Shaaz Nasir

Posts Tagged ‘mind the gap’

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.

Advertisements

Ohhhh Those Eyes

In Advice, Canada, Experience, Globalization on January 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Your eyes are one of the most important ways to  communicate. When words fail your eyes will pick up the slack and transmit messages beyond comprehension. Eye contact in any scenario from work to friends, heightens the connection at least  two fold. One can determine lies, nervousness, confidence, and truth through the eyes. There have been many times when people would be saying one thing but their eyes another.  Eyes also have tendency to break down barriers of language and culture as through my travels I have been able to understand people simply by the eyes. Physical distance can be destroyed when engaged in eye contact, while people could literally be standing in front of each other, but without eye contact they feel a cold distance.

So I end this post with a quote

“Those eyes will be your saviour as her voice whispers closer but her eyes scream run.”

How to lose 5 pounds without Exercise

In Advice, Blog, Business, Canada, Culture, Exercise, Experience, Failure, Faith, Fashion, Fasting, Fat, Food, Friends on January 3, 2011 at 11:01 am


Dream of dropping 5 pounds without intense exercise,
or maybe you are already fit and are struggling with the last five. Fret no more and GTF…what!?

WAIT and read

I will begin a new series based on sharing some of the tips and tricks that helped me shed the 52 pounds. Alongside with international economics, the latest fashion movement, and other important topics will come short bursts of advice on dropping  weight. Soon a cultural study on what it means to be attractive in various societies and why the western concept of  “hotness” has prevailed  will be released.

For now something a tad lighter …

Shaaz’s Green Tea Flood (GTF)…

Step 1 – Drink 4 cups of green tea a day

Step 2 -Drink 5 to 6 glasses of water a day

Step 3 – Reduce your salt intake

Green tea has a trillion benefits from  externalities such as lush extravagant hair to flushing out those bad toxins in your body. If you do not classify yourself as a very active person chances are you have a good amount toxins in you. These toxins slow your body down and prevent your natural hair, nails, and  skin from reaching their true potential. The biggest impact is how green tea speeds up your metabolism. When combining green tea with the increase in water consumption, your body at first will..logically… want to pee a lot. However, give yourself three days and your body should regulate itself accordingly. When your body lacks water it tends to keep your fat from leaving since it truly believes you are going to die.

Lacks water..how do I know?

The moment you become remotely thirsty…you are dehydrated. Sounds weird and wasteful, but it’s the truth. You should never feel thirsty which means keeping a healthy surplus of water in your body.

Wait…can I just keep GTF’ing and lose 5 pounds all the time?!

No. Your body will experience diseconomies of scale as the impact of green tea will diminish as you consume more over time.

Problems with GTF

I am a 6 foot 2 inch Indian man that weighs 200 pounds. If you are a 5 foot 1 blonde cheerleader from spain or a 70 year old man living in China…well first thank you for reading MTG… but…. I cannot say this will work for you. However, as a general guideline anything less than 4 cups a day will not have much impact. Plus if you eat like a pig no amount of GTF will help you.

Let this be your first step to a healthier you not just your only step.

Within 10-14 days you should feel the difference through your nails, hair, skin, and weighing machine  (please get one)

Alright now I am off to find the meaning of beauty around various cultures to report on the gaps and reasons behind them.

Before you try anything please talk to your doctor as MTG is not your doctor.

IMPOSTORS

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 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 ?

Where does a uOttawa Muslim go eat?

In Advice, Attire, Business, Culture on November 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

The quest for Halal at uOttawa

I have been wandering around Campus for around 4 years now, and I thought to myself what has changed in these past years? Knowing me the first thing that came to mind is food (do not judge…  I AM HUNGRY!!); halal food to be specific. I hear that our Student Federation is working on adding options around campus which is definitely a step in the right direction. Carleton has a well-developed cafeteria with options that include halal. However, Carleton is also located in a luxurious oasis that is the middle of nowhere; it is expected of them to have decent internal options. On the other hand uOttawa may be a tad gray but at least it is centrally located with hundreds of restaurants at our finger tips. So there is no beef with uOttawa because it’s adapting to demographic shifts and embracing reality.

Until the day comes when real halal options (not just the ones at SITE) are provided through the appropriate venue, what are people to do?

Here is a list of the best alternatives on our campus!

