Category Archives: 21st century

Fucktangular, The Coolest Kid Of New Urban Slang Words of 2018

Be Warned! This List Of New Urban Slang Words of 2018 Includes Sensitive Or Vulgar Language. Fucktangular Is The First Among Equals.

Kids these days! If you’ve exclaimed, or at least remarked that way to a situation, you are probably getting too old – or out of touch. If you have heard kids speak and got nauseated at the apparent vulgarity in their language, then you are part of the many late to the party. An urban culture Luddite who, even this late into 2018, is yet to be acquainted with these new urban slang words.

The ‘informal’ language words that feature here are not modern slang words like TBT or lol; though some have echoed in the streets of Dublin, Miami, Lagos, Doha, Accra – basically every nook and cranny of the world with an internet connection and hooked on social media – for better part of the recent past.

These words do not belong to the aristocracy like this list of New Words released by Oxford English dictionary in January. They are of the street and it’s 2018 and the world is already a global village. Meaning, the next cool urban slang word that goes global, literally and figuratively, has a chance of being birthed in Nairobi as much as Cape Town or New York. With that, there is every chance of local sensitivities being violated. We explore the how and why.

FUCKTANGULAR: THE GENESIS

A tweet, a retweet, crawled up our timeline – @MMI_MMC – and the majesty of the word popped. Fucktangular, is a word that can’t be unseen once seen. It has to be the coolest new urban slang word of 2018.

Screen shot of the Hanne Blank tweet that went viral making fucktangular the slang word of 2018

You probably will love it if you looked up the original tweet. The replies, their content and flow, are gold. It’s also from replies to this tweet that we discovered other new slang words that feature here. Words, we must add, that are of common lexicon, etymology, essence, meaning and verve.

So 2018

It’s not just how fucktangular and these words fill a ”linguistic void” as one online user put it. It’s how they are so 2018. To put it otherwise, life in the eighteenth year of the 21st century has been these words.

Because how else can one term continuing revelations on the confluence of social media giants’ crisis of ethics and modern information warfare? Perhaps a festering fucktangle of denial, delay, deflection, disinformation and malice towards the inviolability of human autonomy?

How best to term the ongoing genome editing arms race at the lowest ebb in years of the relationship between science, technology and society? Talk of designer babies on demand at this point when the ethics of human subject research is more consensual than binding can only result in a clusterfuck.

As Expected, Intelligentsia Leads The Way

These slang words may not have had the privilege of going mainstream – reports place the first use of fucktangular in twenty twelve, maybe September of twenty eighteen – but this has to be the moment it all changes.

One twitter user gloated of their use of the word at a public meet. Another offered that fucktangular rendered the research jargon ‘wicked problems’ obsolete. And just in case you are wondering who got us here to word nirvana, Hanne Blank offers the answers in a followup tweet:

“Just FYI, the student responsible for bringing the word “fucktangular” to my delighted attention has been alerted to its popularity. Said student, being a university student and an adult, has the right to choose whether to publicly identify themself with it. “


Live The 21st Century: More on Life


FUCKULARITY: COMETH THE MOMENT, COMETH THE WORD

The F word in there, hard to ignore isn’t it? We contend the vulgarity is probably the reason for the rise, and rise of these urban slang words. 2018 is an angry moment, especially for those on the left. The right aren’t spared either because, well, the left are angry. The center? True to type, are mad at the anger. It’s hard to tell the egg from the chicken here – precisely the kind of situation that’s a clusterfuck – but this is the moment alright.

screen shot of a tweet explaining the rise of new urban slang words such as fucktangular to the phenomenon of fuckularity

CLUSTERFUCK

Clusterfuck is the grandfather of all slang words that arise from fuckularity. It has been around for half a decade or so. Going by the screen shots below, it is a noun. Therefore, we can have something like a fucktangular clusterfuck.

OTHER GREAT SLANG WORDS

On the reply thread of the viral tweet on fucktangular, Twitter user @dshwa brought to light the first three of these other great slang words of 2018.

Catastrofail

A mash up of the the words “catastrophe” and “fail”.

Accitentional

One of the older slang words on this list that have gained wider use in 2018. @dshwa defines accitentional as: Claiming a lucky occurrence was the plan all along.

Voluntold

@dshwa defines voluntold as: When the boss asks you if you’d be interested in a project / role in way that’s clear that they are actually assigning it to you regardless.

Pandelerium

It’s taken a while for this one to get going. Attributed to right wing comedian and TV show host Jeff Foxworthy. Urban Dictionary has its definition simply as: A combination of “pandemonium” and “delirium”.

Clusterfucktastrophe

Clusterfucktastrophe found its way to urban vernacular at a time in the he 21st century similar to such a moment that has given us fucktangular. A time of anger of global scale.

Towards twenty ten, in the depth of the financial crisis, humanity as it is today battled with ideology. The question then, as now, was: Is capitalism and neoliberlisim the social contracts to end world hunger, poverty, ill health and usher world peace? Then, as now, we asked ourselves: Is going green the solution? How would we bring an end to a senseless war (Iraq then, Syria today)?

Urban Dictionary defines clusterfucktastrrophe as: An unnecessarily complicated calamity resulting from a series of poorly executed decisions or events

Crapzeodial

If crap could assume form and take shape. An adjective, anyone?

