Authors Posts by Ana Madzhurova

Ana Madzhurova

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Time travel has always been a thing of the imagination, encouraged by hundreds upon thousands of science fiction TV shows, movies and books. But what is time travel? Surely everyone is travelling through time, just at the same linear rate, with everyone else. What people want is the time travel that Doctor Who and Star Trek exhibit: the almost instant change of time, on a select object, both backwards and forwards on the timeline.

Travelling backwards in time has always been a conundrum for theoretical physicists; it creates paradoxes. The best example for this is the Grandfather Paradox, where you travel back in time and murder your grandfather before he meets your grandmother. Then, since one of your parents are not born neither are you. You would never have existed to create the time machine, so your grandfather lives which means you murder him and the cycle repeats – creating a paradox. This renders the possibility of time travel to the past impossible; or rather not impossible, it would just end the universe, time, and space. There are theories that once the time traveller murders his grandfather he joins a parallel timeline, or an alternate universe, of which he was never born. Other paradoxes such as the autoinfanticide paradox (travelling back in time and murdering oneself as an infant) present the same message: travelling backwards in time is unachievable.

Going forward in time is easily achievable, because everyone is doing it. Going faster than everyone else, however, is slightly more difficult, but possible. According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, gravity, affects both space and time. This means mass drags on time, slowing time down. Artificial satellites prove this, where they gain one-third-of-a-billionth of a second every day, compared to Earth. This is due to their distance away from a large mass, thus gravity does not drag on time as much on them. To the theory into practise, the largest known mass in the Milky Way is the centre black hole Sagittarius A. It has the mass of four million suns in one dense point. If a spacecraft had the ability to orbit this supermassive black hole, it would experience half as much time as on Earth. So if you had trillions of dollars to spend and a death wish, you could visit this Sagittarius A for five years and ten years would have passed on Earth. So travelling faster in time is possible, it just takes a lot of time.

A much more efficient way of travelling faster in time is to go at almost the speed of light. Reaching the speed of light is impossible, as shown by Einstein, and, because of this, strange anomalies occur when you get close to 300 million m/s, such as the slowing down of time. If, somehow, a train was built to circle the Earth, and get 99.999% of light speed, it would slow down. The train’s speed wouldn’t slow, but time would, meaning everyone on board would be going slower than everyone outside the train. The passengers wouldn’t notice a difference, but if they were on that train for 1 year, 223 years would have passed for everyone else on Earth. However, the implications of living on a train moving at near-light speed for 1 year are a much larger problem. Food and water would quickly run out, and ordering at a McDonald’s Drive-Thru isn’t capable at 299 million m/s.

Jumping through time is a different problem all together. There is only one real possibility of time jumping being attainable, and this is the Einstein-Rosen Bridge; a wormhole. Imagine space as a sine wave. Time and space travels the curve, take the long route. Wormholes open up a possibility of going straight through the wave taking a much shorter route. The only way to penetrate through the metaphorical sine wave is when two incredibly large masses push against it, such as the case of a supermassive black hole. Theoretically, if anything would be enter this black hole, it would go through each point, and come out of the other side. It would have travelled though time and space.Although not seen before by astrophysicists, the equations of the theory of general relativity have valid solutions that contain wormholes, so they are a possibility. One theory by Stephen Hawking is that these wormholes exist in quantum foam, the smallest environment in the universe.In the simplest of terms, quantum foam is the foundation of the fabric of the Universe, smaller than anything else known to man. These tiny wormholes flash in and out of existence, but momentarily link separate places and times in the universe. As theorised by Stephen Hawking, if it was possible to control and enlarge these wormholes, humans would be able to travel though space and time.

In reality, these are only dreams. Any possibility of these theories being tested in the next century, let alone in out lifetime, remain simply as hopes. However, no one knows when a breakthrough may occur like harnessing the energy to control wormholes, or when the answers suddenly become clear. The great thing about time is that, however permanent the past may be, the future is open to anything.

Ben Jepson

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For the past 10 years, India has emerged as one of the fastest developing economies in comparison to China and other BRIC countries.

India’s diverse economy encompasses traditional village farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, a wide range of modern industries and a multitude of services. The agricultural sector accounts for less than half of the work force whilst the service sector is the major source of economic growth, accounting for nearly two-thirds of India’s output with less than one-third of its labor force. India’s economic growth began to slow down in 2011 because of a decline in investment caused by high interest rates, rising inflation, and investor pessimism about the government’s commitment to further economic reforms. In late 2012, the Indian Government announced additional reforms and deficit reduction measures, including allowing higher levels of foreign participation through direct investment in the economy. The outlook for India’s long-term growth can be deemed positive due to a young population and corresponding low dependency ratio, healthy savings and investment rates, and increasing integration into the global economy. In actuality, India’s population whom as a majority occupy more low skilled jobs has enabled India to attract more foreign investment.

