My most controversial belief (log 2.18-3.11)

Here’s the latest run-down of the coolest facts I learned!

  • Mind-blowing: Women hold the majority of parliament seats in these countries:
    1. Rwanda (63.8%);
    2. Bolivia (53.1%), and
    3. Cuba (48.9%)
    4. United States ranks #95 with only ~20% of women in Congress (
  • Media fact:
    • 70% of working Saudis who are employed by the government.
    • Net favorability among Hispanic voters: Clinton (+37%); Sanders (+37%), Rubio (+8%) Kasich (+6%); Cruz (-5%); Trump (-64%) (WaPo)
  • Culture fact:
    • Stalin signed most of his documents in red crayon (NPR)
    • The cheapest place to buy citizenship is the island of St. Kitts- $250,000 (NPR)

Last week, I also listened to the best podcast episode I have ever heard in my life.  I truly believe that migration is a basic human right and everyone should be allowed to move freely around the globe.  This is probably the most controversial belief I hold.

I was born under a lucky star- I hold European and American passports in my name. There’s only about a dozen countries that I can’t enter without a visa.  I can legally live and work in most of the developed world.  In general, the world welcomes me with open arms. All of this because of an accident of birth and a lottery my mom won.

I find it appalling that in 2016 we still live in a world that operates according to ancient, feudal birth right principles.

My favorite quote from the podcast:

“There are rights which accrue to everyone, no matter who they are, no matter where they are on the globe. Those rights include the right to free expression. They include the right to freedom of religion. And I believe they should also include the right to move about the Earth.”

learning through march 11

So.Much.Learning (2/09-2.17 log)

I’ve covered so much ground in the last week!

New 2.09 to 2.17

Here are the coolest facts for 2/09-2/17/2016:

  • Media: 25% of Zimbabwean population is at risk of starving to death – nearly 3 million people are left without food (IBTimes). The cause of the crisis is the most severe drought in 20 years. How come nobody talks about this?
  • Culture: Oatmeal vodka recipe! (latest Tim Ferriss Podcast) Sounds pretty delicious, even though I don’t really like vodka.  Anyway, I may try making this:
    • Buy a liter of vodka, average quality
    • Pour over a pound of regular oatmeal and half a jar of honey
    • Stick in your fridge for two weeks, stirring occasionally
    • Drain & enjoy!
  • Staggering realizations: a plethora of interesting thoughts and debates this week. Can’t settle on one, so I’m posting a bunch of fantastic quotes:
    • Politics is a sideshow in the great circus of life.” Political scientist, Robert A. Dahl
    • “In God, we trust.  Everyone else, bring data.” former NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg
    • “There’s no Democratic or Republican way of fixing a sewer.” former NYC major, Fiorello LaGuardia  [I had a full-blown inner-dialogue about this, and realized that I would really like to see a local or state leader win the elections one of those years (RIP Martin O’Malley’s campaign :(). Executives on those levels have a track record of dealing with real problems, real people, real time. Can’t say the same about senators.]
  • I’m giving ‘mindblown’ status to this mathematical gem: a%b=b%a; meaning,18 % of 50 is the same as 50% of 18.  Imagine if they taught you cool math tricks like this in school…


Today, I also attended (albeit virtually) the Migration Policy Institute event ‘Europe’s Migration Crisis: A Status Report and the Way Forward’. It was an incredible lecture, and I really regret not making it down to DC to attend in person.

Here are my (very) rough notes from the meeting:

Steps to addressing the refugee crisis:

  1. Restore Mediterranean borders (collective responsibility of all EU member states)
  2. Vet claims as far as possible from the EU borders (checking if refugees are ‘real’). Once refugees cross into Europe, removing them is difficult- costs $ and time.
  3. Stop conditions from deteriorating in Syria
    • Turkey holds the key to this, but what’s ‘in it’ for Turkey to help?
      • Turkey wants to be the meeting point between Europe, Middle East and Africa; they may want to be integrated into the EU
      • Offer funding for training and work authorizations for refugees in Turkey. This means the EU will also have to take care of the unemployed and poverty-stricken areas of Turkey.
  4. Address smugglers
  5. Resettle migrants from Germany and Sweden to the rest of Europe
  6. Explore options for private sponsorship of refugees (govm’t programs sharing costs with private individuals who are willing to take in a refugee)
  7. Integrate — ‘Don’t let integration be tomorrow’s issue.’

Resources/interesting facts mentioned in the lecture:

Learning Tracker

I love learning. Every single day, I am on a cutthroat hunt for new opportunities to learn.   I read a ton of articles; I consciously seek out stimulating conversations and I religiously feed my podcast addiction. I’m always taking a Coursera class, and I’m always reading a book.

I’ve done really well with consuming knowledge, but I’m doing poorly with actually absorbing it and making it stick.

With this new series of #weeklylearning posts, I’m going back to the very reason why I started this blog- to hold myself accountable to my goals. I want to ensure that I can retain and recall the knowledge I acquire.  I also want to record some of the intellectual conversations I am having with (myself) people.

This time around, I’m going to use a very convenient (lazy?) method to capture my learning.  I created a Trello board ‘My learning’ with three broad categories of information:

1. media facts: what I learn from newspapers, magazines and podcasts
2. culture facts: what I learn from people in my life; and
3. random: personal dilemmas, debates and staggering realizations

Every week, I’ll record most of my learning in very brief notes on the board.  The idea is just to be able to recall the information (this should only take a few seconds per fact). At the end of the week, I will review the list to solidify the information in my brain, take a screenshot and post three coolest facts to the blog.

Here’s my learning for 2/1/16 – 2/8/16

Trello 2.1-2.8 (1)

Coolest Facts for 2/1-2/8/2016

  • Media: World’s richest 62 people own as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorer half of the global population (Times magazine)
  • Culture: My soul sister, 21 year old woman Zenith Irfan, redefines stereotypes by taking a motorcycle trip around Pakistan (PRI podcast episode I learned about from my friend Michelle–
  • Staggering realizations: Some women in this country will work for free until April 8th this year, because they only get paid 77 cents to man’s $1.