Social Media

Damn Dirty Apes! The Evolution of Prejudice as Scientists See the Beginnings of Racism in Monkeys

Posted on April 20, 2011. Filed under: Editorial, Psychology, Social Media |

Posted by Chauncey DeVega on @ 11:12 am

Article printed from speakeasy:
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Psychologists have long known that many people are prejudiced towards others based on group affiliations, be they racial, ethnic, religious, or even political. However, we know far less about why people are prone to prejudice in the first place. New research, using monkeys, suggests that the roots lie deep in our evolutionary past.

Are we just naked apes?

Social psychologists have apparently taken a large step towards uncovering the origins of human prejudice by administering the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to monkeys. And yes, I did just write that sentence.

I am a fan of the IAT and find myself in agreement with a growing literature which suggests that it is a powerful tool for mapping the subconscious origins of human prejudice. However, I am suspicious of how the IAT applies to our monkey cousins. Moreover, while sociobiology offers some compelling insights into the evolutionary origins of human behavior, I am skeptical that it can richly illuminate the complex–and quite modern–system we have come to describe as “racism.” Ultimately, I am not prepared to call Dr. Grewal’s findings piss poor social science…but this monkey racism business veers damn close to the proverbial open fetid urinal of ideas.

There is a deep tendency to normalize the worst of our species’ behavior. The barbarism of war, the viciousness of pogroms and death camps, and the general capacity for humankind to be quite thoroughly rotten, demands some explanation. It simply cannot be that there is a banality of evil unique to the human psyche which exists as the dark flip side of self-awareness. Rather, there must be some biological explanation, some clue that locates these impulses in the deepest recesses of human evolution. By implication, if one discovers these wellsprings, behavior can be explained. We must be cautious here: the urge to explain is often quite problematic because it is one step away from excuse making and the rationalizing away of responsibility.

A narrative that naturalizes race prejudice is problematic in any number of ways. Primarily, it flattens what is a complicated phenomenon (racism)and conflates it with something all together different but nonetheless related (prejudice). Adding a further complication to this puzzle is how a sense of group position, hierarchy, ethnocentrism, as well as in-group vs. out-group identification are certainly integral for a full understanding the “house that race built,” but in and of themselves only give a partial picture of a complex set of social and political forces.

These variables are necessary and perhaps even sufficient conditions for racism. However, they do no constitute racism in and of themselves. Racism is a recent invention born of the 16 and 17th centuries. In the light of the Colonial and Imperial projects, white supremacy provided a way of rationalizing a project of global usurpation and wealth transfer from the prosperous parts of the world to a resource poor Europe. To make the racial contract real involved the generation of philosophical, scientific, moral, ethical, religious, and political “truths” that normalized European dominance of the world as the natural order of things.

Stated differently, “white” Europeans, those formerly Irish, Italian, British, French, and others had to come to America where they killed indigenous people and enslaved black folks in order to become White. To do so effectively, they had to create regimes of knowledge that made these endeavors both “right” and “necessary” in their eyes.

[Keeping in mind that racism and prejudice are different things, how do we reconcile the following problematics: If “prejudice” and “racism” are so “natural” why did it take so long for Europeans to codify the former and transform it into the latter? Where was this “naturalized” racism in other populations at other times across history?]

Social systems assign values to different types of people(s) and personhood(s). By implication, racism was made by man and can be undone by man. There is nothing natural about it. And while I am sucker for any monkey related news items, the premise that monkeys can tell us anything new or insightful about “racism” leaves me a bit cold.

Some choice excerpts from Scientific American’s, “The Evolution of Prejudice”:

Mahajan and her team also devised a method for figuring out whether the monkeys harbor negative feelings towards outsiders. They created a monkey-friendly version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT). For humans, the IAT is a computer-based task that measures unconscious biases by determining how quickly we associate different words (e.g. “good” and “bad”) with specific groups (e.g. faces of either African-Americans or European-Americans). If a person is quicker to associate “bad” with African-American faces compared to European-American faces, this suggests that he or she harbors an implicit bias against African-Americans.

For the rhesus monkeys, the researchers paired the photos of insider andoutsider monkeys with either good things, such as fruits, or bad things, such as spiders. When an insider face was paired with fruit, or an outsider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys quickly lost interest. But when an insider face was paired with a spider, the monkeys looked longer at the photographs. Presumably, the monkeys found it confusing when something good was paired with something bad. This suggests that monkeys not only distinguish between insiders and outsiders, they associate insiders with good things and outsiders with bad things.

Overall, the results support an evolutionary basis for prejudice…the behavior of the rhesus monkeys implies that our basic tendency to see the world in terms of “us” and “them” has ancient origins…

Editor and founder of the blog We Are Respectable Negroes which has been featured by the NY Times, the Utne Reader, and The Atlantic Monthly. Writing under a pseudonym, Chauncey DeVega’s essays on race, popular culture, and politics have appeared in various books, as well as on such sites as the Washington Post’s The Root and Popmatters.