Brotocracy

Remember the Putin – MBS bro hug at the G20 summit in Argentina that got everyone talking? Well, that was brotocracy in full flow. The reliable Urban Dictionary defines a brotocracy as: an institution or organization (i.e. schools, business, etc.) that is dominated by bros.

Screeen shot of tweet that uses the Putin-MBS handshake at the G20 conference in Argentina to explain menaing of slang word brotocracy.

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Jay-Z’s $200-million Clothing Battle Could Be Game Changer for Black Lawyers The World Over

MMIMMC has not infrequently gleaned from the hustle of hip hop gods – most recently we deciphered Notorious B.I.G’s hit 10 Crack Commandments for the 21st century entrepreneur – for business advice. Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, net worth $900 million in 2018, has to be the el patrón when it comes to rappers turned entrepreneurs. But as the following article reminds us, staying at the top of the game is a constant battle.

BY  Gbenga Oduntan, University of Kent

Millionaire rapper Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z, has proved yet again why he is larger than life. He is embroiled in a contractual dispute over the US$204m (£159m) sale of his clothing brand to Iconix Brand Group a decade ago.

In a twist that has now thrown the world of arbitration into a frenzy, Jay-Z recently won a temporary decision from a New York court to halt the process on the grounds there aren’t enough black arbitrators to settle it fairly within the terms of the contract. If this argument ultimately carries the day, it will require a severe reorganisation and opening up of the arbitration profession, one of the most cliquish corners of the legal business – and not just in America, but around the world.

Like many business contracts, the original Jay-Z/Iconix deal agreed that any disputes would be settled by a commercial arbitration process. The contract stipulated that the parties would use arbitrators provided by the American Arbitration Association (AAA).

But as part of a dispute over intellectual property rights, Jay-Z’s lawyers are arguing that the arbitration clause is invalid because they could not “identify a single African-American arbitrator on the ‘Large and Complex Cases’ roster” provided by the association. Even when the AAA went through its expanded list of 200 potential arbitrators, it could only identify three African-Americans – one of whom was ineligible to come on board because they work for the law firm representing Iconix.

Jay-Z’s lawyers argued before the New York Supreme Court that white arbitrators exhibit “unconscious bias” towards black defendants; and that the AAA’s lack of racial diversity consequently “deprives litigants of colour of a meaningful opportunity to have their claims heard by a panel of arbitrators reflecting their backgrounds and life experience”. The procedure, they went on, “deprives black litigants … of the equal protection of the laws, equal access to public accommodations, and mislead consumers into believing that they will receive a fair and impartial adjudication”.

The New York Supreme Court’s decision to grant a stay on the back of these arguments is unprecedented and will become legendary within the profession. And unlike traditional courts, where judges are usually only bound to follow decisions within the same jurisdiction, arbitration is essentially one global system. If New York decides that these are the rules, the effects will be felt around the world.


Know The 21st Century: Learn From Icons


THE EXCLUSION PROBLEM

What the case has highlighted is that arbitrators in the US, but also in most Western societies, are disproportionately white, male and aged. The same is true of courts, but more is arguably expected from arbitrators as the field of recruitment is wider – with less emphasis on legal training and professional qualifications.

This situation is hardly surprising given that big law firms are the incubation beds for commercial arbitrators. The chances of being appointed by businesses to settle highly complex matters like Jay-Z’s case increase exponentially if the arbitrator works in the so-called golden circle of law firms, and this is where the shortage begins.

Not what enough lawyers look like.
BCFC

Don’t tell anyone this, but the law firm representing Jay-Z, Quinn Emanuel, itself has a big diversity deficit at partner level, with only three African-American partners listed in a list of almost 300. Even if the firm were allowed to supply black arbitrators to handle Jay-Z’s case itself, it wouldn’t be able to. If black partners are this scarce, you might as well look for black unicorns to fill arbitration panels.

The shortage is just as problematic in complex international arbitrations. In 2013, around a third of the parties to the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration were from Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Since then, just 15% of appointees were from those regions. Meanwhile, appointments of African arbitrators at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and black judges at the World Court are proportionately very low.

There are few renowned non-white arbitrators in international petroleum negotiation – despite the fact that nearly 60% of petroleum is produced outside Europe and North America. There are even fewer developing-world experts in international boundary disputes. Arguably developing countries are constantly shortchanged in international justice as a result.

WHAT TO DO (RATHER, WHAT WOULD JAY-Z DO?)

How do we address this issues? We could throw the burden back on the likes of Jay-Z by saying he should have fought for diversity in arbitrators at the drafting stage of his sales contract. That may well be what the court ultimately does in his case, but what then?

It is generally accepted that contractual specifications about arbitration cannot violate national laws. These would include race discrimination laws, though the limits of this were shown in a relatively recent UK judgement, Jivraj v Hashwani (2011). Here, the contract stipulated that arbitrators had to be respected Muslim members of the Ismaili community. When challenged as racial discrimination, the Supreme Court decided that the relevant UK laws only applied to employees and not to arbitrators because they were not employees.

But if that left the likes of Jay-Z free to push for African-American arbitrators as part of business contracts, there is still the problem of a general dearth of them. If he does ultimately lose his case in New York, it will still have highlighted this gap in the market. Perhaps in future, black dealmakers will insist on any arbitration taking place somewhere with more black arbitrators.

The bottom line is that we need recruitment programmes to encourage black arbitrators now, and to recognise that those in place should be more frequently offered for appointments so that they are experienced enough to handle large complex cases. And to fix the current shortage, we also have to address the diversity issues in the legal profession as a whole.

