What caught my attention – week of 21 October 2019

Greetings from Singapore, where I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks.

1. Home schooling in China… More Chinese are home schooling their kids (The Economist)

Home schooling remains highly controversial. In 2017, for the first time, the education ministry openly attacked the practice, calling it “very unfavourable to a child’s lifelong development”. It reminded parents that home schooling without authorisation was banned. In March the ministry threatened parents with unspecified “legal action” if they failed to comply.

There are several reasons why parents risk it. In Mr Wang’s surveys, by far the commonest is dislike of the “ideology” and “teaching methods” of state schools (Mr Yuan stresses independent thinking and open debate). Another is contempt for “school culture”, such as the adulation of pupils who swot day and night. A few prefer home education for religious reasons. China’s schools promote atheism.

2. Forest from the trees… How to make use of all of a tree (The Economist)
In Finland’s vast forest lives a monster with a voracious appetite. Once, it would have been called a pulp mill. But after a recent makeover costing €1.2bn ($1.3bn) it is now known as a bioproducts mill—and as such is one of the biggest in the world. This sprawling plant, near Äänekoski, a town in the centre of the country, consumes 6.5m cubic metres of wood a year. That translates into the delivery of a large lorryload of felled tree trunks every six minutes, day and night, together with yet further logs arriving on 70 railway wagons a day. Apart from a brief break for maintenance once a year, the mill never stops working. On the face of things, such rapacious industrialisation of the Finnish forest, which covers three-quarters of the country’s landscape, looks the antithesis of tree-hugging environmentalism. The forest is home to wolves, bears, deer and many other species of wildlife, and its trees lock away carbon that would otherwise be in the air, warming the atmosphere. Yet Metsä Group, which operates the Äänekoski mill, claims the very opposite.
3. Quantum teleportation… Quantum Teleportation on the Nanoscale Using a Chemical Reaction (SciTech Daily/Nature)
Link to full paper: Photodriven quantum teleportation of an electron spin state in a covalent donor–acceptor–radical system (Nature)

4. CAR (Chocolate-at-Risk)… As Cocoa Harvest Begins, Risks Emerge From Major Producing Countries (Gro Intelligence)
The new cocoa bean harvest kicks off in West Africa this month, and Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, is poised for another strong crop. In addition, global supply and demand for cocoa are decently balanced. Nevertheless, new government policies and emerging disease pressures in major producing countries present uncertainties that could boost the price cocoa buyers are forced to pay for beans.
5. New crop of business school case studies… Fortnite Creator Epic Games Is Now a Harvard B-School Case Study (Bloomberg)
Epic Games Inc., the closely held video-game company behind the global hit Fortnite, will now be studied at Harvard Business School. The university published one of its famous case studies last week on the company, which was founded in 1991 by computer programmer Tim Sweeney. The case study focuses less on Fortnite, which took in an estimated $2.4 billion last year, and more on the company’s introduction in December of the Epic Games Store, an online video-game retailer. That business challenges Steam, a division of closely held Valve Corp., with an online marketplace that promises game developers a greater share of revenue.
+1 Book I’m reading this week: David R. Hawkins – Letting Go
Letting Go describes a simple and effective means by which to let go of the obstacles to Enlightenment and become free of negativity. During the many decades of the author’s clinical psychiatric practice, the primary aim was to seek the most effective ways to relieve human suffering in all of its many forms. The inner mechanism of surrender was found to be of great practical benefit and is described in this book. Dr. Hawkins’s previous books focused on advanced states of awareness and Enlightenment. Over the years, thousands of students had asked for a practical technique by which to remove the inner blocks to happiness, love, joy, success, health, and, ultimately, Enlightenment. This book provides a mechanism for letting go of those blocks.

David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Institute for Spiritual Research, Inc., and Founder of the Path of Devotional Nonduality. He is renowned as a pioneering researcher in the field of consciousness, as well as author, lecturer, clinician, physician, and scientist. He has served as an advisor to Catholic, Protestant, and Buddhist monasteries; appeared on major network television and radio programs; and lectured widely at such places as Westminster Abbey, the Oxford Forum, the University of Notre Dame, and Harvard University. People from all walks of life and nationalities honor Dr. Hawkins as a teacher of advanced awareness, exemplified in the title “Foremost Teacher of the Way to Enlightenment.” His life is devoted to the upliftment of mankind.