Matters of Facts, and Opinions, this week

F&O’s fresh sheet this week includes the eclectic, the interesting, the fun stuff, several thought-provoking essays — and startling or stunning images. Bon appétit.

Riot police arrests a protester after a clash at Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China February 9, 2016.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Familiarity with China breeds contempt in Hong Kong, writes Jonathan Manthorpe, F&O International Affairs columnist Above, riot police arrests a protester after a clash at Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

In Arts:

Deepa Mehta, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, director and producer whose work in film has attracted significant recognition, including the Governor General’s award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. Photo: Simon Fraser University
Deepa Mehta. Photo: Simon Fraser University

Deepa Mehta: pushing boundaries with Beeba Boys

All of Deepa Mehta’s major films have caused controversy, including the latest, Beeba Boys. Just released,  Beeba Boys (kind of a Sikh Sopranos) depicts the stylish, violent  world of  second- and third-generation Indian gang-bangers in metro Vancouver.  The topic is timely, but not one that the local South Asian communities particularly want aired.  Deepa Mehta is used to pushing people’s boundaries.

Schiff sonatas score, Super Bowl blanked. By Rod Mickleburgh

While gazillions tuned into the greatest annual event in the history of the world, aka the Super Bowl, which surpasses even the Eurovision Song Contest in global importance, I sat entranced, with hundreds of others at the packed Vancouver Playhouse, for András Schiff’s virtuoso recital.

In Commentary:

Riot police arrests a protester after a clash at Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China February 9, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip


Familiarity with China breeds contempt in Hong Kong, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs

The only surprise in the Monday night clashes between Hong Kong police and demonstrators demanding self-rule is that it hasn’t happened before.  In all likelihood the Mong Kok riots herald increasingly violent clashes as Hongkongers vent their frustrations with Beijing’s refusal to keep its promises of political reform and the steady erosion of the territory’s freedoms. The Chinese government has only itself to blame for the alienation of Hong Kong’s seven million people.

    RelatedHong Kong’s Fish Ball Revolution turns bloody
                       Chinese New Year, the world’s biggest consumer festival

You say you want a revolution? By Tom Regan, Summoning Orenda column

You say you want a revolution …  Well, I’m all in. I’m seized with joy at the thought of overthrowing the corrupt U.S. financial establishment. I’m gripped with enthusiasm at the thought of bringing justice and economic security for all Americans. But there might be a few problems …

In Expert Witness: 

Resilience requires rethinking data. By Dawn Wright

If the bad news is that we’re living in a world in which resilience is more critical to survival than ever, the good news is that technology is more than ever providing the tools we need to cultivate resilience. But we need to make sure the tools that allow us to gather and use this information are resilient.  I propose a set of three principles that data generators should subscribe to and governments should adopt.

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In Reports:

Illustration: Democracy Chronicles/Flickr

The Executive Pay Cap That Backfired. By Allan Sloan, ProPublica

Wealth, jobs and pay inequality are big political issues in America. A favoured political tool for tackling these problems is the U.S. federal tax code. But trying to legislate corporate behavior and economic fairness — however you define fairness — through the tax system is a lot trickier than it sounds.

Markarian 231, a binary black hole found in the center of the nearest quasar host galaxy to Earth, is seen in a NASA illustration released August 27, 2015. REUTERS/NASA/Handout

Einstein’s gravitational waves detected in landmark discovery. By Will Dunham and Scott Malone

Scientists for the first time have detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesised by Albert Einstein a century ago.

Related: Why the gravitational wave discovery matters. By Gren Ireson

The theory of general relativity tied together that what we commonly consider to be separate entities – space and time – into what is now called “space-time”.  Space-time can be considered to be the fabric of the universe.

Recommended elsewhere on the web:

There’s no space for today’s young Einsteins, by Philip Ball, the Guardian
A century ago, general relativity had no obvious “impact”, even though the GPS systems in today’s smartphones rely on it. It didn’t even have a clear goal, except intellectually. If Einstein’s project had relied on a grant application today, it would surely be rejected; probably no young scientist could afford the luxury of contemplating it in the first place. It’s not clear there is a space for Einsteins in modern science any longer.

Last but not least: In Case You Missed It, our Contents page for fresh stories and analysis including about North Korea’s rocket, American politics, the gripping tale about Malaysia’s leader, a corporate-funded mental health initiative, and a stunning Norwegian photo essay.



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