Thursday 31 December 2015

The Procrastinator (some) Times End of 2015 & Beginning of 2016 Edition

Dear friends,

Welcome to the last edition of 2015 of The Procrastinator (some) Times. 2015 was a very intense year, not the best I've remember, definitely. This is how I wave you good-bye 2015 (merci Marine for such accurate representation of my feelings).

So, here are the articles that we have been reading lately and that will make a meaningful procrastination during this lazy January days. 

In our News and Science sections: New research on the role that poverty plays in intellectual development finds that a disadvantaged environment can prevent genetics from doing its jobThe Economist promises to explain Thomas Piketty's (massive) "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" in four decent sized paragraphs. The Independent will teach you how to cut down on meat without going cold turkey, if that's what you're into with this New Year's resolutions. Ozy introduce us to Jeremy England, the man who can change what we think about evolution... and faith.

In our Culture & Entertainment sections: the artist Francis Alÿs will stage workshops at an Iraqi refugee camp as part of the project Creativity for Survival: Art Workshops in Refugee Camps in Iraq. Gotta love Alÿs. I know, I do. CityLab, on the other hand, have compiled a list of myths we’re tired of debunking and phrases we’re tired of seeing—not to mention writing; from "hipster" to "sharing economy." #HatersGonnaHate. Ari Basciani, of Culturetas, shares with us this list published by The Atlantic of the TV shows to look forward to in 2016, and our collaborator Kerilyn shares why we should be watching The Royals.

So, this is it. We will be back soon(-ish), don't worry and enjoy your parties, your readings and keep making your procrastination a meaningful one in 2016!

Happy happy new year!

NEWS: Thomas Piketty’s “Capital”, summarised in four paragraphs

Photo via The Economist.

"IT IS the economics book taking the world by storm. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", written by the French economist Thomas Piketty, was published in French last year and in English in March of this year. The English version quickly became an unlikely bestseller, and it has prompted a broad and energetic debate on the book’s subject: the outlook for global inequality. Some reckon it heralds or may itself cause a pronounced shift in the focus of economic policy, toward distributional questions. This newspaper has hailed Mr Piketty as "the modern Marx" (Karl, that is). But what’s it all about?" The Economist promises to explain this (massive) book in four decent sized paragraphs. E.T.P. 4'

NEWS: Poverty's Role in Intellectual Development

Photo via CityLab.

"Whether intelligence is more the product of nature or nurture has long fascinated American social scientists and the general public alike. Typically the result is explained as some balance of genetics and environment, but since the early 1970s, researchers have noticed that this scale tends to shift dramatically across social classes. It’s as if nature and nurture play by different rules for rich and poor." Read full article in CityLab. E.T.P. 

SCIENCE: Jeremy England, the Man Who May One-Up Darwin

Photo via Ozy.

Ozy introduce us to Jeremy England, the man who can change what we think not only about evolution but also about faith.

"On a sunny afternoon, at a bustling cafe less than a mile from Stanford University’s campus, near Palo Alto, and more than 5,000 miles from his home, an assistant professor from MIT is telling me about science. Very advanced science. His name is Jeremy England, and at 33, he’s already being called the next Charles Darwin.
Say what?

In town to give a lecture, the Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar speaks quickly, his voice rising a few pitches in tone, his long-fingered hands making sudden jerks when he’s excited. He’s skinny, with a long face, scraggly beard and carelessly groomed mop of sandy brown hair — what you might expect from a theoretical physicist. But then there’s the street-style Adidas on his feet and the kippah atop his head. And the fact that this scientist also talks a lot about God."
Read full article in OZY. E.T.P. 7'

SCIENCE: How to cut down on meat without going cold turkey

Photo via The Independent.

"The environmental, health and animal welfare benefits of a meat-free diet are well known - but convincing people to forgo crispy bacon or juicy steak for the rest of their lives is not easy.
There might be a better way, one campaigner says. Instead of advocating vegetarianism, he is encouraging people to drastically cut down on eating meat without cutting it out completely. He calls it "reducetarianism"." Read full article in The Independent. E.T.P. 8'

CULTURE: Francis Alÿs to Hold Refugee Workshops in Areas Affected by ISIS

Francis Alÿs. Photo via ArtNet News.

This has to be one of the best news I've read lately. 

"The artist Francis Alÿs will stage workshops at an Iraqi refugee camp as part of the project Creativity for Survival: Art Workshops in Refugee Camps in Iraq.
Alÿs' activities, to start next year, will be in support of the Ruya Foundation, whose work is also supported by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The foundation is setting up a permanent art space in Camp Shariya in northern Iraq, which will facilitate adult refugees engaging in art through a program of talks, classes, and workshops led by a range of local and international artists including Alÿs, whose work has dealt with spatial justice and land-based poetics." Read full article in ArtNet News. E.T.P. 3'

CULTURE: Stubborn Myths and Dated Terms We'd Like to Retire in 2016

Photo via CityLab.

"Whether they’re overused, misunderstood, or wrongfully deployed, sometimes good words and concepts go bad. As CityLab wraps up 2015 and looks forward to a new year full of promise, we’ve compiled the following list of myths we’re tired of debunking and phrases we’re tired of seeing—not to mention writing. Maybe, just maybe, if we all hold hands and jump together, we can reduce the number of times we’re collectively forced to contend with these terms in 2016." Go to CityLab to read the extense list that include from "millenials" and "hipsters" to "artisanal" and "sharing economy"... They have their reasons. E.T.P. 8'


Image via The Atlantic.

Our contributor at Culturetas and confessed TV addict, Ari Basciani, shares with us this list published by The Atlantic of the shows to look forward to in 2016.

"2015 may have spawned the phrase “Peak TV” thanks to an onslaught of shows in every format imaginable, but 2016 isn’t going to offer much respite. In the coming months, terrestrial networks, premium cable, and streaming services will continue to pump out new series and bring back old favorites, no matter how niche their audience. Here’s a look at a fraction of what’s in store for the early months of 2016."

Go to The Atlantic to see the full list. E.T.P. 8'

ENTERTAINMENT: Top 5 Reasons You Should be Watching The Royals

Image via E!

By Kerilyn Tacconi.

1. Anglophilia - it is a show written by Americans for an American TV network about a fictional British royal family. And fabulously fictional they are! No English man or woman would be caught dead saying any of the lines because of their fabulously cheesy nature. There also are far too many Americans in the cast, which is especially absurd because of how posh everyone is. I am not sure if it is actually how America sees England or if it is how we wish England was. Either way, it is a love affair built on fantasy, which is the best kind. 

2. Aesthetic bliss - everyone is beautiful and wears beautiful clothes and the sets and locations are gorgeous. I don’t know where they found the clean streets and sun, but I’ll be the first in line for the bus tour. 

3. Jaspenor / Opheliam - who doesn’t love watching a blighted romance between people who are completely perfect for each other but incapable of a functional relationship? Will Jasper the bodyguard earn back Princess Eleanor’s trust? Will Prince Liam and Ophelia ride off into the sunset? We all, the entire internet, hopes so, but as season 2 rolls on that dream seems more impossible to realize. Excuse me while I go light some candles and listen to Adele’s 25 on repeat. 

4. A Soap Opera for Modern Times - it is a shame that us twenty and thirty somethings did not get the chance to spend our college days discussing daytime soap operas - who killed whom, whose kid was whose, who married their sister and who came back from the dead. Until now! The Royals has it all: an unsolved murder, a paternity scandal, people we thought were dead are not really, marital affairs, blackmail and back stabbing. Where’s my martini? 

5. Elizabeth Hurley - [nuff said] oh, and Joan Collins.