I love this woman

Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy

Her name is Lenore and she’s a New Yorker. Some time ago she wrote a small article in a relatively obscure paper which inadvertently changed her life. She admitted that she’d let her child ride the subway alone… close your eyes and imagine the torrent of hatemail, calls etc. that landed on her. Or read her own very funny account of it all on Huffington Post. Here’s her blog – it’s all about Free Range Kids, she’s even written a book about it.

I’m completely devoid of inspiration today, so I’ll just pass you on to a handful of women, who all write very well, engaging and funny:

This one calls herself @titianred on Twitter, where she never fails to entertain. She loves Monday mornings – or so she says.

Here’s Razorkitty – an intelligent, beautiful woman, who’s comments are gold when you’re watching certain programmes on TV.

Clare is also an eminent Twitterer. She’s promised (it was you, wasn’t it Clare?) to write on her blog why it is that buying clothes at Boden is a no-go. I’m waiting in trepidation…

Last one – I’ve written about Tania Kindersley before – and her lovely book Backwards in High Heels, which you can read more about on her own blog.

Over and out from Sunny Surrey.

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Celebrities intelligent people love to hate

So, referring to the title of this post, I’m either not very intelligent or a lot of other intelligent people just keep very quiet about still loving (or at least not hating) these celebrities.

The ones that have come to mind lately are Bono, Malcolm Gladwell, Angelina Jolie and Andy Murray. Bono and Gladwell because they were both portrayed in the Sunday Times last week (interestingly Bono won over his interviewer, Gladwell didn’t win his), Ms. Jolie because I just read an interesting article in the Guardian about gossip magazines and their victims and Murray, yeah, well, he’s all over the place these days, winning games at Wimbledon every day. I’m sure there are more, but these are sufficient to discuss the subject.

I don’t hate them. I even rather like some of them.

I’ve been a fan of U2 ever since I first saw them live in 1982 and I find that Bono spends his money and his time very wisely. He’s personally shy of the press, but uses it to benefit his cause(s). He’s been married to the same woman forever and is a member of a band that still has all its members after over 30 years! He has raised enormous sums for very worthy charities and he pursues this relentlessly. What is there to hate? I just don’t understand it.

Gladwell is hated because he makes loads of money on his books and speaches. And what about you, yes you, reader. If you were able to write books that sold incredibly well, wouldn’t you? And if you could then make collossal sums speaking about them, wouldn’t you? I would. His books are apparently not scientific enough for many intellectuals. I’m not a proper intellectual, so I enjoy reading them and Blink really got to me. His best book, in my opinion. I’ve met this attitude often among academics. If you publish something that the general public can actually read and enjoy, you’re frowned upon. And if you’re capable of expressing yourself in a media-friendly way, to explain complicated matters to people in magazines, on TV or radio, then you’ve ‘sold out’. I don’t get it. I thought we spent public money on educating brilliant scientists and academics, so that they can teach the rest of us something!

Angelina is hated because she’s too good to be true, I think. She’s incredibly beautiful. When I saw her at the Oscars I was stupefied at her easy glamour. She has all these babies, a gorgeous husband and a real sense for business (check the above mentioned Guardian article). And then there’s the UN ambassador thing. She’s much more visible than all the other celeb ambassadors, I hear. Eh yes, I thought that was the whole point? I like her – even if I’m not a huge fan of her as an actress.

Andy Murray. OK, he’s not a McEnroe, that’s for sure. I always adored him. And I’ll admit to never having heard or read an interview with Murray, since I don’t find sports interviews interesting. But people are saying that even if he’s British they still want him to lose. What has the poor bloke done? OK, so he’s a bit arrogant? So was Björn Borg. Was he equally hated?

So people, explain to me why it’s comme il faut to spite these people and not others. Because I’d really like to know!

