fbpx

Why burning leaves in the winter is a bad idea

As winter falls, it brings a couple of environmental concerns. A common practice during this time is burning leaves. Since the percentage of precipitation is the lowest during winter, the weather tends to get drier throughout the season. The wind blows dust, fine particles and smoke from one area to another. And it contributes to air pollution.

Burning leaves may seem like an innocuous practice. But it not only causes air pollution, but also holds the potential to cause respiratory illness. It can even cause cancer with the dangerous particles present in the smoke.

Leaf burning: Health Hazard

Leaf burning is illegal & prohibited in most municipal areas. And there are specific guidelines from the Fire Department about leaf disposal. But unfortunately, open leaf-burning is a very common practice during winter in Dhaka. And almost nobody seems to care about it.

According to a paper published in the Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association 27 (6), 1977: leaf burning generates dangerously large quantities of carbon monoxide, particulates, and at least seven proven carcinogens. Another study concludes that open leaf burning under normal conditions represent a significant health hazard for people suffering from asthma.

In an ideal environment, leaves would fall on the ground and naturally decompose. Thus it would return the elements to nature in a safe manner. In contrast, the burning of leaves releases harmful gases. Not to mention the metals, organic acids, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and other harmful agents. 

Suffice to say that inhaling these chemical species will lead to breathing problems. Especially for those who are already suffering from respiratory complications. The problem of leaf-burning is more aggravated as people tend to burn other things in the process; more often plastics, polythene bags and household garbage. Burning of plastics can release dioxins which are “highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems and also damage the immune system.”

Air Pollution

About three weeks ago, Dhaka city ranked the worst in the world in terms of air quality. Even today, the US AQI value of Dhaka ranges within 120-250. To note, there are six levels of air quality; any score above 200 indicates air that is very unhealthy to breathe in.

Normally, sporadic leaf-burning does not cause any major issue. But when it is carried out on a regular basis in one geographic area, it can contribute to the release of air particles that exceed the air quality standard. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “…leaf and yard waste burning simultaneously in a particular locale can cause air pollution rivalling that from factories and motor vehicles.”

Such rampant burning of garbage, leaves and waste materials on the city roads is an extremely bad practice. And it has a direct impact on the elderly, children and immuno-compromised people. It is a practice that needs to stop immediately, both by the road-cleaners and also by the city-dwellers. There are easier ways to deal with this kind of waste.

Alternatives to burning leaves

Leaf as a biomaterial can be easily decomposed by the soil bacteria. And it can naturally improve soil quality. Instead of burning the leaves, this precious biomass material can be put into the ground by digging up a small space in the soil. And the resulting compost can actually work as a fertilizer. In many cities, City Corporation schedules a specific time to clean up and collect leaf and yard wastes. We can also adopt this system.

Whatever the case is, burning leaves in city areas is not a solution for waste disposal. Because it is hazardous and dangerous. We need to do a favour for our city by raising awareness among people about air pollution and stopping the bad practices as much as we can.

How technology can save our agriculture

Bangladesh has a long history of agriculture and farming has been an important part of us ever since our history. Even the Bengali Calendar itself was influenced by the solar agricultural cycle. Up to this day, the agriculture sector remains to be one of the most vital engines for our country’s economy.

In the FY2019-20 budget, the govt has allocated Tk 16,985 crore for the agriculture sector, which is about 7.6 per cent higher than the previous year. But, the plight of the farmers continues as the production cost goes higher and crop prices fall. 

Add to that is another major problem, climate change, which is going to give a fatal blow to our agriculture sector in the coming years if we are not prepared to tackle it.

With the government’s earnest effort to revamp the sector and increase the production rate to meet the country’s food demand as well as export the products to add revenue to our economy, the overall output from the sector is declining due to various factors. This is a serious concern for a country like ours which depends heavily on agriculture.

The solution

The solution lies in addressing the core problems and eliminating the barriers which are mostly tied to policymaking. Increasing the budget or providing loans and subsidies have proved to be futile attempts in the past to resolve the farmers’ distress.

The farmers are begging for a fair price for their crops as they are hardly managing to make a good profit in the end.

This is possible to solve if we can eliminate multiple layers of middlemen who intercede between the farmers and the end-customers, ultimately raising the product price multiple times as the number of middlemen grows.

A problem like this can be resolved by making use of modern network technology. The problems caused by climate change can also be greatly diminished by using advanced biotechnological solutions. As Bangladesh aims to become a developed country by the next 20 years, it is important to take the help of modern technology to implement the new effective solutions.

Electronic Trading Platform

A modern concept that is built upon the internet connectivity and aimed at making trade easier and fairer between the farmers and the buyers. An Electronic Trading Platform (ETP) can exist in Mobile Apps and it can help reduce the number of middlemen in the whole process.

