13 items found for ""
- Key Electric Vehicle Market Trends for 2023
Over the past four months I have spent a lot of time thinking of about Electric Vehicles (EVs) and its future due to my marketing internship at a Dutch automotive startup. This deep fascination has resulted in my thoughts for the near future of the EV industry. Predictions: More Electric Vehicle (EV) Models Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Will Remain a Niche Market Solar Electric Vehicles (SEVs) Will Make Waves Government Incentives in Full Swing Public Charging Infrastructure in Catch Up Mode 1. More Electric Vehicle (EV) Models McKinsey Predicts 400 new EV models in 2023 Ban of fossil fuel vehicles: Countries across the globe are planning to phase out fossil fuel vehicles and transition to 100% EVs between 2030 and 2040. Examples of ban on sales of new fossil fuel vehicle include United Kingdom by 2030, European Union and United States by 2035. The Rise of EV Fleets: Traditional fleet & logistic operators like Hertz, DHL, Amazon, FedEx, etc. plans to transition a large portion of their fleet to EV. New fleet startups, popping up across many cities, are already EVs like Greenwheels, ShareNow, etc. Higher Fuel Price: Consumer attitude towards EVs become more favorable as EVs are more cost-effective (lower price per km), have lower maintenance cost, and offers a more sustainable mobility option. 2. Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) Will Remain a Niche Market Commercial viability of FCEV is running against the clock as the battery tech & vehicle performance continues to improve. Limited Availability of Hydrogen Cost of Green Hydrogen & Infrastructure: Green hydrogen is being positioned as the future of energy due to its ability to provide longer range and faster refueling. Although good in theory, the practicalities present major limitations: Green hydrogen production is expensive due to the massive infrastructure investments not easily possible for local production at every gas station → built across nations to be able to provide enough energy → not available everywhere → huge distribution process/cost. Hydrogen fuel is best suited for transportation use-cases where local electricity production is not economically viable, vehicles require continuous operations (minimum downtime), and longer range than for typical passenger vehicles e.g. planes, ships, heavy-duty trucks, long-haul buses, etc. “The future of energy is not one size fits all. It is mixed. BEVs are the future of passenger Vehicles and FCEVs are the future of large-scale transportation” Today, FCEV requires 3 to 6 times more energy than all Battery EV (BEV) to transport a passenger the same distance; however, BEV need 8-16 times larger battery depending on distance travelled. Nonetheless, as the battery technology continues to improve in terms of energy density (longer range), ultra-fast charging (10 minutes or less) and with the wide availability of public fast recharging stations, BEV will continue to remain the best commercial option economically for passenger vehicle. The key understanding that must happen in the automotive and energy industry is that one type of energy does not fit all. Your everyday car will transition towards BEVs as battery quality nears the quality of FCEVs. As they become more similar in terms of range/fast refueling the details start to matter. FCEVs require more energy for the conversion of water to hydrogen and back into energy. That extra step will not be necessary when batteries are able to be as fast as FCEVs. Meanwhile, one might wonder what the sustainable future for mass transportation which is being heavily promoted by many governments as a green alternative. This is where the future of FCEVs lies as they provide long range and fast refueling which cannot happen easily at that large of a scale with batteries. So, the future of planes, boats, buses etc. are aligning more with FCEVs. 3. Solar Electric Vehicles (SEVs) Will Make Waves A common misconception is that solar electric vehicles are regular cars with solar panels slapped onto the roof. That is how it started, but how did we move from solar being an added boost to a car to cars being able to rely on solar power. The key here is a positive feedback circle where each part of a vehicles design must contribute to improving efficiency in the next. This is how SEVs makes its mark. Ultra-Energy-Efficient Vehicle Design SEVs are pushing the automotive industry to reimagine vehicle design to prioritize ultra-energy-efficient design. This includes, powertrain efficiency, chassis, aerodynamics, wheels, lighter materials, efficient batteries, etc. All of these are necessary for SEVs to be viable and therefore the current SEVs on the market are excelling in creating ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. Offloading the Grid Each part of the car factors into the efficiency of the next resulting in a long range, sustainable vehicle that requires minimal charging. By having a long range that is constantly being boosted by solar power the car can offset the need for constant recharging by having longer time in-between each recharge. This takes off the stress on the grid as a whole. Specialized Tech Just as we are making advances in fuel cell and battery tech we are also improving solar tech. Many SEV companies have specialized solar panels that can harness solar energy in many different climates and able to optimize the energy intake. In climates such as the Netherlands or UK one can still offset their energy bill by nearly 7,000 km per year if using a Lightyear car (SEV company). In sunnier climates these numbers can rise to circa 20,000 km. That is why SEV companies are popping up around the world such as Aptera in California. “SEVs are able to operate in today’s infrastructure while benefiting the environment, offsetting the grid, and saving costs for drivers” 4. Government Incentives in Full Swing Government policy initiatives coupled with billions of dollars/euros to incentivize EV adoption and built out of EV charging stations are fueling the explosive EV sales. United States US federal government offers grants and loans to states, local governments, and private companies to support the deployment of EV charging infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act are already having a huge effect as automakers are now working to onshore their EV supply chain and manufacturing to US in order to qualify for EV tax credit rule. Some States and utilities offer their own incentives to encourage faster adoption of EVs such as rebates, tax credits, reduced fees for EV owners & discounted electricity rates, or credits for charging during off-peak hours. Europe In Europe, there are also several incentives available for EVs and charging infrastructure. Many European countries offer tax credits, grants, and other financial incentives to encourage the purchase and use of EVs. E.g. France ‘ecological bonus’ – cars under 47,000 euros will receive 7,000 euros towards purchase. In Romania this goes up to 10,000 euros. Across nearly all European countries there are incentives. Some countries also have policies in place to encourage the deployment of EV charging infrastructure, such as requiring a certain percentage of new parking spaces to be equipped with EV charging stations. 5. Public EV Fast Charging Infrastructure in Catch Up Mode Limited Funding: although there is massive emphasis on moving towards greener mobility and energy the resources must also back this up. The US has allocated $7,5 billion for 500,000 new public EV charging stations. However, experts say that this is no where near the number of charging ports needed to back the forecasted exponential growth of EV sales. Limited Space in Urban Areas: Charging ports are being invested in; however, city dwellers are not afforded the same luxury as residential neighborhoods as individual apartment dwellers do not have access to individual charing ports. Therefore, charging stations with multiple charging ports need to be installed for cities to also move towards greener mobility. Compatibility in Payment & Charging Ports: Availability of high voltage grid, and the lack of plug & charge of any EV to any fast charger are hampering rapid adoption of EVs. Many EV companies are associated with certain charging station brands causing them to have specific billing systems. This can limit where people go to charge their EVs. This is the opposite of petrol stations which is available for any fossil fuel car. Action needs to be taken towards universalizing and standardizing payment and charging methods for EVs. This article was first published on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/key-electric-vehicle-market-trends-2023-sne-prasad-alam/?trackingId=I2DQXzyrQmebaIHiJj5SzA%3D%3D
- The Making of The Impact of The Internet on Politics
I am interested in cybersecurity & data privacy and the lack thereof which has led to data mining and its effect on democracy. As the world embraces digitalization, our daily lives become filled with all forms of digital media containing our data; therefore, I find data privacy to be one of the biggest topics of discussion in our society and politics. We have laws regarding privacy and the extent to which the government or anyone else can gather and share our information; however, with the internet, these laws have become quite unclear. The EU introduced new laws regarding cookies and many social media tech giants have been faced with serious repercussions to their usage of user data. To gain deeper insights into our digitalized future I combed through old interviews of some of the pioneers of the internet to see if and how these influential tech people addressed these concerns when they were creating our digital future. After going through several interviews I decided to focus on net neutrality, data privacy, and fake news/disinformation as topics that impact politics. I personally love connecting media and politics so I wanted to feature the events that went through my mind as I watched these interviews. I decided to include a wide range of sources from MSNBC to Fox News as it shows how polarizing the media is and how it only adds to the echo chambers we find ourselves in online.
- The Forgotten Beat of the Late 20th century
Lately a "new" music has been on the rise in the mainstream music. A music that was never really taken as music before. A new way of making music. Electronic music. I'm from the generation, where this music is very popular. It has been incorporated in genres such as pop and R&B. Every generation is defined by a specific music, all of which are pushing the boundaries put by the older generation. The newer music is never really appreciated too much and the sad part is that many people do not know why, but they know for a fact that classical music is better than this electronic music. I decided to write this after talking to few adults, who did not really like nor appreciate this music. If you never really had a passion for music (it does not mean you have to play an instrument), then the idea that classical music is the best might be set in your head. Just like art, music is a self expressing device. It's a way of connecting people on a level that can not be expressed in words nor silence. It's a language as old as time. Something that binds us all together. So here is my way of looking at electronic music and classical music and why both are equally important. So let's clear up some things. Classical music is foundation for a lot of music and electronic music is a genre on the rise that entered the scene thanks to technology. Science asks questions about the world and finds answers. Without science, we would have never had cars, phones or plastic. What is science good for if you don't have someone to make use of the scientific discovery. For instance, take the theory of relativity. Good for you, Einstein, but what good is it if you can't use it? That's where engineers come in, they take all the scientific findings combine it with what people want and turn it into something usable. If we just had engineers, they would have nothing new to make, because they would be limited in knowledge about nature and the world. You can't have science without engineering and vice versa. This goes for music too. If you think about it. Classical music took music to a whole new level. They were the pioneers of music setting out a foundation for future music and musicians. The development of technology has made music accessible to the world. These modern musicians take what music has already been made, add other music on top of that, and add there own twist too it. This new music is just as valuable as the old. New music = engineers Classical = scientists Music is an art and people are humans. What do humans do? We keep creating from what we have and electronic music is just another creation.
