If You Like What You Find Here On ‘Being’….

….you might also like my other blogs and website. If you do, kindly visit them, follow or subscribe to them via email, and leave your comments, if any, on my posts. Thank you.

Here’s a guide to what each site is about:

Being Human – Our Past, Present and Future in Nature
www.jameselassiter.blogspot.com
On Anthropology and Biology

This is my original blog begun in September 2010. My original description of it remains unchanged: “an open forum on topics in anthropology, science, philosophy, religion, and African studies. The purpose of the blog is to promote thought and increase and improve knowledge.” The blog’s focus has since narrowed to human biological evolution and “human nature.” Topics in cultural anthropology, human cultural evolution, and the peoples of Africa are addressed on this blog, Being: In Nature and the Ethnosphere. To follow or subscribe to Being Human – Our Past, Present and Future in Nature go to its home page and complete the form “Follow by Email.”

 

Owl & Ibis – A Confluence of Minds
www.owl-ibis.blogspot.com
On the Natural & Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Modern Stoicism, and Aspects of Cultural Studies, Including the Sacred

I initiated Owl & Ibis – A Confluence of Minds as a private critical thinker club in mid-2013. On September 22, 2015, I made it public as an open-to-all freethinker online forum and in-person gathering. On September 9, 2017, following my departure from Facebook, I moved the online forum for O&I posts and comments from Facebook to this blog. O&I is a secular, humanist, free-thinker discussion group. Discussion topics are drawn solely from the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, history, and cultural studies, including the sacred. Sacred topics have to do with the impact of sacred beliefs and behaviors on the well-being of the individual and his/her society, and on Humankind as a whole. Owl & Ibis is not the forum for religious apologetics and proselytizing. The chairship of meetings will rotate among the participants. At each meeting a presentation will be made by the chair. The presentation will cover a topic from one of the above subject areas and should include a point of argumentation. Any time remaining after the presentation will be used for discussion. Meeting attendees accept and advocate, totally or in part, an understanding of the Universe based on the principles and methods of scientific-secularism, skepticism, and reverence. Owl & Ibis is tolerant of a wide range of worldviews and belief systems. Pluralism and inclusion are regarded to be the best ways forward in Humankind’s efforts at forging a global morality and civilization, and for acting responsibly as Earth’s steward. Owl & Ibis attempts to contribute to such a future. To follow this blog fill in the “Follow by Email” form on its left sidebar.

 

Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC
www.migrationanthro.com
On Human Migration, Refugees, Cross-Cultural Training, and Workplace Culture Analysis

Begun in May 2009, Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC provides expert international and domestic consultancy and training services to governmental and international agencies, non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies, and corporations and businesses. The multidisciplinary, holistic, participant observation methods of anthropology are applied to human migration, refugee populations, and business and organization workplace analysis.  Behavioral scientific rigor and humanism are essential to this approach. Training programs are also provided on cross-cultural communication and other skills necessary for living and working in multi-cultural, international settings. The MAC website also provides news and commentary on migration, immigration and refugee matters around the world. To follow or subscribe to this website go to its home page and complete the form “Follow by Email.”

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African ‘Reverse Missionaries’ Have Come to Save Souls Among the Heathens of Britain

African Christians in Britain

African Mission Church in York

Africa’s Reverse Missionaries are Bringing Christianity Back to the United Kingdom

“[Nigerian Rueben Ekeme Inwe of York, England] is what some scholars would call a ‘reverse missionary,’ evangelists from former mission fields in Africa, Asia, and Latin America who believe their calling is to revitalize Christianity in the countries that first brought the religion to them. It’s a phenomenon that marks a shift in Christianity’s cultural center from the West to the so-called global South. By 2025, at least 50% of the world’s Christians will be in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia; in 1950, an estimated 80% of the world’s Christians were in Western countries.”

“The idea of the reverse mission has been around for a while. In 1880, a West African preacher named Edward Blyden predicted that one day Africa would be the ‘the spiritual conservatory of the world.’ In the early 1900s, Daniel Ekarte, a sailor from Nigeria, started a church in the slums of Liverpool for both Africans and white British. Around the same time, a Ghanaian businessman, Kwame Brem-Wilson, also founded a pentecostal Sumner Road Chapel in Peckham, London and helped spread Pentecostalism in the UK.
“In the 1970s, as former colonies adjusted to newfound independence, religious leaders from Africa, Asia, and South America began calling for a moratorium on Western missionaries to give local churches a chance to ‘stand on their own feet.’ The International Congress on World Evangelization, held in Lausanne Switzerland, declared in 1974, ‘A new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing.'”

“Since then, the growth of Christianity in the developing world, migration, and the explosion of diaspora churches have given the idea new currency. Today, the largest Christian church in Europe was started by a Nigerian pastor, Sunday Adelaja, who first went to the Soviet Union and Belarus in the 1980s to study journalism. In the US, the Catholic church has been recruiting African priests for years.”

