Archive | Op-Ed

Men, masculine pride and how to cope with depression

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Jason Spendelow, University of Surrey

Masculinity plays an important role in dealing with problems such as depression. Men often don’t feel able to reach out for assistance because both the symptoms of depression and the act of seeking help goes against a stereotypical view of how us blokes should or shouldn’t behave.

Of course, traditional masculine characteristics are not necessarily “good” or “bad”. Stereotypical male traits such as self-reliance and independence can be very valuable in life (for both men and women). But when demonstrated through unhealthy and over-used psychological practises, they can spell trouble for well-being and mark seeking help as off-limits.

For example, adherence to “strait-jacket” masculinity, might not only prevent getting treatment but also intensifies tactics such as hiding depressed mood and increasing risk-taking behaviours such as substance use.

Different strategy needed off the pitch.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

We need more focus on the women poets of World War I

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Lisa Regan, University of Liverpool

Members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. PA/PA Archive

We’ve become very accustomed to connecting World War I with its soldier-poets. And the centenary celebrations in Britain have very rightly reminded us how important key figures such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon were to their own generation and continue to be for future generations.

But for all that I was struck by actress Penelope Keith’s reading of Rose Macaulay’s poem, Many Sisters to Many Brothers at Westminster Abbey’s candle-lit vigil. It was refreshing – not least because Macaulay is an author often edged off the literary map. But despite this I was left wondering whether this particular poem was the right poem to choose.

Macaulay’s 1914 poem expresses women’s envy of men’s freedom to go to war (service being voluntary until conscription began in 1916).… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Against Sharing

Uber-Horizontal-Logo

via Jacobin:

Kazi drives a Toyota Prius for Uber in Los Angeles. He hates it. He barely makes minimum wage, and his back hurts after long shifts. But every time a passenger asks what it’s like working for Uber, he lies: “It’s like owning my own business; I love it.”

Kazi lies because his job depends on it. After passengers finish a ride, Uber asks them to rate their driver on a scale from one to five stars. Drivers with an average below 4.7 can be deactivated — tech-speak for fired.

Gabriele Lopez, an LA Uber driver, also lies. “We just sit there and smile, and tell everyone that the job’s awesome, because that’s what they want to hear,” said Lopez, who’s been driving for UberX, the company’s low-end car service, since it launched last summer.

In fact, if you ask Uber drivers off the clock what they think of the company, it often gets ugly fast.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

ELLO: Could This Be The End of Facebook?

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.56.39 PMMany moons ago, I discovered a wonderful social network known as myspace.com. It was an exciting way to meet new people and find those who had likeminded interests. It was also a great way to cruise for members of the opposite sex and flirt. As time progressed, people seemed to become annoyed with the juvenile aspects of Myspace culture and the pervasive tendency to blast through and ‘friend collect’, while worshipping internet celebs like ‘Forbidden’ and ‘Tila Tequila’. When Facebook launched, it was an exclusive network for college students. But soon it became the unstoppable juggernaut that we know today. What seemed to be the nail in Myspace’s coffin was the involvement of big corporate interest which essentially stripped Myspace of all its coolness. Forbidden and Tila became old news and we breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Now Facebook has become a bit like Myspace. It is riddled with corporate grossness and metrics that monitor and track us NSA style.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

It’s no bubble: insane dotcom valuations reveal how integral tech is to our lives

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Gordon Fletcher, University of Salford

A recent flurry of business mergers and acquisitions and stock market flotations in the US has prompted some financial commentators to predict a new tech bubble.

The size of these buyouts and IPOs, and the businesses themselves, are so large they are almost beyond comprehension. The recent announcements about Alibaba and Line have had financial analysts in North America, Australia and Europe scratching their heads; the estimated values of their offerings are US$20 billion and US$10 billion respectively, for products that are relatively unknown beyond Asia.

