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Nothing Left Behind

And that was the last set of luggage to be loaded onto the spaceship and it was sent to Jupiter. We, altogether nine of us, were the only human beings on earth and in no more than two or three hours we would also leave. We were going to be the last to breathe on Earth. May be only robots will visit it once in a blue moon.

The Earth was a dead planet then. The torture inflicted upon it for the last thousands of years had destroyed it totally. But fortunately our scientists, with the help of robots were able to find a second home - Jupiter, which our ancestors thought was inhospitable to life. After the worship of seventeen years the scientists were able to create an atmosphere and climate under special environmental conditions, which would favour life.

But was it really necessary? Could not we again make the earth a place suitable to live? If man could create Jupiter as a perfect home for humans, why could not they take actions to turn the earth into a nice place to live in again? But these questions did not seem to strike the minds of the leaders of the world.

We were standing there - waiting for our spaceship to arrive. Suddenly I felt emotional. We did not even feel sad those days. Our lives were completely mechanised and immersed in the creations of modern technology. Life was totally confined to a strict routine. There was no place of love, feelings, resentment, and sympathy in our lives. We even forgot our native languages. We all followed the code language of the robots.

The robots were trying to extract whatever useful thing they found on earth that could help us in Jupiter. Though we were going to be able to produce oxygen artificially in Jupiter the robots were picking up even a tiny shrub. They would leave nothing on Earth.

I wanted to say something but the words died on my lips. How rude could mankind be? We had a beautiful home but could not give much value to the invaluable asset.

Quite a long time back humans had first created robots to help
us by using them as slaves. But in the course of time the robots themselves became like dictators and humans their slaves. But did we have any other door open to us? Could we even take a step without the help of the robots? And now they were forcing us to leave Earth.

We embarked the spaceship and left. I looked backwards. The Earth looked like a black ball from space. Tears ran down my cheeks. What have we done.

This might seem something impossible today but who knows, some day the Earth may turn inhospitable to life. Robots may claim superiority over humans, and that day may not be too far. So should we sit with our hand tucked behind thinking that something like this would not happen in our own lifetime?

By Rahmeen Rahman

Book Review

The Fire

In 1988, Katherine Neville made her debut as a novelist with 'The Eight', a story about a famous chess service belonging to the Emperor Charlemagne, which was purported to hold the secret to some great power. The novel was received warmly by some critics, panned violently by some others, but managed to build its own fan base.

Two decades later, in 2008, the highly-anticipated sequel 'The Fire' was published, starting off a new round of The Game.

The second novel also opens exactly twenty years after the conclusion of the events of the first book, and features yet another feisty female protagonist. This time it's Cat Velis' daughter Alexandra being pulled into a game she doesn't understand, after her mother goes missing, but not before she has left some interesting clues. It becomes clear that the Montglane Service that had brought so much grief to her family so many years ago, has resurfaced, and once again, they are all players facing off across a chequered surface. Suddenly, a lot of powerful people are also taking an interest in her, and just when she thinks things cannot get more confusing, in walks Vartan, another Russian chess player, a man she believes responsible for her father's murder. And it looks like he is on her side.

Like its predecessor, this book also goes back to the past, and this time, the setting is in the Romantic Era, during the Greek Wars of Independence. Amongst the historical celebrities mentioned in this tale, are the handsome playboy poet Lord Byron, and his drowned friend Percy Shelley. While the last book talked a lot about math and music, this one focuses on physics, particularly the study of heat, and of course, since at the heart of the story lies a famous chess service, you can be sure to expect a lot of chess trivia. A few favourite characters from The Eight also make an appearance, including Ladislaus Nim, who is Cat Velis' mentor and friend, as well as the irrepressible American chess grandmaster Lily Rad, who co-starred with Cat Velis in her search for the service.

As far as plots go, this one has fewer fast-paced adrenaline-induced global romps than the first book, which leads one to assume that Neville probably listened to her critics. She also worked on developing her relationships, although she does more telling than showing in this one. This is not a book that will stand alone without The Eight to refer back to, so it would be advisable to read that one first if you haven't already. Other than that, it makes a nice, light, trivia-filled read that doesn't ask to be taken too seriously. Definitely worth a try.

By Sabrina F Ahmad


Saving Bongshai River

When I was five years old, I used to go to river Bongshai, which mixes with the river Buriganga. The Bongshai passes through Savar. Those times were full of great memories. I saw many fish in the river. The most exiting one was the river dolphin. I saw dolphins splashing around in the water. When we went on a boat ride with my mother, father and sister, the dolphins would always come up close to the boat but today these dolphins do not exist in the Bongshai. In 2009, January 2nd, when I read the newspaper and saw that the river dolphins were all killed because of pollution, I felt very sad.

When I was little, I went to swim in the river Bongshai for the first time. I often swam in the river. The water was very fresh at that time. Today, the river water is unclean, and when I go to my grandmother's house in Savar, I cannot swim in the Bongshai anymore.

The river has become unclean because a lot of people dump their garbage into the river. Oil and grease have polluted the river. We cannot swim nor can the dolphins in the Bongshai River.

If we clean the river, the river can be as good as new in a few years and the dolphins and other fish could live in the Bongshai River once again.

Bongshai is an example of river pollution happening all over the world. We must prevent this to save our beautiful planet.

By Songhoprio Abedin Khan
Class-IV, Section: Hornet
Dhanmondi Tutorial, Dhaka

Acing Admission Tests: The last 24 hours

By the time you read this article on the Rising Stars, many of you will have less than 24 hours left till you sit for the medical college admission test. For admission seekers to BUET, there is still one week left. What's the scientific name of cockroaches, how many bones do we have, what is Schrödinger's equation - your interrogating mind is probably spiralling out of control and you desperately need to know how to survive these last 24 hours before you sit for the admission test.

Instead of succumbing to your mind and in the process fraying your nerves to a frazzle, use your last day before the admission test contemplating the following points:

Stop learning: If you have not completed your gargantuan syllabus by now, you will definitely not do it in the last 24 hours. At this stage, you should abandon learning new things altogether and revise the content you have already learned or memorised.

If you forget important formulas, equations, SI units, constants or conversions during the test, chances are, you will leak a lot of marks. The loss of a mere mark can contribute to you falling 50 places in the merit list and thus severely dent your admission prospects. Very few people actually master the entire syllabus; so if you are not one of them, ensure optimum utilisation of your 'limited' resources.

Know your strength: All admission tests are divided into various sections and you must decide upon your order of preference of answering them before you step inside the exam centre. If your strength lies in Chemistry, then answer that section first and move to the next section in your preference list. Don't start a section that will boggle your mind and eat up large chunks of your valuable time at the beginning. Questions that are certain to yield marks must be dealt with first and the more challenging ones can be tackled later provided you have time.

Don't gamble: Don't answer MCQs if you are not sure about any of the choices. The negative marks that come absolutely free with every wrong answer will exhaust the accretion of marks from your correct answers. For written sections with no negative marking, try to show as many steps as possible in your solutions. You can always benefit from partial marking.

Sleep: Your brain cells deserve to rest the night before the exam. Late night studying doesn't necessarily enhance your chances of success - it rather does the opposite. Plus you need to be in a condition where you can sit for the admission test. A sleepy, fatigued version of you doesn't stand a chance against fully fit rival candidates.

Avoid rumours: There are plenty of jokers and mountebanks out there ready to sell you counterfeit divulged question papers the day before the exam. Don't subscribe to their business and waste your valuable time. In any case admission tests should be aced with your own talents and not through illegal means.

By Nayeem Islam





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