Jiva Technology

Science Gallery London

Anything that brings science to life or generates interest in a broader audience has to be a good thing. The scientific community are important in so many ways and its not simply a question of encouraging like minded students to adopt science at school, its about a broader dialogue between science and the general public. Our way of life depends on science, our continued existence will most likely depend on science. So the opening next year of Science Gallery London is an something to look forward to. Blending science, art and technology, the gallery has already started with pop up programmes at other venues before the main gallery gets going next year. Worth a look in my opinion.

Women in Sport

When we think of gender inequality, we usually think in terms of work and in particular pay and opportunity. A case in point being the massive differences in pay between male and female presenters recently disclosed by the BBC. It seems faintly ridiculous that a presenter could be paid differently based on whether they were born a boy or girl. Historically, there have been huge differences in how men and women were treated in sport. The men got the bigger venues, the women were an afterthought. The men got the money, the women, well …

It was only recently that the women’s Boat Race moved to the traditional course from Putney to Mortlake. Similarly, the women’s Tour de France is held on ‘easier’ terrain than the men’s. But the exploits of the England cricket team and the England football team are shaking things up in many regards. At cricket, the men lose in the semi final, then women win the tournament. The Lionesses are currently running roughshod over the opposition at football, the men always lose in the quarter final. At rugby, a big deal was made of the men not losing in New Zealand. Less of the women winning there. But there seems to be a slow shift in attention that comes with success. English women are grabbing headlines based on being successful. People are turning up to watch and the money is beginning to follow. Its hard to ignore success.

Andy Murray has been a brilliant advocate of women in sport by continually correcting reporters who talk as if women’s tennis didn’t exist. But rather than relying on men making space for women in sport, some brilliant female teams are making waves of their own, based on talent and achievement. Long may that continue.

I’m falling in love with Twitter all over again

Its not that I ever necessarily fell out of love with Twitter, but the irresistible force of curiosity is always confronted by the immovable object of limited time, until someone finds a way to squeeze more than 24 hours in a day. But of late, I’ve found myself reaching for Twitter more and more and find some genuine treasures at a time when the mainstream news media seem to have entrenched positions on … pretty much everything. We’ve all been encouraged to step outside our echo chamber (something of a challenge personally), but thats easier said than done when you’re surrounded by like minded friends on FB, your (digital) newspaper tells you everything you want to hear or nothing you want to hear (in the case of the other sides newspaper), so getting a balance, can be, well, tricky. Twitter seems to be the best of both worlds, with the magic addition of a lot of humour. If there’s one thing that can take the heat out of the most contentious situations, its the ability to laugh at yourself, your predicament and your political … what’s the opposite of fellow travellers?

It feels like I’m not alone in this, so here’s to you Twitter for worming your way back into my affections and just to avoid any doubt, the renewed interest has abolsutely nothing to do with the prognostications of the 45th President of the USA.

The different types of capital and why they’re important.

When we think of capital in an economic sense, we think of money, investment or wealth; the stuff that starts companies and oil the wheels of finance around the world. We think of venture capital, risk capital; we think of financial capital. It took me a long time to realise that there are other types of capital. Or more accurately, since I’m not from what Australians aptly call, “the big end of town”, it took me a long time to realise what financial capital was and a whole lot longer than that to discover the other types of capital: social capital and intellectual capital.

Capital works to earn money so that you don’t have to, but of course allocating that capital does require some effort, particularly if you want it back with a decent return. You can learn this at some point if you study economics, probably around the age of 17 or 18 if you don’t come from the sort of family where its in the air you breath. Schools also major on the importance of intellectual capital. They don’t call it that, they call it being bright or high potential. If you have intellectual capital, you are more likely to go to a good university and get on in life. If you have financial capital and intellectual capital, you’re probably in a really good place.

But what happens if you have zero financial capital and average intellectual capital? Presumably, all is lost. Well, no, not exactly, because what schools don’t teach you explicitly is the importance of the third type of capital: your individual social capital. ¬†How good are you at building social networks? Can you work with people? Do you have a high degree of emotional intelligence? The point is that there are many ways to become successful and many combinations of capital that can help you through life, but we do a poor job of helping students understand this. Exams are important, but we all intuitively know that its not the only way forward.

Hard work and good social intelligence can be as powerful as coming from a wealthy family or being born with brains if you recognise what you have and how to use it. Some might consider this a ‘school of life’ approach, but I’d prefer to think of it as more a function of self-awareness than experience. If we’re going to get the best out of everyone, we have to signpost different routes to success as a society, otherwise we risk consigning too many to the scrapheap before they’ve started, which doesn’t work for anyone.

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