What is Parler social network that Apple, Amazon and Google have suspended?

Apple, Amazon and Google have suspended the social network called parler saying that the platform has not taken enough measures to make sure that content inciting violence remains in check.

What is Parler?
It is a social media platform that is considered to be an alternative to Twitter and is popular with conservatives. The platform describes itself as being the world’s “premier free speech platform”. “Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being “deplatformed” for your views,” the website of the platform says.

Why was it suspended?
The move has come following the events of January 6 when an armed mob of Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and clashed with the police as Congress convened to validate Joe Biden’s presidential win.

The platform is favoured by right-leaning users and as per media reports was actively used by supporters of US President Donald Trump, including several of those who participated in the Capitol Hill siege.

In a letter addressed to the developers of the Parler app by Apple, which was published by The New York Times, the company said that the measures taken by Parler were inadequate “to address the proliferation of dangerous and objectionable content on your app”.

“Parler has not upheld its commitment to moderate and remove harmful or dangerous content encouraging violence and illegal activity, and is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines,” it said in the letter.

Amazon too has given similar reasons for banning the platform and maintains that the “violent content” on the website violates their terms of service.

The suspension means that users can no longer download the app from the Apple app store or the Google play store. Amazon, on the other hand, has suspended the platform from its web-hosting service called Amazon Web Services

A web hosting service is a mechanism through which companies provide space to websites on a physical server where they can store data and other information necessary for their websites to function. Since Parler was not able to find an alternative hosting service, it effectively went offline at 11:59 am PST on Sunday and will not be back up until it is able to find a new hosting service provider.

What does the suspension mean?

Following the siege, Trump’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were suspended by the two tech giants, a move which some of his critics have lauded. On Friday, Twitter wrote in a blog post “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

“In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open,” it added.

Twitter said that two tweets made by Trump on January 8 violated their “Glorification of Violence” policy, as a result of which his account was permanently suspended from the platform.

Even so, these moves taken by the tech giants in the last one week have reignited the debate on the power that tech companies have in censoring content. A report in The Financial Times said that while Trump’s critics have applauded his “deplatforming”, “which many say were long overdue. But others worry that the moves demonstrate how much political power has been built up by a handful of private companies.”

This, however, is not the first time that platforms have taken such an action. In October last year, YouTube announced that it would be taking additional measures to block content related to QAnon, a pro-Donald Trump conspiracy theory or movement. In July 2020, Twitter and TikTok blocked some hashtags and removed some accounts related to it and in August Facebook announced a ban on QAnon groups. Social networking website Reddit also banned one of its largest pro-Trump subreddits (a community forum), citing a violation in its updated policy on hate speech in July last year.

In 2019, the FBI said that fringe political conspiracy theories including QAnon are a domestic threat and likely to “motivate some domestic extremists, wholly or in part, to engage in criminal or violent activity.”

WIND ENERGY

ABOUT WIND ENERGY:

Wind energy is one of the renewable sources of energy. Wind energy is an important non-conventional source of energy. It does not contaminate, it is inexhaustible. Wind energy is one of the methods used to provide electricity. . Wind Energy and Wind Power Wind is an abundant resource on our planet. In wind energy, the wind is used to produce electricity using the kinetic energy created by air in the motion. This is then transformed into electrical energy using wind turbines or wind energy conversion systems. Air flows can be used to run turbines. Wind Power is also used for Pumping Water and Electricity. China is the world’s largest producer of wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity. It is currently booming and it has become one of the fastest-growing markets in the world today. Wind power is an alternative source to burning fossils, and it is plentiful, it is renewable, it is clean, it produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. Wind power is the most efficient technology to produce energy in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. It currently accounts for more than 3% of the global electricity consumption and is expected to reach 18% in 2050 according to data from the International Energy Agency.

PARTS OF WIND TURBINE:

In wind energy, the electricity is mainly gained with the help of the wind turbine. The different parts of the wind turbine are,

  • Blades:

Most wind turbines designed for the production of electricity have consisted of a two or three-bladed propeller rotating around a horizontal axis. A wind turbine turns wind energy into electricity using the aerodynamic force from the rotor blades, which work like an airplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. When wind flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases.

  • Rotor:

The rotor is one of the parts of the wind turbine. The energy in the wind turns two or three propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.

  • Pitch:

Pitch control is the technology used to operate and control the angle of the blades in a wind turbine.

  • Brake:

Mechanical wind turbine brakes have two main uses. They are applied as a backup method of holding the turbine in place for maintenance or repairs, in the case of a failure of the primary rotor lock system. Or in the case of emergencies, such as extreme gusts of the wind or too much speed.

  • Low-speed shaft:

In most large-scale turbines, the low-speed shaft is connected to a gearbox.