A farmer can directly sell his crops to different buyers regardless of his location and all of the transaction histories will be recorded in the server; bringing the transaction data of the entire country under the close monitor of the higher authority who can impose a minimum price for each type of crop. The ETP will also ensure better market discovery and less reliance on the local middlemen who exploit the farmers. 

Agriculture sensors

Plants have different requirements for their growth, and the requirements vary from species to species. There are various useful sensors that record important data to be used for designing optimal growth conditions for plants. Sensors such as optical sensor, electrochemical sensor, a mechanical sensor, dielectric soil moisture sensor, airflow sensor etc. can provide data about soil quality, soil nutrient level, pH, air permeability, yield monitoring, weed mapping, salinity mapping and many more. Softwares can use this combined information for predictive analysis, helping farmers optimize the growth condition by applying fertilizer, irrigation or pesticides as necessary.

As the world is sleepwalking towards the climate catastrophe, the seasonal temperature and the weather will go through massive change. In order to save the crops and to expect high yield, farmers will need modern equipment and machinery to fight any possible crisis. 

Automation

According to the recent reports, farmers expressed their concern over the lack of availability of workers willing to work on the field. And the ones who are working are demanding high wages. This, in return, is raising the farmers’ overall expenditure for crop production. Automation can play a big role here by eliminating the need for the human workforce and thus reducing the production cost.

Although this may sound counter-intuitive for Bangladesh, the growing trend of leaving the rural areas and forsaking the farming practice among the villagers mean that automation is the only viable solution should we want to save the remaining farmers from going extinct. Developed countries have already moved to automation and are using self-driving tractors, harvesting robots, automated seeders and drones.

Drone has become a popular tool among the farmers as it can quickly identify problem zones in a field by multispectral image and infrared analysis. A drone can also be used for dusting fields, blowing waters or crop surveying.

Biotechnology

Agricultural Biotechnology or Agritech is part of the modern biotechnological solution where advanced genetic changes are worked on. Plants are modified at their genetic level so that they can resist pest, drought etc. and provide increased yield.

Techniques such as mutagenesis, RNA interference, transgenics, molecular breeding and many more are used to selectively modify a plant towards the desired characteristic; this in return makes the plant resistant to disease, insects and tolerant to temperature, herbicide. Agritech can also increase the nutritional content in crops and reduce the amount of toxicity in plants.

The Genetically Modified Organism or GMO plants are available for purchase and consumption in the United States under the safety testing and regulations of government agencies. Despite high concerns from various organizations, scientists have given green lights to various GMO foods as safe for consumption. So, farmers can use high-quality seeds, GMO plants as well as biofertilizers to increase the amount of crop yield in his field.

Vertical farming

The world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and about two-thirds will live in the cities. In the absence of speedy transportation service, the cities will suffer from the imbalance of fresh food supply versus food demand. Vertical farming is a fairly modern concept that intends to grow massive amounts of foods inside the concrete buildings.

Automation and software technology carefully control the amount of LED light, airflow and nutrients fed to the plants that ultimately produce premium grade foods without requiring any type of sunlight, soil, fertilizers or pesticide.

Vertical farming also ensures that farming can run without a scratch regardless of seasonal weather pattern. As growth conditions are highly optimized and the yield is greatly enhanced, foods are ready to be sold as per customer’s demand in 24/7.

Tired of Windows and Mac OS? Switch to Elementary OS!

Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful and clean-looking operating systems available for use in computers. It is fast, open and privacy-oriented. Elementary has its characteristic design philosophy and made aesthetic use of colours. Over the years, this free-to-use operating system has collected heavy praise by reviewers around the world – making it a strong replacement option for both Windows and Mac users.

The initial development of ElementaryOS started with building themes and applications for Ubuntu, which later inspired the developers to transform it into a full-fledged Linux distribution. The first release of the operating system was on 31 March 2011, and so far, it has been through continuous bugfix and major feature updates. 

The Elementary OS took shape with the concept of making Linux easier for non-technical users. Instead of terminal-based codes, elementary provides a graphical user interface and settings menus to allow users to perform almost all day-to-day tasks without writing any code. 

Features of Elementary OS:

1. Fast and lightweight

Compared to Windows, macOS and many other Linux distros, Elementary OS is really faster. It boots the system quickly and uses very fewer resources to run the programs. Apps are lightning quick to open and they remember where you left off. Low system requirement means that the old lower-end desktops or laptops can be of use again.

2. Stunning simplicity

Elementary is one of the most beautiful operating systems ever to date. It’s clean, crisp and simple. It is bloatware-free but packs only the most important apps necessary for daily use. Elementary is based on pantheon desktop environment that follows a very minimalistic elegant design. It is arguable that the macOS design inspired parts of the system; but with each update, Elementary is emerging with its unique style. 

