The Chinese dilemma

Abhishek K

One lesser known disadvantage of Chinas OneChild Policy, which had been in force for several decades was the growing number of men. Chinese parents wanted sons so that their family name is carried forward. Since families were allowed to have only one child, they wanted their shot to be perfect, i.e. a boy in the first attempt!

maxresdefaultDepending on the region, there still are about 117-120 boys for every 100 girls, i.e. 120 surplus boys to a 1000 girls. China has approximately 3 crore surplus or spare men between age 25-40 who will never find a partner. To give the reader an estimate of this number, this is approximately equal to the population of entire Punjab state. The number is greater than the population of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi put together. 3 crore is more than the population of Belgium, Portugal and Sweden put together.

To add to the misery of men who somehow manage to find a mate, there is tradition of Caili or gifts and money that they have to pay to the brides’ parents as a token of gratitude for the upbringing of their daughter. Traditionally, it was limited to a decent amount of money and gifts but the situation has changed. There is a growing demand of brides and hence the Caili have soared. Brides’ parents are demanding exorbitant amounts of money and precious gifts as Caili.

An ideal Chinese husband is expected to own a house and the property rates are sky rocketing in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The men there have lost hope and can’t dream of marrying ever. According to online matrimonial postings, men from Beijing and Shanghai have to pay more than 20 lakh Yuan to get married.

In a recent move to offset the impact of a rapidly aging society, China has decided to allow all couples to have two children. It was also intended to reduce abortions as millions of female foetuses were aborted every year in China in pursuit of male children.

Now the Chinese parents are in a fix; whether to have a male child, who could carry forward their lineage or not. It is so, because eventually it will be difficult to pay Caili and hence difficult to get married. Eventually, if it’s going to be difficult to marry, how else would he propagate his family name.


Spider silk


Abhishek K

Researchers around the world are trying to fabricate a fibre which is tough as steel and yet greatly elastic. The inspiration for such a material comes from nature. An average strand of spider web is more tough and elastic than a steel fibre of four times its thickness.

Most recently, scientists have developed a method for spinning stronger spider silk by mimicking the way spiders do it. This could be a stepping stone towards producing spider silk on a commercial scale. Spider silk is sought out because of many reasons. Along with toughness, spider silk is bio degradable also which gives it an edge over plastic fibres.

Spider silk is nothing but long chains of linked proteins produced naturally in many living beings. Scientists have tried various animals like goats, spiders and bacteria to produce some kind of super tough fibres like spider silk.

Spider silk has a unique combination of high tensile strength and extensibility. It allows the fibre to absorb a lot of energy before breaking. Usually it’s tensile strength is comparable to that of high-grade alloy steel. Once produced on commercial scale, spider silk could be used to make parachutes, super-tough lines, ropes, bullet proof jackets etc. It could also be used to make light weight glass for air crafts and space ships.

Say Hi to Li Fi

Abhishek K

How would you feel if somebody tells you that Wi-Fi is going to get a hundred times faster? You are ready to welcome Li-Fi. Li-Fi is coming to the markets soon at the speed of Light.

Li-Fi is successor of the Wi-Fi technology. While Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transfer data, Li-Fi uses visible light. In Li-Fi, there is no radio router, but an LED light emitter. This technology was conceived by Professor Harald Hass who started researching on it back in 2003 as saw the upcoming spectrum crunch. He correctly predicted that the lack of radio frequency spectrum for mobile devices would become a real problem. Around the same time, new LED light technology hit the market, and Hass saw an opportunity to bring the two together. He found a way to use these electronic lighting components for high speed data communication, without interfering with existing radio frequency infrastructures.

His Li-Fi setup consists of brick-sized boxes attached to LED lamps and they are called as LED downlighters, which when illuminated cover an area of around 20 square meters. The boxes effectively turn the lights into wireless antennas; antennas which emit visible light. Very high speed fluctuation in emitted light is what transfers data. To receive data from these lights you need a dongle that acts as a wireless modem of sorts, which is plugged into your laptop or tablet. The dongles are a bit smaller than a pack of cards and plug in via USB, which also provides the power. There’ s a sensor that catches the light coming down and then an infrared component that sends a signal back up. The overhead lights also have a networking component, so it’ s possible for multiple users to connect to a single light source, and to move from one light source to another without losing your connection.

The speed of that system is 40Mbps, both downloading from the light and uploading from the dongle. The light has a 60-degree field of view which provides a coverage area of 9 to 10 square meters. The maximum data rate reduces slightly if you move to the edges of the light, dropping to around 75 percent, but the light can bounce off objects and still deliver a signal, it’ll just be slower the further you are from the main beam.

The more Li-Fi enabled lights you have in an area, the higher your total capacity is. Light also doesn’t penetrate through walls the same way Wi-Fi does, so it allows you to create networks with much higher security. Wi-Fi uses radio frequency waves, a technology which has limited space and is quickly reaching its capacity. The limited capacity is why the radio frequency spectrum is heavily regulated all over the world. One of the most endearing facets of Li-Fi is that it uses the visible light spectrum. The visible light spectrum is 10 000 times larger than the radio frequency spectrum and is unregulated. So you don’t need a license to take advantage of the light spectrum. Internet speed of 10gbps is no more a dream as far as Li-Fi is concerned although it can’t guarantee any increase in internet speed through our regular optic fibre cables.