Tuesday, 8 August 2017

folk music

It is now the season of folk music festivals:
Sidmouth Folk Week – August 4th – 11th 2017
The Cambridge Folk Festival | Cambridge Live

Today's folk singers are doing very interesting things:
Sam Lee: After dark Singing with Nightingales concerts | Folk Radio UK
audioBoom / To sing with a nightingale (at 3:20)
Sam Lee Singing With Nightingales : BBC Breakfast TV 2.5.17 - YouTube (at 3:15)
BBC Radio 3 - Late Junction, Verity Sharp with Nightingale Duets, Alice Zawadzki & Sam Lee collaborate with nightingale

Who does folk music 'belong to'?
BBC Radio 3 - The Radio 3 Documentary, Taking it All Back Home

Much of this we now call 'world music':
BBC Radio 3 - World on 3

For example:
Cascade - Afro Celt Sound System - YouTube

Meanwhile, there is the great British folk tradition - which is very much alive and kicking today:

Dirty Old Town

Seth Lakeman

Foggy Foggy Dew

Jay Doubleyou: british music

And something a little louder:
Bellowhead - New york girls - Later Live 2nd November 2010 - YouTube

Jay Doubleyou: music from the uk

And there is the American tradition:

Strange Fruit:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

with lyrics:
Billie Holiday - Strange fruit - YouTube

American folk blues... and beyond...

Lead Belly - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jay Doubleyou: racial issues

Sunday, 6 August 2017

the psychology of lies and why we fall for them

This blog has looked at how we are 'taken in' by lies:
Jay Doubleyou: teamwork and the art of 'blagging'
Jay Doubleyou: the wave: lessons in manipulation

There is a lot to say in the age of Trump:
Jay Doubleyou: the language of donald trump
Jay Doubleyou: brexit, trump and dumbing down
Jay Doubleyou: education levels and voting trump
Jay Doubleyou: does wider literacy make for a wiser electorate?
Jay Doubleyou: facts don't matter!

There is also a lot to say in the age of Brexit:
Jay Doubleyou: brexit and school performance

With a further look at the psychology of why we are 'taken in':

The psychology of (Brexit) lies and why we fall for them

PUBLISHED: 13:21 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:21 31 July 2017

(Gary Barker)

Lies, damn lies and Brexit: How fabrication – whatever the consequences – has become a viable political weapon and what the fallout might be