The typography, icon design, sound, colour use or the system animations, the new Elementary OS v5 is packed with new features and improved performance. Like any other Linux distro, one can further customize the operating system, but for the regular users, the built-in desktop environment already offers an aesthetically pleasing user interface.

3. Free

Elementary OS is an open-source project and hence, one can choose to use it for free. The developers call it the Pay-What-You-Want method. You can pay whatever amount you want to support the developers. You can even type ‘zero’ dollar and download the OS right away. However, it is an open-source project. And it is difficult for the developers to sustain high-quality development for long without support from its fan-base. So, we strongly recommend lending a hand of support to the Elementary team.

4. App centre

Elementary houses an App Center where you can download both free and paid apps. The App Center is an open, pay-what-you-want app store for indie developers. Unlike traditional app stores, the elementary team has reviewed and curated each app in the Elementary App Center; which ensures a native, privacy-respecting, and secure experience.

5. Regular Updates

Users receive regular bugfix updates and scheduled major upgrades. Since Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions; elementary obtains the necessary source codes from Ubuntu and works on further improving the features. So far, five major versions of elementary have been released: Jupiter, Luna, Freya, Loki and Juno.

6. Safe and secure: Forget antivirus

The developers at Elementary Inc. list privacy, safety and security as one of their top priorities. The Elementary OS is built on GNU/Linux, which is one of the most secure systems in the world. Because Virus and Malware are almost alien to the Linux system. It is the same software technology that powers the U.S Department of Defense, the Bank of China, and many more.

Should you switch to Elementary?

Bored with Windows or macOS and want to have a new experience ElementaryOS (eOS) is a very good replacement option. The eOS is built for simplicity and smooth user experience. Users who want a focused desktop environment for productivity will enjoy the clean and crisp look. If you are someone who loves to do a lot of coding & programming; and are searching for a Linux distro that isn’t awful looking, ElementrayOS is the answer. 

Zanvent Stream: The first-ever Bangladeshi game streaming platform

With the gaming devices getting cheaper and readily available, there are a greater number of gamers than ever before. Thanks to the affordable internet, gamers around the world now not only play their games but also can share the gameplay with others via live streaming. Game streaming became a popular practice since 2013 when Twitch had started introducing “live-streaming” as an exoteric pastime for millions of visitors, and an active earning source for the streamers.

Read more: Google launching game streaming service “Stadia”

Story of Zanvent

Zanvent, a small company based in Dhaka, created the first-ever Bangladeshi game streaming platform to allow gamers to stream their gameplay. Like any other streaming service, you can download a broadcasting software, enter your Zanvent stream server & stream-key to start streaming your game.

With my personal experience, Zanvent’s streaming service was very stable and fairly easy to interact with. On top of that, you can also join the Zanvent’s Discord community to chat, talk and share your ideas with the Zanvent users. 

While watching the stream, users can interact via Live Chat; they can also donate money to encourage the streamers. For now, the streaming community is small and Zanvent is calling out for new streamers to make the platform buzzy.

Read more: It’s the Netflix for games. Meet, Apple arcade

The local prospect

The prospects of a local game-streaming service are huge, considering the fact that there is a steep rise on the number of gamers in Bangladesh. The introduction of mobile gaming also made gaming to be available at a reasonably inexpensive price. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is a classic example of such success of mobile gaming platform.  While there are already established streaming services such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming or Mixer by Microsoft, Zanvent still holds tremendous opportunity, especially for the local Bangladeshi gamers who can enjoy the BDIX server speed. This also holds scope for gamers to form a larger community based on gaming and share their ideas, skills and experiences.

Stay tuned to HiFi Public for more exciting news. Follow us on Facebook for regular updates. You can also write to us with your stories, contributions and suggestions at [email protected]

Rumour has it, Apple is testing its AR Glasses

Ever wondered what it would be like to wear a pair of glasses and give instruction to your AR assistant just like the way Tony Stark gives commands to Jarvis in Iron Man movies? Well, your dream might be coming true because Apple has been working on Augmented Reality glasses for real. And according to recent reports, the codes found in the iOS 13 beta gives hints about Apple already testing its AR device.

In the internal build for iOS 13, there are options for stereoscopic AR apps that can only be used using some sorts of headsets or glasses. The programming codes also point to the development of augmented reality (AR) device, “Garta,” a prototype under Apple’s T288 project.

The hype about the AR glasses got real when Apple started making a team of 100+ people skilled at building virtual reality and AR headsets. Apple then hijacked Nick Thompson who was an engineer for Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset, and Mike Rockwell who was the head of engineering at Dolby Labs. Apple also purchased companies like Metaio, Flyby Media, Akonia Holographics to bolster its AR department.

“THERE ARE CERTAIN IDEAS THAT WE HAVE AND WE ARE WAITING FOR THE TECHNOLOGY TO CATCH UP WITH THE IDEA.”

