In which trupz talks about lies, rumors, fake news and what you can do about it

, , ,

A famous quote goes, “A lie can travel around the world, while the truth is still wearing its shoes!” This quote has such major relevance in today’s time, especially when we have the means to share fake news or (mis)information so easily. If you are one of those people who believe that you never participate in spreading rumors, then you are absolutely wrong. All of us at some point in out lives have done this, may be not intentionally but we have. The fact remains that everyone spreads rumors, now whether it is some sizzling office gossip or a WhatsApp message for a sick child that says if you share the message some company will pay for the treatment, that can be situational!

Have you ever wondered how rumors spread? Rumors have some characteristics, that make them interesting and people get excited about them which why they spread so fast.

2 important characteristics of a rumor

1. A rumor should be informative:

A rumor is usually about something recent that people are interested in. so, if you are able to add more information to what is already true, you’ve just added that desired cherry on the cake.

2. A rumor cannot be verified

This is extremely important, because if the source of the rumor can be verified then point 1 automatically gets nullified. This makes it necessary for whatever (mis)information to have no source to trace it back to.

Now that we have these 2 points clear, lets look at why rumors spread?

4 reasons why rumors spread:

1. Uncertainty:

The explosion of information in the internet age, circular reporting, almost makes it impossible for people to know whether they know everything. Since people find the same information from all the common and well known sources, at times they are intentionally seeking an alternate view which satisfies their uncertainty.

2. Anxiety:

Uncertainty often leads to anxiety. Since we are looking for answers to come to us faster than the speed of light, there is a raging eagerness to know everything right now. People dont have the patience to wait for the right answer, they just need some answer now.

3. Negativity:

Have you ever heard of a positive rumor? A rumor that has been started for the benefit of people? I still haven’t found any such attempt. The intent of widespread of (mis)information or rumors is usually a negative one. They are used for sensationalism, creating a divide with a potential risk of playing with emotional psyche or sentiments of people often religiously motivated these days.

4. Sharing important (mis)information improves social status:

Lets not kid ourselves, we are all vying for those likes, retweets and comments on social media. However, at times we do fail to realize in that bargain of achieving social stardom, you are participating in falsehood of some kind. People do go to extreme length to achieve a social status.

As children, most of us have played the game of “Chinese whispers” and had a good laugh at the end of it. If you have to digest the above points more subtly then let me tell you spreading rumors is nothing different from playing Chinese whispers. Till the time this was all talk it seemed pretty harmless. People would talk behind others peoples backs and everything would seem quiet and hush-hush. The advent of the Internet and social media has now provided a means that now people can read, see and share everything they see and read. The rumor or (mis)information has escalated to the stature of “Fake news” and spreads like wildfire.

5 fake news messages I received on WhatsApp:

1. Indian national anthem declared the best in the world by UNESCO

TRUTH: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/unesco-india-national-anthem/

2. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared best PM by UNESCO (again)

TRUTH: https://www.hoaxorfact.com/politics/unesco-declared-modi-best-prime-minister.html

3. New notes of Rs. 2000/- have nano chips inside them which will enable tracking them!

TRUTH: https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/nope-rs-2000-note-does-not-have-a-gps-nano-chip-inside-it/

4. WhatsApp to start charging you money to send messages

TRUTH: https://faq.whatsapp.com/en/android/28030005/

5. Rare photograph of India Prime Minister as a sweeper

TRUTH: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/01/21/modi-photoshopped_n_9035576.html

These very popular but false WhatsApp forwards satisfy all the criteria that define a rumor as well the reasons why rumors spread. As long as these Chinese whispers were non verifiable it was fine, but the good part about the Internet is that there are now websites which help identify fake news. More mainstream news websites are joining in to contain the situation and inform the people that these are fake news, just Google any of the above 5 and you can see the result for yourself.

In India, in the last couple of years there have been incidents which were incited due to such rumors or fake news. People lost lives. Angry mobs of people took law and order in their hands. This is not good for any city. state or country. Fake news must be contained. People need to educate themselves and those around them. But the question remains, how do you spot fake news? Here is a very helpful infographic by IFLA that teaches some basic fundamentals of how you can verify news as true or fake

Source: https://www.ifla.org/

There are no dedicated sites for India that help identify fake news, so here’s a video by Dhruv Rathee that explains how to spot fake news in India

Few steps you can follow before sharing any message you received on social media

  1. Don’t believe everything on social media, Facebook and WhatsApp will not ask you to forward or share anything
  2. Just Google IT: There is sufficient evidence if the news is true or fake, you can tell mostly from the 1st page results if you search some of the key terms of the message.
  3. Check the source. Is the source creditable? If you have doubts simply don’t share or forward
  4. Is the news helpful or positive? Or will it cause more sensationalism? Is it playing on your emotions? This is upon your logical reasoning where you can decide what you do next
  5. Use social media responsibly: Evelyn Hall has said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” It is not necessary for everyone to agree on a subject but it is important for everyone to be tolerant of others opinions, beliefs and sentiments.
  6. Educate yourselves and those around you about spreading, sharing anything without verifying the authenticity.

