A Vision for the Future, Short and Long

Note:

  1. This post is dedicated primarily to Punjab state, India, since elections are coming next year, and I’ve volunteered to give ideas for its future.
  2. Others can use and benefit too, if they will, but whoever uses this, they have to give me credit for my ideas! And no, I don’t include articles linked here outside my blog.

 

EDUCATION

I believe I’ve already addressed this here, however I believe there’s no harm in reiterating it in this post. But this time, I’ll brief it in steps.

  1. Incorporate sports activities in school curricula, because only if people are fit and able, will they be able to study well and work well. The reason most people today are unhealthy and get cardiac arrests very early in life is because they’re out of shape (either hideously skinny or goth-like) due to reduced physical activities and sedentary lifestyles. This must change.
  2. Make students think more. Doing assignments for grades is a must. Please refer to Coursera and edX to see how they work. Plenty of Indian students in both platforms.
  3. Rote learning is only a starter. One can’t drive a car in the first gear from start to finish. Time to pick up. This is for schools.
  4. Now on to colleges, rather than opening more and more colleges due to more students, open web platforms like MEC and MVA so more students can enroll. And I don’t mean free, I mean for a cost of a few thousand bucks per subject. Turn the remaining colleges into platforms for hands-on experience. Let them build gadgets, build robots, build engines, use aircraft simulators to learn flying, etc. there.
  5. Point 2 above stands valid in college as well. My idea of attending university is three days a week for practical hands-on learning, and every other day for subject lectures and assignments, from home. It’s really awful seeing people dying from stroke due to increasing heat almost every year! Assignments can be submitted via email.
  6. My idea of an exam is a proctored exam, that is, an open book and no Internet access test wherein students must think carefully by themselves and can use their books for reference alone, otherwise which the book holds no direct use for the exam. And again charge a few thousand bucks for each such proctored exam (subject-wise).
  7. CREATE AN FAQ SECTION FOR EACH SUBJECT. A crucial aspect of future (online) learning. A Frequently Asked Questions section is mandatory in relieving the pressure off professors. It must contain a general rules/guidelines section and must also include a subject based section with questions from students who have previously enrolled and finished the subject course, so TAs can redirect students to the FAQ subject section to get their answers, and in the meantime make way for new kinds of questions arising from students. If TAs can’t answer, let them forward the doubtful questions to the concerned professor for reference.
  8. As far as teaching is concerned, let the most experienced and hands-on professor take lectures across regions within the state where he lives. For example, a lecturer who lives in Chandigarh can choose to teach students from Chandigarh, and a few more other regions (Amritsar, Pathankot, etc) if he wishes. And a student from anywhere in Punjab can learn from their favorite lecturer online. For sure there will be no shortage of students for a qualified professor. But a proctored exam with more insistence on hands-on experience and core knowledge regarding the lecturer’s field of interest must be held throughout the state for potential professors and lecturers. In fact, according to this article, 80 per cent of the world’s lecturers are not needed any longer. For all those lecturers who are probably now metal thrashing mad at me, I have to say, the future is here, and I as an aspiring futurist insist you put your knowledge of your field of interest to practical use and reduce India’s dependency on USA, Israel, EU, China and Russia for almost everything, starting with BASIC ELECTRONICS via startups! The future Punjab government can support startups for this reason. Bear in mind that US, Israel and NATO (and possibly Russia) made weapons have KILL SWITCHES which can be TURNED OFF at will (theirs NOT ours!) and make all our weapons we bought from them USELESS. Self-sufficiency is the need of the hour, without which India’s aspirations of becoming a “superpower” can safely go down the drain.
  9. Back to the topic, qualified lecturers must receive high remuneration that would go into tens of millions of bucks, every year. This is separate from the fees students pay for tuition in every subject. Assistant lecturers who receive half or quarter that amount can conduct tests/exams and evaluate students.
  10. This sure saves a lot of money in travel, a lot of traffic jam and pollution on the roads, and road accidents. The money that the government saves in this can be spent to support startups and desperate people. Those who can afford will pay for the exams, but those who can’t, can request government support, but once they get employed, the government can get back their debts with interest and continue their functioning otherwise.
  11. IF SOME UNIVERSITIES GO DEFUNCT? Compensate the concerned individuals/companies, let the reclaimed lands be used to grow back forests, use them for agriculture, use them to setup a weapons/missiles depot, an office to employ industry ready people, a vehicle manufacturing factory, a showroom or whatever that benefits the nation as a whole! Is there a shortage of ideas on even these?!
  12. BUT IF ALL STUDENTS BECOME INDUSTRY READY, HOW WILL THEY ALL GET EMPLOYED? Let graduates initiate startups for this purpose. Startups should develop into big corps and employ more eligible industry ready graduates in the future. That is an economics problem for which I refer readers to visit http://www.sabhlokcity.com for elaborate detailed ideas. My basic suggestion would be to loosen the bureaucratic red tapes for startups and companies. After all, as of now, I’m just a 23-year-old happy-go-lucky guy who still has a long long way to go.

