Immigration again: victims of domestic and gang violence

In recent months, there has been a surge in the number of immigrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Immigrant rights advocates say that is because they’re fleeing extreme violence in their home countries — violence that shows no signs of abating. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has broad powers over the nation’s immigration courts, …

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Why fraudulent news travels fastest

False news travels much faster online than the truth because of our craving for novelty. In the largest-ever study of how news spreads on social media, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysed 126,000 stories on Twitter from between 2006 and 2017. They found that false stories were 70% more likely to be retweeted …

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Argue with them, don’t just write them off as ignorant

Letter to The Guardian The flaw in the argument for denying far-right propagandists a platform is the failure to address how else the mass of us who oppose the unacceptable views can turn voters away from supporting them if we do not engage with their facile and untenable arguments. The strategy of ignoring them or …

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Air pollution is a killer. Tax the polluters.

A recent opinion poll suggests that 70 per cent of people in the UK are worried about air pollution and half want the state to do more. The British government does nothing. The main problem are highly polluting diesel vehicles. Air pollution will gradually fall as the oldest, most polluting vehicles are replaced. Yet the …

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How to raise children, Epicurean-style

It goes without saying that raising children is one of the most important things humans do. But there is so much bad advise on how to raise your children. In this post I’ll try to address what both the liberal secularists and the religious conservatives get wrong on parenting, and how to do it in …

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Being interrupted in full flight

From Bryn Glover, Kirkby Malzeard, North Yorkshire, UK “May I report a highly effective way to counter interruptions while talking? “In the 1980s, I sat on the council of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs trade union in England. Meetings were always attended by the extrovert and voluble general secretary, Clive Jenkins. He …

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Fake news and its effect on children

The all-party parliamentary group on literacy heard evidence that fake news could make children more anxious, damage their self-esteem and skew their world view. In research for the report, the National Literacy Trust showed more than 2,000 UK eight to 16-year-olds six news stories, two of which were fake, and asked them to identify which …

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Who are Trump’s American “elite”?

– They have a measure of actual education. – They believe in and keep up with advances in science. – They possess a measure of self-control and self-discipline. – They have empathy for the poor, the sick and the dispossessed – and actually give real money to charitable causes. – They are polite and considerate …

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Amazon Echo and electronic snooping

A Portland couple were discussing hardwood floors. Their Amazon Echo was listening, recording their discussion, then sending the recording randomly to someone in their contacts list, without the couple’s knowledge. The wife told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that they learned something was amiss when they received a phone call from an employee of the …

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British grammar schools vs. technical and vocational education.

Yet again, the British political class is arguing about grammar schools. This row will “never be resolved, because it’s about competing values: the Right prizes opportunity above equality, and the Left vice versa”. But this is the wrong argument to be having in any case. The real problem with our education system is not too …

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The more excessive salaries are publicized, the higher they go

Many of us dread the monthly credit card statement and plan, maybe, for a leaner month. But for CEOs such as Persimmon’s Jeff Fairburn, who was recently awarded a bonus of almost £110m, “it will still feel like Christmas”. The same goes for lavishly rewarded university vice-chancellors and the handful of GPs identified as earning …

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Dignitas

The founder of the Swiss physician-assisted suicide organisation Dignitas went on trial last Friday, on charges of profiteering and exploiting patients’ suffering for his own benefit. In Switzerland, providing assisted suicide services is legal as long as it is not done for “self-serving” motives. The case against Ludwig Minelli concerns the assisted suicide of an …

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Australia ain’t what it used to be. The great Brexit delusion.

Twenty-six years of unimpeded growth and waves of immigration into Australia have created a diverse and prosperous nation that is completely focused on Asia. Its traditions may be western, but Australia is becoming emotionally detached from its former rulers. Too many members of the Conservative Party in Britain think Australia and the other Commonwealth nations …

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