“Ghetto” Names

Most African-American names are called “ghetto” or “ugly” in the USA, right? People argue that these names are “made up” and “ridiculous.” As a writer, I collect names for my characters and in my research I discover a lot of names that are considered “black names” that are actually from other countries throughout the world. I’d just like to educate people on the origins of names that are typically considered “black” or “made up.” Of course there are names that are mostly made up (which is fine), but for the most part, names that people think are distinctly African-American have their roots in other countries. Here are a few examples of names that are considered “ghetto” by a lot of people, but are actually not made up or originally used by Black Americans:

- Latifah is the Muslim feminine form of Latif, from Arabic latif. It means “kind, gentle, gracious, courteous.” 

- Jaleel means “great, illustrious, exalted” and it is Muslim.

-Jolanda means “violet flower, purple color” and it is a Dutch and German form of Yolanda.

- Natasha means “born on Christmas Day, Christmas” and it is a Russian and English form of Natalie.

- Deon means “celebrant, reveler, follower of Dionysus” and it is an English form of Dion.

- Keshia means “cinnamon-like, fragrant spice” and it is an American form of “Kezia” which is Jewish and then Greek in origin.

These are names that have their origins in other countries, but are popular among African-Americans, and of course everything we do has to be ridiculed, so now these names are synonymous with “ratchet.” It is only because these names are commonly used by Black Americans that they are considered unprofessional. We can’t do anything without being judged, but next time someone tries to call your “Black” name “ghetto” let them know that your name is beautiful, exotic, and completely legit ;) And if your black parents completely made up your name, even better! Originality and creativity is something to be praised, not scorned.

- Hannah


In this raw, unedited, candid interview and respective one-on-one series of Q&A’s with Professor Lawrence Krauss (theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project) and Ray Comfort (Christian minister and evangelist; founder of Living Waters Publications and The Way of the Master; and author of a plethora of books), the two have an interesting discussion where Krauss uses his experience and scientific/skeptic methodology in response to Comfort’s surefire confidence in biblical scripture.

Lawrence Krauss, author of “A Universe From Nothing”
For more information on Lawrence, visit:

Ray Comfort, author of “Fat Chance – Why Pigs Will Fly Before America has an Atheist President.”
For more information on Ray, visit:

Music by: Bryan Clark

Edited by Jeremy Levy

Film by Scott Burdick, Jeremy Levy, Jeremy Lipking, and Sue Kocher. Conducted during the 2016 Reason Rally in Washington D.C. 


- I made the October layout for my bullet journal
- I’m still ill
- but on the bright side, I can finally catch up on some reading I have to do for my English class (:

“Change happens slowly, one role model at a time”

“Surpur is a small, impoverished block in Yadgir district in north-east Karnataka. The impressive national numbers of school enrolment hold no meaning here. In many villages more than 30% of the children don’t go to school. Tabassum belongs to one such village. She has passed class 10 and is preparing for college, which is very unusual for someone from her circumstances. Her closest friends didn’t even complete the elementary level, which the law says is their fundamental right. The school is over in the next village and periodically gets ‘improved’-with a new room, or toilets. But that alone hasn’t changed much in terms of education for the children.

Many of Tabassum’s friends are married, some even have children. Her mother, though, was adamant that Tabassum will first finish her studies, and has managed to prevail over other family members. These days Tabassum is encouraging others to follow in her footsteps. With support and training from a local NGO, she visits aanganwadis, talks to mothers and helps children out with their studies. It’s not an easy task. She is the only girl who has studied this far. Some of the boys who finished class 10 moved away, or are doing petty businesses.

Talking about the importance of literacy has helped her convince many children and parents to start school again. But some stop going after a few days and she has to keep encouraging them, discussing their problems and be a helpful and literate ‘didi’. With some of her friends, especially those who are young moms, she talks about other issues like health and sanitation, passing on things she is learning. She has a good relationship with the teachers and other community members, and they support her efforts. Hopefully, she will have a long lasting impact in getting parents and kids to engage more seriously with schooling. One impact is already visible though. Tabassum has transformed from a timid, quiet teenager to a confident young woman, who is not afraid of taking initiative and talking to people. She is already dreaming of leadership roles she will take up in her village, once her studies are done.

It is extremely tough to carve out a space within the entrenched cultural norms around caste and gender at the village level, but change happens slowly, one role model at a time.”

You can find out more about Tabassum and other Indian school case studies via Schooling for All


Ultrasound of an Asian elephant inside its mother’s womb

Bias Isn't Just A Police Problem, It's A Preschool Problem
A new study by researchers at Yale found that pre-K teachers, white and black alike, spend more time watching black boys, expecting trouble...

Lead researcher Walter Gilliam knew that to get an accurate measure of implicit bias among preschool teachers, he couldn’t be fully transparent with his subjects about what, exactly, he was trying to study.

Implicit biases are just that — subtle, often subconscious stereotypes that guide our expectations and interactions with people.

Even the most well-meaning teacher can harbor deep-seated biases, whether she knows it or not. So Gilliam and his team devised a remarkable — and remarkably deceptive — experiment.

“What we found was exactly what we expected based on the rates at which children are expelled from preschool programs,” Gilliam says. “Teachers looked more at the black children than the white children, and they looked specifically more at the African-American boy…”

Musk’s Mars moment: Audacity, madness, brilliance—or maybe all three

Elon Musk finally did it. Fourteen years after founding SpaceX, and nine months after promising to reveal details about his plans to colonize Mars, the tech mogul made good on that promise Tuesday afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico. Over the course of a 90-minute speech Musk, always a dreamer, shared his biggest and most ambitious dream with the world—how to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species.

You may have seen Eric Berger’s article preceding this talk, ‘Between a rocket and a hard place,’ about how important this was for Elon Musk. This is his article breaking down the speech and what it means big picture.


British Phrasal Verbs with “pop” and “nip” (movement / visits)

These are very popular phrasal verbs describing visits to another place, with a strong implication that the activity / visit is brief. You won’t be staying long in the place you’re popping or nipping to. The use of prepositions (or not) is key. “Pop” and “nip” are interchangeable, so this simple lesson offers your vocabulary a considerable boost. 

Common to use “just” to emphasise the brevity of the activity.

Pop in / out / down / up / round / around / over / place names

Pop in

“Excuse me whilst I pop into the shop quickly.”

“I’m just going to pop in to see my mum for a moment.”

“If you’re free now, why don’t you just pop in?”

“She needs to pop into town for a bit of shopping.”

Pop out

“I’m going to pop out to the shop.”

“Do you want to pop out for a walk before we get going?”

Pop down

“Let’s pop down the pub for a cheeky pint.”

“Shall we pop down to Mike’s to see if he’s any better?”

“Please pop down when you’ve finished the report.”

Pop up

“We’re just popping up to Scotland for a short holiday.”

“Could you pop up to my room and fetch my slippers for me?”

“I need to pop up to floor five for a meeting with my manager.”

Pop over

“Do you want to pop over this afternoon?”

“We popped over to London for the day last Sunday.”

Pop round / around

“Why don’t you pop round after work?”

“You should really pop around to Lisa’s and apologise.”

Places names

“I just want to pop home after work.”

“Let’s pop to Jamie’s for dinner.”

“I’ve got to pop to Birmingham for a meeting.”

Nip in / out / down / up / round / around / over / place names

“Nip” is interchangeable with “pop”

“I just want to nip home after work.”

“Do you want to nip over this afternoon?”

“Let’s nip down the pub for a cheeky pint.” iew