- A Special Moment in Time
Everyone has that one memory of a place where your mind wanders to when you feel down. From the most breathtaking scenes to the simplest dreams we all think of that place when we close our eyes. As I biked up the last path, I stood up to see the tips of the swaying willow trees. I heard my breath as all the sounds dimmed out just like the sea after the high tides so the sounds swiftly drew back. I pulled into the drive smiling at the three dancing willows who wore flowing green gowns that gently swept the earth as the wind kept singing its song. The trees soared towards the sky, and the bark was a white masterpiece painted by Mother Nature herself. My foot steps slowed down as I approached the garage door. I stood up on the tip of my toes reaching up to the lock. The lock unhitched and the door opened with the sweet sound of creaking wood. I parked my mountain bike next to the table that once stood proud in the sun. A slant lead down into the moss filled grass. I took my shoes off, gently stepping on the recently exposed green fur. The soft grass tickled my feet as I stretched them across it. I took a deep breath in, filling my lungs with the fresh smell of trees, earth and grass. I walked down the garden hills brushing my feet along the ground. The cherry tree blushed behind its white shawl. This was my favorite tree of all. The branches were so wide and firm, it could hold an entire person. My eyes scanned the bottom of the tree. It was as though a rainbow fell from the sky covering the entire ground in bright colors. The soft purple flowers, next to the cloudy white daisies broken by the tall smooth tulips. The bright red ones as well as the dark ones stood proud next to each other. The dark tulips, so mysteries and beautiful as though they had stollen their shade from the night sky itself. A bit farther up the hill was one out of the three enchanting apple trees. This one with its long spiky branches reaching for the sky. Only in fall will it let its heavy arms down because of the emerald green apples. Next to it is a path up to the brick house. The beautiful bushes untrimmed overflow onto the stone pathway that slithers its way up to the house. In the middle are two trees in line protecting the small bush in between them. The plum tree with one branch low enough to brush the top of my head were filled with beautiful little purple fruits. A sister to the tree stood at the bottom with amber like plums hanging from its arms. I closed my eyes and put my head down on the green blanket letting it all sink in. The sweet sound of every farm bird filled my ears. The colorful chirping was as though they all sang my favorite song. A song where the wind gently brushes through the grass and trees. The soft breeze blowing back my hair revealing a wonderful world. A world so big yet only a small backyard, in a small town, in a small country that's just part of one little planet in the universe. I opened my eyes again afraid a had missed my favorite note in this never ending song. My eyes darted past the greenery to the one tree dressed in its green leaves. Soon after the heat passes the tree will put on its best accessory, apples. Apples so red that it may seem it was dipped in blood that soaks all the way into the core leaving nothing white. The sound of sinking your front teeth deep into a fresh apple and the juice covering your tung made me wish it was autumn again. But then I realized that spring had only just begun. I climbed the cherry tree. Holding onto one branch as I put my foot up to the next. The bark under my feet crunched gently embracing every step I took. At the top I looked out. The small cycle route curved its way in front of the farm covered in long beautiful grass. The grass was an ocean creating tides that pulled your eyes into to them as though it was hypnotizing you. The sky above me was a bright but soft blue from the Hollywood movies. It was covered in white cotton balls that floated along like fish in a pond. In the far distance a moo was let out by the cow on the farm. I grabbed onto the branch feeling the crumbly and earthy texture. I sat out there for hours. The silence was so loud and magnificent that it entranced me. Until I heard a distant voice calling from inside the yellow bricked little house. The house with an overgrown garden. The house where I have my own little universe. The house I call home.
- The City Where Dreams Never Sleep
New York City. Home to 8.406 million (2013). Only 304.6 mi². Google defines it as "Home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty and other iconic sites, New York City is a fast-paced, globally influential center of art, culture, fashion and finance." Every person I have ever known wants to visit NYC in some point in there life. I had the privilege of visiting this iconic city twice as a child. The first time I went to the east coast I was eight years old, my mom went to Princeton for business and I had the honor to see one of the most beautiful campuses ever. Back then I did not know what exactly university and all that was so I declared to my family that I will go to Princeton. I thought to myself who wouldn't want to go there! Einstein had a house there! I saw New York city from the view point of one of the millions of tourists who go there every year; however, I did not find it enchanting or as great as I had thought. To me it was just another big city with a little extra honking. That was back then. This year I had the most amazing opportunity to go to New York City with my school. I didn't think twice before choosing the art trip. The early morning flight was great, but something within me was still anxious. That all went away on the very same night. Our hotel was just a five minute walk from Time square where my group ended up eating. This trip was very different from any other trip I had been on. We were free to do what we wanted and go where we wanted as long as we were back by a certain time. Obviously most adults would think that the children will go crazy with so much freedom, yet I did not. It somehow felt natural to me. Walking down busy streets, paying my own bills, asking for help, taking the subway. It all came bubbling up as if the city unlocked something deep within me that was just ready to burst out. We took subways to Brooklyn, Chelsea and around the city as well. The feeling was phenomenal since I loved walking and public transportation from growing up in Europe. AN IDEA... The art varied from each gallery we saw, until we went to a rather unusual bookstore. Here they sold books from anyone as long as they had a hundred copies and I thought I could do that. They had books ranging from something no one understands to the most emotional and philosophical books. But they all had something I wanted to capture but I could not quite put my finger on it yet. I finally came up with the idea. What really got to me on the trip was the people. Every face you pass by, every window, every car has its own specific story. Every single person is going through something quite different from the person they are sitting next to on the subway. I felt as though I was walking through a living library, but each book had a lock that could only be opened by kindness. I wanted to write about how wonderful New York City is but I could never truly capture its essence until I have lived there myself which I hope to do in the future. So I thought what better way to tell the story of New Yorkers than have them tell it themselves. Imagine taking a candid picture of a 100 people on the street just going about their life (Of course letting them know about the pictures). Then putting the pictures into a book and having a few blank lines under each. Now have other New Yorkers write who they think this person is. Whenever people write about something or someone unknown we consciously or unconsciously relate it back to our own experience in life. It is the unheard story about the people of New York by the people of New York. THE ART... My favorite part of the trip was street art. From murals to graffiti everything just seemed to be that one subtle ingredient in the food that just makes the dish what it is and without it, it is not the same. I love it because everyone sees something different just like the pictures of people. Everyone sees a different story and as an artist it is amazing when you look through the glass of others. When people see my art and ask what it symbolizes, I tell them that they should tell me what it is. That's how art grows. without people looking and trying to understand art it will just be a canvas with paint on or a clay figure. Art is created by the people themselves. Art is the hidden story in their minds that come forth when they first lay eyes on a piece. Now I hope to go to a university in New York City. The city is no more just Empire State and Statue of Liberty to me. Yes the Statue of Liberty just gives an example of how high you can dream and achieve and the Statue of Liberty shows the independence that I love of the city and people. The day's seemed so long and tiring yet they went by so quickly. The city brought out something in everyone that soon disappeared when we returned home. For me the city was like chocolate, once I got a taste of it I cannot get enough. I realized the beauty of the city is not all these touristic sites, but the culture, the people, and the life-style. That is what I fell in love with. From childhood on I always knew exactly what I wanted to do in life; however, that slowly started to fade away when I started freshmen year. After that trip all I could think of was living in New York in a apartment and never getting bored because there is always something going on around the corner. The city revived me and is my inspiration. New York City. Home to more people than the country I grew up in. Covers continents of culture. I define it as "home to many different cultures, people, and a complete different life-style and a place that makes my dreams look like apples hanging from the tree. All I have to do is be daring enough to climb up and get it."
