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Singularity

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“By 2030 we would be able to access and share, experiences, thoughts, the wisdom of every human being similar to how we can access the internet today. The need for speech would be removed as we will be able to connect only by our thoughts”

“Singularity”, a phrase derived from mathematics to describe a mathematical object for which the exact properties cannot be analyzed, or where the laws of physics cease to exist. Therefore, it is simply the hypothesis that explains how the advancement in technology would be so complex that even the brightest minds among us will not be able to comprehend it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) when categorized by intelligence, we have

  1. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) – The level of AI that exists around us today, from Google assistant to Siri and even advanced as the self-driving car. They’re specialized only in one area and operate only in the range of activities that they are programmed for.
  2. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) – The form of AI that would be similar to the intelligence of a human being. AGI can learn, innovate, create, imagine, dream, reason and be driven by emotions similar to a human being. Even Though this type of intelligence has not yet been discovered, most people working in the field of AI are convinced that an AGI is possible.
  3. Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI) – When an AI doesn’t just replicate human brain power or behavior but surpasses it, it is called an ASI.

 

How will a singularity begin?

If an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), were to be invented, it will start to freely improve its own software and hardware to become more intelligent or will design a machine that is smarter than itself. This new and more capable machine would then go on to design a machine which is even more superior to any of the previous ones. So, the cycles of self-improvement and unfolding of machines with higher and higher intelligence continue, until a runaway technological growth beyond any hope of control is triggered. That would result in a rapid emergence of Artificial Super Intelligence that could far surpass all human intelligence. The point which is known as the technological singularity.

 When will it happen?

The tools needed to make such a rapid technological transformation is still unavailable or still at the initial stages of being created, however with every new invention that comes to the market and with the increase in opportunity for anyone to access them , technology advancement is likely to make an exponential progress in the coming few years, instead of a linear one . Suggesting that creations that we were thought might only happen in “a million years”  will most likely happen in the next century.

Ray Kurzweil, a famous futurist, with a track record of 30 years of accurate predictions, who predicted the evolution of the internet well beforehand says

“We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).”.

Accordingly, Kurzweil predicts that by 2030 Artificial intelligence will be smart as humans,

and by 2040 AI will not only exceed the brain power of a single human but all humans on earth combined.

Should we Fear it?                                                      

Since the reasoning and insights of an intelligent species such as that of an ASI will be far beyond the understanding capabilities of man, the possibility of not being able to keep up with AI and therefore being dominated by them (similar to the sci-fi movies) is a possible outcome. Physicist Stephen Hawking stated, ” I believe the development of full AI could spell the end of the human race” while public figures like Elon Musk and Bill Gates has also raised concerns regarding a similar future.

However, the more optimistic views on the opportunities that a singularity can bring include, the ability to solve issues such as world hunger, global warming, poverty, etc. Help man become a multi-planetary species or even immortal

Instead of machines ruling over us, people such as Ray Kurzweil believe that humans are likely to modify their biology to implant computer chips to the brain in a way that enables massive intelligence amplification. He stated

“What’s actually happening is machines are powering all of us. They may not yet be inside our bodies, but, by the 2030s, we will connect our neocortex, the part of our brain where we do our thinking, to the cloud.”

Furthermore, cracking the secret to immortality has never been more realistic. Either through the insertion of nanobots to kill viruses to stop the aging process, or by proceeding to an AI body, and abandoning our biological bodies to go live in a simulated virtual world for eternity. Privacy, the consequences of ending the natural process of life and the purpose of living, are all topics that can and will be intensely debated in the coming few years with the dawn of such an evolution. If forecasted accurately this would mean that by 2030 we would be able to access and share, experiences, thoughts, the wisdom of every human being similar to how we can access the internet today. The need for speech will be eliminated as we would be able to connect only by our thoughts. Elon Musk’s neural lace concept of a mesh that allows you to wirelessly connect and interact with computers through your thoughts via an implant in our brain allowing the brain to expand with it, demonstrates how a human brain and computer can be merged.

However, In Spite of the fact that a technological singularity may or may not happen, the world around us is changing at a much faster rate than what many of us are aware of, and we are to witness some of the most groundbreaking inventions in history.

Rtr. Hashini Wickramasuriya

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Conquer Colombo 2019

Conquer Colombo

The third week of January is a week like no other for the rotaractors of RACALBS. From the meticulous organization and execution by the organizing committee and the careful preplanning by many of our participants, Conquer Colombo is by far one of the most anticipated and hyped events of the Rotaract calendar. Setting the bar higher than ever before, Conquer Colombo 2019 was back with more new twists and challenges of all forms be it eating challenges, mind challenges and even Augmented Reality. This grand scale project involving almost 500 participants was initiated with the motive of aiding of the club’s major community service project “Project Life”. This project targets at combatting Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several affected communities in Kebithigollawa in the North Central Province by aiding for the building of Rainwater harvesting systems. Since its inauguration in 2013, Conquer Colombo has been more than successful in aiding project life along with providing a unique experience to its participants.

