Diplomatic Warzone

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Above is a picture of Fiery Cross Island, a coral reef subject to a land reclamation process by the Chinese Government, it lies in the South China Sea, a region currently involved in grave tensions between multiple nations, including the USA and China. The above island lies outside China’s nautical territory, and thus invites outrage from multiple nations but what makes it truly special is the fact that six years ago, it didn’t exist.

This island doesn’t stand alone, it has six more companions, built by the Chinese Government in a place in the South China Sea called the Spratly islands, which lie closer to the Philippines than they do to the Chinese mainland. Moreover, China is not the only claimant in the heavily disputed region, six other countries, including the Philippines and Malaysia, lay claim to some part of the South China Sea. Why does this body of water attract so much attention, it’s rich, RICH, in resources such as oil and natural gas, it has various types of fish species along with heavy numbers and also contains key ports that give nations access to a market of 2.2 billion people. Also, almost a third of international trade passes through here, Giving nations with access to the South China Sea an unimaginable economic power. Most nations on the circumference of the sea use the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as a basis for their claim. However, China states it has a historical claim over the South China Sea, using maps dating back to the  18th and 19th centuries to formulate a claim over the region, ignoring claims put forward by other nations, it calls the boundary of its claimed territory the nine-dash line, and it encompasses almost the entire South China Sea, ignoring the Exclusive Economic Zones of other states.

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The South China Sea isn’t just a zone for extreme tensions, its important in the modern world, the United States of America, on one side, don’t want to risk provoking China but have to protect their long-standing ally, the Philippines. Russia too wants to honour its alliance with China by backing up Chinese Claims, but also wants to ensure some victories for its military ally, Vietnam.

“Look what they’re doing [The Chinese], they’re building a massive fortress against everything. A massive fortress in the South China Sea and yet they’re ripping us off” – Donald Trump, P.O.T.U.S

In all, this crisis has attracted some of the biggest players in the modern, international setup. Steve Bannon, a Former White House Chief Strategist, has already declared that the USA will go to war over the South China Sea in about another decade or so. Any country with access to the South China Sea gets to connect the markets of South Asia and the Middle Eastern economic hubs. If China gets the sea, it could be the first step to becoming not the second global superpower, but the first hyperpower. If the Philippines gets a portion of the Sea, tensions could grow between USA and China, maybe outside trade too.

“We do not need countries outside the region finger-pointing on this issue, let alone making any ignorant remarks” – Yang Yujun, Chinese Ministry of national defense

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The South China Sea dispute is a complex problem, with complex solutions.

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The WIMUN Experience

The WIMUN Experience

Hey, long time no see. Last month, I had one of the most wonderful trips of my life. WIMUN was a brilliant experience for not just me, but the surely the thousands of delegates who went there. The venue, New York City was also a huge goodie in the bag. WIMUN forced us to abandon our earlier MUN mythologies and beliefs and practices, and indulge ourselves into the actual United Nations format, saying that WIMUN was a life-changer would be an understatement, it taught us how to be a delegate, the morals and values that you hold close and the procedure with which you act for your country.

Normally, MUN delegates are spurred on by the promise of awards and glory and fame but at WIMUN, we were forced to abandon those sentiments and work together to actually try to achieve global parity. In fact, the format made it extremely hard to compete, we were forced to switch block leaders and establish consensus with everyone, the committee was based on mutual agreement and diplomacy and co-operation. WIMUN taught us how to actually transcend ourselves from delegates to competitors and how to connect with the issues at hand at their core, to understand them and crux of the problem they pose.

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A trip through the official headquarters of the United Nations made it even more special, sitting in the very seats where delegates from countries around the world sit, looking at the podium where great people have spoken and walking down the same corridor as the secretary general of the United Nations made it feel transparent, too good to be true.

WIMUN wasn’t just a MUN, it was a life-changing experience, one which every delegate will be sure to remember. Having the amazing skyline of New York City as a backdrop made it even more special, as delegates, our hopes and aims went higher than the skyscrapers themselves!

Finally, the MUN wouldn’t have been what it was without the presence of an amazing and inspiring committee staff who pushed us to achieve the best possible result, they constantly motivated us and guided us to bring out the best in our ourselves.

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In all, WIMUN was a student’s dream, and in case you’re one, wondering whether or not to go, I would surely recommend going, the experience will change your life like nothing else!

Social Media: Boon or Bane?

