this week in world news, entertainment, critical thinking + humor
i know it can be difficult to absorb relevant news through the fog of rifling through hilarious fictional online quizzes (are you normcore or my dad?), tabbing through galleries of the stupidest outfits at xxx fest, and opening tabs for writing submissions and job applications that you will realistically never look at again, but here is a short and sweet version of what's happening in the world right now that matters and is worth your precious time and attention.
brunei's sultan hassanal bolkiah has, as of may 1, 2014, implemented sharia law, a controversial islamic legal system whose infractions include insulting the Prophet Mohamed, drinking alcohol, getting pregnant out of wedlock, and sodomy. Potential punishments include dismemberment of limbs, whipping, and stoning to death. yes, stoning.
over two weeks ago boko haram, an islamist terrorist group, kidnapped over 200 students from an all-girls secondary school in chibok, a farming town in the nigerian state of borno. (the same nigerian islamist terrorist group gunned down 59 male boarding school students in yobe state just months before.) few of the abductees have escaped and returned home safely, albeit thoroughly traumatized, but most remain missing, and the threat and uncertainty of the nigerian situation at large leaves many paranoid, confused, or resignedly apathetic.
the current ukrainian geopolitical situation is unique and an important indicator of post-soviet forces' impact on economic and democratic development in a country that faces comabtting nationalistic tendencies, socio-linguistic conflicts, & largely bankrolled political parties/rigged electoral processes which has resulted in ongoing protest and revolt. n+1 does a great recap on the current ukrainian situation and how the western press and western intellectuals have interpreted and influenced it.
and i have no clue what game of thrones looks like or is about, but i found this new yorker game of thrones piece on the increasingly pandering business style of the modern airline industry a nice example of polishing obvious click-bait headlining with wit and grace. the piece explores how luxury airline seating "poses unique design challenges, since a premium-class seat has to create an impression of opulence in what is actually a noisy and potentially nausea-inducing metal tube filled with strangers."
oh and while thinking of the new yorker, good writing, and clever titling: Junot Diaz's "MFA vs. POC" is a highly recommended read if you are confused about how institutions of higher education can be excessively oppressive/unpleasant/unbearable for POC's.
also, if you're into everyday applications of obscure economic lemma or just want to know how to split your rent fairly and "envy-free," check out this New York Times piece on "Sperner's Lemma and Economic Harmony."