However India’s government is struggling to boost the economy but with support from large companies such as; TATA and Reliance, India’s economy has been able to successfully reduce prevalent issues like unemployment whilst increasing the level of production that therefore allows for massive improvements within the economy.

Despite this, India faces many challenges that it has yet to fully overcome, including poverty, corruption, violence, discrimination against women, an inefficient power generation and distribution system, limited non-agricultural employment opportunities, high spending and an inadequate availability of quality basic and higher education. In 2013, the growth of the economy declined reaching it’s lowest point in the last decade, as India’s leaders struggled to improve the country’s wide fiscal and current account deficits. Rising macroeconomic imbalances in India and improving economic conditions in Western countries, led investors to shift capital away from India, prompting a sharp depreciation of the rupee. As a result a greater amount of investors are now turning towards to the Chinese market.

As we compare the Indian market to the Chinese market, it is evident that there are many differences. Firstly, the Chinese economy has shifted from a planned economy towards more market oriented economy and this occurred when China became the worlds largest exporter in 2010.The market include electronics, food supplies and machinery.

There were many reforms made which decreased the planned economy and led the Chinese private market to find opportunity to develop. There was growth in the private sector, which made development in the stock markets therefore helping the market to open up for foreign investment. In 2013, China stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, having surpassed Japan in 2001. The dollar values of China’s agricultural and industrial output each exceed those of the US; and China is second to the US in the value of services it produces. Still, per capita the income is below the world average. The Chinese government faces numerous economic challenges, including: reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic consumption, facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, increasing numbers of college graduates, reducing corruption and containing environmental damage and social strife related to the economy’s rapid transformations as well as the high population density. One consequence of the population control policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world as there are less number of births in China causing the number of people older to increase due to low death rates. Another significant issue within the Chinese economy is the rapid deterioration of the environment – air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North – due to the increase of carbon emissions from factories.

According to the World Bank and IMF by the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world’s purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion) which therefore means China has overtake the US economy .The question still remains will China be able to retain the position of the most strongest economy of the world or will the other BRIC economies like India snatch its position?

Sameed Iqbal

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The concept of the Cold War originates from 1945 and is used to describe the political conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union. However despite the fact that these tensions have not been explicitly shown through direct military conflict, they have been manifested into the apparent avoidance of cooperation.  In 2014 a similar situation occurred when Russia engaged in the conflict of territorial occupation of Ukraine and ceased to cooperate over any negotiations. This resulted in empty talks between the leaders of the USA, EU and Ukraine and a global clash of ideologies.

The tension between the US and Russia is heightened as both act solely on the basis of their contrasting political ideals. Putin encroached on Crimea by justifying the historical rights of claiming it. Similarly, Soviet Union had established its interests in Eastern Europe. USA would try to establish the democratic nations in both scenarios. In the current world events, Russia has occupied the Crimea through military force, they have also placed their insider agent as the leader of Ukraine. The corruptive influence on the referendum of Ukrainian independence seemed to undermine the Western policy of democratic reforms. Obama claimed that the referendum had indeed violated the international law. Putin was left impervious to the accusations. It is evident that both sides are not willing to compromise over the resolution of the conflict Crimea had posed. In fact, attempts by West to impede Russian economy resulted in a strong backfire, with both USA and EU losing out. By comparing the historical origins with Cold war and the current affairs, it can be seen that there is an obscured tension or simply Cold War between the superpowers once again.  

The sanctions put by the European Union and supported by the USA, resulted in Russia’s economy decreasing from 1.3% to 0.5% and then ceasing to expand. The USA pressed on the banking systems, resulting in Russia being excluded from SWIFT system of international banking payments. It further isolates Russia from NATO and the G8 Summit.  These anti-Russian policies seemed to reflect USA’s aggression and how they are unable to resort to military intervention. The USA has even taken measures against Russian businessmen and politicians by subjecting them to visa bans or restricting entry into the country. The business assets in USA worth 10 billion dollars are currently inaccessible to the owners. Russia has retaliated by investigating over 200 McDonalds branches across the country, closing 12 in the recent weeks. 

