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Cultural, International, Life as it is, Political

US quits UN Human Rights Council

Nikki Haley says council is ‘protector of human rights abusers’ that targets Israel in particular and ignores atrocities elsewhere.

 

The US is withdrawing from the United Nations human rights council, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday, calling it a “cesspool of political bias” that targets Israel in particular while ignoring atrocities in other countries.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said she had travelled to the council’s headquarters in Geneva a year ago to call for reforms, to no avail. “Regrettably it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded,” Haley told reporters at the state department. “Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council.”
She added: “The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape scrutiny and the council continues politicising and scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in their ranks.” “For too long the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”

The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, expressed regret about the US withdrawal. The organisation’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a tweet: “Given the state of human rights in today’s world, the US should be stepping up, not stepping back.”

Haley argued the US had spent a year in pursuit of reforms while the council’s flaws deepened. She pointed to the election of the Democratic Republic of Congo to council membership in the past year, despite the US reform campaign, as proof that the body could not be fixed. She also noted the council had failed to hold a single session on Venezuela, which is a council member, or Iran, despite its ruthless crushing of opposition demonstrations. “When a so-called human rights council cannot bring itself to address the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran, and it welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, the council ceases to be worthy of its name,” the ambassador said. Haley also pointed to the continued existence of “agenda item 7”, a permanent fixture on the schedule, exclusively devoted to the discussion of rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said the US decision to leave was “regrettable”.
Johnson, who had called on Monday for agenda item 7 to be reformed, said in a statement: “The United States’ decision to withdraw from the human rights council is regrettable. “We’ve made no secret of the fact that the UK wants to see reform of the human rights council, but we are committed to working to strengthen the council from within,” the foreign secretary added.

However, Haley criticised countries that expressed concern about the council but remained members, suggesting those countries lacked courage. “Almost every country we met with agrees with us, in principle and behind closed doors, that the human rights council needs major dramatic, systemic changes. Yet no other country has had the courage to join our fight,” she said.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, appearing alongside Haley, said: “Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled. President Trump wants to move the ball forward. From day one he has called out institutions or countries who say one thing and do another, and that’s precisely the problem at the human rights council.”

The Trump administration had been signalling its intention to leave the council for some months, but the announcement came while the US itself is under intense criticism for its own human rights, because of the administration’s policy of forcibly separating young children from their parents when apprehended on the Mexican border.
“Trump’s withdrawal is especially disturbing given his persistent praise for despots and dictators with abysmal human rights records, not to mention his administration’s cruel mistreatment of immigrant families seeking asylum,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement.

Advocacy groups accused the US of withdrawing from its global obligations to protect human rights.
“The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said.
“The UN human rights council has played an important role in such countries as North Korea, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan, but all Trump seems to care about is defending Israel. Like last time when the US government stepped away from the Council for similar reasons, other governments will have to redouble their efforts to ensure the Council addresses the world’s most serious human rights problems.”

(The Guardian report, dated 19 June 2018)

Advanced science, Cultural, International, Life as it is, Technical

Are teachers the “Luddites” of higher education

It is obvious that online education has cut out the bricks and mortar frills of a normal campus and replaced classrooms with a computer screen on top of a desk at a student’s home.

luddites

According to tech-employment experts, more than half the jobs in the United States would be automated in a decade or two. That should not come as a surprise. Robots are already working as telemarketers, replacing assembly line workers, whisking products around Amazon’s huge shipping centres, diagnosing medical conditions and performing minimally invasive surgeries. They are writing stories for newspapers and magazines, too.

For all of its ambiguities, technology has also made its way into the arena of higher education. Today, we are fascinated by videotaped lectures. We revel at the online learning format MOOC ‒ acronym for Massive Open Online Course. We rave at Coursera ‒ a venture-backed, education-focused technology company. We rant about Udacity ‒ a for-profit educational organization offering MOOCs.

Courses offered by these asynchronous programs do not take place in a real-time environment. As a result, there is no class meeting time. They enrol tens of thousands of “followers,” a Twitter term I prefer to use, because it offers a more apt label than “students.” The followers are provided with syllabi and assignments and are given a time frame to complete the course work and exams. Interaction with instructors usually takes place through discussion boards, blogs and Wikis.