  • Gearbox:

A gearbox is typically used in a wind turbine to increase rotational speed from a low-speed rotor to a higher speed electrical generator.

  • Generator:

Wind turbines generate electricity by using wind power to drive an electrical generator.

  • Controller:

The wind farm controller’s function is “power management”. It can initiate and shut down the turbine operation as well as co-ordinate the operation of numerous wind turbines in response to environmental and operating conditions. The wind turbine supervisory controller manages the individual turbine operation.

  • Anemometer:

The anemometer measures wind speed. The wind turbine is only supposed to operate when the wind speed is within a certain range. The anemometer determines when the wind is within the defined range.

  • Wind Vane:

The wind vane, used for indicating wind direction, is one of the oldest meteorological instruments.

  • Nacelle:

The nacelle is the part of the turbine that houses the components that transform the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy to turn a generator that produces electricity.

  • High-speed shaft:

The high-speed shaft drives the generator which produces AC electrical current. Power cables transport electricity to the ground level.

  • Yaw drive:

The yaw drive is an important component of the horizontal axis wind turbines’ yaw system which is used to ensure the wind turbine is producing the maximal amount of electric energy at all times, the yaw drive is used to keep the rotor facing into the wind as the wind direction changes.

  • Yaw motor:

When wind direction changes, a turbine’s controls instruct its yaw motors to reposition the nacelle.

  • Tower:

The tower of the wind turbine carries the nacelle and the rotor.

ADVANTAGES OF WIND ENERGY:

  • An unlimited, free, and renewable resource is the wind.
  • Wind energy does not emit toxic substances or contaminants.
  • It is low-cost energy with a fairly stable price
  • Wind power will require nations to need less and less fuel sources to be imported as our energy will be fully sustained.
  • Wind power has some of the lowest environmental impacts of any source of electricity generation.
  • Wind energy is one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources.
  • Wind energy could generate a significant proportion of your electricity needs.
  • Wind turbines can also be installed at different heights to achieve stable energy production.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS AND HOW TO PRACTICE IT?

We all have heard the term “mindfulness” a lot of times. But many of us despite being aware of the term don’t know what mindfulness actually is. Some confuse it with meditation. But to your surprise, these two terms are pretty different.
So, what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of living which is achievable with a lot of practice. It is a process of connecting to your surroundings and being completely aware of them. Mindfulness is a practice which enables you to focus on being intensely aware of what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling, without interpretation and judgment.
In a sense, it lets you completely focus on “the now”. It is the acceptance of your thoughts and yourself.

Photo by Daniel Torobekov on Pexels.com

This might seem like a trivial thing and think to ourselves, “I’m completely aware of my surroundings. Maybe I was born mindful.” But no. The human mind tends to get distracted even by the smallest of things. We worry about the future so much that we forget to live in the present. Obsessive thoughts take us over and we leave our present and hop on to an imaginary time machine to travel back and forth in life. 

But one can’t go on travelling back and forth in time and feeling anxious. Here, mindfulness comes in as our saviour.

Now the question is how is mindfulness achieved and how to practice it? I’ve got you covered on this.
Mindfulness needs no equipment like candles, oils or mantras. Find a comfortable and peaceful place and meditate. Not your usual meditation where you may get distracted. But sit with a judgment-free mind, focus on your breathing and let the energy flow within you naturally. 

While sitting down, notice how your legs and arms move. Let your body loose, unclench your teeth, relax your muscles and let your gaze fall onto the ground.
While practising mindfulness, your mind may try to wander off in some distant land. Don’t panic and let it go for some but make sure to come back and focus on your breath. Notice how the air comes into your body and how it leaves. This wandering off may happen a few times but keep guiding your mind back to your breath. Remember this is a judgment-free zone. Give yourself a break and forget about all the worries and anxieties of the day for some time. Slowly, your body will start to feel light. Sit there for at least 10-15 minutes. When you think you are done lift your gaze and go on with your day but with more attentiveness.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

There are several other ways by which mindfulness can be achieved. The simplest one being, trying to stay attentive throughout the day. Noticing your actions, surroundings and movement of your body. Types of mindfulness practices include:

  • You can practice it while seating, walking, driving or even lying down.
  • Short breaks on our daily routines.
  • Combining it with physical activities like yoga.

Mindful meditation may look easy but it takes a lot of practice to be mindful in real sense. Keep practising and you will see the results soo. If you find it difficult to fit it into your schedule, you can download an app or can fix a particular time of the day. 

Something practised by thousands of people must come with a lot of benefits. And, it does. Mindfulness has several benefits which are visible in a short period of time. 

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Practising it for 8 weeks has been said to be transformative in many forms. 

