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perspectives

FirstRand is recognised as a highly innovative business that encourages and rewards original thinking from its people. It has created Perspectives, a portal of original, specifically commissioned content, to provide writers, authors, artists, thinkers, academics, researchers and visionaries a platform to share new ideas and unique concepts.

Superhero films − how big genres live and die

11.2018 | Lee Blake

Although the superhero genre has been around since the mid-1940s, over the past two decades these films have occupied the top spot among all genres available to us, on the big and small screen alike.

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Hillbilly Elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis by JD Vance

Appalachia. No place like it. A place often romanticised and, consequently, misunderstood. A place that holds deep secrets and unspeakable tragedy.

Science fiction becomes science fact

First the dreamers, then the engineers … how much of the technology in our lives today do we owe to stories of an imagined future?

Climate change

The rise of anti-science discourse: forehead-slapping conversations with climate change deniers.

The money tree

Growing up in a strict, very middle-class family in the 1940s and 1950s and learning the virtue of thrift, “money does not grow on trees” was a constant refrain. But there is a tree which grows money.

AI Series: Can machines make ethical choices?

Once we start to see our ethics reflected back to us in the form of machine decision-making, are we going to like what we see?

Travelling through Africa with a salty narrator

Arja Salafranca reviews Zukiswa Wanner’s Hardly Working, a travel memoir brimming with astute observations and wry humour.

Don’t believe me

In most knowledge systems doubt excludes you from membership. Questioning authority, tradition and dogma is taboo. But in science, doubt is the key to entry.

The Blue Zone phenomenon

Where to go to live longer … and happier.

Expats and immigrants

“I am German when we win, an immigrant when we lose.” – Mesut Ozil

But what is the difference?

Why good old children’s stories, close up, are as scary as anything

Children’s stories aren’t all pudding and pie. Look closely at the popular nursery rhymes, for instance, and you’ll notice patterns of plague, prostitution, human sacrifice and burning at the stake.

Are genres gendered?

Why are the majority of memoirs written by women? Is it because they relate better to their subjects?

Nicknames

They may be badges of honour, scars of shame, compliments or insults – and they can only become stamps when seasoned by time.

Killer ratings: our obsession with true crime TV series

Are TV audiences evolving into bloodthirsty voyeurs, desperate for more true tales of violence and crime? Or are other factors propelling the true crime genre up the popularity charts?

The ethical sources of terrorist power: Understanding asymmetric war

Conventional wars are fought between states. Asymmetrical wars are different, and so are the weapons.

Don’t worry about the last fish in the sea

Catching the last fish in the sea should be the least of your worries. Here’s why.

Have you floated before? Money for nothing

The sensory deprivation tank seems fundamentally different to all other luxuries. It promises nothing.

My TEDx experience

Like most people, I had a wish list of things I wanted to achieve and check off in my lifetime. Speaking on a TED stage was one of them.

Why service delivery successes in South Africa don’t always translate into community satisfaction

Despite the refrain to the contrary, living standards in South Africa today are much higher than at any point in the history of the country.

Anger Series: Taking a long hard look at anger (and violence)

Read the headlines on any given day and you’ll find a new story in which the violent details take your breath away. How do we begin to fix that?

The school shooting

A few days after I turned 15, I was in the cafeteria waiting in line to buy my lunch, when a coach told us to shut up and get down.