- Here in Australia, the foreign purchase of agricultural land has become a hot button issue. But it is not only an Australian issue, as around 1.75% of the world's farmland is now in the hands of foreign owners. National Geographic's Change Reaction blog explains why countries like China are purchasing land in other countries:
In 2008, UAE brought 324 hectares (1.25 square miles) of land in Pakistan. A year later, South Korea bought nearly twice that amount in Sudan. This week, China announced the biggest land lease ever: 3 million hectares (11,500 square miles) of Ukrainian land. Or put more simply: 1/20th of all Ukraine.
- Pacific Standard has the story of the power of stereotypes in people's decisions to engage in activism, especially environmentalism and feminism:
the message to advocates is clear: Avoid rhetoric or actions that reinforce the stereotype of the angry activist. Realize that if people find you off-putting, they’re not going to listen to your message. As Bashir and her colleagues note, potential converts to your cause “may be more receptive to advocates who defy stereotypes by coming across as pleasant and approachable.”
By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity.”
- Nobel Prize Winner & Former Polish President Lech Walsea has repeated calls for an ever closer union, starting with Germany and Poland:
“We need to expand economic and defence co-operation and other structures to create one state from Poland and Germany in Europe,” he said.
“We have travelled so far in our technical advancements that we are no longer located in our own countries,” he said, adding that this required changes to geographical structures, the economy and democracy.
- Financial analysts and pundits are spotting “bubbles” everywhere, from housing markets in America and Australia to stock markets around the world. This is largely a by-product of a larger debate over the effects of the Federal Reserves Quantitative Easing. But what exactly is a “bubble”? The Economist's Free Exchange blog has taken a closer look at the definition of a bubble:
A bubble could be a pure, financial-market ponzi game, in which prices bear no relation to any defensible story about future fundamentals.
But a “bubble” might have a more rational basis. It could be a sustained rise in prices that is reasonable given particular, defensible expectations about the future, but which deflates once it becomes clear that particular version of the future has not come to pass.
Or, a “bubble” could be a sustained rise in prices that is reasonable given particular, defensible expectations about the future—which eventually are borne out—but which nonetheless deflates, temporarily, due to an unexpected turn in credit conditions.
- The UN Millenium Development goals are back in the news, so Reuters' Great Debate blog has taken a look at how educating girls is effective at eliminating poverty:
Gender imbalances in education seldom make the news. But the evidence gathered by the EFA Global Monitoring Report team shows that when such inequalities are eliminated, educated girls and young women go on to improve their own prospects and those of their families and communities.
That is all.