Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Beauty of Maths

No words will express the immense possibilities of the use of Maths in every day life. Even those suffering from discalculia will acknowledge the fact that they are using Maths in almost everything although, perhaps at a subconscious level. A teacher I was talking to said that the ability to appreciate the beauty of nature lies in the ability to make connections. This is a pictorial tribute to all the teachers and the students who put up exhibits and games, and handled groups of inquisitive visitors who were full of questions.

Even a game akin to snakes and ladders involves addition of numbers - an example of maths used in everyday life.

The ability to visualise  3-D shapes and the ability to visualise permutations and combinations can help you even form shapes with a Rubik Snake!

The beauty of the Wheel of Theodorus lies in its mathematical accuracy! Surprisingly, Mathematics draws inspiration from Nature and Nature gains inspiration from Mathematics. Could this perfection in Nature and Mathematics points out towards Divine Providence surely?

That day I could see Mathematics everywhere! The angles were evident in the stacks of chairs. The angles formed by the supports and legs of the chair formed a perfectly geometrical pattern.

I guess there was some Maths in these miniature animals, in any case they were part of a mathematical game that involved numbers and calculated moves. A large number of board games involve some kind of calculation besides counting the number of moves. Chess is an example of the ability to calculate the number of moves that would help the player reach a check-mate!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Teams that cook together stick together!

It  so happened that as the concluding event of the STEM week, a cookery competition was planned. I was asked if I could pitch in as one of the two contestants representing the English team for the cookery competition in school, The request took me by surprise because I have never participated in a cooking competition, ever, and this was rather surprising. I tried to wriggle out with good grace, only to be roped in again by Srija, a colleague of mine. Even as I thought about another excuse to save my skin,  the idea of making Italian pasta came into my mind. Thinking about the pasta I said to her, 'OK, let's make Pasta.'She agreed and asked me to send her a list of  ingredients which I sent. I continued to be a little apprehensive about the final product, but then my fears turned out to be wrong in the end. Srija and Avreen shopped all evening before the even and got some of the best Pasta available, and the cheese too!

My fears about the pasta were unfounded as, after the others tasted it, they said that it was good. The ingredients included  broccoli, yellow and red capsicum,sweet corn, and of course the pasta sauce was made in house. We added layers of cheese and a bit of soy sauce too. The idea of cooking as a team was a fun idea, it helped create a break in the routine and was a wonderful stress-buster for the day!

'Is it done yet?' The toothpick is an ideal tool to check whether the cake is done or not. Taking the cake out too early will create problems.

A selfie moment: of course how could we forget the selfie in the midst of all that cooking! We are all conscious of ourselves and sure we can not afford to miss even a single moment of our lives. So selfie it was!

Ah, the perfect taste! The Katories were exceptional, as affirmed by our food critic and taster!

All smiles on a job well done! Srija had sourced all the ingredients for the Italian Pasta!

So what if the pan was empty, scraping the pan would help in any case. The pan is proof of the consumption of the food!

What happens when the Science team clubs with the French language team and the IT team is a virtual dish that needs to be tasted!

Stringing each bit carefully, a piece of olive, a square of cheese, and a nugget of Pineapple required a precision that could not afford any distraction!

The happiness is written large on the faces of the tasters! The joy of eating good and nutritious food is best understood by the stalwarts of the kitchen.

People who make good food appreciate the efforts of contestants who make exotic dishes once in a blue moon!

Would I say more? The piping hot samosas accompanied with the choley were simply irresistible. I stole one samosa and was forced to share parts of it!

It works out fine if the tasters are all smiles! The smiles are an indication of the success of the event. Good food will always bring smiles to faces, and I am sure you will agree!

Great food is the result of team work, coordination, and careful planning!

I couldn't help stealing one of the hot samosas, and in the process had to blow out the steam! Got caught though!

Carefully measured proportions!

Piping and steaming hot samosas, straight out of the pan!

This was a unique starter or snack! The combinations of an olive, a chunk of cheese and a slice of Pineapple was simply amazing!