Yum Yum List

  1. Upper Crust in UCU – They have one amazing double cheese, tomato basil, cheese induced baguette. Yes they only have one veggie option but WOW this sandwich is amazing (Ignore the upper crust in FTX… YUCK) cost : $7
  2. Crazy Garden Something – Name does not matter, location does. It is located right past the Royal Oak. This is a veggie heaven with all vegetarian and organic options… wow choice? What do I do! Watch out as some foods are strange to say the least, as for advice, try the tofu tammari something with wild rice, too good. (desert: the oh so decadent brownies which make brownies anywhere else seem like a bad joke) cost $7-14
  3. Chip Wagon in near 90U – Veggie dogs and a decent burger as well! Order the combo with fries and a drink for around $8 (Veggie POUTINE… yum). Sometimes the lines are long and with it being -40, a 10 min wait is not too fun.

Hot Dog Man near Arts – Shout out to my bro who makes the best veggie dogs out there.  If only he listened and ordered some halal sausages from Toronto with the rest of his inventory. He sells one thing and unlike the Upper Crust UCU, it’s not filling.

Despite everything being overpriced and limited in options I am happy we have some options!

Now for the list that will cause beef, not halal beef, just beef.

Worst Places on Campus

  1. Cafe Alt – Hold on now; take a breath now; take another one. I respect the intent of this place and the people committed to this cause but the implementation and actual reality forces me to admit how terrible Cafe Alt is. Back to basics: overall food is not well put together; choices are limited; and menu is poorly made. Prices are through the roof for what is student made food that you could have made at home for 95% less. I encourage everyone to visit it the place and make up your own mind but for me, Cafe FAIL. (The atmosphere is relaxing sometimes though).
  2. Subway near DMS – Veggie delight, there is nothing delightful about fake bread and rabbit food. Harsh and true, the veggies are rarely fresh and the pricing makes little sense to the consumer but to Subway oh baby it has to be their biggest “marked up” item. Tuna does not taste like tuna and must have high levels of mercury; so I pay to slowly damage myself?  Do not even talk about those veggie patties nor the lobster; do not even think about it! (I eat subway a lot but  never did I say I enjoy it. When you have to study it is the fastest way to recharge).

So my fellow people please state your case in the comments box below!

Mind the Culture: Shaaz Jazz for studying

In Advice, Attire, Blog, BMO, Canada, Globalization, University of Ottawa on October 17, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I was studying late one night and needed some Cheezy Jazz, you know the kind that you hear in elevators or on the line waiting for Rogers to fix your internet for the 13th time, (but hey take no offence as I love that music once in a while) that’s when I discovered the “Jazz” Artist Dave.

This guy makes the cheesiest jazz out there…

I got his album and was pleasantly surprised to find  his message on change/life …. reminded me of  MTG

Read it

“I think on some level we all feel it…I sure have. A frequency and velocity of change that’s unprecedented in our lifetime—nothing short of a complete realignment of everything we thought we knew. It’s a whole new game and the rules are still being written. Well, like it or not it’s here… seemingly everywhere, making it an uneasy time for many. How we respond and move through this period is what really counts now.

Music has a particular ability to awaken and stir the soul. Through the recording of these songs, I found a way to embrace this crossroads in my own life and ultimately discover a sense of comfort within the discomfort. It was a transformative experience of great learning, inspiration and healing. It is my hope that in listening to this album, you’ll begin to notice a shift in you as well. Consider this a ‘musical survival guide’ for these unfamiliar times. All that’s needed is an open heart and an open mind to awaken, inspire and enlighten you on your path.

We’re fortunate to be alive at this extraordinary moment . . . for out of the darkness comes the brightest light. With a calm and graceful passage through the chaos, we can arrive to a place of pure possibility and promise. Our future is unfolding in all the right ways, for all the

right reasons. Let’s embrace it. Hello, Tomorrow. With love, gratitude and blessings . . .”

-Dave Koz  (95% sure this was his excellent writers working for his PR and in fact he probably never read this lol..the message regardless of who may have written is highly valuable)

Mind the Economy: Jobless Recovery…Give me a break IMF

In Advice, Business, Canada, Culture, Economics, Experience, Faith, Future, Globalization, Life, Shaaz Nasir, Success, Technology, Trade, Traveling, World Bank on October 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

Four challenges: IMF

Strauss-Kahn highlighted four challenges to be addressed by the officials gathering in Washington…..

