#StopTheMyth Saving Lives Leads to Overpopulation

By Anupum Pant

It only seems logical to think that spending millions of dollars to save lives of poor children must be aggravating another problem that Earth is facing today – Overpopulation. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. In fact the complete opposite of what seems logical, happens.

Saving lives of the poor is a necessity for stopping population growth. It doesn’t aggravate the problem. Saving lives is one big thing that will help in dealing with overpopulation.

Professor Hans Rosling explains how:

Other 2 common myths

  • Poor countries are doomed to stay poor for ever – This is not true.
  • Foreign aid is a waste – No! Foreign aid is important. Most poor countries that received aid 20 years ago are doing better than before.

A better place

Also, the earth is turning into a better place despite what the media has to say. As Bill gates puts it in the 2014 Gates Annual letter:

If you read the news every day, it’s easy to get the impression that the world is getting worse. There is nothing inherently wrong with focusing on bad news, of course—as long as you get it in context. Melinda and I are disgusted by the fact that more than six million children died last year. But we are motivated by the fact that this number is the lowest ever recorded. We want to make sure it keeps going down.


Source: [Gates Foundation]

Making Fresh Water With Apple and Tomato Peels

By Anupum Pant

Water on Earth

It’s Christmas! On this happy day let’s take a minute to look at what the major part of the world is facing today.

The present situation might not look as bad, but the truth is that we are running out of fresh water. To give you an idea about how much water is actually there on earth, this image of the whole world’s water compared with the size of earth is, in my view, the best thing that could prove it to you.

Fresh water in all the lakes and rivers on the whole planet is represented by the tiniest dot.  Yes, there is a third water sphere in the picture. You might have to squint to find it. So, that is the amount of fresh water we have here on earth.

Source: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/earthhowmuch.html

War for water: If this image isn’t much of a proof that fresh water is scarce, probably this will do the trick:
Countries consider fresh water a very precious resource. Several countries all around the world are fighting with their neighbors for this blue gold. Two good examples of that – [India starts water war] and [This]

The Point

Today, economically and technologically backward countries require good cost-effective methods to purify water. Scientists are doing a tremendous amount of work in this area and coming out with innovative methods to deal with the problem. Also, it is one great idea for taking up as a science fair project by students. One such recent research regarding this caught my attention.

The fruit peel method

Note: If you are wondering why have I written fruit when we are dealing with a tomato here, this might come as a shock to you that Tomato is actually a fruit. And BTW:

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing that a tomato doesn’t belong in a fruit salad. – Miles Kingston

Mr Ramakrishna Mallampati, under the guidance of Associate Professor Suresh Valiyaveettil of the Department of Chemistry at the NUS Faculty of Science, have discovered a new way of purifying water which is both innovative and cost effective. Moreover, it uses the waste product of a fruit, its peel, for something good. They hope that their new technology will comes as a boon to the people living in areas where a water treatment plant cannot be set up.

According to their research, a tomato’s peel, under certain conditions, can remove dissolved organic and inorganic chemicals, dyes and pesticides. Additionally, an apple’s peel was also found to have these wonderful properties. Apple’s peel loaded with Zirconium were found to be effective in removing phosphate, arsenate, arsenite, and chromate anions. This is the first time ever someone has used to remove two different kinds of pollutants using two different kinds of peels. Notably, all their processes can be scaled up for large scale applications.

I hope that this new discovery will come as a respite to all the poor nations where people die everyday due to the unavailability of drinking water – due to diseases.

Source: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/#
Source: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/#

For more details – [NUS researchers developed world’s first water treatment techniques using apple and tomato peels]

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Ben Franklin Effect – Influencing People

By Anupum Pant

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Influencing people

Named after Benjamin Franklin, who observed this effect, the Ben Franklin effect is a lesser known yet interesting Psychological finding that can be used to influence people. According to it:

  1. If we do someone a favor then we tend to like them more. (read till the end for an example of a practical application)
  2. The reverse of this effect is also true – If we harm someone, we are more willing to harm them again as a result.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

Side note: I love biographies. I love them because, there you have an access to a treasure of life-long experiences of great people. I feel, it is like collecting XP (experience) points in a Pokémon game. The more you manage to collect, the better you do in life. And biographies are one of the most efficient sources for XP.

While going through Ben’s autobiography a few months back, I found a lot of his observations to be extremely interesting and I had noted this down in my notes.

How he used his observation

He was able to befriend a rival legislator by trying this out. The following is an excerpt from his biography:

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.

Jecker & Lendy published a study in the year 1969 which used 3 groups of students to prove this scientifically. In the study, the students from the first group liked a professor more than the other two groups. It was to this group the professor had asked for a favor.

How can you use it?

  1. If you want someone to like you (or influence someone), even though it may seem counter-intuitive, you could just ask him/her for a favor.
  2. If some random stranger asks you for a favor, you could be a little more cautious about you liking him/her.
  3. To get a better effect, ask a person who is tired.

No wonder, guys after fetching a 100 chocolate ice-cream cups for their girl-friends, only tend to fall more in love with them.