A healthy spread, a veritable feast post production.

Can I have some more?

Bonding over a helping of foie gras!

So, we really did it, didn't we?

The cake was simply amazing. Had to take a second helping!

The food and the spirit with which it was made says it all! The cooks are amazing people who are not only excellent educationists but also exceptional human beings with the right dose of humour. The ability to come up with excellent ideas for excellent dishes is a tribute to their creativity and experiential abilities!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Managers might not be Leaders! This will make you question the very idea of leadership!

Managers can't be leaders for the very fact that they are tied to processes, and processes are the dry and repetitive patterns of boxed up thought processes that curb creativity and divergent thinking! If Martin Luther King had a dream, then it was about the unexpected emancipation of the African Americans who were living in America. Who would have dreamt that African Americans would one share equal rights with their white counterparts? On the Indian sub continent, no one would have imagined that non violence and civil disobedience would triumph in Champaran!
The fact is that today all of us are slaves to processes and none of us dare to go beyond them. It takes a lot of courage to break free form the processes, rules and regulations set before us by our predecessors. In many ways, we procrastinate and are lazy when we follow processes. We don't want to be the change, nor are we ready to stick our heads out for fear of being on the receiving end!What marks leaders apart from managers is that they have the sheer courage to look beyond processes, accepted trends and popular beliefs. This is exactly what Gandhi did when he decided to experiment with non-cooperation, satyagraha and non-violence in Champaran. What mattered was that Gandhi succeeded brilliantly, and he was able to teach the peasants of Motihari a lesson in courage. 
What marks managers apart from leaders is the fact that the latter are able to think out of the box, while the former can only work within a tight framework of constraining rules and regulations. Great leaders  are visionaries and dreamers who are able to think about solutions that go beyond processes. They are people who can inspire dreams that fuel hope. Gandhi was able to encourage the peasants of Motihari to dream of a world where they had rights, a world where they had champions to fight for them a world where no one could order them about.
When it became clear that there were very strong chances that Gandhi would have to go to jail in Motihari, the lawyers who were supporting him thought about returning to their work in their hometowns. I very strongly believe that the lawyers who supported Gandhi were more of managers than visionaries. They told Gandhi during the Champaran episode that if he went to jail, they would return to their practices. Gandhi like a true leader did not argue with them, rather he asked them one question, and that was pertaining to what would happen to the share croppers in his absence and their absence.
The fact is that strong leaders will combine vision and dream with an awareness of processes that drive accomplishment. Gandhi as such kept a constant link (while he was in Champaran) with his ashram in Gujarat, and he told his people to dig new trenches for the toilets much before the old ones were filled to their capacity. Nelson Mandela had a vision for South Africa which was based on equality between the white settlers and the native Africans. He dared to dream big and it was about a South Africa. Talking about dreams reminds one about the Emancipation speech that was delivered by Martin Luther King (junior)  on the 28th of August, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. in which he referred to a 'dream' a vision that he had for African Americans:

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

This brings me back to the question about what constitutes a Manager if he or she is not a leader then? The word, 'Manager' is a very general and vague term. The Merriam Webster Dictionary lists, 'administrant, administrator, director, executive, superintendent, supervisor' as synonyms for the word Manager. The legal definition of Manager, according to the dictionary is, 'a person who manages a business or organisation.'So in an organisation, the person who looks after the estate and property is the 'Estate Manager', and his duties might include the repair of furniture, purchase of computer peripherals, overseeing security, and security related issues and so on. The confusion between the role of the Manager and the role of the Principal becomes confusing when one switches from one school to another. In a Government Aided schools in India, the Manager is the appointing authority, while in Diocesan schools in India, the Chairman of the group of schools is the appointing and dismissing authority. The role and position of a Manager in a Government Aided school is higher than that of the Principal whereas the position of a Manager in a Diocesan school might be lower than that of the Principal. The question then is that does the power of appointing and dismissing personnel from the organisation make the Manager a leader? Does the Manager's ability to sanction funds, or for that effect, make purchases for the organisation make him a leader? I guess the answer to both the questions would surely be in the negative. The executive role of the Manager simply does not  allow for leadership roles of sharing dreams or visions! A Manager cannot afford to be a dreamer lest he should make serious mistakes in the income and expenditure accounts of the organisation.
In the Corporate sector too, the term, 'Manager,' is a much bandied term, and in many cases a more sugarcoated term for 'Executive,' a pen-pusher who handles the back office for boys and girls who are away in the field. The Manager in such firms might even be a contact person for a floating population of executives who rarely meet or come together at the same time.These roles however doesn't take away from efficient Managers their exceptional abilities in handling accounts and yet be kind and helpful in nature. In some cases their strictness and meticulous nature have helped craft 'go getters,' and 'dynamic' professionals who have risen high up in the corporate ladder. Managers who are forced into leadership roles will however rarely be able to lead a team, unless, of course they have the talent and skills to take up such a role. The manager of a DSA that handles credit cards has to be a tough task master; he or she might be forced to drive sales and this might be possible through an arsenal of tough words, harsh reprimands, and the weekend appraisal meetings which leave the poor executive smarting with shame!The choicest of invectives, and harsh reprimands might drive sales in the short run, but the long term impact is that you lose valuable personnel through unacceptable high rates of attrition. 
This article is however not intended to disparage the importance of Managership, which in many cases are indispensable. A lot of good managers are doing yeoman service and they have stepped into leadership positions in the interim during times of difficult.The roles of Managers and Leaders are however different.Many will agree that this is because while the manager has a steadying effect the leader has a disruptive influence. Leadership is about leading the team for a long period of time, it is about bringing about intrinsic motivation in the team. Leadership is about making each team member gladly align his or her goals and ambitions with those of the organisation. Leadership however takes over from Managership, and although both appear to be poles apart, they are however strongly interdependent!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Orbeez balls and Crazy Balls - Fun with Abstract Photography

Equipment needed: Tripod, DSLR Camera with a Macro lens. Bowl containing water absorbant round gell Orbeez balls, small rubber colourful ping-pong crazy balls. Use ambient light instead of a flash. You may use a long shutter speed, and in order to prevent camera shake, it is advisable to use a remote switch.

Photograph of Orbeez balls that have been taken out water and piled up in a glass bowl. This is a top view.

These Orbeez balls have been photographed while partially submerged in water. See how their colour is diffused by the water.

The above two shots provide  a slightly lateral view of the Orbeez balls that have been piled up in a glass bowl from which the water has been drained out.

This is a snap of a collection of Crazy balls. I played with the contrast and the lighting options post the photograph to produce this seemingly three dimensional effect. I love taking snaps using an aperture of 5.6 or near about because of the shallow depth of field offered.

This is a snap of the same crazy balls, I played with the contrast and shadow control on the laptop to create this effect.

This what the Crazy balls look without any editing.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Are you suffering from the imposter syndrome?

