Courage and Hope – an essay by Malala Yousafzai

malala and kailash

 

This essay was published in Medium shortly after the announcement. Feel free to click it, or just read her work below.

 

Courage and Hope

What the Nobel Peace Prize means to me.

Today, I was honored to learn I have been selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

I spoke to co-recipient Kailash Satyarthi by phone. We agreed to continue the struggle for children’s rights together and to work to heal divides between my home of Pakistan and his of India.

I am proud I am the first young person and first Pakistani to win this prize. It is an honour I share with Kailash Satyarthi — a hero in the fight for children globally. More than ever, our world needs more heroes like Kailash. His example makes me brave.

I believe the Nobel committee didn’t give this award to me. I believe they have done this because they believe education is the best weapon through which we can fight poverty, ignorance and terrorism.
I believe they did this because they don’t believe in just one girl, but in all the girls whose voices need to be heard, who are under the darkness of conflict or poverty. This award is for my powerful sisters who have not been listened to for far too long.

And I raise their voices, I stand together with them.

I believe they did this because they believe we are #StrongerThan any challenge. We are #StrongerThan fear. This award is courage and hope for me and all those who fight for education.

Walking to school with my father.

When I found out that I won today, I was in school, studying Chemistry. I told my teacher I needed to finish my school assignment. Education is my top priority. I was learning with my friends, where I believe every child should be. But 57 million of them are still out school. We still have a lot to do.

The road to education, peace and equality is very long. But I know millions of children are walking beside me. If we go together, we will achieve our goals and we will complete our journey. We have to walk together.

I am honoured to walk this road with Kailash. I am honoured to walk it with you.

I invite you to join our movement to break the cycle of poverty and empower girls through education at www.malala.org

Stay updated on all Nobel Peace Prize news and watch Malala’s full speech here.

Originally published at community.malala.org.

 

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Organs-on-a-chip

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As growing body cells in laboratory is becoming gradually obsolescent, and as animal testing, in an age of exponential technological prowess, is turning increasingly primitive, biochemistry scientists are now developing a new, safer, and more personal method to test body cells: planting body cells on a chip.

By using the chips, as pictured above, scientists can observe the biological and chemical reactions yielded when these experimented cells interact with outer objects, for instance, bacteria, viruses, or any other chemical substances, in accordance to the genetic structures of every individual. With greater varieties in medication to treat persons with different biological reactions to medicines, personalized medicine will definitely save more lives in the future.

Geraldine Hamilton will explain further about how ‘organs-on-a-chip’ normally work. Click her full profile on TED.

 

 

Excerpt:

Our bodies are dynamic environments. We’re in constant motion. Our cells experience that.They’re in dynamic environments in our body. They’re under constant mechanical forces. So if we want to make cells happy outside our bodies, we need to become cell architects. We need to design, build and engineer a home away from home for the cells.

And at the ViS Institute, we’ve done just that. We call it an organ-on-a-chip. And I have one right here. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? But it’s pretty incredible. Right here in my hand is a breathing, living human lung on a chip.

Creating a more humane face of cities

bogota colombia

21st century marks the first time bulk of human civilization lives in urban settlements rather than in villages. With urban population expected to surpass 80% of the global numbers by 2030, and with human population expected to reach in between 9 and 10 billion by 2050, a few thousand more new cities will have to be added worldwide in order to sustain the population increase, and the subsequent urbanization that follows. Most of the development, meanwhile, is expected to take place in developing countries, either in Africa or in Asia.

Nevertheless, as cities keep on growing, challenges remain. With overall annual incomes and costs of living rising, social inequality will imminently occur. Some people will get rich, and more of them will end up in poverty. In a string of domino effects that follow, shantytowns will form, urban patterns become addle-pate and unpredictable, and population density will spiral out of control. Solutions have been proposed, ranging from acquiring lands and routes to provide greater public access and greenbelt areas for more populace to creating mass transit public transport systems in low costs, but such ideas can only easily apply to new cities which are going to be built in the 50 years to come. And what about those huge cities which have been existent for centuries, complete with all their seemingly unsolvable problems? The challenges get even trickier.

In this TED talk, Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogota (1998-2000, pictured above), would like to give his hometown as an example how he could reform, once a sprawling, messy, and seemingly brutal metropolis into one with a more humane face.

Excerpt:

We fought not just for space for buses, but we fought for space for people, and that was even more difficult. Cities are human habitats, and we humans are pedestrians. Just as fish need to swim or birds need to fly or deer need to run, we need to walk. There is a really enormous conflict, when we are talking about developing country cities, between pedestrians and cars. Here, what you see is a picture that shows insufficient democracy.What this shows is that people who walk are third-class citizens while those who go in carsare first-class citizens. In terms of transport infrastructure, what really makes a difference between advanced and backward cities is not highways or subways but quality sidewalks.Here they made a flyover, probably very useless, and they forgot to make a sidewalk. This is prevailing all over the world. Not even schoolchildren are more important than cars.