The Conversation

Too often at present, we’re kidding ourselves. The American Arbitration Association has a programme to mentor diverse young arbitrators, and promises lists of arbitrators of at least 20% diversity, for example. But it is only able to offer this proportion by lumping together all diversity including gender, age and ethnic background – and 20% is hardly a great achievement anyway. If demand for more black representation rises and centres for arbitration like New York and London don’t offer enough people, new rivals may well step up to the plate.

Gbenga Oduntan, Reader (Associate Professor) in International Commercial Law, University of Kent

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Making A New Year Resolution List? Why Blogging Should Be Top In 2019

Blogging can be such a reward. Whether you start your blog or vlog as a hobby or as a side hustle, you’ll soon appreciate that the little joys of the blogging lifestyle can make living in the 21st century a dream. Because a blog is what a dog was to the nineties. A gold fish to the eighties. Or a pet iguana to the seventies. Here’s why blogging should top your New Year resolution list in 2019. 

The best things in life are free. Immense beauty lies in subtlety. Life has a way of hiding from us its sweetest side. You never know that the pleasant surprise, that awww moment, is there until it happens. Like when Max, your terrier, fetches the freebie that first time. Or waking up Saturday morning to feed the fish in the fish tank, only to find extra mouths – little mouths only hours old – coming up for food.

Blogging Is A Fest of AWWW Moments

I still remember that day in April of 1993, barely weeks after we got acquainted, when I taught my puppy, Scooby, its first trick – to lie on its back and shake my hand. Blogging has a way of making such moments become real. It has a way, just like life, to show you what you have been missing.

A particular late hour of a day in 2010, early in my blogging life is still fresh on my mind. That night I had managed to write down my first piece of code. It was a simple design tweak for my blog, Moran in the City, some so many hours after signing on Google’s blogger. But it meant much more beyond the confidence boost that comes with learning something new. At that moment, I knew I had the keys to another world, another existence with different rules.

Blogging is moments unforgettable. Technology moments when you spare a thought to contemplate Virginia Scott’s bestseller “How Google Changed the World”. Blogging is about the possibilities of technology. It unravels the world. Lets you in on the the foresight of Steven Spielberg’s Tom Cruise stared blockbuster “Minority Report” – adapted from Philip K. Dick’s short story, “The Minority Report”.


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Successful Blogging Is The Price You Name

Success blogging is more egalitarian than most other endeavors. The rewards do differ depending on your goal: internet entrepreneur or purist out to teach a philosophy; but they mean the same to each.

If the reason why blogging tops your New Year resolution list is because you are embarking on a quest to share your life passion, there is always a kindred soul somewhere.

Maybe you are embarking on the hustle of making  your voice heard above the online buzz as a social media influencer. It’s never lonely out there. You’ll find humans ready to help you along – scratch your back as you scratch theirs.

If the goal is everyday tech experiences. To contribute – thus commune a mere mortal as yourself with gods like Linus Torvalds – to the lifetime work of 21st century Einsteins, there are plenty of gigs. Jump onto a bandwagon, write code and explain code by blogging away your experience.

Successful Blogging Is The Price You Name

Success blogging is more egalitarian than most other endeavors. The rewards do differ depending on your goal: internet entrepreneur or purist out to teach a philosophy; but they mean the same to each.

If the reason why blogging tops your New Year resolution list is because you are embarking on a quest to share your life passion, there is always a kindred soul somewhere.

Maybe you are embarking on the hustle of making  your voice heard above the online buzz as a social media influencer. It’s never lonely out there. You’ll find humans ready to help you along – scratch your back as you scratch theirs.

If the goal is everyday tech experiences. To contribute – thus commune a mere mortal as yourself with gods like Linus Torvalds – to the lifetime work of 21st century Einsteins, there are plenty of gigs. Jump onto a bandwagon, write code and explain code by blogging away your experience.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


2018 China Space Day Celebrations – Videos, Graphics & Images

Every 24th of April is a special day in the calendar of the nascent yet galloping Chinese knowledge economy. Space day is a day that is dear to Chinese leader XI Jinping as revealed by this quote: “In celebrating Space Day, we are commemorating history, passing on the spirit and galvanizing popular enthusiasm for science, exploration of the unknown and innovation, particularly among young people.” The 2018 China Space Day celebrations, being the third of the kind, lived up to this vision of Xi Jinping. Here is all the day’s action

2018 China Space Day Celebrations As A Tool For Galvanizing Popular Enthusiasm for Science

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] few days after reports emerged of disquiet within the European Union over China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, this video was posted by Chinese state broadcaster, CTGN, as  part of the 2018 China Space Day celebrations.

That China has elaborate plans that linking this terrestrial master plan of its ambitions of crafting a new world order with its forays into space is no secret. Indeed all the achievements that will celebrate here, and all those that we have highlighted before like the Shenzhou-10 all lead here.

Linking bench science/ novel scientific discovery to applications in real life remains the holy grail in 21st century science policy. Popular science as presented in mass media can distort the real benefits of science. Nonetheless, it is an important tool in engaging communities in the process of scientific discovery. Stakeholder engagement remains a key strategy of navigating some of the kinks in the relationship between science, technology and society.