- The Missing Equation for Growth in the 21st century
One of the major topics of today's politics is our environment and how we have to save it. A big topic is global warming which has increased the earth’s regular temperature by 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880. Two thirds of the global warming, however; occurred between 1975 and now. Not only does it increase desertification but it also harms the wildlife and the environment. A contributor to the harming of nature is greenhouse gasses. These harmful gasses are produced through manufacturing of products. After these items lose their value they are thrown into landfill or even our oceans without taking out the toxins, thus allowing it to contaminate our resources and environment. People talk a lot about how the environment is being destroyed yet the solutions are never brought into the spotlight. "The best way to protect our environment is by manufacturing products with a forethought to how to reuse it as many times as possible while keeping the toxins separate from the biodegradable parts". Reusing technology and other products can help save our environment as well as help create less waste and more jobs. Reusing technology creates a circular economy which is more efficient than the linear economy we use today. Most technology today is built on a simple principle that takes resources, makes products and dumps toxins back into earth. This is the linear economy. Recycling in linear economy is very costly and hard since the products technical and biological nutrients are mixed up. The solution to this is circular economy. It all starts with designing a product that can easily be torn apart and recycled by separating the products technical and biological parts. This creates less waste and increases the time one component is used. Linear Economy only add more waste to our world. For example the garbage is dumped into oceans creating piles of toxic debris killing any marine life. If it is not put into the ocean, it is put into landfills. This pollutes and contaminates our valuable resources. It's a cycle that has no winners. As well as saving the environment, circular principle has economic benefits too. Some brands, such as Nike, already use recyclable products to create their products. Nike takes plastic bottles and uses it to create polyester products. If we implement circular economy for consumer goods sector alone it would save $700 million. Not only does it save $700 million, it will save $1 trillion in annual savings for global economy by 2025. The circular economy both saves a lot of money and creates 100,000 new jobs in just 5 years. Implementing circular economy principles is the most basic and efficient way to protect our environment. Besides the obvious effects of linear economy why should we switch over to circular when linear economy has been working for us? When we create products we take resources from nature; however, nature can't keep up with our needs, this is causing resources to become scarce and costly yet we keep destroying it by adding more waste to the environment. The world’s natural resources are shrinking as we keep exploiting it without doing anything to preserve it. The world currently works on the principle of taking and giving nothing back. We cut down trees without replanting. We take natural resources and combine them with toxins so it's nearly impossible to separate and reuse it. Expenses on water and other valuable resources rise because it is getting rarer. If we stopped polluting our sources, we would have more clean water. By creating technology that can easily be reused/renewed we could use one phone to create five different products instead of creating six different products which will together create more waste than that one phone re-cycled. Reusing technology can help cut down deforestation in the rainforests which is a key contributor to the pollution and destruction of nature. This is just one example of what we can do with a phone after it has been used to its limit. Since deforestation accounts for 17% of greenhouse gases which is 4% more than the greenhouse gases emitted by all the transportation in the world (cars, planes, buses etc.) Making sure that the trees aren't cut down should be one of our main focuses as a society. The millennials have been taught about how many trees are being cut down every day and comparing it to football fields but we are never told a solution. If we are told of a solution then it's near imposible to achieve because changing people's habits is hard. Yet the solution to logging is much simpler than it may seem. Due to the quick growth in technology there is surprisingly good mobile coverage in the rainforest. By using simple phones that have been recycled, Topher White, a conservation technologist, created a device that can pick up on the frequencies of a chainsaw that a human cannot hear. The phone is in a box so it does not get destroyed and is powered by solar panels. The detection of chainsaws will send a location to the dedicated park rangers and they can stop loggers before another tree is cut down. Why use old phones when you can use new and more advanced technology? Well the old phones are anyways going to be thrown into nature because of our current linear economy creating more waste and pollution which harms the environment. Recycling increases the lifespan of the phone allowing it to help us save the environment. The main concern with switching too circular economy is the switch itself. The fear of switching is that the different parts of the product may be reused in different industries. This means the effort to make this happen is cross industries so everyone will have to participate equally and accept this change. If one industry were to control all the parts that can be resumed of a product they could increase the prices by a lot. This is a big risk that could possibly go wrong if one industry is not satisfied; however it is a risk worth taking to save our environment. If we don't try our best to save the environment it will not just harm nature but us humans as well. For example the rising sea level will destroy millions of houses near the sea, then the government has to take care of these people. Take Bangladesh, this is already happening there and though it may be far away from America we rely on the factories in these countries for our clothes and products. Prices across the globe will increase due to the shrinking resources and that affects everyone no matter who and where you are. People are willing to help save the environment, all we have to do is tell them what they can do and take this big risk because no big change happens without a big risk. The biggest problems sometimes have the simplest solutions. Reusing technology helps create a more environment friendly economy allowing us to both use natural resources while still allowing nature to grow. Using technology already in place we can create ways to stop logging. This ultimately helps cutting down on emissions of greenhouse gases and save the rainforests. There are many people who are willing to help keep nature alive. Making technology that can be torn apart and reused will increase the lifespan of the components of the product creating more products from less resources. The circular economy, which promotes recycling, limits the waste we put into nature saving wildlife as well. We must start now because resources are shrinking and we keep adding more waste/toxins to nature, not allowing the natural resources to replenish which creates a cycle that ultimately will harm us. The truth is that we only got this one world and if your mindset is that you won't live to be affected by nature than you are wrong. The natural world is a cyclical place, and we, humans, cannot change that no matter what. We can only learn from it and adapt to its needs. We have destroyed a lot of nature which cannot be replenished; however, we can do our best to save what is left before it's too late. Sometimes the biggest problems have the simplest solutions we just have to be willing to take the risk to solve it.