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Cellphones are becoming useless at their primary function – Voice and text

Posted on September 30, 2010. Filed under: Social Media |

I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend. It’s that cellphones are becoming useless at their primary function – which is voice and text.

I’d been talking about and tweeting my thoughts and dissatisfaction with the sorry state of cellphone services today when I came across a blog post by Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, who also believes that voice calls are becoming obsolete. He makes some good points:

Generally speaking, a cellphone conversation is a frustrating failure if any of these conditions is true.

1. You have a weak signal.
2. You are using an earpiece or headset.
3. The other person has a weak signal.
4. The other person is using an earpiece or headset.
5. The other person has a cell phone (delay problem).
6. You are multitasking and can’t think.
7. The other person is multitasking and can’t think.
8. You are in a noisy environment, such as Earth.
9. The other person is in a noisy environment, such as Earth.
10. You get another call you have to take.
11. The other person gets another call he has to take.
12. You have a dying battery.
13. You have a phone that drops calls for no good reason.
14. The other person has a phone that drops calls for no good reason.
15. The other person has a dying battery.
16. You are in a restaurant and you’re not a jerk.
17. The other person is in a restaurant and isn’t a jerk.
18. There is a child within 100 yards of you.
19. There is a child within 100 yards of the other person.

Yes, that covers almost every situation. And the list goes on. In my life, voice calls using cellphones fail more often than they succeed, and the situation is getting worse. There was a time when most cellphone calls involved a land line on the other end, so at least one end of the conversation was likely to be trouble-free. Now most of the calls I fantasize about making would be between my cellphone and another cellphone. I don’t like those odds. So I send text messages instead.

Voice calling is in a sorry state pretty much across all providers. I’ve been using cellphones long enough to remember a time when you could expect a pretty decent service. Now it’s rare that I get a call clear enough to fully understand or one that doesn’t drop. It seems that the smarter that phones have become, the dumber the network has become. Part of the problem I feel is that while coverage has improved on the whole, it feels like it’s spread more thinly, like butter on warm toast.

Where Adams and I disagree though is that while he feels that the future is text messages, I believe that they are rapidly going the same way as the dinosaurs and the dodo. Nowadays I hate using text messages as much as I hate voice calls. Why? Because I can send a text and it can then vanish into some spooky black hole where it can reside for hours or days before being delivered. Text conversations are broken up across space and time, and the whole purpose of sending a text message is lost.

Note: Voice mails also seem to enter the Black Hole on a regular basis too …

Not only has sending messages been rendered pointless, so has receiving them. If I get a “Yes” text message from someone, I’ve no idea if that’s a reply to the message I sent five minutes ago or one I sent last week. That’s not the kind of information you can act on. And there’s no point sending a text to confirm because that will likely linger in the spooky black hole for a random period of time before being delivered.

Note: I always try to add context around my text messages to compensate for the variable time dilation effect between me sending sending and the recipient receiving it.

So why have a smartphone? Simple, web access. More and more I see email and Twitter and VoIP replacing voice and text. Sure, there are plenty of times when these don’t work too, but they’re far more transparent than the services that cellphone providers offer. Sure, Twitter/Skype/Facebook/IM/email all suck at times, but they are infinitely better and more reliable than my cellphone provider is at delivering text messages in a timely fashion.


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Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is an internationally published technology author who has devoted over a decade to helping users get the most from technology.


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Michael Moore to Receive the John Steinbeck Award

Posted on September 22, 2010. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Michael Moore at the 62nd Annual Academy Award...

Image via Wikipedia

The family of John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Grapes of Wrath” and other American classics, and the Center for Steinbeck Studies, have announced that they are giving their prestigious John Steinbeck Award to Michael Moore. They’re making their official announcement today and I thought you’d like to see the statement they’ve released to the press. Steinbeck’s son, Thomas, will present the award to Mike next month at a ceremony at San Jose State University (the public is invited to attend). Thomas Steinbeck had this to say this morning: “Michael Moore is a courageous man and a great selection for the John Steinbeck Award. My father would have loved him; my father was the Michael Moore of his time.”

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Google Me Details Emerge: Social Layers and Building off Buzz

Posted on September 19, 2010. Filed under: Social Media |

Brennon Slattery, PC World

Sep 17, 2010 7:34 am

It’s hard to resist drawing comparisons between Google Me and Facebook, but as more details about Google’s ambitions to build a social network emerge, the more disparate the two become. Though Google Me was initially expected to be a standalone site, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently revealed it will instead take a layered approach to Web socialization, weaving networking elements into preexisting Google products. Now, TechCrunch has uncovered new details about Google Me, including the news that the service will be built off Google Buzz.

