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Tag: world

Too Much News? [en]

Too Much News? [en]

[fr] Il y a bien des années j'ai cessé de regarder les nouvelles à la télé, de lire les journaux, etc. Je m'en suis trouvée bien moins angoissée. Insidieusement, je me suis remise à suivre l'actualité du monde, via Facebook surtout. Suis-je retombée dans le piège de l'angoisse de l'actu? Est-ce que ce qui se passe maintenant est beaucoup plus grave que ce qui se passait il y a dix ans? J'ai toujours été très optimiste quant à l'avenir de l'humanité, mais ces derniers mois ont changé ça. Des fois je me demande si je devrais me lancer en politique ou alors tout débrancher et acheter des chèvres.

On the edge
Many years ago I stopped watching TV news or reading the papers, because seeing all these terrible things happening in the world and that I was powerless about only managed to make me anxious. I became much less anxious after that.
 
Now, slowly, stealthily, “the news” has crept back into my life, through social media. And at some point, I started “following” again. Is what’s happening in the world now worse and more important than what was going on 10 years ago? Or have I just fallen into the same trap?
 
I used to feel pretty optimistic about where the world was going, although in my day-to-day life I am much more of a pessimist. I believe in resilience of social structures and societies and humanity. But these last few months have changed that. I now find myself very worried about where the world is headed.
 
Do I worry more because I consume more news? Or do I worry more because it is more worrisome? Or both?
 
There are days where I feel that maybe the solution is go either “all in” or “all out”. Dive into politics, join a party, get involved beyond “Facebook activism”. Or cut news out of my life again.
Originally published as a Facebook post.

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Books That Changed My Life [en]

Books That Changed My Life [en]

[fr] Une série de livres qui m'ont marquée.

Picked up on [Lifehacker](http://lifehacker.com/) (via [Feedly](http://feedly.com/), which I really like!), [What Books Have Changed Your Life?](http://lifehacker.com/397394/the-books-that-changed-your-lives) — so, off the top of my head, and way too late in the night to do any serious thinking/writing/linking, a bunch of books that were groundbreaking reads for me:

– The Web of Belief (Ullian & Quine)
– Emotional Intelligence (Goleman)
– Comment gérer les personnalités difficiles (André & Lelord)
– Naked Conversations (Scoble & Israel)
– The Black Swan (Taleb)
– Getting Things Done (Allen)
– The Paradox of Choice (Schwartz)
– Buddhism Without Beliefs (Batchelor)
– India: A Million Mutinies Now (Naipaul)
– The Cluetrain Manifesto (Searls, Weinberger, Locke, Levine)

There are certainly more that I’m not thinking about now, and the list is certainly skewed towards these past years (the near past is always fresher in memory, and old changes tend to be forgotten). I could give an explanation for each of them… but some other time, maybe.

I read a lot of fiction, too — not just essay-like books. But I wouldn’t say that any work of fiction (that I can recall) really changed my life in a major way.

I might come back to this. Or I might not. Who knows?

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Most People Are Multilingual [en]

Most People Are Multilingual [en]

[fr] Une clarification de ce que j'entends par "la plupart des gens sont multilingues". Multilingues au sens large.

In [a comment to my last post](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/09/another-multilingual-talk-proposal-web-20-expo-berlin/#comment-243962), [Marie-Aude](http://www.oasisdemezgarne.com/lgfr/blog/) says I’m being a bit optimistic by stating that “most people are multilingual”. I’d like to clarify what I mean by that.

The “most people are multilingual” thing is not from me. I’ve seen it mentioned in varied settings, though I still need to find systematic studies to back it up (let me know if you have any handy).

It all depends how you define “multilingual”. If you define it in a broad sense (ie, school-level passive understanding of a language counts), then a little thinking shows it’s not that “optimistic”. Here is what would make somebody multilingual:

– immigration, of course
– learning a foreign language at school
– living in a country with different linguistic groups.

Some examples:

– in India, many people are fluent in their mother tongue, and to some extent in one of the countries official languages: Hindi or English
– in the US, think about the huge immigrant population; the whole country was built upon immigration, come to think of it; in the bus in San Francisco, I often heard more foreign languages than English
– again in the US (because the English-speaking world is seen as a big “monolingual” block), think of the increasingly important hispanic/latino population (people who will often have knowledge of both English and Spanish)
– in most European countries, people learn at least one foreign language in school — even if it’s not used, most people retain at least some passive knowledge of it; I’m not sure about Asia, Africa, Southern America, Australia: does anybody know?

So, I don’t think it’s that optimistic to say most people are multilingual. To say that most people are “perfectly multilingual”, of course, is way off the mark. But most people understand more than one language, at least to some extent.

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