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Passing on The Spirit, To New Generation of Astronauts

During the China’s 15th manned Odyssey – before the Tiangong-1 mishap – astronaut Wang Yaping, who was sent to space aboard Shenzhou-10, delivered a video lecture on June 20, 2013, to more than 60 million students on earth in China. In keeping with this tradition, Chinese astronaut Liu Boming chose to spend 2018 China Space Day celebrations with students from his home town.

2018 China Space Day Is A Commemoration of History & Celebration of Achievements

The timing of the uncontrolled fall to earth and disintegration of the school bus sized Chinese space station , Tiagong-1, shouldn’t take the gloss of what must be seen as an accelerated space program by the world’s second largest economy China.  As this video celebrating the 2018 China Space Day from Asia -Pacific broadcaster, Global Times, reveals it has been a busy year with plenty of successes.

Moreover, these inforgrahics produced by CGTN, provide a concise wrap of the journey so far for China’s space program and by extension, its burgeoning knowledge economy. It reveals the immense progress made by China over the last half a century.

High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) program – A Tool To Fight Climate Change

Also known as the Gaofen program. The concern for skeptics must be the insane capacity of such technology to spy on people and governments. Or its war capabilities through selective armed drone missions. They initiators though list

  • Disaster prevention and relief
  • Climate change monitoring
  • Geographical mapping
  • Environment and resource surveying
  • Precision Agriculture
infographic celebrating the High-resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS) program relased during 2018 China Space Day celebrations

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Ushers in the 4th Industrial Revolution

The BDS has been the one more readily linked with the China Road and Belt Initiative. China aims to be the leading exporter of satellite system to its 21st Century Silk Road trade partners. Skeptics warn that this will make China indispensable in global trade as a provider of key infrastructure. Especially when the constructs of the 4th industrial revolution come into play with the deployment of cyber-physical-systems such as the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

BeiDou Navigation Satelitte System Inforgraphic relased during the 2018 China Space Day celebrations
BDS is expected to compete and integrate with with America’s GPS, Russia’s GLONASS and the European Union’s Galileo. Already a host of Asian and European countries along the 21st century silk road have adopted its use for navigation.

China Manned Space

Two decades of the accelerated China Manned Space program will see China at par with front runners such as Russia, U.S.A and the European Union.

An infographic released during 2018 China Space Day celebrations charting the evolution of China Manned Space (CMS) mission from inception in 2001 to 2014 when Tianhe 1, China's international Space Station will be the only one in space

Chang`e Program – The Lunar Exploration Program

Early April 2018, the Chinese Space Agency revealed plans for a manned scientific research station on the moon. As China Daily reports:

In a video shown at a ceremony in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, on Tuesday to mark China’s Space Day, the China National Space Administration listed the construction and operation of a lunar scientific research station in its development road map for the space sector.

Inforgraphic depicting The Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) three phase moon mission (orbit, land, return with lunar samples) relased during 2018 China Space Day Celebrations

Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Arsene Wenger To Leave Arsenal After 21 Years

In the recent months, it became increasingly likely that Arsene Wenger will call it quits at Arsenal. It wasn’t just the results – the man who had masterminded a 49 game unbeaten streak to win the league unbeaten in 2004 now owned the dubious statistic of Arsenal being the only team in English football not to have won an away game in 2018.

It wasn’t just the fact that Arsenal’s swanky stadium The Emirates Stadium – a cathedral of football that Arsene Wenger is largely credited for enabling the London Club to build by delivering just good enough results and tidy net balances on player sales – had increasingly seen attendances drop as fans kept away. This had been blamed on not just because of the poor results, but also on the perception that the football had become boring.

Neither was it because of Arsene’s gradual loss of power when the club’s hierarchy appointed known names in European football. Arrivals that pundits pointed out nibbled away at some of the tasks that had been Wenger’s domain at the club for the past 21 years and a half.

As questions on his future at press conferences by journalists kept coming.  And Arsenal’s blogsphere exploded with speculation over who the fans desired would succeed Arsene Wenger, it was apparent that it was either an open secret that Wenger’s fate was sealed. Or maybe the critics plan simply succeeded.


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Still, many believed that the Frenchman had a chance at seeing out his contract had he won the Europa League – whose semifinal first leg comes this Thursday against Spanish giants Athletico Madrid; only for Arsene Wenger to drop this bombshell, on Friday.

Statement By Arsene Wenger Announcing That He Will Be Leaving Arsenal At The End Of The Season

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.
 
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.
 
“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.
 
“I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.
 
“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high.
 
“To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.
 
“My love and support for ever.”

– Arsene Wenger

Arsenal Majority Owner Stan Kreonke Pays Tribute To Arsene Wenger

“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.

“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.

“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.

“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”

Arsene Wenger’s Next Move

A sabbatical is probably the first thing on his mind. Then China, maybe, to lend his expertise to the grand Chinese football project? Elite coaches like Luis Fellipe Scolari, Sven Errickson and Or the gulf states that are in the nascent stages of building the sport – Xavi is there. Maybe higher up in an exciting project like at PSG?


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Stephen Hawking: Martin Rees looks back on colleague’s spectacular success against all odds

Soon after I enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1964, I encountered a fellow student, two years ahead of me in his studies, who was unsteady on his feet and spoke with great difficulty. This was Stephen Hawking. He had recently been diagnosed with a degenerative disease, and it was thought that he might not survive long enough even to finish his PhD. But he lived to the age of 76, passing away on March 14, 2018.

