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Secular humanist, freethinker, progressive, and bibliophile. I enjoy love, knowledge, and life itself.

Eighty-Five People Have More Wealth Than Half The World

It is undeniable that wealth and income inequality is growing in the U.S. and across the world. But scale and extent of it is far more than previously imagined. Although about six months by the time of this post, the report by  Oxfam International – titled “Working for the Few” — is no less stark and relevant in its identification of a “growing tide of inequality” (to use the report’s own…

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A Persian Gulf Nation On Mars

A Persian Gulf Nation On Mars

If the United Arab Emirates has its way, it may very well beat its better-known contenders (such as the U.S., Russia, and China) in landing on Mars, which has increasingly become the accepted next step in human space exploration.

UAE Flags

Will this be the first flag planted on the moon?

Now I know what many of you are thinking: does the UAE even have a space program, much less the infrastructural and…

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Hero of the Week — Maria Bashir

Hero of the Week — Maria Bashir

Maria Bashir II Maria Bashir

Maria Bashir is the Chief Prosecutor General of Herat Province Afghanistan (the second largest jurisdiction in the country), the only woman to hold such a position thus far. Her fifteen years of experience as a civil servant has brought her into conflict with criminals, the Taliban, and corrupt policemen. When the Taliban took power in 1996, she was barred from working and instead spent her…

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National Pride Around The World

National Pride Around The World

With the rise of the nation state — whose conceptual origin is disputed but typically traced back to the Treaty of Westphalia in the 17th century – has emerged the idea of patriotism and pride in one’s civic and national identity — equally contentious and amorphous concepts.

As a life-long American, I am intimately aware of the impact, prevalence, and subsequent controversy of patriotism —…

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The Countries That Love Marijuana The Most

Using data from the newly-published 2014 World Drug Report conducted by the U.N., put together a graph of the world’s most marijuana-indulgent countries, based on the estimated per capita population of smokes. As expected, the results are interesting:

With an estimated 18.3 percent of the population smoking cannabis, Iceland tops the list by a comfortable margin, followed by Nigeria,…

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In the United S…

In the United S…

In the United States, in a far more simple time, it took eight years following the end of fighting in the American Revolution to establish the American government. In France, 50 years. In Britain, 210 years. Nobody should expect that the current turbulence is going to subside and that there will be a neat solution within a few years.

In fact, what is happening now is that the global order…

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Calling the inv…

Calling the invasion and slaughter that followed a mistake papers over the lies that took us to Iraq. This assessment of the war as mistake is coming mostly from well-intentioned people, some of whom spoke out against the war before it began and every year it dragged on. It may seem like a proper retort to critics of Obama (who inherited that war rather than started it). But it feeds a dangerous…

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Five Misconceptions About Refugees

Five Misconceptions About Refugees

In honor of World Refugee Day (June 20) — which is sadly as overlooked and forgotten as many refugees — The Guardian offers a rundown of five influential myths that have been dispelled by a recent Oxford study. Researchers surveyed 1,600 refugees in living in Kampala and two rural settlements in Uganda to understand their economic and social lives and how they persevere while contributing to…

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Americans’ Skewed Perception of Oil Supply

When Americans think of oil, they immediately imagine the Middle-East. The association is so strong that we assume the region is far more integral to our fossil fuel supply than it really is. This is somewhat understandable given the impact 1973 oil crisis, led largely by Middle-Eastern members of OPEC, which brought the region into the center-stage of public and political discourse.

But times…

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Brief Reflections on the World Cup

Although I am not a huge sports fan, I must admit that the energy surrounding the World Cup can be infectious, such that I find myself enjoying some of the games. Soccer is one of the few truly global institutions in our increasingly globalized world, enjoyed by literally billions of people across the planet. Hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life are, in one way or another, taking…

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Photos of the Week: Students in Afghanistan

Photos of the Week: Students in Afghanistan


Afghan university students attend an exam in Baharak district in Badakhshan province (Sharif Shayeq/AFP/Getty Images)

It is amazing what conditions and limitations people will endure for an education, something many of us take for granted.

I am reminded of another powerful piece that highlights this point, also from Afghanistan:

Students attend class in partially destroyed building in central…

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Screentime Around The World

How Much Time The World Views A Screen

The following graph looks at how much time the world spends looking at screens (television, PC, smartphone, and tablet).

Courtesy of Gizmodo, KPCB, and Quartz

Courtesy of Gizmodo, KPCB, and Quartz

Interestingly, developing countries make up most of the top viewers, with the U.S. coming in sixth place overall bu the highest in the developed world (the second highest industrialized country, the U.K., is in fifteenth place overall).…

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Forty-Five Sobering Facts About Global Poverty

Forty-Five Sobering Facts About Global Poverty

Although many readers have no doubt heard this before, it bears reaffirmation: around one billion people — one out of every seven human beings on Earth — live on a daily budget equivalent to just $1.25. That unconscionably meager amount is intended to cover food, healthcare, and shelter, much less any of the pleasantries in life that we take for granted.

While the percentage of people living in…

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The World in Photos This Week (By Foreign Policy)

In this week’s installment, Russia celebrates the May 9th anniversary of its defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945; India and South Africa undergo momentous elections; Greek civil servants protest another paycut; Afghans recover from deadly mudslides; and more.

These are just a fraction of the stories that play out all around us every second of our lives.

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Slavery in the 21st Century

Slavery in the 21st Century

For a sobering but vital reminder that the scourge of slavery is still with us, check out the Global Slavery Index, the first comprehensive index of its kind that provides country-by-country estimates of the number of people who remain enslaved. It’s an initiative of the Walk Free Foundation, an activist group that tries to raise awareness and elicit action to help end modern slavery.

Here is…

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