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Youth Time

Interacting with the Interactors

Youth Time

What do you seek in your Soul mate?

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Are you in love? Married? In a serious relationship? Never planning on being on one? Happily single? Single and ready to mingle? Newly single? or newly dating? Well, whatever it might be, let’s admit, we’ve all at least thought about being with someone. The one, we’d like to call our “better half”.

Now most of us want that healthy, enjoyable long term relationship with our dream lover, and most of us have already stepped on to that ladder. It does seem wonderful at the beginning. But it’s only for a handful of us that remains it so till the end. But why?

Being in love is no easy job and we will certainly mess up somewhere along the way. But what matters is how we get past it. And this my friends is a lot easier if you’re with the right person. So it is vital that we choose the right person for the right reasons.

We all have our own checklists when it comes to our lover and it’s natural that we want different things. Some of us want the tall, but it’s not as compelling to others. Some of us want the bearded and others the beardless. Some the sporty, some the geeky. The I-want-to-have-kids type and the I-don’t type.

While people with any of these qualities could make amazing soul mates, there are some other characteristics that I would call core. And I’m sure, that list of mine can relate to yours!

Trust is the foundation of love. There are so many wonderful things we can get out a relationship, but the moment trust is broken, they’re all shattered. So there’s no point committing to a relationship while having doubts or fears about your partner. It’s vital to know that they’re faithful, reliable and will always be there for you, without having to be monitored or controlled. Being brutally honest with each other and communicating feelings both good and bad is the key to build mutual trust in a relationship.

Love and sex might be one purpose of a relationship, but definitely not the only one. A strong friendship with your partner is something that really holds your relationship together and fulfills it. It’s beautiful to be with someone whom you can easily connect with and freely talk to. To talk about your day and exchange life lessons, to be able to completely express yourself without feeling judged and to enjoy doing pretty much anything together. Also, make sure that you’ve seen your partner go bananas!

We all have a purpose of life and we all want to grow. And we’d obviously want to be with someone who does the same. Your partner needs to have goals. There should be something they believe in, something they want to be and working hard towards fulfilling it. It has to be someone who sees a future in them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t see a future in anything else either, even your relationship. So choose someone who dreams big!

We all want our share of attention from our loved ones and a much bigger share from our life partner! Your partner needs to be interested and attentive about what happens in your life, supportive of what you do and excited about your achievements. It has to be someone who has the desire to hear about your day not just out of obligation, but out of interest.  Simply someone who never gets bored of you.

Sharing the same interest with your partner is great. Liking the same food, enjoying the same kinds of movies, sharing the same hobbies and traveling the world together all adds more color to your relationship, but even if you don’t, it’s no biggie. You will end up trying out each other’s interests along the way and find yourselves enjoying them together with time. But, if you don’t share the same values and visions, things might not be so easy. It’s important that you have a similar worldview, the same opinions on what’s right and wrong, want the same things for your kids and have similar perceptions.

Life is hectic as it and we could all do with a dose of laughter. It’s nice to be with someone who can casually make a joke while talking and make you laugh. Or who can cheer you up with their humor when you’re in a bad mood. Having a sense of humor also implies that you’re a cheerful and positive person in nature and that will indeed have a positive impact in any relationship. Humour is attractive and we all need it.

We’re bound to make mistakes and mess up during a relationship, which will displease and hurt our loved one. As long as it’s something that deserved to be forgiven your partner needs to be bold enough to do so after making you aware of what you’ve done. Problems need to be talked about, cleared and gotten over, and for that, you need someone who values your relationship over anything. So remember to choose a good forgiver.

Your partner should have an undying fascination for you and continuously wants you. It should be someone who looks forward to your calls and text messages, gets excited to be with you and still gets butterflies in their stomach when thinking about you. Also, it should be someone who appreciates you, compliments you and likes to remind you that you’re amazing. All these go to show that they genuinely likes you and really wants you.

We all want someone out of the box and who has something that holds them special. Being adventurous can mean, being a world traveler, the willingness to try new things, craving for challenges, the ability to enjoy simple pleasures or simply the desire to explore. A sense of adventure in a couple helps you to learn more about yourself, about each other and grow together. Being adventurous is lovely and could never do you wrong.

Last, but certainly not the least and in fact one of the most important things we seek out of a relationship, Romance. This is what adds meaning and color to a couple. We need to understand the need for romance and make sure the spark doesn’t die. Being romantic could be a long drive, quietly watching the sunset together, a walk in the park, spontaneous dates, surprising each with something they like or even an occasional candlelight dinner. It could be anything that enhances affection, adoration, and love. Romance feels so special and will make your love life an even special one.

So, my friends, love is great, and to make it great is your job.

So choose wisely, love deeply and stay happy!

Rtr. Kalani Siriwardena

 

 

 

 

 

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Youth Time

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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Featured

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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Featured

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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GeneralYouth Time

The NFL – National Football League

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American Football is the most popular sport in the USA, and it has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings. The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league, consisting of 32 teams.and it is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the USA. The final game, known as the Super Bowl  is among the biggest club sporting events in the world,and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history!

Here’s a brief video on the history of the NFL.

NFL SCHEDULING STRUCTURE

To understand the complexities of the NFL schedule, you first need to know how the league is structured. There are two conferences (the NFC and AFC), which are each broken into four divisions (North, East, South, and West), and each division is made up of four teams. Here is how we get 16 games in a regular season.

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Divisional

Each team plays every other team in their division twice—once at home and once on the road—in inter-division play. In other words, if your favorite team plays in the AFC West Division, you will play the other three teams in the division for a total of six games.

Inter-Divisional

Every team in your division then plays all four teams from a different division but still within your conference. These matchups change every year according to a three-year rotation. This means your AFC West team will play each team from the AFC North once during the regular season. These four intra-conference games, plus the six divisional games bring us to a total of ten.

Inter-Conference

When teams play against all four teams in a division from the other conference we call them inter-conference matchups. Just like the inter-divisional games, these inter-conference matchups rotate every year. For example, this year all four teams in the AFC West will play against each of the four teams in the NFC North. If we add these four games to our past ten we’re up to 14.

Final Two Games

The last two matchups are determined by how well your team finished the regular season the year before and who you’re scheduled to play. If your team won their division, you’ll play the other teams in your conference who finished their divisions in the same position, which you are not already scheduled to play. Since you’re scheduled to face every team in one of the divisions for your intra-conference matchups, you’ll square off against the leaders from the other two divisions in your conference. These last two matchups bring the total to 16 action-packed games for a complete NFL season.

 

The 2017 NFL season was the 98th season in the history of the National Football League (NFL). The season began on September 7, 2017, with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the defending Super Bowl LI champion New England Patriots 42–27 in the NFL Kickoff Game. The season concluded on February 4, 2018, where National Football Conference (NFC) champion Philadelphia Eagles faced the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots, with the Philadelphia Eagles beating the New England Patriots 41–33 at SuperBowl LII.

Click here for a recap of that final game!

To cap this off, here is an interesting rap video that recaps the recently concluded 2017 NFL season, provided to you by NFL themselves. Enjoy!

Trevor Wrinkle,
Club Service Chair,
Rotaract Club of the University Area, Houston, Texas.

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