Wednesday, 31 August 2011

If the World Were a Village...

Ever seen this?
If the World Were a Village of 100 People

Here's another, less animated, version: If the World Were a Village... from the Family Care Foundation.
Sources: Research for many of the facts for this 2005 update was done by Donella H. Meadows’ think tank: the Sustainability Institute. The rest come from a variety of sources including David Smith’s children’s book: If the World Were a Village, the CIA World Factbook 2001 (age, birth, death, internet), 2001 World Development Indicators, World Bank (HIV), Adherents 2001 (religion) Bread for the World (malnourishment), United Nations Population Fund (food security) The Global Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report (improved water, improved sanitation). With so many new reports and constantly changing statistics, please view the above presentation as general and not meant to be totally accurate. It is more for the purpose of fostering understanding, so that we might better dialogue and understand the different cultures of our world.

The original version, by Dr. Donella Meadows was published in 1990. 
State of the Village Report

Friday, 26 August 2011


Looking out of my 14th floor hotel window, the drivers in Suhl are remarkably tidy.  You could almost get a ruler out and measure the distance between the cars waiting at the traffic lights and get the same measurement for all waiting.  The same precision is evident when the cars are actually in motion.  Their position in the centre of the lane is uncanny.  AND there is little lane hopping. 
Does this mean anything about their society in general? German engineering precision has always been something to admire.  But I really had no idea it extended to their roads.  Does it reflect a mindless adherence to rules? Or is more about being careful and considerate?

2007 Statistics (Released in 2009)
Registered Vehicles
Reported Road Fatalities
Male Deaths
Female Deaths
Road Traffic Death rate per 100,000 population (2007)
World Ranking[ii] (2007)
Reported Road Fatalities (2010)[iii]
5090 (0.80%)
440 (1.80%)
1107 (18.82%

An article in a UAE newspaper, The National, reported 966 fatalities in 2009 and 826 in 2010[iv].  Quite a difference.
It would be interesting to look down from the 14th floor in Auckland or Dubai and observe the driving patterns.  I doubt it would be as precise as the German driving. 
What’s the difference? Is it driver education? Or does it actually say something about the society?
When I was back in Blenheim (NZ) in July I was taken aback at the genial nature of driving there.  Nobody was in a rush.  Nobody cut me off.  Nobody tooted their horn at me because I was a millisecond late crossing an intersection.  It was peaceful.  It was stress free.  After driving in the UAE for 6 years, it was bliss.  Driving in Dubai, you have to be constantly on the look out.  Cars will swerve in front of you to make a last minute exit, cutting you off in the process without a thought.  Cars constantly lane hop and sometimes for no other reason than to be the big man and try to enforce their ownership of the roads. 
In the UAE’s defence, the majority of people on the roads are foreigners – from many different countries (I’ve been unable to find exactly how many different countries are represented in the UAE) with various road rules and driving traditions.  This is a country where the vast majority of the population is foreign.  According to the Ministry of Economy’s 2005 census.[v], Emiratis numbered 824,921 or 21.9% of the population as opposed to non-nationals who numbered 3,279,774 or 79.9% of the country’s 4,104,695 population. (As an aside, foreign women numbered 815,173, only 9,748 less than Emirati nationals!) There was supposed to be another census carried out in April 2010 but it didn’t go ahead, so these are the only official numbers available.  Expats come from India (1.75 million); Pakistan (1.25 million); Bangladesh (500,000); China, Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Afganistan and Iran (1 million); Western – Europe, Australia, Northern Africa, Africa and Latin America (500,000)[vi]. 
Imagine that in your own town or city.  How different would that make driving? How would it affect safety?

[i]WTO. 2009.  “Global Status Report on Road Safety”.  Accessed August 26, 2011.
[iii] World Life Expectancy.  2010. Accessed August 26, 2011.
[iv] ibid.
[v] Ministry of Economy, ‘Census 2005 U.A.E’. Accessed September 8, 2010.
[vi] Rasheed, A.  2009.  “Expat numbers rise rapidly as UAE population touches 6m”.  Gulf News.  Accessed August 26, 2010.‐numbers 

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Found this article when I was looking on anti-pornography sites the other day.  Time to Kick Porn Addiction out of your System
It's a great article - lots to think about.
Why am I searching the net for anti-porn stuff?
Well, I'm 90% sure what my dissertation's going to be about and I'm just testing the waters to see what's out there. And the information I've found is incredible.  If you think watching porn is okay, I dare you to look into it further...
Try these websites: Antipornography.ogrPornography HarmsThe War on Illegal PornographyAntiporn Activist Network