Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

Geniuses who rocked the world

TIME and again, there have been people in history who have changed the way we think. Some have spent hours by gazing at the heavens above through telescopes (or sometimes by the naked eye), some have conducted countless experiments and some just studied too much to understand something was missing (yes, I am looking at you, Newton). But, hey there have even been people who never actually studied and yet accomplished great feats in their respective fields (no, Michal Jordan's basketball skills don't count- he trained hard, you know).

For one, Albert Einstein changed the world and ultimately became the bane of many Physics students worldwide, using but a small equation E=mc2. But how much did this gentleman ever study? For your information, Einstein was the bloke who failed his Matriculation Exam and had to sit for another one, that too by studying the notes of his classmate!! Feel you can relate to it? Well, don't get your hopes high up on having this as a valid reason for your parents when you fail your O or A Levels, because I am pretty sure they wouldn't take it in that easily. Of course don't blame us that we didn't warn you before.

We all don't like to go to school and here is another fellow who didn't, and yet made it big. Meet Thomas Edison- the man credited with the invention of the lightbulb, was home schooled by his mom (ladies and gentlemen, one of the world's first mamma's boys) due to the fact that his teachers at school found his unattentiveness dreadful and had him suspended. However later, it was also found out that he had hearing problems from childhood and it was only personal attention from his mom that could help him. Shame, the bloke should have invented a hearing aid for himself amongst his countless inventions.

One of the best entertainers the world ever had, Charlie Chaplin, left Kennington Road School with his half-brother, out of sheer poverty. After a brief gap, he was later enrolled in another school, but dropped out because he realised his true calling. What started with small routine stage tragic and comic plays, later turned out to be large-scale productions of studios in Hollywood.

Next comes Europe's richest vagabond, Alfred Nobel. The founder of the Nobel Prize, and more importantly inventor of gunpowder (for which he was nicknamed the “Merchant of Death”), actually never got to attend secondary high school and university. But despite this, he became a linguist, capable of fluently speaking Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian and English. As if that was not enough, he also enjoyed writing poetry. Despite being so talented, I wonder why was he not smooth with the ladies (he got rejected thrice) and remained a lifelong bachelor.

Speaking of poetry, our very own national poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam, did not manage to have a proper education, main factors being family instability and poverty. But, look, he is our National Poet!The Rebel Poet was a true patriot and did not step back from what he truly believed in, and made his own mark in our history. Just goes to show that education is not the only thing out there, but love for one nation's just as important.

The list goes on and on, with individuals stepping up to the challenges and contibuting to the way we see the world, albeit they lacked qualifications and degrees printed on paper. Some had such fate due to serious personal issues and the situation of the era they live in, while some just did so because “it was a waste of time”. Going through these real life examples, it is a convincing case altogether, I wonder if I could do something same. A politician, perhaps?

By Wahid T. Khan


Unique Universe
We're saved?


ACCORDING to un.gov, Environment Day's “agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.”

As the earth continues to heat up, we should get engaged in finding ways of saving the earth. These ways won't stop the earth to continue heating to an extent when we'll feel like a chicken in a microwave oven, but they surely will stop cool things down. This process is more like fighting global warming..

Sun block the sky
If there's sunscreen for the human body, why won't there be sunscreen for the sky? Humans get the award of being altruistic, and the environment is almost saved! A large mirror that would shield Earth from the Sun would do, or releasing balloons to the sky could do the trick. The other way devised is to generate clouds and releasing them to the sky, or by Geoengineering the earth's clouds to increase their reflectivity so that they reflect 10% more sunlight. Geoengineering would provide more time for the world's economy to grow while inventors and entrepreneurs develop and deploy new carbon neutral energy sources to replace fossil fuels, and hence, save the world.

Reflecting Rays
Trillions of lenses are placed in a special orbit where the gravity of the sun and earth are balanced. Together, the lenses would bend some sunlight away from the earth! Or maybe we could send optical fibers out there. They'd reflect, as well as let us use internet, and no space would be wasted!

Green Ocean
Polyplanktons absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, so if the sea bed would become a massive breeding ground for plankton, all the CO2 would go away. Dead plankton sinks to the bottom of the ocean, keeping carbon there for centuries. Say goodbye to sea food, though.

Tilt the earth away
All the human beings could move to one side of the earth push it to shift a tad bit away from the sun and thus the intensity of the sun rays coming to Earth might decrease. That will result in less heat coming in. You could be messing up the rotation of the Earth, though.

Maybe more ways will come that will be actually practically used. Till then, let's keep on hoping that we don't die, and the world lives for at least a billion years. After that the sun would probably gobble up the earth and the super humans will die. And while you are thinking about the deranged future of human kind, check this site out: ww.poodwaddle.com

By Raida Kifait Reza


Bonding with gold

DAMAS, Dubai. No no, it's not D'damas. That's the Indian version. This is Damas jewellery. Gold, gold everywhere- splashing out of counters, embellishing the finest jewels, accessorizing models in the posters clothing the walls like a web, sparkling and blinding your eyes with the finest golden-yellow colour possible. And what exquisite diamonds, sapphires, emeralds…but anyway.

You're here for your cousin, gold-shopping for her wedding. You spot something you like, nevertheless. Wait, not the correct way of saying it. You like almost everything seeing that the designs are so exquisite, but you like this one rather more than the others because the price is fairly reasonable. Which is a rarity.

And then you ask the salesman to show it to you. He complies. You try it on, and ask for your parents' opinion in Bangla. Nobody understands Bangla here, right? Room for honest opinion. They reply in Bangla.

And then the salesman replies in Bangla.

And then he asks you all whether you're all from India, almost afraid to include Bangladesh in his question; better curb the disappointment before it comes, right? And you say no, you're from Bangladesh; and his face lights up like a light bulb and he says that's excellent, because he is from Bangladesh too. Naogaon, to be more precise.

He shoos the other salesmen away to serve other customers surreptitiously and shows you the collection throughout, and talks of the country he left behind, the plane ticket he has booked for next summer, the village he longs to visit.

You try on another necklace. At the back of your mind, you know you're going to reject it anyway, seeing that it costs an amount which could easily feed 100 people in your country 3 meals a day for a month. And you ask your parents, “Kemon lagche?” And someone from the back replies, “Khub shundor lagche, amar toh khub pochondo hoyeche”. You wheel around and find this amiable, smiling gentleman standing with his two confused-looking children and wife.

And there it is. At one corner of Dubai in a renowned jewellery shop, where you least expected to find anything of the kind. Strangers coming together to share this incredible, all-encompassing feeling of being united by nothing more than nationality and language. Your very own Bengali adda.

By Anika Tabassum


 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star