Hair – Politics or Fashion

Questions:

  1. Do you have long hair or short? Why?
  2. (If you say because men have short hair, and women have long hair, this was a rather recent convention. Watch the next video.)
  3. Do you know any cultures where men have/had long hair?
  4. Should hair be a political statement, a fashion statement, or anything else?

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Read: http://jpninfo.com/44674https://www.independent.ie/style/beauty/hair/are-man-buns-really-the-new-beards-for-hipsters-30868993.html

Questions:

  1. Why did Japanese men during the Edo era keep a hairstyle called the chonmage top knot with shaved parts?
  2. Do you like the hipster man bun?

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Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesh_(Sikhism)http://stellarreaches.nwgamers.org/2017/03/18/imperial-fashion/

Questions:

  1. Why do Sikhs keep long hair?
  2. Why did the Chinese have a queue/pigtail?

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(Source: https://youtu.be/7yKrzHAGj2c)

(Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1acEHz7FRM)

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/rackednational/videos/1832461570117360/)

Questions:

  1. After learning all this information, what is your opinion on hair length for men and women?
  2. Would you try something different?
  3. Should hair be a political statement, a fashion statement, or anything else?
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Sophia, the First Android Citizen of Saudi Arabia

(Full version source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5t6K9iwcdw)

(Short version source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Rv_H1NKRa8)

http://www.businessinsider.sg/meet-the-first-robot-citizen-sophia-animatronic-humanoid-2017-10/

As of October 25, Sophia is the first robot in history to be a full citizen of a country.

Sophia was developed by Hanson Robotics, led by AI developer David Hanson. It spoke at this year’s Future Investment Initiative, held in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

Sophia once said it would “destroy humans,” but this time around the robot spoke about its desire to live peaceably among humans.

Questions:

  1. Should androids/robots be considered citizens of a country? Why or why not?
  2. If a robot becomes a citizen of a country, what changes could result in the society?
  3. What should be the criteria for considering someone to be a citizen?

Apple’s Prediction of the Future in 1987 | Business Insider

(source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umJsITGzXd0)

http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-future-computer-knowledge-navigator-john-sculley-george-lucas-2017-10/

Set in 2007, the resulting 1987 video followed around an environmental science professor at Berkely juggling everything from preparing a lecture to buying a birthday cake for his father.

To get it all done, he relies on his digital personal butler – the bowtie-wearing, hypothetical grandfather of modern assistants like Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Bixby, and Google Assistant.

During the nearly six-minute vignette, the professor videoconferences with a colleague, researches journal articles on deforestation in the Amazon, and updates his busy schedule, all on one touch screen tablet.

“At the time we came out with it, it was incredibly controversial,” Sculley said. “People said, ‘Well, this is absurd.’”

Questions:

  1. Have all the predictions about the future come true?
  2. Is the future envisioned by your parents’ generation the reality now?
  3. Why are people skeptical of predictions?
  4. Are they right to be skeptical?
  5. What happens if people are not skeptical?
  6. Is it better to be a believer or a doubter (in future possibilities)?
  7. What do you think will happen in the future?

Malawi’s fearsome chief, terminator of child marriages | Al Jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/03/malawi-fearsome-chief-terminator-child-marriages-160316081809603.html

Slightly personal take on the issue; some gory details of what the customs entail.

She was shocked when she saw girls as young as 12 with babies and teenaged husbands, and was soon ordering the people to give up their ways

“I told them: ‘Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.'”

A 2012 United Nations survey found that more than half of Malawi’s girls were married before the age of 18. It ranked Malawi 8th out of 20 countries thought to have the highest child-marriage rates in the world.

Last year, Malawi’s parliament passed a law forbidding marriage before the age of 18. But under customary law of the traditional authorities, and the constitution, Malawian children can still marry with parental consent.

On the human development index, Malawi is considered as one of the world’s poorest places, ranking 160th out of 182 nations. Early marriage is more common in rural areas, where parents are eager to get girls out of the house to ease their financial burden.

Emilida Misomali is part of a mothers group in the village of Chimoya, in Dedza district. They warn parents about the long-term ills of early marriage and childbirth, but say it falls on deaf ears.

Many parents did not want to hear Kachindamoto’s pleas to keep their girls in school, or her assurances that an educated girl would bring them a greater fortune.

The common response was that she had no right to overturn tradition, nor, as the mother of five boys, to lecture others on the upbringing of girls.

Realising that she couldn’t change the traditionally set mentality of parents, Kachindamoto instead changed the law.

She got her 50 sub-chiefs to sign an agreement to abolish early marriage under customary law, and annul any existing unions in her area of authority.

When she learned that child marriages were still taking place in some areas, she fired four male chiefs responsible for these areas. They returned months later to tell her that all marriages had been undone. After sending people to verify this, she hired the chiefs back.

Questions:

  1. What are some bad customs in your culture?
  2. Why are the customs bad?
  3. Who they cause the most problems for?
  4. Why do you think these customs came about?

Never too old to code: Meet Japan’s 82-year-old app-maker

Source: https://youtu.be/BXnjNCX6Ai4

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/never-too-old-code-meet-japans-82-old-033639266.html

When 82-year-old Masako Wakamiya first began working she still used an abacus for maths — today she is one of the world’s oldest iPhone app developers, a trailblazer in making smartphones accessible for the elderly.

Frustrated by the lack of interest from the tech industry in engaging older people, she taught herself to code and set about doing it herself.

The over 60s, she insists, need to actively search out new skills to stay nimble.

“As you age, you lose many things: your husband, your job, your hair, your eyesight. The minuses are quite numerous. But when you learn something new, whether it be programming or the piano, it is a plus, it’s motivating,” she says.

“Once you’ve achieved your professional life, you should return to school. In the era of the internet, if you stop learning, it has consequences for your daily life,” Wakamiya explains during an AFP interview at her home near Tokyo.

Wakamiya says her ultimate goal is to come up with “other apps that can entertain older people and help transmit to young people the culture and traditions we old people possess”.

“Most old people have abandoned the idea of learning, but the fact that some are starting (again) is not only good for them but for the country’s economy,” said Wakamiya, who took up the piano at 75.

Hinting that her good health is down to an active mind and busy life, she adds: “I am so busy everyday that I have no time to look for diseases.”

Questions:

  • Why is it important to keep the brain active?
  • What are ways for people to keep their minds active?
  • What are some issues that are faced by older people?
  • Why is it important to engage older people?

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?