Half of UK 10-year-olds own a smartphone

Fifty per cent of the UK’s 10-year-olds owned a smartphone in 2019, according to a report by media regulator Ofcom.   The number of young phone owners doubled between the ages of nine and 10, which Ofcom dubbed “the age of digital independence”.  In addition, 24% of 3 and 4-year-olds had their own tablet, and 15% …

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Can planting trees save civilization?

Recently, the World Economic Forum launched 1t.org, a plan to plant a trillion trees. Even Donald Trump, who has withdrawn the US from the Paris agreement, has backed the initiative. But can trees store enough carbon to buy us time to act on climate change? A recent paper said 0.9 billion hectares could lock up …

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Gender bias

 Almost 90% of people are biased against women, according to a new index that highlights the “shocking” global backlash to gender equality.  The UN Development Programme (UNDP), which produced the findings, is calling on governments to introduce legislation and policies that address engrained prejudice. Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and …

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How Democracy Ends, Not With a Bang But With a Whimper

“In this fast-paced century, rife with technological innovation, we’ve grown accustomed to the impermanence of things. Whatever is here now will likely someday vanish, possibly sooner than we imagine. Movies and music that once played on our VCRs and stereos have given way to infinite choices in the cloud. Cash currency is fast becoming a …

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Racial replacement?

“The middle-aged man who shot dead nine people in two shisha bars in Germany last week appears to have been motivated by a hate-filled ideology. Tobias Rathjen subscribed to the idea of the “great replacement”, which argues that white Europeans are being “replaced” by an “invasion” of brown and black people.  At this point, the …

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Negotiating in bad faith? Who is?

The EU’s negotiating tactics are shockingly “dishonest”, said Daniel Hannan in The Sunday Telegraph, a very right-wing publication.  For three years, Brussels’ negotiators have refused to consider British proposals for a bespoke Brexit deal, on the grounds that that meant “cherry-picking”.  Michel Barnier has maintained that, if the UK didn’t want to keep free movement …

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The President’s teeth

Mount Vernon, Virginia “A souvenir model of George Washington’s dentures has been withdrawn from sale at his Mount Vernon estate because of evidence that the real version included teeth pulled from the mouths of his slaves. “According to popular myth, the false teeth worn by America’s founding father were made from wood. In fact, they …

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The truth about Dutch resistance to the Nazis

“It is high time our country showed contrition for its failure to protect Jews in the Second World War. “In a historic apology, Dutch. Prime Minister Mark Rutte finally acknowledged that too many Dutch officials supinely obeyed Nazi orders after their country was occupied. In total, 102,000 of the six million Jews killed in the …

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Failing to face the reality of an ageing society

You’d never have guessed it from the recent election campaigns, but Britain has a major problem with its pensions.   It’s this: as the U.K. population ages, the state pensions of ever more retirees are having to be financed by ever fewer people in work. Hence the sensible plans to raise the pensionable age for …

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Modern genetics and how they don’t really mean much.

There is a new book called “How to argue with a racist”, by Adam Rutherford.  Writing  at a time when genetic services such as 23 and Me are being used by huge numbers of people, Rutherford points out that the last common ancestor of all people with long-standing European ancestries lived only 600 years ago. …

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The trouble with the nuclear family

( A bit long, but very important) In an essay for the Atlantic  – The Nuclear Family was a Mistake — New York Times columnist David Brooks argues that the family structure we’ve held up as the cultural ideal for the past half century has been a catastrophe for many.  By “nuclear family,” he means a …

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It seems the mafia are everywhere

Organized crime is operating in every sector of Italy’s society  (including our Italian) government,  That’s the grim take-away from the most recent police report by the police anti-Mafia investigation division, the DIA. The dreaded Calabrian ’Ndrangheta has spread “everywhere” in the north and is now being emulated by other clans. A gang in the southeastern …

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Nothing better to do?

British animal rights activists from Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have argued that the term “pet” is derogatory to animals, and should not be used. Instead, they suggest words like “companion”, which is less patronising. Referring to oneself as an owner of a pet “implies that the animals are a possession, like …

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