Stephen Hawking
Lwp Kommunikáció/Flickr, CC BY-SA

It really was astonishing. Astronomers are used to large numbers. But few numbers could be as large as the odds I’d have given against witnessing this lifetime of achievement back then. Even mere survival would have been a medical marvel, but of course he didn’t just survive. He became one of the most famous scientists in the world – acclaimed as a world-leading researcher in mathematical physics, for his best-selling books and for his astonishing triumph over adversity.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hawking was rather laid back as an undergraduate student at Oxford University. Yet his brilliance earned him a first class degree in physics, and he went on to pursue a research career at the University of Cambridge. Within a few years of the onset of his disease, he was wheelchair-bound, and his speech was an indistinct croak that could only be interpreted by those who knew him. In other respects, fortune had favoured him. He married a family friend, Jane Wilde, who provided a supportive home life for him and their three children.

Early Work of Stephen Hawking

The 1960s were an exciting period in astronomy and cosmology. This was the decade when evidence began to emerge for black holes and the Big Bang. In Cambridge, Hawking focused on the new mathematical concepts being developed by the mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, then at University College London, which were initiating a renaissance in the study of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Using these techniques, Hawking worked out that the universe must have emerged from a “singularity” – a point in which all laws of physics break down. He also realised that the area of a black hole’s event horizon – a point from which nothing can escape – could never decrease. In the subsequent decades, the observational support for these ideas has strengthened – most spectacularly with the 2016 announcement of the detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes.

Stephen Hawking
Hawking at the University of Cambridge. Lwp Kommunikáció/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Hawking was elected to the Royal Society, Britain’s main scientific academy, at the exceptionally early age of 32. He was by then so frail that most of us suspected that he could scale no further heights. But, for Hawking, this was still just the beginning.

He worked in the same building as I did. I would often push his wheelchair into his office, and he would ask me to open an abstruse book on quantum theory – the science of atoms, not a subject that had hitherto much interested him. He would sit hunched motionless for hours – he couldn’t even to turn the pages without help. I remember wondering what was going through his mind, and if his powers were failing. But within a year, he came up with his best ever idea – encapsulated in an equation that he said he wanted on his memorial stone.


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Scientific Stardom

The great advances in science generally involve discovering a link between phenomena that seemed hitherto conceptually unconnected. Hawking’s “eureka moment” revealed a profound and unexpected link between gravity and quantum theory: he predicted that black holes would not be completely black, but would radiate energy in a characteristic way.

This radiation is only significant for black holes that are much less massive than stars – and none of these have been found. However, “Hawking radiation” had very deep implications for mathematical physics – indeed one of the main achievements of a theoretical framework for particle physics called string theory has been to corroborate his idea.

Indeed, the string theorist Andrew Strominger from Harvard University (with whom Hawking recently collaborated) said that this paper had caused “more sleepless nights among theoretical physicists than any paper in history”. The key issue is whether information that is seemingly lost when objects fall into a black hole is in principle recoverable from the radiation when it evaporates. If it is not, this violates a deeply believed principle of general physics. Hawking initially thought such information was lost, but later changed his mind.

Hawking continued to seek new links between the very large (the cosmos) and the very small (atoms and quantum theory) and to gain deeper insights into the very beginning of our universe – addressing questions like “was our big bang the only one?”. He had a remarkable ability to figure things out in his head. But he also worked with students and colleagues who would write formulas on a blackboard – he would stare at it, say whether he agreed and perhaps suggest what should come next.

He was specially influential in his contributions to “cosmic inflation” – a theory that many believe describes the ultra-early phases of our expanding universe. A key issue is to understand the primordial seeds which eventually develop into galaxies. Hawking proposed (as, independently, did the Russian theorist Viatcheslav Mukhanov) that these were “quantum fluctuations” (temporary changes in the amount of energy in a point in space) – somewhat analogous to those involved in “Hawking radiation” from black holes.

He also made further steps towards linking the two great theories of 20th century physics: the quantum theory of the microworld and Einstein’s theory of gravity and space-time.

Declining Health and Cult Status

In 1987, Hawking contracted pneumonia. He had to undergo a tracheotomy, which removed even the limited powers of speech he then possessed. It had been more than ten years since he could write, or even use a keyboard. Without speech, the only way he could communicate was by directing his eye towards one of the letters of the alphabet on a big board in front of him.

But he was saved by technology. He still had the use of one hand; and a computer, controlled by a single lever, allowed him to spell out sentences. These were then declaimed by a speech synthesiser, with the androidal American accent that thereafter became his trademark.

His lectures were, of course, pre-prepared, but conversation remained a struggle. Each word involved several presses of the lever, so even a sentence took several minutes to construct. He learnt to economise with words. His comments were aphoristic or oracular, but often infused with wit. In his later years, he became too weak to control this machine effectively, even via facial muscles or eye movements, and his communication – to his immense frustration – became even slower.

Stephen Hawking
Hawking in zero gravity. Image| NASA

At the time of his tracheotomy operation, he had a rough draft of a book, which he’d hoped would describe his ideas to a wide readership and earn something for his two eldest children, who were then of college age. On his recovery from pneumonia, he resumed work with the help of an editor. When the US edition of A Brief History of Time appeared, the printers made some errors (a picture was upside down), and the publishers tried to recall the stock. To their amazement, all copies had already been sold. This was the first inkling that the book was destined for runaway success, reaching millions of people worldwide.