“Google Me will produce an activity stream generated by all Google products. Google Buzz has been rewritten to be the host of it all. And the reason Google Buzz isn’t currently working in Google Apps is because they’ll use the latest Buzz to support the activity stream in Apps… All Google products have been refactored to be part of the activity stream, including Google Docs, etc. They’ll build their social graph around the stream,” unnamed sources who’ve worked with Google on the product told TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington.

The social layers approach is a good one — flat-out copying Facebook, as some blogs have accused, would probably get a big “meh” from the masses. Why bother with a Google Facebook when you can have a Facebook-Facebook? Also, giving the public what it wants — which is apparently even more social Web features — without requiring yet another bookmark or profile could be a recipe for streamlined success.

However, basing Google Me on Buzz’s foundation makes me nervous. Buzz was interesting but heavily flawed, and many people stayed away from it altogether. I’m surprised Google hasn’t shut it down like it did with its productivity collaboration suite, Wave — which was yet another embarrassing misstep for the company. And though Schmidt indicated that Google Me will be an opt-in service, thus reducing the chances of having an angry privacy backlash, it’s very possible that people won’t even know about or use Google Me — just like Buzz’s usage has been tepid at best due to obliviousness.


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Elin Nordegren on Tiger Woods: ‘I’ve been through hell’

Posted on August 25, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else, Social Media | Tags: |

By Jay Busbee

Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.

After nine months, Elin Nordegren has broken her silence on the infidelity scandal that rocked her family and led to the dissolution of her marriage to golf star Tiger Woods.

In what she says will be a one-time-only discussion of her side of the story, Nordegren spoke with People magazine for 19 hours over four days. The revelations were sobering, and in some cases surprising.

The three key takeaways from Nordegren’s story are:

• She says she is in no way a violent person, calling any speculation that she swung a golf club at Woods on Thanksgiving night “ridiculous.”

• She was completely broadsided by the news of Woods’ extramarital affairs, believing that she was the only woman in his life. In short, she was as surprised as most of the rest of the world that the persona Woods put forth – dedicated competitor, family man – was a carefully constructed sham. “I’m so embarassed that I never suspected [his affairs] – not a one,” she said.

• In line with that, she said she believed fully that her relationship with Woods was a real marriage, not an act orchestrated for cameras and sponsors. “The word betrayal is just not strong enough,” she told People. “I have been through the stages of disbelief and shock to anger and ultimately grief over the loss of the family I so badly wanted for my children.”

[Photos: More of Tiger’s Swedish ex-wife, Elin Nordegren]

Woods, who will be playing in this weekend’s Barclays Championship in New Jersey, has not yet commented on Nordegren’s interview. Clearly, however, she plans on him being in the picture as the father of her children – daughter Sam, 3, and son Charlie, 19 months – as she didn’t scorch the earth with her comments. She declined to go into more detail about the events of Thanksgiving, and she would not comment on the size of her divorce settlement – rumored to be in excess of $100 million – except to indicate that it is substantial enough that she won’t have to work initially and will be able to focus on raising her children.

[Related: a complete timeline of the Tiger Woods scandal]

The People magazine article gives the impression that Nordegren is both very aware of her celebrity – perhaps infamy – as the aggrieved wife, and also very understanding of the fact that she is something of a punch line for gaining so much money in the divorce settlement. As such, she intends to remain a private person and has no intention of being a celebrity – refreshing in an age where everyone who nabs a single headline is rushing to sign a reality-TV or talk show deal.

[Photos: More images of Tiger Woods]

Most surprisingly, throughout all the drama of the Woods scandal, Nordegren quietly spent time as a humble college student, taking night classes in pursuit of a psychology degree. According to her, she’s 40 credits short of a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and hopes to follow that with a master’s and, at some point in the future, work as a therapist herself. Perhaps fittingly, she took a clinical approach to her own healing, facing it directly and without shame in regular, intensive therapy sessions.

“My immediate plan is for the kids and me to continue to adjust to our new situation,” she said. “I am going to keep taking classes, but my main focus is to try to give myself time to heal.”

As for the future, she plans to raise the children in South Florida, near a home she and Woods have been building in Jupiter. So it seems she intends for him to remain a part of her life in some capacity; indeed, the article begins with Woods arriving home with the children during the interview and surprising Elin, who reacts with kindness and respect.

For now, this will close Elin Nordegren’s side of the story. Clearly, though, this will follow her and her family for decades to come.

The issue of People featuring Elin Nordegren on the cover will be inescapable starting Friday. Below, some video from Wednesday morning’s Today Show covering the story:

Join the Facebook page of Yahoo! Sports’ Devil Ball Golf to keep up on Tiger Woods and all else in the world of golf by clicking here.


