Sunday, October 01, 2006

Interesting articles of note #1

Because either Sideblog no longer works or has deleted by account, I will start a weekly survey of interesting articles on the web. Click and enjoy :)

On the evolutionary front...

While it is clear what evolutionary functions are served by human urges for food and sex, what makes us hard-wired to create and appreciate music? Experts say, its all about sex baby.

What separates our species from the rest is our ability to create meaning. During eclipses, the sun doesn't merely disappear; it was swallowed, it was stolen, it was banished by some monster or god for various reasons - anger, jealousy, hate, passion. But in this day and age of the scientific method and rational thinking, why do superstitious beliefs persist? Apparently, its adaptive and de-stressing.

Contrary to what some might believe, new research say humans use both emotions and reason to make moral decisions.

You have a heart of steel if you didn't feel for Nemo finding his father. But do fish feel pain?

In this era of the postmodern, of disjunctive and mediated relations, of ubiquitous pornography, are human beings masturbating more? Not necessarily, but attitudes towards "self-love" have been changing. Frank Furedi writes:
In an era when passionate relationships come with a health warning, there is considerable scope for endowing solo pleasure with meaning. As a result, masturbation is no longer something you do for pragmatic reasons; rather, it is celebrated as something profound. It is frequently discussed as an activity through which you can discover your sexuality and your identity – the real you. It is portrayed as a unique source of uncomplicated intense pleasure. People are told that knowing how to love yourself comes both chronologically and logically before having relationships with others. ‘My needs come before anything else’ is the slogan that best embodies today’s worship of self-obsession. Sadly, the affirmation of self-love resonates with a powerful mood of alienation from the experience of intimate relations with others.
Around the world in eight clicks...

The world's most aggressive exporter of their own brand of democracy fails to educate citizens equipped to make their model work in their own backyard. How's that for irony?

Here's another reason for us to invest in education; the global economy of the past 10 years is increasingly powered by knowledge, innovation and creativity. In the United States "at the present rate of increase, creative jobs alone will soon eclipse the total number of jobs in all of manufacturing. Already, more than 40 million Americans work in the creative sector, which has grown by 20 million jobs since the 1980s. It accounts for more than $2 trillion USD—or nearly half—of all wages and salaries paid in the U.S."

Much as Europe would like to exorcise their culture and belief systems of everything that is "Other", it cannot deny that it has been shaped by its interactions with the Muslim and Arab world in the past millenium. The Renaissance was powered by exchanges with the East, thanks to waves of soldiers, tradesmen and clergy carrying back with them new knowledge and practices from the "Levant" during the Crusades. It is because of this erroneous and arrogant notion that Europe is unique, that it is has somehow developed all on its own to become the most powerful civilization in the world, that it has trouble dealing with Islam today. In a world post 9/11, Martin Walker surveys Europe's "mosque hysteria."

Brendan O'Neill wonders why Iraqi insurgents seem more interested in committing exhibitionist suicide than articulating clear political actions to establish a new political order. He proposes that these series of seemingly primal and apolitical actions are symptomatic of a crisis in the international order itself - of the crisis of the legitimacy of the nation-state as a viable shell within which people might organize their social, cultural and economic lives.

Long acknowledged as one of the first icons of globalization, McDonald's provides a "postmodern sanctum" to travelers all around the globe - a pitstop where anyone at home and familiar with this fastfood giant may rest to take a respite from the alien culture they are immersed in. Americans in Paris flock to the Golden Arches not so much for the food but because "it creates a smoothly standardized absence of place and culture — a neutral environment that allows travelers to take a psychic time-out from the din of their real surroundings." Rolf Potts writes.

On UNDP development surveys, we're considered a middle-income country if you can believe it. Thanks to some 50 African states in much worse condition than us. Now relegated to the "Fourth World," the dark continent is apparently awash in some $300 billion worth of aid. Despite Bono's and various do-gooders' efforts, Africa is still headed for a downward spiral. You've got to wonder why.

Who's afraid of China's waking dragon? Not the Americans, and not the rest of Asia.

Surprise surprise, Egypt's sex-ed TV program. If this conservative Muslim country can do it, why can't we?

Other news...

Ever wonder why the Bible has so many prostitutes?

Speaking of prostitutes, welcome Pink TV, the porn equivalent of HBO. Oh goody.

No comments: