Social Studies 30
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Social Studies 30
Capturing the thoughts and ideas of opinion makers for my Social Studies class.
Curated by Mr. MacCollum
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Predatory Lending: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Payday loans put a staggering amount of Americans in debt. They prey on the elderly and military service members. They’re awful, and nearly impossible t
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Being poor in our society comes with its share of problems. Here is a look at one of those problems, as only John Oliver can share it.
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Andrew Coyne: How do we know mandatory voting makes sense? Look at the 2016 census

Andrew Coyne: How do we know mandatory voting makes sense? Look at the 2016 census | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
The long-form census has again been made mandatory. Why celebrate? Because a voluntary census can never be as representative as a mandatory one
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Should voting be made mandatory? Will that make a difference in our understanding of the results of an election? The current government has promised to reform our current system of electing our representatives. There are no answers as to what that might mean. This article tackles one possible reform.
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Liberals face tough choices on Canada Post | Toronto Star

Liberals face tough choices on Canada Post | Toronto Star | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Is postal delivery a social service that requires taxpayer subsidies to function? Or should Canada Post operate as a self-sufficient business? Ottawa must decide.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
This links directly to the question raised by the cartoon today. What role should governments play in the economy and how should they choose what to do? 
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EU can’t go on forever without earning consent of the governed: Paul Wells | Toronto Star

EU can’t go on forever without earning consent of the governed: Paul Wells | Toronto Star | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
The EU must still make a case for itself, if it wants to keep the British decision from spreading across the continent.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
The problem with globalization is that the voices of individuals become increasingly lost in the din. They may actually benefit from it, but they feel they have no say about it.
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China’s angry investors leap the Great Firewall—and are shocked by what they learn of Beijing

China’s angry investors leap the Great Firewall—and are shocked by what they learn of Beijing | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
China's elaborate censorship mechanism, nicknamed the Great Firewall, blocks tens of thousands of foreign websites deemed hostile to the Communist Party regime. While some internet users inside China count on services like VPNs and proxies to get access to Facebook, Twitter, and overseas news outlets, many Chinese netizens never bother. They're satisfied with the filtered informatio
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Interesting take on the value of free speech from a country frankly not known for its free speech.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, May 29, 10:24 PM
What can modern communication technology do? How important is to maintaining a free market? An interesting look at events in China.
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Explainer: Everything you wanted to know about electoral reform

Explainer: Everything you wanted to know about electoral reform | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Canadians like the idea of reforming the electoral system but no one can agree on exactly how. Campbell Clark outlines some of the options and explains​ which options appeal to the federal parties
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
You're all going in to diploma exams? You want to understand the voting system? Here's a recommended read. Outstanding explainer.
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Mr. Lavold's curator insight, June 7, 9:02 PM
Everything you wanted to know about electoral systems and which one might work best in this country (and which ones might work best for which political parties!)
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A world ill prepared for warming

A world ill prepared for warming | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it

The Fort McMurray wildfire catastrophe is a singular tragedy in Canada, but its community-destroying plumes of smoke and flame are not the only sign that this year’s unusually strong El Nino Pacific current, and the resulting hot, dry weather, is spreading danger around the world.

Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Ft. McMurray is not the only disaster raging around the world. This article provides some interesting context to our experience in Alberta.
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How Donald Trump got the Republican primary rules so very wrong

How Donald Trump got the Republican primary rules so very wrong | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Donald Trump is a man obsessed with fairness. Not so much as an abstract principle, but whether he is being "treated fairly," which essentially comes down to everyone giving him whatever he wants. As the primary campaign moves into its final stages, he is most definitely not being treated fairly, at least as he sees it. Strangely enough, it turns out that presidential campaigns run according to complex rules and procedures that you might not have mastered if you've never run for office before.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
What does democracy mean? In what way should votes be counted? What is 'fair'? While The Trump has a flair for over-indulging his own self-interests, he does raise some interesting points about what, exactly, does democracy mean?
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A small win for Victoria’s homeless. Big implications for Canada