Human "Without distinction of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property birth or other status." - UN Human Rights Deceleration, article 2 _________________________________________________________________________________ "Bullying is bad" teachers told me. Bullying is when a person uses their power and intimidation to force another person to do what the person wants. Here is the thing I don't see the difference between discrimination and bullying. Sure, the first word is more fancier and not many children know what that means but they both imply that one group of people use their power to exclude another group of people. Everyone is against bullying, so that means everyone is against discrimination.How come when someone tweets #BlackLIvesMatter they will face back lash with a bunch of people commenting #AllLivesMatter? Take the stereotypical bullying situation The nerd is being pushed down by the jocks who are popular. People are not going to say that the jocks should be protected from being pushed, because there is no one pushing the jocks and they are already protected. People are going to say that nerds need protection from being pushed. That is the same thing with the hashtags. Black lives matter is not saying that other races don't matter. It is saying that black lives matter equally because many places don't value black lives. I am not black, I'm brown and I don't see a hashtag going around talking about that brown lives matter. Sure brown people face a lot of discrimination, a lot of which I have personally experienced. However, I know that the black community has faced a much longer lasting oppression. Take crayons as an example The black crayon is used the most to outline figures. It is the most used but on the other hand the white crayon has never ever felt paper. The white crayons are excluded the most and that is not fair. The yellow crayons are also used less but not as little as the white. This is because the paper is white and so the white doesn't show up when used. Our world is made of black paper. The darker your complexion the less likely you are to show up. Our world has been run by people with power and wealth and is made to benefit only them. It is time to change that. Are colored people's rights not human rights? Humans include women, and women tend to have feminine qualities then aren't feminine qualities human? What is so wrong about a women working hard to make equal or more money then men. A women owning her own body. A women having a child. A women feeling confident in her own body and clothes. Honestly, women can accomplish what a man can accomplish, and on top of that bring life into the world. As a girl I think other women/girls should start by respecting each other. How can you expect respect from men if you don't even respect each other. Are women's rights not just human rights? Love Poets, musicians and writers throughout history romanticize the idea of finding love. Life gives and takes a lot of things but the one thing you can leave this world with is love. Imagine marrying someone you don't love. Every culture celebrates marriage then why can't a man marry another man or a woman marry another woman. Isn't it just binding two souls. Souls don't have genders. It is not gay marriage, it is just plain simple marriage. People are still fighting against arranged marriages around the world because in our eyes marrying someone you don't love is crazy... Are marriage rights not human rights? We talk about going into other countries, where people need basic human rights, and fix it and we often do go into other countries to do exactly that, but I'm a firm believer in fixing your own flaws before others. When traveling you are always told that during an emergency you should put on the mask yourself before others. This is true for countries too. You aren't exactly going to be that helpful to another country if you yourself are struggling to get oxygen. Are your rights not human rights? Humans are humans Everyone believes in human rights. Heterosexuals are humans. Homosexuals are humans. Men are humans. Women are humans. The poor are humans. The rich are humans. Mixed races are humans. Latin Americans are humans. North Americans are humans. Europeans are humans. Asians are humans. Africans are humans. Australians are humans. Whether you are a mix of multiple races or not, or you are just different from what you are expected to be, know that nobody chooses to be who they are. We are dealt cards in a game called life. Nobody ever wishes that they will face extra hardships just because of who they are. "No one person is at fault for how our world is nor is it one persons choice to change it" We have all felt discriminated against for just being who we are and no one's problem is less important than another's problem. If you haven't felt it you are lying to others and yourself. We are all humans and our ancestors fought so many wars to have human rights. Therefore the first step to a better place is respect. If you don't want to know, don't. If you don't want to understand, don't. If you don't want to learn, don't. I grew up learning that if someone is not harming themselves or others then don't interfere in their lives. At the end of the day we are all just skeletons covered in decomposing organic material. Millions of years from now some species is going to discover our skeletons. If you think they will see the difference between races or if one person was gay or one had more money than the other, you are dead wrong. They will the ruins of a once great species that could have gone extinct for the hatred they had for each other. We are all better than that. "Every quality a person posses is human" Once you open your eyes and see every difference as a unique color you will come to realize that the world is really like a rainbow. Every color is unique and each compliments the other to create true beauty. I'm not asking you to welcome in a complete stranger of a group of people you once disliked. I'm not even asking you try to understand. I'm just asking for plain, simple respect. We cannot change anything until the playing field is leveled by respect. We are all humans at the end of the day... The least we can do is respect each other.
