Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’


Guest Post!

December 1, 2008

I have a guest post up today at Monica’s blog, Life in the Middle Lane. Check it out and leave a comment. Don’t be a lurker! 🙂


Still on the run

July 23, 2008

Mehboba Ahdyar, the only woman on Afghanistan’s 4-member 2008 Olympic team, is still missing after disappearing nearly two weeks ago. Now reports are surfacing that she may be claiming political asylum in Europe, that she may be dropping out of the Olympics, that her parents may be imprisoned in Afghanistan if they can’t convince her to return. Not surprisingly, this story hasn’t really gotten as much press attention as it deserves. Because, you know, the American media has important things to cover — like Heidi and Spencer, or Sean Preston holding a pack of cigarettes.

The Olympics are supposed to be a symbol of pride and unity, hope and change. Countries send their best talent to represent them. A good team can give even a country rife with civil war and poverty something to cheer about side by side. Just look at the Iraqi soccer team of 2004! The Olympics give the world a chance to unite over something, if only for a few weeks every four (or two) years, all politics, gas prices, and wars aside. It’s considered a victory to see countries like Afghanistan and Iraq participating, but at what cost? Their female athletes still struggle against all odds to compete. The two Afghan women who competed in 2004 faced constant threats from extremists. One even left Afghanistan after the Olympics with her family out of fear for their lives.

“This is important,” Robina Muqimyar, track sprinter and one of the two Afghani women who were the first to EVER compete in the Olympics, said back in 2004. “The women of Afghanistan will know they can do anything, if there is hope in the heart.”

Did anyone even hear her?


Future Perfect

July 22, 2008

A blog I’ve become obsessed with lately is Jan Chipchase’s Future Perfect. Jan Chipchase has to live what is possibly one of the most interesting, exciting lives on the planet. I first read about him in the New York Times a few months ago:

If you need to reach Jan Chipchase, the best, and sometimes only, way to get him is on his cellphone. The first time I spoke to him last fall, he was at home in his apartment in Tokyo. The next time, he was in Accra, the capital of Ghana, in West Africa. Several weeks after that, he was in Uzbekistan, by way of Tajikistan and China, and in short order he and his phone visited Helsinki, London and Los Angeles. If you decide not to call Jan Chipchase but rather to send e-mail, the odds are fairly good that you’ll get an “out of office” reply redirecting you back to his cellphone, with a notation about his current time zone — “GMT +9” or “GMT -8” — so that when you do call, you may do so at a courteous hour.

Keep in mind, though, that Jan Chipchase will probably be too busy with his job to talk much anyway. He could be bowling in Tupelo, Miss., or he could be rummaging through a woman’s purse in Shanghai. He might be busy examining the advertisements for prostitutes stuck up in a Sao Paulo phone booth, or maybe getting his ear hairs razored off at a barber shop in Vietnam. It really depends on the moment.

Chipchase is 38, a rangy native of Britain whose broad forehead and high-slung brows combine to give him the air of someone who is quick to be amazed, which in his line of work is something of an asset.

–“Can the Cellphone Help End Global Poverty?”, NYT, April 2008

(Can you say dream job?)

His blog is amazing. Chipchase travels the world in a quest to view life from every perspective in every corner of the world and research how his company (nokia) can help make life easier for every person he meets. No person is insignificant to Chipchase in his line of work; he wants every single story to be heard. On his blog, Chipchase posts pictures and thoughts from his travels. Some seem very simple — children’s haircuts in China, unique cuisines in Tajikistan — but if you stop to think for a second it’s amazing. This guy has been everywhere, all over the world, studying how cellphone technology has changed the world, but he can still appreciate how amazing even the simplest thing can be. Pretty cool.

“Future Perfect is about the collision of people, society and technology…Future perfect is a pause for reflection in our planet’s seemingly headlong rush to churn out more, faster, smaller and cheaper.

Somewhere along the way we get to shape what the future looks like.”


June 13, 2008

“Racism is deeper, but sexism may be wider in America today. In polls, more Americans say they would be willing to vote for a black candidate for president than for a female candidate, and sexist put-downs are heard more publicly than racial ones.

Presumably in part because of sexism (and also because of self-selection), women today are still hugely underrepresented in the political arena. Women constitute about 23 percent of legislators in the 50 states, a proportion that has risen only slightly in the last decade. In addition, the political commentariat is overwhelmingly male, which is one reason that Mrs. Clinton’s supporters felt unfairly battered.

We aren’t always aware of our own biases. Some of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are sure that she was defeated by misogyny, while those who voted against her invariably are dismissive: The reason I didn’t vote for her isn’t that she’s a woman. It’s that she’s a dynastic opportunist who voted for the Iraq war and…

The catch is that abundant psychology research shows that we are often shaped by stereotypes that we are unaware of. Many studies have presented research subjects with the exact same C.V., alternately with a male name and a female name. Usually, the male is perceived as a better fit for executive posts–even among well-meaning people who are against gender discrimination, and even among women.

At the end of the day, none of this proves or disproves the thesis that gender bias played a role in the election. But if Mrs. Clinton was hurt by gender, her problem wasn’t misogynists so much as ordinary men and women who believe in equal opportunity–but also are conditioned to think that a president speaks in a gravelly voice.”

–Nicholas Kristof, New York Times