My regular Sunday piece of interesting, longer, deeper stories I found during the week. It’s also a chance for you to share what you found this week too. Those stimulating links you wanted to share, but just didn’t fit in anywhere (no linkwhoring). This week: torture, charter schools, economics and development.
Lots of short bits this week:
The former head of MI-5 in the UK Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller has been criticising her government and its securocrats for their attacks on civil liberties in the name of security. She tells them that torture always makes the world a less safe place, the security agencies need scrutiny, and the terrorists win if we let terrorism erode our freedoms.
Also in the UK: Free schools (ie Charter Schools) are a disaster.
On an economic theme, Stiglitz tells Romney that coverage of his income tax is not petty politics:
If presidents and those around them do not pay their fair share of taxes, how can we expect that anyone else will? And if no one does, how can we expect to finance the public goods that we need?
And there’s comment in the UK that tory trade union tirades notwithstanding – the problem is more that unions aren’t strong enough.
For those who remember investigative journalism, the New Yorker has an excellent investigation of how police in the US are booking people for very minor drug crimes and then turning them into long-time largely unwilling informants. They are repeatedly put into very dangerous assignments that the police don’t have the undercover staff for – but not given anything like their proper care, resulting in many being murdered. Live tragically thrown away under the radar, with the police bearing a huge part of the blame.
In good local journalism there was a nice piece in the Herald in the lead up to last night’s Rugby win over the Boks – recalling how everyone knew which side they were on in 1981. (Although no mention of the one obvious exception…)
For those battles in the comments, there was advice in the Guardian this week of how to win arguments with a bigot.
Finally: development. Here’s one article about how important fertiliser is to countries breaking out of poverty – fertiliser that the IMF wouldn’t let Africa subsidise, holding back a continent. That said, that fertiliser also pollutes our environment and is usually made & used unsustainably and with large carbon emissions. What’s the correct answer?
Hans Rosling – who founded the excellent gapminder statistics website – might be able to help us. Below is his first TED talk, where he shows us the divide between Developed and Developing countries is now a false one; Africa isn’t a country; and how we can best look at child poverty and income data amongst other things. An incredibly engaging display of statistics and data analysis: statistics never need be boring again!
(his second TED talk shows how all development so far is at the expense of the climate – I’m not sure he does have the solution to that fertiliser problem yet…)