I believe I’ve addressed the issue of education with 13 points above. My previous blog post linked above can be used to crosscheck and verify. Please don’t hesitate to ask doubts if the need arises.

 

AGRICULTURE AND DROUGHT 

I wonder if anyone has read Thiruvalluvar’s take on the importance of Agriculture. If no, please read it here. For those interested in the entire work, please go here.

This is a field in which I have little to zero practical experience, so here are a few articles I found that might be useful:

http://eird.org/pr14/cd/documentos/espanol/CaribeHerramientasydocumentos/Agricultura/oxfamguideagriculture2014eng.pdf

http://www.fao.org/prods/gap/

And here’s an article that throws more light into India’s agricultural needs.

Agriculture must be liberated so our farmers can flourish, says SBP President, Vishal Singh

For those who are weary and tired of the summer heat, here’s something the United Arab Emirates did a few years ago. Why not give it a try? Do something than nothing!

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/cloud-seeding-rain-to-keep-uae-cool-2013-08-04-1.516541

Scientists Create 52 Artificial Rain Storms in Abu Dhabi Desert

 

ADDICTION

Okay, this is a rather SERIOUS problem in Punjab, so I already addressed it here, but here’s more:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/keeganhamilton/the-search-for-the-antidote-to-cocaine-addiction#.qwkwmJnaR

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080416081628.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3394098/

The field of gene therapy is under research, so why not someone try solving the puzzle?

 

EMPLOYMENT

My proposal would be to initiate startups via venture capitalism, government or private. Please take your clues from Paul Graham. He’s just splendid. Start off with startups, then enter joint ventures and mergers, and pick up pace from thereon.

 

ENERGY

I addressed the issue of energy here. Nuclear fusion produces a lot of energy. It’s time to harness and deploy infinite energy and also solar energy in the face of the hot Sun in order to keep the state up and running.

Update (May 18): I added a post on Shale Oil extraction here.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

I had a few ideas for infrastructure, which I uploaded here. It’s time to automate and increase the pace of development and also make it more flexible.

 

CONCLUSION

I personally believe I’ve addressed key issues facing a state. If there’s anymore I can add, please let me know.

I would personally like to thank all my readers for their valuable time reading my post. That’s it for today. Have a good day folks. Till the next time, it’s bye… from Iniyavel (Twitter: @Iniyavel_).

April 22, 2016. 4:21 PM.

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Dealing with Addiction

Note: This is an urgent post since addiction is a serious problem that needs immediate help as and when it starts showing out its symptoms. Researchers give various means of handling addiction and retrieving addicts from the brink of disaster (or in most cases, from disaster itself). However, a clear understanding of why and how addiction occurs is a must to overcome this menace.

First of all, let me define addiction. It’s the urge to do something continuously and regularly to the point wherein it becomes a habit that can’t be broken without external help or in very rare cases sheer willpower.