- Presidential Candidates: Through the Lens of a Debate Student
For many high school students, voting and other issues associated with being an adult seem to be a decade away from them; however, that doesn't stop them from voicing their opinions. High school is a time where many adolescents learn about forming their own ideas and opinions based on previous experiences. 2016 is a year where things that were once thought to be impossible are happening. This year we are faced with one of the most controversial presidential elections in American history. Throughout the past three months, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump faced off during the presidential debates. Political and personal opinions aside, the candidates both face criticism for their manner of speaking; therefore, I thought that I would give my take on the debate. I will break it down into three parts: respect, answers, and attitude. Respect: As the second presidential debate started, we witnessed the two candidates take the floor. It might have slipped viewers minds initially, but they did not shake hands. Both candidates lacked the basic decency of shaking their opponents hands. Trump and Clinton represent a part of the American people, so not acknowledging each other translates to not acknowledging a part of our nation. The debates themselves were one of the most interesting debates in recent history. SNL and many other satirical shows emphasized the unconventional actions of both parties. As Clinton answered some of her questions, Trump stood behind her, which was viewed by many people as an invasion of personal space. In terms of debate decorum, both Clinton and Trump did not benefit themselves at all. They interrupted each other with haphazard phrases and kept exceeding the time given by the mediators. Constant outbursts of “wrong” and other interruptions made it hard to take the candidates seriously. No matter the opinion and the position another person takes, I believe respect is needed during a debate to acknowledge the opposing side’s reason. Every person has a right to their own opinion and America prides itself on diversity and the land of the free, therefore, every reason should be acknowledged with respect. Connecting it back to the presidential election, we need a president who respects the human society no matter the differences because in the end we all fall under under the American. Responses: Both candidates have some improving to do when it comes to their responses. Clinton is well articulated; however, her answers to controversial and personal problems may seem more rehearsed than from the heart. Even if she truly means what she says about people's distress, Clinton needs to work on her own voice. The Secretary of State took her time to answer the questions thoroughly and sometimes taking a bit more than her allotted time. The candidates answers should be to the point while also addressing the problems and questions of the people. Going over time for every answer is exhausting to watch and seeing the candidates avoid a question is even worse. At times it feels like watching a high school chick flick. Trump started off well, but as the night progressed his answers became more unpolished. His voice was clear, unlike Clinton’s; nonetheless, his answers were incomplete. Many times Trump addressed Clinton rather than the question itself. This election cycle has been the most beneficial for media sources. Drawing the attention away from the real problems, such as the race issues, wealth gap, and education to minor details that concern the candidates personal lives, the media as well as the candidates have managed to exaggerate this election with details that in the end will not affect the country. It is important for the president to have answers to the people's questions and these debates give the candidates a space to showcase their abilities to the nation. Attitude: This election has been one interesting journey. All along we have felt the vibes of these different presidential candidates. Although Trump and Clinton have many flaws in their debate and people skills, both have one common quality: determination. Throughout the race both Trump and Clinton have faced backlash from the media and the people, yet they still stand proud in front of their nation. The country needs a president who will stand up for their values, respect the human race, and let nothing stop their efforts to make this world a better place. It is hard to believe that this journey will be over in two days and to be completely honest I'm going to miss tuning into the radio and tv to watch this crazy election. As usual America has got the entire world holding their breaths as the Election Day comes closer and as usual America will choose a leader they believe will lead the country success. No matter the outcome, I know America can always pull through any situation no matter how tough because when we come together as a nation and put our differences aside, as we have time after time, we will always rise to the challenge and be the best.
- Generation internet
Generation Internet Before the 1990s the internet did not exist and when it did, it was still not seen as a necessity, which is hard to believe now that we don't go an entire day without logging in to check the news or looking up some random fact to prove your friend wrong. The internet has become a platform for people to connect and share their lives with millions of others; nonetheless, with every new invention comes backlash and criticism. Many older generation members argue that the “age of the internet” has made younger generations worse at communication. For example losing the skill of listening or understanding. Now at this point many people will start saying “well that is true and…”, but it is not true. The internet has become a bond that brings generations of people with all different stories together. Through Facebook, instagram, Snapchat, twitter, and even older platforms that people almost forgot about like MySpace, has created this phenomena where I can directly talk to someone on the other side of the world. I can comment on a picture and ask questions to a student in South Africa or learn something new from a college graduate or see what it is like to grow up in Nepal. We have all somehow ended up on the dark and whimsical outer edges of the internet and social media and wonder how in the world did you end up figuring out that you are worth nine goats in Nigeria, or stumble in on some heated argument about politics or even worse. Though those parts may paint a negative image of this platform, the internet has also been home to where many people can relate to people and know that they are not alone, a privilege previous generations are unfamiliar with. For a student who has different interests or is depressed and needs someone to listen they can use the internet as a platform where thousands of others will gladly help and comfort a stranger. Rising entrepreneurs and artist can use the platform to showcase their products. Refugees and immigrants can advocate and explain what their lives are like. Arguably the best, is relating to millions of strangers through memes (mēm/ noun/ a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied, often with slight variations, and spread rapidly by Internet users). Personally, a strong example of where the world came together and had empathy for a complete stranger in a different culture and society, was when a photograph of a Syrian boy covered in dust and dirt from the merciless bombing in Aleppo went viral. Before the internet many places around the world would not receive any attention while thousands of people would die; however, now the world can stand up for human rights across oceans and fight for justice whether it by bringing awareness and drawing attention to important issues of our world or contributing to foundations that stand for the right causes. Empathy is a skill that is always needed more of in our world. Though the internet is restricted/censored in some countries, it has been the the final catalyst that helped launch hundreds of issues that needed to be addressed to the spotlight in the 21st century. Recent events of this includes the LGBTQ+ marriage rights which received major support from around the world with #loveislove. Other prime examples include racial issues with #blacklivesmatter and the most recent one on Saturday, 21st of January which was the women's march and the pussyhat trend that all started with one women who decided to take her march idea to the internet. The internet, in the short time it has lived, has helped us as a global community to tighten our bonds across oceans by putting us one click away from each other. Empathy for strangers are increased every day as the young generation log in to their social media platforms and are fed information from all over the world. The internet is an ever growing platform that is a universe in itself and like the universe we live in, it is constantly expanding towards unknown territories. So the next time someone says that the new generation has lost its communication skills, just remind them of millions of reasons why the internet is a platform that has just brought us a step closer to the world and each other.