This year’s conquer Colombo bore the theme of “Monopoly” which amalgamated the concepts of the much-beloved board game of Monopoly into this year’s event. Shifting CC paradigms every year, this year’s event included the opportunity for participants to do 3 optional challenges in addition to the traditional 4 core challenges which was a first in CC history. The difficulty of the 3 optional challenges was color-coded as Blue for the hardest challenges, Yellow for medium and brown for the easiest challenges. This was in line with the monopoly element where the price valuations of properties are in the same respective order with blue having most expensive properties such as Mayfair and Piccadilly. Monopoly was further embedded with the inclusion of “Spin the Wheel” at challenge intersections through which participants would be able to draw chance and community chest cards. These cards acted as power ups which either empowered or even worsened the dynamics of each teams’ game. Every choice mattered in this year’s CC where the teams weighed in the opportunity cost of selecting which level of difficulty of an optional challenge to select, whether the option was cost-effective in terms of the monopoly cash they were to spend, the most time effective routes to take etc. All these factors added in glamour and spice to Conquer Colombo 2019 and truly shifted the metrics of this year’s competition.

The event kickstarted with variety of small entertainment items by a few of the participants as the crowd started registering at Race Course in the morning. As a first-time spectator\organizer at this event, it was amazing for me to see the heightened excitement of what’s to come by both veteran CC participants to the first-timers alike. The highlight of the morning which had everyone chortling over was when the team “Banda forced us to come” drove in a car campaigning for our much beloved COMSERV Director Sandaru a.k.a. Banda’s presidential run for 2020.

 

Following a very eventful morning, the much-awaited race kickstarted at 11.30 with the throwing of the dice. This was followed by a literal stampede of participants racing to their respective stalls to obtain their first clue sheet to the challenge locations. With much frantic confusion and excitement, teams were rushing at every direction to reach their rides and to figure out where to head first. As a first-time challenge head at pearl harbor challenge located at subway fort, I was definitely was in for a big surprise when hordes of frantic participants rushed into the venue too eager to get started with the challenge. It was a quite a challenge for us challenge heads and volunteers both the new and experienced to handle and accommodate the flash mob like crowds, but as time went we got the hang of it and ran our challenges pretty smoothly. With the last team signing at our table (whom we, unfortunately, had to turn away as they were in the wrong challenge location), we had felt a  great rush of relief and also a bit of sadness as we knew Conquer Colombo was almost over for us.  It goes without saying that this year’s CC was truly an experience to remember for both the participants and organizers alike.

The closing ceremony capped off one of the greatest events of the Rotaract calendar on a high note. It started off with the commencement of the raffle draw which is one of the more awaited events during Conquer Colombo. Winners walked away with gift baskets and a variety of exciting gift vouchers. Up next came the awards for best themed, funkiest ride, Supermen and wonder women. Last but not the least, the top fifteen teams of Conquer Colombo 2019 were awarded a variety of exciting prizes from gift baskets to vouchers. Team “Bebaddo” came in third and received a variety of amazing prizes along with an opportunity for an overnight stay at Udawatte Kele forest lodge. Team 2 fast 2 furious came onto take the number 2 spot of this year’s Conquer Colombo winning an overnight stay at Jetwing hotel along with other exciting prizes. National List topped the point list of this year’s event with a total points of to be crowned champions of Conquer Colombo 2019  securing return air tickets to Jakarta, Indonesia among other exciting prizes.

This year’s challenges gave a new experience to our participants which most have never experienced before or wouldn’t experience anywhere else. Regardless of whether our participants managed to break into the top 15 or not, without any doubt, everyone left with a feeling of satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to this event again next year. From deciphering road directions using Augmented reality posters, mind boggling mind challenges such as the bomb challenge to blindfolded cupcake challenges, Conquer Colombo 2019 was definitely not a day to miss. Setting the bar higher than ever before, CC 2019 left quite the mark on the Rotaract calendar and leaving us with the anticipation of an even more awe-inspiring event next year.

Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

(Image sourse: Impulse Inc. )

 

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The Not So Boring Side of Statistics

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What comes to your head when you hear the words “statistical analysis”. You will probably think of people working in front of computers and working with mountains of data. Which sounds really, really boring. Now, what would you think of, when you hear the word “sports”. Probably, the exact opposite. In my blog, I am hoping to explore the world of statistical and performance analysis in sports, focusing on my favorite, cricket.

Sports analytics itself is a relatively recent development which came to the fore when people began to realize the marginal gains in performance and the resultant competitive advantage that could be gained by the systematic analysis of data. I know that all of these sound really boring but what many people nowadays don’t realize is that behind almost every professional sports team or individual there is a team of performance and data analysts sifting through data in order to enhance performance. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Back when sports analytics was a relatively new development teams who might not be as well-resourced as the others they were competing with, have used performance and statistical analysis as a way to perform above expectations. This was well illustrated in the popular Hollywood film, “Moneyball” which told of the real life story of Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team who pioneered the use of saber metrics, a sophisticated approach to scouting and analyzing players and thus inspired his team of outsiders to succeed against teams on much higher budgets. I would recommend it as a must-watch film, atleast for anyone who hasn’t been bored to death by my article so far.

“Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt

I said that in this article I would focus mainly on cricket so let me get to the point now. Cricket has a vast well of historical data which can be easily accessed with anyone having a computer and internet. This has enable cricket to position itself as one of the most conducive sports for statistical analysis. The scorecards of every international match as well as the individual player records of any cricketer are available online on a cricket dedicated site such as espncricinfo which also offers a wonderful tool called statsguru for all the cricket fanatics who indulge in a spot of amateur statistical analysis. Cricinfo is also the virtual home of cricket statistics, the same way Lord’s is known as the ‘Home of cricket’ as it is also host to wonderful statisticians such as Steven Lynch, S Rajesh and Anantha Narayanan. However in game performance, analysis is a phenomenon that has only come to the limelight quite recently, as ball-by-ball logging of cricket matches didn’t begin until the 1990s, again with the help of our old friend, espncricinfo (or just cricinfo as it was known back then). John Buchanan, the coach of the all conquering Australian team of the 90s and 2000s was a pioneer in this area but arguably he already had all the necessary playing resources to win against any team.

Statistics shown amidst a match

One cannot speak about performance analysis in cricket without bringing up the name of Nathan Leamon, the current England national cricket team head performance analyst and the head of research and innovation. I am sure all of you cricket and tennis fans out there know of hawk-eye , a computer system which is used to visually track the path of a moving ball. Nathan Leamon was the first person to realize the practical uses of hawk-eye for performance analysis in cricket, as it automatically collected almost all the raw data required. He was also the first person to build a Monte Carlo Simulator to use in cricket as well. A Monte Carlo simulator is a technique used to visualize all possible outcomes of decisions and to assess the impact of risk, enabling a better decision making process. He can be said to be a silent but integral part of the England cricket team which reached the pinnacle of the test cricket rankings.

For all the doubters out there who are still skeptical about the effectiveness of sport analytics let me demonstrate a simple example using cricket again. In the past when a bowler had to bowl to a batsman he had never encountered before, the bowler would have to come up with a plan during the game but nowadays he would be advised by the performance analysis team of that certain batsman’s strengths and weaknesses and he or she would know exactly where to bowl. These type of insights have really been put to use in the shortest version of the game, T20 where the condensed nature of the game means that each individual ball is of vital importance to the result of a game. To give you an illustration of this point let me first mention the names Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely, Stephen Crook, Adam Rossington and Ben Duckett. Chances are that you have never heard of these names unless you are a super cricket fanatic. Now, what if I told you that these are some of the players who have formed the core of one of the most consistent and outstanding T20 teams of the last decade, Northamptonshire. These players along with a few overseas players such as Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt ( solid players but by no means superstars) have helped Northamptonshire become the most consistent T20 team in the English domestic circuit. For this they have had a huge helping hand from their performance analysis team which works closely with the team and provides constant insight helping the team identify the relevant decisions to take in each and every situation. Now of course, teams have become more aware of all this sort of stuff and domestic T20 teams are some of the heaviest users of performance analysis and data.

For all the people who have not stopped reading by this point I am assuming that you found something at least a bit interesting about everything I said here. If you are a fan of any sport and have a soft spot for statistics there will always be a variety of twitter feeds giving real time updates about in game statistics and performance such as Cricviz for cricket and Opta for football. For all the people who managed to get to this point thank you for indulging the super nerd in me.

Rtr. Rahul Jeyanthan

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Why do we love to drive?

WHy do we love to drive

Despite soaring levels of congestion, declining levels of courtesy, rising fuel prices and ever more oppressive enforcement of speed, I could still find a million reasons to go out for a drive. It may be driving to university, going to the gym, going grocery shopping, visiting the doctor, dropping by a friend’s place or even dropping by for a small job across town. These activities, these appointments, and burdens have all turned driving into an automated activity. Take all of these out of the equation and all you’re left with is the pure joy of driving.

 

But not everyone enjoys driving. There are also a lot of people who prefer being chauffeured around without having to deal with the stresses of driving during rush hours while they relax in the backseat after a hard day of work. There are circumstances which when they are just right, lots of people enjoy driving, even if those circumstances don’t come along very often, and then there are those, myself included, who enjoy driving every time they do it.

So, bringing you an idea through my perspective, what is it about driving that fascinates me and people like me so much that we don’t ever get bored of it? To me, the only facet of this is the car. Let me explain.

You see, to me cars mean freedom. It’s the first sense of freedom that we ever really get in our lives. That excitement we have when we receive our driving license knowing that it’s the start of a whole new chapter, unlocking seamless possibilities and routes ahead. It’s about the freedom to travel to places that you’ve never been before or see something you’ve never seen before. The opportunities are endless and it all starts with the turn of a key or the push of a button. There cannot be anyone out there who has driven a car and has not felt it, the feeling of downright freedom when you get behind the wheel and turn on that power plant known as the engine.

