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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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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Another day, another billionaire Twitter storm

Billionaire Lloyd Blankfein joked as he announced his 2018 retirement as Goldman Sachs CEO that he looked forward to “unrestrained tweeting” in the years ahead. But the Twitter life apparently bored the billionaire, and his twitter account went silent for three months — until last week when Senator Bernie Sanders won the New Hampshire primary. …

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Save us from priests like this!

A Catholic priest in Rhode Island has defended his decision to ban all lawmakers who voted in favor enshrining abortion protections under state law from receiving communion at his parish. Recently, Reverend Richard Bucci, a Catholic priest in Rhode Island,  declared that every legislator who voted last year to pass the bill codifying the U.S. …

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Decline in Croatia, boom in Spain

(A few statistics, I’m afraid…..) The prime minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic – whose government has just assumed the rotating presidency of the EU – has warned that his country is suffering a “population loss equivalent to losing a small city every year”, and called for EU-wide strategies to tackle the “existential” threat in southern …

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The American preoccupation with bathrooms

“Why does America have “so many damn bathrooms”? It’s a question many foreign visitors ask themselves, and with good reason. Over the past half century, the number of bathrooms per person in the US has doubled, to a 1:1 ratio, and these rooms are continuing to multiply. They’re getting bigger, too: the typical size of …

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Complaining about service when things get really bad (2). See yesterday’s posting

Still no favorable resolution? Fortunately, there are third-party programs that can help. If you paid with a credit card, the federal Fair Credit Billing Act and the policies of credit card issuers help you withhold payment for goods and services you think  are defective or not delivered as promised. If you cannot resolve the matter with …

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Younger people today don’t have the IQ they used to have

Our IQ levels are gradually falling compared with previous generations, if IQ tests are an accurate gauge of intelligence. Scientists in Norway analysed scores achieved by 730,000 young men, born between 1962 and1991, who did IQ tests as part of their national service. They found that for many years the IQ levels of entrants rose by …

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Lying to children about death

The Winter edition of “Free Mind”, published by the American Humanist Association, carries an article headed, “No, we shouldn’t lie to our children about God and death”.   it quotes a Wall Street Journal article advising parents to tell their children that God and heaven are real, even if they don’t believe it.  The reason …

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A joke to make your day. Or is it?

CALLER: Is this Gordon’s Pizza? GOOGLE: No sir, it’s Google Pizza. CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number. Sorry. GOOGLE: No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month. CALLER: OK. I would like to order a pizza. GOOGLE: Do you want your usual, sir? CALLER: My usual? You know me? GOOGLE: According to our …

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Loneliness in America

More than three in five Americans are lonely, with more and more people feeling they are left out, poorly understood and lacking companionship, according to a survey led by the health insurer Cigna, which found a nearly 13% rise in loneliness since 2018, partly caused by workplace culture and conditions. The report surveyed over 10,000 adult workers …

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Shutting down the internet

Authoritarian governments all over the world have latched onto a great way of stopping unwelcome criticism and subversive thought – suspending data services, phone calls, texting and participation in social media.  As internet penetration has surged during the past decade, especially in the developing world, so have attempts to switch off the flow of information.  …

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Finding a partner on the internet

”Tinder doesn’t seem to be as good at finding you a partner as you might think. An analysis of the match-making service, admittedly a small, one off survey, found that most people don’t meet up with others through the app and the chances of meeting someone interested in a long-term relationship are relatively low. ”Trond …

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Home delivery: sign of our divided times

“The tyranny of home delivery is creating a new class division. There are those who deliver the boxes and those who get the boxes.  There are now millions employed delivering more stuff to more people more quickly than ever before.  Wages and work conditions are rock bottom .  Insecurity, stress exploitation and alienation are sky …

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An ethical dilemma: taking advantage of generous guarantees

“I do a lot of online shopping. I try to stick with the merchants that offer free two-way shipping and unlimited return policies (e.g., any time, any condition, no questions asked). I often order items in three sizes and four colors and return most of them. I keep something for a year or more and …

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Thanks, but no thanks for Menorah: Another intrusion of religion

“My mother-in-law is a right-wing evangelical Christian who voted for Donald Trump and thinks the Earth is 6,000 years old. She is also, frankly, not very insightful. “She just gave my family a menorah. We belong to a Jewish Humanist congregation, which pretty much sums up my beliefs—proud of my Jewish heritage but agnostic. My …

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Glasses are forbidden

Thousands of Japanese women have taken to social media to share their experiences of being discouraged from wearing spectacles at work, since the practice was exposed in two recent reports. It turns out that a range of firms tell their female employees not to wear glasses, including a domestic airline that cites “safety” issues, retailers …

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