And he quickly became somewhat of a cult figure, featuring on popular TV shows ranging from the Simpsons to The Big Bang Theory. This was probably because the concept of an imprisoned mind roaming the cosmos plainly grabbed people’s imagination. If he had achieved equal distinction in, say, genetics rather than cosmology, his triumph probably wouldn’t have achieved the same resonance with a worldwide public.

As shown in the feature film The Theory of Everything, which tells the human story behind his struggle, Hawking was far from being the archetype unworldy or nerdish scientist. His personality remained amazingly unwarped by his frustrations and handicaps. He had robust common sense, and was ready to express forceful political opinions.

However, a downside of his iconic status was that that his comments attracted exaggerated attention even on topics where he had no special expertise – for instance, philosophy, or the dangers from aliens or from intelligent machines. And he was sometimes involved in media events where his “script” was written by the promoters of causes about which he may have been ambivalent.

Ultimately, Hawking’s life was shaped by the tragedy that struck him when he was only 22. He himself said that everything that happened since then was a bonus. And what a triumph his life has been. His name will live in the annals of science and millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books. He has also inspired millions by a unique example of achievement against all the odds – a manifestation of amazing willpower and determination.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martin Rees, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, University of CambridgeThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Lucas Di Grassi it is ! FIA Formula E Champion: Pictures & Videos

In the end, the chaos of the Sebastien Buemi show at the 2017 Montreal ePrix couldn’t match the steady, cold finish of Lucas Di Grassi. The rain started to beat Buemi in round 9 and 10 when a no-show in the New York City ePrix allowed Di Grassi to get marginal gains on the defending champion.

To be honest, a return of 22 points over two races is lukewarm. But what it did, was to ensure that the first man to ever win a Formula E ePrix , Lucas Di Grassi had a shout. A shout at the 2016/2017 , Season 3, FIA Formula E Championship.

We are the champions!

Formula E serves up yet another lesson for science, technology and society

If there is one thing for kids to learn form this exciting finale of season 3 of electric street racing is this: In a world where pop culture prevails, steady and sure is still a strategy that can deliver victory. Coming form a world where speed is king, we couldn’t emphasis more. Besides, as by Lucas Di Grassi and team  handling of the last two electric street races, long termism isn’t such a bad idea after all.

This is a world view that the scientific fraternity can adopt as one of the host of tools in their arsenal. As an additional strategy whilst engaging societal representatives in negotiation for  a new social contract that will be responsive to the needs of the 21st century.


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Moreover, while the man of the moment, the weekend actually, is Lucas Di Grassi, the design employed in distributing rewards in Formula E ensures there are other winners too. The Championship winner holds no monopoly over sucess. Following in the foot steps of Formula 1(most sports actually) Formula E, at least for the moment, isn’t a zero sum game.

In football for instance, individual titles remain less celebrated compared to team titles. In Formula E, this is evidenced by the more egalitarian reward system: From #eRace to #Fanboost, the championship and the team prizes.  As we shall see later, other actors aside from Lucas Di Grassi, 2017 FIA Formula E World Champion had a lot to celebrate too!

On the day that Lucas Di Grassi won the FIA Formula E championship' Nicolas Prost (FRA) , Renault e.Dams, was the fatstest and he got a trophy for that too
2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Round 12 – Montreal ePrix, Canada Sunday 30 July 2017. Alejandr Agag presents the Visa Fastest Lap trophy to Nicolas Prost (FRA), Renault e.Dams, Spark-Renault, Renault Z.E 16. Photo: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image MALC7751

TECHEETAH  Won on the day

On the day that Lucas Di Grassi became world champion, Jean – Eric Vergne (FRA), TECHEETAH,  pronounced (Ta-Chi-Ta), won round 12 of the 2016/2017 FIA Formula E championships.

Lucas Di Grassi couldn't match Jean- Eric Vergne of TECHEETAH seen celebratin here
2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Round 12 – Montreal ePrix, Canada Sunday 30 July 2017. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Techeetah, Spark-Renault, Renault Z.E 16, celebrates on the podium. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _FER6466

RENAULT e.dams ( Not Lucas Di Grassi Team) Celebrate their third consecutive Formula E team championship

Seb Demonstrates Sportsmanship

For a man with such a competitive streak, it would be in order to expect him to be a self centered prick. Especially after treating us to some reality show- esque drama at the end of Round 11. While he’s responsible for the gravitas that turned luck on him, his team handicapped him. Despite the team’s best efforts, the rebuilt car was 4kgs underweight. This lead to Seb being disqualified in Round 11 of the 2017 Montreal ePrix.

For all the work he had put in to rope in Lucas Di Grassi. Charging through the field from 12th to 4th was adjudged unfair. The race stewards found the difference of 4 kg too great to ignore. Even in the special circumstances that saw Renault e.dams rebuild Seb’s car in just five hours after the huge crash in practice two.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Obamas in pictures: Started From the bottom now we here!

I know they aren’t -because they are too classy for that- but it seems like the Obamas are mocking Donald Trump. This is one of those situations where on meeting an ex, the lump in your throat refuses to go down. Try as you may. Including reminding yourself that you are the one that called off the relationship. But still, your stupidity continues to choke you. And there you are, regretting where your want of  “bad b*thches” got you.