It is true that the emotions of driving are not quantifiable, hence why it’s so hard to express it but to me personally, a good driving experience will be when the car has good handling, decent power, and proper involvement. Driver involvement I believe, is subjective. Some people may prefer the new electric cars with loads of automation involved bringing about the ease of overall handling and driving. Don’t get me wrong, these cars are impressive in their own right but as I said, driver involvement is subjective and I personally prefer to have either a petrol or diesel engine, good steering feedback, throttle response, braking and one of the most controversial topics of the current day, a manual transmission, on the car I own. The reason for this is because, for me, driving is about the emotional experience as much as it is about the sense of freedom and adventure. It’s about how the car feels, how the car vibrates through the wheel to your hands and the seat to your back, listening to the engine and matching revs to the gear when shifting. So, I do strongly believe that the cars we choose to own and drive are basically an extension of our own personality.

One may ask, why are some of us still so in love with the manual transmission? No, it’s not because the manual makes you manlier, it’s because as Henry Catchpole so wonderfully describes it; fundamentally, the manual transmission heightens your awareness and interactions with almost every facet of the car, adding a very distinct layer of tactility, specifically amplifying your sense of speed which to me is a marvelous feeling. So, with the manual, you just feel more intimately connected with the engine which to a true petrol-head, means that they are literally in heaven.

But that’s all about the emotions involved and the relationship one has with his or her car. There is also the sense of adventure which plays a major role in why we love to drive so much. The simplest example? Taking a girl on a date. You don’t want to call an Uber for that. What you want to do is impress her and it helps a lot when you pick her up and drop her off in your own car. Or your dad’s car.

You thought I forgot about racing? How could I when it’s one of the best activities created by man. That feeling when you and a couple of more friends are driving down Galle road, past 10 in the night and you’re both at a red, parallel to each other,  talking trash, revving those engines, some even their hybrid and electric motors which don’t even come close to the revs of a petrol or diesel engine, but that doesn’t  even matter because when that light turns green, it’s all about that adrenaline rush for the next 50 to 100 meters, the few seconds where you think you’re Lewis Hamilton until of course, you slow down before getting caught to the cops. That feeling of pure excitement and joy you get in those few seconds cannot be gained by the means of any other activity, which is why we love to drive on our own.

There is also the excitement of going places, the opportunity to just plan and go on road trips which is one of the most amazing things to do in your life. You haven’t lived if you haven’t gone on a road trip, doesn’t matter if it’s with your family or friends, you definitely need to go on a road trip and experience a whole new outlook of the experience of driving.

 

Driving gives your life an edge, a different vibe which makes life dynamic, which is human nature and hence it’s thanks to driving that you feel part of nature, part of the world and in control of what’s ahead of you. You decide what matters, you decide when to pause and its people closest to you that get to share this feeling with you. Whether you’re with your friends or with your family, what can be better than this calm yet enriching experience?

This is why despite all the troubles, excitement prevails. Even if you don’t feel the overflowing joy all the time, the feeling is still there every single time you get behind the wheel. This and all those other reasons is why I love driving as much as I do.

 

Rtr. Sandaru Bandara

 

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One strike and you’re out

Athletics – Olympics: Day 14

“If you want to know the value of a millisecond, ask the athlete who won a silver medal at the Olympics or, the athlete whose race ended before it began”

It is only the best of the best who have lived the moment of standing before the finals of the Olympic Games. You and I can only imagine what it feels like. Being under like lights of that field of the Olympic final with a crowd of over 70,000 spectators glancing down at you, eagerly waiting to see who will next hold the title of “The fastest Man on Earth.” Having your proud nation wait breathlessly until you raise the county’s flag, and another globe full watching you through television screens. You’re less than ten seconds away from your victory after the shot of the gun. This moment should feel very special indeed and it has taken these athletes four years of waiting and a lifetime of hard work.

After coming thus far, does it seem possible to believe that you could still mess up? That a matter of a fraction of a second could blow out everything? That you could relegate from an Olympic Finalist to a mere spectator watching your fellow competitors chase the goal without you? Yes, it seems a little too harsh, but so are the rules folks.
In 2010, the IAAF tightened rules for sprinters introducing the zero tolerance rule for false starts. Alternatively referred to as the One-strike-and-you’re-out rule, this would result in immediate disqualification of the athlete in the case of a false start with no warnings or do-overs. This rules was believed to be the cruelest one yet, in all of sports.
However, the IAAS did not make this decision over night. There were a couple of rule changes regarding this matter over the years and various issues arising from them. Therefore after careful consideration, the IAAF have settled to the zero tolerance rule. The rule was officially announced in 2010 after passing 64% approval.
The rules that existed before were quite flexible. Initially sprinters were only disqualified after their second false start. This seemed quite fair towards the runners, although some athletes still let their chance slip. Linford Christie of Great Britain was amongst them when he was dismissed before having the chance to defend his title at the 1996 Olympics. Anyhow, we can all agree that if you false start twice in a single race, that you’ve had your chance.
Later the IAAF identified a few drawbacks of this rule. They believed that it gave the athletes the chance to guess when the gun sounded and gain advantage. Also, having to start races many a times used up a lot of time, especially on television and the events could not be kept to their time slots. This would have also affected the quality of international games. Therefore the IAAF brought in a rule change in 2003.
In 2003 the rules were revised so that only one false start was allowed per race. If one runner false started, the entire field was warned. The next runner to false start would be dismissed regardless of if it was the first one or not. But later it was noticed that relatively slower athletes deliberately jumped the gun the first time to add pressure to the ones who are generally faster out of the blocks. Runners started to mentally affect their opponents as well as not receive punishment for false starting. This was considered unfair even within the rules. Hence, the IAAF saw the need for yet another rule change.
There came the one-and-do rule in 2010; the cruelest of all time. A single false start, or for that matter, the barest of a flinch would result in the dismissal of the athlete. Not even the slightest twitch was allowed.
Imagine finally having your Olympic moment, you’re on the starting blocks, and you scratch you nose and that’s it? You just let your victory slide through your fingertips before you been knew it. Certainly this rule crushed the dreams of many Athletes, and was no exception even to the big man; Usain Bolt.