It can be clearly seen, the perception of Cold War has evolved but the main idea has always stayed the same. There is a political clash between Russia and America, with the latter not engaging directly with Russia, yet Russia pursuing its own interests just like its Soviet counterpart did more than 70 years ago. The Cold War does inevitably progress, creating more tension with no chance of détente due to the complex nature of the conflict. However, it is accepted that if Russia doesn’t withdraw troops and by the time the new US President is elected, there will be a chance of nuclear war. It seems that we haven’t learned from our mistakes, as history continues to repeat itself once again through an endless cycle of conflict…

Rahim Talibzade

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With songs like ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Booty’ hitting the airwaves, the average listener can stop and ask themselves this simple question… “What the actual twerk is going on?”

Scantily clad women distastefully shaking their buttocks on the screen seem to be the ‘go to’ formula for generating views/purchases on Youtube and Itunes. What could possibly go wrong? You would think that a multibillion-dollar industry would be creative enough not to revert to sexualizing their artists. Well think again, it seems that this ‘twerking’ pandemic is affecting the lives of the next generation of empowered women in the western world more than people expected.

The even more worrying aspect is that these videos are not censored or considered a cause of worry for parents. Put yourself in the situation of an insecure 12 year old girl who is attracted to a boy, without any form of guidance from a strong female figure. Where may this girl find inspiration or guidance? Likewise, swap gender roles- if you were a 12-year-old boy who was trying to find motivation to ask out a girl that he liked? Both instances toxic music videos like ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Booty’ will alter the way our young people think.

Is respect for the female body truly dead? Or is it self-respect for one’s own body that is lacking from our current generation?

Commenting now on the lyrics, it seems that Iggy Azalea’s song ‘Booty’ really hits hard emotionally- lyrics such as ‘Big, big booty, what you got a big booty’ really hits home to the family audience. It suggests a deeper meaning to the average bottom; it creates wonder and really highlights how someone would feel about having a large bottom. However on a more serious note, this is the least of the troubling messages‘It’s his birthday, give him what he asks for.’ Understanding that women in relationships should ‘give them what they ask for.’ not only suggests a submissive nature but also the removal of the right to say no, does it even compute to these artists how young women interoperate these lyrics or the implications it has on their social lives? Not exactly the words of encouragement to advocate the development of ‘strong’, ‘empowered’ women is it?

Now, moving on to the masterpiece that is ‘Anaconda’, it would be nice to point out that metaphorically speaking ‘Anaconda’ is not a snake; it is simply a deep and emotional representation of the male genitalia. Phrases such as ‘My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun’ really displays a deeper meaning to sexual intercourse than what the media already projects. Looking now at the situation through a thoughtful perspective, what would a young girl understand about this lyric? The fact that boys will only be attracted to her if she has a large buttock? It goes without saying that the various drug references and the references to multiple drive by shootings only contribute to the negative image that is being presented as a whole. You see, what is so taboo in the media and is restricted by parents is subtly snaking its way into the songs children of this generation listen to. Is the music industry that dry of ideas that they have resorted to the inclusion of sexual references and drug references in their most popular songs?

Are music videos on the verge of soft-core porn? If you have not have heard of the term ‘soft-core porn’, allow me to enlighten you. Soft-core pornography is commercial still photography or film, which has a pornographic or erotic component, but is less sexually explicit (as quoted from Wikipedia.com). Soft-core porn is what is apparent in the video ‘Booty’ and ‘Anaconda’, the premise that women or men are in a video or image with little clothing fits with the definition of Soft-core pornography. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sexually explicit in nature, ‘twerking’ for instance is not a sexually explicit dance, however one could possibly assume that a bare buttock shaking rampantly across your screen may cause arousal, thus making it fit into the ‘soft-core porn genre’.

To conclude, I wouldn’t go as far to say that these people are artists, more like entertainers, which suggest that their sole purpose is not to express their art form but to gain the attention of an audience or listener. These ‘entertainers’ have thrown away the legacy that artists such as Biggie and Tupac laid down for them. This is a blatant insult to the emotionally riveting lyrics featured in Tupac and Biggie’s songs, artists used to rap about politics, inequality of races and problems in the world around them. Now it seems, that rap has reverted to meaningless lyrics, riddled with sexual innuendos and controversiality. Everything about Nikki Minaj and entertainers like her indicate an unintellectual castaway and it can be approved that they have no place in the music industry, bringing along their catastrophically convoluted style of music to the music industry whilst simultaneously managing to anger every single music lover in the world. I’m almost certain that ‘Anaconda’ is constantly played on repeat to terrorists in Guantanamo bay as a form of punishment. Just saying.