So, what happens next? One clue might lie in the early nineteenth century Britain when the intrusion of mechanized technology into the textile production process ignited the Luddite rebellion, named after Ned Ludd, a mythical weaver who lived in Sherwood Forest. He supposedly broke two mechanical knitting machines to vent his anger against automation.

Incensed at the machines that they believed would replace them, the textile workers or the Luddites, as they were called, raided factories and sabotaged machinery by night, in the hopes of saving their jobs. The rebellion was a total failure. Nonetheless, the Luddites bequeathed us a namesake pejorative hurled at anyone daring to stand in the way of technological progress. The term Luddite has now become a synonym for technophobe.
I write this piece not as a technophobe, but as an open-minded professor sceptic about technology’s impact on the state of higher education. I have enthusiastically experimented with YouTube clips, Facebook course pages and discussion blogs in many of my courses. I appreciate the word processors, particularly TeX/LaTex ‒ a high-quality typesetting system designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. I value the usefulness of the Internet that gives me access to a treasure trove of information on an untold number of subjects, as well as technical journals essential for doing research. As a theoretical nuclear physicist, I am grateful for the open-source software, such as Mathematic that took the sweat out of high-level mathematical calculations.

Nevertheless, I am also disturbed by some aspects of online education’s impact on learning and scholarship. That is because from the vantage point of science pedagogy, technologies have still to offer an adequate answer to a question that should always be at the forefront of our conversations: How much does the whole person matter?

It is obvious that online education has cut out the bricks and mortar frills of a normal campus and replaced classrooms with a computer screen on top of a desk at a student’s home. While proponents of online learning would like us to believe that their ostensibly laser-like focus on higher education is admirable, one cannot help but wonder about the value of the traditional liberal arts college experience that is lost in the process.

As many have noted, the experience of a lecture hall ‒ usually a metaphor for college as a whole ‒ has not changed all that much in the last 500 years or so. Standing astride at the podium or writing on a chalkboard, professors edify the students by pouring forth their knowledge. Whether the endurance of this long-established format is either a virtue or vice depends on how close your postal code is to California’s Silicon Valley.
Against this age-old backdrop, enter the heroic innovators ‒ the techno utopians. In their view, online learning offers a solution to the various crises higher education is facing today.In particular, it accommodates adaptable scheduling, comfortable learning environment, variety of programs and courses to choose from, and strips down costs, so that education could be spread to people not privileged enough to afford the sticker shock of today’s tuition fees.

Is online learning really making good on the promises the techno utopians are claiming? Numerous studies over the years have shown that technology hurts students’ progress more than it helps. The studies conclude that students who rely solely on modern technology to get their degree in quick and easy doses often lack the ability, and more importantly patience, to think and study the old-fashioned way. They belong to a generation of digital natives who are apparently incapable of prying themselves away from their computer screens for even a 50-minute classroom lecture.

Furthermore, recipients of degrees from online educational facilities should be prepared to face a few initial hiccups, simply because there is a greater likelihood that their degree would be considered to have much lower value than the one obtained via mainstream classroom education. Consequently, prospective employers may be sceptical about the credibility of even well-known online learning enterprises that generally offer only certificates of course completion. They are, however, appropriate learning environments for adults with time constraints or busy schedules, or those who want to take enrichment courses to enhance their career.

Others have noted that online course innovations seem uniquely tilted in favour of fields like science, engineering and mathematics and less suitable for subjects like history, philosophy, or English. In that sense, technology has a bit of bias, as any bleary-eyed humanities professor who cannot feed a stack of essays into Scantron will tell us.
Even if online learning does get better at spreading knowledge, can it ever match college’s time-honoured strength in cultivating wisdom? Confronting that challenge requires us to answer the question of how much the whole person really matters. Technology seems to suggest it does not and should not. Indeed, the ideology of technology is to disaggregate the whole person ‒ to stretch human faculties to the point where space and time become irrelevant.

Arguably, college, at its best, is all-encompassing. It is a place where one undergoes intellectual, social and spiritual transformation. Yes, education happens in the lecture hall. An ineffable, unpredictable vibe that a great class discussion generates leaves its participants buzzing.

