Thursday, 23 April 2015

in/equality - the pay gap - part two

We have already looked at the issue of 'inequality' when it comes to paying workers and CEOs:
Jay Doubleyou: in/equality - the pay gap

But what about the issue of 'inequality' when it comes to paying men and women:

Equal Pay Day - YouTube

Hillary Clinton seems to agree:
Hillary Clinton's focus on women's pay may resonate broadly: poll | Reuters

As does Ed Milliband of the Labour Party:
Labour plan to double paternity leave to one MONTH | Daily Mail Online

But UKIP seems to disagree:
Ukip donor: Women should not wear trousers - ITV News
Why Do People Vote For UKIP? - YouTube
Nigel Farage says breastfeeding women should sit in a corner | Politics | The Guardian

Switzerland is the 'home of democracy':
Appenzell Innerrhoden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Third Man Orson Welles' Great Cuckoo Clock Speech against Democracy Peace & Brotherly Love - YouTube

"In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

A Point of View: Are tyrants good for art? - BBC News

frog invasion

Here's quite a strange video:
20 Minuten Online Videoportal - Frosch-Invasion beim Fussball
20 Minuten - Spielabbruch wegen Frosch-Invasion - Fussball

You can read it in English from The Local website:

Frog invasion forces halt to Zurich football game
Photo: FC Embrach

Frog invasion forces halt to Zurich football game

Published: 20 Apr 2015 22:34 GMT+02:00

After 41 minutes of play between the Embrach and Räterschen teams the game on Friday night was abandoned with the score at 2-2 after the amphibians took over the pitch.
 At first just a few frogs were spotted on the sidelines but after a few minutes the pitch was “swarming with thousands of frogs”, FC Embrach said on its website.
The football club is used to seeing a few frogs in the grass but never in these kinds of numbers.
"It has occurred on and off,” the football club’s s vice president Sandro Caviola told the 20 Minuten newspaper.
“But something like Friday we have never experienced before.”
 The frog invasion followed heavy rains in the area last week.
“The frogs were travelling to the forest — unfortunately, our (field) is on the way there,” Caviola said.
The two teams are hoping the frogs will have moved on by May 11th when they are set to replay the match.
Frog invasion forces halt to Zurich football game - The Local

The Guardian took up the story:
Croak Park: frog invasion causes match in Switzerland to be abandoned | Football | The Guardian

And here is the website of the football club from 18th April:
FC Embrach - Willkommen auf der Website des FC Embrach

in/equality - the pay gap

There was a big story this week on 'the pay gap':

CEO takes 90% pay cut to give workers huge raise - Apr. 14, 2015

It's an idea that's become very popular:
Why is Thomas Piketty's 700-page book a bestseller? | Money | The Guardian


Executive Paywatch

It challenges an idea which has dominated for the past 30 years:
Trickle-down economics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gordon Gekko "Greed is Good" Full Speech *read the description* - YouTube
Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea - The Atlantic

People are not 'equal':

Social Equality - YouTube
Economic Equality and Social Injustice (Video) : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education

Thursday, 9 April 2015

identity in the uk

Quite a lot of research has been done on the genetic make-up of the UK:
Jay Doubleyou: identity

More has just been carried out:

Forever England? Gene Map Shows Divided British Isles


The first in-depth genetic scan of the British Isles shows their violent history of invasion after invasion lives on in the people.

The blood of Norwegian Vikings still flows in the residents of the Orkney Islands. The Welsh-speaking folk of northern Wales are distinct from their English-dominant neighbors. And, surprisingly, there's no one group of Celts. The ancient Cornish are genetically distinct from the Scots and the original Celtic inhabitants of Northern Ireland.

The hope is to shed light on the genetics of disease, but it's also filling in a lot of gaps for archeologists and historians.

"It is really the first time that scientists have looked in great detail within a country at the genetic level," said Peter Donnelly of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford.

"What was striking was the pattern of variation that we saw and the way it aligned with geography," added Donnelly, who led the study published in the journal Nature.

