Educational

Catastrophe overload? Read philosophers and poetry instead of headlines

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For almost two years now, Americans have been confronted daily by ominous tidings. We are living through stressful times. Reading the news feels awful; ignoring it doesn’t feel right either. Rachel Hadas The Conversation Psychologist Terri Apter recently wrote about the “phenomenon in human behavior sometimes described as ‘the hive switch,’ where “catastrophic events eliminate selfishness, conflict and competitiveness, rendering humans as… But if hurricanes, earthquakes or volcanoes trigger the hive switch, does this principle hold for man-made catastrophes? What ... Read More »

National anthem protest: 9yo refuses to stand because anthem is for ‘white people of Australia’

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Teachers at a Brisbane primary school have disciplined a nine-year-old girl for refusing to stand for the national anthem during assembly. By Talissa Siganto and staff ABC Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is “wrong”. “When it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years,” she said. “When it was originally written, Advance Australia ... Read More »

Russia is cracking down on minority languages – but a resistance movement is growing

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Russia has spent the last several years aggressively advocating for the rights of Russian minorities abroad, and in particular for the “protection” of the Russian language. Guzel Yusupova The Conversation Whenever a country takes any step that can be construed as suppressing or marginalising Russian speakers, the Kremlin is quick to respond in the most strident of tones. In October 2017, when Latvia’s government made Latvian the default language of education, Sergey Zheleznyak, the member of Russia’s State Duma Committee ... Read More »

How to eat well – and save the planet

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Switching to a healthier diet can reduce an individual’s water footprint by as much as 55%. BBC According to new research, turning vegetarian has the biggest impact, but even cutting down on meat gives a saving of at least 10%. Shifting to a healthy diet is a “win-win situation”, say researchers. Citizens will be healthier and their food can be produced using less of one of our most precious natural resources – water. “The main message is that if you ... Read More »

The Indian tribe that gave up hunting to save forests

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A tribe in the north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland gave up their ancient tradition of hunting to protect wildlife. Photographer Sayan Hazra chronicles life in the village years after it banished the practice. BBC At one time, 76-year-old Chaiyievi Zhiinyii was a skilled hunter. But he stopped hunting in 2001. The Khonoma tribe gave up what was an important source of livelihood some 20 years ago in order to create a more stable ecosystem for future generations. For centuries, many ... Read More »

Young and resilient

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The first study of young refugees settling in Australia suggests they are adapting well to their new country By Dr Winnie Lau and Professor Meaghan O’Donnell, University of Melbourne Pursuit For people fleeing war and persecution, forced migration is an arduous and risky journey. But even for those who find new hope in a different country, adapting to a new culture is a… And of the 68.5 million people around the globe displaced by war and political conflict, over half ... Read More »

Why I love my library and you should too

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When I talk to people about libraries, they either tell me how much they love their local or confess they haven’t set foot in one for years. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re the type of person who used to read but somehow no longer has the time, or if you only ever buy e-books these days, it’s easy to imagine that you’re riding a trend and libraries are on the wane. But you’d be wrong. I’ve been going to ... Read More »

Ancient Greek music: now we finally know what it sounded like

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In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That… Armand D’Angour The Conversation Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, ... Read More »

Revisiting Nelson Mandela’s roots: a photographic exploration

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South African photographer, Bonile Bam, decided that he wanted to tell a different Nelson Mandela story by documenting the landscape and physical setting in which Mandela lived as a boy. Raymond Suttner The Conversation Like Mandela, Bam also grew up in the Eastern Cape province. The entirely black and white photographs will form part of an upcoming exhibition in Johannesburg called Mandela’s Roots (revisited). Raymond Suttner interviewed Bam on his photography and how he came to develop the Mandela exhibition, ... Read More »

Men who murder v men who abuse: Queensland research aims to find the difference

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Researchers will interview Queensland prisoners in the hopes of discovering the difference between men who abuse their intimate female partners versus men who murder them. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Griffith University professor Paul Mazerolle hopes the project could provide much-needed practical information on the reasons behind the escalation from violence to murder. “A number of years ago we undertook the Australian Homicide Study, so we have an existing data set of 302 people who have murdered somebody, and a subset ... Read More »

Booker Prize: tradition of multilingual writers seems to be dying out – more’s the pity

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Is it a coincidence that J.K. Rowling studied French and Classics? Or that Shakespeare wrote passages of dialogue in Welsh and French, suggesting that he was conversant in both? Authors: The Conversation To write successfully in your first language, it can help if you know a second – it is one way of seeing the world from another perspective and making comparisons, which is after all what literature is all about. But what of writers of contemporary literary fiction? Researchers ... Read More »

Study examines alcohol’s effects on sexual aggression

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A new Aggressive Behavior study has examined alcohol’s “in the moment” effects on sexual aggression, or the acute effects of alcohol on men’s decisions about how to respond to sexual refusals in a dating simulation. EurekAlert! In the study, 62 men in their 20s were randomly assigned to consume alcohol (target breath alcohol level 0.080%) or no alcohol. Participants were encouraged to talk to a simulated woman as if they were on a date, and they made choices from a ... Read More »

Time to honour a historical legend: 50 years since the discovery of Mungo Lady

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This month we celebrate an event 50 years ago in western New South Wales that changed the course of Australian history. Jim Bowler The Conversation On July 15, 1968, the discovery of burnt bones on a remote shoreline of an unnamed lake basin began a story, the consequences of which remain sadly unfinished today. It’s the story of a legend, the discovery of Mungo Lady, the first in the series of steps that led to the creation of the Willandra ... Read More »

Can you raise an autistic child to be bilingual – and should you try?

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Diagnosed with autism and delayed language development, five-year-old Jose lives with his bilingual English-Spanish family in the UK. Authors: The Conversation In addition to all the important decisions that a family with an autistic child has to take, Jose’s parents must also consider what languages to teach him and how. They would like Jose to learn English so he can make friends and do well at school. But they also value Spanish – the native language of Jose’s mother. The ... Read More »

If you can only do one thing for your children, it should be shared reading

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Reading to children is beneficial in many ways. Books offer a unique opportunity for children to become familiar with new vocabularies; the type of words not often used in day-to-day conversation. Authors: The Conversation Books also provide a context for developing knowledge of abstract ideas for children. When an adult reads a book to a child, they often label pictures, talk about activities in the book, solve problems together and teach them new words and concepts. Reading to very young ... Read More »

One story, two languages: sign and spoken language share the theatre stage

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This article was co-authored by Kellye Bensley. Would you go and see a bilingual or multilingual show if you only spoke one of the languages staged? What if by going, you could open your mind not just to a new language, but also a new culture? Authors: The Conversation In New Zealand, it is rare to see theatre performed in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), and rarer still to see it performed through the hands of a first language user. ... Read More »