Combined with a general lack of public knowledge about the biggest emerging techs and the various analyses by traders and advisers, the danger of a tech bubble bursting looks all too real.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

How Ayn Rand Brought You Kim Kardashian and the Cult of Self-Obsessed Celebrity

Ayn_Rand1

An interesting take on Ayn Rand’s obsession with individualism to the point of valuing selfishness. Do you think a Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton is what Rand had in mind? They certainly seem to value themselves more than anyone else. Would Rand endorse their rampant vanity and self-interested actions? Or did the author, Lynn Stuart Paramore, at AlterNet get it wrong?

via AlterNet:

Just about any philosopher or religious leader, not to mention nearly anyone you meet walking down the street, could tell you that selfishness is not a virtue. If you are old enough to apply for a driver’s license, you can probably work out that selfish behavior has detrimental effects on all of us. Even if you’re not quite ready to give it up.

But not Ayn Rand. The 20th-century doyenne of destructive capitalism, dear to self-centered college sophomores and those, likePaul Ryan, who have not yet grown out of their me-first phase, declared aloud what a lot of jerks tend to keep to themselves: the idea that selfishness is awesome.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Can blogging be academically valuable? Seven reasons for thinking it might be

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This post was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

I have been blogging for nearly five years (hard to believe). In that time, I’ve written over 650 posts on a wide variety of topics: religion, metaethics, applied ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, technology, epistemology, philosophy of science and so on. Since most of my posts clock-in at around 2,000 words, I’d estimate that I have written over one million words. I also reckon I spend somewhere in the region of 10-15 hours per week working on the blog, sometimes more. The obvious question is: why?

Could it be the popularity? Well, I can’t deny that having a wide readership is part of the attraction, but if that’s reason then I must be doing something wrong. The blog is only “sort of” popular. My google stats suggest that I’ll clear 1,000,000 views in the next month and half (with a current average of 35,000 per month).Read the rest

Continue Reading

Actually, You ARE the Customer, Not the Product

naam20140920z

Ramez Naam writes at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

Don’t believe the hype. You’re the customer, whether you pay directly or by seeing ads. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “On the internet, if you’re not paying for something, then you’re not the customer. You’re the product.”

This meme, and its various permutations, are meant to to convey that if you’re not shelling out direct cash for a service, that you should expect to be used by that service. Perhaps. But there are many many things wrong with it. In fact, it’s wrong in almost every way.

You are the customer. You can do things no “product” can do.

Think about the things you can do that a “product” can’t do:

  1. You can stop using the service.  You can deny the company that provides it the revenue you represent. What product ever abandoned its parent company?
  2. You can look around for competitive offerings, and choose one of those. Again, no ‘product’ can do this.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

The War on ISIS: Views From Syrian Activists and Intellectuals

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Syrian rebels from the “Al-Qasas Brigade” or “Justice Brigade” run through an olive grove to avoid Syrian Army snipers as they travel between villages on foot in the northwestern Jabal al-Zawiya area. By Freedom House via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention—both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere—are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of the equation. While hardly surprising, this omission is troubling.

In an attempt to remedy this imbalance, I asked several Syrians—longtime activists and intellectuals from a range of backgrounds, including Kurdish, Palestinian, and Assyrian Christian—what they think about the ISIS crisis and Western intervention. Here are their responses.

Three Monsters

I am ambivalent about a Western attack against ISIS.

On the one hand, I would like to see this thuggish gang wiped from the face of the earth.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with cooperation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Robert Imre, University of Newcastle

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today, terrorist groups have one thing in common. They seek to shock, while simultaneously portraying themselves as victims. While their beliefs can vary wildly, what they all share is the “propaganda of the deed” in their extreme violent activities.

Typically, political violence in the most extreme form – terrorism – usually will see groups fracture in to smaller sub-groups. Once violence is legitimated, it then becomes a way to settle internal disagreements as well.

Given that we have seen a number of terrorist groups come and go over the decades, it bears scrutiny how these various groups were successfully stopped, as well as where governments failed.… Read the rest

Continue Reading