MUNICIPAL solid waste (MSW) has become a massive problem in India’s cities and towns and poses huge problems for public health, the environment and urban living conditions in general. About 170,000 tonnes of MSW are generated per day in the over 8,000 urban centres in the country. Most municipal bodies focus their work and funds on collection and transportation of these wastes, but little effort is put into their proper treatment and disposal.
STEPHEN Hawking had warned a few years back that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could spell the end of human race, a threat echoed by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Bill Gates, and many others. This is the apocalyptic vision that the robots we create, may decide we are an obsolete model deserving “retirement”. The truth, a more banal one, is that, are we letting machine algorithms take over what were human decisions earlier, decision making of the governments, the businesses and even ours.
A RECENT paper on a genome wide study of the South Asian population (A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals: BMC Evolutionary Biology, March 2017) strikingly confirms the work of historians, archaeologists and historical linguists. Data shows that there were indeed significant migrations from Eurasian steppes into South Asia, starting from 3,500 years ago. The South Asian population – current Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, and Sri Lankan population – have a significant central Asian component in their genetic make-up.
INDIA recently announced a goal to produce and sell only electric cars (presumably including two and three wheelers) by 2030, chiefly aiming to reduce the petroleum import bill and running cost of vehicles, while simultaneously reducing air pollution with attendant health benefits and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
US President Donald Trump made the shocking, but not unexpected, announcement last week that the US is pulling out of the Paris Agreement (PA) on climate change. 195 countries had endorsed PA last December and 147 nations have since ratified it.
The history of US betrayals of international climate agreements has thus repeated itself, the first time as tragedy, when President George W Bush walked out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 soon after being elected, and now as farce.
IN the wake of malware WannaCry infecting hundreds of thousands of computers using a stolen NSA hacking tool, Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft has blamed the nation-states in pursuit of cyber weapons, as a major danger to the people.
LAST week, the world woke up to the largest cyber security threat ever, with a ransomware wannacry originating from NSA's cache of cyber weapons, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers. Computers in more than 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware, with the users locked out of their vital files and data. The criminal group behind wannacry want $300 in bitcoin as ransom, for releasing the files back to their users. The ransom note, displayed on the hacked machines, also say that the ransom will double if the victims do not pay up within three days.
THE RSS linked Arogya Bharati has been running programmes for producing “fair, tall babies” with “high intelligence”; even if the parents are dark, short and with low intelligence. All this according to Arogya Bharati “experts” can be done by following Garbhasanskar, claimed to be ancient Indian wisdom. They have even set up Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra, a so-called research centre in Jamnagar, Gujrat. Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra not only promises the parents of “getting the best progeny”, but also the “desired sex of offspring”.
THE US has been positioning its aircraft carrier strike force Carl Vinson and USS Michigan, an Ohio class nuclear submarine, off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Trump has threatened that if China does not intervene, the US will “solve the problem” of a nuclear Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) “all by itself”; presumably through military strikes.