Have you felt as if you were a tomato stuck in a sea of grapes acting as a banana and not liking it because you know you are an imposter trying to act like someone else! In many cases you might have been forced into a role that you knew deep in your heart you would not be able to sustain for long but then are being compelled by peers and the society to maintain the pretence for a much longer period. What if you acheived success in this imposter's role, would that success have translated into joy  or happiness in your heart? Do you feel you are not a good writer, and yet are forced to churn written matter of exceptional quality every week? Does the depression and a sense of hopelessness affect the quality of work you do everyday? If the answer to all these questions is a,'No' then surely you are suffering from the 'Imposter Syndrome!'
Strangely enough, I came across the term, 'Imposter Syndrome' in a completely different context while reading Neil Patel's article on creating amazing content on blogs and websites. -1 Neil Patel writes about how, the Imposter syndrome pertains to a sense of failure in the face of success. He goes on to describe how 'Imposters suffer from self doubt and an intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.' 
While Neil was no doubt writing to encourage website developers to develop amazing content even when they felt themselves to be 'Industry Imposters', I couldn't help linking his observations to what happens in classrooms all over the world. The student who becomes a Know It All, just because he happened to answer a few questions that the teacher had asked in class and nobody knew the answers to might be asked to answer questions all the time. The poor fellow is forced to play the role of the class genius even though he is just an average student, also because he has weak eyes and wears specs.Other students think he is smart and they force him to live a lie, thus he stands up to the teacher, always raising his hands even when he does not know the answer. He has a fear of being caught out one day, the fear that he will be exposed for being ignorant.
A lot of our students suffer from the Imposter Syndrome, and the same can be said of  some of the well known personalities that we have known, Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Robbin Williams, to name a few. The Imposter Syndrome is built upon a feeling of self doubt cemented by the fact that one has been fooling others. In many cases intelligent students who become jokers and clowns in class, (for the sake of gaining popularity) will have the fear of being exposed as being studious and hardworking and not jokers! Unfortunately, students today do not as a rule consider hardwork and studiousness as 'cool'.The 'cool' student is one who hangs out quite often, has a fan following, he or she follows the latest trends, his or her dad is loaded with money, and he or she is a non-conformist. Unfortunately the 'cool' one is the one who has the guts to challenge the teacher, and argue point for point!
A lot of our students become imposters for the very fact that they want to impress their friends. A hard working, studious and intelligent student will thus, donne the garb of a clown, or a 'cool dude' if only to be popular amongst his or her peers! In today's times becoming an imposter is second nature, and the wearing of different personalities is similar to wearing different masks for different occasions.The pressure to conform to popular and accepted trends has forced us to take up multiple personalities. Often the personality that we project towards the world is not our actual personality, it is a fake personality, a front, a facade that we present to others.
This wearing of multiple personalities, this behaving like imposters is creating a confusion in our young students, so much so that they are confused about their  own true selves. To make matters worse, 'according to their studies,' they are not sure what they are doing in the Chemistry class. They had taken up Chemistry because it was cool, and not because they had an aptitude for it. To make matters worse, all of their best friends had taken up Chemistry, so in order not to be left out, they also projected a perceived interest in the subject, only opt out after mid-term! They were veritable imposters when they claimed that they had an interest in Chemistry and fought with the school councellor, teachers and even their parents!
But then to suggest that it is only students who suffer from the Imposter Syndrome and not adult professionals would be a travesty of honesty! The fact is that even highly placed professionals, successful people suffer from this problem. People who somehow taste success inspite of their failings and weaknesses are forced to adopt the roles that have been thrust onto them because of that single instance of success. It is no wonder that such people are forced to continue in that role for fear of losing the trust of the people they are surrounded by!
Students and professionals who are forced into roles that they don't feel comfortable in might suffer
While no doubt, the tips that Neil Patel was giving in his article were for content writers and promoters, the same are quite relevant for students and other professionals. The tips in the article are meant to help prop up professionals whose quality of work has somehow dropped drastically becasuse of a feeling of guilt on being imposters. In his own words,  'The imposter syndrome makes us feel like we’re cheating. This feeling can, in turn, cause us to reduce the quality of our work even if we’re not consciously aware of it. I’ve seen the imposter syndrome turn would-be marketing rockstars into timid underachievers.'-Neil Patel
In his brilliantly written article, Neil Patel suggests that developing 'self-awareness,' through 'reflection', knowing that one is not the only one feeling like an imposter, tackling stress, and accepting the fact that one did have a role in the success of the organisation, are all important steps that will help us tackle the lows and disappointments associated with the imposter syndrome. A student who scores a perfect 100 in the board exams might not be a genius, in fact he might just be an ordinary student who studied the right things and in some cases luck was with him in so far that the questions that appeared in the paper were the ones he had practised. Now this student might be the victim of the 'Curse of the Topper' syndrome, and what makes it really bad for him is that everyone stops him in the school corridor and  sets up questions for him to solve. How does he feel when he almost never answered the last question? What if he is not able to answer the next question that the students put before him? What if he is exposed as, 'just ordinary'? I guess what he could do to ensure that he keeps progressing and prevents depression from setting in would be to 'Think of yourself as a work in progress'-Neil Patel. In his article, Neil goes on to state that, 'the easiest way to get over imposter syndrome is to place your focus on providing value to your audience and not make it about you.' He goes on to suggest that, 'Trying to position yourself as an authority or expert will put additional pressure on you.'
I guess ultimately, it should be OK to tell everyone that they can make mistakes because they are human after all! If you don't have the answer to every question, then you can always tell the others to give you time to do some research! This goes for teachers too! I have been teaching English for quite some time now, yet when I come across terms and words that I am not aware about, I don't hesitate telling my students that I will revert the next day! While Neil claims that being original is one of the best defences from succumbing to The Imposter Syndrome, I would however not hesitate in stating that the inspiration for my article and the ideas in it came from my reading of Neil Patel's article which was meant for content writers; I however feel they are equally relevant for students, teachers and other professional, artists included!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