- Sur"real" Education
Education is something nearly all kids in the developed nations (a.k.a .the west) take for granted including myself. So many adults and children write and talk about how the education system is not right and has an endless list of complaints on reform. It is so fascinating that we somehow came up with this idea where we spend a minimum of twelve years of our life being educating just to go to another school which is insane and yet I do not know of another system. Education is different throughout the world. In Denmark there is little to no stress. Homework are always turned in and kids come to school on time with no form of penalty. There are no grades to hold a student accountable yet we all do our best without the education board holding a carrot in front of us. Grades are introduced in 8th grade (Danish schooling system) and is continued after. Vocational tracks are made to accompany each student and their skills. Up until then our assignments would be judged on scales such as excellent, great, good, need improvement etc. Though it may sound great to live in a country where education does not drive thousands of students to depression and suicide, it does not push you to become the best you can be. In America schooling seems like a haze. In high school every other week is like finals week with a test in every subject. Each move you make in high school from one late assignment or failing your first test will impact your future. Teachers remind students that a bad grade can be turned around and made up for if it is done earlier in the semester; however, the truth is once a grade crosses 90% and into the B’s it is extremely hard to retrieve an A. This puts the idea in our minds that only A students will be successful and the only good colleges are in the lines of science and related subjects. At times you want to give up since you are always being compared to every single person. The main difference in these two education systems is where a student may end up. In Denmark you will be fine and your trajectory will always just be fine. In U.S.A your trajectory could either land you on food stamps or lead you to become the next big thing. It is impossible some might say, but I believe in America if you put your mind to it you can be anything. Education Types I have been exposed to many different education types. I experienced first hand the Danish and the American systems. My danish friends are currently picking their tracks and enjoying their final year before gymnasium while my American friends and I are preparing for college tours, SATs and the AP finals, and my cousin in Japan goes to school by seven and comes home at ten after many sessions of tutoring for high school exams and brass band practice. Meanwhile millions of children in Asia, South America and Africa are putting their lives at risk to learn basic multiplication and the alphabet. A nine minute bike ride takes me into a complete different part of Mountain View. A predominantly Hispanic community where kids stay in school as long as eight in the evening because their parents are still working. My entire life majority of the students and I hated math, yet when I sit and tutor these eight and nine year olds they tell me they love math and it is their favorite subject. I was conditioned to not like it and yet here are these young kids who barely have half of the resources I had available, smiling as they proudly show me their skills and their enthusiasm to learn. How can we improve our own education when so many children do not even have access to it. Glass Ceiling There is a glass ceiling and it gets thicker and thicker the more minority identities you posses, but once that ceiling has a crack after relentless punching it will break and there is nothing holding a person back. To explain this to my father I took the example of a soccer ball that I used to play with in the pool. People will spend tremendous energy on pushing you down and keep you there; however, as soon as the ball finds a little space it pushes out with force enough to lift it double as high into the air as it was underwater. The farther down one is pushed the harder and higher someone is going to rise back up. In the end it is all up the individual's will power. It truly is magical what a person's will can achieve. I am no exception to these bubbles we have created in our world, but I know if I do not help children in some way in my life I will not have done my duty. This is not one person’s fault nor can it be fixed by one person. Like Michael Jackson said we have to look in the mirror and accept the person we see and know that we are not perfect and then move on to help others. Sometimes these major issues in our world makes me want to set speakers up everywhere in the world and just blast One Love by Bob Marley. Now, I know that what I want is a utopian ideal and many adults might say you have not seen the “real” world yet, but I say to them that only those who are crazy enough to truly believe they can make a difference, will.
- Today Was The Day My Light Shined
It was the usual evening walk. Down towards Castro Street, Mountain View and back home with my dad. As we neared Castro we heard a lot of honking, and my father was quick to compare it to Bangladesh and I said it resembled New York, where I had just visited earlier in the summer and wished I could live in the NYU dorms. Still baffled, we came to the crossing and saw police cars waiting and driving around the area so we observed and saw a protest taking place. The American flags were waving high and banners were being carried. “Dad we have to go! Please!” I pleaded to my father to let me go. My father, also eager to join, decided we can go with the demonstration. I kept an ear out, listening to see what exactly was being protested. I scanned the crowd and I smiled as I saw older generations some with children and some with grey hair walking in the march. I knew this was not just a battle that the young were fighting. The old generation gave me hope. We were in the back of the crowd where a wonderful lady was leading the group in songs. I looked around and heard the echoed slogan of 2017: “Love Trumps Hate”. Even though I knew that not all white people are against immigrants, it felt more real seeing them welcome anyone into the march with open arms. The media has set such a fear inside us all that we let it get the best of us. We gathered in front of the theatre center in Castro and I slowly seeped my way through to the front. The daylight had faded, illuminating all the wishful candles. The dark is funny like that. Even though our eyes lose their vision, our hearts open up as though we are all standing there with the heart of a young baby beating strong and healthy. We beat as one in our songs. Our hearts were pure and stood with open arms as though it had never felt pain and only ever known love. As though those sixty eight years had no scars just like the child holding a candle in its stroller. We were one. “This little light of mine” A choir formed out of the entire crowd. Every note was sung in harmony. A little laughter and some shared smiles drew us closer. The family in front of me moved out of the way and I came to see the organizers. "Together We Will" written across a banner helped me understand how this had come to be. This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land. A song I remember my dad singing when I was younger. I did not know its true meaning until today. Today could not have been filled with more fate. I had been talking about going to protests ever since the current president had been sworn in back in January. I have cried so many tears over the heartless bans and violent actions that have been committed in the past eight months. What happened next was never part of my plan, for all I knew was that the lady in the middle had