Cheers.

Erik Testagrossa

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Paganism itself is an umbrella-term, much like there are many forms of Christianity under the title of Christendom, Paganism consists of Celtics, Asatru, Wiccans, druids, shamans and heathens. These sub-groups make up the diverse community that is Paganism. The word Pagan stems from the word ‘Paganus’ which is Roman Latin for ‘country dweller’ and the Romans had a deep mistrust of these people. This could possibly contribute to the religious persecution of pagans by Christians, as Christianity itself was largely spread to Europe by the Roman Empire when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity from his native Hellenism. Paganism in the modern times is on the increase, according to the 2011 UK census as 53,172 people self identify as Pagan. In the United States estimates range from 200,000 to over 1 million people identifying as Pagan.

To understand the rise of neo-paganism I found that less and less people are identifying as Christian, and so people could be finding faith in their ancestors religions, especially in the United States whom a lot can trace their ancestry to Ancient Europe. For example northern states such as Minnesota were settled by Scandinavians, as so Viking culture will be embedded in their history and this leads to a form of Paganism known as Asatru. Asatru, meaning ‘the old gods’ in ancient norse, has many splinter groups such as Odinism or Forn Sidr but all predominantly focus on the old Norse tales and legends. This form of paganism has found its way into a niche group of metal, known as Viking metal and has become very popular with bands such as Amon Amarth and Tyr gaining recognition around the globe. This could contribute to the rise of neo-paganism as people are susceptible to what they listen to. However, Asatru is merely a front for heathenism in general.

The fact that paganism is a loosely cobbled together religion of separate, often more distinct sub-religions often appeals to many, as paganism allows the worshipper to follow a more personal moral-code. For example, a problem for paganism is that during the Nazi occupation  of Germany from 1933 to 1945 they used allot of Norse symbology in their propaganda and were the first real revival of neo-germanic paganism. This has caused neo-nazis to self-identify with Paganism and bring a bad reputation to the religion as a whole. Despite this, paganism is growing rapidly across the globe with druids and Asatru priests alike coming out against neo-nazis.

Paganism has been cited as ‘the fastest growing religion in Britain’ according to the Yorkshire post. Paganism is growing very rapidly in Britain, as it can be said that Paganism originated in Britain and has spread from there, however most ancient cultures had their own pantheon of gods and thus would be deem pagan by todays modern standards when addressing religion. This pagan fascination in the UK could stem from its ancient druidic and Celtic ways which have never really left Britain since the dark ages, for example people have been performing rituals around Stonehenge on and off again since its creation 5000 years ago. These factors have contributed to the spread of Paganism from the UK.

The spread and subsequent rise of Paganism began in the UK and Scandinavia, especially the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland in which they never really left their old Norse ways. In different forms and sub-religions Paganism is spreading with some sort of founding in most countries around the world as more developed countries are reaching back to their traditional roots and developing countries still with their traditional ways.

Sam Johnstone

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It has occurred to many that the United Nations (UN) has failed to maintain international peace in the past 70 years, albeit its minor successes that did not contribute to friendly relations; on the contrary, the UN has proven to be no more than an organisation made up of representatives who cannot make up their minds. However, is the UN unconsciously creating paths towards a third World War? Is it creating a path to eternal peace or a road to the political apocalypse?

The structure of the U.N. is simple. It consists of the General Assembly (GA), the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Security Council (UNSC), the Secretariat, and the Specialised Agencies (i.e. World Health Organisation). To some, this strikes as a good deal, given that it allows all member states to be represented in some form and to voice out their national opinion. However, let’s zoom into the UNSC. It is made up of only 15 nations: 5 permanent members, and 10 non-permanent members. The permanent members are given the right to veto any resolution or judgement made in the committee, and this is probably one of the main causes for the lack of friendly relations. In a simple Model United Nations conference, the use of veto powers often led to mutinies and sometimes fist-fights. Imagine if it was in a real United Nations conference where that one veto could affect the lives of billions. Additionally, the non-permanent members are elected every 2 years at random, which means that there is the possibility of countries debating an issue that doesn’t concern themselves and that the country of question would have no say in what they think. Pretty fair, right?