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Wonders of the world

It will never cease to amaze me how many fantastic people have spoken at the TED conferences over the years. I’ve seen quite a lot of them, but they keep releasing more and there keep coming new fantastic, eye-opening ones. Like this one about classical music. How is your relationship with classical music? Are you indifferent or do you hate it? I’ll ask you, since you’ve already done me the favour of visiting my blog, to also indulge me and see this video. It is 20 minutes long. If you’re touched by it, like I was, let me know. If you’re not, explain why, but please let me know that too!

The speaker is conductor and motivational speaker Benjamin Zander:

I don’t have much to add today, it’s just one of those days when I prefer to let others do the talking. I’ve posted this on my blog before, but it’s my all time favourite TED talk, so here it comes again. If you haven’t heard it before and if you found the above one inspiring, you’ll adore this one. It gives you faith in humanity. Something that’s much needed.

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#Iranelection

What’s with the # (hash-tag) you ask (if you’re not on Twitter). The above is the key word for any tweet about the Iranian election and the ensuing unrest.

Just read someone saying “You can’t trust all tweets about Iran”. No! Did anybody really think so? Can you trust anything fully? I don’t think so and I find this Iran-twitter-revolution thing totally fascinating and a great leap forward WITHOUT necessarily believing every tweet I get about the goings on there.

There are a number of reasons why:

  1. The people inside Iran can’t always get news verified before they post. Each Iranian tweeter values his or her own sources and tweets what he/she finds credible. When things get very heated, they might tweet something that is exaggerated or will later turn out to be false. That doesn’t discredit these people entirely!
  2. People outside who’re trying to make sense of tweets from inside are well-meaning people (mostly). They want to support the people inside Iran by RT’ing (re-tweeting, means forwarding) their messages to their own group of followers. Also called viral power.
  3. Apparently there are (this is NOT verified) government officials in Iran trying to infiltrate Twitter by posing as Mousavi-supporters. One must have one’s bullsh.. guard up.
  4. And then of course there are all the people here in the West who loves a “good story” more than anything. And in this particular species’ view, a “good story” is one with lots of blood and misery. They will exaggerate anything they hear and in no time stories will be blown out of proportion. This is something which also happened before the web, if I may just remind the Luddites out there.

So no, you cannot believe anything you read on Twitter, on my blog, in the Daily Mail (particularly not…), in the Times, on BBC Online or anywhere else. You must apply your own critical sense. After a while you realise that it is more often true what you find on BBC Online than what you read in the Daily Mail. OK. Now you know this. It’s still not a reason to now believe everything that’s on the BBC website. What you do know now though, is that when it makes sense to check something you read in the Daily Mail against what’s on the same subject in the Times, the other way round will only rarely pay off.

If you want to join in, start by reading the always sensible but engaged Cory Doctorow’s advice on how to go about tweeting #iranelection. Another trustworthy source of news from Iran is Andrew Sullivan on The Atlantic. The most web-forward British paper is The Guardian, a journo there is live-blogging.

And – green is the colour of hope in Iran, so get out the greens!

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Music festival for the convenience generation (that's me)

Many months ago I got newsletter from RHS Wisley, which is right around the corner from where we live, so we go there all the time – sometimes just for coffee & cake. This newsletter announced the yearly music festival. My inclination was to go for Katherine Jenkins (despite fear of repertoire of musical hits), but I knew Dane would find that utterly boring, so suggested to husband that we indulge the little one (a huge Abba fan) and buy tickets for Abba/Queen tribute night. He agreed and I bought the tickets. The concert was sold out a few days later.

Abba
'Abba'
Queen
'Queen'

So, Saturday night was the night. Luckily the weather was quite warm, if not dry. We packed a basket full of munchies, wine and coffee and set off. Lots of people of all ages and really lovely ambience. Every police officer I saw had a huge smile on his/her face!