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Posted on August 18, 2010. Filed under: Humanitarian Issues, Social Media | Tags: , |


speech delivered in Edmonton, Alberta by Dr. Roland Chrisjohn
Member of Iroquois Confederacy (Oneida), healer (“psychologist”), author of The Circle Game
Date of speech unknown

…”Residential schools were one of many attempts at the genocide of the Aboriginal Peoples inhabiting the area now commonly called Canada. Initially, the goal of obliterating these peoples was connected with stealing what they owned (the land, the sky, the waters, and their lives, and all that these encompassed); and although this connection persists, present-day acts and policies of genocide are also connected with the hypocritical, legal and self-delusion need on the part of the perpetrators to conceal what they did and what they continue to do. A variety of rationalizations (social, legal, religious, political and economic) arose to engage (in one way or another) all segments of the Euro-Canadian society in the task of genocide. For example, some were told (and told themselves) that their actions arose out of a Missionary Imperative to bring the benefits of the One True Belief to savage pagans; others considered themselves justified in the land theft by declaring that the Aboriginal Peoples were not putting the land to ‘proper’ use; and so on. The creation of the Indian Residential Schools followed a time-tested method of obliterating indigenous cultures, and the psychosocial consequences these schools would have on Aboriginal Peoples were well understood at the time of their formation.

Present-day symptomology found in Aboriginal Peoples and societies does not constitute a distinct psychological condition, but is the well-known and long-studied response of human beings living under conditions of severe and prolonged oppression. Although there is no doubt that individuals who attended Residential Schools suffered, and continue to suffer, from the effects of their experiences, the tactic of pathologizing these individuals, studying their condition, and offering ‘therapy’ to them and their communities must be seen as another rhetorical maneuver designed to obscure (to the world at large, to Aboriginal Peoples, and to the Canadians themselves) the moral and financial accountability of Eurocanadian society in a continuing record of Crimes Against Humanity.

I’m not denying that people in the Residential Schools–some of them–are having troubles today. But I don’t want to talk about the pathology, the alcohol and drug abuse, and the suicide of people who went to Residential School when that takes us away from talking about the real issues, and that is, what are the political, the economic and the legal ramifications of what occurred to First Nations People in these schools. We keep talking about how sick we are but we never ask: how sick were these people who created these things? Why is the sickness on our side? Why is it we have to prove how sick we are in order to get something done about these kinds of things?

I was in a room, early on in the Royal Commission work [Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples], and everybody was telling me oh, well, all this great work you are going to do, that is going to talk about the healing and the therapy that is necessary with Residential Schools. And I’m looking around, there’s a former Supreme Court Justice, there’s a lawyer, there’s another judge over here, there’s another person with legal training who has written law books or whatever, they’re sitting around telling me all of this and I said “it sounds like I’m in a room with damn psychologists.” In a room full of judges and lawyers does nobody recognize that crimes have been committed here? And why aren’t we talking about crimes? No, no that’s not even a fit topic for conversation. What we have to talk about is how sick the damn Indians are; and well we are going to take care of them.

Right. Let’s see how that game works; how the “Therapeutic State” works here. Well the Indians are sick, so do we do? We’re going to take some money, we’re going to give to largely, white, Anglo-Saxon protestant Eurocanadian therapists, and they’re going to visit with these people for 20 fifty-minute hours, after which time they’re going to be cured. So isn’t interesting that we’re going to transfer white people’s money from one pocket to another pocket and we’re going to call this ‘money spent on Indian People.’

The same game is being played in the education system. Where what we do, is if weve got a child with some difficulty with education, we send them to a psychologist, and in the Province of Alberta, that psychological assessment costs $4,500. That’s $4,500 that goes from the Federal Government to the pocket of a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant psychologist who writes a report and says ‘kid is not learning very much.’ Oh, well thank you for clearing that up. That’s $4,500 that is counted as ‘money spent on Indian Education’, but it’s money that we merely get to authorize the transfer of from the Federal government to the private pockets.

Now does anybody point out, does anybody wonder that the fact that the assessments are not validated, the statistical properties are not established for First Nations children, means that such an assessment is an ethical violation of Canadian and American psychological testing standards? Oh, no, nobody bothers to bring that up; there’s money to made here.

Notice what happens, when, uh–Dr. Hanson was saying about blame the victim– look at how the system reacts to a child who is having difficulty in school: there’s got to be something wrong with the child. We can’t ask the question: Is it possible that maybe there is something wrong with the curriculum?; Is it possible that there’s something wrong with the way that the structure of learning is set up so that some idiot stands up in front of a large group of people and talks, so somebody hears a loudspeaker, and everybody else is a tape recorder, and this is how education is supposed to behave? This is how it is supposed to take place?