What people have forgotten is the history of the UN, and why it was formed. The UN’s could be traced to the early 1920s during the formation of the League of Nations. Their aim was to spread global peace but we all know how successful that was – World War 2 broke out less than 20 years later! That isn’t to say that the UN is just as unsuccessful, but with the amount of bickering that goes on in the UN itself, it would just be easier for North Korea to continue fighting with South Korea, or for Syria to start a war with America, with China’s support. Of course, the respective nations wouldn’t dare put themselves at risk; Germany took that risk in 1939 and lost every ounce of pride they had built up by 1945 to the Allies and USSR. With the advancement of nuclear technology in our day and age, it is clear to everyone in the world that if a Third World War broke out, it would pretty much lead to the destruction of life as we know it, and there would be little to no room for recovery.

Enough about the problems that could lead to the nuclear damnation of humanity – let’s look at the more economic and social issues the world has been facing for what seems like many millennia…oh wait, it has been many millennia. The medical problems leading up to the mid-1900s were predominantly the influenza and smallpox, but recently, diseases have developed, and grown immune to medicines. Leukaemia (cancer of the bone marrow), for example, has no chance of being defeated completely. As long as the heart pumps blood, the cancer cells will continue to spread all over the body until the person succumbs to death; chemotherapy and radiation can only do so much. Cancer has been a cause for concern for several decades, and the UN has failed to provide enough funds for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to carry out more research. According to The Guardian and the WHO, the cancer rate is expected to increase by 70% over the next 20 years; one would think that evolution would have combatted this by now. The UN seems to have ignored the possibility that someone in Africa suffering from malnutrition and lack of education may just be the beholder of the solution. The same goes for HIV, another disease where it cannot be cured. Unfortunately, this disease is also a moral problem: people forget to take the necessary steps to prevent the cursed contagion from spreading. Nevertheless, the UN has been known to put security-related issues above health and education. One wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation of delegates focused more on the excitement caused by the idea of warfare just because they played too many games as children. If the UN is going to put emphasis on any form of politics, at least educate the people living in war- or poverty-stricken countries so they can speak for themselves rather than have people who were born and raised in a developed country represent them  – they know what they’re talking about.

Look at the world. We’re slowly crumbling to the wrath of Mother Nature, which we thought we could defy, and create the world the way we want to, and now Nature is taking her revenge. Every time we think we’re getting closer to understanding the reason for our existence or the way life should be, we are pushed 3 steps back. The UN is a victim of this. The League of Nations failed; the UN has a chance of failing too. They may be trying to help the world, but theoretically, there will come a time when they cannot do anything and the world will rise against them. Until then, the UN still has a chance to improve their organisation to better the world. The future of mankind depends on the decisions of the United Nations.

Jesselyn Lee

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Malala Yousafzai is seen currently as one of the greatest campaigners for human rights ever in history, being on par with Martin Luther King Jr. and the women’s suffrage movement in 1920.

Don’t take this the wrong way; what Malala is doing is beneficial for women in Pakistan and the furthering of education for women and young girls.

However I don’t agree with the flagrant handing out of the Nobel Prize to Ms. Yousafzai, before you decide to stop reading, let me explain. Everything she did was great and all, but one must think of what she has actually achieved… Has Pakistan changed its laws for the education of women? From research it is apparent that nothing has changed, she did although convince the UN to create a bill so children have the right to an education.

Now lets focus on the awareness aspect of what Ms. Yousafzai has done for the world, we hear everyday on the news of ‘raising awareness for___________ ‘ but what does awareness actually mean? It means that the issue will occur more often in point of conversation. But referencing to the old proverb, actions speak louder than words, what has Malala done to change the legal system in her country? I mean that’s what she was striving for in the first place wasn’t it? The fact that she has caused change everywhere else in the globe except the place where she wants change doesn’t suggest failure, but an incompletion of what Malala has strived for. Therefore I feel the Nobel Prize was given to her due to what she has gone through to get to that stage rather then what she had actually accomplished.

The best thing that ever happened to Malala was her shooting. This statement may be very controversial but let me explain the significance of it. Prior to her shooting we heard stories on the news of a brave Pakistani girl fighting for the rights of children everywhere. But it was only after the attempted assassination of Malala that mainstream media started to erupt in praise for her strength and bravery in fighting against oppression. I have a problem with calling Malala strong, she is extremely strong in making influential speeches and influencing the lives of others but saying that she was strong for surviving the assassination attempt is being exaggerative. She only survived because she was lucky. She only survived because the bullet missed vital parts of her brain, that’s not strength, that’s luck.