• Sovereign debt. Fiscal sustainability remains a problem for some countries, particularly those that entered the crisis with very high levels of debt. “So we are strongly in favor of medium-term consolidation, but it doesn’t mean that in the short term every country will have to tighten as much as possible. It depends a lot on their own situation and it is very country specific.” Where the recovery remains fragile and private sector demand is weak, support for demand is still needed.

• Jobless recovery. Just reviving growth is not enough. “We need growth with jobs. Growth without jobs doesn’t mean much for the man in the street. So obviously, for us, the crisis will not be over until the unemployment rate decreases significantly.”

• Financial sector reform. While a lot has been done to address improved regulation, particularly through the new Basle III accord, a lot more needs to be done on supervision and regulation of the financial sector, which was at the heart of the global crisis. In addition, Strauss-Kahn said the IMF supported moves to introduce taxation of the sector.

Global cooperation. The world got through the economic crisis through very close cooperation, but now the momentum was decreasing. One example of this is emerging competition between countries to adjust their currencies to gain an advantage. “What we all want is the rebalancing of the global economy, and this rebalancing cannot happen without a natural consequence of it, which is a change in the relative value of currencies.”

Politics +  Economics = headache

I have been noticing over the past two years that policy makers in the lime light or politicians using the phrase “growth without jobs is horrible” or ” we cannot face a jobless recovery ARHHH”….

Are these guys missing the point or adhering to misconceptions of growth and recovery formed by the pubic?

Depending on what sector, companies around the world  must experience substantive growth for around 12 to 20 months before they can consider hiring once again. Furthermore, during (and as a result of ) recessionary periods, companies examine  their internal workforce and re-prioritize organizational objectives. The restructuring period may lead  to massive overhauls (bigger than Wario’s) for the company’s structure and size. For example, GM…they cut their company in half by killing about 6 brands….people cannot expect them to hire the same amount of workers….

Furthermore, demographics  also play a vital role in unemployment rates. In Canada the time it takes for unemployment rates to return to pre recession levels takes twice as long for young professionals (defined as youth 16-25)…why..that’s another post for another day.

For now,

let us focus on these four challenges and the realization that time is the best public policy tool in the fight against unemployment rates, not fuelling economic misconceptions.

How I lost 52 pounds

In Exercise, Fat, Globalization, GQ Magazine, Hair, Weight Loss on October 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

252 Pounds

My journey to live a healthier life started in 2006 while watching the World Cup with my dad. I was a very hefty fellow weighing around 252 pounds at age 17 in grade 12. That’s not even funny but down right dangerous. After seeing such fine athletes running around with such great freedom and movement, I said to myself, man you’re 252.

After consulting my family doctor and being warned about diabetes, heart attacks, and quite frankly death, it was time for a change. I was not over eating due to sadness or some type of mental issue; rather it was my positive attitude that did me in.

Positive Attitude to Blame…WHAT?!

I was just a really happy person and confident in who I was, however , my positivity became some type of denial or false sense of everything will be fine mentality. My family played a huge part in my quest to live a healthier life; buying me a cool treadmill was a strong step forward on the road to weight loss.

I still remember my first attempt ..oh boy…

speed 2.5

incline 3

time: 22 minutes

burned around 150 calories

ahahhahah I was dead afterwards!

Slowly worked my way up to

speed 3.0-3.5

incline 12

time 60 minutes

burns around 1000 calories (keep in mind as I drop fat..it takes more to drop the same amount of calories)

Eating

I stopped eating the junk and started eating the fine home made Indian food I previously ignored (yes, very dumb I know who the heck ignores homemade Indian food). The journey had rough points however, when I reached 218 lbs. school work and other work related issues drained my time and I went up to 225 lbs. I told myself that walking backwards was not an option and began my treadmill once again with even more determination.

Today

At 200 pounds on the dot I feel much more alive than before. Although I have a solid 20 pounds to lose with about 10 pounds of muscle to gain, I am sure with the same determination this new goal will be achieved. This was a hard post for me as I prefer not to go into too much details of my former larger than life body. If even just one person reads this and becomes inspired to take action and see their doctor about how to live a healthier life, well worth the uneasiness. I am now working on breaking my Personal Record of 31.024 for my 5 km and will aim towards running a 10 km shortly. The second phase of my self improvement is hitting the gym and cardio as together they will produce a sexy Shaaz!  Jokes aside cardio combined with the gym is key to making a sustainable difference, expect to see an update this post shortly. Good ol’ World Cup 2006… thank you!

BEFORE AND AFTER (I  prefer before and half way point)