Having spent a considerable part of my adult life in the more forward part of the (Danish) music business, I’m not a huge fan of copy bands and never was much of a Queen fan. It’s different with Abba – as a Scandinavian they were just THERE – all the time. You could not NOT know their songs, unless you lived as a hermit. I’ve disliked most music festivals I’ve been to except the Roskilde Festival, which I think I visited 17 years in a stretch. Because of being in the biz, I always had privileges, so didn’t have to queue for hours to visit yucky toilets. At Wisley nobody had to queue for toilets and they were ever so neat! And nobody stumbled around half unconscious with drink and drugs and the music was not loud at all. Actually, it was so muted that I wondered whether I’m just simply going deaf!

‘Abba’ wasn’t that good, although not bad either. Worst bit was ‘Björn’ trying to be funny with applied Swedish accent. Arrgghhh. ‘Queen’ really was rather good – so much like the real thing. Very entertaining.

Also entertaining was of course people watching. He. I can’t decide whether I find it hilarious or exhilarating to see middle aged chunky women (like yours truly) going crazy to Abba? I would possibly go crazy to a different kind of concert – who knows (Erasure – wouldn’t that be fun?). But this left me more amused than anything else and I rarely got out of my comfy chair… Next to us was the funniest family. 50ty-something parents, gaunt dad with long curly (uni-professor style) hair and steel-rimmed glasses, mum very overweight and eh, motherly, two pre-teens, a girl who looked like a boy and a boy who looked like he’d much rather be doing math course work. Both kids sat slumped in their chairs throughout the evening without saying one word to their parents or each other. Parents were singing and dancing, but didn’t seem to share the experience as much as living it separately… Their picnic consisted solely of “food” out of foil bags.

As you can see from the pictures, Dane enjoyed it very much and blabbered on for at least an hour after coming home about this that and the other he’d observed at the concert. So it was definitely worth it!

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Is less always more or only sometimes?

Together with a lot of other Twitterers, I’ve enjoyed this article in the New York Times. It’s written by the clearly renowned writer Pico Iyer, although I *shamefully hangs head* had never heard of him. I must read one of his books. Any of you well read, sophisticated people out there have any suggestions?

The piece is about leaving most of his worldly possessions behind him and settling in humble dwellings in Japan. How it elates him and sets him free. Even if you have no dream of being able to do such a thing or even if you’re a real materialist hedonist (can one say that??), you should still read it. His writing is fabulous and very evocative.

I have little more to say today, other than bringing you this silly picture. Notice that it’s a first for me – I usually never fall for animal cuteness on the web, but this one really got me. Maybe because of the caption. It was brought to my attention by fellow happy twitterer @Eyglo from Iceland who also writes the excellent blog Ideary.

Sourced from @eyglo on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/n5hg23
Sourced from @eyglo on Twitter: http://tinyurl.com/n5hg23

Oh yes and this, which I took yesterday when we decided on a quick walk in a strange forest. Sheep Leas, not far from Horsley, Surrey.

Dont say an Iphone cant take a decent pic.
Don't say an Iphone can't take a decent pic.
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Happiness again

Today’s TED talk is about happiness. It’s with Nancy Etcoff, an evolutionary psychologist. It’s 20 minutes.

She has some interesting points, e.g. that a successful marriage has a 5:1 rate. Of what, you might ask. For every one harsh and unpleasant thing one spouse says to the other, five niceties are needed to make up for it. So in a successful marriage then, we say five nice things to our spouse for each not-so-nice. Good thing to remember!

She mentions words that describe different kinds of happiness and gives us something to think about. Namely that some languages have happiness-words that other languages totally lack!

  • Fiero – pride in an achievement
  • Schadenfreude – taking pleasure in other people’s misery
  • Naches – pride and joy in one’s children

And she muses over the fact that no language she knows of has a word to describe one’s happiness for another person’s happiness.

Finally, she quotes Epictetus:

First say to yourself what you would be. Then do what you have to do.