A sea of flowers Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot

A sea of flowers Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot: The flowers stretching in the distance grabbed my attention when I visited the HUDA Flower show in Gurgaon on the fifth of March.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Politics of Smog

Year in and year out, winter brings with it a situation where the  Nation's Capital and its surrounding region chokes on a toxic mixture of dust particles, toxic gases like Sulphur dioxide,  Nitrous oxide, and other unmentionable carcinogens like benzene and Chloro-Flouro-Carbons. The compounds form a deadly concoction of a heady smoke that can make everyone very very sick! While no doubt, nature might be blamed for the smog, for not sending in  the western disturbing, the harsh fact is that Smog is the result of human industrial activity driven by greed, callousness, and narrow-mindedness and a general apathy of state machinery.
Analysed from a scientist's point of view, smog is caused by convection, the rising air that carries with it particles of dust, carbon, and other gases into the upper reaches of the atmosphere. When the warm current of moisture laden air reaches greater heights, it starts to form into droplets of water which then bind the Suspended Particulate Matter into particles of dust that then fall down to the ground. Ideally winds might help to disperse this toxic cloud, a heavy rain might even help to wash away the dust from the atmosphere, but then in cases where the winds stop blowing and the rain is not forthcoming, the situation becomes really bad! Winters are worse because, the lower temperature might not allow moisture laden air to rise higher into the atmosphere and the cycle of convection and condensation becomes even more vicious.
Seen from the health point of view, winters bring a lot of health problems for the aged, children and those suffering from respiratory illnesses and this is further worsened with the advent of smog like conditions! The air carrying particulate matter is breathed into the lungs and it begins to coat the airways reducing the lung's capacity to supply oxygen. The strain on the lungs has a cascading effect on the heart. No wonder, a lot deaths of the aged takes place during the winter season, especially in times when smog like conditions have been reported! The adverse health impact of smog can be seen on almost all kinds of living creatures and this includes birds, animals and even plants. Recent reports have indicated that the reason why fewer migratory birds arrived at the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary this year could have been the smog like conditions prevailing in the National Capital Region of Delhi.
While decision makers, politicians and governments might debate endlessly about the causes of Smog and steps one should take to prevent it, the fact is that endless arguments can only lead to a further aggravation of the situation. This brings us to the preventive measures that need to be adopted. Urbanisation and development has resulted in the cutting down of tress, drainage of fresh-water areas, and the conversion of farmland into industrial  and residential  areas. Towns and cities that once had a fair enough green cover have now become denuded, dust bowls with nothing to trap the dust particles swirling in the air. What governments need to do is to plant more trees, even if they have to be planted along roads and highways. Such trees can act as dust traps or even dust breaks. Similarly, a lot of dust is created by building activities which include excavation of the ground, transport of raw materials, and preparation of concrete on the spot. The use of pre-fabricated sections, pre-mixed concrete, and construction of wind-break barriers might help in reducing the amount of dust emanating from construction sites. Also town planners and government agencies should ensure that construction projects are well well planned and that they do not disrupt the flow of natural streams, or even impact the Eco-system. Unrestricted construction of new buildings projects that do not take the environmental impact into consideration, filling up of fresh water bodies,blocking of fresh water streams, cutting down of forest areas, constructing building on mountains, flattening of embankments or 'bunds' have all made their contribution to Smog! The Aravali mountains support a very delicate Eco-system and when building are constructed on the mountains, a lot of the mountains are flattened. The Aravali mountains act as a barrier for dust-storms, but when they disappear, then there will be nothing to stop an advancing desert of dust and sand particles.The politics behind rampant construction of buildings deals with the process of acquiring land, from the farmers if it is agricultural land, and then converting it into free-hold land, this involves bribing people in positions of influence, in fact the whole machinery is involved in the uncontrolled construction of buildings that violate norms. 