And second, what are common substances that otherwise normal people get addicted to? The immediate thought upon hearing the word addiction leads to alcohol and/or drugs. But addiction can also extend to other substances like fast food, VIDEO GAMES (which is a rather growing problem, especially in first world countries), etc.

Now to the content.

What makes me write THIS post right here, right now, instead of other tech advances? Because addiction also is an important issue plaguing the FUTURE of untold millions, and as a FUTURIST, I must also be able to address the issue of addiction. What’s the use of our advancements as FUTURISTS if a good chunk of our own populace can’t benefit from it anyway?

What creates addiction?

Our brain is 80% water and 20% fat and is made up of an average of 100 billion neurons. But our brain has an important system which is called the REWARD SYSTEM. And what exactly is this REWARD SYSTEM? According to Wikipedia, the REWARD SYSTEM is a group of neural structures that are responsible for incentive salience (i.e., “wanting” or desire), pleasure (i.e., “liking” or hedonic value), and positive reinforcement. Reward is the attractive and motivational property of a stimulus that induces appetitive behavior – also known as approach behavior – and consummatory behavior. For those interested, further details are given in the Wikipedia article linked above. Credit for this statement goes to Wikipedia.

This article by the National Institute on Drug Abuse perfectly explains everything one needs to know regarding how the brain works and how drugs affect the functioning of the brain. Treatment approaches for drug abusers are given here. Credits to National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Articles from Harvard and Colorado explain the brain reward system and addiction beautifully. Credits to Harvard and Colorado respectively.

NCBI research articles that might be useful for those further interested: Paper 1 and Paper 2. Credits to NCBI.

So Iniyavel, you’ve given us articles and resources to treat drugs, but you also mentioned VIDEO GAMES? Will these articles help with video games as they do with drugs and alcohol? My answer is a big YES. Video games, porn, and pretty much every other HEDONISTIC pursuit is nothing more than exploiting the brain’s reward system. There are 3 types of rewards:

  1. Primary rewards: food to live.
  2. Intrinsic rewards: when we win a tough game, for instance.
  3. Extrinsic rewards: money we earn through work.

The brain’s reward system is exploited for intrinsic rewards like winning a tough game. In the past, rewinding back to the 80s and 90s, we had mostly single or a maximum of double player games using consoles like the NES, SNES, Commodore 64, Sega Genesis, etc, and didn’t play via the Internet which we started in the 2000s. Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) can get especially addictive since they DON’T HAVE A DEFINED END and also they KEEP ADDING UPDATES to keep their business running. For example, the notorious World of Warcraft (Credit to Wikipedia), which was the poster boy for MMORPGs, launched in 2004. I point to you several articles on why gaming addiction is not a light issue to dismiss so easily.

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/video-games-addiction-gentile-feat/

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00608/full

http://theweek.com/articles/451660/psychology-video-game-addiction

http://www.vice.com/read/video-game-addiction-is-destroying-american-lives-456

http://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4137782.stm

http://www.pcauthority.com.au/News/74492,chinese-gamer-dies-after-15-day-session.aspx

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394903/Rebecca-Colleen-Christie-jailed-25-years-allowing-daughter-Brandi-Wulf-STARVE-death-played-World-Warcraft.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8600517.stm

Reading all these articles will take around 2 hours. But how similar is this to drug addiction?

And WHY exactly do they get addictive? Because IF THEY CAN’T ACHIEVE IN REAL LIFE, they prefer to live instead in a world where they can be everything they ever wanted and not what they don’t want to be. After all, why struggle when you can take the easiest way out? Alas, this is where the problem lies.

The BEST solution to PREVENT addiction is to REWARD for changing behavior and not using PUNISHMENT except in the most extreme scenario.

For further details, refer to the articles above and contact a reliable doctor/hospital to cure the illness of addiction.

Thanks a lot to all my readers.

That’s it for today. See you all next time. Till then, it’s bye… and good night… from Iniyavel!

April 10, 2016, 01:44 AM.