Today, in the modern era, social media rules all. Hanging out with a friend? Post it on Facebook. At a cricket match? Make a snap. Want to express your views on last night’s match? Tweet it. Social media has completely engrossed itself into our lives. Friendship isn’t measured in how many valuable moments you share, its measured in how much you tag each other on Facebook. is old news,

As they say “Online is old news, online in social media is today’s news, social media is not a subset of the internet, social media is the internet.” This saying looks false on paper, trust me, it is not. Facebook is the world’s second-highest earner of money through online advertising, it contains millions and millions of profiles and enough data to know you better than your wife. In fact, Facebook knows what to serve to you according to what pages you visit, what posts you share, what you like, what you comment on, what groups you join and what you search for. It collects mountains and heaps and oceans of data, and it doesn’t stop there. Facebook and it’s biggest subsidiary, Instagram, share data too. If you like a post of mangoes shipped from India on Facebook, you might encounter an advertisement for the same on Instagram. Facebook traces you across the internet, it doesn’t leave you, it sticks to you.

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However ‘sticky’ social media may seem, it actually has a lot of benefits. Recently, Mark Zuckerburg introduced a new feature into Facebook’s armada of features, he made helplines available for people in disaster zones. Facebook would track disasters, by looking at social media posts and activity of people stuck in those disasters, then it would give that data to relief agencies and governments, in order to carry out better search and rescue missions. This, at the surface, shows how Facebook can manipulate data in order to commit actions that are optimistic and helpful and humane but under the hood, it shows how much Facebook tracks you. Business wise, social media is great for advertising, businesses can promote their products and get far better outreach. Not only this,  but social media promotes a new kind of feature, awareness, you get to know about the latest, most exclusive news as soon as it is released. This may sometimes be undermined by hocus-pocus, such as fake news stories and pointless rumours but mass and promoted and targeted advertising has its benefits. Social media solves the problem of instant communication, you can chat away with your friends on Snapchat without having to wait for even a second, a feat which would’ve been considered impossible twenty years ago.

Social media is now a public phenomenon, as said by Erik Qualman, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media the question is, how well you do it.” People are judged on the basis of what they do on social media, social media determines how wide your social circle is. It is indeed a wonderful way to determine whether or not you should follow this or that but why involve it so much into your routine that it determines who your friends are?

On the contrary, there are some negatives to social media, and plastered at the forefront of those negatives is data management by the social media hubs we love so much. Did you know that employers go through your social media activity? A habit that was introduced after social media became a massive point of discussion worldwide. In addition, Facebook adds every single click to its massive library of pointers which helps to determine what makes it to your wall, if you click on a link with the tags, football, Messi, Barcelona, you will find posts with those same tags making it to your wall across multiple social media engines, and did you know that any potential pessimistic link or post on your profile, any malicious thing associated with it, any sort of trouble at all, and you might suddenly find yourselves rejected for your dream job, and oh, don’t forget that universites may soon establish social media parameters that applicants must fall under, not only does social media dictate your daily life, it affects your future in a way that is set to be unrivalled.As said by Erin Bury “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want to be plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”

The non-social person has a pretty strong argument, and that is: Social Media wastes time. Frankly, it does. What personal goal or level of achievement do you achieve by scrolling through millions of posts relating to music, cooking, sarcasm, pets, sport and just pure distractive and attractive stuff.

Also, you can argue that social media might just dictate too much of your private life, not every part of your life needs to be on social media, not every selfie you took with your best friend needs to be posted on Instagram and not every but of your opinion regarding Ronaldo’s haircut needs to be tweeted. Snapchat isn’t your personal daily life compiler, please don’t upload photos and stories about every single thing ranging from hair dryers to how many burgers you had yesterday. Don’t give so much data to the internet, one post a month is more than enough, according to me. I don’t even have Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat accounts, in sharp contrast to the everyday high-schoolers who spread themselves on their phones the moment they get them. What is so decent and ‘social’ and post-like about you clicking photos of random people and at random moments, why do you want to post it on social media and reduce their lives to mockery, apart from letting social media flood you, you’re allowing to be a means for you to post weird photoshop edits that sometimes go on to ridicule people, sometimes even drastically increase their stress levels and push them to depression, perhaps even suicide.

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In the end, how successful you will be can perhaps be measured in how much you can resist the pull of social media.

“I see Twitter, and I see my physics textbook, I see Instagram and then there’s my cricket bat, I see snapchat and my latest test score an all-time low, everything in the balance but there’s something else, it’s calling to me, its name is Facebook, it’s powerful, I can see it going through millions of lines of code and manipulating people and data, it’s strong, I can feel it and it’s calling to me, pulling me, it’s going to destroy me.”

Is Walmart ready to take on Amazon?

Amazon, the world’s current leader in e-commerce is now tackling multiple aspects of everyday society, such as fulfilling the demand for instant and fresh fruits and vegetables. Not more than fifteen years ago, Walmart dominated the retail industry. Every single product was available on the shelves of the retail bull, people would take out hours and hours for shopping, suddenly, Walmart became a retail icon but then came Amazon.