– APPLE’S FORMER DESIGN CHIEF JONY IVE

If the rumours are true, the operating system for AR glass/headset will be called ‘rOS‘ for ‘reality operating-system’. Or, Apple might entirely ditch the idea of building a separate headset and use the processing engine of the iPhone to power-up the AR glass, as noted by Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-known Apple analyst.

The AR glasses, when they arrive, will revolutionize the way we use technology. It has the potential to change the way we use maps, the way we do photography and gaming or simply the way we interact with the objects around us. It could also technically improve the eye-sight and be a great device for those in need for better accessibility features such as hearing, physical and motor skills, and educational settings.

There are excitements and high hopes about Apple AR glasses and they can even hit the market by 2020, thus potentially putting Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens in direct competition. Whatever the case is, it’s a straight win for the customers.

Stay tuned to HiFi Public for more exciting news on Apple products.

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

In its annual developer conference, Huawei finally unveiled its long-awaited operating system, HarmonyOS, that was secretly under development for years. This new operating system is said to be much faster and smoother than its rival, Android.

In the wake of the recent US trade ban on China, and the subsequent suspension of Huawei’s license by Google, the Chinese company was forced to think of a “Plan B”. Although Huawei had been building the operating system in secrecy to bind their devices into one unified “ecosystem”, the development of the OS only escalated after Huawei temporarily lost the rights to use Google’s Android.

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

HarmonyOS is built with the concept of “connectivity” and “compatibility” where every device is connected within an ecosystem. To achieve such a level of compatibility, it was necessary to build an operating system that would provide room for developers to build apps and port them for different types of devices without rebuilding them from scratch. Here are a few important highlights from Huawei’s presentation.

Read more: Huawei: Enemy of the US?

Internet of Things

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

HarmonyOS features microkernel, same as Google Fuchsia OS, but only does it better than Google in terms of current progress. The first device to use HarmonyOS is Honor Vision TV that was launched on August 10, indicating Huawei’s attempt to decrease its reliance on Google’s Android.

In China, HarmonyOS will be called HongMeng OS and will gradually show up in various smart devices by 2020.

According to Huawei’s senior vice president Catherine Chen, HarmonyOS is an embedded operating system designed for Internet of things (IoT) hardware.

That means the primary goal of this operating system is to allow extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. 

As part of the IoT program, HarmonyOS will be compatible with Smartphones as well. Richard Yu, the company’s Consumer Business Group CEO states that it can migrate to HarmonyOS from Android at any time due to the nature & flexibility of the microkernel. However, the Chinese company decided to stick to Android for now owing to its commitments to Google.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ arrives in Bangladesh

Security & Android apps compatibility

In future, HarmonyOS will support Android apps. For that, developers will need to use Huawei made IDE that supports C/C++, Java, and Kotlin to convert android apps and make them compatible for HarmonyOS. It is seemingly an easier process due to the flexibility offered by the new OS. Interestingly, HarmonyOS won’t support root access because of security risks.

Harmony OS will be available in smartphones, smart speakers, computers, smartwatches, wireless earbuds, cars, and tablets. The developers can create one version of their apps and then use them across a range of different devices.

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

“We needed an OS that supports all scenarios, that can be used across a broad range of devices and platforms, and that can meet consumer demand for low latency and strong security,”

Unlike Android that uses Linux’s kernel, Harmony OS uses a “deterministic latency engine” that improves latency and latency fluctuation by 25.7% and 55.6 respectively. Moreover, Huawei claims that the microkernel can make “IPC [Inter Process Communication] performance up to five times more efficient than existing systems.”

Open-source

Huawei will be open-sourcing the HarmonyOS which means that the source code of the operating system will be available to the developers for further manipulation and anybody can use it to create compatible devices. The version 2.0 of HarmonyOS will be released in the next year and version 3.0 will be available by 2021. 

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

Huawei claims that Harmony is an entirely different operating system than Android or iOS. That is because it enables AI capability in different forms from computers, tablets and other domains. For now, Huawei aims at focusing on the development of Harmony OS only in China. However, with future plans to expand globally.

Can it replace Android?

Harmony OS: Huawei’s response to Android

The biggest hurdle in outcompeting an existing successful operating system is to convince the developers to start building for the new platform. Over the years, Microsoft, Samsung, Blackberry, Firefox, Jolla failed to persuade the developers to make apps for Windows Phone, TizenOS, FirefoxOS, SailfishOS respectively.

No matter how feature-rich or faster the operating system is, without the proper support from the developer’s community, a new operating system can’t displace Android. This is exactly the reason why Huawei still chooses to stick to Google’s Android and keeps HarmonyOS as their plan B for smartphones. But, the Chinese smartphone giant vows to continue developing the OS and make it available in various smart devices in the near future.

Read more: Google Maps adds new features for Bangladeshi roads including a biker mode, safety feature and more