A small win for Victoria’s homeless. Big implications for Canada | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
A B.C. judge puts governments on notice over how they treat some of our most vulnerable citizens
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Interesting case in British Columbia. What rights do we possess with respect to our existence?
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Basic income has its appeal, but it also has a very basic problem

Basic income has its appeal, but it also has a very basic problem | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
It may have its champions across the political spectrum, but the universal pay model is inherently flawed
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
This idea has recently been floated by the Federal Minister of Families, Jean-Yves Duclos, meaning that the federal government is currently thinking about introducing it (at least). It is, apparently, being considered in several jurisdictions. Here is a very interesting and challenging critique from a writer about the idea also known as guaranteed annual income - yes, guaranteed.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, March 18, 8:48 PM
This idea has recently been floated by the Federal Minister of Families, Jean-Yves Duclos, meaning that the federal government is currently thinking about introducing it (at least). It is, apparently, being considered in several jurisdictions. Here is a very interesting and challenging critique from a writer about the idea also known as guaranteed annual income - yes, guaranteed.
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The insane expectations driving the Canadian housing market

The insane expectations driving the Canadian housing market | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Prices in Canada's housing market are totally going to keep rising at 17 per cent a year, right? Right?
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Is Canada in the midst of a housing boom similar to the one that collapsed the US economy in 2007/8? Maybe according to this article.
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The Folly of State-Level Tax Cuts

The Folly of State-Level Tax Cuts | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
In a strong national economy, places like Louisiana, Illinois, and Oklahoma are nevertheless struggling. Why?
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
An excellent article on policy choices facing different levels of US government. Highly recommended in preparation for any position paper.
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China's Toxic Waste Problem Is Just as Bad as Its Notorious Air Pollution | VICE News

China's Toxic Waste Problem Is Just as Bad as Its Notorious Air Pollution | VICE News | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Chinese authorities busted a parking lot owner in Boading who allowed thousands of tons of toxic waste to be dumped on his property — an incident that highlights the country's lax regulation of dangerous solid waste.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Further discussion of the costs of living in China. A good overview.
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Colin Kaepernick’s Critics Called Him an Idiot. Who’s the Idiot Now?

Colin Kaepernick’s Critics Called Him an Idiot. Who’s the Idiot Now? | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Marcus Peters held a black-gloved fist aloft during the national anthem, an homage to the 1968 black-power protest
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
How do you express a belief? How can you make people pay attention to a problem? To what extent should you follow the norms and standards of society? This story brings all of those things into focus, and it's a great debate, well linked to the principles of individualism and collectivism.
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Inside the Conservatives' identity crisis about identity - Macleans.ca

Inside the Conservatives' identity crisis about identity - Macleans.ca | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Evan Solomon on Kellie Leitch’s 'values test' for new immigrants, and what 'Canadian values' really even mean
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
The debate about 'Canadian Values' has been around for quite some time (pretty much since we stopped defining ourselves as British and debated 'British Values'). It played an important role in last year's federal election and it was recently re-enlivened for the Conservative leadership contest. How we define it and what it means are complicated. Even more so when you factor in First Nations who may not see themselves in this debate at all, which is troubling.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, September 7, 11:34 AM
The debate 'Canadian Values' has become much more prominent over the last decade. Last year, during the federal election it was used by several politicians to try and get people to vote for them. This week it was re-enlivened by the Conservative Party's leadership candidates. It is worth considering what this means in a globalized world and a globalizing Canada.
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Matt Taibbi on the Summer of the Media Shill

Matt Taibbi on the Summer of the Media Shill | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Matt Taibbi on why campaign 2016 won't just have lasting implications for American politics. It's obliterated what was left of our news media.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
What role does the media play in an active democracy? One critic has some harsh words for what's happening.
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Mr. Lavold's curator insight, August 31, 1:49 PM
The media is incredibly important in a healthy democracy - how else will the people know what their government and politicians are doing in order to hold them accountable? What happens when the media stop being objective and end up influencing the outcome of elections? This article tackles that difficult subject in light of the media's role in the current American presidential campaign.
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Where the great pains begin: Hip fans deserve better ticket laws

Where the great pains begin: Hip fans deserve better ticket laws | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it

On the morning of the ticket sale, we had preregistered our credit card and other information at the Ticketmaster site, and logged on to buy the tickets. Things did not turn out as planned. Even though we deployed three home computers, we were unable to buy a single ticket. It quickly became clear that the tickets had sold out.