If Malala didn’t get shot I do not believe she would of won the Nobel Peace Prize, I do not believe she would have world recognition for her actions, it’s sad that the world wouldn’t have noticed her if not for her failed assassination attempt. Quite like that of American Idol or other singing shows, to gain the sway of the judges contestants will say their story of how they had cancer or had a speech impediment and can sing fluently without fault. It’s these difficulties to the human condition that really sway people’s opinions. Malala did not ask for her assassination attempt, however she would be stupid if she didn’t see it coming, in a country so riddled with extremists it was bound to have happened  (Benazir Bhutto). Malala did not ask for the assassination attempt but it did aid her (like an American Idol contestant) in swaying the voters to eventually award her with the Nobel Prize. In my honest opinion I do not believe she has completed her goal and should not be awarded with such a prestigious honour. I do also believe that it is an injustice to her competition for achieving just as much as her but not undergoing the same hardships she has.

Now let’s take a gander at the other candidates that where nominees for the Nobel Prize, we have our old friend President Vladimir Putin, such a lovely fellow invading Crimea and murdering innocent civilians. Definitely a candidate for peace, oh and let’s not forget the persecution of homosexuals in Russia, as you can see peace is Vladimir Putin’s prime agenda. We then have Edward Snowden who we should praise for highlighting the NSA’s vast network and phone tapping capabilities, basically a glorified snitch, however let’s not forget that America is still on a worldwide manhunt for him. Is his Nobel Prize nomination a clever ploy to reveal his whereabouts? Who knows, maybe Edward Snowden may unveil the corruption of the ceremony in the near future. Denis Mukwege, more than the other candidates is the most deserving of the award due to his ACTIONS and not his WORDS. Unlike Ms. Yousafzai, Mr. Snowden and Mr. Putin, Denis Mukwege has helped thousands of women and men in the Republic of Congo to recover from previous episodes of abuse and gang rape. I don’t know what to say other than ‘Christ what is the world thinking?’ You see, we as humans want to see achievement through adversity, so in the case of Mr. Mukwege, nothing was holding him back, nothing prevented him from doing the work he did, however Ms. Yousafzai received death threats and was resisted upon doing the work that she did. This worked in Malala’s favour in swaying the vote in her favour. Not mentioning that injustice against women occurs in the Republic of Congo, which Mr. Mukwege also combats.

As the title suggests, this is a popularity contest, not on who’s changed the world most, but for the person who has the most media coverage.

Now I ask you reader, where any of the other candidates as publicized as Malala? And did you know any of the nominees listed above where even nominated apart from Malala?

Erik Testagrossa

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For years, humans have fantasised about travelling through time, either to take a glimpse of the future or analyse the past that brought us to where we are, our failures and our successes. Although the time that has passed is considered definite, physicists have been speculating whether it is plausible for humans to travel forward in time. For example, Professor Brian Cox believes time travel is possible, but if it is successful, there is the possibility of never being able to return.

Theoretically, this theory is plausible and can be explained through a medium of principles. For instance, Einstein derived the idea of Special Theory of Relativity in 1915 which is based on two principles:

It is not possible to tell which object is moving and which object is standing still, since every observer is correct in thinking that they are standing still and the rest of the universe is moving around them.

The speed of the light is the same for all observers.

This can be explained more thoroughly through a use of an experiment where a rocket is travelling at a speed near that of the speed of light. From this rocket, a laser is fired to the earth and reflected back off of a mirror. The time taken for its journey is recorded and from the perspective of the observer in the rocket, the journey would seem like a straight line.

However, an observer standing on the Earth would believe the laser to have travelled in a ‘V’ shape, differing from the original perspective. Since the speed of the light is the same for all observers, (Einstein’s second principle of the Special Theory of Relativity), the observer on the earth would witness the laser taking a longer time to travel compared to the observer in the rocket. In essence, time has ‘slowed’ down to an extent, due to the rocket travelling at a speed close to that of the speed of light. If it were to travel at the speed of light, time would appear to stop altogether for the observers in the rocket.

For those in the rocket, time would not appear to have changed speed and it would appear as if time was passing by at a normal rate. Therefore, in theory, an observer in the rocket would be travelling in a different time stream compared to that on the earth, yet neither would realise that this phenomenon is occurring.

Although it is possible to reach speeds, close to that of the speed of light, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity has proven that it is not possible to actually obtain it. This has been proven by the infamous formula, near enough synonymous with Einstein’s name: E= MC2

As an object increases its speed, it begins to gain mass and as it approaches the speed of light, its mass increases by a significant amount, so much so that an infinite amount of energy would be required to increase its speed by a small fraction.

