When you look at Muslim scholar Dalia Mogahed, what do you see: a woman of faith? a scholar, a mom, a sister? or an oppressed, brainwashed, potential terrorist? In this personal, powerful talk, Mogahed asks us, in this polarizing time, to fight negative perceptions of her faith in the media -- and to choose empathy over prejudice.
If we talked about the fact that DNA accounts for most of our brain power, we could begin to change destinies written in our genes
"Suspicion of heritability remains, for good reason – not the least of which is the question of what constitutes intelligence. However, the prestige of those who achieve highly in examinations (Plomin’s studies focused on academic results) has much to do with our collective overvaluing of learning ability as a society.
"Academic skills are just a relatively small component of a whole nexus of traits that make up a well-rounded human being – including such qualities as empathy, emotional intelligence, imagination, kindness and curiosity. I have met many highly intelligent people who were ill-functioning and dislikable human beings, and many people, not the sharpest tools in the box, who nevertheless had dignity, integrity and self-respect. Perhaps we would be more open to thinking about the subject if we valued such qualities more and the power of abstraction less.""
Last week comedian Nicole Arbour posted a self-described “truth bomb”on YouTube, “Dear Fat People,” that quickly went viral. “If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m OK with that,” she said, and then did her best to offend, mocking an obese family for smelling “like sausage” and claiming that “fat-shaming” is “fucking brilliant.”
The subsequent outpouring of criticism left Arbour unfazed. “I’m not apologizing for this video,” she told Time. And why would she? Arbour isn’t some lone hate-spouting troll. Quite the contrary: Studies show that her rant, which blames obesity on lack of personal responsibility, actually reflects mainstream beliefs, even among health professionals.
What’s strange is how all these well-meaning fat-shamers ignore a health condition far graver than obesity, one that is also presumably within people’s power to change. This condition results in shorter lifespan, high frequency of mental illness, and increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and countless other problems associated with fat.
It’s called poverty. And by the logic of fat-shaming, we should be shaming poor people as well.
But the best reason not to fat-shame, or poor-shame, is the most obvious one. Fat andpoor, like skinny and rich, are adjectives that describe people—people who live, work, love, struggle, fail, and triumph, real people whose worth far exceeds the size of their butts or their bank accounts, whose humanity can’t be measured with a blood pressure cuff. Endorsing Nicole Arbour’s call for fat-shaming means forgetting about other people’s humanity—and losing a little of our own.
If you were only to listen to politicians and policy makers, you could be forgiven for harboring two delusions: first, that the sole purpose of schooling is to create the workforce of the future; second, that the only place that our students learn is at school. If you believe that preparation for work is at least a part of education’s function, at what point do educators have a responsibility to face the radically changing employment patterns facing our students? And how can we re-think schooling to complement, not compete with, their informal learning?
Reuven Rivlin calls on both sides to ‘reach out a hand and stop the cycle of bloodshed’
"Reuven Rivlin – the first sitting Israeli president to visit Kafr Qasim on the day of town’s annual commemoration of the killings – acknowledged the massacre as a “terrible crime” and “murder of the innocents” for which the state of Israel had apologised.
"Defying calls from rightwing supporters not to speak at the event, Rivlin – who a week ago called Israel a “sick society in need of treatment” - used the occasion to warn against those on both sides “who wish to sweep us into a maelstrom of destruction and pain”."
Prime minister Stephen Harper says he plans to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts as parliament returns day after shooting
But despite the cross-party show of unity and defiance on Thursday, opposition parties are warning that the government, in the wake of the Ottawa attack, is rushing to adopt expansive new spying powers without considering the consequences.
The leader of the official opposition party, the New Democrats, Thomas Mulcair, said that one act of terrorism should not bend the Canadian way, nor should it even hamper the weekly yoga class that takes place on the front lawn of Parliament – a symbol, he said, of the openness of the Canadian legislature.
“We cannot allow that openness and freedom to be rolled back either,” he said.
