Trivia Thursday: Extraterrestrial Life

Trivia Thursday: Extraterrestrial Life

As monoliths enter India and Harvard professor Avi Loeb ‘confirming the existence of Aliens‘ in his latest book, ‘Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth‘, let’s take a look at trivia around extraterrestrial life this Thursday.

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at the attempts to find the extraterrestrial life.

The Fermi Paradox
The Fermi paradox, named after Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations and various high estimates for their probability.

Breakthrough Listen
Breakthrough Listen is a project to search for intelligent extraterrestrial communications in the Universe. With $100 million in funding and thousands of hours of dedicated telescope time on state-of-the-art facilities, it is the most comprehensive search for alien communications to date.

The Arecibo Message
The Arecibo message is an interstellar radio message carrying basic information about humanity and Earth that was sent to globular star cluster M13 in 1974. It is humanity’s first attempt to use radio waves to actively communicate its existence to alien civilizations.

Area 51
Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force (USAF) facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range. The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component of unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.

In July 2019, more than 2 million people responded to a joke proposal to storm Area 51 which appeared in an anonymous Facebook post.

Cosmic Pluralism
The earliest recorded assertion of extraterrestrial human life is found in ancient scriptures of Jainism. There are multiple “worlds” mentioned in Jain scriptures that support human life. These include:

  • Bharat Kshetra
  • Mahavideh Kshetra
  • Airavat Kshetra
  • Hari kshetra

The Wow! Signal
The Wow! signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States, then used to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. The signal appeared to come from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius and bore the expected hallmarks of extraterrestrial origin.

Protection Against Aliens
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 Moon Agreement define rules of planetary protection against potentially hazardous extraterrestrial life.

Take a look at our last week’s Trivia Thursday here: Different Kinds Of Calendars

Cracking The Zomato Code And India’s Food Service Industry

Cracking The Zomato Code And India's Food Service Industry

With the talks of Zomato IPO buzzing Dalal Street, the food delivery startup recently raised a massive sum of $660 million, which increased its valuation to $3.9 billion, surpassing rival Swiggy’s. Meanwhile, it is also mulling an investment in the cloud kitchen space. Cloud kitchen is a centralized commercial food preparation facility set up for the preparation of delivery-only meals. Let’s see what the future has in store for Zomato.

Crux of the Matter

Market Size
Let’s begin by taking a look at the market size of the food industry.

The daily turnover of street hawkers (includes food and others) is believed to be ₹8,000 crores.

“India’s food market is largely unorganised from a supply side perspective. This primarily comprises street food vendors, who aren’t ready from a hygiene or certification perspective. They are generally a one or two-member team. There aren’t any checks and balances. Now, with COVID-19 and the crisis these vendors face, it makes sense to get them online.”

Rohan Agarwal, Director, Redseer

  • With the dine-in business capped at 50% seating capacity, restaurants are also exploring expansion through cloud kitchens.
  • Compared to pre-covid levels, Zomato witnessed only 50% of its restaurant partners starting to deliver food on its platform, while rival Swiggy saw around 25-40%.
  • Zomato is also helping restaurants in resuming operations by offering cloud kitchen facilities.
  • Zomato said it is also evaluating investments around kitchen space in areas of supply gaps.

Zomato, The Leader?

  • Zomato provides information, menus and user-reviews of restaurants as well as food delivery options from partner restaurants in select cities.
  • Zomato founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah in 2008.
  • It was founded as Foodiebay in 2008 and was renamed Zomato on 18 January 2010 as Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd.
  • In 2011, Zomato expanded across India to Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata.
  • In 2019, Zomato acquired Seattle-based food portal Urbanspoon, which led to the firm’s entry into the United States and Australia.
  • The company also acquired Uber Eats’ India Business for $350 million in an all-stock deal while Uber Eats got a 9.99% stake in Zomato.

Read More about Zomato acquiring Uber Eats here: Zomato Acquires India’s Operations Of Uber Eats

Zomato And The New-Age-Tech IPO

  • 2021 seems to belong to India’s new-age businesses and startups as they plan to go public, with Zomato likely to be the first of them.
  • On December 19, it raised $660 million at a valuation of $3.9 billion surpassing rival Swiggy.

10 new investors are joining us on our journey. This list includes Tiger Global, Kora, Luxor, Fidelity [FMR], D1 Capital, Baillie Gifford, Mirae, and Steadview.

Deepinder Goyal, Founder & CEO, Zomato

  • The company is also raising $140 million as a part of a secondary transaction, Goyal said. As a part of this final fundraise before its IPO, Zomato has provided liquidity worth $30 million to its former employees.
  • It has hired Kotak Mahindra Bank as their Lead Merchant Banker.

Summachar brings you this story in collaboration with Finmedium that can be found on Instagram at @finmedium and on the web here.