James Franco has a column for Vice

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One of the Hollywood’s most eccentric actors has a blog for Vice, regularly updated since May 2013. In a column titled ‘A Few Impressions’ – although you can see too many Photoshop-ed impressions of himself in various movie scenes, like the one above, taken from Clint Eastwood’s Mystic Rivers – he discusses mostly about movies and Hollywood, and to a lesser extent, all the other things he thinks need, seriously, a few impressions.

Still, though, his column is, in its current form, incomparable to the masterful blog by late Roger Ebert. Or that statement is just plain unimpressive, you think?

Bonus: an article from James Franco I can recommend you is this: Are You a Nerd?

The psychology of curvy architecture

qatar 2022

 

Zaha Hadid’s latest work for Qatar’s World Cup 2022 football stadium – intended to reflect the shape of dhow, a traditional Arab fishing boat – triggered much criticism, some of whom claimed it bears more resemblance to vagina. But what, in your own perception, do you see?

 

After centuries of rigorous architectural principle which favored the quintessence of straight lines, a new trend has been surging in grassroots level to dismantle the current tenet. Curvy architecture – as some have recently called it – is now an emerging, avant-garde concept being used in some of the world’s major cities.

The question is: what psychological factors that account for the emergence of such brand-new principle? Some experts, having conducted experiment on certain individuals, perceive that this trend itself is in parallel with an ever-growing popularity of environmental conservation movements worldwide, which assume curvy lines do ‘lean’ more to the side of nature. Others, however, point out another, one that some can assume as ‘dirty-minded’: this architectural style is a further extension of human’s sexual expression. On an objective view, one can neither say that this theory is fallacious, though.

And what do you think, in your own opinion?

Read the full article on CNN International.

Against all odds

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This picture is no purpose-driven publicity effort to popularize Pope Francis. This, instead, challenges us to redefine what being ‘beauty’ and ‘ugly’ truly means. It is solely a small reminder, knocking the doors of our hearts, to come out of our limited, Euclidean, fixedly defined mindsets that constrain our visions, and of how easily prejudiced we are, as normal human beings.

Benjamin Corn, an Israeli-based neurofibromatosis expert, voices out his further opinions on Quartz. Read the full article here.

Excerpt:

Ugliness is not an absolute condition but a socially sanctioned attribute. The problem with consigning something to that far, negative end of the spectrum is that ugliness can incite stigma. Art historian H.W. Janson says that modern definitions of beauty took root in the masters of the High Renaissance. In 1486, Botticelli’s painting of The Birth of Venus established a standard of features. Perpetuated over time by illustrators, marketers, members of the media, the standard—of flawless skin, golden locks, bodies at once buxom and taut—has served as a basis for Western ideals of beauty and, conversely, ugliness.

Because our aesthetic standards are arbitrary, our definitions of beauty have shifted slightly, over time, to encompass, for example, anorexic-appearing fashion models with little resemblance to the shapeliness of Botticelli’s Goddess of Beauty. There is one vital point in that dynamic: the arbitrary—including our ideas of what is beautiful, ugly, visually acceptable, or socially stigmatizing—can change. And each of us can contribute to that change.
Note: neurofibromatosis is a rare genetic disease by which NF1, a gene specialized in guarding our body cells from becoming cancerous, unexpectedly disappears or mutates, thus enabling those cells to grow beyond control, resulting in myriad tumors widely spread over the bodies of those exposed to such condition.

India’s Martian dream

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Beforehand, lo and behold, one important fact you should note: while NASA shuffles with its limitary budget, a new space race is commencing within its relative absence. It is no longer a two-party competition, though, a disproportionate amount of time by which we testified the intense rivalries between United States and Soviet Union. No more.

It is becoming increasingly polarized, with new entrants penetrating into a whole-new chapter of space exploration in 21st century. This year, we saw China announce its plan to establish a permanent, manned mission to the Moon by 2020, as well as its plan to set up its own space station, throwing down the gauntlet at International Space Station’s (ISS) domination. Then Japan, despite its economic setbacks, continues to develop its lunar mission and is even preparing solar sails.

Still, none of these countries could catch up with the Indian space program’s strong ambition to launch its unmanned mission to Mars, and now, Mangalyaan, as the satellite is named, has been successfully launched today.

We all admit, comparing India to either China or Japan, still the latter do have more sophistication, given that both countries have repeatedly launched manned missions to outer space and preceded the former in lunar exploration, but such eminence doesn’t necessarily imply India’s space program is inferior, though. Its Chandrayaan mission, the lunar-trotting space probe, has discovered an abundance of water and minerals on the Moon, a pride neither of the two nations has embarked on.

If India’s latest mission could bring home pictures of Mars’ scenery (the nation will still have to wait for 10 months before the sojourner lands on the Red Planet), its space-exploration pride would be similar to that of United States, Russia, and Europe, and such measure would pose a new challenge on either China’s or Japan’s space program, or even endorse a more bold ambition among many of the new, emerging-market countries’ space-probe attempts to transpierce the dreams of their predecessors in the future.

 

Read the articles on BBC World News and CNN.

And watch the live video on Sky News.