The Liberal party leader, Justin Trudeau, said those who attack Canada “will not make the rules about this land we share and they will not get to change us”.
Harper acknowledged the strain that Wednesday’s events put on the capital, calling it “beyond and above anything that any of us are really expecting to face”.
After involving Canada in continuous war in other lands, it is disingenuous for the PM to suggest that the unrelated murders of two uniformed soldiers is “beyond and above anything that any of us are really expecting to face”.
Pre-emptive and sensationalizing reporting ahead factual evidence have now served to add wind to Harper's "anti-terrorism" sails.
Canada, we stand on guard against infringements of our democratic freedoms and civil liberties.
"Over the past few years, big brands have been reaching out to Muslim women like me. The Muslim influence on the fashion industry has coined a new term: “modestwear”. Two years ago, DKNY launched a Ramadan range that included floral jumpsuits, long flowing tops and full sleeve maxi dresses that I would personally love to have in my wardrobe. H&M made headlines in September last year by featuring their first Muslim model in a hijab, who starred in a video that promoted a fashion-for-all campaign with the motto: “There are no rules in fashion”. Even the designer label D&G produced their own range of hijabs and abayas (long flowing robe-like dresses) targeting women in the UAE.
Bergé and Rossignol’s real bugbear is that it is Muslim women’s clothing we’re talking about here. To divorce fashion from identity, faith and culture is missing the point. Fashion can be empowering, it opens up self-expression. Plus, you can be beautiful and cover up at the same time, despite Bergé’s comments that: “Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship.” Oh please, Monsieur Bergé, save your hypocrisy, it’s so last season.
Proponents of Texas’s new campus carry gun law say it could help save lives in an active shooter scenario, since those with guns could theoretically intervene or defend themselves. But that rationale has lots of critics -- many of the them faculty members -- who say more guns won’t reduce violence and weapons have no place on college campuses. And the law itself has already led to one faculty casualty at the University of Texas at Austin, with the resignation of an actively teaching professor emeritus of economics who says being on a campus with untold numbers of firearms is simply not worth the risk. “As much as I have loved the experience of teaching and introducing these students to economics at the university, I have decided not to continue,” Daniel S. Hamermesh, the Sue Killam Professor Emeritus, wrote in a letter to university administrators this week. “With a huge group of students my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.” He added, “I cannot believe that I am the only potential or current faculty member who is aware of and disturbed by this heightened risk. … Anything that can be done to mitigate this risk should be implemented. Applying this law broadly will detract from both faculty well-being and from the national and international reputation of this university.”
Making Canada a global leader in R&D may not be worth it
In a commentary piece published in the National Post, Stephen Gordon argues that transforming Canada into a world leader in private-sector research and developmentmay not be worth the investment. He argues that creating a global-scale R&D cluster in Canada would be very difficult, given that other clusters already have a significant head start. Moreover, attracting a large number of researchers to build the cluster would be prohibitively expensive, especially given that R&D is an inherently risky activity. The costs, Gordon says, would quickly outweigh any social benefits of investment. National Post
The long read: After every terror attack the call rings out for the Muslim world to become modern. But as Christopher de Bellaigue writes, Muslims have strenuously engaged with all that is new for hundreds of years
"CAUT report says uManitoba economics department violated academic freedom
"The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released the results of an investigation into the economics department at the University of Manitoba. CAUT says that its investigation found "serious violations of academic freedom" and describes the climate in the department as "corrosive and dysfunctional." CAUT had launched the investigation following allegations that the department had sought to stifle views and approaches that ran contrary to mainstream economics. The report found that "decisions and activities within the department cumulatively constituted violations of academic freedom by producing an environment within which the scholarship of heterodox colleagues was undermined." CAUT says that its evidence showed that "heterodox" faculty and graduate students were treated poorly and that the department tried to reassign courses to department members with more orthodox views. The report recommends an external review of uManitoba's graduate and undergraduate economics programs, and that the department commit to allowing all views to be held and expressed."
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