Interesting articles on issues ranging from a small town fighting for asylum seekers to stay, to Cambridge Analytica.
Here are a few great pieces I came across on the internet this week:
Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair.
We imagine ultra-successful individuals being endowed with almost superhuman talents. In so doing, we surround greatness with a certain kind of mystique and deem it somewhat inaccessible to the average person. However, success is not contingent on having extraordinary, innate ability. Nor does greatness depend upon some mysterious approach to life. There are no secrets to success—only simple truths, principles, and disciplines that have been around for thousands of years. Sadly, we obscure the reality of success by making a number of misjudgments about it.
Dr Akram Nadwi is soon to publish his 40-volume collection on Muslim women scholars. In 2007, Mehrunisha Suleman and Afaaf Rajbee analysed the lost legacy of women scholars and its impact on today's world in emel's feature on The Lost Female Scholars of Islam.
Since women today participate so little in the teaching of Hadith and the issuing of fatwas, there is a wide misconception that historically they have never played this role. As Shaykh Akram describes, “when I started, I thought there may be thirty to forty women,” but as the study progressed, the accounts of female scholars kept growing and growing, until eventually there were no less than 8,000 biographical accounts to be found. Such vast numbers truly testify to the huge role that women have played in the preservation and development of Islamic learning since the time of the blessed Prophet Muhammad. The women encountered by Shaykh Akram were far from mediocre when compared to men, indeed, some excelled far beyond their male contemporaries. There were exceptional women who not only actively participated in society but also actively reformed it. Most striking was the high calibre of their intellectual achievements and the respect that they received for this.
It is what it is. The past is the past and no matter how hard we try we cannot change that history.
But let’s start to undo the wrongs with what is right and just. I urge all my Parliamentary colleagues to become champions for the recognition of Australia’s first nations people in our constitution.
To Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples this has always been part of our story of struggle, injustice and heartache. But we are here today – I am here today – because of this history. Aboriginal Australians are symbolic of triumph over adversity. We represent knowledge and wisdom held in land and country.
Because in our hearts we know that we do not own Mother Earth, the Earth owns us.
As a child growing up, I dreamt big.
Most people would have looked at an Aboriginal girl from the Territory, where the statistics of alcohol abuse, youth suicide, domestic violence, imprisonment rates and sub-standard education point to every reason why you should not succeed.
But I was determined to be successful.
And yes I am a product of that history, and I continue to live in a society whereby the odds are stacked against Aboriginal people.
As a senior executive with one of the charities says: ''I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worried that one day we may have to face a royal commission and have to answer for the conditions under which these people were treated and which we didn't have the guts to challenge the government on.''
The economic crash brought back a host of long-forgotten truths, or rather lack of truths, as academic economics closed itself away from the beauty of competing, different ideas. Classroom economics failed to adapt itself to the essence of the world and fails to search for its own failures, to seek and wrestle with new truths.
We now have an opportunity to extend economics beyond the orthodoxies, to reach out to branches of economics that do not allocate resources through simple supply and demand, but theories that directly address the issue of sustainability and aim to ensure people's decisions are born out of social responsibility.
It is essential that future financial and commercial leaders realise the direct consequence of their actions on the wider society, and the best way to do this is by expanding the range of economic thought they are able to engage with.
THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.
Of course, there was also the pieces on this blog in case you missed them, published in the Financial Review and lamenting on what to do with our lives (fulfillment?)
What have you read that you really enjoyed or found thought provoking?
Can't wait to share!
It was a fantastic weekend of motorsport with the V8's and the F1 both throwing up some lovely surprises.
Read my reviews of the weekend V8 races at Richard's F1!
It was a day dominated by the youngsters, with the Kiwi teenager Scott McLaughlin taking out the first race of the Sunday, and 21-year-old Chaz Mostert winning the second race at the Coates Hire Ipswich 360.
The comfortable wins by these two rookies is definitely a sign of things to come and shows us all that the series is in good hands!
The first race of the morning started with Championship leader Jamie Whincup and Fujitsu Racing GRM’s Scott McLaughlin on the front row. A good start from McLaughlin saw him taking the lead, with Mostert in second briefly before being overtaken again by Whincup.
The Queensland Raceway track has been dominated by the Red Bull Racing’s Holden team for the last few years, but it is usually the veteran Craig Lowndes at the top of the podium. This wasn’t his Saturday, though, as the Saturday 60/60 SuperSprint race win was taken decisively by his teammate Jamie Whincup.
