Sunday, February 28, 2010

China and Africa

This article was sent to me by my son, Graham, knowing my interest in the role the Chinese have been playing in African economic investment and development for a number of years now. The Economist online magazine runs a monthly debate topic, complete with pro and con sides and a moderator; readers are allowed to weigh in on the debate and vote for the side of their preference. A recent topic was the same as that discussed in the article above: is China good for Africa and why are people making disparaging remarks. I have discussed this in previous posts particularly in light of the fact that Africans from many nations are complaining about the Chinese role in their economies...this is not just jealous/zealous Westerners being concerned.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fabulous Finds

Having been out of the internet loop, due to software issues, for almost a week thta has had so much news, has been difficult. First, an article in the NYT on a recent find that very early humans occupied Crete is just amazing. These early ancestors had to travel in a systematised way over water and they created these incredibly beautiful tools: For more information, check out the June issue of HESPERIA.

Next of interest was an article, also in the NYT, on the legacy of apartheid and public transportation and urban planning issues.

And finally, a public radio report on history, history books, and brainwashing featuring South Africa, the former Eastern Europe, and a third country. I heard the promo for it on KUOW, but no amount of searching could get me to the link..let me know if any of you find it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What a disappointment

Brick Lane: A Novel Brick Lane: A Novel by Monica Ali

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book had it moments of lovely language and thoughtful insights. But, I could hardly wait to finish it, as it was driving me crazy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Precious, the Oscars, thoughts

I have not see the film Precious. I have seen trailers, read reviews, listened to people talking about their reactions after seeing the film. The people whose opinions I have received and whose conversations I have been part of have not been unanimous in their responses, they have been black, white Asian. They have all agreed that it was a difficult movie to watch, largely for the child abuse that is a large part of the film. Last Friday, the NYT op-ed page contained a commentary by Ishmael Reed. A similar response was elicited (in the African American male population) after The Color Purple was made into a film. I get what Reed is saying. It is not a question of a right or wrong opinion to have in this regard and certainly, where you stand is where you sit. But how close a reflection of reality is Reed's view of reality?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Race and NASA

Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut, hosted an hour-long program exploring the role NASA played in integrating employment in the south (Florida, Alabama, and Texas), and creating opportunities for blacks in highly specialised fields. NASA was not without it's own issues regarding race and that was discussed in the program as well. But, listening to the now-retired engineers and scientists about how they got involved in NASA, about growing up and being educated in the south, etc was fascinating.