Posts in the ‘Stuff’ channel

The Facts Lab Book of Brazil

Some nice Brazils for Christmas—from Dave

Those of you who follow football will be aware that the World Cup is being held in Brazil next June and July. Those who don’t may be vaguely aware that Brazil’s big, it’s got the Amazon rainforest, it produces a lot of coffee, and there’s a lot of music and dancing in Rio de Janeiro about six weeks before Easter each year.

Now, I pride myself on having a good general knowledge (or being a nasty little fact finder, as Kay calls it). And I was a bit ashamed to realise that I didn’t know much about Brazil. It’s the world’s fifth biggest country in terms of size and population, for flip’s sake. So I thought it was time to do something about it.

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UsVsTh3m: Raping presents

Dave’s Christmas spelling twits

If you’re a regular reader of Kay’s blog, you may remember my “spelling bee” post from a little while back, giving a couple of hints on how to avoid some common spelling mistakes.

‘Tis the season to be jolly (or it soon will be), so here’s a link to a dozen amusing Christmassy spelling mistakes that have cropped up on Twitter a few times already this year.

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Get some fantastic free university courses!

I discovered Coursera recently. Some of the world’s top universities offer free courses on a wide variety of subjects, including business. The courses are all free, although you can pay a little to have your assessment count towards a formal qualification. I’ve done a couple of the courses so far and found the quality to be very high. Why not have a look and see if there’s anything to suit you?

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"Yourplace" cartoon by John Atkinson of Wrong Hands

Using social media to acquire more customers

I’m sure that lots of you are just like me – completely overwhelmed by the plethora of social media. Sometimes I feel obliged to spend all my time tweeting, liking and hanging out on those sites. To be honest, I can’t face up to the task so I hardly ever do it. Anyway, is it really worthwhile? Let’s have a look.

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More thoughts about Kiva

Back in November last year, I wrote a brief post about Kiva and encouraged people to join our Kiva lending team.

It’s a microcredit scheme where you can lend $25 to an entrepreneur in a poor country.

Kiva seemed like a great idea and our team has made several thousands of dollars in loans to some very diverse projects. However, Kiva also is now being used to fund entrepreneurs in the USA. Hang on! I thought that the US was the richest country in the world? Don’t get me wrong, there are would-be entrepreneurs in almost every country in the world, and that’s a good thing. But shouldn’t those in the rich, developed countries be funding their ventures by means other than Kiva?

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Should education be compulsory for children?

In the course of doing a mission on Empire Avenue, I was required to read a blog posting about education. It was a really interesting post and I had plenty to say about the subject. Here’s a brief excerpt from the post:

Why Do We Need Compulsory Schooling?

1: Most students will voluntarily go to school to see their friends.
2. Most will voluntarily go to school in order to get a good job.
3: The child’s brain is by nature wired for learning.

The premise of the article is that educators should make school a more pleasant place to be and then you don’t have to make it compulsory. I agree up to a point. But I also disagree for various reasons.

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Facebook – broadcasting your secrets to the world

I’ve never been particularly keen on the social media, for three main reasons. One is that I’ve never found them very interesting – so many posts and tweets are idle chat (or even random burble) rather than genuine news. The second, related, reason is that I’m not so arrogant as to think that all my friends and acquaintances are really that interested in my every move, so I see no reason why I should tell them all that my left nostril is itchy this morning or that my computer keyboard is full of fag ash. The third is that although I’m not a particularly private person, I don’t necessarily want to tell the whole world all my business. I think it should be up to me who I tell about what I’m up to.

So I was quite shocked to read a Wall Street Journal article the other day saying that two gay students had effectively been “outed” to their parents by the unwitting actions of their Facebook friends.

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