Amazon delivered a body blue to Walmart with it’s direct and attractive methods of advertising and purchase platform. It portrayed laziness in the face of buying items as acceptable, it made people feel divine. Sitting at home and getting products delivered to your doorstep was associated with godliness before Amazon’s rise to power. Amazon made that heavenly emotion available to the general public. With better infrastructure than any other company to date, Amazon tackled the problem of sorting and organization with technology and robotics, almost all of Amazon’s warehouses are automated, with robots doing all the hard work, the good part, they don’t complain! Then, Amazon took another quantum leap, it introduced data structures and artificial intelligence into its program. As a result, content was guided towards customers, Amazon gave customers what they wanted, deep inside. All of a sudden, Amazon knew more about your buying habits than your wife. Now, Amazon is delivering its final punch, aimed to kill off conventional retailers and other e-commerce giants such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and E-Bay. Amazon has now pulled off immense leaps. First came echo, Amazon’s voice assistant. Alexa, unlike Siri and Bixby, exists in the physical world, it is a living person. Then. amazon tackled worldwide delivery systems with the introduction of automated shipping lines and aircraft carriers, its now dominating the shipping market and overshadowing companies such as Fed-Ex and DFL. With new ventures such as the Amazon fire series, Amazon Go and Amazon fresh, the monopoly is now truly taking over the retail industry all around the globe. Note, amazon has now become the second largest search engine in the world, officially.

With such vast advances in all aspects of the retail industry, and allotment of resources towards production of modernised and automated brick and mortar stores, Amazon is capturing the entire macroeconomic market. Amazon is making lives more divine and comfortable, now, you can tell your echo to add items to your shopping list, or to play songs, or to buy stuff, or to make to-do lists or you can listen to the news. Ultimately, Amazon is trying to capture the household, the products in the household and how the products reach that place.

Anyone would now be in belief of the fact that Amazon is overpowering Walmart, but that may not be true, Walmart still has tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, Walmart still is the biggest gainer from true retail, that is brick and mortar retail. It has a far better physical infrastructure than Amazon. Although Walmart is far behind in e-commerce, advertising, product change, policy change and permission to operate in India might just change that.

Given all this, there are many other companies apart from Amazon and Walmart that could be dominating the retail sale market in 2030. One potential candidate is Alibaba. Founder Jack Ma has sole permission to sell to the world’s largest population, China.

The Four – Scott Galloway

The perfect read for the businessman, this book ruthlessly analyses and uncovers the successful strategies behind the four, modern-day monopolies, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. From target markets to competitors, from stocks to brick and mortar stores, from luxury goods to advertising, this book covers all aspects of a high school business management textbook. The way Scott uncovers the working DNA behind these four mega-companies makes the book intriguing and attractive. The author highlights future plans, industries and target audiences of the ‘big four.’ Also, perhaps the part of the book, the author talks about the next big company, the list of possible candidates include Tesla, Uber, Airbnb, Microsoft and Warner Bros. This book is the holy grail for an entrepreneur, the business strategies mentioned in the book could make your business rocket sky high.

The Black Hole War – Leonard Susskind

A brilliant read for the scientifically attracted mind. This book is full of scientific models and theories, but all of them are explained brilliantly, making this book truly blend into the ‘normal’ reading market. The Black Hole Theory, coupled with the String theory truly makes it a compelling read. Most importantly, the psychological and theoretical battle between Leonard Susskind, Gerard T’Hooft and Stephan Hawking regarding a relatively unknown object, black holes. What the human race is sure about is the fact is that there is a bone-crushing singularity right at the centre of a black hole, capable of exerting enough gravitational force to restrict light from moving past its event horizon. The concepts at battle make this book worthwhile, Stephen Hawking on one side despoiling the foundations of Physics by stating that Black Holes evaporate, leading to loss of information with Susskind and T’Hooft arguing that information is either emitted out as Hawking radiation or Black Holes don’t evaporate.

The Journey That Changed The Course of WW2

Well, this is gonna be a big thing. I’ve written my first book, a book! It’s titled “Survival Sandstorm: The Journey that Changed the Course of World War II” and the genre is historical fiction.

This book started with one idea, an idea which dominated my mind before it finally took shape in the physical world. Ever since 6th grade, I’ve been trying to write short stories, but none of them had variety, they were inspired from novels and movies such as interstellar, Harry Potter and well, Geronimo Stilton. This idea formed in my mind in 7th grade, when I brainstormed about writing a book. I mentally assessed my failing tries to write something significant, I thought and thought about possible, genuine story lines, story lines which would capture readers. A story line which would bring out the best in me. I settled down on this idea. Before I go into depth on this ‘idea, ‘ I would like to underline the fact that the idea and storyline I had at the start are radically different from what the book is now. Some major characters had to be added and removed, all in a quest for captivating the reader.

