Binge watching and Mankind

We humans are the masters of our domain. At times, us, the masters go berserk by certain pursuits. We do go overboard with things, from petty tasks to pursuits complex.

I believe the quote, “Nothing to extremes, everything in moderations”, from the remarkable book ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’, by writer Robin Sharma is something we all should adhere to. In all aspects of life.

We humans are masters of passing time.
It doesn’t matter where we’re, or what we have, we’ll inevitably find ways to destress or to chill.

We’re the lords who have mastered the art of passing time. Everyone’s a Picasso or your own ‘unique being’ for this matter.

But when the phenomenon of ‘fomo’ (fear of missing out) kicks in, beings scramble to ‘fit in’. To find a firm ground to socialise with fellow beings. Gradually paving the way for losing bits and pieces of oneself.

The recent trends of passing timeBinge watching has proven the point well.

It has united the world, that was once divided. Surveys have shown that almost all the generations; especially ‘generation z’ and ‘millennials’, have been ‘swept off their feet’ by a plethora of content to stream and chill.

For the ones that were living under a rock, the ones unaware, binge-watching refers watching far too many episodes of a tv series at one go. It’s funny I guess tv series’ are a thing of the past now. Web series’ being the new black.

Netflix was the catalyst for such a mammoth change in the lives of many. By releasing the entire season of a series to watch all at once. Doing away with the process of having to wait out a new episode every week.

This fast paced life has made such anticipation seem surreal or nerve wrecking to be aptly put. Killing the beauty of waiting.

I guess sometimes you do have to give it time. If not, you lose sight of the whatever’s beautiful in this world in the process.

A true testament that change is part of nature’s way. Embrace the change and go with the flow, or get drowned in the process.

The struggle was real earlier. A few years back, privileged were the ones that had umpteen storage facilities and a high speed internet connection. But the transmission of life into digital has made the struggles fade.

The struggle now is settling on what to watch and finish it before any spoilers. With traditional cable tvs’, cinemas and movies taking the hit in the process. Transforming the entertainment world by a few hundred steps stcsdym a time. The changes are abysmal.

The ‘work from home’ culture just fuelling the way for major streaming platforms to sow millions in this times of crisis. With too much time in hand, people going frenzy to fit in something or the other into their lives to pass time.

Like I mentioned earlier, not adhering to moderations has its own antagonising effects. The binge watching culture has made several beings vulnerable to numerous health conditions.

Having a toll on the body and the mind. Two spectrums of well-being, taking severe hits by the 4G and 5G spectrums, causing many a imbalances in the lives of mankind, as a whole.

Experts have commented that the new culture of bingeing has adverse impacts on health, as the excessive indulgence has thrown the dopamine levels of the body off the charts.

Dopamine being a chemical produced naturally in the body, is a neurotransmitter, which regulates many a actions of our bodies.

The health problems involving both physical and mental. Ranging from severe medical conditions like insomnia, chronic boredom, apathy to depression. The physical effects ranging from cardiovascular diseases, thrombosis and other vision related diseases.


The excessive snacking whilst bingeing also affecting the tummy areas too. Transforming generously the packs into a vast ‘single pack’ in the process.

All this rambling might make me sound like a boomer trying to bully the younger generations. But in all honesty, if you don’t care to stop and analyse what’s happening, then whole of life will slip away before you take notice.

Periodic reality checks should be squeezed into the equation of life. For a better and beautiful tomorrow.

For “Tomorrow has no reality, since every day is experienced as today”, excessive indulgence today might fade out all our realities amidst a global pandemic.

Succulents

Succulents are indoor plants which can grow with very little water. They are ornamental plants and are used to decorate spaces for their interesting shapes and colours. If you are in search of house plants which can thrive with little care succulents are for you. Over the last few years succulents have grown very popular. There are hundreds of unique varieties and one doesn’t need gardening skills to care for them, anyone can grow them. They have special water storing tissues which help them to grow even in very dry conditions which is not favorable for most other plants. So, they are ideal for growing in your living room. They are also very easy to find in nurseries and shops.  

In botany, succulent are plants which are thick and fleshy to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. The word succulent comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning ‘juice’, or ‘sap’. These plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems. The natural habitats of these water preserving plants are in areas where there is high temperatures and low rainfall, like deserts. Having the ability to thrive on limited water sources, such as mist and dew, succulents are equipped to survive in an ecosystem with scarce water sources. In horticulture, the term succulent regularly excludes cacti. However in botanical terminology, cacti fall under succulents.  

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Some easy to grow succulent varieties are –  

Burro’s tail – It is a trailing succulent that looks good in a hanging basket or container so it can drape over. The stems can reach up to 3 feet long and have gray-green leaves which looks like the grains of rice. Although it rarely blooms, pink or red flowers might be visible at the end of the stems in summer.  