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The Future of African Agriculture – Think Agribusiness, Not Subsistence

African Irrigation

The Future of Farming in Africa is Not Agriculture But Agribusiness

“Africa is a farm lover’s dream: abundant uncultivated arable land, roughly over half the global total; tropical climates that permit long growing seasons; a young labor force; and an expanding population that provides a readily available market for produce consumption.

“Yet, African countries are yet to harness these opportunities to ensure sustainable food security and food production. The average age of farmers is about 60 years—in a continent where 60% of the population is under 24 years of age. Farmers are also less educated, with younger, more educated Africans are leaving rural areas, where farms are located, and moving to cities.

“Some of these youngsters are also discouraged by the difficulties of accessing funds or land, the reliance on manual technology in smallholder agriculture, all compounded by the low and volatile profits.

“But to remedy these issues, a new report suggests governments should change their outlook on agriculture from a subsistence, daily activity into a commercial enterprise. The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) says focusing on the entire value chain of the process—land tenure, farming technology, markets, and pricing—would help transform food systems around the continent. Positioning farming ‘as a business and entrepreneurial endeavor’ would also help draw younger people into the practice, and make them see it as less of a ‘cool’ idea and more as a ‘career option.'”

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Demogaphy of Africa

Africa Population Children

There’s A Strong Change A Third Of All People On Earth Will Be African By 2100

“The population of Africa is increasing because births outnumber deaths four to one. While African mortality is the highest in the world, it has decreased in recent decades, following a pattern already observed on other continents. Fertility has also declined. African women have 4.5 children on average – as opposed to 6.5 forty years ago and 5.5 twenty years ago. Here too, the same trend has been established on other continents. Women in Asia have just 2.1 children on average, in Latin America 2.0 children, in North America 1.9 and in Europe 1.6. This combination of declining mortality and relatively high fertility is the driver of rapid population growth in Africa”

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Africa Week – October 16-20, 2017

Africa Shadow Map

UN Africa Week, Theme for 2017: “Supporting an Integrated, Prosperous, People-centered, Peaceful Africa: Towards the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

October 16-20 being Africa Week, I have posted article’s on geography, demography, economics, agriculture, and religion on the continent.

“Africa Week is an annual event organized on the margins of the [UN] General Assembly Debate on Africa’s development by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)….”

“Since its launch in 2010, Africa Week has evolved to focus on the wide range of Africa’s development priorities, covering the areas of peace, security, governance, human rights, socio-economic, and environmental development.

“Each year, Africa Week features a series of high-level events to engage Member States and other stakeholders on an overarching theme that addresses current priorities on the continent.”

2016: Strengthening Partnerships for Inclusive Sustainable Development, Good Governance, Peace and Stability in Africa

2015: “Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Moving from Aspirations to Reality”

2014: “The Africa We Want:  Support of the United Nations System to the African Union’s Agenda 2063”

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Why I Stopped Using Facebook

I did so to increase my mental freedom, lower instances of external grabbing of my attention, and lessen the commercial manipulation of my values and behavior.

Facebook had just become too much. Their ownership of my photos, pestering with ads, nudges to post more often, and the Trump-supporting posts of some of my Facebook friends were more than I wanted in my life. The real issue was FB’s strategy of becoming better at getting my attention and more effective at controlling my point of view. That is to say, my beliefs, values and behaviors. It’s a freedom and free will thing for me.

Here is my last post on Facebook:

Rocking Chair

I have left Facebook. I still express myself but only on my blogs listed below. You are welcome to visit one or more of them and leave any comments you may have. If you have a blog or website of your own please send me a link to it. Thank you.

Being Human – Our Past, Present and Future in Nature
www.jameselassiter.blogspot.com
On Anthropology and Biology

Being – In Nature and the Ethnosphere
www.jelassiter.wordpress.com
On the Anthropology of Culture, Cultural Evolution, and the Peoples of Africa

Owl & Ibis – A Confluence of Minds
www.owl-ibis.blogspot.com
On the Natural & Social Sciences, History, Philosophy, Modern Stoicism, and Aspects of Cultural Studies, including the Sacred

Migration Anthropology Consultants (MAC), LLC
www.migrationanthro.com
On Human Migration, Refugees, Cross-Cultural Training, and Workplace Culture Analysis

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There are three basic options for leaving Facebook:

– Retain the app but ignore it
– Deactivate your account
– Delete your account

“How To Completely Delete Facebook From Your Life”

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I almost chose the most severe, secure and irreversible option, to delete my Facebook account, but decided against it. I opted for deactivation on the slim chance I change my mind and want to go back. If I reactivate all my previous posts and comments will reappear. After thoroughly reading the following two articles, I still may one day delete my account.

“Modern Media is a DoS Attack on Your Free Will”

Excerpts
“Modern technology platforms, he [James Williams] explained to me, were ‘reimposing these pre-Internet notions of advertising, where it’s all about getting as much of people’s time and attention as you can.'”