The team got samples of DNA from more than 2,000 people living in rural parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland whose four grandparents had stayed put in their home towns or villages.

"What was striking was the pattern of variation that we saw and the way it aligned with geography."

"Because we inherit DNA from our parents…the DNA of any person is roughly one-fourth, one-fourth, one-quarter, one-fourth from your grandparents," Donnelly told reporters. "In effect, it looks at genetic variation in the UK at the end of the 19th century."

They wanted to look back because there's been so much population movement in the past 100 years, with much more mixing than in the previous millennia.

For a comparison, the researchers used DNA samples from 6,000 people in continental Europe who had taken part in a medical study.
Map of the UK showing clustering of individuals based on genetics, and its striking relationship with geography. Each of the genetic clusters is represented by a different symbol (combining shape and colour, with legend at the sides). There is one symbol plotted on the map for each of the individuals in the study. The ellipses give a sense of the geographical range of each genetic cluster.

The findings were startling, even to Britons who know how strong regional loyalties can be on the small cluster of islands.

"The genetic groups we find in Cornwall and Devon almost exactly match the modern county boundaries," Donnelly said.

"Even as statisticians, we were struck by the concordance with history," said Stephen Leslie of Royal Children's Hospital in Victoria, Australia, who worked on the study.

One thing historians had wondered about. Had the Anglo-Saxon invaders who moved in after the collapse of the Roman Empire perhaps committed genocide? Historical, linguistic and archeological records all show a mass shift of culture.

But the DNA shows something different.

"Even as statisticians, we were struck by the concordance with history."

Anglo-Saxon DNA makes up less than half of the genetic mix in southeast England. This suggests a more subtle takeover, in which the invaders intermarried with and perhaps imposed their culture on the locals.

As historians would predict, eastern, central and southern England is made up of a single, relatively homogeneous, genetic group. This reflects the influence of the Romans, who built roads in these regions, broke down borders and whose economy encouraged trade.

Older groups were pushed to the edges — to cold Scotland and the craggy coasts of Cornwall, Devon and Wales.

The most ancient group? The Welsh. Their DNA predates even a mysterious genetic infusion from Europe long before the Romans arrived.

"By using genetics and powerful statistical methods, we have been able to tell the story of the masses," Leslie said.First published March 18th 2015, 11:01 pm

Forever England? Gene Map Shows Divided British Isles - NBC

pointless games

Games don't have to have a 'point'...

How about some chanting:

Like Signifying Nothing, but crazier, ritual-like, and even more freeing.

Again, people are standing in a circle. Again, there’s motion, but this time, no accompanying sound. Again, everybody, simultaneously, repeats the motion. But this time, once a motion is started, it never stops!

Each round begins with a chant:

Jonny went to sleep” (or whatever the player who’s leading the chant decides to call herself, and whatever the person decides to have found or love, or eat, e.g.: “Bernie found Nirvana” or “Sally loves her hot dog.

Because Bernie is teaching this game, he gets to start. He says:

Bernie: “Bernie went to sleep.”

Group: “How did Bernie go to sleep?”

Bernie: (making some repeated motion, like tapping his left shoulder with his right hand, or rhythmically sticking his tongue out – very funny – or pretending to drink from a glass) “Bernie went to sleep like this, like this”

Group: (imitating Bernie’s motion – let’s say pretending to drink) “Bernie went to sleep like this, like this.”

Next player: (tapping her head while repeatedly pretending to take a drink) “Sally went to sleep.”

Group: (repeatedly head-tapping and drink-taking) “How did Sally go to sleep?”

Sally: (repeatedly head-tapping, drink-taking and foot-stomping) “Sally went to sleep like this, like this.

And on and conceptually on until it’s universally self-evident that the borders of possibility have been crossed, permanently.