Curiopedia
  • Zomato was founded as Foodiebay in 2008, and was renamed Zomato on 18 January 2010 as Zomato Media Pvt. Ltd. Zomato was founded by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah as a restaurant menu aggregator.
  • With the introduction of .xxx domains in 2011, Zomato also launched zomato.xxx, a site dedicated to food porn. Zomato has made a name for itself for its prowess in digital marketing.
  • Urbanspoon was a restaurant information and recommendation service founded in 2006 that offered its services in North America and parts of Europe. In January 2015, Zomato accquired Urbanspoon.
  • Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal live-tweeted yesterday that Zomato saw a record number of orders on New Year’s eve as more people in India ordered food online due to covid-induced curfews in many states. Zomato clocked an unprecedented record of over 4,254 orders per minute (OPM) on New Year’s eve. Compared to this, rival Swiggy recorded 5,500 orders per minute.

Trivia Thursday: Different Kinds Of Calendars

Trivia Thursday: Different Kinds Of Calendars

As one more calendar year comes to an end, let us take a look at some different types of calendars that different cultures follow along with their history and contemporary relevance in this weeks’ Trivia Thursday.

Happy reading and a very happy new year!

Crux of the Matter

In this week’s Trivia Thursday, let us have a look at different calendars and how each calendar is different from the other.

Gregorian v/s Julian Calendar

  • The Julian Calendar was introduced in 45 BC by Julius Caesar.
  • The Gregorian Calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII.
  • The new calendar was introduced to re-align spring equinox and easter to the seasons.
  • To switch to the Gregorian calendar, the United Kingdom and its colonies decided to shift to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, they had to omit 11 days.
  • This calendar is used everywhere around the world except North Korea. The Juche calendar has the same division of months and days in them but begins with the birth of Kim Il-sung, 1912. In 2011 it was only year 100 for inhabitants of North Korea.

Hindu Calendar

  • Hindu calendar, also called the Panchang follows the motion of the moon.
  • A lunar year has 354 days and 12 months.
  • Every 3 years, another month called ‘Adhik’ is added. This month is considered to be very auspicious and is referred to as the month of Lord Purushottam.
  • Various eras are used for numbering the years; the most common are the Vikrami Era, beginning with the coronation of King Vikramaditya in 57 BCE, and the Shaka Era, counting from 78 CE.
  • Another system is of Yugas, of which currently the KaliYuga is ongoing. For these three systems, the year 2020 corresponds to 2077, 1942, and 5122 respectively.
  • The day usually begins at dawn, or just before. It is divided into 15 muhurtas, each of about 48 minutes, and the night is similarly divided.
  • The first two muhurtas (about one hour) of the morning before dawn are considered most auspicious, especially for spiritual practices.

Hebrew Calendar

  • The Hebrew calendar, also called the Jewish calendar was based on the lunar cycle.
  • As a result, an extra month had to be added to the year every three to four years to make up for the difference.
  • However, that system changed over time and the calculations of the months and years started to rely more on mathematical calculations.
  • The calendar is still followed by the Jews to mark religious holidays and important events. The current year, according to this calendar is AM 5781.

Hijri Calendar

  • The Hijri Calendar or Islam Calendar is based on lunar phases, it uses a system of 12 months and either 354 or 355 days every year and After 33 years, the cycle repeats itself.
  • Four of the 12 months in the Islamic calendar are considered sacred.
  • The first Islamic year was 622 AD when Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina to set up the first Muslim ummah or community.
  • This is used to identify Islamic holidays and festivals. 2020 in Islamic calendar translated to 1442.

Chinese Calendar

  • The Chinese calendar is based on a lunisolar system.
  • According to this system, each month begins on the day when the moon is in the “new moon” phase.
  • The beginning of a new year is also marked by the position of the moon and occurs when the moon is midway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
  • Officially, the country uses the Gregorian calendar although the Chinese calendar is used to celebrate holidays.
  • 4718 is the current year, according to this calendar.

Japanese Calendar

  • Since 1873, the Japanese calendar has used the solar year of the Gregorian calendar.
  • The country also uses era names, a system adopted from Chinese practice.
  • Under this system, the rule of each emperor begins a new era.
  • Before 1873, however, the eras were marked by important events rather than the rule of an emperor.
  • At 62 years and 2 weeks, Shōwa, under the reign of King Hirohito, is the longest era to date.
  • The current era is called Reiwa, under the current King Naruhito.
  • According to this calendar, 2020 is Reiwa 2.

Take a look at our previous Trivia Thursday here: Notable Indian Mathematicians In History

Jack Ma’s Alibaba In Dragon’s Claws

Jack Ma's Alibaba In Dragon's Claws

The Chinese government announced that one of its top companies, Alibaba, is being investigated by regulators on charges of monopolistic practices. The move comes after Ant Group’s historic IPO was sacked by the Chinese government. Let’s take an in-depth look into it.