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The Obamas in early retirement : A lesson to African leaders on life after office and  to young leaders the value of ‘ putting in the work’ and believing in their dreams

The African in me wondered what the first Kenyan- American would fill his time with what to many of us was essentially an early retirement. As you may know, term limits aren’t exactly African. For good reason too. In our African communitarain ethics, age begets wisdom and therefore leadership. The bad behavior of our African leaders notwithstanding.

The Obamas in retirement: Obama and Trudeau at the Chili Liverpool House Restuarant in Montreal, Canada
Obama and Trudeau: Obama meets the Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau after the former President gave a talk in Montreal on climate change. Context is important here. As promised during his campaign for President, Donald Trump had just withdrawn America from the Paris Agreement. A move that observers termed as costly to American leadership of the free world.  Courtesy: The Obama Foundation/ Twitter

Though Obama’s hair had turned grey by the time he left office, compare with the pictures shared by the official twitter handle of The Obama Foundation, by our standards, Obama is still a young a man. If he were African, trust me, he would be serving a third term. Looking at early days of Trumpisim, this African solution – constitutional amendment to suit an individual – might actually be the lesser evil here.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


Egyptian goalkeeper El Hadary with a 21st century first at the 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations

Surely, it must be the football gods! Egypt No. 1 in the 2017 edition of Total Africa Cup of nations, El Shanawy, makes the save of the tournament: A majestic leap to his left that denies Mali the goal that if it were to have been converted, would have upset an exciting, tactically delicately poised match. In doing so, he is also to deny himself his audition before the African continent. Just like abou Trika and Essam El Hadary before him.

Stat Attack

El Hadary Oldest Player Ever

Congratulations El-Hadary! A true professional. To many more Essam! You inspire us. You uplift us! A 21st century first.

El Shanawy being a losing finalist with Egyptian giant Zamalek in 2017 the CAF champions league, we were all just settling into this version of Egyptian football legend. A script that starts off with a dress rehearsal in the CAF champions league, setting the continent alight with majestic displays in club football,  before conquering the continent with performance after performance in the African cup of nations for what seems to be eons.

For all the talk of a north-south sahel divide in African football, we fans of African football, take immense pride in that Egyptian thing. We love it when homegrown talent exhibits such levels of excellence. It is a validation of the Africa rising narrative. It reassures us that our dreams are valid. That we can, live and die in Africa . More, it lets us dream that African football greats like Essam El Hadary aren’t one offs. That it can happen all over again before our very eyes!

It would have been so were it not for the injury to El Shanawy following that delectable save. Essam El Hadary, winner of four African titles, Africa’s answer to Gianlugi Buffon, warming the Egyptian bench would have been just but a symbol of sentimentality (Because how often to goalkeepers get injured anyway? ). But the gods were not done.

So aged forty four years and two days, circa twenty five minutes into the game, Essam El Hadary became Africa’s oldest international. Africa’s oldest ever man it feature in it’s premier football tournament.

Social media reacts to this rare, history one off feat.


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African


The 21st Century Waits For No Man! 8 Effortless Ways To Beat Monday Blues

Imelda beat Monday blues. Be like Imelda! For no apparent reason I’ve christened her Imelda. The lady in the picture. Imelda reminds us that indeed, all sunrises are beautiful.

A woman's sillhoute in the ocean at sunrise: The perfect antonym of Monday Blues
She’s powerful too. As she flips up her hair daring, disturbing the sea. Ready she is .Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

But it is not always that we will feel energized for the day as she is. See how the soft sun rays delicately kiss her silhouette? After a nights rest and with the promise of the day, mornings are supposed to feel that way. That refreshing. That inviting, ushering us into the day. Chances are that we don’t always feel refreshed and rearing to go as Imelda. Especially on Mondays, sometimes on any other day. We all know of the subtle dread; that defeated feeling: The drain of Monday blues.

Mornings symbolize a new beginning, rebirth and renewal in many world cultures. Take the Swahili proverb “Siku njema huonekana asubuhi”: a good day is recognized by its morning. it loosely translates.

Yet, to many, mornings are the darkest hours of the day. Wore, all working mornings feel like a Monday. From music to food, we present eight effortless ways that won’t cost you a dime, yet make you feel like money as you set off for your 21st century hustle.

1. Super Foods That Beat Monday Blues

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day yet for many, a cup of coffee on the go suffices. Nutrition experts advice that for optimal body weight, the individual should acquire a huge proportion of their daily ( 2500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women) energy requirements at the start of the day.

A hearty breakfast helps kick Monday Blues

Breakfast like a king, lunch as a prince and dinner as a pauper is a good personal nutrition philosophy if you want to avoid being the newest recruit in the weight loss battle

Have you heard of the James Bond breakfast that is heavy on proteins which when broken down into their building blocks are key to the production of ‘feel good’ hormones like dopamine (You know that refreshing feeling of setting up goals and perusing them? Like on New Year’s eve with the resolutions? It’s dopamine that does that ).

Need a serotonin fix? Don’t do drugs. Or Social Media. Do legumes

Like chickpeas. Metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan found in this healthy choice of protein intake boosts serotonin in similar ways to Ecstasy. The drug.

My All-time Breakfast?

The James Bond breakfast  is just of one of the many filling breakfast choices that you ought to give a try for that energy boost needed to beat Monday blues.


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2. Script Your Morning

Take an extra 20 minutes at the end of the day when you troop back from your money-making and life changing adventures, to set out the day ahead of you.