Jonny Went to Sleep • A Playful Path

From an excellent website full of play:
A Playful Path • The Book, the Spirit, the Experience

And this is the same author as: | Bernard De Koven

... who's got loads of weird and wonderful stuff:
Change the games, not the players — DeepFUN
Pity Party — DeepFUN

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


It's very impressive to see a polyglot at work:
Jay Doubleyou: 10 tips and tricks to pick up any language

Jay Doubleyou: the michel thomas method for language learning

An interesting idea perhaps:
Polyglotism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From that last posting, here are some websites for getting into languagues
Language Tsar - YouTube
Language Tsar

For example:

Published on Jun 19, 2013

In this video you will learn about my interests and how my travels have helped me to speak in 10 languages. As this is a multilingual polyglot interview, I will reply to Jan's questions in French, Italian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Catalan, German and Dutch.

You can view subtitles of the video's transcript by selecting the language you want in the 'cc' box or 'closed captions' box. So far I have added this option for English, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese (simplified), Dutch, German, Portuguese, Romanian and Russian.

How polyglots learn multiple languages through travel lifestyle: 10 language multilingual video - YouTube

And there are many other sites too, for example:
How to become a polyglot - Fluent in 3 months - Language Hacking and Travel Tips

the michel thomas method for language learning

This is one of the market leaders:
The Michel Thomas Method - The Natural Way to Learn a New Language
Michel Thomas Method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Published on Feb 2, 2011
Part 2 now uploaded, in sync, at

Some background: I met Michel in 1995 and spent a couple of years getting to know him and learning with him, in New York and Tel Aviv, his home bases at the time. We made the documentary in 1997. He was a fascinating, remarkable man, uniquely focussed and obsessed. Michel stood out for me because his singular ability was to encourage the gifts in others and in effect make himself redundant. His conflict was with what he saw as a teaching industry that relied on students continually needing to be taught. He wasn't necessarily correct, but it was a belief that drove him on.

I was lucky to spend such a length of time with this remarkable man.

Michel Thomas, The Language Master Pt 1 of 3 - YouTube

Here are a couple of reviews:
Review: The Michel Thomas Method for Language Learning
Michel Thomas Method Product Review | The Language Tsar

There's no writing and no memorising of grammar rules or lists of words:

Published on Jul 10, 2013
For more information on Michel Thomas and Pimsleur, you can read the following reviews:

In this video, you'll learn about the two audio courses that I've used in the early stages of my language learning, Michel Thomas and Pimsleur.

For a more detailed product review of the Michel Thomas and Pimsleur courses:

YouTube channel:

You can view subtitles of the video's transcript by selecting the language you want in the 'cc' box or 'closed captions' box. So far I have added this option for English.

Language: English

"Song: Silver Lining - Irish Dream
Silver Lining's channel: "

Michel Thomas vs Pimsleur Review: How I learn languages - YouTube

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

english as a lingua franca

EFL is a growing phenomenon:
Jay Doubleyou: "this is me totally sausage" - or, the difficulties of english as a lingua franca

There have  been other BBC radio progammes:
BBC Radio 4 - Word of Mouth, English As a Lingua Franca

It's growing everywhere:
English as a lingua franca - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Englisch als Lingua franca – Wikipedia

And there's some serious study of the subject as taught in the classroom:
How to teach English as a lingua franca (ELF) | British Council
English as a Lingua Franca - What is ELF?

But it's very much a 'mainstream' idea:

English is the lingua franca of Europeans as two thirds speak the language which has squeezed out all its rivals