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Something to be thankful for? (and Aristotle for kids)

After using new Netvibes tools to arrange all the blogs I follow into neat groups, easy to sort through, I’ve hardly looked at them. The reason is the same as for not writing anything here. So today I thought I should have a quick look through them and see if there’s anything worth recommending. And of course there is. Lots.

Blogging

My favourite economist Tyler Cowen meets another favourite of mine, Happiness-blogger Gretchen Rubin IRL. He teases us with their discussion subjects, but ends post with this, which I find very promising for when I’ll someday meet some of my blogger-favourites myself:

I have never once met a person whose blog I like and then been disappointed.  Never.

Children

Another economist (author of Parentonomics) obviously writes a lot about parenting. He recommends this post, which is one of the best I’ve ever read about children. It’s about how to teach them to argue well. And yes, we DO want to teach them that. If you have children, read it, read it, read it.

Happiness

A blogger who tethers between economy and politics is Chris Dillow. He has an interesting and intriguing post about happiness, one of my pet subjects.

Food

On the very, very important subject of food, I’ve just finished reading this absolutely mouthwatering post about Southern (We’re talking about the Southern US here) food prepared in a Northern kind of way. Oh me oh my; for a person who was in culinary heaven while travelling the US South and particularly in New Orleans, this post will inspire to quite a few meals around here. What do you say to Garlic Bread Pudding? I say YES.

Via one of my favourite food writers, Mark Bittman, is here a little treat to go with barbecued greens: Chili oil.

On being a woman, a mum, a person

Quite a while ago Tania Kindersley wrote the most beautiful and poetic post about what we do when a bad mood strikes. Except that I could never hope to write such adorable prose it echoes what I often think myself on these matters. How I wonder where the bad mood came from, what to do to expell it or even if I should (when not affecting others, of course). Tania has taken time off from her blog and Twitter and I must say, I truly miss her! Btw Tania, I was thinking we should also reflect on those days when we wake up in a great mood, equally inexplicably. That’s one of my favourite experiences of daily life -when you suddenly find that your spirits are high and the world looks like a friendly place. Where did it come from? We might never know. But I’m thankful.

The debate about working mums contra stay-at-home mums is still roaring. Here are three prominent voices: Sarah Vine in the Times. A fuming reply from “Potty Mummy”, a stay-at-home mum and a reply to this from Times editor Jennifer Howse on the Times Alpha Mummy blog. (Don’t bother with the comments, they are depressing, I just hate it when women are so poisonous against each other).

I am an in-betweener. I work, but I do it at home and often I don’t do much of it. But I would never choose to be a stay-at-home mum for the sole sake of my children. Although I love to cook and bake cupcakes, I’m just not the type. And I hate, HATE cleaning. I don’t entertain my children, I’m lousy at keeping up with their homework, I always try to wriggle out of playing board games etc. etc. And excursions never EVER go to kiddy entertainment places, but invariably to National Trust properties, Good Long Walks or museums etc. etc. I find it difficult to relate to many of the issues raised by the stay-at-home mums of my acquaintance, as I find them boring, quite simply. And I worry that they over-protect and overwhelm their children with their presence.

But I’m glad that I don’t have to go to work every day, because I do get to pick up son after school and chat with him, I do get to sit down with him and do something he wants, I do get to watch his TV favourites over his shoulder and I do get to make sure that he eats good and varied meals (almost) every day. And I don’t have to live in constant panic of him falling ill (which is probably why he never does).

But I can certainly relate to some of the points raised by Sarah Vine – the total lack of social status, the complete invisibility at social gatherings, the lack of a social life (besides Twitter…). I thoroughly miss the social status my job used to give me and it’s no use claiming that I don’t. But I don’t miss the stress of office life, the (sometimes) awful malice of other women, the struggle to live with a boss who’s just not that bright…

Bottom line I guess is same old, same old. You can’t have it all. So sit back and enjoy what you do have, while you still have it. Veeeery philosophical and not even very profound, I know. But that’s me.