 

Bolt, also known as “The fastest man on Earth” was ironically one of the few who applauded the zero tolerance rule. He simply couldn’t believe himself when he false started in Daegu at the 2011 world championships leaving the crowd startled. It was heart breaking to watch this man walk out of the fields of the 100m final leaving behind the victory that was destined to him.
He was not alone. British 400m sprinter Christine Ohuruogu was also disqualified at the same championship after false starting at her preliminary heat. She was the gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, this championship gave a point for the IAAF to prove, resulting in only ten false starts overall under the new rule. This was less than half the number recorded in previous meets under older rules.
Anyhow since many believed that this rule was impractical, the definition of a false start was changed prior to the 2012 Olympics making things a little more flexible. Flinching and twitching was allowed and an athlete would only have a false start called against them if their hands left the ground or their feet the blocks, before the gun. This change resulted in no false starts being recorded at the 2012 Olympics, allowing this rule to settle.
At the 2016 Olympics the 21 year old French hurdler Wilhem Belocian broke the audience’s hearts as he jumped the gun at his 110m hurdles preliminary heat. It was his first time at the Olympics and his Olympic dream ended before it even began. It’s within the rules now and he had to go, but I can’t help feeling bad for this guy.
Does this all seem fair? That one moment could be the difference between everlasting glory and being forgotten forever. Well, it’s awful to accept but that seems the case folks. If you’re at the Olympics games, maybe there ain’t no time for mistakes.

Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

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Health tips for a better life

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Given today’s hectic lifestyles, it can be a challenge to keep up with all the new discoveries related to exercise, fitness and health. To help fill in the gaps in your knowledge, here are some interesting health- and fitness-related findings and trends.

1. Most people want to have a fun experience when they exercise, but exercising on your own can often feel boring.

From boutique studios to hardcore workouts in gritty industrial spaces to slogging through the mud, this past year showed us that people want to do more than just sweat during their workout time. Rather, they want to have a unique exercise experience that allows them to connect with other like-minded individuals. Whether it is the challenge of the workouts or the opportunity to combine exercise time with social time, high-intensity workouts are clearly more than just a passing fad.

2. A diet with high in processed or red meats could increase the risk of developing cancer.

World Health Organization released a statement indicating that consuming large amounts of red or processed meats could increase one’s risk of developing cancer. While this doesn’t mean that the occasional piece of bacon or grilled T-bone will trigger a heart attack, it does highlight an easily correctible behavior (reducing your consumption of these foods) that could improve your health, reduce the risk of cancer and add years to your life.

3. Having virtual friends who exercise can have a positive impact on your lifestyle.

We all have the friend (or friends) who feels compelled to post a selfie in every conceivable location or constantly provide status updates on the most inane facets of daily living. There is some good news for fitness enthusiasts, however, as emerging research suggests that having virtual friends who exercise can have a positive impact on your lifestyle by helping you to improve your level of physical activity.

4. There are huge benefits of exercise for older adults.

We have known the general benefits of exercise for years, but as the population ages, we’re learning more about the benefits of exercise for older adults. During the later years of the human lifespan, exercise isn’t just about vanity or aesthetics—it’s about promoting good health, improving the quality of life and enhancing cognitive function. Both cardiovascular exercise and resistance training can elevate levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a neurotransmitter responsible for growing new cells in the brain.

5. Staying physically active throughout the day is an important component of achieving and maintaining good health.

We now know that getting to the gym for a workout isn’t enough. In fact, researchers have quantified the negative consequences of remaining sedentary throughout the day and identified the benefits of short bouts of low-intensity physical activity. Healthy behaviors that get people moving throughout the day, such as having a standing desk at work or taking brief walking breaks, can help improve overall health and well-being.

