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Showing posts from 2011

Township seminar at UP

Click here to listen to the podcast

Mark Gevisser;
Sakhela Buhlungu; Angus Gibson; Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom; Anton Harber; Tsepo wa Marnatu; Chris van Wyk.
Gevisser: Place to talk across boundaries. In and outside of university. Across that boundary.
All male panel. Ironically women are vulnerable (corrective rape) in township. Apologizes that women will remain vulnerable.
Will each speak for 10 mins on their work and how it changes how we think of township. Then the resident scholar will comment on what they said and ask questions that bring it together.
Harber: Jokes about the diff between Wits and UP.
Doesn't describe Diepsloot as a township. Reasons why he'd wanted to write about Diepsloot. 1994 arose. Product of transitional period. Townships are enforced segregation. Calls it a settlement. Core area is called the reception area (received for allocation). People are stuck there. Diepsloot is JHBs reception area.
Legal and technical sense. Diepsloot had a dela…

Poem: Pretty by Katie Makkai

See the poem performed on YouTube

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother
“What will I be? Will I be pretty?”
Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?
What comes next?
Oh right,
will I be rich which is almost pretty
depending on where you shop.
And the pretty question infects from conception
passing blood and breath into cells.
The word hangs from our mothers’ hearts
in a shrill of fluorescent floodlight of worry.

“Will I be wanted? Worthy? Pretty?”
But puberty left me this funhouse mirror dryad:
teeth set at science fiction angles,
crooked nose,
face donkey-long
and pox-marked where the hormones went finger-painting
my poor mother.

“How could this happen? You’ll have porcelain skin as soon as we can see a dermatologist.”
“You sucked your thumb. That’s why your teeth look like that!”
“You were hit in the face with a Frisbee when you were six, otherwise your nose would have been just fine!”

Don’t worry; we will get it all fixed she would say,
grasping my face, twisting it this way …

Masculinity and feminity

what it mean to be a 'real' man/woman and the responsibilities that come with these roles

• in my culture, we define manhood as a stage where a man is grown up when he reaches 21 years and initiated or go to mountain, and he can get married but still under guidance & care of parents
• womanhood is a stage where a girl  reaches 15 years and started to see her period and graduated in an initiation school and she will be called "Khoba" which means a virgin girl ready for the world

Real Man is someone who is the King, the head, the president and the leader in his family. As the head is expected to have the following:
• He must have the plan for the family (Clear Vision) for his wife and children. He must know how to provide for the family and have policies that he use to lead the family.
• He must have the eyes to see the needs of his family.

Real Woman is a helpmate who must provide support for her husband to be able to fulfill the role of being a leader int he fami…


Religion is always worth it. I have nothing against any religion. I love religions.

I don't believe in hell. But I also don't believe in so many other things, this is just one of the things. I know that whether I believe in it or not doesn't make it existent or not. I know that I have to understand what it means for those that believe in it. Just like I have to understand all the things that people believe in, or at least allow for it. I don't challenge it, I think.

The fact that I don't believe will always be taken as a judgment, just like differing opinions always imply judgment of some kind. The only way people can communicate, is by suspending their taking of a difference of opinion personally, and by finding a workaround.


On white silence.

Samantha Vice also advocates for white people at least a partial silence and a political humility which would prevent white people from engaging in the politics of the day. White people have power. When they speak, they speak with the authority and arrogance that inevitably flows from their whiteness. Hence, says Vice, it is morally risky to speak publicly in our society if one is a white person. I have three responses to that: First, do we not have the duty to take this risk? Is it not a bit precious — showing perhaps inadvertently too much concern for ones own ethical purity and ones status as a not so bad person — by not wanting to take risks and not wanting to make mistakes?  Is this not a move to avoid exposing oneself to ridicule, hatred, criticism, accusations of racism and arrogance, of sexism and homophobia, which might well be levelled against some of us by others who, surely, we must be careful not wish to construct as utterly powerless victims of whiteness and of what whi…

To-Do Lists

The normal list-making that I do goes like this.