Christmas Cactus – It has flat segmented stems like crab claws which gives it the nick name crab claw cactus. It also prefers a bit more moisture so you can water it whenever the top inch of soil in the container is dry. Keeping it in bright light near a window, can make it bloom in winter.  

Hens and Chickens – It is a very common type of succulent and is characterised by flower like structures with round edges. They are actually two different plants which look very simmilar. They have star shaped flowers.  

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Aloevera – It has long slender leaves with sharp teeth like edges. It’s well known for its sap which is used to treat skin diseases and heal wounds. Aloevera is a easy to grow houseplant and is tough to kill.  

Snake Plant –  They have thick, stiff and pointed leaves which grow straight up to 3 feet long. Having a patterned marking makes it look like a snake and hence the name. It will multiply and grow leading to filling the whole pot. It might require you to divide it in different pots.  

African Milk Tree – It is capable of growing upto nine feet tall in natural habitat, and it isn’t actually a tree. As a houseplant, this succulent reaches up to three feet tall, producing upright, triangular, branched stems bordered with short sharp thorns. The tips of the green stems have small leaves with a reddish tinge. 

Zebra Haworthia – It has striking stripes and spiky foliage which makes it look like a rare and exotic plant, but it’s often available at plant shops and is very easy-going when it comes to taking care of. It will stay small within 5 inches.  

Social Media surveillance

In the past decade, social media has gone from being extra entertaining to a fully integrated part of our lives. Social media is a good way to keep in touch with friends, families, and acquaintances, especially in the contemporary world. But it is not only being used by us but governments as well to keep in touch with its citizens. Governments are increasingly purchasing cutting edge technology to keep an eye on its citizens’ behavior on social media. This form of mass surveillance has made its way to a range of countries, from authoritarian powers to smaller and poorer countries. Coupled with an alarming rise in the number of countries where social media users have been arrested for their legitimate online activities, the growing employment of social media surveillance threatens to squeeze the space for civic activism on digital platforms. For e.g. in 2017, at least 7 people were arrested for posting ‘objectionable’ posts on social media against newly elected Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. As quickly as social media has insinuated into politics, the workplace, and elsewhere it continues to evolve at lightning speed making it a conundrum to guess which way it will morph next. Social media is not a utility, where people care about whether it works or not, rather people look for new hot things especially the younger generation.

Social media surveillance refers to the collection and processing of personal data pulled from digital communication platforms, often through automated technology that allows for real-time aggregation, organization, and analysis of large amounts of metadata and content. Governments have long employed people to monitor speech on social media, including by creating fraudulent accounts to connect with real-life users and gain access to networks. With the colossal amount of personal data people willingly release on social media, government agencies can easily collect and analyze populations of people as they please. Authorities in Iran have a legion of volunteers who monitor online speech. Any citizen can report for duty on the Cyber Police (FATA) website. Similarly, the ruling Communist Party in China has recruited thousands of individuals to sift through the internet and report problematic content and accounts to authorities. In India, various political parties have IT cells, although BJP has allegedly the strongest IT-cell. These groups not only monitor social media platforms but also are responsible for hate comments, cleaning some one’s image, or spread fake news. The market for social media surveillance has grown by large, giving intelligence and law enforcement agencies new tools for combing through massive amounts of information. Justifying their efforts in the name of enhancing security, limiting disinformation, and ensuring public order, governments have effectively co-opted social media platforms. While these platforms typically present themselves as social connectors and community builders, state agencies in repressive countries see them as vast storehouses of speech and personal information that can be observed, collected, and analyzed to detect and suppress dissent. Often the explanations leading to the arrests are stated that “the material was provocative and could lead to communal clash”, but it reflects the incompetency of the state to maintain harmony, and increased intolerance.China is a leader in developing, employing, and exporting social media surveillance tools. Its agencies work closely with leading companies to monitor individuals online. A complex web of regulations gives the Chinese state access to user content and metadata, allowing authorities to more easily identify and reprimand users who share sensitive content. Freedom of Net 2019: The Crisis of Social Media, examined 65 nations worldwide to find out, China topped the list of “World’s worst abuser of internet freedom” for 4 years in a row. In contrast, Iceland was “The World’s best protector of internet freedom”. India scored 55 out of 100 and was declared “partly free”. With the Internet restrictions closing in, it is a warning call to wake up to your rights.

What’s most alarming is how populist leaders and far-right groups have grown adept not only at creating viral disinformation but also at harnessing networks that disseminate it. The majority of the disinformation, wrote the authors, are from domestic sources rather than foreign interference.

Strong protections for democratic freedoms are necessary to ensure that the internet does not become a Trojan horse for tyranny and oppression,as technology advances to greater heights, the protection of our citizens must be greater as well.

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