6. Sleep plays an important role in weight loss and maintaining optimal health.

The next time you want to sleep in or spend the day snoozing on the couch, tell yourself it’s part of a well-rounded exercise program. This year, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (yes, there is a whole organization dedicated to learning about sleep) recommended that people get at least seven hours of sleep per night to maintain optimal health. And in a separate study, researchers found that a lack of sleep could lead to weight gain. In other words, sleep plays an important role in weight loss and maintaining optimal health.

7. Fitness is becoming more global.

Worldwide, people are beginning to realize the importance of daily activity and exercise in promoting optimal health. As a result, health club franchises such as Gold’s Gym and Anytime Fitness are expanding internationally in markets such as Indonesia, India, Philippines, and Egypt. If you’re an ACE Certified Fitness Professional and have a desire to live and work overseas, now might be the time to pursue that goal.

8. Women like lifting weights, too.

In gyms around the world, women are muscling the guys out of the squat cage in order to achieve the aesthetic benefits of strength training. Thanks to the impressive results that thousands of women are achieving by participating in high-intensity workout programs, women who might have skipped the weight room in favor of more cardio are learning that gripping and ripping with the iron is a great way to achieve the strength and aesthetics they desire.

Rtr. Naweed Niyaz

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Initiative Q: Free Lunch?

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Seen this?

 

Followed by this?

And were you like?

Ladies and Gentleman, let me introduce you to the payment system of the future (drumroll) Initiative Q.

Initiative Q is an initiative by the former serial entrepreneur and PayPal guy, Mr. Saar Wilf, which aims at creating a digital global payment system by issuing a dedicated centralized private currency known as Q tokens.

All they require from your end would be:

  1. Your Full Name
  2. Email Address
  3. To send invites to your friends to do the same
  4. That’s it.
  5. I like lists.

Wait.

 

 “Is this like bitcoin?”

Yes.

No.

Not Really 🙂

Initiative Q, unlike Bitcoin, is not a crypto-currency. Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are based on the blockchain technology. Initiative Q on the other hand, targets on having a centralized database which would track the transactions carried out using the Q tokens.

“Free Money!!!”

Not yet.

Right now the tokens you earn are worthless and you cannot use those tokens to trade even in the Initiative Q’s own servers either.

Now that you read so far into this article, let’s start answering the real questions

  1. How can I expect to gain anything out of this?

In order for this system to start functioning, this system should be adopted by a significant global population. As economics dictates, money has no value without perceived value. To quote the founders of this initiative, it faces the chicken and egg scenario:

“No buyer wants to join a new network with no sellers, and no seller will offer a payment option that no buyer uses.”

To get around this, Initiative Q would reward you with free tokens if you are to sign up and invite five more of your friends (these friends who would supposedly invite 5 more). They also go onto say that the earlier you adopt the more tokens you would earn.

 Invite friends who would invite more friends… PYRAMID SCHEME!!!!

 

I wouldn’t really deny that it isn’t (hold your horses), but the only pyramid scheme-like features it does have is its marketing method. A typical pyramid scheme would require you to both make a payment or purchase and distribute a certain product which this initiative doesn’t entail. Since money isn’t changing hands through their methods, there really isn’t anything bad about it.

Fingers crossed!! if all goes according to how the founders speculate this to be, I’d say you’d be looking at a few million rupees by then.

  1. So WHEN will I get MY millions?

 

That’s the best part. You probably won’t.

Raised your hopes too high? Well to give my honest opinion this system already faces an uphill battle against regulatory commissions from all the different countries, implementing security networks etc.  to achieve its very grandiose plans. So even if this works, it would definitely take many years till you would see some value in those Q tokens. To quote the founder of initiative Q Saar Wilf “It is not a get rich quick scheme and I think that’s where people get confused. You have to reach critical mass if you want to create a currency and that is what we’re trying to do.”

Just keep in mind that this by no means a “Get rich quick” scheme. If at all, you would be lucky if you get rich at all in the distant future through this technology. Aligning to what the founders of this initiative have stated, I’d recommend you treat this as a “Free Lottery Ticket” rather than a definite speculative investment.

Bitcoin’s success story has inspired a lot of new investors to give proper consideration to cryptocurrency and similar digital financial technology. Certain other cryptocurrencies also faced this surge in popularity even extremely ridiculous ones, such Doge coins (yeah you read it right) which actually managed to earn a market cap of over $650 million. This sort of exciting technology also seen its share of downfall as we saw with the crashing of the bitconnect bubble which was worth around $3 billion dollars which left so many investors with nothing but broken hopes and empty pockets.

Initiative Q, on the other hand, doesn’t ask you for an investment of any sort which would bring you to the question.

  1.  Is there anything to lose?

 

Most Pyramid or Ponzi schemes would usually entail dubious promises of future returns for a certain initial payment, which really isn’t relevant when discussing initiative Q (at least for now).  If there is any threat it would be the fact that they do nevertheless collect certain information which is your name and email address. While I do understand that most of you reading this article do already give out these details anyway to all kinds of websites and apps, one major fact which I do take into account is that the information this system would end up collecting is that of people who are specifically interested and are very naive (including myself) with regards to “Get Rich Quick” schemes. If this initiative fails (which it has a high probability to), the company may sell this database to scammers (to whom this would be a fortune) to pay its bills. As the saying goes “ If you aren’t paying for it, you are the product”.