For the first time in four years, 30-year-old Whincup converted pole position at Queensland Raceway into a win, stretching his championship lead to 131 points from Lowndes who came in fourth. Behind Whincup was rising star rookie Scott McLaughlin in the Fujitsu GRM Commodore and Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom came in third.
Can you believe it is October? I spent the week learning about killing wells and trying to get decent phone reception… but enough about me, this is what I found on the net!
How politicians get away with dodging the question: The Pivot: "Politicians," he says, "are exploiting our cognitive limitation without punishment."
This ought to go down well with my fellow uni students: why lectures are ineffective.
It is alleged that Iran has threatened to annihilate Israel. It has done no such thing. Iran has a ‘no first strike’ policy, repeatedly enunciated by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has expressed the hope that the ‘Zionist regime over Jerusalem” would ‘vanish from the page of time.’ But he didn’t threaten to roll tanks or missiles against Israel, and compared his hopes for the collapse of Zionism to the collapse of Communism in Russia. Iran has not launched a conventional war of aggression against another state in all of modern history. Israel aggressively invaded Egypt in 1956 and 1967 and Lebanon in 1982 and 2006. The list of aggressive wars fought by the US, including the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, is too long to detail. So why is Iran being configured as the aggressor?
I know we have heard so much about the video and the backlash, but here is an interesting take by an American Muslim on the analysis…
…that’s not to say the film is an “excuse.” The film rather is a “last straw.” The attack on the embassy in Cairo following the one in Libya was not an attack on America but an attack on American intervention of Egyptian affairs. This is why it is so crucial for Egypt to establish its own democracy without Western influence. It restores a fundamental inseparable right of a people to determine their own government, and the morality of this principle on which America was founded means less war and less hostility. And it means more opportunity for us to focus on our own defense and build it in the event of an attack against a single nation (rather than five total wastes of military occupation).
They don’t hate our freedom; they hate that we think it’s ours.
10 favourite TED talks by a fellow blogger; these are great!
An interesting article: The Trouble with South Africa that highlights the issue of representation in the media of figures and groups not as “human beings with stories”, but more a collective that thinks and acts as a single monolithic non-relatable entity.
I’ve been puzzled and not a little disturbed by the lack of empathy on South African social media with the horrific events at Marikana, where 34 protesting miners were killed by police on August 16th. …
So what’s going on? Partly, it’s to do with people’s tendency to believe and react to images over text….
But it also has to do with the way most media have covered and continue to cover the strike. This was pointed out by academic Julie Reid, also in the Daily Maverick. Her piece also argues that the day-to-day event-based coverage has also helped obscure a very worrying much larger trend of police violence against citizens. Beyond a lack of investigation and intelligent mining of the data, I have not come across any article that has attempted to get into the lives of the miners, show them to us as individuals, and help us genuinely understand their daily struggles. Much (if not everything) of what has been written lately glosses over miners’ past, dreams, desires, frustrations, etc. Short: their lives. The failure to give attention to those details made it impossible to imagine what it would mean to live a miner’s life, which has allowed the debate to be sucked into a very ordinary South African debate — a spiral of numbers, acronyms, figures, maps and politicking that works as a cover to say: we haven’t got a clue.
The study revealed numerous male suicide clusters of high risk from across Australia, but generally not (state/federal) capital city regions. Only the capitals of Adelaide and Darwin were found to have male clusters, although these are the fifth and eighth largest of Australia’s eight capital cities, respectively. The Adelaide cluster has also been found to have a higher incidence of mental and behavioural disorders. Suicide rates tended to be highest in areas that were both of lower socioeconomic status and with a higher concentration of Indigenous inhabitants. Only one female cluster was identified and over 40% of statistical local areas (SLAs) had no female suicides at all during the study period.
“Win an Adventure to Africa” -- Sounds exciting, but a it does frustrate me sometimes that going to Africa is seen as one single destination: Africa is a continent made up of over 50 wildly diverse countries…
This does sound amazing though: UNREASONABLE AT SEA
Aussie Racing Legend, Jack Brabham and a chat with SPEED
The West and the rest of the world will not know peace until critical thinkers in the Arab and Muslim worlds start speaking out and getting an audience from the global media. There is no alternative to native dissent to the suffocating culture of the sacred. Muslims are as intellectually capable as anyone else in the world, but their minds are almost hopelessly shackled by taboos, big and small, social and political. Instead of producing a culture of critical thinkers, Muslim societies are teeming with thin-skinned moralists.
Meanwhile, Muslim-majority nations, those whose flags display stars, crescents, and swords, can’t compete with a nation like South Korea in contributing to global scientific research, or invent anything to save their lives.