But education also happens on a theatre stage, in museums and art galleries, at an atelier, at a research lab at a hospital, in the study abroad program and many other places outside the classroom. It remains unclear how MOOC, Coursera, Udacity, or technology in general can help cultivate wisdom across all of these fronts and thus enrich the whole person that college education epitomises.

Although we may be at the dawn of a post-human era, as some have argued, I do believe that we are losing more than we are gaining from a technological hypnosis that has the potential to reclassify the teacher as a network administrator. If we could avoid bowing to the pressures to convert higher education into virtual reality, we will preserve something essential to our humanity, a sense of community.

To that end, we still need to be face-to-face with the students, to meet with them in groups for discussion, or to have one-on-one meeting with a student seeking guidance. These relational roles and human touch of a teacher can only be accomplished in a campus environment.

Having said that, are we facing our own virtual obsolescence just like the Luddites? Only time will tell whether we will become neo-Luddites or not. However, if the prediction and vision of automation is even halfway correct, I am afraid higher education in a campus setting may soon become redundant, as techno utopians are forecasting, when a one-size-fits-all online education presents itself to institutions looking to streamline the overhead. If that day arrives, it won’t just be faculty’s loss; it could be a loss of our students’ sense of wholeness too.

 

The writer is Professor of Physics at Fordham University, New York

 

Economic, International, Life as it is, Political, Religious

Life beyond Balkanisation

When someone mentions the word ‘Balkanisation’, it immediately brings back the dreadful memory of Srebrenica massacre – ethnic cleansing, vicious racial killing, mass murders etc. In short, Balkanisation conjures up a situation when an ordered, organised state disintegrates into lawless chaotic mafia states – as had happened to the former state of Yugoslavia – on racial, religious, ethnic divides.

Having toured the heartland of Balkanised lands very recently – Croatia and Montenegro – I came back with the impression that Balkanisation may be brutal, but there is life after that. It does not turn previously antagonistic states into eternal enemies. Balkanised states may very quickly forget and forgive past atrocities and live together amicably and decently.

The word ‘Balkan’ is presumed to have come from the Turkish language meaning ‘a ridge of wooded mountains’. This is the region where, along with Greece, Turkey and Persia, various amusing fairy tales, myths, mysteries etc were generated at the early stages of human civilisation. Those tales were gradually subsumed and assimilated into various religious narratives. For example, the sky and thunder god, called Zeus (who ruled as the king of gods in Mount Olympus) in ancient Greek religion, became angry with god Haemus and sent thunder which injured Haemus and caused him to bleed (thereby the word ‘haemus’ or ‘bloody’ came into the English language) and the blood drops became a ridge of mountains. In ancient Greek and even in modern Greek, the Balkan Peninsula is known as the ‘Peninsula of Haemus’. The Ottoman Turks called the region Balkans.

However, there is no blood of gods in the mountains now. But, if one has to look for blood, one can find blood of innocent civilians all over the place in the former Federal State of Yugoslavia. After the death of Marshal Tito, the then president of Yugoslavia, in 1980 the multiracial, multi-ethnic federated state started to agitate on nationalistic grounds. After the fall of Berlin Wall, the whole of Yugoslavia broke out in open warfare. The six republics – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia – broke away and eventually became independent states. Although Slabs, taking the mantle of the former state, viciously fought against Christian Croats and Bosnian Muslims under the murderous Serb leaders like Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic, the tide of history could not be reversed.

20180522_101013The whole of Balkans, particularly the coastal belts of the Adriatic Sea and the Aegean Sea are absolutely breath taking. Our journey started with our arrival in Dubrovnik, a beautiful Croatian sea resort. After having some light lunch, we set off for Montenegro by bus. Just about 20 minutes’ drive from Dubrovnik, we came to the border crossing. These two countries may be in good terms at the moment, but immigration officials showed no mercy towards the tourists. The first leg of our journey was to get out of Croatia. It took more than 20 minutes even with our well-known local tour guide to get exit visa in Croatia. Then there was the no-man’s land of about 1 km before we came to Montenegro border. We had to wait for more than 40 minutes to get the entry visa. The tour guide told us that we were lucky, it could have taken much longer!