We’re not allowed to inquire into the dynamics of the educational system. What we have to do is accept that there’s something wrong with us. We’re the problem. The Residential School does exactly the same thing: the treatment of alcoholism as a disease that First Nations People have as a genetic thing or learned behavior that we don’t seem to be able to get around. Time and time again, the same process is taking place, and that process is, let’s not ask about the systemic kinds of things, let’s not ask about larger factors, let’s not ask about other responsibilities that may be entailed, let’s find what’s wrong with the specific case, what’s wrong with the Indians in this particular instance….

…we must misunderstand Indian Residential School to the extent to which we think that the pathology in the system lies within the survivors of the individual survivors of the Residential School experience. The pathology that you are looking for is not in the pathology of the people who went through the experience, the pathology is in the system of order that gave rise to that Residential School, that saw it in operation, that put it in operation, that thought it was a good thing, that patted itself on the back occasionally saying: ‘aren’t we doing well by our brown cousins?; we’re bringing them freedom and we’re bringing them into this particular world; aren’t we generous?; and all they are paying for it is all of their land, all of their trees, all of their minerals, all of their water, their freedom, their language, their religions, every aspect of their form of life, that’s all their paying.’

Now the fact that they didn’t make that bargain, that they didn’t ask for that, means that well they are kind of stupid you know; they don’t recognize just how superior our way is. So even though they are kicking and screaming, we’re going to do for them. There’s the patriarchy, there’s the patronizing aspect of it. The “Therapeutic State” will constantly congratulate itself that it’s doing good as it is doing the most horrendous thing.

…the extent to which we ourselves as First Nations People have continued that task, by not examining those kinds of questions, by accepting that the problem is our own individualized pathology, by running all kinds of workshops where we’ll say ‘we’ll let’s get together and we’ll hug a lot and this will overcome what happened to us in the Residential School.’

Oh, I’m sorry, it is a political problem, it is a legal problem, for the churches and for the Government of Canada, it’s also a financial problem, because they’ve got mighty big bills to pay if the Canadian public begins to realize what what done to human beings in their name. This is one of the reasons you won’t find the United Nations’ Genocide Charter inside history books, textbooks and in Canadian schools because the Canadians don’t want to tell their people what they’ve been doing in their name. They don’t want to see, starkly, in Article Two and Article Three, what their responsibilities were as human beings, and how, the acquiescence to the Residential School, even if they never even heard of an Indian or ever saw an Indian, how they were implicated in the crime as well–by their governments, by their churches.

They don’t want to hear about that, so we don’t put this in the textbooks. We don’t put in the textbooks what Canadian responsibilities are in terms of language, religion, education, our educational rights as human beings on this planet. Where they say ‘oh, well, we don’t have enough money for that. You want to have your own Indian university or you want to have your own Aboriginal research center, we’ll, there’s just not enough money.’ Well, that’s a violation of the Common Law of Nations that Canada is signatory to. Their avoiding their responsibilities and they’re covering-up by putting over it all the veneer of the “Therapeutic State.”

And God help us; a lot of us are involved in that “Therapeutic State.” We sit down and we do not go into the grounds of what’s going on, why is this happening, what are the historical backgrounds for this. One of the wisest things Dr. Szasz has ever said is: ‘the libraries are open, go and read, you want to find out about this stuff…’

There’s nothing here in The Circle Game that’s esoteric; we didn’t have to burrow into the national archives late at night and come out with secret scraps of paper. Everything we’ve got is public, and open and available. But we’ve got blinders on, and the blinders are ‘oh well Indian people are suffering and we’ve got to deal with that.’

I’ll tell you. Give us back all the land, gives back the payment for everything stolen, meet your obligations under the Treaties and I will see how many of us are still sick. Even if we are sick, we have the right as sovereign people to decide what we are going to do about it–not accept Health and Welfare Canada’s pronouncement that ‘it’s twenty sessions with a psychologist and you’re out the door, that’s it, you’re cured.’

These are part of our sovereign responsibilities. We do not need research; we need to think clearly about these issues. I come to a conference like this and I hear people saying ‘there aren’t any practical suggestions. Well, I’m sorry, when Dr. Szasz says that ‘you’re not fighting facts, you’re fighting ideologies’, that’s what we have to understand. The philosophy that stands behind what was done to us in the Residential School is the philosophy that stands behind the health and welfare cuts, stands behind the dismantling of the educational system in the Province of Alberta and so on and so on. We have to understand that ideology. We’re not doing any of that as we sit around hugging each other saying ‘oh, you had a bad time and I had a bad time too.’

We should be madder than hell about this; and we should be doing what Dr. Szasz has been doing: educating people about the history, the background, the ideology, the commonality of experience that is involved in this.