Do share if you have any more instances when you received fake news on email or WhatsApp in the comments.

Some popular websites that bust fake news worldwide:

  1. Hoax Slayer – https://hoax-slayer.com/
  2. Snopes: https://www.snopes.com/
  3. Hoax Fact: https://www.hoaxorfact.com
  4. Urban Legend: http://urbanlegendsonline.com/

In which Trupz says Simple is the new expensive

, , , ,

Have you wandered out shopping for some simple clothes, a plain white shirt for example. Typical bold, white formal shirt, easy you say – believe me this last experience made me realise, what a rarity simple clothing has become today’s retail world. Unless of course it comes with a huge brand name, and is part of their supreme luxury line and of course costs a bomb – its not in everyone’s reach to be able to wear a simple white shirt. This chain of though started with recent encounter, we ventured out to actually purchase a white shirt. AD knew what he wanted, so it was a targeted search which lead us to a secluded unmanned corner – almost like the “where no man has gone before” sort of a feeling was hard to resist in the monstrosities that have become MALLS.

There are a few simple things which we need to be aware of, but whether its the inherent laziness, or fact that rampant consumerism makes everything so easily available that we do not stop to think about its implications. A visit last year to the TEDxPune event lead to one more astounding realisation. In a talk presented by Dr. Rajendra Singh – the Jal Purush of India, he said that none of rivers in India any more contain potable water. So you cannot just put your hands down in a stream and slurp the water without risking disease. In cities thus we see the onset of “packaged drinking water”, “mineral water”, “spring water” at a premium price of Rs15 – Rs60 to purchase a litre of these. On our planet which is 65% of aqua, there is not enough clean water for the people but we have more than enough production of bottled water (please  excuse for not sighting exact figures as they are depressing).  Water, basic need of anything living for its survival, simple yet it comes at a price.

Making everything ecofriendly is faux pas. Eco –> Ecological but not necessarily Economical. We have a come a long way from owning CRT television sets, to LCD’s and plasmas and more recently LED TV’s. Leading television manufacturers promoting their newest and ecofriendly TV technology which of course comes for a not so friendly price.  The case is not very different for automobiles too. Although there is a huge uproar when the prices of fuel soaring, there is very little to say about how that has affected manufacture of cars and 2 wheelers. As much as we see the need to hour being cars running on alternative forms of fuel, emitting lesser and lesser pollutants – these ecofriendly vehicles are a premium segment – hybrid and electric cars are out of reach for most people and no match in mileage department as compared to regular vehicles. Its a simple thing to care for your environment, but to be this good Samaritan you have to be able to afford luxury of being one.

The Sun is the source of energy for all life to exist on planet Earth. Its not owned by anyone and its been around for millions and millions of years, yet we are far away from intelligently reusing this this resource. Its a harsh truth that there are very few solar power options, and even if there are most are commercially non viable and expensive for common people to afford. Solar heater, power back ups, portable batteries are all simple yet expensive options for alternate energy sources.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise – this was simple principle most of our ancestors lived by. Back in the day when their exercise included drawing water from wells, carrying it over miles to their homes, or lugging the cattles, ploughing fields, walking for miles almost like a cross country event, where trekking mountains for them was almost everyday affair rather than a monsoon extravaganza as it has become now. Its simple, health first – everything else will follow. Yet how far away we are from understanding this simple truth. We have to pay lacs to gymnasiums and dietitians to help maintain your health and fitness. In a country where larger population lives below poverty line and cannot afford two square meals in a day, an almost equivalent number of people pay staggering amounts of money to almost buy their own health.

Fat laden, high carb, high sugar fancy foods are sold has happy meals at discounted rates, but when you actually want to buy something healthy you have count a price for that. घरगुती जेवण or खानावळ , where you would actually be served home cooked simple food, you remember the picture they put in science books for Balanced Diet that’s what a plate would look like, but why would anyone want to eat home cooked and healthy food outside. Since lure of hotel food is always something that you would not get at home. The flipside of this situation is fancy sandwiches and salads that get sold at exorbitant prices, they are easily something one can make at home and at less then half its price, but then again the fact that things are available without one having to do much which is why it sells and which is why we believe. Its a simple thing, eat when you are hungry, but to learn to be smart about eating is an art for which there is a price to pay, either one has to learn to combat the temptations or you have to cross over to the dark side to realize this on road to recovery. How much is too much is a personal choice after all.

While we are on subject of health, beauty is not that far from it. Beauty is in eye of the beholder – really, so when you see yourself in the mirror, how many feel the same. Is there not a gratifying need to be appreciated more by others than by self. Don’t  we all swear by well constructed and guaranteed beauty treatments and plethora of beauty products owned. And how many of these brands and products have to be tried and tested to finally convince oneself of looking beautiful and pretty. Well it would be fair to say that “Fair is the new beautiful” so achieve varying degrees of guaranteed  fairness in 7 days and then what happens on the 8th day, you go back to your original color? How many of us pay careful attention to the “*” marked in the corner which actually contains the useful information. Its a simple thing to look beautiful but real ask is how many of us can achieve this without layers of expensive make up and by not depending on external products to give you inner confidence.