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Silence is now officially broken

Am now back, don’t know yet if it’s with a vengeance, but it’s with something very innocent, namely a food recipe.

First I’ll just tell you briefly what’s been going on in the meantime:

I haven’t been well – will get back to that later, if I don’t end up deeming it too private/boring for the public eye.

I wrote my Bachelor dissertation with my friend Mikkel. Here’s a picture of it…

Name means: Why dont they just go and do it?
Titel means: Why don't they just go and do it?

We had a Bar Mitzvah in the family. Great big party for a lovely boy. Here’s a picture of the rabbi’s legs:

Cool shoes, dont you think?
Cool shoes, don't you think?

We also had a wedding in the family. The reception was at our house. The happy couple wants to keep the pictures private, so here’s a picture of me and young Dane on the day:

It was such a beautiful day!
It was such a beautiful day!

And my older son Emil has been visiting, so blogging was sort of bottom of the list, you see!

We went for a walk at Winkworth Arboretum
We went for a walk at Winkworth Arboretum

Oh yes, and it was young son’s 8th b’day. Here’s a picture of the cakes and the rolls, which we served on the day.

Traditional bday rolls as per family recipe
Avocado/Strawberry b'day layer cake
Traditional Danish bday rolls as per family recipe
Traditional Danish b'day rolls as per family recipe

And for the patient Twitterati is here finally the recipe for:

Avocado/strawberry layer cake – ideal for summer b’days

You’ll need a plain sponge cake, which you’ll then split in three for each cake. Either bake or order at baker’s.

Per cake you’ll need approximately:

2 avocados, must be ripe
2 pounds of strawberries
icing sugar
2 unwaxed lemons
1/2 l double cream
inside of 1/2 – 1 vanilla pod

This cake can be made the evening before if you 1) have room in your fridge 2) wait with decorating the top till just before serving. It gets better that way, the gooey strawberry mash soaks nicely into the sponge…

Have the sponges at the ready with bottom ones on cake platters.

Make avocado cream: Put avocado flesh, icing sugar (a little to begin with, add to taste), lemon juice & vanilla into blender and mix. When thoroughly mixed, add cream. Hold some back to make sure you get the right consistency. It must be like quite thick cream.

Now make strawberry mash. Use half the berries, mash them with icing sugar. Again, use sugar to taste.

Slice the rest of the strawberries in 3-4 lengthwise, keep some which you only halve for decorating the sides.

Now you’re ready to make the cake:

With a spatula, spread a layer of strawberry mash onto bottom layer. A layer of avocado cream goes on top. Then a layer of sliced strawberries in a nice pattern. Repeat with second layer. If you’re making the cake a day ahead, finish with top bit of sponge, film and stick in fridge. Avocado cream must be in airtight container in fridge.

Next day just before serving, you decorate your cake with more avocado cream and more strawberries. Depending on occasion, you can now decorate with candles etc. or for a more grown-up feel with strawberries or redcurrants on the stalks, dipped in egg white and then dusted with icing sugar. Very pretty. These need to rest on kitchen towels for a few hours before they are ready.

Thanks to Danish chef, food writer, organics pioneer & chief feminist Camilla Plum for this lovely and original recipe!

On Twitter I promised @titianred a recipe for Italian style potato pizza. It’s here (you’ll have to read all of it to get to the potato part).

This one is with artichoke hearts
This one is with artichoke hearts
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Silence

Just thought I should let you know why I’m eerily silent here on the blog. It’s not because I’m too busy Twittering, although I do Twitter a bit every day. 140 characters seem to be just what I can deal with at the moment.

You see, I’m writing my Bachelor paper for delivery on May 29th. And that’s only a few weeks away. Right now I’m stuck, but that too will pass – I hope.

Also, I had to go to Denmark last week to attend my (grand)mother’s funeral. It was nice to see such a big turnout for the passing of a nonagenarian. She would have appreciated the truckload of flowers in only pink and purple and the beautiful sunny day. A good day for a send-off!

So, dear faithful readers (those of you still left after my long silence), I’ll be back in June, hopefully with a vengeance. If you absolutely must know what I’m up to, please subscribe to my Twitter-feed. You can see it in the right hand column here on the blog.

Have a lovely month of May, everyone!

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Holiday, corruption, drug resistance, sleep & happiness – in that order

Last post in a while. We’re off on family holiday in Portugal tomorrow morning and I’m not bringing my ailing Mac-baby. It will rest in our safe. Don’t try to rob our house, we have alarm and neighbourhood watch ;-)

Politics:

American justice is a strange phenomenon. I’ve never liked the fact that judges are elected directly by the public. It appeals to a kind of ambition that a judge should not have… This story from the New York Times confirms your worst suspicions! Had it been a film, you would probably have judged it incredible, had it been a book it would have been written by Elmore Leonard.

Environment:

Sometimes I have discussions with people about why one should buy organic household products. I do it because I want to do my teeny weeny little bit to not add more to pollution than necessary to that very limited resource of ours, water. It’s not just me flushing less chemical sludge into the sewers, it’s also the factories producing the products I use. I must then live with the fact that it’s more difficult for me to keep my whites white and that my clothes don’t smell like a meadow of lilies. Here’s an article from the Guardian referring to a study, which has shown that many household products like shampoo and cleaning agents contain substances which further the development of certain microbes in water, which in turn spread drug resistant bacteria into the environment (=us).

Science:

Worry dolls. Picture from Wikipedia.
Worry dolls. Picture from Wikipedia.

Sleep, that lovely thing we do every night and think little of when we get enough. Anyone who has suffered from prolonged sleep problems or who has small children and a job knows how important it is and how terrible it feels when you don’t get enough. Even when it’s only a few nights. Scientists are still working to understand sleep, but here’s an article which tells about short- and long term consequenses of sleep deprivation. Get your sleep while you can! I have a sleep tip for those of us who will lose sleep over worries: In South America they use “worry dolls“, tiny little dolls to whom you tell your problems before placing them under your pillow. Something happens when you voice your concerns. Sometimes they disappear altogether, other times they are just put into perspective. If you don’t have access to worry dolls (who has?), try writing your worries on a piece of paper or a note book before you go to sleep. It works more often than not. At least for me.

Happiness:

On Twitter someone recommended this very seasoned blogger, Lisa Williams. That was just as well, because she has a most interesting post about happiness, a whole new take on the subject. If you’re half as interested in the subject of happiness as I am (who isn’t btw?), then you’ll enjoy reading Lisa’s little insightfull post. I’ve written about happiness previously. Here latest.

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Religious zeal – or what's worse

Politics:

An interview with Hanif Kureishi about what has happened to the world since the fatwa against Salman Rushdie‘s The Satanic Verses. It’s very interesting and deserves to be read by anyone who takes an interest in these matters. Here’s a quote:

The Rushdie affair, Kureishi believes, transformed not just his own work, but also “the very notion of writing.” The fatwa “created a climate of terror and fear. Writers had to think about what they were writing in a way they never had to before. Free speech became an issue as it had not been before. Liberals had to take a stand, to defend an ideology they had not really had to think about before.” How have they borne up to the task? “The attacks on Rushdie showed that words can be dangerous. They also showed why critical thought is more important than ever, why blasphemy and immorality and insult need protection. But most people, most writers, want to keep their heads down, live a quiet life. They don’t want a bomb in the letterbox. They have succumbed to the fear.”

They also touch on the Danish cartoon controversy. I thought then and I still think that it was perfectly all right to publish those drawings, if they had been in some sort of context. The most controversial one, the one with the mullah with the bomb in the turban would probably had gone by quite unnoticed had it accompanied an article about one of those insane Islamic fanatics who we always see on videos thundering about the imminent demise of the Western World. But the context of the drawings, if anyone should have forgotten, was a purposeful attempt to insult Muslims. Plain and simple. Nothing else. And I find that despicable.

I’ve read several of Kureishi’s books and of course also seen the lovely My Beautiful Launderette, but bow my head and admit that I’ve never gotten around to read the Satanic Verses or any of Rushdie’s other books. I don’t like Rushdie much and, although I’m always preaching to others about not letting the artist overshadow the work, I guess that’s what’s influenced me so I haven’t read any of his books. I even have one or two on the shelf… It was the clever twitterer @howardsends who alerted me to the interview.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Here’s a video from a congressional hearing on climate change. You will have to see it to believe that so much nonsense can come out of the mouth of a grown up and totally sane looking suit-clad congressman. (notice how the girl behind him tries not to smile). Pointer (again) from Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic.

Here’s a good, reflective piece from Time Magazine about the Earth Hour.

IQ:

Thorough and well written review of important book about IQ as being hereditary or environmental. As with almost everything else, it’s not either or, it’s AND. Of course intelligence can be cultivated. And of course black people don’t have lower IQs than whites because of their race. And of course women don’t have lower IQs than men. As with any other gift you inherit from your ancestors you can either do something with it or not!

Tech:

If the management on NYT and International Herald Tribune are this dumb, there’s very little hope for the world!

Food:

How to use chopsticks. Instructional video. 90 secs. It works. Found on this interesting looking blog via Sheamus who never fails to twitter about interesting stuff.

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Hunger on April Food Day

Writing about hunger today on April Food Day, inspired by Ari Herzog. His main concern is this charity, Feeding America. Although I have seen with my own eyes that also America has its share of extreme poverty, malnutrition seems to be a much bigger problem than hunger and with equally devastating short- and long term consequences. If you enter their homepage and click on the real-life stories, the pictures illustrate my point. A good deal of these people, apparently suffering from hunger, are obese. So, they are not hungry, but malnourished. I find that, from checking on their homepage, they don’t focus enough on nutrition and have no statistics to tell us whether it’s possible to buy enough healthy food for the family with the same amount of money that these families clearly spend on food with no nutritional value.

Honestly, I don’t have anything to say on the subject of hunger that others haven’t already expressed much better than I ever could. So below I’m linking to a few filmed speeches (from TED) and posts/websites, which touch on this subject in original and intelligent ways. Enjoy!

The first is Eleni Gabre-Madhin, who works for the International Food Policy Research Institute.

This one is two years old and doesn’t specifically address hunger. But if you take the time (just under 20 min.) you’ll be rewarded with some of the most amazing statistics you’ve ever seen AND with data about the developing world, which is actually uplifting. The Swedish statistics genius Hans Rosling:

On a much less optimistic note is an article from NYT about hunger in India – a much overlooked problem, because other parts of India are developing fast and it’s a democratic country.

Hunger as weapon. Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Dish blog on the Atlantic. Really, really horrible!

In the American Foreign Affairs magazine (often much more interesting than the title suggests) there’s an article by an Oxford economist, with whom I do not agree at all. He promotes large scale farming to solve the hunger problem, mainly in Africa. To offset his claims read the reply from employees of the World Bank.

Finally some links to organisations that focus on hunger. Action Against Hunger focuses on sustainable solutions to the world’s hunger crises. The One organisation is the one founded by Bono. I know you’re supposed to think that he’s a selfrighteous prick, but I actually think that he’s chosen to do something worthwhile with his fame and his money. So there…

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There's nothing a brain scan won't reveal

Science:

Activity in Caudate Nucleus (a part of our brain) predicts our choices. That’s another part of our brain that seems to be moored in the hunter/gather era of humanity, because the study shows that the brain pushes our choice towards the one with the largest perceived reward.

