Sociologists have developed elaborate theories of who spreads gossip and news — who tells whom, who matters most in social networks — but they’ve had less success measuring what kind of information travels fastest. Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why?(...more)
Monday, 8 February 2010
KIEV, Ukraine — The apparent victory of Russia’s preferred candidate in the Ukrainian presidential race may be a relief to Vladimir V. Putin, who has long sought to discredit his neighbor’s raucous democracy and its drift to the West.
But it comes with a catch: the election won by the candidate, Viktor F. Yanukovich, was highly competitive, unpredictable and relatively fair — just the kind of major contest that has not been held in Russia since Mr. Putin, the prime minister, consolidated power.
On Monday, for example, European election monitors praised the election that was held Sunday, calling it an “impressive display” of democracy. Ukraine’s election, in other words, did not follow the Kremlin blueprint and, if anything, seemed to highlight the flaws in the system in Russia. As such, it presented a kind of alternative model for the former Soviet Union.
The official tally released on Monday showed that the opposition leader, Mr. Yanukovich, defeated Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko by three percentage points, giving him a comeback from his loss in the 2004 Orange Revolution.
Ms. Tymoshenko helped spearhead the Orange Revolution, which first brought Western-style democracy to Ukraine.(...more)
Nepal has discharged all of the under-aged combatants from the army of the former Maoist rebels. That is being hailed as the closing of a critical chapter for the peace process in the poor, landlocked country between China and India.
More than 200 former child soldiers boarded buses in the rugged highlands of mid-western Nepal for a ride back into civilian life.(...more)
On 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. To commemorate this landmark, UNICEF is dedicating a special edition of its flagship report, The State of the World’s Children, to child rights… full report(...more)
Abstract: Land Rights and the Forest Peoples of Africa Historical, Legal and Anthropological Perspectives
This report … describes indigenous forest peoples in Africa from an anthropological point of view [and] highlights both historical principles of international law that have affected the situation of indigenous peoples and contemporary human rights standards…(...more)
The surge in the US presence in Afghanistan is unfolding rapidly. CMI and PRIO recently invited a small group of experts to a workshop and a public seminar in Oslo… centered on three main themes: the role of the US and the UN, the role and perceptions of Afghans, and the dynamics of a negotiated settlement.(...more)
Christians and Muslims in Wales have come together for a two-day consultation aimed at strengthening relations and enabling practical cooperation in tackling religious extremism and discrimination.
The meeting, held over the weekend of 6-7 January 2010, was the eighth to be held as part of the Finding A Common Voice initiative launched in 2007 by the Church in Wales and the Muslim Council of Wales.
The relationship between gender and violence is complex. Evidence suggests, however, that gender inequalities increase the risk of violence by men against women and inhibit the ability of those affected to seek protection…(...more)
Three weeks ago I blogged about bananas being packaged (in South Korea) in plastic wrappers. Extra packaging for a banana seemed odd. A week later I posted an update with an explanation from Starbucks: the plastic wrappers, they had told me, reflected Korean ‘cultural norms’ dictating that premium produce be individually wrapped.
OK, interesting answer.
But now, in a recent issue of MacLean’s magazine, there’s a story (by Kate Lunau) that gives a much more plausible explanation — and it’s about bananas being sold right here in Canada. According to Lunau’s story, retailers package banana’s for individual sale to help extend the very small window of time during which bananas are the pristine yellow colour that consumers demand, rather than either too green or too brown…(...more)