Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gross National Happiness in Bhutan - how do you do it?

A Grossly Happy Baby we met in Bumthang
One of my main research priorities in Bhutan has been to understand how Gross National Happiness is integrated into policy development.  As you scratch the surface, many of the major proponents of GNH in Bhutan clearly state that it is still an "aspirational" goal - not quite achieved yet. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Delhi" Belly hits Com Game Swimmers - betting on Norovirus

Commonwealth Games reports are dominated by accounts of "Delhi" Belly among swimmers today.  My bet is that norovirus is the culprit - a highly infectious gastrointestinal bug that is easily spread from person to person.  Fingers are pointing at the swimming pool but it could be clustered among swimmers due to social contact or sharing the same facilities.  Norovirus is killed by chlorine but maybe not quickly enough if there is massive contamination of the pool and swimmers are swallowing the water immediately after the water is contaminated.   From the media reports it appears that some have been swimming in the pool within days of experiencing gastro when they could still be shedding virus - even though they have no symptoms. Additionally, there are reports of swimmers having to leave the pool due to illness - suggesting they may be actively contaminating the pool.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Restoring WISDOM to Universities - Macquarie VC's speech

When was the last time you heard the "W" word at a university - "Wisdom"?  Macquarie University Vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz's annual VCs lecture is very inspiring.  I particularly liked the quote from Confucious regarding the 3 ways of attaining wisdom - Reflection, Imitation (gosh - could this be a throwback to the unpopular concept of virtue ethics absorbed from the virtuous?), and Experience. If the link above is broken you can track down the transcripts and other talks by Professor Schwartz here.

He also highlights the danger of judging morality from the consequences of a decision - in a complex world we can rarely know the longterm consequences of our actions - so better to keep ourselves good in the present.