This week’s curiosity box has
1 – For a proper sleep health what should you [not] consider
2 – What is the inspiration behind the USB’s logo
3 – After the biggest slump in GDP, where can India go?
1 – What should you [not] consider for a sound sleep
Looking back at the last 7 months, I have realised that the days after a good night’s sleep energises me and motivates me to complete the day’s workout routine. You would have heard every physical trainer chant this mantra that sleep is essential, but to experience it first hand is a revelation. A “screwed-up” sleep cycle makes it exponentially more challenging to stick to a workout routine.
The kind of sleep you need is Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage that comes even after deep sleep. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, during the REM stage, your brain is most active. During this stage, hundreds of thousands of brain cells coordinate with each other and fire off in a periodical manner. Contrastingly, the body is an almost paralysed stage, thereby giving a complete rest.
I got to dig a little to find ways to help me sleep better, and unfortunately, my love for coffee is under trial as a result. Caffeine, classed as a psychoactive substance, helps stimulate our brain activity. This is a no brainer because some mornings need the caffeine kickstarter in the form of coffee. However, the surprising fact is that caffeine has a quarter-life period of 10 to 12 hours. What this means is that if you drank a cup of coffee at 10am in the morning, a quarter of the caffeine will still have its effect in your brain at 12pm. This includes those who say that they can have coffee at night and yet have a sound sleep. Although you can sleep after coffee at night, caffeine disrupts the REM stage, thereby leaving you more tired and in more need for coffee the next morning.
The Addiction ensues…
The second thing you must not consider for good sleep is alcohol which is classed as a sedative. When you have a glass of wine or any alcoholic beverage, your brain cells shut off. That is the very nature of a sedative. Consequently, your REM cycle is affected because you need active brain cells to achieve that stage. And in the mornings after that you are groggy.
2 – The USB Logo
The story of the USB never fails to fascinate me. When Ajay Bhatt and his team at Intel found it challenging to plug in a simple keyboard or to update software in their computers. Simple tasks required at least 3 or 4 cables and they longed for a single connector to solve all their problems. Thus they put their minds together and came up with the Universal Serial Bus – the USB.
It feels familiar to the transition we are going through now, where even one cable feels like a headache, and we are looking for wireless connectivity. Perhaps what is more exciting is the story of the logo.
The USB logo is perhaps the most overlooked logos under my eyes – until today. The three-pronged shape of the USB is inspired by none other than The Trident of Poseidon. The two similarities between the logo and the Trident are a great conversation starter.
The Trident represents the three qualities of water: fluidity, fecundity, and drinkability. And the three spikes of the USB logo represents the serial data line, power line, and the voltage ground. The second parallel between the two is what the shape symbolises. Age-old civilisation Britannica (current world Great Britain) used the Trident as a symbol of power. The practise continues today in city councils and even car manufacturers. Likewise, the USB was seen as the single power cable for not only devices but also for the future of technology.
And an afterthought:
The flag of Barbados depicts a broken tip of the Trident which symbolises the break from colonial power of Britain.
3 – The fret of a 23.9% drop in GDP – more a question for the future?
One of the fundamental metrics of an economy is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This week caused a stir of hubbub when India reported that its GDP fell by 23.9% in the last quarter. This figure is the largest drop in an economy the size of India. Shocking statistics have revealed that 9 out of 10 workers don’t have personal protection and proper health insurances.
However, India is not the only country showing such a drastic drop in economic performance. The US, UK and other major European countries are also facing similar declines. Although this is not just the case for now but expands over many years as countries around the world dip in and out of recessions.
All countries in the past and now have treated such situations by first stabilising the current situation. And economists are brought in for conversations and then the following terms are floated around continuously government changing labour reforms, writing off debt, lending the working capital for businesses, a radical shift in expenditure […], and there are many more. In my opinion, all of these are jargon terms that make a seemingly simplex task complex.
But such situations call for a case to draw parallels from technology. At the grassroots level, technology solutions require objective, logical, binary thinking. My question is, why can’t the same mental thinking be applied for the economy.
And Raghuram Rajan echoes the same thoughts.
Following up from the talk, I was thinking that when we get same-day delivery with a single click, why not a simpler, cleaner processes for starting a business or exporting more goods.
Although my thought requires deep thinking, I am curious to know as to what prevents this from happening. What do you think?