Tag Archives: india

Death by selfie

Earlier this month, a teenager in India was killed while trying to take a picture of himself in front of an oncoming train. The economics site Priceonomics has aimed to assemble the existing data about the individuals who have died while taking selfies, scouring through three years of news reports stating that an individual had died while trying to take a selfie.

One of India's 'no-selfie zones'. Image from www.compareraja.in
One of India’s ‘no-selfie zones’. Image from www.compareraja.in

They discovered that since 2014, 49 individuals had been reported dead as a result of some sort of unfortunate incident that was selfie-related. More than 25 percent of deaths involving selfies are concentrated among 21-year-olds, and 75 percent are male.

The most threatening places to take a selfie appear to be high places or in water: 16 individuals died from falling off a tall building or a cliff, while 14 drowned. Eight individuals died while posing next to an oncoming train. Four individuals died of gunshot wounds, two individuals died from a grenade, two from a plane crash, two from car crashes, and one individual died from an animal attack.

As far as  where on the planet these deaths involving selfies happen, the information is skewed to a great degree in India, where 19 of the reported deaths involving selfies occurred. Keeping in mind that India’s higher population has something to do with the bloated number of selfie-related deaths, that doesn’t appear to clarify it completely. India’s higher-than-normal drowning rate has an enormous part to play, and the country has declared 16 ‘no-selfie zones’.

Russia's campaign to urge the public to take care when taking selfies. Image from Russian Interior Ministry.
Russia’s campaign to urge the public to take care when taking selfies. Image from Russian Interior Ministry.

Russia has also attempted to address the death-by-selfie issue, by creating a campaign outlining poor selfie ideas to discourage unsafe selfies on cliffs, mountaintops, or near wild animals.

Priceonomics notes that of the 49 cases they inspected, not a single death was caused by the selfie itself. To their knowledge, no one has ever been lethally pierced by a selfie stick. The selfie appears to serve as a distraction in circumstances where the individual taking the selfie ought to focus on their own wellbeing and safety.

You don’t have to stop taking selfies, simply be cautious of your surroundings when taking one — especially when taking one standing on a cliff.

Air pollution takes 5.5 million lives prematurely each year

Contaminated air is responsible for taking more than 5.5 million lives prematurely each year, with more than 50 percent of those deaths occurring in China and India, as indicated by new research presented on Feb 12.

Smog in Santiago. Image from joeskitchen.com
Air pollution causes lung cancer, heart disease and other respiratory diseases. Image from joeskitchen.com

Researchers are giving notice that the premature death toll will increase throughout the next two decades unless we do more to battle the issue.

The research was carried out by scientists from Canada, the United States, India and China who collected approximates of air pollution levels in India and China and evaluated their effect on health.

“Air pollution is the fourth highest risk factor for death globally and by far the leading environmental risk factor for disease,” said Michael Brauer, University of British Columbia professor, on Friday, ”reducing air pollution is an incredibly efficient way to improve the health of a population.”

The research concludes that two of the planet’s most populated countries, India and China, have the most contaminated air on the planet.

Specialists state that minuscule matter radiated into the atmosphere in those countries causes 55 percent of deaths caused by air pollution worldwide.

Dan Greenbaum, president of the non profit organization Health Effects Institute in Boston, that examines the health effects from several sources of air contamination, said that “living in areas with higher pollution can cause people to have increased heart and lung disease, and to die prematurely as a result.”

The greatest origin of air pollution is burning coal, in China, although Greenbaum said that they were beginning to try to solve the general issue. In India, meanwhile, individuals burn wood and biomass fuels, cow dung and several other sources.

Greenbaum expressed that “the levels in China are eight to 10 times higher than the healthy standards set by the World Health Organization”. Unless China embraces more rigorous air pollution standards, restricting coal burning and emissions from power plants and factories, the report approximated that over 1 million individuals would have premature deaths by 2030.

Medical specialists say air pollution causes lung cancer, heart disease, and other respiratory illnesses.

The research’s findings on air pollution were exhibited at the conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

India to Mars or bust

Last week, India joined a select few nations in entering the Red Planet’s orbit. After the nail biting year since the launch, India is now forever to be known as the first Asian nation to reach Mars and the first of all nations to successfully reach Mars on their first try. India’s Mars’ orbiter (or, Mangalyaan) has joined the US, Europe, and Soviet’s orbiters as well as the US’s two ground rovers.

The huge success for the Asian nation has been applauded by their fellows in space travel as well as other nations who’re still in the process of attempting to make this great advancement in the scientific community, such as Japan and China.

And while they aren’t the first nation to orbit Mars, 51 similar missions have been attempted yet only 21 have succeeded. That India has managed to do it on their first attempt and with a fraction of any others’ budget is an incredible achievement.

The ISRO (or, India Space Research Organization) succeeded in this mission on a budget of a mere $74 million, compared to the $671 million that NASA used to launch their own MAVEN only a few days earlier.

So how were they able to cut costs without compromising the quality of their spacecraft?

India’s space program chose to concentrate their technology into a smaller craft focused on certain hot-topics, such as an ability to measure methane gas in the Red Planet’s atmosphere, and therefore search for life. This ability will offer assistance to the other orbiters currently measuring these levels in order for all the nations to obtain more reliable data.

Some, particularly within the impoverished nation, have criticized India’s spending on such an enormous mission. However, with this successful mission in advanced technology, India has now created opportunity to greatly enhance their political and economic position. They hope that this achievement will attract more attention from wealthy industrial countries and join as a major player.

Regardless, India and their ISRO have launched themselves into the history books and our headlines.