Roundup #156

No. 156—April 12, 2019—sent to 1,400+
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Abbreviated. Traveling.

Don't Miss

April 24 - Jon Hirst (SIL International) is hosting the 2nd annual Innovation in Mission webinar with guests J. D. Payne (Samford University), Carolina Salazar (Design Thinking Institute), and Rob Wassel (Pioneers). I highly recommend this event. Register here.

New events

North Africa

Algeria protests
Analysis: why Algeria’s army abandoned Bouteflika - Link

Libya war
Libya: “on the brink of civil war” - Link
… (has been in civil war for years. But some fighting renewed.)
The back story to Hifter’s march on Tripoli: more theater than hot war - Link
… a very useful look at the peculiarities of 5 years of war in Libya
Fighting, 56 killed, 200 prisoners, ‘strong conflict’ - Link
… airport bombed - Link

Sudan change
Bashir ousted by military, placed under arrest - Link
… NYT: The fall of Omar al-Bashir, the ‘spider’ at the heart of Sudan’s web - Link
… head of Sudan’s military council also steps down - Link
… but, a cynical view: al-Bashir ousted, but not his regime - Link

East Africa

China’s influence in Africa grows as more young people learn to speak Mandarin - Link
... spotty reports of Africans serving intentionally, cross-culturally, in China.

West Asia

Iraq: as blast walls come down, Baghdad life edges toward normality - Link

The next big threat to Iraq’s Christians: Iran backed militias keep minority groups from returning home - Link

Saudi Arabia: King Salman is back in the saddle - Link
… “with the crown prince’s reputation tarnished, the king has resumed traveling, hoping to regain control of the kingdom’s image abroad”

South-central Asia

India: Under Modi, a nationalist surge has further divided India - Link
… most likely scenario: BJP retains power to form coalition, but not outright majority
… elections nearing amid frustration with politics, concerns about misinformation - Link
… photos: electronic voting machines reach India’s remote areas - Link

China is winning the war for Nepali Buddhism - Link

East Asia

China: will scrap ‘hukou’ registration restrictions for cities of pop. 1 to 3 million - Link

China: Bulldozing mosques - latest front in war against Uighur - Link
“Ghost world” = “Terror capitalism”: another terrifying look at ground realities - Link
… “not using social media is suspicious. Having a cell phone is suspicious. Even old posts can be unearthed.”

China’s plan to crack down on unruly tourists is a "little creepy" - Link
… surveillance, facial recognition tech coming for “uncivilized visitors”

N Korea: “largest party shakeup in years" - Link
... complete consolidation of Kim Jong-un power”

Southeast Asia

Myanmar: Nagaland: a frontier, for now - Link
… poor, isolated, but a bridge and upgrade roads carry promise of development

Also

USA: Catholic missionaries evangelizing on campuses, trying to bring back ‘nones’ - Link

Data

US State Dept: list of 35 countries where Americans at risk of being kidnapped - Link

Reading

Roads and Kingdoms profile of Hong Kong: “23 things to know” - Link

Economist: “Mistakes, we’ve drawn a few” - Link
… learn from some of the mistakes the Economist has made in creating charts and graphs. Helpful little piece for data visualizers.

Future, Tech

Ben Edwards on the point of human leverage in machine learning: “One of the paradoxes of today's internet platforms is they are vastly automated, and have no human control or interaction over what any given person sees, and yet they are also totally dependent on human behavior, because what they’re really doing is observing, extracting and inferring things from what hundreds of millions or billions of people do.” - Fascinating analysis - Link

SpaceX lands heavy rocket plus two boosters on 3 separate pads - amazing tech - Link

China: facial recognition gives access to subway - Link

The hottest app in China teaches citizens about their leader - and there is a test - Link
… “Schools are shaming students with low app scores. Government offices are holding study sessions and forcing workers who fall behind to write reports criticizing themselves.”

Facebook’s AI team maps the whole population of Africa - Link
… how AI maps help with things like vaccination and rural electrification - Link

Facebook changes the newsfeed (again) to fight fake news - Link
… some of these steps could impact small missions optimizing for largely FB presence

Quotes

“You cannot be anything you want to be but you can be a lot more of who you already are.” ~Tom Rath [especially given that God designed you before you were born]

“When people come to you for advice on a decision, resist the urge to give them an answer. People rarely need to hear your conclusion. They benefit from hearing your thought process & your perspective on the relevant criteria for making the choice.” ~Adam M. Grant, h/t Jon Hirst

“We want Jesus as a consultant rather than a king.” ~Tim Keller

“‘Why more churches—we have them on every corner?’ No, we have church buildings on every corner—those are two very different things. If all existing churches in Louisville were filled on a Sunday, we would still only be scratching the surface of lostness here.” ~Todd Robertson

“Any time we pray for God’s kingdom to come we are praying for our kingdom to fall.” ~Cole Brown

“It is common for those that are indulgent to their own sin to be severe against the sins of others.” ~Matthew Henry

"Everything worthwhile is uphill . . .most of us have uphill dreams but downhill habits." ~John Maxwell

“We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.” ~David Platt