September 15, 2013

becoming a regular

i went to taksim on friday, to visit my old workplace, after 10 months. i met some new employees of theirs (that im familiar with via email of course), heard about some changes....  i still do stuff for them on hourly basis so it was important to be updated on things that i hadnt been told otherwise.

after that i enjoyed a dinner with Carilyn and G├╝rkan at Viktor Levi. besides nice food they have this house wine which is actually good and cheap. and if you dont finish your bottle you can take it with you. on thursday i happened to be in the same restaurant as Jenney talked me into going, there was Istanbul Instructors Network quarterly (?) talk, and a representative from IELTS talking about the IELTS exam. actually it was super interesting! since my iranian student was training for her PET exam i got kind of more involved with the world of english testing. and then, finally on saturday there was the annual  FWOI lunch (foreign women of Istanbul, a FB group)...at Viktor Levi. when i arrived the waiters giggled and when i left they said "see you tomorrow"...  but today i stayed away! the lunch thingy was nice, around 30 of us and i only knew a couple beforehand. i made some new contacts.  


my new favorite food, sarma beyti kebab.  meat rolled in a thin flat bread topped with pistachio and yogurt. i often order this for lunch.
sarma beyti kebab

gourmet popcorn. never tried but i always look at the place suspiciously.
gourmet popcorn

the post office on friday. 


i have enjoyed some books by Richard Dawkins, smart man no doubt, kind of on my wow-list in fact. but i, too, found the controversial comment on nobel prizes and muslims a bit off. just cos it immediately sounds to me as its not that simple and that it actually doesnt make so much sense.  maybe it was just for discussion and clicks, i dunno, but we took the bait nevertheless. an article in Salon has put more thought into it than me; Richard Dawkins steps in it again. it might not be the best article on this, but it puts some of my vague ideas into words, although goes further and i am not completely in agreement about all the "oppression" and that...  but i dont have an interest to prove Dawkins wrong, my only thought is that the subject is not as black and white. i think conservative/strict muslims are not science oriented (because they are taught that way, of course they have the potential if theyd loosen the collar around the neck...), while they might think they are. but secular muslims are i think similar to westerners, they dont show in the statistics for other reasons. i believe the biggest reasons, if simplified, are nobel being a "western thing" by large, and socioeconomic & cultural reasons - (ie. african muslim countries are more less poor, middle east is a bit separated from the west and the schools that produce most nobel prize winners are not usually accessible to potential bright minds). if prizes like these were handed some - i dunno - 1000 years ago i think the US and europe (or the countries in those areas at the time) would not have snatched many. i guess thats the middle ages Dawkins referred to in a later tweet. but i dont think the shift is just thanks to islam. also, the Salon article goes kinda far in saying that when u dont invest good stuff u also dont invent bad stuff (like atomic bombs), which i find insignificant and a poor argument, but i think it is worth asking what does nobel prize really measure? absolute greatness in the world? if Dawkins suggests it measures intelligence of some sort, as an atheist i wonder how he'd explain the amount of jewish nobel winners. we are all inferior to them, i guess. interesting side note, when it comes to PISA, Israel does very poorly. i do think money (upbringing) & where you live are related to nobel prizes. i mean, i believe there is a correlation. (edit: later checked, there indeed is this correlation). and when your country does have money, is winning science nobel's an absolute sign of...awesomeness? it looks to me like some oil countries have just focused their efforts into other things.

anyway, as i said, i dont disagree "100%", but i also dont agree completely. instead of "10:1" i think its more like "10:5) why dont the christian africans have more nobels? and swedes have disproportionately many, or are they just THAT smart? :D also women dont have too many nobels, we could blame that on our own patriarchal culture and the lack of support for women pursuing science, i guess much like islam could devalue scientific pursues altogether.

i AM concerned with the turkish education system, they are (thanks to AKP and other like minded people, i guess) pushing more religion again and i do believe this takes away from the "IQ" of the people and their potential in the long run. this will definitely affect the country in a harmful way, just like promoting women to have more children and staying home does.

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