His books are on the recommended reading list of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and prominent opinion makers like Barack Obama and Bill Gates. This has made Yuval Noah Harari as one of the most influential intellectuals of this decade and probably this century. Harari’s books explore a wide diversity of questions and answers that are constantly being asked by most people. They range from the possibility that the biological and genetic revolutions in technology and income inequality will result in two classes of humans – the normal and the super mutants – to the questions why are people obsessed with eating sweets and desserts when it leads to obesity and diabetes? I read Harari’s book chronologically backwards. I first read his latest book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century published in 2018. It was a book about the present and how to make sense of today’s pressing issues. It tried to answer questions like: How do computers and … [Read more...] about Is humankind happier?
How technology is affecting society
The recent conference on “Megacities at risk: Engineering resilience to seismic hazards” by sheer coincidence took place a few days after the magnitude 6.1 earthquake that shook Central Luzon, followed by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake with the epicenter this time in Samar. No doubt this made more topical and urgent the importance of earthquake engineering and land use to minimize the casualties. Majority of the casualties from the temblor that hit Central Luzon were the result of the collapse of a four-story building and a few private dwellings. As in earthquakes around the world, most casualties and property damage were not from the original movement of the ground – collapsing buildings were the primary killer. This is a combination of three deadly factors – poor structural design, bad construction, and location in vulnerable areas. Porac is located on soil that is prone to liquefaction which amplifies the shaking from the original quake. While no structure can be … [Read more...] about Aftermath of earthquakes: Immediate focus
By Kathy English Public Editor Thu., May 2, 2019 Why does journalism matter? I asked. You answered. In anticipation of today’s World News Day, a time to recognize and celebrate the power of journalism to make a difference in people’s lives, I asked for your perspectives on why journalism matters to you. The responses, as always when I reach out to Star readers for your views were (for the most part) thoughtful and constructive, showing tremendous insight into the value of the public service mission of journalism and deep appreciation both for journalism’s purpose in our democracy and for the work of journalists who aspire to journalism’s highest ideals. Thank you to all who participated. Here is some of why you believe #NewsMatters: Good journalism speaks truth in the face of lies, without fear or prejudice. When the public is confused by those with powerful self-interest, then the duty of the journalist is to lay bare the facts as (s)he … [Read more...] about ‘Great journalism holds the mirror to our souls’
By Anthony Morgan Opinion Tues., April 30, 2019 “One of us goes in, and we all go through it …” — Drake, “Headlines” Incarceration is seldom a solo affair. It’s true that the individual person subjected to carceral control bears the brunt of the physical, emotional, psychological, social and financial costs of being forced to surrender their freedom to the state. However, this painful price isn’t paid by the incarcerated person alone: their friends, family members and others who care about them suffer their own sizeable share of loss, sadness, fear and frustration precipitated by their loved one’s incarceration. My family, that is my mom, my sister, Toni, and I, know this reality viscerally well. I have a younger brother, Theo (not his real name), who is currently serving a multi-year sentence in one of Ontario’s federal correctional institutions. This latest stint follows more than a decade of … [Read more...] about My brother’s in jail. Why does talking to him require hundreds of dollars a month and 1990s technology?
There is wide scope for discourse in Singapore, but fake news is a distinct and specific problem that must be curbed before it affects society, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He made this point in an interview, when asked for his response to concerns that proposed laws to tackle fake news would curb free speech. There is no society in which free speech is absolute or uncontrolled, he said, noting that it exists within appropriate boundaries. For example, speech that is defamatory or threatening in nature lies outside of these boundaries, said PM Lee in an interview conducted in Mandarin with variety show host Kym Ng and news presenter Evelyn Lam that was broadcast on Mediacorp's Channel 8 last night. "We must set an appropriate boundary that would allow us to protect free speech and allow people to exchange information, thoughts and opinions in a meaningful way," he added. Other countries, like the United States and those in Europe, are also grappling with the problem of fake … [Read more...] about Fake news must be curbed before it affects society: PM Lee