had this to say, “”We’ve got to be way better, they exposed that because they were really good, but I was disappointed in how we played versus the other night.” As of game 2, it was 2 -0 to the Nets, and things were beginning to look dim for the Boston Celtics.

Game 2 must have served as a wake up call for the Celtics, as both their level of basketball and attitude took a turn in Game 3. This was the first game at TD Garden, home court of the Celtics and the tension between Irving (ex Cetlic) and Boston Fans was almost tangible, with fans booing at him and chanting his name when he made mistakes. In this game, the Nets looked to charge ahead, while the Celtics looked to eat into the lead of the Nets and trim the deficit. This game there was one star that shone brighter than the others. Jason Tatum used the home game to show off his array of skills, drives, jumpers, 3’s and step backs and finish by dropping a 50 bomb on the Big 3 and the Nets. By the time he had finished, the Celtics were 125 to the Nets 119, with him having one of the best playoff games in franchise history and the Nets sweeping dreams tossed out the window. He joined several Celtics legends in the playoff 50’s club, some being Ray Allen, Isaiah Thomas and Bob Cousy. James Harden also had a good game, with 41 points, however, it wasn’t enough to contain Tatum and the Celtics that night. Compared to their 39.7% shooting in the past two games, this game’s 50.6% was the answer to their victory. Smart contributed 23, with Tristan Thompson also uplifting the team with his 19 points and 13 rebounds. Kemba Walker was one of few Celtics to have a rough time that night. Thus, after Game 3, it was 2 – 1, leaving the Celtics with a ray of hope.

Game 4 was also at TD Garden, and expectations were high on the Celtics, who had come off a spectacular game a couple nights previously. Things didn’t look good for the Cetlics before the game began, with both Robert Williams and Kemba Walker out for health concerns. This just mirrored the Celtics luck for the rest of that game. The Big 3 went off, and Jason Tatums 40 points wasn’t enough to put a lid on it, losing the Celtics the game, 141 – 126. Kyries 39 and Durants 42 wasn’t the biggest news in that game, however. The animosity between Celtics Fans and Irving was on display in this game. Apart from the swears and jeers, Irving was almost hit by a bottle thrown by a fan on his way out of the arena. The man (wearing a Kevin Garnett jersey) was immediately taken out of the arena in handcuffs by the police. Kevin Durant had something to say about this, “’Fans have got to grow up at some point,’ I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic has got a lot of people on edge, has got a lot of people stressed out. But when you come to these games you’ve got to realize: These men are human. We’re not animals. We’re not in the circus. Marcus Smart also made a comment, “One bad seed doesn’t mean that the whole fruit is poisoned, our fans have been great. We just had a knucklehead do something knucklehead-ish and it got taken care of, so we’re happy for that.” Game 4 left the Nets racing ahead, 3 -1. Going back to Brooklyn, things looked grim for Boston.

Game 5, a do or die game for the Boston Celtics and a chance to clinch the series for the Nets. Each game, someone new stepped up. This time, it was James Harden for the Nets. He had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, a triple double, leading the Nets into the victory for the series, winning the game 123 – 109. Although the game and lead was largely the Nets, the Celtics hung on, however, they were never able to pull themselves up. Although Fournier and Tatum tried to pull it together for the Celtics, the absence of Walker and Wlliams and the Big 3 proved to be too big of a hurdle for them to overcome. Nets 51% FG% (Field Goal Percentage) vs the Cetlcis mere 43% was one of many reasons that led to the domination of the Nets and the downfall of the Cetlcis through the series. This 5th and last game of the series for the Nets and last of the season for Cetlcis was over at 4 – 1.

No-one can deny the fact that the Celtics fought hard for their place in the playoffs and series, and had their fair share of bad luck and injuries, however, the Nets were too strong for the Celtics this time. The question is, what’s next for both teams? The Nets will move onto the second round to play the Milwaukee Bucks, who beat the Miami Heat to make it there. This series will be an intriguing one, with the match up of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. ”We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Durant said. ”I mean, he’s a two-time MVP, Defensive Player of the Year for a reason, so we’re looking forward to the challenge.” For the Celitcs, there have been some big changes. President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge has retired, and Brad Stevens is now the new president. This means, the Celtics are in the market for a new head coach. In addition to this, the Celtics will need to make some trade decisions in order to better suit their bench to compliment stars Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who will make a comeback next season. With a young team and eager bench, all Celtics need is a couple of smart trades, to make them a championship team. Meanwhile, all Celtics players will be watching to see where their defeated the Nets make it this postseason.

Goldilocks Planets

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Source - https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2016-02-22/goldilocks-zones-habitable-zone-astrobiology-exoplanets/6907836

by Arav Barmecha

(This part of the Ascent Summer Program)

Have you heard of Goldilocks’ tale ? 

 At the beginning of the story, Goldilocks enters a house and sees three bowls of porridge. She tastes the first one and jumps back saying it is too hot. She tastes the second one but it is cold as ice. Finally, she tastes the last one and it is just right. Perfect for the Goldilocks. It is the story of 3 choices, whether it is furniture or food.