Again beyond the possibility of gaining nothing but a spam box full of scam emails, there really isn’t much to lose.

Initiative Q promises a better alternative to existing conventional financial systems and existing blockchain based cryptocurrency.

Its plans still seem ambiguous and it remains still questionable whether it can solve existing loopholes in the current digital financial systems such as cryptocurrency.  But nevertheless it opens the possibility for the advancement of technology and we know all too well to say that this advancement would not be achieved overnight.

Fingers crossed. This will change the future.

Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

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Video Editing 101

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As the sun lazily faded by the Marine Drive, and the street lights down the Buller’s Road lighting up the evening. A small crowd was gathering up at the reception of the Achievers Lanka Business School. This crowd represented the members showing up for the weekly General meeting of the Rotaract club of Achievers Lanka Business School.

However, unlike other meetings, there was something contrasting about this week. Most members have brought a laptop with them (while we do have some who tend to forget as well). This was because of our first Professional Development project, ‘After Effects 101!’ that was scheduled to take place later that day.

Rtr. Sahan Munasinghe and I, the two Professional Development Directors for the year 2018-2019 had been continuously nagging, our fellow board directors and club members to take part in this project. Initially slightly reluctant, but when the day came, they all walked through the doorway, slightly weary after a long day but ready to learn what some consider as modern art, video editing.

Whilst paying close attention to the evening’s proceedings, Rtr. Sahan and I, joined by our guru for the evening Rtr. Anushan, hastily ensured that everyone’s laptops had the required software installed and files copied for the upcoming workshop.

Rtr. Anushan Sathananthasarma, one of the humblest characters you will ever meet, is well known for being a great basketball player and being there to help out the club whenever he is required, but this particular evening it was his wizardry in video editing that was to come into play. Being one of the main ‘IT gurus’ of the club for many years and having conducted many past workshops on skills such as Photoshop, Anushan eagerly agreed to mentor our members on video editing.

After the general meeting had concluded, with the projector set and the microphone switched on, ‘Anu’ took his place behind the podium and got straight into work. The main objective of this workshop was to create a video for the membership drive of the club. This involved in stitching together many small clips, editing these clips to ensure that they looked professional, adding photographs, music and being able to vary things like the intensity of the music and playback speed at just the required frames.

Our members eagerly listened in, eyes fixed on the projection on the wall while Anu took them through each and every step, making sure no one was left behind whilst answering the queries he received along the way.

The workshop was carried on smoothly for almost 90 minutes. By the end, every single laptop at the hall had a video playing, made up of small clips, photos, and music. Members who previously believed that video editing was a sort of alchemy that only the tech-savvy could pursue had now created an enticing video which looked classy and professional. The workshop was a SUCCESS indeed.

It ended with all the present members looking much happier than when they came in for the meeting. All the participants and both Rtr. Sahan and I didn’t forget to thank Rtr. Anushan for his excellent mentoring skills and how easy he made video editing seems to be. The day ended with positive feedback on how impressed the members were with the workshop and a few of them even gleefully shouting out about how they would put this newly learned skill to use that night itself to make more videos by themselves.

Rtr. Yasiru Gunaratne

 

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Featured

E-RYLA 3.0

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“Goal to make a 100 friends” , was always the vision of ERYLA. It was a project that started as the brainchild of Rtr Avnish Jain, with a simple idea of “Strangers to friends.” The project had numerous unique tasks that were conducted and completed on social media platforms, and giving rise to its popularity. Rtr Avnish was able to refine his project idea, and was able to work with RSAMDIO(Rotaract South Asia Multi District Information Organisation), eventually creating ERYLA to what it is today. ERYLA quickly gained traction and currently in its 3rd consecutive year, ERYLA 3.0 was done bigger than ever, with participants facing a variety of challenges over a period of 7 days, all while making new friends and connections. Under the guidance of RSAMDIO, this year’s ERYLA was hosted by District 3170 with DRR Nishita and Rtr Avnish at the helm.

The event kicked of on the 16th of september with over 150 participants representing 29 districts from 4 countries. Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal registered for the 7 day event, prepared to do challenging team building tasks. All participants were randomly split into whatsapp groups of approximately 20 per group. Members in each group were guided by group moderators, who took every step to make the experience as rewarding as possible , while maintaining a certain decorum expected of Rotaractors. As the first task, participants were asked to introduce themselves to the other group members with details such as their names , locality , rotaract experience and other general information. This simple team building task, was meant to “break the ice” and familiarise members with each other.

