That’s the way to do it!

“Joe Biden joked about the controversy that has engulfed his campaign-in-waiting in his first public appearance since several women accused him of touching them inappropriately. “Biden arrived on stage at the Washington Hilton to address the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) conference and shook the hand of the union president, Lonnie Stephenson, before giving …

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What you can do to help cut plastic waste

In our personal drive to reduce plastic waste, we should beware easy, but false, solutions:   Cutting out single-use plastic – water bottles, straws, disposable plates and so forth – is a good place to start reducing waste. But make sure you aren’t inadvertently increasing your carbon footprint. A cotton tote bag must be used …

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College recruitment in the US

The sordid scandal that broke this week concerning the bribery of college employees to get the children of rich kids entry into prestigious colleges when , by themselves, they hadn’t a hope, points to a growing crisis in the higher education that isn’t going away (given the general atmosphere of corruption in government nothing is …

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Womb rental: a racket for the rich

Kim Kardashian is having another baby. Well she’s not actually “having” it herself. She and her husband, the rapper Kanye West, are paying another woman to give birth to it. “I’m totally gonna forget,” she explains. “Then a month before I’m gonna be like holy shit, we need to get a nursery.” Rent-a-womb is legal …

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Street philosophy. No.1

Three philosophers were stationed on a New York street, prepared to take questions from the passers- by. A little girl, six years old, approached the group and asked, “How do I know I’m real?” Suddenly I was back in graduate school, reported one of the philosophers later. Should I talk about the French philosopher Rene …

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Leveraged loans, the latest threat dreamed up by the banks

We all know that the 2008 financial cataclysm was caused by mortgages offered to customers with weak or no credit histories, bundled together to create “investment opportunities”, causing a chain reaction of losses. Now it is the turn of “leveraged loans”, which are offered to companies already in debt, without too many strings attached. Most …

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Why is modern culture so awful?

In the contemporary era, with our record levels of wealth, technological advancement and scientific understanding, it follows that our culture should be as groundbreaking as everything else. We should be composing the best ever music, building the best ever buildings, and painting the best ever art. Yet in most ways, the culture of the past …

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How the Democrats are becoming more like Trump

In America nowadays, we hear a lot about partisan polarisation. Republicans and Democrats couldn’t be more different, it is argued, with the former moving to the right, the latter to the left. This is certainly borne out on Twitter, where Trump’s dominance is matched only by self-described ‘socialist’ congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. However, in three crucial …

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If you don‘t like it don’t buy it

A woman struggles to park a car. A man seems unable to change a nappy. Adverts portraying the sexes in a stereotyped way can be very irritating, says Tom Welsh. But it’s one thing to think they’re crass and outdated, quite another to prohibit them. Yet that’s what the UK’s advertising watchdog plans to do. …

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Marriage, ancient and modern

Care of the Husband’s Person On 8 April 2010 the London Review of Books reviewed a 14th Century Parisian book of household management called The Good Wife’s Guide: A Medieval Household Book. This is a compendium of medieval lore which aimed to instruct young wives how to be good, efficient, and obedient. The following is …

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Big retail. No.2

The other day I commented on scanners in shops, the fact that they almost encourage shop-lifting, and the cavalier attitude of companies to “wastage” (or non-payment for goods by customers). Why do retailers shrug their shoulders? 1.  The purchase of scanners shows up on the balance sheet as depreciation, and the government has decreed that it …

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Brief update on British university grade inflation

An official British report has found that grades at more than 80% of universities have inflated beyond a level attributable to rising standards. Last year, 18% of students who got CCD or below at A level graduated with a first; 50% of students at Surrey University got a first; at Bristol, UCL and Durham, 2:2 …

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