Crux of the Matter

What Is The Investigation About?
The Chinese government announced on 24th December that one of its top companies, Alibaba, is being investigated by regulators on charges of monopolistic practices. “China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has started an investigation on Alibaba Group for alleged monopoly conduct including implementing an ‘exclusive dealing agreement’,” Xinhua, China’s official news agency said.

Before the monopoly probe, executives of Alibaba’s Ant Group were summoned by China’s Central Bank. Ant Group’s main product Alipay, a payments platform has penetrated very deeply into the Chinese economy. After its success as a payments platform, Alipay also expanded its platform to offer services of insurance, investments, credits, loans, etc, giving tough competition to top Chinese financial companies. In the meeting with China’s Central Bank, Ant was asked to “strictly rectify” its insurance, lending, and wealth management businesses.

State Administration for Market Regulation, in response to complaints, said that it is investigating allegations that Alibaba has required vendors to list products exclusively on its platforms.

The new investigation was preceded by the suspension of Ant Group’s planned IPO (in early November) that received a historic response. The move is seen as the ruling Communist Party of China’s (CPC) pushback against internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, and companies that are part of the daily lives of millions of Chinese and have rapidly expanded their size and power.

Read more about the Ant Group’s IPO here: Why Is Ant Group IPO Making A Buzz?

The investigations were requirements for improving the socialist market economy system and promoting high-quality development. If monopoly is tolerated, and companies are allowed to expand in a disorderly and barbarian manner, the industry won’t develop in a healthy, and sustainable way. This investigation does not mean that the country’s attitude towards the encouragement and support of the platform economy has changed.

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece said in an Editorial

The investigation is one of the first of its kind into a large Chinese internet company. These efforts were seen as part of the country’s broad push to tighten regulations in the internet sector, prevent large internet companies from abusing its market dominance and protect consumers’ interests.

State Media Report

Curiopedia
  • Jack Ma’s real name is Ma Yun. He got his nickname Jack from one of his pen pals foreigners, who found it hard to pronounce his Chinese name.
  • After graduation, Jack Ma became an English lecturer at Hangzhou Dianzi University with a salary of around $12 to $15 per month. During that time he also applied for Harvard Business School 10 times and got rejected each time.
  • Jack Ma is a Tai Chi practitioner and he has been doing it for many years. He often hires Tai Chi masters to teach regular classes to employees in Alibaba.

2020 In Review: In Memoriam

2020 In Review: In Memoriam

2020 has been a year that will be remembered for all the reasons. A global pandemic has taken away millions of souls even as we lost many prominent personalities from across the world. In this ‘2020 In Memoriam’ piece, let’s remember those who left us in this dreadful year.

Crux of the Matter

2020 In Memoriam: Artists

  • Irfan Khan (January 07, 1967 – April 29, 2020)
  • Rishi Kapoor (September 04, 1952 – April 30, 2020)
  • Sushant Singh Rajput (January 21, 1986 – June 14, 2020)
  • Saroj Khan (November 22, 1948 – July 3, 2020)
  • Olivia de Havilland (July 1, 1916 – July 25, 2020)
  • Naya Rivera (January 12, 1987 – July 8, 2020)
  • Chadwick Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020)
  • Sean Connery (August 25, 1930 – October 31, 2020)
  • Soumitra Chatterjee (January 19, 1935 – November 15, 2020)
  • David Prowse (July 1, 1935 – November 28, 2020)

2020 In Memoriam: Politicians

  • John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020)
  • Pranab Kumar Mukherjee (December 11, 1935 – August 31, 2020)
  • Jaswant Singh Jasol (January 03, 1938 – September 27, 2020)
  • Ram Vilas Paswan (July 5, 1946 – October 8, 2020)
  • Tarun Gogoi (April 01, 1936 – November 23, 2020)
  • Ahmed Patel (August 21, 1949 – November 25, 2020)
  • Motilal Vora (December 20, 1928 – December 21, 2020)

2020 In Memoriam: Musicians

  • Ennio Morricone (November 10, 1928 – July 6, 2020)
  • Pandit Jasraj (January 28, 1930 – August 17, 2020)
  • SP Balasubrahmanyam (June 4, 1946 – September 25, 2020)
  • Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020)

2020 In Memoriam: Sports Stars

  • Kobe Bryant (August 23, 1978 – January 26, 2020)
  • Balbir Singh Sr. (December 31, 1923 – May 25, 2020)
  • Diego Maradona (October 30, 1960 – November 25, 2020)

Other Prominent People

  • Justice Ruth Ginsberg (March 15, 1933 – September 18, 2020)
  • John le Carré (October 19, 1931 – December 12, 2020)
  • Pierre Cardin (July 2, 1922 – December 29, 2020)

Here’s remembering the 1.8 million people and the 7,000+ frontline workers (as per Amnesty International’s September 2020 report) who succumbed to Covid-19.