Do you trust me? I might look like a pleasant enough person in my byline picture, but can you actually believe what I write? And if you did find something questionable in my article, where would you check it? The internet is a trillion different voices all speaking and shrieking at the same time. How are you meant to know what’s correct, what’s fake?
Lying is a hot topic right now, and in the Brexit arena the most recent example comes from the former head of UKIP. In his guise as LBC radio host, Nigel Farage tweeted a picture of himself holding a snippet from Article 50 to prove that Britain has no legal obligations to pay the European Union any more money after 2020. He said “In Article 50, it makes it clear, ‘the rights and obligations deriving from the treaties would therefore extinguish’. So it’s perfectly clear, the Lisbon Treaty makes it very clear there are no future obligations.”
Almost immediately he was called a liar as people pointed out that the passage in question is not actually a part of Article 50, but comes from a briefing guide to the Article (In addition to that author Philip Pullman pointed out “extinguish is a transitive verb, you bollock-faced foghorn of ignorance’ to the delight of the Twitter crowd).
But, as is the way with political lies these days, nobody retracted the statement, and Farage’s supporters attacked any pressure for him to do so. Unveiling it as an untruth changed nothing.
In previous decades, politicians might evade or spin to their advantage - of course they did. But they tended to stay away from bold statements that could easily be disproved. What has changed about how we view lies and those who are caught out using them, and what is that doing to our political opinions today?
One of the most popular TED talks is on lying, or rather how to spot liars. “Certified fraud examiner” Pamela Meyer claims that lying is dead common; on average, we are lied to 10 to 200 times a day. Our first defence against being taken in by any of these untruths, says Meyer, is to know what we are hungry to hear and to guard against it.
So, using the Brexit referendum as an example, many of those who were convinced to vote to leave EU did so because they want to believe that £350 million would be taken from our payments to that blood-sucking “European” bureaucracy, and returned to feed our own “British” NHS.They were also told that their vote would enable them to “Take Back Control” —- apparently a slogan introduced to the campaign by hypnotist and self-help author Paul McKenna, who uses such techniques when hypnotising clients and in his best-selling books such I Can Make You Thin or I Can Make You Rich. People lapped up the sales pitches.
As Helen Lewis wrote in The New Statesman “The first few days after the referendum felt like an extended period of gaslighting – being told that things you could distinctly remember happening had not, in fact, happened. How could anyone think that the Leave campaign had promised an extra £350m for the NHS? The money was “an extrapolation . . . never total”, said Iain Duncan Smith on the BBC. It was merely part of a “series of possibilities of what you could do”. My eyes flicked from his pious face to Twitter, where someone had posted a picture of him standing next to the campaign bus. Its slogan read: “We send the EU £350m a week. Let’s fund the NHS instead.” Then I looked at the pinned Tweet for the chief executive of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott, which reads: “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week.” These people promised us a unicorn and now claim they merely hinted at the possibility of a Shetland pony.”
But you really need to look at the US though to see the modern-day version of bald-faced lying in its boldest, brightest colours. Journalists and Clinton-supporters believed that Donald Trump wouldn’t even make it to the final round, his porkie pies were so outrageous. But there were several critical things they didn’t take into account, and they changed everything.
Firstly, the nature of the man. For the decades that he had been building his property developer brand, Trump had always lied. As Susan Mulcahy who worked on two New York tabloids during the time that Trump as building up his “The Donald” persona wrote on Politico.com “Trump wanted attention, but he could not control his pathological lying. Which made him, as story subjects go, a lot of work. Every statement he uttered required more than the usual amount of fact-checking. If Trump said, “Good morning,” you could be pretty sure it was five o’clock in the afternoon. … My Trump items came from all over the place—never Trump himself—and when I called to check on something, he usually lied to me directly. Denying facts was almost a sport for Trump.”
According to a recent study by experimental psychologist at UCL Tali Sharot and others at University College London, we become desensitised to lying as we continue to do it. “When we lie for personal gain, our amygdala produces a negative feeling that limits the extent to which we are prepared to lie. However, this response fades as we continue to lie, and the more it falls the bigger our lies become. This may lead to a ‘slippery slope’ where small acts of dishonesty escalate into more significant lies.” The amygdala are two almond-shaped nerve bundles embedded deep in the brain which are linked to fear, anxiety and social phobias. They also play a role in controlling aggression and studies have shown that many psychopaths, who lack empathy and are often accomplished liars, have unusually small amygdalas.
Dr Neil Garrett, the lead author of the study, who is also from UCL, said it was likely that the findings reflected a blunted emotional response to lying. “This is in line with suggestions that our amygdala signals aversion to acts that we consider wrong or immoral. We only tested dishonesty in this experiment, but the same principle may also apply to escalations in other actions such as risk taking or violent behaviour.” It’s clear enough though that Trump does not see lying as any kind of hurdle to public office and if he ever did, his repeated behaviour has long ago stopped his amygdala making him feel uncomfortable about it.
Another factor is that many viewed Trump as a guardian of the people, not a crazy narcissist with no political experience or intelligence. According to the Confirmation bias, which we all have to some the extent, people tend to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses. So if a politician is critical of the current regime, then those who also feel that way will quite naturally support that person. In the UK the Leave campaign pushed hard on people’s anti-red-tape feelings, but also - dishonestly - conflated all types of feelings about “foreigners” - from long-standing neighbours to illegal immigrants to aylum-seekers, including many who would in fact not be affected by leaving the EU.
In the US, Hillary Clinton’s campaign made a critical error that boosted Trump’s standing, when she described his supporters as “the deplorables”: “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” said Hillary Clinton during a September campaign event. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.”
In a country where “the middle” was already feeling forgotten, even punished, by the government and economic forces, to describe them in such grandly negative terms is to open the gate to those who set out to woo them. The one thing they had was their vote, and they weren’t going to give it to someone who had so little interest in their lives.
In a recent New Yorker article Colorado-resident journalist Peter Hessler set out to find how the inhabitants of the small city of Grand Junction felt about the man they voted for eight months earlier. He painted a picture of people who were decent and thoughtful, not the racist, uneducated cartoon figures that we’ve so often read about as making up the Trump camp. “Everybody I met in Grand Junction seemed more complex, more interesting and more decent than the man who inspires them.”
In this community he found huge cynicism about the media, and this was another strong factor in Trump’s appeal. When Trump had visited the city during the campaign, the press pack — literally corralled into a pen at the pack of an airport hangar— were repeatedly picked on by Trump in his speech: “There’s voter fraud also with the media, because they so poison the minds of the people by writing false stories,,, they’re lying, they’re cheating, they’re stealing.! They’re doing everything, these people right back there” Trump said, pointing at the press pen. As a local journalist reported, all around her people screamed at the journalists “Lock them up! Hang them all! Electric chair!”
We who don’t recoil from the appeal of Trump also don’t feel the disenfranchisement of such folk. They want him to get things done, to bring back jobs, to make America strong again, but they also like the way he takes on the press. As one woman who voted for Trump told Hessler, “For those of us who believe that the media has been corrupt for a lot of years, it’s a way of poking at the jellyfish. Just to make them mad.”
When major news organisations take Trump to task over all the mis-information he spreads, it does not cause most people to pause in their support of “their man”. This is because they don’t trust the media which they see as having a “liberal bias”. Historian Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian believed it was more than just Trump supporters; the mass of people no longer trust the media. “It happens because so many of them are part of the same class – an exalted and privileged class. They are professionals and they believe in the things that so many other professional groups believe in: consensus, “realism”, credentialing, the wisdom of their fellow professionals and (of course) the stupidity of the laity.
“This is the key to understanding many of their biases – and also for understanding why they are so utterly oblivious to how they appear to the rest of America.” As he points out these are the people who did not foresee some of the biggest stories of the past 20 years, from the dot.com bubble, to the financial crisis. The people most affected by plummeting living standards feel let down, and uninformed about the reality.
And things are not so different here. Why does Katie Hopkins “get away’ with statements that are then proved to be untrue? She sets herself up as a non-bullshit truth-teller, who has the balls to say the unsayable. By making the lies and exaggerations ever-bigger she has risen from being a minor TV reality show participant to having a place in the pantheon of spokespeople for “the people”. And part of that success was afforded by the horror with which so much of the press met her rise. If she appalled the “establishment” she must be onto something true, no matter how untrue her statements turned out to be.
To prove her wrong we might turn to experts, but then we all know how little they can be trusted. Even more recently we’ve seen the same pattern concerning the Grenfell Tower tragedy, with scepticism immediately spread by social media. There is a lot of good in spreading news, marshalling support and so on , but there is also the sense that decent, fact-finding journalism is harder and harder to do, and be believed.
I asked a therapist from the welldoing.org site, Judith Chamberlain, what motivates people to believe lies, using her clients as a test-bed. “It’s usually about a relationship and they continue to believe that their relationship is worth saving. The person being lied to is, rather conversely, the one who feels the shame of the person they are being lied to by. People don’t want to tell family or friends because they are embarrassed at being duped, and they feel that they can’t have got it wrong because it will reveal some flaw in them.
“I’m not saying that they’re all narcississts, but the person who is lying to them is somehow dominating them, making them believe they are still the stronger person in the relationship. They go along with it, for the children, the family or themselves. But, given time working with me, they rebuild a stronger ego and are far more able to confidently deal with the person undermining them. And then they don’t need to believe the lies any more.”
People often say that post-infidelity, couples’ relationships are stronger (if they survive). Does this translate to present-day politics? Or, in a mass situation, is the power balance harder to shift, particularly if the believers feel they are being patronised and scorned for their beliefs, and therefore won’t budge from them or they’d be thought stupid and flawed?
In Hannah Arendt’s classic book The Origins of Totalitarianism written in 1951, she posited this theory: “In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true... The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”
It looks like we’re going to have to live with the lies for a while longer, because just proving them wrong isn’t making a difference any more.
• Louise Chunn runs find a therapist platform welldoing.org. She is former editor of Psychologies magazine

