Nuts

On average, U.S. adults put on one pound of weight every year.  Researchers looked at the diet and weight of more than 280,000 adults taking part in three long-term research studies. Over more than 20 years of monitoring, participants were asked every four years about their weight and, among other things, how often, over the …

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Breast-ironing classed as crime

A form of abuse where a young woman’s chest is seared with hot stones, supposedly to delay breast development, is to be prosecuted in Britain with offenders facing prison time. There is anecdotal evidence of dozens of British cases of breast-ironing, which is most commonplace in Africa. Activists say it may have happened to more …

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How BA fell from grace

Recently  90% of British Airways’ 4,300 pilots started a long-threatened strike. Almost all of BA’s 1,700 flights had to be cancelled and around 200,000 people had their travel plans disrupted. The first pilots’ strike in BA’s 45-year history has arisen over a dispute about pay: BA had offered its pilots an increase of 11.5% over …

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There are other things in life than money and growth

Epicureans believe that there are aspects of a good life other than economic growth, money and productivity, but they are under-valued or barely noticed by politicians in Washington.  The system, once much admired (especially by the author!) has been distorted and rendered decadent in a system of revolving doors, involving corrupt politicians and lobbyists and vastly …

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The use of farm subsidies

Just 1% of the $700bn-a-year subsidies given to American farmers is being used to benefit the environment, according to a report by the Food and Land Use Coalition(FOLU).  Instead, most of it goes to promoting high-emission cattle production, forest destruction and pollution from the overuse of fertiliser. The report rejects the idea that subsidies are …

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Time to say farewell to steak?

Soon, most of us will stop eating beef, and it won’t be because we’ll all agree with vegans that meat is murder. It’ll be due to the logic of advanced capitalism. The alternatives to meat now being developed – plant-based substitutes and vat-grown meat produced from cultured animal cells – will taste the same as …

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Pornography and the environment

Streaming of online pornography produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as the whole of Belgium, according to a new report by the French think tank The Shift Project. Its researchers found that the energy required to stream online videos is responsible for the emission of 300 million tonnes of CO2 a year – almost …

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Welcome to the age of plastic and the trash dump planet

Humanity’s appetite for plastic is already inscribed in the fossil record – suggesting that the current epoch could become known as the “plastic age”. For a groundbreaking study, oceanographers at the University of California San Diego examined annual layers of sediment off the coast of California back to 1834. Microscopic plastic particles began to appear …

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Student mental illness (Part 2)

Statistic of the week:  75%  of diagnosable mental illnesses crop up by the age of 24, driven by fear of failure and the eternal chatter about how essential it is to get a job straight out of college. American psychologists are increasingly seeing children with ADD  and some kind of executive functioning problem among college students …

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Student mental illness ( Part 1)

A surge in anxiety, mental breakdowns, depression and stress is sweeping British university campuses. Above all, a growing proportion just seem terrified of failure, and experience the whole process of learning and assessment as an unforgiving ordeal that offers no room for creativity or mistakes,” says William Davies, lecturer at Goldsmiths and author of The …

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Proof of residence for EU citizens in the UK

To The Guardian I have just read Brandon Lewis’s article (“The Home Office’s message to EU citizens living here: we want you to stay”) in respect of the need for us EU citizens living in the UK to apply for settled status, mainly to prove to the authorities that we have lived permanently in the …

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A somewhat long, but hopefully useful, philosophy crib list

Pre-Socratics (6th-5th cent BC)  Interested in the natural world           –Thales: 1st philosopher; “everything comes from water”             –Anaximander:  “Our world is one of many and what comes before and after all created things is boundless.”              –Parmenides:  “Everything that exists has always existed and nothing changes.”  He was the first …

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Thought for the day

Crises Eruptions Anxieties Stressful encounters Document losses House keys mislaid Dents in the bumper Disappointments Rain on your parade Promised phone calls never happening No less than five political fundraising calls in a day Netflix buffering for twenty minutes The local food store is out of milk, tea and cereal The boiling coffee pot has …

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Getting your priorities wrong

Some US state motor vehicle bureaus have found an unacceptable new way of raising revenue.  They are selling the information given to the government to get a driver’s license —  your birthdate to your address etc — to third parties, including bail bond companies and private investigators. We have a better idea for states looking …

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Evangelical support wanes among young people

From the  Washington Post Much white evangelical support for President Trump is based on a bargain or transaction: political loyalty (and political cover for the president’s moral flaws) in return for protection from a hostile culture. Many evangelicals are fearful that courts and government regulators will increasingly treat their moral and religious convictions as varieties …

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