Its so simple to be happy, but it is so difficult to be simple – an age old saying  which holds true even today. In trying to make this difficult easy we pay the price at the expense of our time, at the risk of our health, adversely affecting our environment and to some extent compromising the quality of life. I agree all good things do come for a price, but what price are you willing to pay is a personal choice.

In which Team India at Commonwealth Games

, ,

There has been enough written, enough read, enough said and more than enough shown about the Commonwealth Games to held in Delhi, October 2010. They have thrown out numbers that went into the brining to life of this mega event which has taken 7 years of planning and yet till 7 days before the games are to commence, tasks are incomplete, and every sense of IST – Indian Sluggish Time, things have been delayed. The media has raped the organisers to  their bare minimal, the social enthusiasts have linguified and coined various other abbreviated meaning for “CWG” – like “Corruption Wala Games” or “Crore Wala Games”, television and twitter timelines are widely spread covering incidents of stray dogs, poo in beds and beetel nut aided modern art all around the games vicinity. A record number of times Suresh Kalmadi, Olympic/ Organising Committe, Games Committee and 76,000 crores must have flashed across television channels. The Games which were touted to be India Shining contenders, in the last 2 months have been knighted as India Shaming winners. There probably is not another scam uncovered so vividly by the (morally correct, politically questioned) Indian media, like they have unraveled the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

But while all this is happening, buck is passed on, conspiracies are blamed on, where we question the ability of Indians to organise International events, there are those who in the wings go on with their tasks, continue with the practice, still pursue their dreams and hope to win medals and make their country proud;the Indian athletes and sports persons who will be representing India. Spend a few minutes to get to know them, see their faces because amongst all that we have seen on television this is something we may never find out. While there are those administrative authorities who were responsible to put up infrastructure to host games who are hogging all the limelight now, these are the people responsible for winning us accolades and medals. Under the debris of the colossal mess that CWG has turned up today, let us not forget these sporting men and women who will bear the Indian flag .

TEAM INDIA AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES,DELHI ’10

As a citizen, I am disappointed. I am disappointed at the manner in which media has dealt and portrayed the inconsistencies of the Commonwealth Games. I am disappointed at OC because of the slack job they have done. I am upset that our own athletes did not get the edge of using world class facilities long enough to prepare for the this meet. I am disappointed at the politicians who have made this whole issue a political one with the blame game and mud slinging that went on. I am disappointed that the PM could not do the necessary and get situation under control much earlier, and for the fact that members of his cabinet are under performers. I am disappointed that the mishap of the bridge cost lives and safety measures are taken for granted, when it comes to unskilled laborers. I am disappointed that we have given the world another opportunity to be critical of our country and I am disappointed that in the light of current events we fail to see the bigger picture.

In India we always complain about people in power not having foresight and doing things for the moment. So we laud the advertisements of TOI where road is dug, filled, dug up again that mocks the public administration. But when world class construction that will last us decades,  sports facilities of international standards that may sometime in the future nurture an Olympian for India are being built, we need to be patient. The benefits of all infrastructure that is being put up in place may not be a very obvious immediately, but we have to give up the habit of being over critical and hasty in forming opinions. I say give it a chance. I dont defend the errs that have happened, but I sure do hope that someone is taking a good stock of this and compiling an amendment of things not to do in some constitutional document.

I was surprised when seasoned news anchors ask questions like “Do you think the games will be successful?”. How can anyone predict an answer for that, what are the measures one considers to judge the success and failure? The village opened in time, and no dog poo or snake was found, and the caterers were able to serve International cuisine food to guests – will that make games successful, whether Rahman’s composition for Commonwealth  games is as good as “Waka Waka” or “Freedom” song of the Fifa World cup or the performances of Indian athletes? As citizens, we too are part of Team India. We cannot simply be bystanders and judges of whether the Games are successful or not, but we have to be actively involved and be responsible for shaping the guaranteed success. Events such as this also intend to bring the country together, to buck up the athletes and cheer them, but sadly what we are focusing on at the moment are on things that have already gone wrong and little can be done to mend them. We need to see beyond these shortfalls. What we can see now, are only grim pictures of an opportunity gone sour for India, but as a sports enthusiast I sincerely hope that these pictures are soon replaced by some glorious sporting moments and some record breaking feats by Indian athletes. These should be the real reason why the Commonwealth games 2010 are remembered, and they must lay a foundation for a huge leap ahead in Indian sports, and our efforts should be channeled in that direction.

Chak De India!!

** photographs are only of some members of the Indian squad at Commonwealth Games 2010, Will post a link to names of entire squad as soon as announced by authorities

In which trupz saysWalk On,Mumbai!

, ,

And if the darkness is to keep us apart And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off And if your glass heart should crack And for a second you turn back Oh no, be strong Walk on, Walk on What you got, they can’t steal it No they can’t even feel it […]

In which trupz writes Father, let my country awake …

, ,

Where the mind is without fear and the head held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost […]