Shaaz Nasir

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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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Steve Jobs is a Joke

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

….and Tim  is laughing

Tim Cook is the man behind not only Steve Jobs’ shadow, but also Apple itself.

For more than a decade Tim Cook has been the Chief Operating Officer at Apple in which disagreements with Steve on vital strategies have been noted among many.  Tim Cook is anything but apart of the plan or another piece; Tim is the one placing the pieces to generate the image and structure of Apple.

BBC states, “his expertise in logistics and operations has been credited as one of the crucial elements that has allowed the company to soar on the back of the iPhone and iPod”. BBC further adds “notorious for being a hard worker who sleeps little, Mr. Cook oversees day-to-day operations with a focus and dedication that insiders say is almost unparalleled”.

Unparalleled

When Apple was completely decomposing, Steve Jobs turned to the 10 year industry veteran for desperately needed help.

Help, HELP? The man took charge and changed the fundamentals; you could say the cook took charge of the kitchen.

Cook Changes

  • Apple closed down most of its manufacturing operations and recast itself as a lean and flexible operation.
  • He forged close links with Asian companies who build the hardware, cutting costs and pushing technical boundaries.
  • Supported the move to concentrate sales efforts on a string of high-end retail outlets (which Steve Jobs initially opposed).

The third time that Mr. Cook has taken over from Mr. Jobs.

Pay Break down SBS (last year)

  • salary of $800,000
  • bonus of $5m
  • stock options worth more than $50m

Background (BBC)

Born to a working class family in Alabama. His father was employed around the local shipyards and after graduating high school, Mr. Cook headed for an industrial engineering degree at Alabama’s Auburn University. Mr. Cook continued his studies with an MBA at Duke in North Carolina.

After graduating he spent more than a decade working his way up the ladder at IBM before changing and eventually being lured by Mr. Jobs to join Apple in 1998.

BBC concludes best by declaring – “But as the man credited with turning Steve Jobs’s vision into hit products, he is certainly more than just a safe pair of hands”.

So what does is all mean, where is the gap to mind?

The whole notion of the charismatic born to lead jargon actually may be false. Sometimes the loudest in the room are the most empty. Their value is derived from the fact that people must feel a human connection; a important but empty figurehead that deep down understands their weakness.

Find the Balance

Do not strive to be the arrogant type A douche that everyone loves in exchange for a brain; nor follow in Cook’s steps of doing everything in the company but no one has ever heard of you. When moving up the ladder of business success, you must understand that it is both a combination of who you know and what you know.  MBA graduates have a choice: conform and settle for that 500 000 pay check, or risk everything  to gain multi-billion fortune.

WRONG.

MBA or not.

Loud or not.

Your true self must be strong, confident, compassionate…

You see it is a knowledge based economy where your degree does indeed matter, sure there are bound to be outliers like Bill Gates who dropped out of Harvard, but the importance of education and the rare trait of being an actually thoughtful and kind person from within will help your cause.

Not some bullshit about being a closer; drinking cold coffee; yelling at everything you see and cutting peoples throats. From my experiences of traveling to over a dozen countries, living in Oxford and a real analysis of the people who actually run the show, you will find that those rough tough tycoons have more reasons than just money; they actually have a heart.

That is the joke. They put on this huge show because the big bosses understand the little guys will eat this up but the little guys fail to understand that this is all a show.

So get real and get with the program backstabbing ways do not result in actual success. A heart of coal will get you coal.

I wish Steve Jobs (the actual man and not the image) a speedy recovery and applaud him in assembling a world class team of people.

 

 

Are you a Douchebag?

In Advice, Attire, Blog, Business, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Uncategorized on January 10, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Are you really insecure about your identity?

Base your life on what people think of you?

Well at Gucci we understand your psychological problems and dedicate ourselves to manipulating them  in order to make money.

3D GUCCI GLASSES

No, not sunglasses or eyeglasses.

3D GUCCI GLASSES YOU CAN ONLY WEAR TO A THEATRE!

Stand out in a pitch black room full of strangers as you watch Avatar 2 or make a statement about your disposable income  to compensate for certain areas you lack in while enjoying Harry Potter.

Inspired by douchebags for the insecure.

BUY THEM NOW

 

Purchasing brands for yourself is great but this is a clear indication of serious personality defects. Mind the Gap is about to unleash a feature on why people wear brands. In this feature, it will be all about douchebags and what it means for our western society. Motives behind douchebags from the clubs and yuppie douchebags will  be assessed through the lenses of consumer behaviour, international marketing strategies, and psychology.

Mind the Douchebag.

2011 in One Word: Debt

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2010 at 12:34 am

Mind the Debt.

Mind these Questions.

With record spending comes record debt: is this Europe’s last chance to remain significant?

“USA USA USA print all the way” – New Chant?

Is this the year for the shy private sector to catch the baton from the wheezing public sector?

Chindia in Africa: is Canada missing the boat…again?

Will this be the year in which China and India work together?

Entering a new decade can the United Nations avoid a ban ki moon eclipse?

IMF,WB, and WTO move aside for a truly Asian based IO?

 

It’s clear

Most of the issues that will influence your life in 2011 can derived from

Debt (over load or lack of)

Food For Thought

The only man who sticks closer to you in adversity than a friend is a creditor.

Creditors have better memories than debtors.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Promises make debt, and debt makes promises.  ~Dutch Proverb

Today, there are three kinds of people:  the have’s, the have-not’s, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s.  ~Earl Wilson

What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience? -Adam Smith

MTG WISHES YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

How to lose 20 pounds

In Advice, Attire, Blog, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fat, Film, Food, Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 1:20 am

Why 20?

Since 2006 I have been on the quest for a healthier lifestyle. As mentioned in one of the most popular posts on MTG, https://mindthegapcanada.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/how-i-lost-52-pounds/ , phase one was covered.

Now I stand weighing 200 pounds at 6 foot and 2 inches and ready to enter the final phase of reaching my potential.

200 pounds leaves me at 25.7 on the BMI which is still considered overweight

at 180 pounds allows me to enter a sweet spot of 23.5 which is classified as normal.

Phase 1 was mainly based on cardio through sports and especially a ruthless treadmill regime. The “icing on the cake” was to switch over to jogging 5 km around 3-4 times a week.

Phase 2 will bring things back to the basics as I embraced the treadmill once again but introduce heavy amounts of weight training. Starting as soon as possible, regular sessions will be scheduled among my school work and such. Aiming for 4 times a week at uOttawa or/and Good Life.

Mind the BMI!!!

Some flaws with the BMI, I am sure some healthy football players are classified as overweight as weight and hieght are the only things factored in. Furthermore, some healthy guys are big boned and may be misdiagnosed as overweight in which loosing more would actually be unhealthy.

Since I would be weight training there is a strong chance of me actually gaining weight. But as long as I feel and look superb who cares about some number?

I shall use the 180 as a motivator

Before
Now
Future
?
note to readers: please talk to your doctor before trying anything. MTG does not replace your doctor.

Don’t Drop It

In Advice, Friends, Future, Uncategorized on December 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Not that many people know, but I truly enjoy art in all its forms from creating to consuming. From short films, amateur photography, attempting abstract art, to some lame poetry, art is where I am content. My passion for economics is matched or sometimes overtaken by the desire to embrace a side of me neglected for far too long. While in Oxford, art class opened a new world of processing information from places within me I never knew existed. This feeling for art was further developed when visiting museums in Paris, London, Brussels, and New Delhi. I was truly fortunate to have experienced such an eclectic mixture of artwork from around the world.

I have made many short films /simple clips that I will now begin to share with you. For the past 4 years during the chase for success while studying international economics and developments, I dropped one of my passions on the way. Below is just one of my works. It’s a drive some friends and I took while on our break. Around 4 hours of video is showcased in under 2 minutes on the backdrop of one of my favourite songs “Don’t Cross”.

There are many more to come, some from Hong Kong, Beijing, and even old paintings from the past might be shown on MTG. At the end of the day we must refocus on what makes us content with our-selfs. If you had a passion in the past and was forced to drop it, go back and pick it up because with very step we take we must mind this devastating gap. The gap between doing the things we love versus doing the things we must.

Mind the Fakes

In Advice, Canada, Culture, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Globalization, Uncategorized, World on December 24, 2010 at 12:46 am

the fakes stay close , like a shadow , during the sunshine

but those fakes leave us when we must enter the shade

be afraid of being played while you enter the meadow blindly

led ever so kindly

 

 

Mind the Laugh

In Experience, Failure, Friends, Future, Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Laugh….it’s all I can do. At the mirror, everyone, the world… just laugh it all out….lol or lmao whatever you call it, it’s all I can do

I must admit.

Laugh with or at over some chit-chat or combat

who wants to have the backbone to be the last one laughing on a self made thrown

all alone ?

Doubt Me.

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, China, City Council, Culture, Economics, Economics Association, ESA, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Film, Football, Glasses, Globalization, google, GQ Magazine, Greeting, Life, Metrosexual, Orientation, Packing, Tennis, Traveling, Uncategorized, University of Ottawa, World on October 27, 2010 at 12:07 am

Doubt if you must, it’s something I have grown accustom to. If people don’t doubt you it means you’re not pushing the boundaries, not daring to do something that can’t be done. The moment people stop doubting you it’s not because you won them over but rather because you lost yourself.”

– life experiences

From the start people will doubt you and your aspirations. In an attempt to clip your wings all types of methods will be used; no matter what you must resist the barraged of attacks. At the end of high-school after 4 years of planning to become a psychologist I discovered the world of economics. My plan for the next 10 years was scratched in 10 minutes as I frantically scrambled through my research to determine the prerequisites of my new dream.

The Chinese could not have built a greater wall than what stood between me and economics.

The hurdles added up to around 2 years of more schooling. I scurried over to my high school academic advisor to devise a master plan in which my dream would become a reality way sooner. Little did I know, she would doubt me.

“Shaaz, why are you trying? Just give up on this goal of yours. You can’t do this it’s just too much for you. Stop and settle for what you have; you would probably need 3 years of schooling to get the perquisites. There is no way this can be done.”

Some great Academic Advice eh?

So I picked up the pieces of my shattered goal from the floor and made a quick exit. After some consulting with my family and other sources (you can smell my sheer determination at this point, never give up), the solution was found!

Take that Risk

I had a meeting with the department of economics at Carleton which produced a a risky choice. I could take a harder version of  grade 12 calculus at Carleton (some hybrid version which means more in-depth/challenging) and VOILA  I would be majoring in economics at uOttawa. However, the chance to waste money, time, rejecting job offers and failing was high as I had ZERO experience with math at that level.

Of course I took the class.

LONG days LONG nights and NO Summer with LOTS of stress. On average 5-6 hours of studying a day everyday period.

Raw brute force.

Result?

Determination worked as I finished in the top 10% percent of the class with a 79%.  Proved a good amount of people wrong but more importantly proved to myself I could live out my dream, no matter how tall those walls were.

Now I am only 7 months away from my degree in International Economics and Development with a minor in Business Administration. I have 3 years of government work experience. I have the privilege to be the VP Finance of uOttawa’s Tennis League and  the VP Academic uOttawa’s Economic Student Association. Furthermore, I been lucky enough to embark on a 20 day economic delegation to China and Malaysia as a Trade Ambassador.

This message  is not about me or my life but rather about the powers of doubt itself.

Keep pushing the boundaries and doing what’s not possible time and time again.

So for those people please continue to doubt me and MTG.

It only means good things are coming our way…

Why you should hate Life.

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Mind the Gap takes an extremely positive outlook on life, from economics to fashion and everything in between. Today we will try something very different, lets get negative. real negative. I suppose people have difficulties relating to the uplifting  message MTG brings to the table….so lets flip this table and run rampant….be warned this is odd.

“No matter how hard you try someone will look better, be smarter, run faster…thus one should never try… all you will do is experience failure. When you see people succeed get angry and blame them for doing so well, not your own insecurities. Find something you fear? Simple, just push it away as far as you can while marginalizing for more insecurities. Never understand it. You don’t write your own destiny as your geographic location shackles you to the ground as dreams are simply that, dreams.  People are born rich you were not so stop trying. See a group of people…do not engaged they will judge you and see all your flaws. Jealousy is a feeling that must be embraced as it is your only true driving force to success not practice or “reasons”.  This world is shitty and our existence does not matter; you do not matter. Think small because that is what we are.”

Negativity

Wow, I feel bad for those who actually feel that way. Clearly, MTG’s outlook on life is a tad more “sane” and mentality stable.

So take your negativity and feel it, understand it, shape it, control it…but never accept it.

Keep in mind…negativity is a vicious cycle that will not guide you to happiness. Which is all we want….right?