At this point my personal experience of ERYLA had already progressed further than I thought. I managed to meet some of the most exemplary rotaractors, from countries such as Bangladesh and India. For the second task, the entire group had a certain time limit , within which members had to pick a team name and slogan, they thought that best fit their group. The group I belonged to quickly set about making suggestions and voting, with us eventually settling with the group name Flyers(Pitched by me!) and the slogan “Love,Learn,Lead”. Once the group members had finalised the name and slogan, they had to vote a group leader. This role alone would give a unique perspective on leadership,
and was considered an invaluable experience. My group flyers, had a particularly interesting “voting” process, with Rtr Rahul and myself tied with equal votes, till another contender broke the deadlock voting me as the group leader for Flyers. While Rtr Rahul would become an unofficial vice captain, and one of my closest acquaintances from my first ERYLA.

The next days 6 days involved many creative challenges, such as “Story Day” challenge, which involved all the group members pitching in to write one amalgamated story, with the moderator starting the story, and adding occasional twists to plot, to make writing more difficult. The dynamics within the group, made the story writing extremely challenging, with individuals preferring contradicting endings. As we progressed further into the week, the groups were paired up, and added into one WhatsApp group, edging towards the goal of a 100 friends. My group “Flyers” were joined with group “Stellars” , and the two teams were pitched with competitive tasks. One such interesting task was the debate, where Flyers were arguing for pro “arranged marriage” while Stellars were for pro “Love marriage”. This again sparked a flurry of messages from all participants eager to defend their topic and make sound arguments.

As expected ERYLA 3.0 created a digital platform for which participants could interact, learn and build connections. With the final few days approaching , all members belonging to all groups, were added to 1 single WhatsApp group. The sheer amount of messages flying across was unbelievable, as participants continued conversations with multiple new individuals. This was a digital gathering of participants eager to meet members from the other groups , and maybe meet the goal of making a 100 friends.

My personal experience of ERYLA was rewarding , specially having held a leadership role, gave me valuable insight into fulfilling one’s duties. Even though I did not manage to make a 100 friends, i did meet some amazing rotaractors from extraordinary backgrounds, and managed to make a few lifelong friends along the way.

Rtr. Navin Suresh

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Millennials vs Gen Z

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For all the millennials who still think it’s them who run the world, it’s about time they had a major reality check and move over, because the generation Z is entering every major phenomenon as we speak, and they are here to stay!

There has been quite a contradiction as to how we can differentiate between Millennials and Gen Z from the birth years, as there are no such precise dates. Despite the confusion, the demographers state that the cohort starts from the year 1995 while some say it’s 1997. So, if you were born in the year of 1995 or later, then it can be safely said that you are a proud member of the Gen Z that makes up 25% of the world population.

Already emerging as the biggest threat to the millennials, the Gen Z purchasing power sums up to $44 billion according to the latest reports and these numbers will only keep rising in the time to come when who are now teens, but soon-to-be adults start entering the workforce. So how different are they from the Millennials? Are they just the same? You are about to get some answers.

The Gen Z differ from the Millennials in so many ways, be it their ways of thinking, patterns of shopping and what not. Regardless of the majority’s belief that they both represent all the same qualities the constant research has proven otherwise.

Gen Z are thought to be more pragmatic than idealistic. They are driven by what is real and practical. Often cited as pessimistic for following this approach but infact pragmatists are known to visualize the bigger picture to eventually get to the result. Millennials are however idealistic thinkers who believe there is always a way for anything.

Gen Z process information much faster since they have been living in a world full of technological advancements while many of the millennials have lived their childhoods without even cell phones, let alone smartphones. However, their span of attentiveness is much lower compared to millennials or any other preceding generation. All the same, people who belong to the generation Z are believed to be better than millennials at multi-tasking. While the latter counterpart needs to put in their maximum effort to one task at a time the gen z are experts in juggling between many, being resistant to any distraction getting in their way.

 

Gen Z are much thriftier than millennials. Having spent their childhoods in a world with a positive economy, the millennials did not need to give much thought or concern towards economy but gen z, they are very much concerned of it. It is very likely because gen z was born in an era of recessions. Hence, they are very realistic and more likely to start off their careers at a younger age.

Millennials do think that a college degree is a must but Gen Z, not so much. The latter is more in to self-employment and will be the future entrepreneurs. They are much thrifty as mentioned earlier and ‘Student debt’ is not something they would fancy. Millennials, however, are driven by the degree concept despite of the student loans.

Individualism is also one of the things that Gen Z value the most. They are all about representing who they really are, exploring gender norms and doing things that no one has ever done before. Unlike the millennials they have no brand loyalty, they just like to dress, eat and live as it fits and not into lavish spending. Always more vocal about their viewpoints, gen z is working towards social justice and accepting the world as it is.

Gen Z also prioritize privacy more than millennials do. They are conscious and have seen many vicious events take place all their lives from global terrorism, financial crisis to cyber-attacks and think that the world is not such a safe place. They believe the privacy is at stake and take great measures to secure their space.

 

All in all, millennials and the Gen Z are drastically different, and the latter are all set to outpace the millennials in no time. By 2019,32% of the global population will comprise of Gen Z and consequently will be the biggest contributors to the world economy.

 

So, let’s set the stage for the new entrants to the world economy and prepare ourselves for the GENERATION Z.

 

Rtr. Nethmie Pasqual

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