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On the Map

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1. A Top Tech Trend In 2023 Everyone Must Be Ready For

     Robots Will Become More Human: In 2023, robots will become even more like humans — in appearance and capability. These types of robots will be used in the real world as event greeters, bartenders, concierges, and companions for older adults. They’ll also perform complex tasks in warehouses and factories as they work alongside humans in manufacturing and logistics.

     One company is working hard to create a human-like robot that will work in our homes. At Tesla AI Day in September 2022, Elon Musk revealed two Optimus humanoid robot prototypes, and said the company would be ready to take orders within the next 3 to 5 years. The robot can perform simple tasks like lifting items and watering plants — so perhaps soon we'll be able to have "robot butlers" that help around in the house.

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2. India vs Pakistan: A Sporting Rivalry Beyond Comparison

     In 1952, Pakistan's young cricket team played its first-ever test series in India. This was just five years after the Indian subcontinent gained independence from the British and only a few years post the painful partition that separated the countries on religious lines, fueling a long-lasting geopolitical rivalry. Since then, the two nations have engaged in three wars and enforced many restrictions, despite their shared history, culture, and love for cricket.

After a hiatus since 2016, the rivals are set to clash again on Indian soil during the Cricket World Cup, hosted by India. Farees Shah of the Shiny Side Cricket Podcast highlighted the magnitude of the event, stating that half a billion people might watch the match, likening it to "five times the Super Bowl".

     The India-Pakistan cricket match is more than just a game; it intertwines with the geopolitical tensions that persist between the nations. However, the sport has consistently demonstrated its power to bridge divides and unify the masses. This was evident when Pakistan's team, upon their recent arrival in Hyderabad, India, was greeted with fervent applause by local fans. And, when Babar Azam, Pakistan’s cricket captain, presented a team jersey to an Indian ground worker, it was celebrated across borders.

     Nevertheless, the broader political context casts a shadow. Pakistani fans find it challenging to attend matches in India due to bureaucratic obstacles and historical mistrust. Pakistan's cricket mascot, Chacha Cricket, expressed his yearning to promote peace and unity, emphasizing the power of love.

Hadeel Obaid, founder of KheloKricket, stressed the mutual respect the teams share. She said, "The messaging that is out there is impactful, despite the political atmosphere."

     The underlying tension between the two countries can be traced back to the ongoing dispute over Kashmir. Recently, matches were often hosted in neutral locations like Sri Lanka or the UAE to avoid inflaming passions.

India's rise on the global stage contrasts with Pakistan's challenges over the past decade. Yet, as India's prominence grows, concerns rise about its treatment of minorities, especially in the context of the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The forthcoming match, which will take place in the world's largest cricket stadium, named after India's Prime Minister Modi, adds another layer of symbolism.

     Regardless of the backdrop, the upcoming match is one of the most awaited events of the year. It will be witnessed by millions across both nations, symbolizing the enduring passion of a game that has transcended its colonial origins. While politics may simmer in the background, the spirit of sportsmanship remains intact in the players, proving that cricket remains a uniting force on the subcontinent.

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3. Earth Is Continuing to Warm and the Effects Will Be Profound

Global climate change is no longer an issue that will affect only future generations; it's happening right now. Human-driven alterations to the atmosphere, caused by the excessive release of greenhouse gases, are already manifesting widespread consequences. Glaciers and ice sheets are dwindling, rivers and lakes are thawing earlier each spring, and ecosystems are witnessing a shift in both flora and fauna. Plant life too is responding, with trees and plants blooming earlier than historical records indicate.

Scientists had been warning us for decades. The events we once viewed as distant predictions — the loss of sea ice, rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves — are currently our reality. What's even more concerning is the accelerated pace at which some of these phenomena, like extreme rainfall, droughts, and wildfires, are occurring. Some of these changes are unfolding faster than scientific models had previously assessed.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body dedicated to examining the complexities of climate change, has stated that the current trajectory of global climate shifts is unparalleled in human history. Moreover, several of these shifts are irreversible, ensuring their effects will linger for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

It's a near certainty that global temperatures are set to rise further. This increase is largely attributed to human actions, specifically the emission of greenhouse gases. According to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment report from 2021, there has already been an increase in global temperatures by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the latter half of the 19th century. Projections indicate that the global average temperature will likely cross the 1.5 degrees C (approximately 3 degrees F) mark within the upcoming decades, casting effects on every corner of the planet.

The repercussions of climate change will be contingent upon humanity's future actions. A higher emission of greenhouse gases will invariably lead to more severe and frequent climate extremes, leaving vast regions of our planet in peril. However, the magnitude of these future effects is directly proportional to the total carbon dioxide we emit. This means that if we act decisively to reduce emissions, we stand a chance to mitigate some of the dire consequences.

The message from the IPCC is clear and unequivocal. Climate change poses a grave threat to both human wellbeing and the ecological health of our planet. The time to act is dwindling, and any further delays in global concerted efforts will make us miss the rapidly diminishing window to secure a future that remains hospitable. The IPCC has also emphasized, "The magnitude and rate of climate change and associated risks are heavily influenced by our immediate mitigation and adaptation efforts. The projected negative impacts, as well as the damages and losses associated with them, intensify with every incremental rise in global temperature." The onus now lies on global collaboration and swift, decisive action.

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Spring/Summer 2023

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