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The World Should Not Tolerate Modern-Day Slavery in Qatar
Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, is constructing event infrastructure with what basically amounts to modern-day slave labor. Where is the outrage?
We've still got seven years to go until the 2022 World Cup and it's already an unmitigated disaster. Allegations of corruption and bribery haven't stopped FIFA chief Sepp Blatter (who is something of a James Bond villain masquerading as a sports executive) from doubling-down on the organization's questionable (and probably corrupt) decision to award the sporting event to the tiny, oil-rich Arab nation.
[EDIT - 6/1/2015: Blatter and his cronies have since been given their comeuppance, though World Cup 2022 plans remain solid.]
The tournament has since been moved to winter due to insane outdoor temperatures during the Qatari summer, a move that places the World Cup smack in the middle of most club league seasons.
Soccer fans who might travel to Qatar are, as of now, offered no guarantee that the human rights they enjoy elsewhere will be protected in a country where, for example, homosexuality is illegal.
FIFA has covered up a report that likely points to ethical lapses that allowed Qatar to win the 2022 bid and for Russia to secure the 2018 event.
You can click any of the above links and spend hours poring over the tangled web of corruption that FIFA has spun. It's hard to make NFL commissioner Roger Goodell look like a saint in comparison, but that's exactly what Blatter and company have done.
Still, in this day and age, corruption is to be expected from powerful sports executives, writes the foul-mouthed yet wisdom-spitting Drew Magary of Deadspin. That said, all the corruption mentioned above doesn't begin to touch the surface of FIFA's greatest affront to basic human dignity:
"Qatar's World Cup infrastructure is being built using Moses-era slavery practices. ... Thanks to FIFA's open fondness for bribery, 4,000 migrant workers are expected to die in service of a shortened World Cup that has been moved right into the heart of the professional soccer universe's regular season schedule. It will be terrible in every conceivable way."
Magary writes that, as a sports fan, he's open to suspending certain ethical apprehensions for personal enjoyment. After all, this is the mindset of all those who follow sports like boxing, where the aim is for each athlete is to give the other a traumatic brain injury. And it's not like the 2014 World Cup in Brazil wasn't itself a mess of ethical violations. But when it comes to slavery, Magary has to put his foot down. He wants the U.S. Men's National Team to boycott the tournament:
"That has to end. I am a sports fan, which means that I am willing to put up with a lot of corrupt jackassery from my owners and commissioners and college presidents. It's baked right into the system. But come the [naughty word] on. This is insane. ... We shouldn't tolerate what's going on over in Qatar. We should pull out, and we should do it now."
It's not like this hasn't been a well-reported story. No one is hiding the fact that migrant workers from Nepal and various Southeast Asian nations are being labored to death while building infrastructure for a World Cup no one is excited for outside of high-class Qataris and fat-cat FIFA execs. But for whatever reason, international outcry has been tepid at best. You hear more about people angry that the event is happening in the winter than outrage over slavery.
Magary is right. If appeals to logic and human dignity won't convince FIFA to step in and/or move the tournament, appeals to their wallet will. Several well-known brands such as Sony have already ended FIFA sponsorship, primarily because they understandably don't want to be associated with slavery. Perhaps if greater awareness were to be spread and organizations such as the U.S. Men's National Team pulled out, FIFA's major partners like Coca-Cola would follow suit.
If world leaders are really as dedicated to eradicating modern-day slavery as they like to think they are, the 2022 World Cup needs to become a more major battlefield in that effort.
Read more at Deadspin.
Photo credit: Philip Lange / Shutterstock
The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.
- One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
- A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
- The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.