Week 35 was filled with curiosity because of 

1 – Is there a measure for financial freedom?

2 – Could the world’s strongest animal be one of the smallest?

3 – Can a headache be a headache?

1 – The index of economic freedom

The Index of Economic Freedom is defined as the degree to which you have control over your labour and property. The Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank in America, devised the index as a measure to value a country’s economic freedom on a scale from 0 to 100. 

Data source: https://www.heritage.org/. Visual created using PowerBI

If you are interested to see how countries all over the world have fared since 1995, check out the interactive map in the Heritage Foundation’s Website.

The graphs were good and revealed quite interesting factors and trends. However, it is good practice to dwell a little to understand what goes behind calculating the index. Once you do that there are many probes that pop up that make the index questionable

Here are a few things that popped up in my mind

1 – Qualitative subjective factors like happiness and contentment can muddle up the index. I personally know people who are satisfied with life but can’t “spend as freely as others”.

2 – There are 12 factors that go into account while calculating the overall index score for the country. With that comes assumptions that are made to facilitate the research process.

3 – Some of the factors are dependent on other indices and metrics which implicitly mean more assumptions.

Speaking of assumptions, the next topic will be of surprise for you

The Pistol Shrimp

At least once we all have assumed that the bigger you are, the more powerful you can be. Sometimes it might seem evident like in the case of bodybuilding or supervillains. But when you alter the power factor to power to weight ratio, then we get a whole new range of contenders. 

One such contender, weighing in at 25 grams and only 4 cm long, is the Pistol Shrimp. It is a fascinating creature for it literally bends physics to its limit. 

When the Pistol Shrimp zeros in on its prey, it snaps one of its claws at speeds close to 100km/hr to create “weaponised bubbles”. This sudden action creates a cavitation bubble. Consequently, a mini implosion occurs wherein the temperature reaches 5000 C, which is almost as hot as the surface of the sun. And finally, the noise generated can get as loud as 210db, which is twice as loud as a motorised chain saw. 

The combination of temperature, noise, pressure, and a mini plasma arc causes devastating effects on its prey.

To give you some food for thought, researchers are boggled by trying to use underlying physics that go behind this phenomenon and harness the energy for other uses.

An even more interesting fact is how I came across the Pistol Shrimp. All credits go to Jamie Foxx in his latest, Project Power. It is a perfect weekend watch. So lights, camera, ACTION! With popcorn, coke, and NETFLIX.

3 – Migraine and surprising facts

The nervous system is the body’s communication system. Using it’s fundamental unit – the neuron – the nervous systems send electric signals to and from the brain and spine at speeds varying from 1 to 268 miles per hour.

The balance between Sodium, Potassium, and Calcium is vital in the transmission of this electric pulse. When there is a slight defect in our genetic code, this balance is disrupted, causing exaggerated pulses in our nervous system. In other terms, a severe headache.

Migraine is estimated to affect 1 in 7 people around the world, and it the 7th most disabling disease. Because the headache is caused by exaggerated pulses, even the slightest trigger by noise, light, and even smell can be debilitating.

The condition has a pernicious effect on the economy as well; every year, the UK economy is estimated to lose around £2.25 billion per year. Despite such a wide prevalence and a strong impact, the most surprising thing is that there is no cure. For now, only the symptoms can be eased.

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