Monday, July 27, 2009

Report on Somali piracy

It's that time of year when the Year 1 kids are struggling with their Project reports. I'm not involved this year, but there's a good chance I will be next year. In preparation for that eventuality, I'll place a link in today's entry to a superb article in Wired that could serve as an example of a project that looks fun to research and present.

"Cutthroat Capitalism" is a report on piracy on the high seas, off the Somali coast. That's as current an issue as anything today. It's sensational, it's exciting and as it turns out, somewhat blown out of proportion. That's something this article attempts to do: cut through the media hype and show what exactly is going on there, through impartial interviews with both victims and pirates alike.

The report is also intriguingly multidisciplinary in the way it ties in current affairs with economics and mathematics, presenting a critical thinking approach from these different perspectives. There's even a little sociological glimpse at the heierarchical and organizational structure of the pirates, proving a method to their apparent madness (I ask you, a couple of speedboats attacking a tanker: sounds sane to you?).

Obviously, this report is by a professional outfit with probably lots of resources at its disposal, but it's the approach and the presentation quality, the flow of information and the strong sense of purpose throughout that I'd like my next year's kids to learn from.

Anyway, even for its own sake the report is fun to read, and the new insights it offers about the pirate situation is quite an eye opener, through a perspective we don't usually get from the local newspapers.

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