Now, imagine that the first bowl represents the sun, the second, t Neptune and the last bowl represents our Earth. The universe is an extremely big place, so you would assume it would be easy for humans to find a new planet to expand to — but,here’s a catch! Humans can only survive on a planet with optimal conditions. Humans require food, water, oxygen, and shelter. Humans also need the planet to have a temperature that keeps surface water in a liquid state

. If the planet is too cold then the water will freeze making it solid, if the planet is too hot then the water will evaporate and turn into a gaseous state, a Goldilocks planet has a temperature that is just right. 

What makes a Goldilocks planet different from all the other planets is that these rare planets are not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface. “The only life we know about is our carbon-based life, and water plays a crucial part in our own existence, and so it’s only natural that we direct our attention to planets in locations capable of having liquid water,” Professor John Webb of the University of New South Wales said.  Finding a planet like ours is no easy job but there are people from all over the Earth who are devoting their time and money to find other planets out there. Humans have detected 1780 Goldilocks planets in the entire universe, and 16 in our star’s habitable zone. Once we obtain the technology to travel to and colonize the planets we will make our ascent towards a multitude of planets capable of living.

Human Library #3 – Zirak Marker

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The Ascent claims no ownership over this image.

by Siya Aggarwal

Understanding Mental health amidst Uncertainty with Dr. Zirak Marker.

The second speaker as part of the Human Library series is a distinguished child and adult psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Dr. Zirak Marker has more than 19 years of professional background in the field of Educational Psychology. He has graduated with an MBBS from DY Patil University and DNB in Psychiatry along with clinical training. Today, Dr. Marker is the “Medical Director of the Aditya Birla Integrated School for children with learning disabilities and psychological/emotional problems.”

Question: How did your journey in psychiatry beigain? 

“I don’t think I was particularly inclined towards this field initially, and this profession was a discovery along my journey. Apart from going through schooling, there was really no option in those days. I was also told by my family that I have to pursue a career in medicine and become a good doctor. That was the foundation from which my journey began. After that, strangely enough, I was very keen to specialize in ophthalmology and it was my dream to become an eye surgeon. At the time there were extreme challenges when it came to lack of availability with seats and the percentages that were admitted. I was never a topper in terms of being a 95% student. So while applying to institutes in our forms we had to specify option one option to option three. My second option was psychiatry. There were only four seats available in ophthalmology, and I did not make the cut and that is how I got into psychiatry. The journey post shows what is the pricing enough to do with the movie called “The sixth sense”. There was Bruce Willis as a child psychiatrist and I think that truly fascinated me and brought me closer to this subject” 

Question: What was your mental health like in your youth?

“Through my experiences in school, I did not have the best of times. Between grades 8, 9, and 10 I think I have had the worst years of my life. I was extremely terribly ragged and bullied in school by my close friends who I knew since primary school. Kids can become really nasty during those times and they turned against me.. The bullying varied from verbal to emotional and even physical harm. At the same time, my mom got diagnosed with cancer. In those days there was no real mental health support, there was no concept of counseling or anything along those lines. All of this accumulated and eventually,  I realised the importance of mental health not just for children and the youth but for everybody around.”

Question: Could you tell us a little bit more about that importance of mental health 

“Parents need it today, children need it today, Unfortunately so, I also feel that mental health is still a taboo . In these times which we like to refer to as uncertain times we all need outlets. Even the concept of mental health itself is for some reason connected to suicide, what people read in the news, examples such as Sushant Singh Rajput that has become this sensation. People don’t realize that mental health itself is a continuum. When I use the word continuum it starts with well-being and progresses into the other part of the spectrum being an illness. 

Question: What is the reality of the general state of mental health today? 

“We have to acknowledge the reality that one infour people today in this world have a mental health concern or a mental health illness (World Health Organisation). The same statistics also show that India is the most depressed country in the world. The scariest ofstatics to have recently come out says that there is one suicide attempt every 3seconds and one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The statistics are just to provide you with the concerns about mental health and how it is slowly emerging and going to become a crisis. Another very scary statistic says that 50% of all mental health concerns start from the age of 14. We can’t even say that children are protected from mental health aspects. In fact, it begins in the childhood and adolescent years. As educators, parents,adults or anyone who deals with the youth needs to understand the dire importance of this. The stigma of society is such that by the time there is an onset of a mental health concern until the treatment it takes 8 to 10 years. This is the result of the terrible stigma and the basis that’s around mental health. For parents it’s like a judgement they always feel like people will look at them as a sign of weakness due to the labelling that will surround them.  They look at it as a sense of feeling on themselves or on the child. A huge aspect of why mental health care doesn’t reach the people who need it is also a lack of awareness. There are so many people in the youth going through clinical depression and severe anxiety or panic attacks and things like that but they feel like it’s part of who they are or part of who they are becoming and they don’t even realise that it’s an actual concern. Another typical myth is that “you have to be really crazy and then you go and see a professional”. That’s completely not true , we do not prescribe medication on a whim etc. Even having someone to talk to can be beneficial”

Dr. Marker provided us with not only an informative session but allowed us to acknowledge that what we feel is valid, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in seeking help. Society requires a mindset change regarding mental health. He gave us a reality check illustrating the importance of mental health. His personal experiences paired with his professional expertise enabled us to take away many lifelong learnings. 

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