We then drove for about an hour including a ferry crossing to come to our hotel in Budva in Montenegro. The hotel is located in a nice locality within ten minutes’ walk to the beach. There is some anomaly between Croatia and Montenegro in matters of currency. Although Croatia is in the EU but it has not yet adopted Euro. Their currency is Kuna; although Euro is perfectly legitimate and freely available. When economic convergence will be achieved, Kuna will be disbanded and Euro will be the only currency. On the other hand, Montenegro is not in the EU, but they use Euro as their currency!

Montenegro is a small country with a population of only 640,000 and has an area of 13,800 square km. Mountains, lakes and forests abound everywhere. When the Venetian invading army in the middle ages came to the country’s Adriatic coast, they only saw black mountains and hence called it Monte (mountain) Negro (black). They only managed to conquer the coastal belts of the mountains, when ferociously nationalistic Montenegrins fought off well-armed Venetians.

The following day, we headed for Cetinje (pronounced as Chetnia), the former capital of Montenegro and the royal seat of the ruling Petrović family. Then we had a tour of King Nikola’s Museum. King Nikola ruled this tiny kingdom for 58 years until 1918, when his kingdom was subsumed into the state of Yugoslavia after WWI. It was interesting to note that despite the size of the kingdom, Nikola had grand presence in the world scene of kings and queens including those of Britain, Germany, Russia and others. Possibly those were the times when royal families all over the world had global fraternity.

The highlight of the tour was the visit to the town of Kotor, a world heritage site. At the foothills of the mountain, the setting of the medieval buildings was breath taking. As we were going through the main square, all of a sudden we heard a march-band from one of the side roads feeding into the main square. They were celebrating Montenegro’s 10th anniversary of independence day.

We then visited the nearby town called Perast. In the adjoining lake there are two man-made church islands. One of the islands, called Our Lady of the Rocks, has a very interesting legend. A wounded soldier on the rock discovered Virgin Mary’s image on the rock and he was miraculously healed. He then dedicated his life to making a church on the rock in her honour. We took a boat trip to ‘Our Lady of the Rocks’ and the legend has it that if someone makes a wish and throws a stone from the church to the waters, that wish would come true. I threw a stone after making a wish that I get a cool one billion pounds. I am still waiting to see my wish come true!

20180520_105047Next day we visited Podgorica, capital of Montenegro. It used to be known as Titograd, after the name of President Tito. It is a quaint old city where people go around with their businesses leisurely. We then visited the massive Sipcanik wine cellar. The cellar was an underground hanger for military aircrafts that was dug inside the mountains and nearly 400 metres long, where about 30 fighter planes used to be kept securely from American attacks. It now houses around two million litres of wines. Wine is Montenegro’s major export item. We had a lovely wine tasting session accompanied with cheese and biscuits.

The following day we went back to Dubrovnik through a new route. We went through the longest tunnel in Southern Europe – 4190 metre long – in the Balkan mountains. Dubrovnik had been dubbed by Byron as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and is the home for the rich and famous local people. The Old Town contains an array of monasteries, beautifully decorated churches and civic building from 14th centuries. There are quite a number of palaces (more like large terrace houses) belonging to aristocrat families and the aristocracies are displayed by the ‘Coats of Arms’ firmly embedded at the main entrances of the palaces.

The next couple of days were spent in cruises in lakes. Lake Skadar is the largest lake in Southern Europe, straddling Montenegro (containing two thirds of the lake) and Albania (containing one third of the lake). It is home to nearly half of Europe’s population of endangered Dalmatian pelicans. Probably these pelicans are more than just endangered – almost extinct – as we could not see more than three or four birds in more than four hours of cruising.

Altogether the tour was very enjoyable. It was even more enjoyable and remarkable when one considers that only about 23 years ago, the area was in flames (metaphorically speaking), threatening to engulf the whole region into utter super-power conflagration. But that danger was contained by NATO action and taming the aggressive streak of the Serbs. Now things have quietened down. Balkanisation had taken place, but it did not cause permanent damage to peace in the region. A land of beauty is blooming again.