  • Two thirds of Europeans have at least working knowledge of English
  • Not a single country where French was the preferred second language
  • The dominance of English is likely to get greater
English has squeezed out every other language in the competition to become the common tongue of Europe, an EU report confirmed yesterday.
It found that English is the most popular foreign language in all but five European countries, and all of those are small nations that use the language of their larger neighbours.
Two out of three people across the continent have at least a fair working knowledge of English.
Growing and growing: Two thirds of people across the continent have at least a working knowledge of English
Growing and growing: Two thirds of people across the continent have at least a working knowledge of English
Not one country can be found where the preferred second language is French, once the language of international diplomacy and still the vehicle by which French governments try to promote their influence abroad.
French remains the European common language only in the offices of European institutions. It is one of the three working languages of the European Commission in Brussels, alongside English and German, and the main language of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, alongside English.
The report published by the EU statistics arm Eurostat suggests that the dominance of English is likely to become even greater in the future.
It found that 94 per cent of secondary school pupils and 83 per cent of primary age pupils across the EU are learning English as their first foreign language, more than four times as many as learn French, German or Spanish. Only in Britain and Ireland is French the top foreign language in schools.
The findings raise a series of questions about the future of languages in the EU. They will deepen criticism of the way the EU spends an estimated £1 billion a year translating all of its documents into the 23 official languages of the bloc.
Understand? English has become the mother tongue in Europe
Understand? English has become the mother tongue in Europe
The popularity of English also opens the prospect of a difficulty if Britain should quit the EU. That would leave Brussels running a union whose real common language would be spoken as a native tongue only by the 4.6 million people of the Irish Republic - fewer than one in 100 of its population.
However, the swing towards English underlines the growing problem of the decline of language teaching in British schools and universities. It suggests the motivation for learning languages among native English speakers weakens when people can speak English wherever in the world they may go.
The report said: ‘The importance of English as a foreign language is confirmed among working age adults. In the EU, English was declared to be the best-known language amongst the population aged 25 to 64.’ 
Two thirds of adults knew English, with one in five of these saying they were proficient, 35 per cent spoke it well, and 45 per cent reckoned they had a fair command of English.
The findings, taken from the large-scale EU Adult Education Survey conducted in 2011, were published to mark the European Day of Languages, an event ‘to promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe’ and to encourage language learning.
English was best known in Denmark, where 94 per cent of people speak it, and least in Italy, where 60 per cent know some English but only one in 10 people consider themselves proficient.
Other languages were more widely spoken only in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, neighbours of Russia and where there are many native Russian speakers, in Luxembourg, where German is an official language, and Slovakia, where many speak Czech.
English was the main language taught in schools outside the British Isles everywhere but Luxembourg, where the EU says German is a foreign language.

English is the lingua franca of Europeans as two thirds speak the language which has squeezed out all its rivals | Daily Mail Online

Saturday, 4 April 2015

banksy is not only provocative - he's very popular...

Banksy is not only provocative - he's very popular:
Jay Doubleyou: the disappearing banksys
Jay Doubleyou: banksy: the provocative artist of our time
Jay Doubleyou: a history of irony

The BBC's I-Wonder series takes us everywhere - including a timeline of Banksy's work:

ConsultantDr Luke DickensOpen University

The writing on the wall

Banksy is the most well known graffiti artist in the world, even though he has never revealed his true identity. Quirky and political, his work has satirised oppression in Palestine, hypocrisy in politics and capitalist greed in London.
His spray painted images are illegal but still create newspaper headlines and sell for six figure sums in galleries around the world. How has the world's most famous vandal become the darling of the art scene?
BBC - iWonder - How did Banksy become the world's most famous vandal?

"this is me totally sausage" - or, the difficulties of english as a lingua franca

When learning English, it isn't just a matter of handling the vocab and grammar - but all that cultural stuff too...
Listen in pop-out player

German comedian and broadcaster Henning Wehn explores the fast-growing use of ELF - English as a lingua franca. Around the world there are an estimated 800m non-native speakers of English and the number is growing all the time.
Through talking to French, German, Brazilian and even American expats based in the UK, Henning discovers that just having the English vocabulary and grasping of grammar doesn't really help foreigners understand the nuanced, elliptical way that the British speak their own language.
From Japanese estate agents to French web entrepreneurs, non-native English speakers are baffled by the way the natives communicate using humour, obscure idioms based on cricket or rugby, and the understated codes of class and status.
Henning talks to academics and consultants in the fast-growing field of ELF and learns that it is rapidly developing a grammar and structure of its own - often not understood by those who have grown up speaking English.

BBC Radio 4 - This Is Me Totally Sausage