Mr. MacCollum's insight:
For many people of my generation the sale of tickets for the Tragically Hip was seen as a crime because it seemed so hard to get the tickets. Maybe some of you have experienced something similar in trying to get tickets for your favourite acts. This university professor thinks it should change.
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Insurers shun risk as oil-linked quakes soar in Oklahoma

Insurers shun risk as oil-linked quakes soar in Oklahoma | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
As the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma exploded into the hundreds in the last few years, nearly a dozen insurance companies moved to limit their exposure, often at the expense of homeowners, a Reuters examination has found.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Here's an interesting effect of the boom in oil-fracking over the last few years. There are lots of hidden and visible environmental costs and it will be interesting to see how politics and society deal with these costs over the next few years.
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School District Halts Webcam Surveillance | WIRED

School District Halts Webcam Surveillance | WIRED | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
A suburban Philadelphia school district is deactivating a webcam, theft-tracking program secretly lodged on 2,300 student laptops following allegations the device was used by administrators to spy on a boy at home. “I think given the concerns of parents and community members, I think we have a responsibility to at least take a pause and…
Mr. MacCollum's insight:

I talked about this in class a couple of weeks ago, it's an old story, but one that shows the extent to which peeking into personal lives has progressed. Should this be permissible in a democratic society?

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Mr. Lavold's curator insight, June 7, 9:02 PM
Consider the violation of privacy inherent in what this school board is doing. 
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The Iran-Iraq war, continued

The Iran-Iraq war, continued | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
A new book reveals surprising economic subterfuge behind the Iran-Iraq war, a bloody conflict that still shapes the region
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
What's going on the Middle East? Here's a review of a book that might provide some answers.
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Another Sexual Assault in Service of the Drug War - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Another Sexual Assault in Service of the Drug War - Hit & Run : Reason.com | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
A lawsuit by a Pennsylvania woman describes a humiliating five-hour ordeal that discovered nothing.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Considering our discussion of constitutions and basic rights, I found the information in this article disturbing.
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Canadians are right to be angry over the Panama papers leak

Canadians are right to be angry over the Panama papers leak | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
The offshore accounts behind the Panama papers may be legal, but they're not fair
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
This is a very large deal that will play out for months around the world. It raises the really important question of what we allow and what we think is right. What we want to achieve as individuals and what we want to achieve as a collective? There's a lot of money that could be used to help balance a budget for instance. What benefits do these individuals derive that are being paid for by the collective?
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Editorial: School fees don't add up

Editorial: School fees don't add up | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
One of the many pieces of advice doled out to new parents is to start saving for the child's education. The suggestion is meant to apply to post-secondary schooling and the costs that come with college or university credentials.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Something to think about regrading schools and fairness in education.
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Donald Trump's ideology of violence

Donald Trump's ideology of violence | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
Want to know why Donald Trump’s rallies are so violent? Just listen to him.
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Reading this article chilled me to the bone. I am at a loss for words about what is happening here.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, March 13, 12:14 AM
Reading this article chilled me to the bone. I am at a loss for words about what is happening here.
Mr. Lavold's curator insight, June 7, 9:04 PM
This is sooooo scary. While comparisons to Hitler are certainly inaccurate, there are some similarities in the way that Trump appeals to certain demographics.
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Beijing's zombie problem: Can it really shut down its overbuilt economy?

Beijing's zombie problem: Can it really shut down its overbuilt economy? | Social Studies 30 | Scoop.it
In the last gasp of an historic industrialization, China's state-run "zombie" factories continue to churn out products no one buys. The CBC's new Asia Correspondent Sasa Petricic highlights the problem facing Beijing with its new talk of layoffs and restructuring.

Via Watsons World
Mr. MacCollum's insight:
Some more insight into all matters China that we have been discussing in class.
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Mr. MacCollum's curator insight, March 8, 6:26 PM
Some more insight into all matters China that we have been discussing in class.