Don’t Dismiss Poverty’s Role in Terrorism Yet


TIME

With the deadly attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris earlier this month, pundits are again questioning a commonly-cited motive for radicalization. Media leaders are outright dismissing the possible role poverty plays in terrorism. On Hardball, Chris Matthews stated, “The world is filled with hundreds and hundreds of millions of poor people who have no prospects at all, but they don’t go around killing people. India is packed with poor people and they don’t go around killing people. Africa the same. These are killers.” The Wall Street Journalopined, “Wednesday’s attack also demonstrates again that violent Islam isn’t a reaction to poverty or Western policies in the Middle East. It is an ideological challenge to Western civilization and principles, including a free press and religious pluralism.”

Are the commentators right to dismiss poverty as a cause of terrorism? Policymakers, for their part, have shown a consistent tendency to…

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on “What is the meaning of life?”


During a Q&A session on Neil deGrasse Tyson‘s show at the Wilbur Theatre (January 15, 2015), a 6-year-old – and three quarters – boy asked him about the meaning of life.

The answer he gave was simple enough for a child to understand, but so impressive that even left the adults there amazed and without words, see for yourself.

Namasté Neil deGrasse Tyson 🙂
“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” Carl Sagan

Stay curious and best regards,
Pedro Calado

Why is Sociology Valuable?


Social Health

3ATY4m1Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has made several public comments suggesting that sociology is irrelevant to matters of crime. Last year he used the humorous phrase, “now is not the time to commit sociology.” This year, his anti-sociological sentiment was revealed once again in his comment stating that crime against aboriginal women is not a sociological phenomenon.

The Prime Minister suggests that the police and the criminal justice system are the appropriate response, rather than investigating crime sociologically. His reason is that these are individual criminal acts, not symptoms of problematic social structures.

Harpers comments are not necessarily anti-intellectual. Rather, they are just anti-sociological, As suggested by Jakeet Singh in The Star, his comments are the result of a neo-liberal ideology of individualism:

Harper received a degree in economics and supports the merits of a global free-market, giving him a valid reason why he holds an anti-sociological…

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5 Ways We Handle Racism All Wrong


Scott Woods Makes Lists

First, a qualifier.* (Read it yet? Excellent. If not, fine, it’s not going to affect what you read. Just don’t go looking for any handouts afterwards.)

What started out as me laying out my definition of racism turned into a whole list of observations about how difficult it is to even talk about. Not nail down; discuss. Racism is hard to talk about in the finite because the human condition is steeped in it. So I’ve included some of those observations, and in turn allowed them to jack up my perfectly good 500 word piece, turning it into this fucking thesis paper. Really, I was just going to say, “Hey guys, we should try to get this racism definition thing right” but then I kept being confronted with reasons why someone was going to email me and tell me how it was wrong even though they never really thought about it…

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The Building Blocks of Skills Teaching


Oxford University Press

What are the building blocks of skills teaching and how can these help your learners listen and read for tomorrow?

Take a look at this infographic to find out more.

Navigate Infographic

Navigate is a brand new General English course that takes an innovative approach to reading and listening based on this academic research as to how adults best learn languages. It teaches reading and listening from the bottom up, giving learners the skills they need to understand the next text they will read and hear, not just the one they are reading or hearing now. The course content also has been extensively piloted and reviewed in ELT classrooms across the world, giving teachers the confidence that it really works. Find out more at www.oup.com/elt/yourdirectroute

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Wonderful Computers, Terrible Societies

Computer Tech Bad Society

The Compulsive Explainer

This is the way the world ends – by our things taking over. We get to watch as we slowly fade away. It’s an interesting show – but depressing.

That is probably why most people are unaware that it is happening. Being aware would be too stressful, they think. So they are not aware – of anything. And then wonder why they are vaguely depressed – or seriously depressed. Or suffering from one of a host of mysterious ailments that  no one can understand. But feel certain they are caused by something in the air – that no one can put their finger on.

I do not think this is so mysterious. We have placed all our attention on our wonderful things (our computers) – and not on ourselves. As a result, most people are afraid to be (to attract attention to themselves)- and for that reason, simply do not exist

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The Future: Battle Between Google and Wikileaks


TIME

Last weekend, I participated in an event that grabbed headlines around the world, even making it into Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue on “The Tonight Show.” Yet the real cover story has to date gone unreported. The fourth annual Nantucket Project (co-sponsored this year by TIME) is a weekend of TED-style talks for the luminary set that hobnobs off the Massachusetts coast. I interviewed notorious Wikileaks founder Julian Assange by hologram, beamed in from his place of asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. News coverage the next day focused in one way or another on the spectacular and mischievous angle that Assange had, in effect, managed to escape his quarantine and laugh in the face of those who wish to extradite him by appearing full-bodied in Nantucket before a packed house of exhilarated conference attendees.

Beyond the spectacle, though, what got less attention was what the interview was actually…

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A New Kind of School System


The Compulsive Explainer

I am taking a MOOC on Organizational Analysis – which is turning out to be quite good.

This part of the course is a Case Study – that of an experimental school that tried to implement Individual Guided Instruction in an inner city school – where most of the students (probably black) were from disadvantaged homes.

My own experience in Middle School and High School were extremely unpleasant. And I could see how this approach would be a big improvement. There are two lectures here:

A lecture where the instructor, from Stanford is shown in a corner of the screen. 

A lecture where the instructor is not shown. 

On my computer I could view the first lecture by clicking on the link on my blog – but not the second.

Let me know how it works for you.

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