There’s a part in “Schindler’s List” which is the most horrible part of “Schindler’s List” of a most horrifying movie, that’s a moment that all of us have to say to ourselves ‘this is to be avoided entirely.’ It’s that moment when he has to stand there and say to himself and say to the people around him, ‘I could have done more.’ If we go to our graves and we say to ourselves ‘I could have done more’, I call myself a healer, I call myself a therapist, and I could have done more, then we’re gonna relive that horrible moment in “Schindler’s List” over and over again, and we’re gonna be doing it while we smile and while we pretend that we’re being generous and honest and open with the people who have come to us for help.

That, will be another crime against our own humanity. Thank you.

transcribed by Jim Craven

Submitted by Luc Majno


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Write to Breathe

Posted on August 11, 2010. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: |

I write for the same reason i breath
If i didn’t I would die
Without words to express myself
Life is a broken winged bird that can’t fly

I write my soul down word for word
I write things I could never say
Without this method of expression
I would cry every moment of the day

I try to forget all the regret
Or else life is mine to miss
Without saying what I truly feel
Then I’ll always stay like this

So I write for the same reason I breath
It’s so that bird can fly up to the sky
I need to rise higher and higher
And finally stop asking WHY???????

by Gulshah Alireza on Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 1:26am


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‘Racist’ Hollywood only wants Asians to play terrorists or cabbies: Dev Patel

Posted on August 10, 2010. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: |

Big News (ANI)     Monday 9th August, 2010

Dev Patel thinks that Hollywood is institutionally racist, as it only wants Asian actors for the roles of terrorists, taxi drivers or geeks.

The ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ star, 20, from Harrow, north-west London, is frustrated by the lack of decent roles on offer and is currently jobless.

“Because Slumdog was such a big hit there was a lot of pressure in terms of what I did next. For my second film I wanted a role that would stretch me, but all I was getting offered were stereotypical parts like the goofy Indian sidekick,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“Asian actors tend not to be sent Hollywood scripts that are substantial or challenging. I’m likely to be offered the roles of a terrorist, cab driver and smart geek… I want to show that I have versatility. You have to remember that, before Slumdog, the last film about India that went big at the Oscars was Gandhi, as played by Ben Kingsley. The fact that  Freida and I have any kind of platform in Hollywood is a big step forward.”

Patel said he was hoping to overcome prejudice.

“I’m buzzing with adrenaline and raring to go, but I have to be realistic. Being an Asian actor, it’s never going to be easy.

Hopefully the industry is changing and the casting directors will be less focused on colour so that people like myself can get through the door,” he added. (ANI)


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10 Things We Can’t Live Without

Posted on July 25, 2010. Filed under: Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , |

According to American news, these following things are part off their culture.

Some things could be different depending on culture and economy. ( example : Turkish coffee , Norway milk …)

Nearly everything had to go. A few months after losing her administrative job in the summer of 2008, 23-year-old Brianna Karp got rid of her furniture, a beloved piano, and most of her books so she could move back in with her parents. When that didn’t work out, she moved into an old trailer a relative had left her, settling into an informal homeless community in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Brea, Calif. By the summer of 2009, she was living without electricity, regular showers, home-cooked food, and most basic conveniences.

Karp held tight to one appurtenance, however: her laptop computer. She spent hours at a nearby Starbucks, using the wireless network to surf for jobs. A friend suggested she start a blog about her life on the edge, which she called the Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. It generated attention that helped land a part-time magazine internship. Then came an offer to write a book about her ordeal, which is due out in 2011–and might get turned into a movie. With some money from a book advance, Karp has upgraded to a better trailer, on a friend’s property, and she’s eyeing a Victorian fixer-upper she’d like to make her permanent home. Yet she craves few of the material things she’s given up, while cherishing the friends and opportunities she’s discovered online. “When you’re in survival mode, you slash everything,” Karp says. “That makes the online community that much more important. Online, somebody will always be there for me.”

The grueling recession that began in 2007 has upended American priorities, with frugality now considered a virtue for the first time in decades. Despite recent upticks in spending, retail sales remain lower than they were three years ago. Sales of homes, cars, and appliances have plunged. Shoppers have cut back on toilet paper and cigarettes, once thought recession-proof. Even porn sales are down. Thrift, it seems, has no boundaries.

Yet Americans have clung dearly to a few surprising necessities, reflecting changes in American society that go far beyond penny-pinching. Food, clothing and shelter have long been the most obvious staples. But data that’s finally rolling in as the recession winds down shows that we also require a bit of entertainment and a tasty beverage or two. Companionship is as important as ever–even if it’s not human. And you can’t even look for a job these days if you don’t have Internet access. As we redefine what’s really important, here are 10 new American essentials:

#1 – Portable computers. The iPad might be the latest must-have gizmo, but the power of computers transcends trendiness. Brianna Karp, for instance, discovered lots of homeless people online, many logging in through their own laptops, like her. Shipments of notebooks have skyrocketed over the last three years, with sales in 2010 likely to be double what they were in 2007, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Part of the jump comes from cheap netbooks, but portable computers of all sizes are becoming ubiquitous as we socialize, communicate, shop, get our news and increasingly live our lives online. Desktop sales, meanwhile, have been on a steady decline, as mobility trumps stability.