organized this. After three people spoke I thought the demonstration was finished, so I decided to approach the lady to gather more information of future protests and how I could participate. I started to cross over and all of a sudden an older lady says go ahead and speak. The organizer turned around and said the stage is yours. Now in that moment I thought. I could walk away or I could take this opportunity. I think part of me deep down wanted to speak tonight. Every time I saw these protests on TV, I always thought what I would have said if I had that megaphone. Tonight, however, my voice was all I had. Without hesitation I decided to speak. I did not even turn to look at my father as the first thing that came to my mind was how thankful I was that for some reason I was able to stumble upon a protest that I could participate in. I checked to see if everyone could hear me as I started. I moved here four years ago from Europe. I may not have an American citizenship, but boy have I never been prouder to say that I live in this country. I spoke of how welcomed it made me feel as an immigrant and as a person of color to see a crowd supporting me. I went on to talk about my parents who could not get married due to their different religions. My mother being Hindu and my father a Muslim. Neither converted nor would ever ask the other too. Instead I grew up in a home where I was never labeled either, in fact I even went to church. To see an actual crowd standing in front of you knowing that they support your rights and believe that you are equal to others and deserve to be treated as such is unlike any other feeling. I was not shaking. I was buzzing. All throughout my body came an energy that I had not felt before. I felt as though this is where I was meant to be. This is what I was meant to do. At the age of fifteen, nearly sixteen, I do not want to waste my life and time. I can now happily say that I did not sit back and watch. I played my part, however small that may have been. I have never felt more in my element than that very moment in front of that crowd. Tonight, hundreds of other demonstrations took place across the country in response to the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, we saw truly how love can bring us together. As people were listening, I saw the kindness in people's hearts as they lit up each other's candles. Although this may seem like common courtesy, I see it as a symbol for the good in our world. Nobody's light will get any dimmer by lighting up another’s light. The pure simplistic act of lighting up each other’s hope is what drove me to speak. I was shorter than most of the crowd and my father was out of sight, but that did not intimidate me for one second because all I knew was that I wanted to say thank you. Politics have become an important part of my life as I someday hope to work in that field and do my part and help the people the best way that I can. Today I felt a little bit of that. After I was done a kind woman came up to me and handed me her candle and said she wanted me to keep this. I walked with it all the way home still glowing and lighting my path. I looked up at the stars and wondered how I, an immigrant young girl who happened to stumble onto the stage, spoke without feeling fear to a big crowd. Another lady told me that I would go places and so many people came forth and expressed how amazed they were to see a young girl speak. I could barely believe it myself. This was after all my first protest. I heard a woman say that I would end up in congress and that I was like Obama. Two other woman came up to me and told me how they had gotten pessimistic about the political atmosphere but seeing me gave them hope that they are passing the world on to safe hands. The sixty eight year old lady told me that she was also fifteen when she first started out and that she was sure we would meet again. Little did they know that they were the ones inspiring me since they are fighting for a better future not for themselves, but for me. Earlier today I was telling my dad that in history class we always talk about what we would have done if we lived back then. The truth is most of us would not do much, in fact many of us would have done nothing. I told my dad that I needed to participate in protests because I can not live with myself if in fifty years children will be learning about today and saying how they would have protested and knowing that I, who lived then, had done nothing. I may be just fifteen, but that is no excuse for me not to help. Now my heart is at ease knowing that in fifty years I can tell my future family and friends of how I started my career in standing up in the face of fear, hate and injustice. Today was the day my light shined and it is the first of many more.
- Wild, Crue,l Breathtaking Flower
You changed me. You made me believe I could be loved forever. My love for you was like a wild flower., in that I tried countless times to root it out, but still its roots dug deep into my heart where it bloomed and blossomed onto my face as a smile. My dreams tinged with your warm presence. I close my eyes and hold that valentine’s gift close to my heart and imagine your body right next to mine where it should be. Your arms like a shelter from all harm. You made me feel loved and alive. Your words were like a sweet escape into a wonderful fairytale where we both could live forever. You made me believe in forevers. You made me believe in relationships, in romance, even in marriage which I had sworn off. You gave me your last name — what a cruel joke. To me you were this beautiful certainty and to you, I guess, I was a source of joy that was at your dispense. I do not know what happened to our fairytale, I fought for you as the knight in shinning armor over a hundred times even after you ran a blade straight through my broken heart. Those roots of this wild love suddenly grew dark and started to rot. By then the flower was so dazzling that I ignored its flaws and bit my lip to ignore the pain. I told you over and over and over again. Do not take me for granted. You did. Pencil Drawing by SneYou knew I would take you back every time like the sun does the stars and the stars the moon and the moon the tide. I never wanted to kill this flower that grew so tall and proud, that it almost became arrogant. I hoped that someday it would see who truly cared for it and loved it so that it may bow down and say thank you. Words that were never uttered. And sorry, a concept that it may never grasp. For even the strongest are only as strong as their weakest hour. Love is vulnerability, not always strength, and I found something pure in your soul. But it appears that I will not be the one to see the real you. Pulling out these roots leave holes in my heart… unlike before where it had only been fractured, it now has deep, dark wells… rootless. I built up walls around our love keeping it together fighting for us when you were to weak to. Pen Drawing by SneYour words are as hollow as the pain you left my heart to suffer alone. Your friendship was what I treasured the most. You listened and was there all until you told me my emotions were too much. I hope you will remember that. I want you to find happiness and love in life, although in secret I had hoped that joy would be me. No effort has been put in from your behalf to keep the flower from collapsing. I gave you unconditional love and I suppose you were not ready. Maybe you never were, but you changed my heart and made me ready instead. Those bittersweet memories will make for excellent fairytales. Deep in my heart I will always have a part of me that will love you, and though I am breaking my own heart by doing so I know that my love and my friendship is priceless. It is rare and people often do not realize until it is gone. May you find happiness, peace and may you love someone as I loved you.