Shaaz Nasir

We All Dream

In Advice on March 14, 2011 at 12:09 am

We all dream, just some more than others. Many dream in the night but those who dream while awake can steer their destiny with open eyes. You are your only limit. Facing reality does not mean submitting to it. When people accepts reality they take one step towards controlling it, understanding it.

Mind The Gap is a philosophy that links economics to fashion to world issues and much much more.

MTG was a dream I had while awake.  Soon enough and thanks to the Vice President of Communications (William), MTG will morph into something beyond my dreams and beyond me.

It is most definitely a risk to put my dream on the line. But as I said earlier, accepting reality is one step closer  to understanding it.

The world is moving at a rate I cannot keep up with and thus I have to accept that sometimes we have to let go of things when we love the most. It may mean less of me and more of MTG.

It will all make sense when the real MTG is launched when the dream is finally realized.

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Breaking News: Japanese Earthquake Disaster

In Globalization, Japan on March 11, 2011 at 10:08 am

BBC CBC CNN Fox News and more all rolled up into 1 MTG article

The most powerful earthquake to hit Japan since records began has struck the country’s north-east and triggered a devastating tsunami.

History: The offshore quake at 2:46 p.m. local time had a magnitude of 8.9, making it the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, about 125 kilometres off the eastern coast.

Basic Facts : Infrastructure

  • A state of emergency was declared at the Fukushima power plant after the cooling system failed in one of its reactors when it shut down automatically because of the earthquake.
  • The earthquake also triggered a massive blaze at an oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, engulfing storage tanks.
  • About four million homes in and around Tokyo suffered power outages.

Basic Facts : People

  • There were no reports of any injuries to Canadians living or travelling in Japan, the Department of Foreign Affairs said at about 7 a.m. ET.
  • Some reports quote Japanese police as saying 200 to 300 bodies have been found in the port city of Sendai…with the death toll expected to rise rapidly
  • The Japanese Red Cross has already deployed a team to the affected areas to assess the damage and provide assistance.
  • The Japanese Red Cross is focusing on medical emergencies and is not yet requesting international assistance.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama sent his condolences to the people affected by the quake and the tsunami, saying the U.S. “stands ready to help” the Japanese.
  • Japan’s worst previous quake occurred in 1923 in Kanto, an 8.3 magnitude temblor that killed 143,000 people.

World Wide Impact

Take a look at this picture as they it explains everything words simply cannot.

  • The 1st wave of a tsunami is never the strongest as more countries brace for havoc.

Boys are just Not Good Enough

In Business, Canada, Economics, Experience, Globalization, Uncategorized on March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm

A unfortunate gap between females and males continues to grow. It’s great that females are improving their skills in general, but the males are falling behind which means half the world is struggling.

I was reading the PISA 2009 assessments and below are some major points to be noted (the entire document is over 20 pages)

Introduction

Throughout much of the 20th century, concern about gender differences in education focused on girls’ underachievement. More recently, however, the scrutiny has shifted to boys’ underachievement in reading. In the PISA 2009 reading assessment, girls outperform boys in every participating country by an average, among OECD countries, of 39 PISA score points – equivalent to more than half a proficiency level or one year of schooling.

  • On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 score points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large gender gap in reading performance and the more moderate gender gap in mathematics.

The ranks of top-performing students are filled nearly equally with girls and boys. On average across OECD countries, 4.4% of girls and 3.8% of boys are top performers in all three subjects, and 15.6% of girls and 17.0% of boys are top performers in at least one subject area. While the gender gap among top-performing students is small in science (1% of girls and 1.5% of boys), it is significant in reading (2.8% of girls and 0.5% of boys) and in mathematics (3.4% of girls and 6.6% of boys).

Similar prosperity…different educational results

  • Countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. The balance of proficiency in some of the richer countries in PISA looks very different from that of some of the poorer countries. In reading, for example, the ten countries in which the majority of students are at Level 1 or below, all in poorer parts of the world, contrast starkly in profile with the 34 OECD countries, where on average a majority attains at least Level 3. However, the fact that the best-performing country or economy in the 2009 assessment is Shanghai-China, with a GDP per capita well below the OECD average, underlines that low national income is not incompatible with strong educational performance. Korea, which is the best-performing OECD country, also has a GDP per capita below the OECD average.
  • Indeed, while there is a correlation between GDP per capita and educational performance, this predicts only 6% of the differences in average student performance across countries. The other 94% of differences reflect the fact that two countries of similar prosperity can produce very different educational results. Results also vary when substituting spending per student, relative poverty or the share of students with an immigrant background for GDP per capita.

Enjoying the Learning: NO

In all countries, boys are not only less likely than girls to say that they read for enjoyment, they also have different readinghabits when they do read for pleasure. Most boys and girls in the countries that took part in PISA 2009 sit side by side in the same classrooms and work with similar teachers. Yet, PISA reveals that in OECD countries, boys are on average 39 points behind girls in reading, the equivalent of one year of schooling.

Why?

PISA suggests that differences in how boys and girls approach learning and how engaged they are in reading account for most of the gap in reading performance between boys and girls, so much so that this gap could be predicted to shrink by 14 points if boys approached learning as positively as girls, and by over 20 points if they were as engaged in reading as girls. This does not mean that if boys’ engagement and awareness of learning strategies rose by this amount the increase would automatically translate into respective performance gains, since PISA does not measure causation.

But since most of the gender gap can be explained by boys being less engaged, and less engaged students show lower performance, then policy makers should look for more effective ways of increasing boys’ interest in reading at school or at home.

PISA reveals that, although girls have higher mean reading performance, enjoy reading more and are more aware of effective strategies to summarise information than boys, the differences within genders are far greater than those between the genders. Moreover, the size of the gender gap varies considerably across countries, suggesting that boys and girls do not have inherently different interests and academic strengths, but that these are mostly acquired and socially induced. The large gender gap in reading is not a mystery: it can be attributed to differences that have been identified in the attitudes and behaviours of boys and girls. Girls are more likely than boys to be frequent readers of fiction, and are also more likely than boys to read magazines.

However, over 65% of boys regularly read newspapers for enjoyment and only 59% of girls do so. Although relatively few students say that they read comic books regularly, on average across OECD countries, 27% of boys read comic books several times a month or several times a week, while only 18% of girls do so.

Many issues will arise as females become more capable in contrast to their male counter parts. Although International Women’s day has just past…let us not forget the other half.

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