Some thoughts from Lucretius…

In the words of Lucretius:  “..we are all born from the same celestial seed;  all of us have the same father, from which the earth, the mother who feeds us, receives clear drops of rain, producing from them bright wheat and lush trees, and the human race, and the species of beasts, offering up the foods with which all …

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Electric scooters: the opinion of The Guardian

“The brakes may at last be coming off the “micromobility” revolution. This month, UK ministers are due to begin a consultation on legalising the use of electronic scooters on British roads. Not before time. There’s no justification for the current ban on these devices. A fast, heavy bike poses much more of a threat to …

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White, working class boys are performing badly academically

The educational under-performance of Britain’s white working-class males is “desperate”. Less then 10% of white boys from deprived backgrounds go to university, the lowest share of any demographic group. Boys lag behind girls at all stages of schooling – in few other areas, says the Higher Education Policy Institute, is there “such a big gender …

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$16 trillion bad dream?

The year 2019 saw the continuation of “the world’s most bizarre financial experiment ever”, said Merryn Somerset Webb on MoneyWeek.com – “negative interest rates”. The European Central Bank and the Swiss National Bank were among those charging investors for the privilege of holding their bonds. There are now $16trn-worth of negative-yielding government bonds in the …

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As the U.K. shuffles out of the EU, a revealing letter

To The Economist: “So, three-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum, Britain is leaving the European Union on 31 January. For millions of people, particularly in eastern Europe, the country we tend to call “Anglia” has been a benchmark of nobility, of spirit and excellence. Britain is deeply embedded in our cultural make-up. During the War, …

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Messing up the trade war

Dictatorships are un-Epicurean.  Period.  Thus, standing up to China, which already  by some measures is economically ahead to the US (dear, oh, dear) is to be applauded.  While I agree that politics should not be discussed on this forum, resisting dictators and would-be dictators intent on world domination seems to be a no-brainer. It appears …

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Management of tax and the deficit

The six big US tech firms. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft are accused of avoiding tax by shifting revenue and profits through tax havens or low-tax countries, like Ireland.  They are also accused of deliberately delaying payment of what tax they do end up paying.  Fair Tax Mark accuses Amazon of being the …

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More on secret government databases

Rights campaigners in Britain have described as “utterly chilling” a secret database compiled by counter-terrorism police containing personal information about thousands of people referred to the government’s controversial anti-radicalisation Prevent programme. The Prevent Case Management (PCM) database is accessible to all police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the Home Office is …

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Gene profiling by US police

People add their genetic data to genealogy DNA databanks in the hope of tracing long-lost relatives, biological parents and so on. They don’t expect their genomes to be accessed by the police. Yet officials in the US have used “investigative genetic genealogy” in more than 100 cases. One genetic testing company, Family Tree DNA, has …

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Is this Epicurean?

Heartlessness is now official US policy The Trump administration is deporting thousands of legal immigrants to countries “they barely know”. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement authority (ICE) can find any refugee “deportable” if they’ve a crime on their record – even selling marijuana – and that covers about 120,000 immigrants who came here as refugees. …

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Flying and vapor trails

According to a new study, a huge amount of atmospheric warming is caused by the cloud-like vapor trails – or “contrails” – that planes leave in their wake when flying at high altitude. These are created when vaporised water condenses or freezes around sooty exhaust particles to create cirrus-type clouds. These can persist for hours, …

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Child protection

Back in September the US government announced new detention rules that would radically scale back the protections for child migrants in America. Under the existing Flores agreement, undocumented children must be held in the “least restrictive settings” and released as soon as possible, ideally within 20 days. The agreement also entitles lawyers to monitor their …

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The Federal deficit

The federal deficit for fiscal 2019 reached close to $1 trillion ($984 billion) for the first time since 2012, according to final Treasury Department figures released Friday.  This is more than $200 billion, or 20 percent, higher than last year. The deficit has only surpassed $1 trillion four times in the nation’s history, recently  during the four-year …

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