Politics

how women won the sex war

Posted on August 15, 2006. Filed under: Politics |

Quotes from last week’s Economist:

“Technology and globalisation are undermining the usefulness of males skills. Take map-reading. The female tendency to call for five right turns while holding the map upside down, playing “I spy” with the children and remarking on interesting features of the local half-timbering has been attested to over many decades by impartial scientists as well as by irritated husbands. But once satellite navigation rendered the ability to tell the cartographic difference between a car park and a lake redundant, that aspect of male superiority disappeared out of the window.”

In otherwords — women can mutli-task by nature, men are losing their grasp on the powerhold. It goes on to explain that these days upper management needs to have “emotional intelligence, empathy, and communication.” All traditionally female traits.

So what are the poor blokes to do?

“Wise chaps seeking professional advancement should therefore spend their free time with groups of women”.

What do you think fellas? Are we finally at the tipping point to equality? Or matriarchal power? Haha.

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it could be worse, you could be dead.

Posted on August 10, 2006. Filed under: Politics, Travelling |

With regards to the chaos in London right now, I emailed my cousin-ish (the ish because our Grandmothers were half cousins or something), but he replied saying he had just flow to Oslo last night. Phew. He also sent this little note I thought I’d share:

there was a good quote on the bbc.co.uk website today from a man asking what he was supposed to do on a 24hour flight to australia without his book? 

I thought he should just be grateful if he takes-off.

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you can take some stuff, but i’m still going to starve

Posted on August 10, 2006. Filed under: Politics, Travelling |

Again, let me reiterate, that I’m happy nothing was bombed. And I did find a list of what is allowed:

The Department for Transport said that all cabin baggage would be processed as hold baggage and carried in the holds of aircraft departing UK airports with immediate effect. Passengers were only being allowed to take a limited number of items on board by hand in a single, ideally transparent, plastic carrier bag.

Items that could be taken on board in hand-carried bags included:
· Pocket-sized wallets and purses, plus contents
· Travel documents essential for the journey
· Prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and essential for the flight, except in liquid form unless verified as authentic
· Spectacles and sunglasses, without cases
· Contact lens holders, without bottles of solution
· Baby food, milk (the contents of each bottle had to be tasted by the accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and essential for those taking an infant on a flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy disposal bags)
· Female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the flight, if unboxed (for example, tampons, pads, towels and wipes)
· Tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs
· Keys (but no electrical key fobs)

So all I’ll be without is food. And I’ll have to really hope that my checked bag gets there — can you imagine the insanity in the luggage department right now. I can only be happy that my flight wasn’t today! Sorry to all of you who did have to get somewhere today. That can’t feel fair.

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please tell mom not to watch the news or read the paper

Posted on August 10, 2006. Filed under: Politics, Travelling |

I assume you’ve heard about the thwarted terrorist plot to blow up planes out of London’s Heathrow.

I flipped on the news this morning and it was the first thing I saw. I listened, panic taking over as I thought about my trip there in 2 weeks. Damn. They’ll still fly there right? All of the flights are currently grounded, and I’ve heard you can’t take anything on board — what am I supposed to hold my wallet and passport in? Can I take a book to read? I was also hoping to take food because I can’t eat any of the airline food due to my stupid dyingness. What am I supposed to do? Starve? I know you can’t take water or any other liquid on board (including toothpaste!). Okay, I’m sure they’ll have water to give out, but I can’t even eat the stupid little crackers or cookies they give out.

Not to mention the fact that now I’m going to worry about my plane being blown to bits. I can’t express how happy I am that they managed to find out the plot before it could be put into action, and that the chances of it actually occurring two weeks later are slim to none.

I also can’t imagine the chaos at the airport — they showed footage this morning and it was insane!

I guess all I can do is hang in there and check with the airline to see what’s allowed and hope that they still want to fly me there in a couple of weeks. My heart has sunk a little at the idea that they won’t. They can’t do that right?

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wearing makeup at the age of 6?

Posted on July 11, 2006. Filed under: Friends, Politics |

A friend just posted about positive body images for women. I think it’s an important piece and I can’t believe that girls who are so young are so concerned with how they look. Where does this come from? We can’t blame the media or the parents entirely — both certainly must be looked at, but some of it must also come from within — comparing yourself to others, competing… Maybe one of these days I’ll figure out how to wear makeup on a daily basis, but until then it’s still saved for dress up occasions like weddings. I think that this is an important issue and that Diane talks about it in a very eloquent and real manner. Check it out.

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mountains beyond mountains

Posted on July 10, 2006. Filed under: Books, Politics |

I just finished listening to my second audio book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. The story is one of a Dr. Paul Farmer who develops health care in parts of Haiti and, as his life continues, more projects surrounding health in poorer nations and the relationships between poor health and poverty are revealed. He is the kind of person you would feel lucky to meet. The kind of story that inspires you to do more than what you are with your life; to effect some sort of change in the world. And, he makes it seem possible. Imagine being at Harvard Medical school while continuing to develop health care and to treat people in Haiti. To start a group called Partners in Health that is now recognized and revered by many. To help stop the spread and to heal those who have T.B. in several nations and to watch the cause and effect that one person can have on many.

