Topics sharing for our meetings

Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週日 6月 28, 2015 10:22 pm

最後由 Rock 於 週二 9月 29, 2015 10:32 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: possible topics

文章Tina Sun » 週五 8月 28, 2015 10:44 am

Another interesting video for the possible topics.

How to Age Gracefully

People of all ages offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts.

With the Chinese translation subtitle

We've never stopped making mistakes since we were born, but we hence keep learning the new lessons.
Everyone, more or less, has some life suggestions no matter how old they are.

The video gathered the people from age 7 to 93 and let's see what words of wisdom they offer to us.

And what words of wisdom you will offer to the younger you.
Tina Sun
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週四 9月 24, 2015 12:09 pm

Is slum tourism in India ethical?

"Welcome to Dharavi, the biggest slum in Asia. My name is Ravi and I’ll be your tour guide today.”

I was confused. I knew slums existed, but I wasn’t sure that doing a day trip around one was OK. It sounded like paying to ogle poverty. Yet tours like this are becoming more common – following favela visits in Rio and township tours in Cape Town, you can now visit the sprawling slums of Mumbai.

The company that runs these trips – Reality Tours and Travel – is keen to assert its responsible credentials: 80% of profits go to local charities, groups are limited to five people and photography is forbidden. But did that really change anything, or did it just assuage my guilt about doing something pretty grotty?

“Follow me, please, and watch where you step. There’s a lot of rubbish,” Ravi said as he disappeared into a gap between two shops.

The gap turned out to be what passed for a street in Dharavi – a narrow alley piled with rubbish. But to my surprise I realised that the rubbish wasn’t accumulated filth – it was neatly piled, awaiting recycling.

Ravi took us into one of the recycling businesses, where old bottles, buckets and milk crates are cleaned, melted, dyed, then sold to be turned into umbrella handles and plastic dinosaurs. The shop floor was tiny – two narrow rooms processing just 600kg of recycled plastic a day. We climbed up onto its roof and looked out over the slum. All around was a hotchpotch of shanties, each tin roof bearing a mountain of old paint cans, plastic chairs or sacks of empty shampoo bottles.

“Dharavi houses about a million people in 1.7 sq km,” Ravi told us. “Yet it is full of small-scale industries like the one downstairs. This slum has an annual turnover of US$665 million (£330 million).”

According to its website, Reality Tours’ goal is to show that Dharavi isn’t just about poverty and hardship, but about ‘enterprise, humour and non-stop activity’. After the plastic recyclers, we went on to visit a cloth-dyer, a sheepskin factory and some friendly bakers in a tiny, sweaty basement.

We even went into one room where a huge vat sat bubbling full of disgusting brown gunge – old face creams and beauty products were being boiled to make huge bars of soap. And wherever we went faces were smiling, people were friendly. Kids mobbed us to practise their English. The locals seemed as intrigued by us as we were by them.

I certainly felt welcome in Dharavi and the tour challenged some of my admittedly simplistic assumptions about slums. People don’t sit around all day bemoaning their lot and looking glum; they get on with going to work, playing in the street, gossiping in doorways, smiling, laughing, crying – in other words, they do all the things we all do, wherever we live.

And as for worrying about invading their privacy, that was actually a case of me imposing my Western values on them. In Dharavi, people live on top of each other, as they do in much of India. There was no privacy to invade.

But the tour left me with doubts. The people seemed happy and hard working. And that’s the problem: as on all tours, we were shown a snapshot chosen to illustrate a certain point – namely that Dharavi wasn’t just grim and depressing, but was a place of energy and industry.

We also saw open sewers and babies with swollen bellies, whole families crammed into the tiniest of rooms, and alleys flooded with unspeakable black filth. Sometimes the streets became so narrow that the buildings above met, leaving the residents in perpetual night.

The point was that this is a slum and it faces all the same problems as other slums – lack of safe water, security and decent jobs.

Even that impressive figure of US$665 million doesn’t bear close scrutiny. Share it between a million people and that’s just US$665 per person – less than one-fifth of the national average wage in India.

So is it OK to go on a slum tour? Dharavi isn’t the worst place to live. But it’s not good enough, either. Travel is all about getting under the skin of a place. You can only do this for yourself, so go on the slum tour. Just remember: in Dharavi, it’s easy to be fooled by what’s on the surface.

Questions are under construction.
最後由 Rock 於 週二 9月 29, 2015 10:32 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 1 次。
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週二 9月 29, 2015 10:31 pm

Success Outside the Dress Code

Anyone who has felt like the odd duck of the group can take heart from new research from Harvard Business School that says sticking out in distinct ways can lend you an air of presence or influence.

Standing out in certain circumstances, like wearing sweats in a luxury store, also appears to boost an individual's standing.

One obvious way people signal what the researchers called "status" is through visible markers, like what they wear and what they buy. Previous research has largely examined why people buy or wear branded items.

peek-a-boo shirt ... irt-allows

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週三 10月 07, 2015 10:26 pm

Celia (2012)

1. What would you do if you were the doctor? Would you call the girl's mom, who happened to be your best friend, and ask for her opinion? Or would you just pretend that the girl was never there and let it be?
2. Does the girl have the right to abort?
3. Would things be different if the girl was over 18? How about 20 or 30? Does age make it any different?
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週三 10月 21, 2015 9:06 am

Chimps Do Not Make Good Pets. But Bonobos?

Under construction
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Kooper » 週日 11月 22, 2015 2:12 pm

最後由 Kooper 於 週四 12月 31, 2015 5:40 pm 編輯,總共編輯了 2 次。
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週四 12月 03, 2015 8:01 am

The Canadian Model Fighting ISIS In Syria Tells Us What It's Like to Be On the Frontline

Hanna Bohman has been fighting ISIS in Syria on and off for most of 2015, and she hasn’t been impressed.
She said that as fighters, the Islamic State militants have “mostly been a disappointment.”

“Their numbers don’t seem that big and they’re eager to run away,” she told INSIDER in an email. “I suspect most of the experienced fighters have been consolidated in Mosul and Raqqa, and that’s where the big fights will be.”

She said that ISIS has successfully made themselves seem bigger and scarier than they are in reality through social media.

Although the group recently claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks that killed hundreds in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and Ankara and over the Sinai Peninsula, its promise of statehood is quickly diminishing, The New York Times reports.

“They’re not some giant, holy juggernaut of ultimate damnation for unbelievers,” she said. “They’re just a bunch of filthy, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging pigs who run away at the first sign of resistance. Really nothing more than a thorn in the side.”

Video editing by Adam Banicki.

A former Canadian model who’s also known as Tiger Sun, Bohman, 46, is one of dozens of Westerners who have joined up with Kurdish nationalist groups to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. She was personally inspired to fight after watching an ISIS propaganda video featuring a Canadian who had gone to fight with the jihadists, she told the Daily Mail.

After recovering from a near-fatal motorcycle accident last year, Bohman, who had no prior combat experience, left Vancouver for Iraq in March. She joined up with the YPJ, the female fighting battalion of the People’s Protection Unit, a Kurdish nationalist fighting force.

Joining the YPJ was easy, she said, much easier than one would expect traveling from the West into the middle of war would be. Upon arriving in Iraq, she stayed in a safe house for a few days before taking a boat across the Tigris River into northeastern Syria.

She then received very brief training and was assigned to her first unit, though it didn’t see much action. Her role consisted mostly of watching over territory, and the only real threat was being the target of a suicide truck, according to Bohman. But once she transferred to a more experienced unit, she began to see fighting almost instantly.

“That’s where I was first shot at by a sniper while walking from the outhouse to our quarters,” she said. “We were a mobile [unit], so we moved around quite a bit and were part of a large offensive south of Til Temir.”

The most intense fighting she experienced was in the next unit she was a part of, albeit for a brief two days in June. Just one hour after joining the brigade, a German who was fighting with the group said they would be going to the front.

“It was a small group of six westerners and I was the only woman… but all of us, including the commander, were itching for a fight, so we went a bit rogue,” she said. “We became lost trying to find the front and thought we had accidentally pushed into Daesh country when we started seeing dead people lying on the roads. The drivers were frantically calling for help on their phones and radios, and the tension was the highest I’ve ever felt as we had no idea where Daesh was.”