Another very important step that we need to take is to stop people from burning plastics, rubber, tyres, paper and garbage throughout the year. People burn more fires during winters as a means to stay warm. Burning of plastics, and tyres release toxic gases and particulate matter into the air. A lot of people are unaware about how harmful burning of plastics and the rubber in tyres can be, but they do so and invite others to sit around the fire. To prevent people from burning plastics, rubber from tyres, and leaves, it would be important to educate the masses about the harms of inhaling noxious fumes from burning plastics and tyres and leaves. This is a problem that results from an ignorance that stems from habits that die hard. The winters in the country can be very harsh, and it is during winters that people enjoy sitting around bonfires nibbling on peanuts and toffees.
One rather well known blame game one of the causes of Smog is the burning of stubble from paddy after the harvest. The burning of stubble is a quick and easy way for clearing the land of unwanted vegetation and preparing the same for the sowing of seeds for the next harvest. Laws have been made to ban burning of stubble, however very few are fined for the same. Impending elections, lack of will power, greasing of palms, and an overall sense of apathy for the sufferers - all of these, are to blame for the occurrence of smog like situations over the National Capital Region.
Smog can also be seen as a metaphor for ignorance toward nature and the environment. It can also be viewed as a symbol for the apathy of government agencies, lack of will power, and overall laziness of people who want to defer decision making for other financially more lucrative matters. The Smog like conditions being witnessed these days can surely be tackled, if only we were to look at it as a serious problem, but first we need to change our attitudes and think holistically about how our actions could impact others, especially those we don't even know. Smog is about ignorance, it is about having the wrong attitude, and the procrastination of dull minds. Planting of trees,introduction of green zones, removing bottlenecks on roads, staggering office timings, repair of roads, and limiting of building activities, can help us tackle this problem.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Revd.Cannon Dr.Arun John's visit to The Church of The Epiphany, Civil Lines, Gurgaon

Today, on the sixth of November, we were honoured by the presence of The Revd. Cannon Dr. Arun John at The Church of The Epiphany. I would be meeting him after more than twenty years – having been once a frequent visitor at the St. Michael’s Church at Jungpura, Bhogal, Delhi.
The Revd. Cannon Dr.Arun John also delivered the sermon for the day. His sermon was based on the theme, ‘God upholds those who suffer for his sake.’ In his sermon, Revd Cannon Arun spoke about how suffering is a strength based on the capacity to deliver God’s Grace to others in the face of retribution.

Revd.Cannon Dr.Arun John narrated two analogies or metaphors to describe the theme of suffering during the advent season. The first analogy was that of a monkey that had climbed the branches of a tree. It had a fish in its hands which it was stroking rather softly and gently. When someone asked the monkey what it was doing, the monkey replied that it was trying to save the fish from drowning! The second analogy was about a pouch of salt that had set out on a long journey that ended by the shores of a huge ocean. The pouch of salt asked the ocean what it was. The ocean told the pouch of salt to enter it and see the answer for itself. The salt then stepped into the water only to see its feet disappear as it dissolved in the water. When the water reached the salt’s upper torso and just before its head got submerged, it suddenly got its answer and told the ocean that it knew who it was! The analogies were self-explanatory.

