Tag Archives: America

Understanding Labour Market Flexibility Should Matter to You

You're fired, clean out your desk office worker

If you’re someone who wants to work to support yourself (i.e. basically everyone), then the labour market is important for you to understand. Just like the “supply and demand” of products in a market, the supply and demand of labour makes up what we call the “labour market.” An employee therefore represents a supply, to be “bought” (by an employer) and “sold” (by an employee). Depending on several volatile factors, there may be more or less demand from employers, and the government may play a significant role in affecting this. However… which approach is the best for workers?

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The Deadliest Machine on Earth?

car that shoots BGWhat’s the deadliest weapon known to humankind? An atom bomb? A virus? Maybe it depends on how we look at history, or the definition of the “weapon.” But in modern times, in our civilized societies, the statistics always point to the lethality of machines. We hear about the dangers of airplanes all the time, but the truth is that car crashes are immensely more common, no matter what part of the world. For one country, however, there’s gradually less reason to fear cars now. Not because the roads have become dramatically safer, of course, but because guns will soon dwarf cars in numbers of fatalities.

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Mass Shootings – Increased incidents, or just increased reporting?

Gunshot skull wallpaper stkOne of the most fascinating contentions out of Steven Pinker’s 2011 book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” is that we are actually in the most peaceful time in world history. It may be hard to swallow at first – how can you honestly say, with all the bloodshed going on today, that we are in the most peaceful time ever? Pinker argues that we are not in a peaceful time, but it is most likely more peaceful than before. Back when the world had no internet, no phones, no newspapers, etc., there were massacres that people simply didn’t hear about like we do today. Since we can see violence on the news everyday now, it just seems like it happens more now. Whether or not you are persuaded by his well-researched book, we should look at contemporary violence and ask about a similar thing: Are mass shootings happening more now? Or are they just being reported more often?

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Be Smart, Move to Germany (not in that order)

Erfurt University German Flag - stkIs it just me, or is Germany possibly the greatest country in the world today…?

Germany is considered the 5th best place to be young in the world (3rd in Europe), and with 64% of the population speaking English, it’s also one of the best places for foreigners of any age to visit (…especially if they speak English). It has the world’s 4th largest economy (after US, China, and Japan) and an impressively low unemployment rate. It’s no wonder that it was rated as the most positively viewed country in the world in 2013 by the BCC. But the real story that motivated me to blog about this is the news about something dear to my heart – higher education. Namely, Germany has made all of its university education completely free.

Posted in Culture, Education | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Are Japanese Teachers Less Competent than their Foreign Counterparts?

Incompetent teacher... you didn't use the method I showed youI know what you’re thinking – how could you suggest that the average teacher in any country is incompetent? Such things depend on the way you define “competence,” and how you measure it. How could you suggest that one of the most advanced countries in the world be considered “incompetent in their ability to educate? Of course, I certainly don’t want to say that they are incompetent, but according to a new survey, Japan’s teachers would agree with me if I did.

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Edward Snowden: A Man of Peace

Thank you Snowden bus

Edward Snowden has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – an award that has certainly lost credibility because of some of the recent recipients, including U.S. President Obama. Snowden is a man who gave up his cozy life snooping on the private data of people within and outside of his country, and was smart enough not to stick around to see what kind of damage the American government would do to him, like they did to others who blew the whistle on illegal behaviour. Though there are indeed others who also deserve such praise, I hope at least the nomination helps Snowden’s cause.

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Label Wars: Made in China, Japan, or America

American bikini Asian girl

Do you care where your clothes were made? It seems like virtually everything you buy at the store now has the “made in China” label on it, but that’s not stopping consumers or retailers from dealing with such products. American companies deal with tons of sweat-shop workers in China and elsewhere for cheap labour, and it seems there is no end in sight. Even Japanese people, who currently have probably the most negative views of Chinese people in the world, still consume goods from China. So what’s the deal?

Posted in Culture, Japan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Implicit vs. Overt Racism – Are We All a Little Racist?

black kid shining white man's shoes

I hesitate to say “there are two types of racists out there,” but there are two types of racism. One is the blatant racism that you hear from people who just have a misguided sense of superiority with their own race; another is the implicit bias people have when making perceptions of people based on race.

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Why Are Hateful Americans Always So Clueless?

Oakland idiots riot at Men's Wearhouse

I suppose it’s not a big surprise that people who feel the most hatred or are the most violent are not the brightest people. But sometimes I wonder if there is a correlation between ignorance and anger. In America, people get angry at the wrong things all the time, because they not only don’t understand, but don’t even seem to want to understand – they just don’t care. And you’d think that when it comes to actual murder, you would want to be sure that you know who you’re dealing with. Unfortunately, as we’ll see, angry Americans tend not to double-check.

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What are the Fattest Countries in the World? (America is NOT #1)

Fat AmericasIt’s time for Americans to jump for joy – and I’m sure they would if they were in any shape to do so – because they are no longer considered the fattest people in the world. What happened? A mix of diet, geography, and culture has given American’s neighbors the new distinction, though they are in a tight race for the top spot. No, not Canada. The new fattest country in the world is Mexico.

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