The psychology of (Brexit) lies and why we fall for them - Culture - The New European

Here's the TED Talk from Pamela Meyer:

How to spot a liar | Pamela Meyer - YouTube
Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar | TED Talk | TED.com

what we think about the british empire - 70 years after the partition of india

Seventy years ago, the 'jewel in the Empire' was partitioned, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands:
Partition of India - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The media in the UK, India and Pakistan are covering the event:
Why Pakistan and India remain in denial 70 years on from partition | World news | The Guardian
From horror to hope: A Mumbai event examines Partition’s legacy | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
A Country Divided - How it affected me - BBC News

The two countries have very clear identities today:
National Portal of India
The Official Web Gateway to Pakistan

What do you know about the British Empire?
BBC - KS3 Bitesize History - The British Empire through time : Revision, Page 2
What's left of the British Empire (and how to visit it) - Telegraph

Most Brits think it was a good thing:
YouGov | The British Empire is 'something to be proud of'
British people are proud of colonialism and the British Empire, poll finds | The Independent

As does the historian Niall Ferguson:

Civilization Part 1 - BBC Series by Niall Ferguson - YouTube
Niall Ferguson: The 6 killer apps of prosperity | TED Talk | TED.com

Although the future might lie with Asia:
Jay Doubleyou: inglorious empire - what the british did to india
Jay Doubleyou: is the west better than the rest?