 

– A. Rahman is an author and a columnist 

Cultural, International, Life as it is, Religious

Denmark joins some European nations in banning burqa, niqab

burqa_1COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark joined some other European countries in deciding Thursday to ban garments that cover the face, including Islamic veils such as the niqab or burqa.
In a 75-30 vote with 74 absentees, Danish lawmakers approved the law presented by the center-right governing coalition. The government says that it is not aimed at any religions and does not ban headscarves, turbans or the traditional Jewish skull cap.
However, the law is popularly known as the “Burqa Ban” and is mostly seen as being directed at the dress worn by some conservative Muslim women. Few Muslim women in Denmark wear full-face veils.

burqa_2Justice Minister Soeren Pape Poulsen said that it will be up to police officers to use their “common sense” when they see people violating the law that enters into force Aug. 1.
The law allows people to cover their face when there is a “recognizable purpose” like cold weather or complying with other legal requirements, such as using motorcycle helmets under Danish traffic rules.

burqa_3First-time offenders risk a fine of 1,000 kroner ($156). Repeat offenses could trigger fines of up to 10,000 kroner ($1,600) or a jail sentence of up to six months.
Anyone forcing a person to wear garments covering the face by using force or threats can be fined or face up to two years in prison.
Austria, France and Belgium have similar laws.

(With the courtesy of http://www.msn.com dated 31 May 2018)

 

 

Advanced science, Astrophysics, Cultural, Environmental, Life as it is, Religious, Technical

Ranking of Human Civilisation

Despite what the great ‘Divine Books’ such as Torah, Bible, Quran, Bhagavat Gita and so on and so forth say about the existence of life on earth, scientifically life on earth originated from single cells which then mutated to form multi-cellular organisms. The evolution of primates (comprising apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and eventually humans) can be traced back to over 65 million years. Primates are one of the oldest of all placental mammal groups, which withstood the vagaries of life.

There is now a consensus of opinions among the evolutionary scientists that evolution of Hominidae (apes) took place around 28 million years ago and then subsequently subfamilies – homininae (humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas), homo genus (humans, Neanderthals, homo erectus), homo sapiens (intelligent humans) and finally anatomical modern humans took place about 8 million years, 2.5 million years, 0.5 million years and 200,000 years ago respectively. This chronological development of evolutionary chain is what is accepted now as incontrovertible scientific fact.

The anatomically modern human beings who first appeared in South West Africa – near the coastal borders of Namibia and Angola – were intelligent animals with highly developed brains, and this intelligence led them to become savage animals in the rough and tough world to survive. Around 50,000 years ago, they started migrating to other continents (as permafrost offered them land migration routes) and colonised other areas. When they came across Neanderthals (a subspecies of homo genus) in Europe and other hominins in Asia, they were systematically eliminated. Neanderthals completely disappeared around 30,000 years ago. The victorious modern human beings were, nonetheless, hunter gathers competing for food with four legged animals like wolfs, hyenas, dogs etc. That was the time when one can call human civilisation at level 0.

Since that time, human brain rather than brawn evolved drastically, which is directly attributable to evolutionary mechanism. Although evolutionary process was in action for millions of years, it took a step change. Humans as a distinct species (two legged animals) coalesced together and started to fight jointly against other species. They developed cooperation, communication, collectivism etc, all of which gave them superior strength which no other animal species could muster. Human civilisation was gradually progressing, but still it was stuck at the primitive level 0.

A step change in civilisation came about at around 10,000 years ago, when ice in the Ice Age started to recede after hundreds of thousands of years of permafrost. As ice melted, soil started to surface and vegetation, plants, grasses etc appeared. The human beings with their ingenuity started to farm land, domesticated animals such as cows, horses, dogs etc., produced agricultural products, formed communities and tribes. The hunter gathers were no longer solely reliant on animals for food, they developed diversified food products and eating habits. Whereas previously they used animals for food, now they started to produce food with their own hands. The energy they expended per capita could be estimated as around quarter of a horse power (~200W). This development can be designated as level 1 of type 1 civilisation.

From that time on, human civilisation started to progress at accelerated pace. Humans started to appreciate, admire and even worship the powers of nature; wondered about the might of the sun, rain, storm, fire, earth and so forth and created in their minds and thought processes various deities, gods etc, who were perceived to be more powerful than mere mortal human beings. These fictitious constructs gradually got embedded in the minds as irrevocable entities and these formed the seed corns of numinous undertakings, which flourished eventually as religions.

