Thursday, February 17, 2011

World News

My news source of choice here in London has been the Economist magazine, UK version. I have learned so many interesting bits of information lately! And I thought I should share a few of them with you.

The Welsh are about to vote for further independence from Great Britain in a couple of weeks.

Londonism is defined by the Economist as "a commitment to relentless growth and openness". It's the political philosophy of London as the "ultimate global city", welcome to immigrants and diverse populations, dynamic, cosmopolitan, financially powerful.

360,000 American schoolchildren last year played rugby.

Soon-to-be-independent South Sudan is a mess. It's one of the least-developed parts of Africa. A South Sudanese girl is more likely to die in childbirth than to learn to read and write.

In Thailand, hundreds of people are in jail for "not preventing comments on online bulletin boards that might have offended the royal family."

Attacks on boats by Somali pirates are going on all the time! Average one a day.

Germany has great economic success, thriving businesses, secure jobs. But German schoolchildren's test scores are relatively poor - partly because 3/5 of kids are sent to trade schools and not the academic Gymnasiums.

Companies in the U.S. are developing technology to blast household garbage into atoms and collect the resulting energy.

And also in the U.S., the Defense Department is actually cutting its budget, a little. (it's still 1/2 of all federal discretionary spending).

So much going on in the world! The older I get, the more I feel humbled, my mind stretching and trying in vain to comprehend the scope of it all. I'm intrigued by the movie coming out this summer, Life in a Day, which captures everyday moments from people all over the planet.

I'm so glad that I have time and space in my life to consider these things. And amazed at how easy it is, in the ordinary busy-ness of adult life, to just tune out.


  1. I get the Economist delivered twice by email each week. One is for business and the other for politics. I love the Economist, ENR-Engineering News Record- and BBC. Don't you feel pulled in two directions? In one direction is activity, interaction, physical engagement with the universe and in the other is the mental universe of knowledge, thought,concepts and opinion.

  2. I love your comment, Kate. I know just what you mean! It is, of course, impossible to take everything in. Fingers crossed for a long life. :) Sometimes I miss academia, spending so much time in study and thought. But overall I prefer the more active life I usually inhabit, focused on DOING and BEING out in the world.