#2 – High-speed Internet access. Lots of people have cut back on cable TV, telephone service, and even gas and electricity usage. But once you’ve got high-speed Internet access, you don’t go back. In a Pew Research Center survey from last year, high-speed Internet was one of only three things people said was more of a necessity in 2009 than in 2006. Appliances like microwaves, clothes dryers and dishwashers, by contrast, were considered less essential in 2009 than they used to be. And data from the Telecommunications Industry Association shows that the rapid increase in broadband Internet subscribers barely slowed in 2008 or 2009.  By 2013, more than 90 percent of all Internet connections in the United States will be high-speed.

#3 – Smart phones. Overall sales of cell phones dipped for the first time ever in 2009. But sales of smart phones–which can handle email, browse the Internet and do a variety of other things–rose by 7 percent, according to TIA. And sales could surge by 25 percent this year, as people who have been putting off mobile upgrades finally nab the iPhone or Blackberry of their dreams. Like portable computers, smart phones have become a lifeline for the harried multitaskers we pretend we’re not.

#4 – Education. As Kevin and Deanna Daum were spiraling toward bankruptcy in 2009, they decided they could live without their two cars, their two residences, and most niceties. But they insisted on keeping up tuition payments for their son, then a senior at a private high school. Many Americans seems to feel likewise. While data doesn’t readily show how much families spend on schooling, many families say they’ve given up other things in order to protect their kids’ education, whether it’s private school or college, tutoring, enrichment programs or school-related activities. Private school enrollments fell by less than one percent from 2008 to 2010, and college enrollments have gone up over the last couple of years. That’s partly because jobs are scarce, but also because Americans simply value education. “This is an investment that pays off very well,” says Sandy Baum, an economist at the College Board. “People are willing to borrow for it and they know that it’s shortsighted to forego it.”

[See how to rebuild after losing your fortune.]

#5 – Movies. Ticket sales dipped in 2008 but bounced back in 2009, hitting a five-year high. One big reason was Avatar and other 3-D films, which accounted for 11 percent of the box office take in 2009, up from 2 percent the year before. Any box-office increase is a victory for movie theaters, which until last year had been losing viewers to home theater systems and an expanding lineup of movies on cable and the Internet.

#6 – TV. Amercians are spending less on entertainment–but watching more TV. A recent survey by consulting firm Deloitte found that they typical American watches nearly 18 hours’ worth of shows on a home TV each week, two hours more than a year earlier. One reason might be that more unemployed people are killing time at home. But TV might also seem like a cheap alternative to sports events, concerts and DVD purchases. And hard-core TV watchers can’t be all that strapped, since sales of high-definition TV sets have risen steadily right through the recession.

[See new ways to make your fortune on the Web.]

#7 – Music downloads. The need for mobility applies to music, too. CD sales fell by 21 percent in 2009, but downloads of singles and entire albums rose by nearly as much. The Pew Survey comparing luxuries and necessities helps explain why: More people considered an iPod a necessity in 2009 than in 2006, despite the recession.

#8 – Pets. Fido sits at the table these days. Maybe even at the head of the table. While Americans have cut spending on themselves, spending on pet food, supplies, grooming, vet care and clothing (clothing?) has been rising uninterrupted by about 5 percent per year. Industry officials attribute this to the “humanization” of pets, which in turn has led many pet owners to close the “quality of life gap” between their animals and themselves. The iWoof can’t be far behind.

#9 – Booze. Smoking less doesn’t make us entirely virtuous. Americans have backed off the high-end booze, but we’re drinking enough cheap stuff to make up for it, which is the usual trend during recessions. Beer and wine sales have inched up as well over the last few years. With bar and restaurant sales down, that suggests more people are drinking at home–while they watch TV, probably.

#10 – Coffee. Americans have actually followed that penny-pinching advice, and cut back on the $5 daily lattes. But they’re compensating by brewing more of their own coffee. About 56 percent of American adults drink coffee, a proportion that hasn’t changed over the last few years. But a recent survey by the National Coffee Association found that 86 percent of coffee drinkers make their own at home, up from 82 percent a year earlier. And those drinking coffee made someplace else (think Starbucks) fell from 31 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2010. Of course, if people are drinking more booze at home, then it makes sense that they’d be dosing themselves with more coffee, too. If the economy improves, maybe we’ll need less of each.