With the ever-evolving technological advances that are occurring, it is plausible to believe a rocket can be designed that may reach a speed close to that of 299, 792, 458 m/s – the speed of light. Considering the passengers of the ship would be on a slower time stream compared to those on earth, a minute on the rocket could equate to a year on earth.

The following idea was mentioned internationally between physicists: a railway that is positioned circulating the earth that could pave the route for a train that will continue to gain speed to the highest value possible. A passenger on this train could travel on it for a few weeks and return to earth to find years have passed. In essence, it would be possible to catch a glimpse of the future. Although due to the restrictions of the laws of physics, the time traveller would indeed be stranded in this new time stream. Thus, the question become this: If theoretically we can travel through time, how much longer will we wait before this becomes an actuality and indeed, what are the implications?

Amir Vafabakhsh

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Where do numbers actually originate from? Is mathematics just an abstract game for intellectuals or does it have some greater meaning? Could we ever physically calculate number pi? These are questions that have continually plagued mathematicians although have no determinable or absolute answer. The importance of mathematics is widely acknowledged, considering that without it, science would lack the fundamental base that provides proof and certainty when observing our environment. This allows us to illustrate patterns and trends in constant laws which arent relative, but are certain and consistent. Mathematics, in its rudimentary form, is an abstract series of axioms or basic assumptions that must be followed, like a chess game with a simple set of rules that must be known before one can play. Whether these axioms are inherent or whether they can be accredited to human invention, until proved or disproved, remains conjecture for many.

G. H. Hardy stated: I believe that mathematical reality lies outside us, that our function is to discover or observe it, and that the theorems which we prove, and which we describe grandiloquently as our creations, are simply the notes of our observations.which essentially summarizes Platonism. Numbers, being abstract entities that exist in their own unique sense, are eternally static and exist to describe the natural world. An effective way of validating this assumption would be analysing the radius of a circle. It is universally recognised that to find the area of a circle we use pr2, but if there wasnt an entity to name the area, would the value still exist? Would it remain unaffected by the mental or physical observation of humans? Platonism argues that numbers are the solutions to all uncertainty, that they are the language in which we interpret and understand or the natural world with pure certainty and clarity. That numbers exist in an intangible, inimitable form and can therefore unfortunately never meet logarithms.

Werner Heisenberg highlights the intrinsic link that mathematics and the science of nature really have; it shows that mathematics has the ability to predict things about the world that we do not yet know. This could arguably be rationalized by Platonism for it suggests that mathematical entities are alive and perpetually constant in some unique form. The links and connections between theory and reality exist within our observable reality and are waiting to be discovered.

There are, on the other hand, many criticisms of Platonism, namely the contradictory concept within mathematics itself: infinity. Following the aforementioned logic, one would be inclined to think that because there are infinitely many numerals, that there should be infinitely many unobservable entities. This seems to defeat the stated objective, for this almost entirely removes absolute value and means that we are led dangerously into mysticism.

Platonism also implies fixed, definite rules that are constantly and forever true throughout the known universe. These rules follow the five Euclidean geometric standards:

A straight line segment can be drawn joining any two points

Any straight line segment can be extended indefinitely in a straight line

Given any straight line segment, a circle can be drawn having the segment as radius and one endpoint as center

All right angles are congruent

If two lines are drawn which intersect a third in such a way that the sum of the inner angles on one side is less than two right angles, then the two lines inevitably must intersect each other on that side if extended far enough. This postulate is equivalent to what is known as the parallel postulate

The fifth axiom in particular has been considered outdated by some. The fifth point explains that two lines on a triangle couldnt possibly be parallel (inevitably must intersect) because the two angles add up to less than 180 degrees. Candidly, non-Euclidean geometry, in particular Riemannian (1822-66), proved that lines of a greater sum than that of two right angles could still intersect, but on a curved surface. This was, during the time of discovery, greatly ignored and suppressed as it had the potential to undermine the widely accepted platonic view, and it was unheard of that there could be uncertainty and inconsistency within mathematics.

It is strange that objects with such an ideal existence can describe so much of the physical nature compared to abstract perfection, such as perfect circles. Do these exist in reality, or are they an abstract thought with no real connection to actuality? Einstein once queried How is it possible that mathematics a product of human thought that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality?His opinion is wholly different to that of Plato and his followers: Formalism, the opposing view, argues that mathematics is an invented set of tools, that it is a “game played according to certain simple rules with meaningless marks on paper” (David Hilbert).

I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.

