The Mammoth Pirates | REFRL

https://www.rferl.org/a/the-mammoth-pirates/27939865.html

Hunting for mammoth tasks can be financially rewarding, but is causing severe environmental damage.

Questions:

  • Is it better than poaching?
  • How can this new form of ‘poaching’ be controlled?
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Language Alters Our Experience Of Time, Scientists Find |IFLS

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/language-alters-our-experience-of-time/all/

For example, in Swedish, the word for future is framtid which literally means “front time”. Visualising the future as in front of us (and the past as behind us) is also very common in English. We look forward to the good times ahead and to leaving the past behind us.

But for speakers of Aymara (spoken in Peru), looking ahead means looking at the past. The word for future (qhipuru) means “behind time” – so the spatial axis is reversed: the future is behind, the past is ahead. The logic in Aymara appears to be this: we can’t look into the future just like we can’t see behind us. The past is already known to us, we can see it just like anything else that appears in our field of vision, in front of us.

In one study, Chinese-English bilinguals were asked to arrange pictures of a young, mature, and old Brad Pitt and Jet Li. They arranged the former horizontally, with the young Brad Pitt to the left and the old Brad Pitt to the right. But the same people arranged the pictures of Jet Li vertically, with young Jet Li appearing at the top and old Jet Li appearing at the bottom. It seems that culture and meaning form a tight bond as this context-dependent shift in behaviour shows.

Questions:

  • Has learning a different language changed the way you think?
  • Try an experiment – talk to a few people of similar background, except that one is monolingual, while others have differing abilities to speak other languages. Ask them the same question, for example, what hobbies are suitable for students. Do they respond differently?

“A bus designed for people who never take buses”: how London’s Routemaster became a £300m white elephant |City Metric

The article has an interesting take on tradition vs modernity.

http://www.citymetric.com/transport/bus-designed-people-who-never-take-buses-how-londons-routemaster-became-300m-white

Summary:  Routemasters were the iconic London buses that were decommissioned in 2004. To revive this cultural icon, Transport for London (TfL) reportedly spent £11.4m to get the new Routemasters designed. Each new bus cost £375,000 (which was almost double the price of a normal bus at £190,000), were heavier and thus less environmentally friendly, could carry fewer passengers due to its design, caused discomfort for the passengers (too hot in summer, and too cold in winter), and cost more to run (a conductor is needed in addition to the bus driver due to the possibly unsafe open design at the back).

Questions:

  • Should cultural icons or traditions be preserved at all costs?
  • If traditions are allowed to die out, what might the repercussions be?