This newsletter has been written by moderator Sedat ESER of the group “Mind Sports”.

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Ovidiu Bufnila & Margot Genarro de Bourbon about FASHION

Posted on July 23, 2010. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , |

Ovidiu Bufnila: How much can fashion influence a woman’s character?
Margot Genarro de Bourbon: If a woman feels comfortable and confident in what she’s wearing, she’ll probably behave and carry herself differently from how she would if she were wearing something she feels is alien to her nature.

I’m speaking more about styles of clothes, like being dressy, casual, dark, light, grungy, things like that.

Women can alter or improve their individuality by their style of dressing. Should you learn that you are one of those who’re popular in every place, and have the ability to capture the eye of every one with all your attitude and style, then you definitely will be happy with yourself. The attention you’ll receive will make you appear more intelligent and will slowly make you feel that you are better person. With an abundance of confidence, a woman will eventually be a renowned individual in her environment. Unfortunately, self-confidence can be quickly damaged by a tiny wrong choice.

This responsibility falls on women in the public eye, professionally or socially, for two reasons. In the first place women’s fashions are more interesting and complicated than those for men.

Everyone wears clothes and, like it or not, every woman influences culture through the clothes she wears. An interest in fashion is not necessarily whimsical or frivolous. At this moment in the history of women it is actually a responsibility – although if a woman continually obsesses about fashion, I feel she can become very shallow. A pity and a waste of time.”

Ovidiu Bufnila: How can a woman become a strong woman using intelligent fashion?

Margot Genarro de Bourbon: Fashion can influence a person’s behavior. What people see as the current look and style can influence how that person behaves. Perhaps we wish to emulate what we see by what we wear and how we look. That can lead to unhealthy habits such as crash diets if we think we need to lose weight.
It can lead us getting cosmetic surgery for the wrong reasons. None of these changes involve character. A good person can go on a crash diet and get boob job too.

If we feel comfortable and confident in what we’re wearing, we’ll probably behave and carry ourselves differently than if we were wearing something we feel untrue to us. I’m speaking more about styles of clothes, like being dressy, casual, dark, light, grungy, things like that. Ovidiu Bufnila: Fashion can help women to develop strategies to modernize the world we live in?
Margot Genarro de Bourbon: Clothing can be an innocent form of communications and used both to create and contest identities. Fashion may question and oppose the continued, outdated existence of class and gender identities in society and can be used to dispute these positions of power and status.

Opposition to fashion, ways where jeans are bleached, torn and ripped, is being waged to evade or combat the forces of domination. These disfiguring jeans are a means of ‘distancing oneself’ from the ideologies of a capitalist society, and doing violence to them is also a form of doing violence to the ideology, a way of opposing capitalism, challenging class, gender.

Women hoping to seize these opportunities need to be proactive, by submitting workshop proposals that demonstrate knowledge and substantive value. In social media, everyone has an opinion. Conference organizers want to know what research you have done and what expertise you have — why people should listen to you. If you can demonstrate expertise, next steps include networking with conference organizers, speaking regularly at tech events, and publishing.

Ovidiu Bufnila: What statement can fashion make about women in the world? How?

Margot Genarro de Bourbon: We let the world know much about who we are by how we present ourselves. The style of a woman’s clothing leads people to assumption, in which they become judgmental and categorize us or put us in some type of social placement.

The way we dress reflects our personality, which tells others a little about us. If a person is wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, this tells people that we are laid back and maybe not looking to get into anything today. On the other hand, if we dress in a three-piece suit, this tells people that we are going to work and maybe have an important job somewhere. If we dress skimpy, then this tells people that we may be an easy, free-willed person.

Secondly and more important: because women are more often in prominent positions in our society, our clothes need to reflect the woman of the 21st century, and help create who she is to become. What does it say about us if we go to Paris dressed in shorts and running shoes? We might as well let the French think we consider their capital city a kind of Disneyland, rather than a real place.
When we have a casual Friday at work, we have the challenge of finding clothes that show respect for our colleagues and clients, and yet are more comfortable and less formal than our normal workday attire.

Ovidiu Bufnila: What is revolutionary in the fashion of this century?

Margot Genarro de Bourbon: Today, though expensive designer clothing is still sought after by some women, casual, comfortable clothing styles at reasonable prices are the popular choice. Women are wearing versions of men’s clothes as a form of ‘nonverbal resistance to dominant ideologies, a resistance to that society. Jeans carry no distinctions of wealth or status, and wearing them may be seen as a challenge to the outdated values of a society in which such distinctions are important.
Ovidiu Bufnila:
Awarded for the philosophy of the modern war, USA
Awarded for the decoding images, United Kingdom
Awarded for the scenario and concept, USA

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Margot Genarro de Bourbon


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