What’s Up World? #14

Published on MTV’s international pro-social website MTV Voices on 24.01.13

What’s Up World?
Between the cracks of the world’s news headlines


Is your couch making you fat?

If you need more motivation to get off your lovely butt and go for a run, here it is:

New studies are showing that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (that is, chemicals that mimic hormones and therefore confuse the body) are linked to obesity. The bad news is that these chemicals are found in a scary amount of everyday items, such as machine receipts, shampoos, plastics, canned food, jet fuel, pesticides and yes, foam cushions and couches. And that’s not all – for links between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the malformation of sex organs click here!

I know right? *Gets off couch, puts on trainers*

You can’t stop the music

While press around the world are talking about the violence and destruction across northern Mali at the hands of Islamist rebels, a musical uprising is bubbling beneath the surface.

Although music has been banned from the country’s north (including ringtones!) and hundreds of musicians have fled to Bamako, the country’s capital in the south, Malian star Fatoumata Diawara has formed a super-group staring the who’s who of Malian musical royalty to record a track, Mali-Ko, defiantly calling for peace.

In another show of solidarity, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, Glastonbury Festival, has announced the first act of its 2013 lineup as Rokia Traoré, who will bring the traditional sounds of north-western Mali to the hallowed Pyramid Stage.

With Mali’s rich musical heritage there’s many a protest song still to be sung, no doubt.

Gingerism is a thing

The bullying of people with ginger hair has become a hot topic in the UK, some calling it prejudice, others a hate crime.

This interesting/disturbing blog post on the New Statesman discusses some serious cases of physical violence, cyber-bullying and name-calling against people with red hair, likening them to ethnic and religious minority groups. It suggests that schools and the law should take anti-ginger prejudice as seriously as racism, homophobia or disability prejudice, and has generated some interesting discussion in comments section below the blog.

But according to this response piece on the Guardian website, while anti-ginger bullying is harmful, it shouldn’t be likened to other systems of oppression.

What do you think? Have you ever been on the receiving end of anti-ginger bullying? Is it as serious as racism or just a harmless joke?

Passwords are so 2012

This may mean the end of that list of passwords containing at least one capital letter, one lowercase letter, one special character and one numeric character swirling around your poor head. Hallelujah.

The team at Google have been throwing around a few ideas about how we might log into websites in the future. They’re thinking about a tiny Yubico cryptographic card, which would act almost like a car key to start up online accounts. Meanwhile, over at Apple there’s apparently talk of fingerprint detection on the next iPhone…

Not only would it mean a couple less things to remember, it would also mean much better protection of our information, personal files and identities online, which can only be a good thing, right?

Something brewing in your part of the world? We want to know about it. Tweet @its_alicia or @mtvvoices using the hashtag #WhatsUpWorld