The sermon also described how in the United Kingdom, worship at churches across the country has dropped drastically. Apparently the average age of the worshippers who are regular church goers in the U.K. is 65 years. The guest speaker drew a connection between the challenges faced by religion in the Biblical times of Micah and today. The book of Micah in The Old Testament described how religion had lost its essence because of the gap that existed between the rich and the poor and how politicisation of religion had taken its toll. Today too, religious values have  taken a severe beating because of exactly these reasons! Today as in Biblical times, Prophets are pitched against leaders, fanatics are pitched against soothsayers.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

IOT Connected Devices can expose us to hackers!

Just a few days back, I came across an article on The Scientific American website published by Larry Greenemeier on the 26th of October, 2016 titled: 'IoT Growing Faster Than the Ability to Defend It.' The writer described how the previous week web-enabled devices had attacked the web thus slowing down traffic effectively bringing the internet to a standstill. What had happened was that these devices were hacked without their owners' knowledge and then they were used to jam targeted websites. A large number of internet-enabled devices that had been connected to the internet began uploading photographs and other data at the same time. This resulted in what is termed as 'distributed denial of service (DDoS)'. 
One of the greatest concerns we have today is that a lot of the appliances that we use are connected to the internet and they are vulnerable to hacking unless you have taken a string of measure: changed the default password, installed firewalls or perhaps locked yourself out of the internet. Because these devices are accessible to hackers, their owners' private information is at a risk of being monitored and tracked by unwanted hackers. What is most frightening is that most of the time the owner is not aware that she or he is being tracked, monitored or hacked, everything happens so quietly in the background! While no doubt we believe that an internet enabled device makes sharing of data easier, it could also mean that someone might be looking at you through that little camera sitting on top of your laptop screen!I have known of acquaintances putting sticking paper on their cameras just because they were afraid of being watched by someone on the net.
It is evident that the more connected we are, the more vulnerable we are to cyber-attacks. In many cases, we are at fault. We love to inform the whole world about our movements thanks to the check-in option on social networking sites. This is as good as informing thieves and robbers the correct time to break into our houses to steal.  A celebrity who had visited Paris for a fashion show indicated her presence at her flat. The robbers knew she was wearing a lot of jewellery. They only had to wait for her to turn up at her flat.  In many cases, people become the targets of criminals because of their own carelessness and ignorance. You should never leave the check-in option on. In many cases, the use of maps for directions, and turning on the GPRS option might result in internet-enabled devices leaving a trail that people with bad intentions could follow!
While having a strong password, an updated antivirus, and a sound firewall will help prevent the hacking of your device, the problem arises when you have multiple internet enabled devices. The need to remember multiple passwords for multiple devices becomes a tough job so we generally have the same passwords for all the devices. It is common for most people to have laptops, mobile phones, an iPad/Kindle Reader, and now you have wifi enabled cameras.Most of these devices continue to be accessible through the internet even when they are in the sleep mode. It is advisable, therefore to switch off your device when it is not in use!
An increase in the number of such devices it has made it difficult to remember too many passwords! Owners of internet-enabled devices will often use the same password for all their devices, resulting in a compromised safety. However, having a firewall and even a strong password might not prevent the owner of the device from being tracked or stalked if he leaves an open backdoor in the form of weak privacy settings, and an always switched on location setting.
There is one more disturbing thought, what if your driverless car is hacked by criminals? They would only have to steer the car to there preferred remote locality from where they could kidnap you or rob you! What about pilotless planes, what if they are hijacked by unscrupulous people who are sitting in the safety of their living room working on a laptop, trying to control the flight of the plane? Are we ready enough for the Internet Of Things? Has technology moved ahead of us? Is Artificial Intelligence changing us? Could it be that Artificial Intelligence decides to take over human control of the whole planet? The answers can be more frightening than the questions themselves! Greenemeier