The basic idea I had at the start was about a Russian pilot, fighting against the Germans during the second world war. I thought about that pilot being commissioned to transport hostages across the Sahara desert, and certain events I thought would define the book. As I wrote more and more, as the story came to life and expanded and started to breathe, I didn’t need a schedule or a plan, the storyline seemed to dictate itself, it was as if a seemingly natural process was dominating my transmissions from chapter to chapter and event to event.

I would really like to thank my parents, they made this book possible. Sometimes, the story would get stuck, I would have problems with some details that on a general basis, amounted to very less but were very crucial to me. Sometimes, I would not write for a week or a month, my parents were always there for me and the book, they would encourage me to continue, they would encourage me to just write my heart out and not pay attention to minute details, they could be fixed at a later stage.

The book releases on 15th December, and I can’t wait for it.

Survival Sandstorm The Journey that Changed the Course of World War II

Here is the blurb for the book Survival Sandstorm: The Journey that Changed the Course of World War II:

JULY 12TH, 1941: The plane flew over the great Sahara, into the face of the devilish storm. The clouds were ready to swallow the plane, to render it useless, to destroy it and to mutilate it. Aboard the plane were three hostages, three hostages from Nazi Germany, three hostages who could’ve changed the course of world war 2 if they had reached their destination. This is the story of how Ivsker Vodkech, the best pilot in Russia battled against all odds to deliver those three hostages into allied hands, how he battled against all odds to uncover the devilish organisation operating in Africa, how he battled against all odds to survive.”

To purchase this book click here : Survival Sandstorm: The Journey that Changed the Course of World War II

Facebook Link : Survival: Sandstorm

Exams, GCI, and Books

Woohoo! The examinations are finally over! These examinations involved more time, more subjects and more work than any before them. Firstly, I have no idea about how much I’ll score, which is obvious given that its the first time I’ve given exams for the IGCSE curriculum with 10 subjects. As of now, I’m happy just because of the exams getting over, i get an opportunity to fruitfully waste time, knowing that it will have no pessimistic consequences, unless i allow that carefree-ness to seep into my daily routine.

Good News! Google Code-In starts on November 28th. Unfortunately, I’ve decided to give myself a break for 5 days and then go ahead with full stack development and algorithm design. Surprisingly, i did some research regarding the prestigious competition and it doesn’t involve that any programming skills, instead, you have to showcase your abilities as an all rounder, you have to research, develop, program and along with that, go through thousands of lines of code and try to find errors, design posters, contribute to the brand image and do group projects.

Now that the exams are over, i can finally switch back over to reading books. Currently, i’m on the black hole war by Leonard Susskind, its a thrilling read, especially after going through a semester of IGCSE chemistry and physics. Although the book is altogether awesome, it escalates onto the bestseller list as it seemingly evaporates that line between ‘normal’books and oh-god-confusing-physics-books. It also provides accurate and awesome explanations of concepts such as quantum tunneling, stretched horizons and space-time.

The Martian – Andy Weir

We finally have a book which can rival dark matter, finally!!! The Martian is a book from beyond the boundaries of the earth(actually, it is based on Mars). It is a book full of tragedy, irony, comedy and just pure awesomeness. Every serious moment is atoned for by relief through comedy, the story is perfectly set and the factual details are correct to the core. This story almost feels like a real Martian adventure. The thing that is brilliant about this book is not the story, but how the author has connected it with real-life events in every small thing: hatred of disco music, a desire for coffee, human instinct to crack jokes and cry, tendencies to eat full meals and much more, the Martian truly is a mix of all the different, inspiring elements a book can have, a must read for space enthusiasts. The realistic-ness of the atmosphere generated by the author sucks the reader into the story, it absorbs you and it captivates you. What makes this book more amazing is the fact that the author has the technical details down to the wire, such as the chemistry involved in separating hydrazine molecules and creating water or the radiation given off by a plutonium cell.

MOSSAD – Michael Bar Zohar

In the Middle East, there is a Zionist nation with a supreme intelligence force which rivals the likes of the CIA and INTERPOL, this intelligence agency is known as the MOSSAD, and it belongs to the formidable power of Israel. Israel, in recent years, has emerged as the dominant force in the battle for peace in the middle east, sound ironic, right? With ramsads such as Meri Dagan and Little Isser, the MOSSAD has carried out thousands of successful operations from rescuing Jews from the clutches of the Ethiopian government to delaying Iran’s nuclear project. Created in 1948, the MOSSAD succeeded the Haganah, which was the Israeli secret service till 1947. With enemies like Syria, Iran and Egypt, the MOSSAD has operated with extreme precision and success. Agencies around the world rely on the MOSSAD to eliminate threats, assassinate terrorists, gathering secret information, delay nuclear projects and forge relations with other countries. This book is one of the best ever reads for nonfiction, it embodies the traits and values o countless MOSSAD operatives and ramsads. The MOSSAD is perhaps the most active intelligence agency around the world, performing and executing more actions than the CIA itself.