Links to Think

Links to Think: 13.08.12

August 12, 2013



Lost in Time: Groovy Afghanistan – If you’ve read any of Khaled Hosseini’s works, this collection gives a visual aid to many of his references to the past splendor of Afghanistan. Regardless, it’s a shocking commentary as to the rapid changes that can take place within a small space of time.

A cautionary tale of a vibrant and thriving culture lost in time, these photographs collected on a community Facebook page in Afghanistan are likely to leave you in disbelief. The country we’re so often shown today is comparable to a broken medieval society, but not so long ago, the barren landscape was dotted with stylish buildings, women wore pencil skirts and teenagers shopped at record stores.

As you browse the photos that capture progress, hope and that rock’n’roll spirit in the air, keep in mind the implications of what happened to this culture in just a few decades.”

“Mohammad Qayoumi grew up in Kabul during the 60s and 70s and many of his photographs are featured on the Facebook page’s collection. This is the Afghanistan he remembers:

A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.”

Carry on camping – can a week under canvas reset our body clocks? – A number of news outlets have had their own version of this story cycling through this week, but the overall report is that camping for a week can serve to reset body clocks that have veered from a healthy circadian rhythm. There is much in my personal experience that speaks to this truth. From living in a tent for 8 weeks during 2 summers of my teen years to even living more in sync “with natural light” during our time in Ecuador, I can attest to the benefits those experiences gave toward improving my internal body clock. (However, during those times, I was also working harder physically, and I do wonder what part that also plays into this study.)

“Researchers say that camping for a week can reset the biological clock that governs our sleeping patterns.

The scientists argue that modern life disrupts our sleep through exposure to electric light and reduced access to sunlight.

But after spending time in the great outdoors, the researchers say the body clocks of eight volunteers synchronised with sunrise and sunset.”

“The scientists then took the volunteers camping for a week in Colorado. Flashlights and electronic devices were banned, the only night time light was the glow of a campfire.

The result was that the waking and sleeping patterns of all eight volunteers synchronised with the rising and setting of the Sun.

“They all shifted to an earlier time,” said Prof Kenneth Wright from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

campingIn the study, flashlights and electronic devices were banned

“Everyone’s clock shifted but those later night owls shifted to an even greater extent.”

What surprised the scientific team was the increase in the amount of sunlight the volunteers experienced through their camping experience, around 400% more than they were normally exposed to.”

The Boy with No Toys – Interesting article.

“Before he was born, his mother decided her son would have no toys. Abandoned by the father, she was already a single parent. She made a living cleaning for other people. Most days she took the bus to affluent streets where children never seemed to play outside. As she vacuumed and scrubbed beautiful homes overfilled with possessions she paid close attention to what children did all day. Often they were gone at lessons, after school programs, or playdates. When they were home they usually sat staring at screens. Toys in their carefully decorated rooms appeared to be tossed around as if the small owners had no idea how to play, only how to root restlessly for entertainment.”

“Will is now six years old. He plays as any child naturally does. He makes up games and turns all sorts of objects into toys. His mother saves money by not owning a car, so Will has commandeered a large portion of the shed that would normally be used as a garage. Mostly he uses it to stockpile his own resources. He has scrap wood, a few tools, and cans of nails. He likes to straighten bent nails for future projects, working carefully now that he recently discovered what smacking his fingers with a hammer feels like. Recently he found a discarded lawn mower tire, so he’s looking for three more tires to make a go-cart. In the evenings he likes to draw elaborate pictures of this upcoming project. He particularly enjoys playing in the soft dirt along the side of the shed where “robot men” he makes out of kitchen utensils use their potato peeler and wisk limbs to churn through the soil, leaving tracks as they clink. When he visits friends he happily plays with their toys, although he doesn’t always “get” that certain TV or movie-themed toys are limited to the plot-related storylines. So far he seems to have no urge to possess the same toys.”

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