Muslims are struck in an impossible bind: They are totally dependent on the West for all the good things in life but are fanatically attached to religion as a marker of their separate identity. By being unable to be fully Western, they have forced themselves into an orthodox corner. Fanaticism is the result.
Westerners and Western-educated folk who apologize for Muslims by invoking the depredations of the West are not helping make things better. Muslims don’t need to indulge in a victim mentality; they need to develop their societies, build stronger economies, cultivate the arts and and encourage innovation and critical thinking in all fields. Neither self-pity nor piety will get them there.
A tune to finish off your reading: Skyfall from Adele, for the new James Bond film…
So this has been a little while coming... here are some interesting reads for your consumption! Lots of food for thought...and some music to soothe the soul.
Perhaps the most significant change of the next decade will be the dramatic increase in worldwide connectivity via the Internet. The online community is projected to grow from 2 billion people in 2010 to 5 billion by 2020. Three billion new minds are about to join the global brain trust. What will they dream? What will they discover? What will they invent? These are minds that the rest of society has never had access to before, and their collective economic and creative boost becomes our final force: the power of “the rising billion.” We are living in a time of unprecedented opportunity.
Physical education for girls is banned in the public school system and while there are more than 150 official sports clubs regulated by the sports ministry, general presidency of youth welfare, none of them even allow women on the grounds, never mind to actually play. Saudi women are not only not allowed to participate, they are barred as spectators in all major stadiums.
Morsi won the election by a slim margin, and is now President of Egypt. His first few days in office have already been eventful. He banned portraits of himself in public spaces, asked for minimum security when moving around Egypt, met the families of the martyrs and guaranteed them access to him directly, and has announced that his two vice-presidents will be a woman and a Coptic Christian**. These moves have already impressed many both inside and outside Egypt, and are a welcome change from Mubarak’s reign. An important point is that Morsi won the election because he was supported by a variety of social actors, including activists, revolutionaries, youth groups, and Egyptians who did not want a member of the old regime to win. This means that Morsi has a lot to prove. He knows that he would not be President without the support of Egyptians who do not necessarily identify with or support the Muslim Brotherhood or their ideals. The pressure on Morsi is immense, and the expectations endless.
**CNN reports on Morsi appointing a woman and a Coptic Christian as his VP’s, a smart move indeed…
The revolution must be peaceful: A really interesting look on whether revolts must be peaceful, or if that can actually succeed? A question I have been asking of myself lately…
While there is no doubt that a peaceful revolution is a good thing to aspire to, I wonder if it can simultaneously be effective? Can brute power be removed peacefully? Can an entrenched regime that doesn’t have second thoughts about using violence be brought down through peaceful demonstrations and organizing? On the other hand, could it be the case that we are taught that peaceful people power is pointless and ineffective? Are we somehow bringing ourselves down to their level of inhumanness by engaging in violence?
(Start the above at about 2:50 for the music)
That is all for today, stay tuned for more though! The Interweb is full of such interesting information…I shall never sleep at this rate! =o
Coming to you every Sunday: a roundup of a few interesting reads from the week... I am a little bit of a Google Reader Freak and often come across interesting reads that I want to respond to or at least discuss. Here are a few of the articles I have read this week that might be of interest...and might spawn a blog post or two in the near future:
When you live abroad, you realize that, no matter where you are, you will always be an ex-pat. There will always be a part of you that is far away from its home and is lying dormant until it can breathe and live in full color back in the country where it belongs. To live in a new place is a beautiful, thrilling thing, and it can show you that you can be whoever you want — on your own terms. It can give you the gift of freedom, of new beginnings, of curiosity and excitement. But to start over, to get on that plane, doesn’t come without a price. You cannot be in two places at once, and from now on, you will always lay awake on certain nights and think of all the things you’re missing out on back home.
This article spawned insane reactions throughout the "blogosphere" (always wanted to use that word...). An interesting "computer game" analogy that essentially describes the concept of "privilege" in today's world.
So that’s “Straight White Male” for you in The Real World (and also, in the real world): The lowest difficulty setting there is. All things being equal, and even when they are not, if the computer — or life — assigns you the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, then brother, you’ve caught a break.
Here is an interesting response on what you can do with that privilege.
"We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments, but great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one."
Something a little more technical: A great documentary about how Turbo F1 engines started...
Even with the steps taken forward in Myanmar, there are still concerning religious clashes
Lastly, I am fascinated by the concept of the Prisoner's Dilemma: do you understand the psychology behind it?
Some of my recent doings
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