How big is the biggest number you can imagine? Now imagine multiplying this by 2. Can you still imagine it? David Hilbert was an early 20th century German mathematician who believed arithmetic was finite because the mind had restrained capabilities, in the sense that we can only imagine up to a certain scale and as such we are only able to put them into limited context. His “proof theory” then explores the axioms and the rules of consistency within mathematics. This ideology supports the formalistic views as it implies that we form these consistencies so that we can play the game of math. Imagine a game of chess, if the rules or consistencies and axioms were all destroyed, would the game of chess still exist out there? Formalists, such as Einstein, argue that if no one knows how to play, then the game surely cannot exist: the entities would only appear in ones mind and must be invented to exist. Yet this philosophy lacks the satisfactory explanation for the uncanny connection that this abstract “game”, as it were, relates to real life.

The most satisfying and explanatory conclusion could only arise from an indistinguishable amalgamation of the elements of these theories. We humans choose which theories and equations to study and we apply them to the things we see around us. Could it be that mathematics is an invented science with subtle links to nature (abstract entities) that must be discovered? To what extent can even the best proposals ever be free from contradiction? Furthermore, how can mathematics, considered the most certain and objective science, also fall victim to proofs by negation? Perhaps even the most experienced mathematicians and physicists will never be able to explain how these correlations have arisen, but the privilege of being able to clarify and truly understand them is as good a reason as any to keep trying.

Lotte Muller

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A meteor collision with planet Earth is the forefront of science fiction narratives. However, the crash of multiple galaxies is the reality often ignored. These collisions are a seldom, yet reoccurring effect, notwithstanding the age or rate of expansion of the universe as in the vacuum created new galaxies form and clash, thus the probability of these crashes remains almost constant. The expansion of the universe was proven by the red shift of light and means that galaxies are moving away from each other, thus the probability of a collision between two particular galaxies theoretically decreases. Although more common between large and small galaxies, the Andromeda-Milky Way collision, or Milky Way vs. Andromeda as NASA prefers to call it, is no such case; it is a galaxy collision which will take in approximately 4 billion years time between the two largest galaxies in the Local Group.

The Andromeda galaxy, our closest galactic neighbour, is located ~2.5 million light-years (one light year is approximately 10 trillion kilometres) away from the Milky Way. However, it is moving towards the Milky Way at a speed of 402,336 kilometres per hour. This speed would allow travel from the Earth to the moon in under an hour; the measurements were taken using the Doppler Effect, the observation of a change of frequency and wavelength of a wave relative to a stationary observer. Such attraction is being caused by the mutual pull of gravity between two galaxies and the invisible dark matter that encompasses both galaxies.

After a century of speculation and much debate about the fate of the collision scientists have come to the conclusion that there will be a definite clash. However, the exact fate of our solar system is yet to be discovered. Two scientists working with the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics stated that when, and whether, the two galaxies will collide depends solely on the transverse velocity of Andromeda. Current calculations also suggest a 50% chance that in a merged galaxy, our solar system would be swept away almost three times further away from the galactic core than it is presently located. The evidence was never definite as astronomers could only measure the velocity of Andromeda along the line of sight to the Earth because they could not observe sideways motion of the galaxy. A definitive prediction was made after repeatedly observing regions of the galaxy over an eight year period using the Hubble Space Telescope by a group of NASA astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute. The motion of stars, relative to the background galaxy, was thus possible to be observed over the time period, additionally informing about the galaxys motion. Experts estimated the complete mergence of the two into a single elliptical galaxy at circa 6 billion years. Furthermore, a second galaxy, Triangulum, is also predicted to collide with the Milky Way. However, this clash would be far smaller in size in comparison and is most likely to be a collision after the clash of Andromeda and Milky Way. Nonetheless, a 9% chance is existent that Triangulum will collide before Andromeda.

Unless the human race manages to achieve a multi-planet stature, the collision is of generally low concern. It is expected that in circa 1.4 billion years, as the Sun develops into a Red Giant (followed by a dense White Dwarf), the temperature on Earth will become too hot to sustain liquid water, leading to a possible extinction of the human race and Earth as we know it. Further information will follow as three papers on the Hubble observations and the consequences of the mergence are reported in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal. Astronomers are currently beginning to record Andromedas sideways motion differently, as water masses have been discovered in the galaxy. These are regions of radio-bright emissions associated with star formation. In approximately two years even precise sideway motion may be obtained by Hubble. We at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years says Sangmo Tony Sohn, Baltimore, Maryland-based institute and we certainly hope so.

Hazim Zia

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