• think of something
• get out iPhone and send myself an email
• first word of subject - Task.
e.g. Task. Get tickets at Computicket for Pandora

I filter my emails that 'Task' gets a favorite star and a Tag (label) called Task. I can then easily see what the tasks are. I can also search for Task and it will show me all my emails that begin with the word Task, and I sort that list by date. As soon as I have done the Task, I simply take off the favorite star and Archive and it archives to the folder Task. Then I can even look and see what I have already done. That feels good!

This way I can see how many Tasks I have on hand. I can see that there are 29 Tasks in my inbox - 30 is my limit. When I hit 30, I take two hours each day and kill them. Thwack!

Then there are the long-term tasks, e.g. LT Task. Website idea for jobless people. "LT" …

TED: Tom Chatfield: ways games reward the brain

experience bars measuring progress - instead of small reward incrementsgive lots of task - keep the tasks small and measurable, break things down into many tasksreward effort - don't punish failurefeedback - must link consequences to action, feel a lesson, model lessonsuncertainty - neurological goldmine, the reward that they weren't sure they were going to get, there was an unlikelihood, the real turnon is doing stuff with other people, collaboration

TED: Nalini Nadkarni: Life science in prison

She gave trees canvases and let them paint. Found that trees have signatures like a Monet or a Renoir. She did calculations and found that the way they painted had cycles.How can this be applied to a seemingly static institution like a prison.They gave lectures about science in prisonsThe prisoners chose the lectures over TVThat is movementThey had a project about frogs and wetlandsThe prisoners chose to the project over TVSolitary confinement prisoners were given images of nature in their exercise yardsIf prisoners can change, we can too

TED: Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

fetsiboomsticks: Cultural ghettos are places where we congregate with people just like us. Where we otherise others by affirming ourselves and by actively ennumerating what differences the differences of others.frustration is very stimulating. Learning a language, being frustrated that you can't express in fine detail keeps you trying. a reader wants to see the manifestation of the identity of the author in the storyfetsiboomsticks: you are not a creator, an actor takes roles that he 'agrees' with, that he is prepared to endorse, that's what we think.multicultural writers are expected to write their culture, English writers are allowed to be more imaginativeshe was prosecuted for words she had written and she objects because it is fiction writers are entitled to their opinions, but it is not politics its fiction, separate thingsfiction is a connector, politics is a divider Muslims read books by Palistinians and vice versa, they connect. Politicians stop you from listen…

TED: Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders

Women systematically underestimate their own abilityWomen don't negotiate for themselves in the workforce7% of women negotiate their first salary, 57% of men do Women attribute their success to external factors, men attribute it to themselvesNo one gets to the promotion without believing they deserve itSuccess and likability are negatively correlated for women and positively correlated for menSolutions: Get women to sit at the table (make sure that you notice that men are reaching, but women are also there), Make your partner your partner (men do less housework/childwork), Don't leave before you leave (open yourself to men working in the home, women stop putting their hands up in their careers because they want to have children)

TED: Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

Information junk food, vegetables and desert. We don't have a balanced information diet. Beware the filters. You are living in a filter bubble - google and facebook tailoring what gets into your bubble.You don't know what DOESN'T get in.Algorithms are curating the world for us, online. The editors were human gatekeepers, now the gatekeepers are algorithmic - created by coder-gatekeepers. We need control over the filters.Filters must be made more responsibly because we need to know things outside of our opinion set so that we can operate responsibly.

Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world

Ushahidi was created by two blog readers who had time (72 hours) to create a platform on which a person can congregate information - aggregates it and make it public, people loved it, so they turned it into an open source platform. The ability of the world population to collaborate on free projectsA trillion hours a year exist for free projectsWhen a new technology steps in people always ALSO use it for throwaway stuff (e.g. LOLcats) It's tempting to want the abundance without the LOLcats, but it doesn't work that wayFreedom to experiment means freedom to experiment with anything.Even with the printing press we got porn before journals'Design for generosity' our intrinsic motivations are more powerful than our bosses telling us to do somethingDeterrence theory - add a punishment, people will do less of that thingStudy - when you add a punishment, people do MORE of that thing - if you pay the fine you pay it and you feel nothing, it's more powerful preventer of bad …

TED: Jason Clay: How big brands can help save biodiversity

Amazon. What can I do to save the rainforest? Get someone to make a product that is sourced from the rainforest that can show that the rainforest is worth more as resource than pasture. It failed. The people who made money from the rainforest were not the same people who were cutting the forest. The average European cat has a larger carbon footprint than the average African.The average American consumes 43 times more than the average African.Should consumers have a choice between sustainable or not sustainable products, or should all the products on the shelf be sustainable. Are consumers equipped to make the choice between products? Do they have time to make an informed choice? There are so many ifs ands and buts. It's a minefield.Sustainability needs companies to work together, countries need to work together. And the where what and who have to be managed.There are 1.5 billion producers. 500 commodities determine the trade of all of these companies. If you look at the companies …

TED: Sheryl WuDunn: Our century's greatest injustice

There are fewer women in the world because more girls are discriminated to death than all the people killed in all the battlefields in the 20th century.When you educate a boy, he has slightly fewer children.When you educate a girl, she has significantly fewer children.When you don't use women as part of the solution you not using all the solution resources you can. Move women out of a viscious cycle into a virtuous cycle (and she will work harder for women than men do - fetsiboomsticks).

TED: Sheryl WuDunn: Our century's greatest injustice

There are fewer women in the world because more girls are discriminated to death than all the people killed in all the battlefields in the 20th century. When you educate a boy, he has slightly fewer children. When you educate a girl, she has significantly fewer children. When you don't use women as part of the solution you not using all the solution resources you can. 80 000 slaves were transported to the new world, 800 000 women are trafficked across borders.

Freshly Ground, "I'd like" lyrics

I'd like to call you sometime
I'd like you to need me one time

What would you do if you knew the truth?
Oh what would you do if I told you the story of my life?
Would you find me overly familiar towards you?
Would you call me crude, fling me aside to the birds?

What do I do with all these feelings warming me up inside?
What do I do with all these precious hours dreaming of you and I?
Would you recognize it's a need I've been fighting for so long?
Would you recognize it's a hunger only you can fill?

I'd like to call you sometime
Oh I would like to call you

I'd like to call you sometime
I'd like you to need me one time

Courtney Martin: Reinventing feminism

My father resigned from his men-only business club because he didn't want to belong to a club that would welcome his son one day, but not his daughterMy mom started the longest running feminist film festival in the USI claimed the feminist label because a feminist delivered a lecture in fishnet stockings - acknowledging that beauty is relevantFeministing the most widely read feminist text everFeministing has political cloutYou should never judge women who fail to reach their really lofty goalsFeminists are working in really difficult environments and their own measure of success is 'daily acts of caring'ACT in the face of overwhelm


strengthuntamableagilityChristtamed by a virgin (Mary)can only be mounted by virginswill sleep in a virgin's lap, makes it vulnerable to hunters (like, what's she doing... leading it to slaughter, get off your arse woman! Woman are so passive in old texts... %$%$#%$#^#)chaste lovefaithful marriageneutralize poisonshown in heraldry with broken collar, that it has been taken, but will not be again

Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work

Bosses who think that social networking keeps people from their work are wrongThis isn't China. Facebook is the modern smoke-break Bosses are afraid that if they can't see their employees working at home are wrongM&Ms interrupt - managers interrupt, meetings interruptYou can Quit Skype, Quit Facebook, Quit Twitter - you can't Quit your manager At home you can take a walk later, record the program you want to watch later, or work later.How about no talk Thursday afternoons. Silence in the office. Work will be done.How about managers leaving people to get some work done.

Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

A leader needs the guts to stand out and be ridiculed
He has to be doing something easy
Then someone will join him
The first follower transforms the leader from a lone nut into a leader
The first follower is also a leader, it takes guts to be the first follower
Will show the others how to follow
The leader embraces the follower
Nurture your followers if you are the first leader
The next followers emulate the follower not the leader
Three is a crowd and a crowd is news, the third one starts the tipping point
As more people join in it's less risky
Those that join in quickly will be part of the in-crowd
Those that are too slow will be ridiculed because they don't recognise the leader

Leadership is overglorified
The first follower is the real leader
Have the courage to follow, have the courage to be the first one to follow the lone nut

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

The water wasn't safe, so the English used drink beerBy 1650 they had started drinking tea and coffee and since before they were drunk, the Enlightenment started when tea and coffee spread. From pub to coffeehouseThe architecture of the space allowed ideas to have sexBeen studying what environments breed ideas, patternsChaotic environmentsImportant ideas have long incubation periods, they fade into viewBuilding barricades around ideas - copyright, patenting - which stifles many of themNoodling around, hackingChance favors the connected mind - ideas that pop into your head by chance because people suggest reasons and uses for your ideas, stimulating your imagination

Elizabeth Lesser: Take "the Other" to lunch

Martin Luther King - I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to beMother Theresa - The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of the family to smallWe give too much voice to the most divisive amongst usBook titles reflect this - Pinheads and patriots; Arguing with idiotsNegative otherizing morphs into violent extremismCounteracting otherizing A strategy: Take the other to lunchAgree on some ground rules - ahead of timeBe conversational, don't persuade, interrupt, be curious, listen, be real, don't try to change the other side, acknowledge that it's a first stepWhat issues concern you, what have you always wanted to ask someone from the other sideTwo people dropping the pretence of being know it allsTwo people practicing ubuntu

Noreen Hertz - How to use experts - and when not to

Data deluge, complexity - experts can process the info better and can come to better conclusions than we canWe give them parental-like authorityBig problemExperts divide themselves into rigid camps, worshiping their own gurus, eschewing dissentWe have to take them on and persist in the face of their annoyanceWe have to ask questions about their methodologiesGoogle CEO actively looks for the arms-crossed disassociated person in the roomDemocratized expertise - shop girls get a say with the forecasting team for the companyBest Buy introduced a gambling chip - employees could bet on stuff and they discovered important flaws in projects

I am not an African

I am a political conclusion.
I am one of European ancestry.
I am not, culturally, an African.
I don't relate to anything cultural anywhere in Africa.
I am filled with Americanisms, by choice.
I can't call it American culture, it has no form or substance in my life other than: film.
I hate what colonialism did to Africa.
Colonialism did something to me in Africa, but it didn't make me African.
I was born in South Africa, but my mothers blood did not seep into or out of African soil.
I am not an African.

Sexual and racial politics

I'm interested in racial politics, I'm interested in how to make the situation better between the races. I am interested in sexual politics. I find my eyes drawn to those group dynamics. The rolling of your eyes when I say the word 'men' or 'black' is controlling me - you are saying that because your interests are different to mine, or because you believe one should never say these words, that I may not speak of the things that interest me. Go to your house and do what you want. If it weren't for women like me, you would not know that infibulation starts with shaving.

Cinnamon Gurl sparked this off. Thanks. Each week the Flashback Friday: Feminist Edition will feature a story that has something to do with being or becoming a woman or feminist. This series will continue until I run out of stories. I love having guest bloggers. If you have a story you want to tell and you want to be a guest blogger here, please email me (fetsiboomsticks@gmail.c…


Sort - inventory of what you havePurge - chuck stuff so you have lessAssign - put stuff left over into zonesContainerize - put the stuff in the zones in containersEqualize - maintain system, keep it currentSPACE

Don't zig-zag, stay in one room and have a 'belongs elsewhere' pile to take when you leavePapers - only transient papers should be on your desk, the rest should be filed