“In 2014, he co-founded Time Well Spent, a ‘movement to stop technology platforms from hijacking our minds,’ according to its website. Partnering with Moment, an app that tracks how much time you spend in other apps, Time Well Spent asked 200,000 people to rate the apps they used the most—after seeing the screen time it demanded of them. They found that, on average, the more time people spent in an app, the less happy they were with it. ‘Distraction wasn’t just this minor annoyance. There was something deeper going on,’ he told me. … Williams has most recently been in the media spot light for his essay, ‘Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Persuasion in the Attention Economy,’ … Nautilus caught up with Williams to discuss the subversive power of the modern attention economy.”

“Democracy assumes a set of capacities: the capacity for deliberation, understanding different ideas, reasoned discourse. This grounds government authority, the will of the people. So one way to talk about the effects of these technologies is that they are a kind of a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on the human will. Our phones are the operating system for our life. They keep us looking and clicking. I think this wears down certain capacities, like willpower, by having us make more decisions. A study showed that repeated distractions lower people’s effective IQ by up to 10 points. It was over twice the IQ drop that you get from long-term marijuana usage. There are certainly epistemic issues as well. Fake news is part of this, but it’s more about people having a totally different sense of reality, even within the same society or on the same street. It really makes it hard to achieve that common sense of what’s at stake that is necessary for an effective democracy.”

“What’s happened is, really rapidly, we’ve undergone this tectonic shift, this inversion between information and attention. Most of the systems that we have in society—whether it’s news, advertising, even our legal systems—still assume an environment of information scarcity. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it doesn’t necessarily protect freedom of attention. There wasn’t really anything obstructing people’s attention at the time it was written. Back in an information-scarce environment, the role of a newspaper was to bring you information—your problem was lacking it. Now it’s the opposite. We have too much.”

“[We] need to remember the sheer volume and scale of resources that are going into getting us to look at one thing over another, click on one thing over another. This industry employs some of the smartest people, thousands of Ph.D. designers, statisticians, engineers. They go to work every day to get us to do this one thing, to undermine our willpower. It’s not realistic to say you need to have more willpower. That’s the very thing being undermined!”

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And there’s more:

“‘Our Minds Can Be Hijacked:’ The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia”

Excerpts
“He [software engineer Justin Rosenstein] was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook ‘likes’, which he describes as ‘bright dings of pseudo-pleasure’ that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the ‘like’ button in the first place.

“A decade after he stayed up all night coding a prototype of what was then called an ‘awesome’ button, Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called “attention economy”: an internet shaped around the demands of an advertising economy.”

“Rosenstein … appears most concerned about the psychological effects on people who, research shows, touch, swipe or tap their phone 2,617 times a day.

“There is growing concern that as well as addicting users, technology is contributing toward so-called ‘continuous partial attention’, severely limiting people’s ability to focus, and possibly lowering IQ. One recent study showed that the mere presence of smartphones damages cognitive capacity – even when the device is turned off. ‘Everyone is distracted,’ Rosenstein says. ‘All of the time.’

“’The technologies we use have turned into compulsions, if not full-fledged addictions,’ [author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Nir] Eyal writes. ‘It’s the impulse to check a message notification. It’s the pull to visit YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for just a few minutes, only to find yourself still tapping and scrolling an hour later.’ None of this is an accident, he writes. It is all ‘just as their designers intended.'”

“Finally, Eyal confided the lengths he goes to protect his own family. He has installed in his house an outlet timer connected to a router that cuts off access to the internet at a set time every day. ‘The idea is to remember that we are not powerless,’ he said. ‘We are in control.’
But are we? If the people who built these technologies are taking such radical steps to wean themselves free, can the rest of us reasonably be expected to exercise our free will?

“Not according to Tristan Harris, a 33-year-old former Google employee turned vocal critic of the tech industry. ‘All of us are jacked into this system,’ he says. ‘All of our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.’

“Harris, who has been branded ‘the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience’, insists that billions of people have little choice over whether they use these now ubiquitous technologies, and are largely unaware of the invisible ways in which a small number of people in Silicon Valley are shaping their lives. … ‘A handful of people, working at a handful of technology companies, through their choices will steer what a billion people are thinking today,’ he said. ‘I don’t know a more urgent problem than this,’ Harris says. ‘It’s changing our democracy, and it’s changing our ability to have the conversations and relationships that we want with each other.'”

“An internal Facebook report leaked this year, for example, revealed that the company can identify when teens feel ‘insecure’, ‘worthless’ and ‘need a confidence boost’. Such granular information, Harris adds, is ‘a perfect model of what buttons you can push in a particular person.'”

“[A] ‘far more consequential question’ than whether Trump reached the White House. The reality TV star’s campaign, he said, had heralded a watershed in which ‘the new, digitally supercharged dynamics of the attention economy have finally crossed a threshold and become manifest in the political realm.'”

“‘The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will,’ he says. ‘If politics is an expression of our human will, on individual and collective levels, then the attention economy is directly undermining the assumptions that democracy rests on.’ If Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gradually chipping away at our ability to control our own minds, could there come a point, I ask, at which democracy no longer functions?”

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