Impressive. Astonishing. Inspiring.

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still banning books

Posted on July 6, 2006. Filed under: Books, Politics, School |

I spoke briefly before about how I am interested in banned books and the reasons behind why they are banned. Here’s a new case of a book that was banned from schools in Miami for depicting communist life in Cuba. Do you have stories of more recently banned books? Or have you ever been in a school or establishment where you weren’t allowed to read something or it was banned?

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Quaero v. Google (score to come)

Posted on June 21, 2006. Filed under: Politics |

Okay, so I may be a bit behind the times, but I’m catching up on reading the stack of Economists because I don’t want to move them to the new house. In the March 11th issue, there is a technology section, most of which isn’t new, but there is an interesting article titled “Attack of the Eurogoogle”. Apparently Jacque Chirac and Gerhard Schröder have a plan for a government-backed search engine and say: “it’s beyond google”.

Now perhaps it’s just because I’ve grown up in a grant-based country where most government-backed programs are a laugh (or when the government has something with potential, they abandon it – Avro Arrow anyone?), but I’m a bit skeptical of a government-backed program going up against a market-based superpower. Sure, internet trends and search engines come and go, but as the article states, the reasons for producing such a product are politically and culturally valid and include:

“We must staunchly defend the world’s cultural diversity against the looming threat of uniformity” (Sure, having all of your eggs in one big google basket probably isn’t the best solution for the future of the internet – and at this rate, of the world).

“Our power is at stake” (This one may need to be clarified for me…how will this make France and Germany more powerful? Is it a secret political platform or plan for world domination?).

The search engine is called Quaero (latin for “I seek”) – I’ll admit, that’s a cool name and it is capable of searching by not only keywords, but also by images and sounds. So you can match up images, which is kind of cool – and Quaero attaches tags (en francaise) to the images it finds that are similar to the search so that they can be searched for and found by other users. The voice search will have the ability to find and translate audio files…also pretty cool. If google isn’t already planning these sorts of options, then I’m sure they aren’t far off.

As an aside…do you know anyone who boycotts google based on political, cultural, or personal reasons? I was just thinking that it’s easy to take up a cause like buying only organic foods, or not buying clothes and shoes from Nike based on the reports of child labour etc., but does anyone think of google as a product? Or is it just a part of life now (a part that didn’t exist a few years ago, but is now so engrained that we would likely feel an intense shock to wake up one morning and it be gone).

In the end, it seems like a very noble cause and a fight against the new superpowers – which makes me wonder not only how Quaero will fare and what impact it may have, but also if the next set of wars won’t be over oil, or nuclear weapons, but a different technology: supremacy over the one thing that at this moment in time is a democratic model built on a strong belief in pluralism, but that is slowly changing into a valuable marketplace, a struggle for survival where lives are made and broken, and a mode of dependency for so many people, and thus will eventually be a new area to be coveted and through which power can be gained.

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crime spree over world cup…in a way

Posted on June 2, 2006. Filed under: Politics |

The May 20th issue of The Economist had a news brief that stated:

“Some 150 people were killed, a quarter of them policemen, after a criminal gang, based in the prison system launched attacks on police stations, buses and bank brances in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. the gang’s leaders opposed thier imminent transfer to a maximum security jail, and wanted televisions to watch the soccer World Cup.”

Wow. 150 people already dead over a soccer game. Of course that’s not all that’s behind it, once you read the larger article at the back of the magazine — gang wars, prison politics etc, but the tipping point seems to be the TVs and moving certain people to another prison where they won’t have access during the upcoming insanity of the World Cup. Very sad reality.

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good night and good luck

Posted on April 18, 2006. Filed under: Politics |

I saw Good Night and Good Luck on the weekend and I tell you, I could have listened to the rhetoric all day, every day. I wish that the same decorum existed in contemporary conversation, but it seems to have vanished all together. Definitely worth seeing, and aptly timed, in light of the ever-developing attacks in the Middle East — makes you stop to wonder if there has ever been a span of more than 5 or 10 years where the US didn’t have a proclaimed “enemy”. Really, from the time the country was formed there were enemies. Fear built the nation. Come to this beautiful new land and kill off all of the people who are there before you. Assimilate or die I suppose, the mighty US has spoken. The enemy seems to change slightly every so often, communists, anyone who isn’t white or who doesn’t believe in “democrazy”, muslims, oil bearing countries…the list goes on. Perhaps the American government needs to define itself and prove itself through bearing those arms, instilling fear in its own and abroad, exploiting and enforcing victory over those who just can’t seem to get it right.

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