To beat Monday blues, prior planning is critical
Diary, clip and pen

A quick look at your diary, the weather forecast, day events that may disrupt your schedule, important family and friends days that you need to remember for any chance at the elusive work-life balance, In the 21st Century, this couldn’t be easier with so many i-phone and Android apps being churned out by the minute for the host of mobile devices that we carry around.

To complete this ritual, it shouldn’t take you so long to pick an outfit for that important business meeting you have tomorrow; collect the keys, wallet, watch and jewellery all in one spot so that you don’t scuttle around looking for the car keys. We all know how lost keys can be the perfect storm in a tea-cup and defeat our goal here of beating Monday blues.

3.Morning ‘Me’ Time

Me time doesn’t have to be deferred for the weekend at the spa. Why not start of your day with a bit of me time?

Essential oils can spruce up your mornings and kick out Monday Blues
Essential oils

Surely, creating some 45 minutes of your 24 hour day to tend and revitalize body, soul and mind to recharge your batteries so to say, shouldn’t be much of an ask. Pamper thee first before the wear and tear.  What works for me as my morning me time, consists of leisurely perusing morning dailies, as I sit on the balcony watch the day break and the world arise.

If a long leisurely bath with a chapter of a gripping book is the thing to lift up your spirits and calm the mind, why not before the long tormenting day ahead ? Your morning me time could also be the time to tend to a hobby like writing. Or even photography by capturing the first looks of the new day. Heck, you could utilize the time in learning a new dance. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve essential oils or a masseuse.

Whilst the temptation to sleep in is real, we all know by now that more sleep does nothing to beat Monday Blues. What it does instead is to make you late.

4. Nourish Your Spirit:

Why not give yoga a try Or practice meditation through martial arts ?Why not start your day with a prayer?

A man kneels on a football pitch spectator bench and prays . Prayer can help beat Monday Blues
Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. — Mahatma Gandhi —

My Californian and recently Colorado friends swear by some herbal green to ease into the day. Whatever calms your soul, spiritual nourishment at the start of the day may help in keeping the endless hustles of life in the 21st century at bay.

When you have it together inside, you to get closer to achieving your life goals irrespective of what might be going on in your personal life. That ongoing divorce proceeding should not also get you fired. As you might have already realized, what’s important is the start. Get it together in the morning, get into the flow and zombie through out the day.

Think of a high performing drug addict. That’s the philosophy here. But this is not to say you shouldn’t seek help.

5. Quick Morning Work Out

For couples, squeezing in a morning work out shouldn’t be much of a problem as other matters (not fit for TV) have long be known to burn a few calories and lift the spirits.

A Couple exercise together by jogging on the beach.
Couple exercising together: They had each other and sand on their feet. What more could they ask for?

Well, it said that a healthy bedroom leads to a healthy home, happy people and happy families. Who are we to disagree?

Nonetheless, for most 21st century folks, a good old jog or walk does it for many. So does aerobics, roller skating and even a full morning gym workout. Another great option that works for my family is a short game of badminton with at the start of the day. Badminton is a lazy sport so to say. Besides, not only is it fun, it provides a gentle whole body workout while availing much-needed family time.

6. A Dose of Morning Music 

Music heals, uplifts, encourages, inspires, motivates and soothes. Play-list blasting through your wireless earphones? Mozart in symphony from your classical music collection wafting through the room?  Or traditional far east music gently strumming your heart-strings?

What about music?
Nothing like groovy rhythm and blues to gently usher in the day. Image: Austin Neil

It doesn’t matter really. Your style. A personal favorite from my days at the university continues to be Kanye West’s Good Morning. My morning playlist starts with Kanye has some Jay Z, some Linkin Park too and Mozart. Sometimes a funny YouTube video picked at random is what it takes to beat the Monday blues. A recent addition to this morning routine has been this beauty of a song- Happy by Pharrell.

In need of some attitude? Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne are easy picks for many. Some early morning energy? Ironically, Black-eyed-peas ‘I’ve got a feeling’  (tonight’s gonna be a good night)’ is one of the most popular morning songs. Of course, the choice is as varied as music genres go.

7. Call a loved one Let Their Delight ebb away Monday Blues

This is what I do ever so often. It unfailingly lifts my spirit  every time beating the Monday blues.

A phone call to loved ones could be all that's needed to beat Monday blues
In a day, like today
I got out of bed, upped and went my way
Tryin’ to find some peace within
But here ain’t no rest for a weary man
Everything seemed to get me down
Looking everywhere just to find a smile
Then the phone rings and an angel sings
“Hello (Hello)”
[chorus]
And it’s funny you should call today
It’s been too long, thought you just moved on
And it’s funny you should call today
You always found a way to make my day
—Gerald Levert in Funny—
Image: James Sutton

At random, I scroll the contacts of my mobile phone, pick any of my friends/ family and loved ones and call them just to wish them a great day. The cheer that such a pleasant surprise brings to the morning to the recipient of the call is an infectious one, in spite of the distance involved.

8. A healthy dose of Optimism and Skepticism Beats Any Case Of Monday Blues

Optimism speaks well for itself. As far as skepticism goes, go ahead. Start with this article.

Bookmark This One and Have a Great Day!


Know. Own. Be. Live the African Century. Everyday Tips on Life, Style, Entrepreneurship and Careers for the 21st Century African