  • It helps reduce stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure. 
  • It is also good for our hearts and improves the immune system. 
  • It also increases your attention span, improves sleep and controls diabetes (can only be controlled to a certain level and not cured). 
  • It has also shown a positive impact on relationships and eating disorders.
  • Makes your mind judgment-free and makes us kinder and warmer.

You don’t need to practice it every day, it said that practising it for even 4 times a week can prove to be useful. 
Mindfulness is not just a practice but it is a way of living. It is not toxic, harmful or obscure. And I don’t say it based on faith. It has scientifically and by experienced demonstrators proven that mindfulness does bring a change in the way you live.
In this chaotic and uncertain world, it helps you deal with your problems innovatively. Another plus point? It requires no change in yourself, it brings out the best in us as human beings.
Mindfulness is a great way to collide two different worlds, i.e., our mind and the world into one.

Scientists discover new state of matter: Liquid Glass

A team of scientists from Germany and the Netherlands have used a technology called confocal microscopy to discover a new state of matter, Liquid Glass, hidden inside mysterious transformations that happen between liquid and solid states of glass.

“Suspensions of colloidal particles are widely spread in nature and technology and have been studied intensely over more than a century,” said co-senior author Professor Andreas Zumbusch, Department of Chemistry, University of Konstanz. “When the density of such suspensions is increased to high volume fractions, often their structural dynamics are arrested in a disordered, glassy state before they can form an ordered structure.”

He also explained that till date such experiments were being performed using spherical colloids. However, an increased interest in synthetic colloids as material building blocks led to “development of a multitude of novel techniques for the synthesis of colloidal particles with specific geometries and interactions.”

The scientists, in this research, focused on ellipsoidal polymethylmethacrylate colloids. “Due to their distinct shapes our particles have orientation, as opposed to spherical particles, which gives rise to entirely new and previously unstudied kinds of complex behaviors,” he explained.

Researchers recorded temporal development of the 3D positions and orientations for nearly 6,000 ellipsoidal particles using confocal laser scanning microscopy. “At certain particle densities orientational motion froze whereas translational motion persisted, resulting in glassy states where the particles clustered to form local structures with similar orientation,” Zumbusch said.

“What we’ve termed liquid glass is a result of these clusters mutually obstructing each other and mediating characteristic long-range spatial correlations,” he explained. “These prevent the formation of a liquid crystal which would be the globally ordered state of matter expected from thermodynamics.”

As a result, the team noticed a regular phase transformation and a nonequilibrium phase transformation interacting with one another.

Road Safety Week

Who doesn’t love long drives? It is relaxing to drive after a long stressful week. But the fun and enjoyment can turn into trauma, if we encounter an accident. As per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways there were 4,49,002 road accidents recorded in India in the year 2019.

Road Accidents

Road accidents have become very common nowadays. As more and more people are buying automobiles, the incidences of road accidents are just increasing day by day. In year 2019, there were 4,49002 road accidents, killing 1,51,113 people and causing injury to 4,51,361 persons. This translates into an average of 1,230 accidents and 414 deaths every day and nearly 51 accidents and 17 deaths every hour (source: Ministry of road transport and highways). These accidents cause loss of life as well as material. People need to be more careful when on the road, no matter which mode of transport you use. To prevent the accidents we should follow all the traffic rules because not following traffic rules and guidelines could result in loss of life. Government and a few non-government organizations have taken the initiative to educate the people about road accidents and their prevention. 

Road Safety Week

Road safety week is celebrated from 11th January to 17th January every year with great joy and enthusiasm at many places in India.  People are encouraged about how to drive on the road by organizing a variety of programs related to road safety. During the whole week’s celebration, a variety of educational banners, safety posters, safety films, pocket guides and leaflets related to the road safety are distributed to the road travelers. 

Many commuters also explain about the methods and necessities of road safety. So that the people understand the use of helmets and seat belts while driving on the road or anywhere. They also tell the people about different rules, acts and laws related to road safety and encourage the people to follow them.

Various painting and drawing competitions, road safety advertisements, fairs, road rules tests, girls scooter rallies take place all around India to encourage the use of helmets, debates on road safety at the All India Radio, workshops, seminars, lectures etc. are organized during this week.

Free medical check-up camps and driving training workshops are organized for the drivers to encourage them towards road safety. This is done because generally, the drivers drive very fast to drop their customers to their destinations.

Road safety leaflets including roses, chocolates, and flowers are distributed to the travelers on the road. Road safety quiz contests are also organized to promote people about road safety. Traffic safety games including card games, puzzles, board games and etc are organized to educate school children about road safety.

Celebrating the road safety campaign was initiated by the ISS India HSE (Health Safety and Environment) in order to make people aware of the national road safety in the Indian subcontinent. India has a huge population of road travelers such as two-wheelers, four-wheelers on the road, that’s why we must know about road safety.