About 5,000 years ago, Abraham in the land of Canaan (in the Middle East) merged all these disparate and conflicting gods and divine constructs into a single entity and created a unitary God. That was the beginning of monotheism which culminated into three major Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The unitary God was proclaimed to be all powerful, all knowledgeable, all pervasive, eternal creator of everything. Over the centuries, these three versions of the unitary God fought for supremacy and allegiance of human beings.

Whether the advent of religions, either monotheistic or polytheistic, is a progress in human civilisation or a sheer retrogressive step is open to question. This religious mindset, relegating human beings to moronic state totally reliant on the whims of abstract all-powerful non-existent God is delusional, to say the least. This transfer of human accountability to this God is so tempting and enduring that religions have taken over the thread of civilisation in a way that no other philosophical undertaking could possibly do. For centuries since Abrahamic time, through Jesus Christ and Mohammad, literature, art, culture, architecture, philosophy etc were dominated by religious ideas. Numerous sculptors, painters, poets, authors and so forth all eulogised the existence and powers of God.

Around 300 years ago, another civilizational step took place with the coming of industrial revolution. Steam engines started to drive machines and locomotives. No longer humans were dependent on their bare hands or on animals. Cars, trucks, trains etc were driven by steam engines or internal combustion engines. Electricity was produced by steam engines (turbo-generators) due to the motion of electromagnets. Industries of various sorts started to develop, human population increased, towns, cities started to develop. Population grew not only due to the availability of food but also due to the advancement of biological/medical sciences taming all diseases in general and diseases like cholera, TB etc, in particular, causing epidemic among population. Progress in science and technology steamed ahead and civilisation went up few notches.

Another enormous step change came during the past few decades. This time it was not the physical expansion of wealth generation and prosperity, but the increase in information technology. No longer humans were dependent on mode of communication by notes on papers, letters, telegrams or even fixed line telephony, but on electronic communication, where electrons danced through cables, fibre-optics etc. People now communicate live in various continents, send photos, documents etc instantaneously. A man in the UK can talk simultaneously to people in Japan, Australia, America and Argentina all at the same time. People can move from one place to another at enormous speeds.

Satellites in the sky can detect an object anywhere on the ground as small as few meters. Satellite navigation is a common mode of identifying location, particularly for transport vehicles, replacing age-old traditional maps. Letters, parcels etc can be delivered by drones, flying in air and descending at the back of gardens within a matter of hours. Although drone technology is available now, but it could not be put in practice until some safety provisions and regulatory requirements are enforced. This advanced state of civilisation can be placed as level 7.

There are yet many more technological advancements to be had in this world and we can gradually move towards civilisation levels 8, 9 and 10. At that stage, human beings would be looking beyond our planet into the outer skies.

Now the readers must be admired at this stage who had come this far without knowing what this ranking of civilisation is and what are these levels? Back in 1964, a Russian astrophysicist by the name Nikolai Kardashev was probing the outer skies – planets, stars, galaxies etc – for signs of civilisation. But then he was confronted with the very fundamental question of ‘what is civilisation’? Is civilisation just an abstract concept which cannot be quantified and ranked, only felt and sensed? If that is the case, are we not constrained in categorising a civilisation as to its level of achievement?

Kardashev realised that different professions would tend to define civilisations differently – an artist might define a civilisation by the creative flavour of paintings by its inhabitants; a poet might define it by the quality of poems, culture and the society; a philosopher might try on the basis of abstract theological ideas, its society, government and so on. A physicist might like to quantify on the basis energy it needs. And that is how the scientific ranking of the civilisation is portrayed here.

According to Kardashev if the civilisation of a planet or heavenly body is solely dependent on the energy or power it receives from its primary source – Sun in the case of Earth – then that civilisation is Type I. He then quantified that a ball point figure of 1017 watts as the limiting power for Type I civilisation. A Type II civilisation is one which harnesses stellar energies – energies beyond the constraints of the planet itself. A Type III civilisation is galactic, harnessing energies in the outer skies coming from millions and billions of stars and galaxies.

The human civilisation has not even reached the zenith of Type I civilisation. With all the advanced technologies, we may be hovering around level 6 or 7 and so we have three more levels to go before we could be harnessing around 1017 watts to reach the end of Type I civilisation. It might take a century or two before we reach that stage.

Two more articles will be presented here dealing with Type II and Type III civilisations. So, watch out readers for stellar and galactic civilisations!

 

A. Rahman is an author and a columnist.