The group made a “mad retreat” to get their bearings. The following morning, the six were ordered to take the city of Til Abyad, a northern Syrian city near the Turkish border that had been under ISIS’s control. Bohman, who posts videos of her endeavors with the YPJ on YouTube, uploaded a video prior to the start of the mission.

She laughed at how absurd it seemed.

“Six of us against what was supposed to be more than 100 Daesh, but nonetheless, we jumped into a tank and off we went,” she said.

As they closed in on the battle, her unit met up with 12 Kurds who were already in position near a bridge leading into the city.

The Kurds would have to take that bridge in order to take the city.

“We spent the rest of the day fighting for that bridge, which was also the last time a sniper would take a shot at me, the bullet passing so close over my head I felt it,” she said. “We held the bridge over night while reinforcements arrived, and the next day they took the city, which by now had mostly been abandoned by Daesh.”

She briefly returned to Canada after the battle, stricken by malnutrition after having lost almost 30 pounds since joining the YPJ. But almost as soon as she returned to Vancouver, she was itching to get back to the fight in Rojava, the name given to what is considered Western Kurdistan. She went back in early September and remains with the YPJ today.

But contrary to popular belief, life in Syria isn’t all about fighting, she explained. About “95%” of her time is spent sleeping, eating, cleaning, socializing, or being on guard.

“It’s not what people expect,” she said. “We’re not constantly locked in a life or death battle with bullets and mortars flying back and forth.”

Another misconception is that the real fight is against ISIS, she said.

“The real enemy is who Daesh works for,” she said, claiming that it’s really “Turkey’s genocidal [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan… who will eventually turn Turkey into a dictatorship while trying to kill off the Kurds.”

Claims that Turkey supported the Islamic State go back more than a year, and it’s well-known that the Turkish government views the rise of Kurdish nationalism as a bigger threat to its security than the rise of ISIS.

After the Turkish military shot down a Russian plane last week, Russian leaders claimed that they have proof that Erdogan’s own family was involved in smuggling ISIS oil into Turkey. Erdogan said he would resign if that claim was proven true, and insists that his regime is working to diminish the threat of ISIS in the region. US officials said their NATO allies have been “great” in the fight against the Islamic State.

According to Bohman, Westerners who left their countries and bypassed their governments to fight ISIS are what has inspired her most since joining the YPJ.

“There aren’t many of us, but we represent a genuine concern for humanity,” she said. “We believe in doing the right thing, in stopping evil, and helping the helpless. We are the tip of a sword made up of people from all around the world who will no longer wait for their governments to fail again. We are [bringing] the change we want to see.”

Questions for discussion (Welcome join the construction)

1. Would you volunteer to join an army for justice?
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週四 12月 24, 2015 11:41 pm

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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週二 5月 24, 2016 8:59 am

How To Mingle And Talk To People At Parties

Love Shack Org

1. Is Globalization Good or Bad?

2. Why It’s OK to Be Lazy From Time to Time
et celtra

3. Hongkong Cantonese banned?,95946,95964,126884



Five Signs Taiwan Is Emerging, Not Developed
Ralph Jennings ,


I cover under-reported stories from Taiwan and Asia.

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

MSCI MSCI +%, the venerated New York-based architect of stock market indexes, will be back someday to reevaluate Taiwan after deciding last year the capital market was emerging, not developed. MSCI found “absence of any significant improvements in key areas negatively affecting accessibility in the…equity markets for the past few years.” That leaves Taiwan shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

The MSCI deliberations raise a broader question about Taiwan: Is it developed? Hardly anyone starves to death, dies before age 1 or lives on $1 a day in a grimy gang-infested slum. Per capita income is $22,704 this year. But MSCI is looking at market maturity and would raise Taiwan’s level after “meaningful improvements,” per the 2014 statement. Markets are just one tool to measure development. Taiwan is still emerging in at least five other ways:

1. Building construction

It’s hard to find an apartment building more than 30 years old without unapproved, jerrybuilt “granny flats” on the roof. Illegal units total about 7,000 in Taipei. Mayors talk about getting rid of them but seldom make more than a small crack in the issue. (Imagine the population of voters without roofs.) Older buildings also allow apartment owners to build outward through their windows or onto shared balconies. For buildings without centralized management, homeowners seldom pool money to maintain the whole property, leaving gray or yellow water stains on exterior walls among other signs of decay. Some units pose structural hazards. A lot more just stun tourists who visit Taiwan expecting a different kind of culture and scenery.

2. Green space

Urban trees help ease air pollution, cool hot cities and even calm aggressive drivers. But they’re a post-modern luxury. Most of urban Taiwan is too dense for serious street trees. Buildings come right up to the curbs — on streets that have even those. Legislators fault government for improper planting along streets that are wide enough, allowing otherwise hardy trees to fall easily during typhoons. But trees cost money, the top concern for an emerging country. For every 1% increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover goes up 1.76%, according to research compiled by science writer Tim De Chant on the website.

“There’s nothing Taiwan can do about typhoons, but perhaps the authorities could try to educate people about the value of trees for shade, reducing energy consumption, air quality, biodiversity and flood mitigation,” says Steven Crook, a writer on Taiwan environmental issues.

3. Law enforcement

Enforcement of most laws only follows complaints. Traffic cops who see someone double park or deny someone else the right-of-way do nothing. Code enforcement officers don’t walk about the neighborhoods looking for rampant illegal gambling or dogs barking above the legal decibel levels. They wait for complaints before investigating and follow up based on a sense of who’s morally right or wrong rather than the word of law. Taiwan’s white-collar crime suspects such as people in the companies linked last year to tainted cooking oil may get light sentences because their companies contribute heavily to the economy – and to decision makers in government.

4. Quality of life

Noise in Taiwan can be severe enough to disrupt sleep. Factory smoke, underground gas lines and other industrial spill over into people’s neighborhoods, some of which have complained over the past five years against some of Taiwan’s top manufacturers. Gas lines exploded one night in 2014 in a dense residential tract of the southern industrial city Kaohsiung and killed 32 people. Formal complaints are less common against more local quality-of-life threats such as standing water that breeds mosquitoes or remodeling noise late in the evening. Having food on the table is enough of a blessing for those old enough to remember Taiwan’s widespread poverty.

5. Stranger-to-stranger relations

Historic fear of scarce resources – poverty’s sidekick in any emerging country – can keep human relations strained and competitive. People act politely face to face, but when backs turn (or if two people have never met) so do a lot of common courtesies. Watch Taipei commuters rush madly into a sidewalk bottleneck ahead of others instead of doing the you-go-first maneuver. Ever had your clerk interrupted by the next guy in line before your transaction is finished? University students leave their packs on library tables to ensure a study space after coming back from a lunch, blocking classmates who need a place to sit. A new arrival at work will be watched for signs of an easier job or higher pay compared to colleagues and ostracized if either proves true.
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Re: Topics sharing for our meetings

文章Rock » 週三 11月 09, 2016 8:24 am

Anti-intellectualism Is Killing America

Questions under construction....
1. Is there anti-intellectualism in Taiwan?
2. What are the traits of anti-intellectualists?

Social dysfunction can be traced to the abandonment of reason
Posted Jun 23, 2015

The tragedy in Charleston last week will no doubt lead to more discussion of several important and recurring issues in American culture—particularly racism and gun violence—but these dialogues are unlikely to bear much fruit until the nation undertakes a serious self-examination. Decrying racism and gun violence is fine, but for too long America’s social dysfunction has continued to intensify as the nation has ignored a key underlying pathology: anti-intellectualism.

America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance, and the evidence is all around us. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter who used race as a basis for hate and mass murder, is just the latest horrific example. Many will correctly blame Roof's actions on America's culture of racism and gun violence, but it's time to realize that such phenomena are directly tied to the nation's culture of ignorance.

In a country where a sitting congressman told a crowd that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell,” where the chairman of a Senate environmental panel brought a snowball into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax, where almost one in three citizens can’t name the vice president, it is beyond dispute that critical thinking has been abandoned as a cultural value. Our failure as a society to connect the dots, to see that such anti-intellectualism comes with a huge price, could eventually be our downfall.

