What inspires you?

Jean-Francois Rischard: Well I think I could speak for all the World Bank employees. It’s a job that is very . . . It grabs you really strongly. And you do get up early in the morning, and you look forward to a day of very interesting work. Because what could be more interesting than to work on some 150 countries, on about 100 sectors, and on global issues from such an outpost as the World Bank, which is owned by 185 countries of the world, and from which you do look at the world as if it was a whole planet – not from the country point of view but from the sort of overall, global point of view? So it’s a very interesting job to be in, and you get to learn a lot of things about a lot of countries and a lot of people. And the cultures of the institution is interesting. It’s one where there are 150 or 160 nationalities in the house and you never think about the nationality of your colleagues. You forget about it, and everyone has the same jargon and code words. And you forget that someone is Italian, or Bangladeshi or Tanzanian. So it is a little bit . . . It has the culture of the world as I would wish it to have. I would wish the world had that sort of culture one day. It’s beyond a nation state and the nationality culture. It’s one level above. And that also makes it very fascinating. And the third thing that had me taking at the World Bank, it’s a very libertarian institution. There was a lot of room for debates on what worked and what didn’t work. There were a lot of arguments – academic arguments or even practical arguments – one way or the other. And you could do many things, and I did in my time. I pioneered many news things and I was never whittled back. And that was part of the reasons why I so liked the institution.  

Recorded on: 7/2/07


What could be better than seeing the world as a whole?

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less

Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
  • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
  • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

<div class="ad-tag"> <div class="ad-tag__inner"> <div class="gallery_ad"></div> </div> </div>
Keep reading Show less