This is funny! Apparently, there’s very little you can’t see on brain scans. For instance, you can predict blunders! Seems like life would be different (easier?) if we could walk around with brain scanners on our heads all the time…

When romantically inclined, we don’t want to follow the crowd. It’s the other way ’round when we’re scared.

IQ:

A brain scan can show IQ?

Children:

When discussing how we bring up our children and feminism issues with friends and family I’m always arguing that 1) We must answer questions about sex when put to us by our children, in an honest and close-to-the-truth way, according to their age. If we don’t they’ll know how to get the information from other sources, which might not be as credible. They WILL get the information! And 2) that men and women will never be equal as long as the porn industry is as skewed as it is. When boys and girls see the average porn flick or magazine, they get a sadly stereotypical impression of sexuality. Finally a programme on Channel 4 (and not just yet another study by a feminist psychologist) shows how youngsters get their “knowledge” about sex: Porn. Think about that, parents, before you snub another sex-related question from your children out of misplaced modesty.

Told you so… Extra-curricular activities and good social skills in high school will benefit you later in life.

This story was all over Twitter yesterday. When your toddler doesn’t respond to your REPEATED instructions, it’s not because they’re not listening. They’re just storing it for later. What I don’t understand then, is what happens with bigger children? Maybe they are just storing the instructions for MUCH later?

Health:

Education slows down the spreading of HIV in Sub-Saharan countries. Read the interesting description of how, in the beginning of the epidemic, the disease spread fastest among educated males, because they had more leisure time and money to provide them greater access to commercial sex workers. Notice this new euphemism for prostitutes… Where did that come from?

A cure for Herpes. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Politics:

Why is it that politicians from all over the Western world aren’t queueing to scold Putin and his puppets for these killings? Russia actually claims to be a democratic country and wants a place among the world’s leading nations!

For a nation that embraces countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan etc. it’s about time they loosen up towards Cuba.

Food:

Recipes on Twitter… I’ve just added a host of twittering chefs to my stream. Inspiration is everything when you’re the one left to do the everyday cooking!

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All about being organised & turning the lights out

New glasses this morning. Ah, revelation! My 15″ Mac-baby now looks like it’s 17″. Nice.

Have been constructing a Netvibes site for a paper I’m doing for uni and inspired by that I’ve completely revamped my personal Netvibes (RSS feed organiser and more). So I haven’t read so much today, just organised all my feeds to ease future reading. Therefore, it’ll be short and sweet today. Also, dinner needs to be ready before 8:30 when lights go out in honour of the Earth Hour. We’ll light some extra candles and turn off all electricity (except the heating). Maybe a candlelit game of Monopoly? Young son loves Monopoly.

Tech:

Our bank – and many other banks – has a very annoying system of what they of course refer to as EXTRA SECURITY. Now a security expert shows how it’s practically made for phishing. When you have to go through a really annoying extra procedure to access your web banking service, it’s downright infuriating to be told that the thing makes fraud easier, not harder!

Decision making. Doesn’t it just drive you crazy sometimes? One of the co-founders of Flickr is launching a new web service called Hunch to help us decide. I’ve signed up already, just can’t wait! It’s sort of built on some of the ideas that my favourite happiness guru also promotes, that we don’t always know what’s going to make us happy, but with a detour around other things that’s made us happy in the past (but which we’ve forgotten) will help.

Laura is this cool geeky girl with curly red hair who’s out looking for a “really cool laptop”. In this ad for Microsoft she discovers that Macs are more expensive than PCs! Oh wauw, I’m sure there are lots of people out there who thought differently!

Education:

Get a free one without leaving your home. Lifehacker has it.

Science:

Yes, viruses do jump from animals to humans – and back.

OK – not long till lights out now. Computer must also be shut down, obviously. Don’t read this between 8:30 – 9:30 pm your time! (Can one Twitter during the Earth Hour?)

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