And not with 'the West':
Jay Doubleyou: every town and city in britain profited from the slave trade
Jay Doubleyou: british commonwealth ... british empire

Meanwhile, the former director of the British Museum has warned:
“In Britain we use our history in order to comfort us: to make us feel stronger, to remind ourselves that we were always, deep down, good people,”
Jay Doubleyou: in britain we use our history in order to comfort us: this sort of handling of history is dangerous as well as regrettable.

He's now got a job in Germany:
Neil MacGregor: ‘Britain forgets its past. Germany confronts it’ | Culture | The Guardian

MacGregor argued that Germany is one of the few countries in Europe whose national monuments, museums and commemorations refuse to allow any heroic vision to intrude at all. The refusal of the heroic runs through contemporary Germany, he argued. But in Britain, and even more so in the United States, the heroic is ever present, especially in relation to the commemoration of war. It is what unifies the way the British remember the first war as tragic-heroic and the second as idealist-heroic. Today even our soldiers in illegal wars are described as heroes.

The former head of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor, speaking at the opening of an exhibition about German history this month, praised the “rigorous and courageous” German confrontation of difficult truths. "What a contrast", he said, "to the British way of viewing our past, distinctly 'sunny' chapters that reassure us that we were 'always deep down good people'."
A Great Brexit Britain could learn a lot from Berlin | Varsity

British museum directors would agree with him:
Poll: do British museums focus too much on the sunny side of history? | Museums Association

What are the stories from your own countries' histories?
Open History Project – Countries have borders. Stories don't!

From America:
Jay Doubleyou: story corps - listening to america

From the Balkans:
Jay Doubleyou: a journey through the balkans

From Germany:
Jay Doubleyou: telling stories about the germans on the bbc

From the world:
Jay Doubleyou: a history of the world in 100 objects

And from Nigeria:
Things Fall Apart - Wikipedia
One of Africa's best kept secrets - its history - BBC News

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED Talk | TED.com
The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - YouTube

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

connecting to nature

We don't seem to know very much about nature these days:
Public losing touch with nature, poll suggests - Telegraph

Why not learn a little here:
BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories - Clips


BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories

For example:
BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories, Grass
BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories, Blackbird
BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories, Raven

barenboim and education

The musician Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim - Wikipedia
BBC - Culture - West-Eastern Divan Orchestra: Uniting Arabs, Israelis

had something to say about education last week:
Daniel Barenboim calls for European unity in Proms speech | Music | The Guardian
Conductor Daniel Barenboim interrupts BBC Proms to make plea for European unity - Telegraph
Barenboim’s Brexit speech was out of order – the Proms are, and must be, politically neutral | Coffee House
BBC accused of turning the Proms into a platform for anti-Brexit fanatics - The Sun
Daniel Barenboim’s Proms Brexit sermon was just poor conduct | The Spectator

See from 1.50:
BBC iPlayer - BBC Proms - 2017: Barenboim's Elgar

And here is his speech:


Proms 2017 - Daniel Barenboim - YouTube

Daniel Barenboim speech at #bbcProms - YouTube

Monday, 10 July 2017

what's going to happen next? >>> predicting from youtube videos

Lessonstream's Jamie Keddie
Lessonstream.org by Jamie Keddie Home - Lessonstream.org

... has a book out:
| VideotellingVideotelling | YouTube stories for the classroom
Videotelling: YouTube Stories for the Classroom: Amazon.co.uk: Jamie Keddie: 9780995507807: Books

One thing he likes doing is asking us to predict what's going to happen...

Stop here at one minute and guess:

World Freehand Circle Drawing Champion - YouTube

who owns english?

Jamie Keddie has the excellent Lessonstream website for teachers - although we can all learn something from him:#

Posted 15/3/16
A few months ago, I collaborated with James and Luke Vyner from Creative Listening. We produced a short video in which I go into the streets of London to investigate an English word which may or may not exist!

The video explores attitudes to variation in English, especially concerning different ways in which native and non-native speakers use the language. Although the video focuses on a single word (touristic) the idea is that it raises general issues.

Of course, there are many differences in the ways that native speakers use language and I have made two videos to demonstrate this.

Before uploading a PDF lesson plan, I would like some feedback. How would you make use of these videos in your own classroom? What questions would you ask students and what tasks would you set? You can leave a comment below.

Note that all videos contain subtitles.

Posted 15/3/16

56 Responses to Owning English?

  1. Ana says:
    I think the videos are great!. I do a lot of things with them. I show the very first minute or so and then ask my students to predict what is going to happen or what you are going to say or to do; I make them listen to the wole video and afterwards they have to tell me in their own words what they have understood, I make them write what they have seen (activity which reveals a lot about my students manipulation of grammar), I ask my students to imagine how they would make a short video with the same objective. I ask my students even to describe your clothes so as to revise that vocabulary. I love your videos because I have a lot of speaking and written activities to create with them. Thank you very much!!!

Lessonstream.org by Jamie Keddie Owning English? - Lessonstream.org

Monday, 26 June 2017

psychology at work

There's a new book out - and it's all about me!

Selfie by Will Storr review – me, my selfie and I in an age of ego | Books | The Guardian

Selfie by Will Storr review – are the young really so self-obsessed? | Books | The Guardian

In fact, there's a lot of narcissism at work:
Jay Doubleyou: "the modern office rewards narcissists and psychopaths"

Which is about giving an aura of self-confidence:
Jay Doubleyou: teamwork and the art of 'blagging'

You could see language as a 'window into human nature':
Jay Doubleyou: steven pinker - and language
Jay Doubleyou: what makes us human: noam chomsky and human languages
Jay Doubleyou: behaviourism >>> krashen... pinker... skinner... chomsky

Are we being 'engineered'?
Jay Doubleyou: social engineering

A lot of it has to do with schooling:
Jay Doubleyou: panic in the west over educational achievements in the far east
Jay Doubleyou: education: dumbing us down
Jay Doubleyou: taylorism >>> and education

And better schooling is possible:
Jay Doubleyou: the trivium method of critical thinking and creative problem solving
Jay Doubleyou: appreciative inquiry is not problem-solving
Jay Doubleyou: seven ways school has imprisoned your mind ... ... greater personal freedom starts with deschooling
Jay Doubleyou: the most schooled generation in history is miserable

Movies can tell us a lot about ourselves:
Jay Doubleyou: exploring gender: masculinity and 'fight club'

A lot of business skills have a lot to do with psychology:
BBC Radio 4 - The Human Zoo, Series 3, The psychology of negotiation

And one of them is how to make decisions:
Jay Doubleyou: decisions, decisions, decisions

Again, back to the language thing:
Jay Doubleyou: meaningless corporate speak

How do we persuade people to do things?
Jay Doubleyou: nudge
Jay Doubleyou: power
Jay Doubleyou: 5 creepy ways video games are trying to get you addicted

There's a lot of psychology in advertising:

A lot of different 'ways of seeing':
Jay Doubleyou: advertising

And a fair amount of manipulation:
Jay Doubleyou: the men who made us spend
Jay Doubleyou: the men who made us spend: part two

What's the difference between advertising and propaganda?
Jay Doubleyou: propaganda, public relations and manufacturing consent

What's the difference between work and play?
Jay Doubleyou: work and play
Jay Doubleyou: work, leisure and human resources
Jay Doubleyou: does becoming a more productive worker make you a better human being?

There is the whole motivation and positive thinking industry:
Jay Doubleyou: positive power and influence
Jay Doubleyou: "smile or die": the false promises of positive thinking
Jay Doubleyou: fish philosophy and the motivational mafia
Jay Doubleyou: mindfulness: "too many people are avoiding using their brains"
Jay Doubleyou: what motivates us
Jay Doubleyou: you can't get success and happiness through positive thinking

There have been a lot of psychological experiments:
Jay Doubleyou: jane elliott - brown eyes vs blue eyes
Jay Doubleyou: milgram experiment
Jay Doubleyou: the wave: lessons in manipulation
Jay Doubleyou: power, prison and punishment: the stanford experiment

It's not because you are great that you have succeeded:
Jay Doubleyou: don’t think you’re lucky? think again
Jay Doubleyou: the fall and rise of social democracy?
Jay Doubleyou: losers!