Friday, March 9, 2012

Best of the Week #51

It has been quite the week over here in Mollie-world. It started with a bang on Monday morning. At work we (i.e. the Satellite Sentinel Project) launched a website re-design and it’s beautiful! 

See what I mean???
But more importantly, it’s informative. I suggest you read everything, specifically the Documenting the Crisis section. (I may or may not have written ALL the content on the entire site.)

And then KONY 2012 took over the interwebs.  (As a sometimes LRA blogger, how can I not comment?). Love or hate, you’ve gotta admit the video did go viral and now thousands (billions?) more people know/care about an ongoing human rights catastrophe in central Africa than did a week ago. And all the criticism has sparked some great debate on effective advocacy and international policy, things DC nerds talk about a lot but I think most of the world has no concept of…so overall I’d say it’s a net win. 
  • No matter how you feel about IC, they’ve clearly succeeded in their mission of making Kony famous, and finally igniting a dialogue on the internet with greater significance than Kim Kardashian’s sex life, for example.
  • “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant” (from the source of all hard-hitting news). 
So whether you're pro- or anti-IC, please learn more about the issue - What is the Lord’s Resistance Army? and The LRA and the most popular Africa legislation in recent US history.

And then yesterday was International Women’s Day. In honor of that, Kiva, a micro-lending site, is offering free $25 loans. You get to choose a small business or cooperative to support and then they progressively pay you back. It’s fun! I am currently lending to a group of four women in Benin who sell food products and charcoal in their local market.   

Anywho, now on to the usual Best of the Week silliness.

How fast do you read? Take the quiz! I got 558 words per minute, which makes me 123% faster than the national average. And I’ve read 15 out of the 21 books they offer as examples…so that’s fun. Seriously, take it and let me know what you got! 

Self-portrait with cakes. Oh to be at that photo shoot... (source)

To quote LLC, the provider or many of my Best of the Week articles, “#winning?”
D.C.’s single ladies are nation’s happiest, survey finds
  • The findings, published in the April issue of  Glamour, are based on a survey of 5,000 unmarried men and women, 21 and older, living in the nation's 10 largest metro areas. 
Wait hold-up. The article also says that, “Arlington has been called the nation’s most romantic city.” Seriously? Am I missing something here?

I have read everything ever written by Jack London, and thereby feel like I know about dog sled racing. The Iditarod started last Saturday is going on right now. 

The social justice theory of Harry Potter – this actually kinda ties into the Kony 2012 movement…looking at how and why young people care. 
  • Dumbledore may be a fictional character, but that does not prevent him from functioning as a social justice leader for the Millennials.  A social justice leader is a role model, a principal who does not merely preside over the tidings of a school day but also empowers youth.
  • The metaphorical issues of race, class, ability, and achievement that J.K. Rowling constructs in the world of Harry Potter carry little or no importance for Dumbledore.  In this way, Dumbledore expresses to youth and adults alike that what society perceives of them is of no matter as long as they are fighting for or doing what is right and good. 
This week was Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, to celebrate the arrival of spring. I love this photo slideshow – so colorful!  

I hope your boss doesn’t do this (mine doesn’t!) – “How to completely, utterly destroy an employee’s work life.”
  • Recall your worst day at work, when events of the day left you frustrated, unmotivated by the job, and brimming with disdain for your boss and your organization. That day is probably unforgettable. But do you know exactly how your boss was able to make it so horrible for you? Our research provides insight into the precise levers you can use to re-create that sort of memorable experience for your own underlings.
  • Over the past 15 years, we have studied what makes people happy and engaged at work. In discovering the answer, we also learned a lot about misery at work.
Listen to a song "More Beautiful Thank Silence" on NPR by a Somali-Canadian. 

Mathematical Translations of Popular Refrains. (source)
  • x = +/- 1   “Meh.” 
  • sqrt(-1) = i   "Fake it 'til you make it." 
My mind is too hamster-on-speed to meditate, but we all know I drink coffee. (source

Conflict diamonds, conflict minerals, and now Conflitc Quinoa? Oh no! 
  • Bolivian authorities say at least 30 people have been injured in a fight between two communities over land for growing quinoa, the Andean "supergrain" whose popularity with worldwide foodies has caused its price to soar. 
I love Maoz for the very reasons in this article (i.e. salad bar!!!) and was close to tears when the one in DC closed. (And now I want falafel. Someone bring me please?)

I am a country music fan, but am also very liberal and I imagine would score high on an “openness” test…so according to this interesting article, I am an anomaly. Country Music, Openness to Experience, and the Psychology of Culture War.
  • As you can see, country is the most "upbeat and conventional" genre of music. A preference for "upbeat and conventional" music is negatively correlated with "openness" and positively correlated with "conscientiousness," and so, as you would then expect, self-described conservatives tend to like "upbeat and conventional" music (more than any other kind), while self-described liberals tend to like everything else better.
And finally, a toast stenogram. I can’t make this work. Can you?

Happy Friday!