In considering the senseless loss of nine lives in Charleston, of course racism jumps out as the main issue. But isn’t ignorance at the root of racism? And it’s true that the bloodshed is a reflection of America's violent, gun-crazed culture, but it is only our aversion to reason as a society that has allowed violence to define the culture. Rational public policy, including policies that allow reasonable restraints on gun access, simply isn't possible without an informed, engaged, and rationally thinking public.

Some will point out, correctly, that even educated people can still be racists, but this shouldn’t remove the spotlight from anti-intellectualism. Yes, even intelligent and educated individuals, often due to cultural and institutional influences, can sometimes carry racist biases. But critically thinking individuals recognize racism as wrong and undesirable, even if they aren’t yet able to eliminate every morsel of bias from their own psyches or from social institutions. An anti-intellectual society, however, will have large swaths of people who are motivated by fear, susceptible to tribalism and simplistic explanations, incapable of emotional maturity, and prone to violent solutions. Sound familiar?

And even though it may seem counter-intuitive, anti-intellectualism has little to do with intelligence. We know little about the raw intellectual abilities of Dylann Roof, but we do know that he is an ignorant racist who willfully allowed irrational hatred of an entire demographic to dictate his actions. Whatever his IQ, to some extent he is a product of a culture driven by fear and emotion, not rational thinking, and his actions reflect the paranoid mentality of one who fails to grasp basic notions of what it means to be human.

What Americans rarely acknowledge is that many of their social problems are rooted in the rejection of critical thinking or, conversely, the glorification of the emotional and irrational. What else could explain the hyper-patriotism that has many accepting an outlandish notion that America is far superior to the rest of the world? Love of one’s country is fine, but many Americans seem to honestly believe that their country both invented and perfected the idea of freedom, that the quality of life here far surpasses everywhere else in the world.

But it doesn’t. International quality of life rankings place America far from the top, at sixteenth. America’s rates of murder and other violent crime dwarf most of the rest of the developed world, as does its incarceration rate, while its rates of education and scientific literacy are embarrassingly low. American schools, claiming to uphold “traditional values,” avoid fact-based sex education, and thus we have the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. And those rates are notably highest where so-called “biblical values” are prominent. Go outside the Bible belt, and the rates generally trend downward.

As this suggests, the impact of fundamentalist religion in driving American anti-intellectualism has been, and continues to be, immense. Old-fashioned notions of sex education may seem like a relatively minor issue to many, but taking old-time religion too seriously can be extremely dangerous in the modern era. High-ranking individuals, even in the military, see a confrontation between good and evil as biblically predicted and therefore inevitable. They relish the thought of being a righteous part of the final days.

Fundamentalist religion is also a major force in denying human-caused climate change, a phenomenon that the scientific community has accepted for years. Interestingly, anti-intellectual fundamentalists are joined in their climate change denial with unusual bedfellows: corporate interests that stand to gain from the rejection of sound science on climate.

Corporate influence on climate and environmental policy, meanwhile, is simply more evidence of anti-intellectualism in action, for corporate domination of American society is another result of a public that is not thinking critically. Americans have allowed their democracy to slip away, their culture overtaken by enormous corporations that effectively control both the governmental apparatus and the media, thus shaping life around materialism and consumption.

Indeed, these corporate interests encourage anti-intellectualism, conditioning Americans into conformity and passive acceptance of institutional dominance. They are the ones who stand to gain from the excessive fear and nationalism that result in militaristic foreign policy and absurdly high levels of military spending. They are the ones who stand to gain from consumers who spend money they don’t have on goods and services they don’t need. They are the ones who want a public that is largely uninformed and distracted, thus allowing government policy to be crafted by corporate lawyers and lobbyists. They are the ones who stand to gain from unregulated securities markets. And they are the ones who stand to gain from a prison-industrial complex that generates the highest rates of incarceration in the developed world.

Americans can and should denounce the racist and gun-crazed culture that shamefully resulted in nine corpses in Charleston this week, but they also need to dig deeper. At the core of all of this dysfunction is an abandonment of reason.

More on this subject in David Niose's latest book, Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason
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