Culture


Suicide Rate For Teenage Girls Hits 40-Year High

7th Aug 2017

…The government has tracked numbers on suicide rates since 1975. In 1975, the suicide rate among females aged 15 to 19 sat at 2.9 per 100,000 before it increased to 3.7 per 100,000 in 1990. It then fell to 2.4 per 100,000 in 2007 before peaking at 5.1 per 100,000 in 2015.

For young men, the suicide rate declined from 18.1 per 100,000 in 1990 to 10.8 per 100,000 in 2007 before reaching 14.2 per 100,000 in 2015.

According to the CDC, 5,900 kids and adults aged 10 to 24 died by suicide in 2015.

 

read more/source: http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=57140

Public servants face tough new social media rules

7th Aug 2017

PUBLIC servants who “like” or share a Facebook post critical of the government could find themselves in hot water — even if they select the “angry face” reaction.

Government employees could also be in breach of the public service code of conduct for material they send in a private email, or for failing to remove “nasty comments” posted by other people to their social media pages.

The new social media guidelines, published on Monday by the Australian Public Service Commission, reinforce that while APS employees “have the right to participate in public and political debate”, it is “not an unlimited right”.

“If you ‘like’ something on a social media platform, it will generally be taken to be an endorsement of that material as though you’d created that material yourself,” the guidelines read.

“‘Sharing’ a post has much the same effect. However, if you’re sharing something because you disagree with it and want to draw it someone else’s attention, make sure that you make that clear at the time in a way that doesn’t breach the Code itself. It may not be enough to select the ‘angry face’ icon, especially if you’re one of thousands that have done so.”

In the case of a private email to a friend, the guidelines state that there is “nothing to stop your friend taking a screenshot of that email, including your personal details, and sending it to other people or posting it all over the internet”.

“Again, the breach of the Code is not in their subsequent publication of your material, but in your emailing that material in the first place,” it says. “In fact, there’s nothing to stop your friend from forwarding your email directly to your employer and reporting your behaviour.”

And for “nasty comments made by someone else on my social media pages”, the guidelines state that “doing nothing about objectionable material that someone else has posted on your page can reasonably be seen in some circumstances as your endorsement of that material”.

“If someone does post material of this kind, it may be sensible to delete it or make it plain that you don’t agree with it or support it,” it says. “Any breach of the Code would not come from the person making the post. It would come from how you reacted to it.”

Posting anti-government content anonymously or outside of work hours is also a no-no. “Posting material anonymously or using a pseudonym doesn’t guarantee your identity will stay hidden,” it says.

“Even if you don’t identify yourself you can still be identified by someone else. It’s a simple fact: agencies often receive dob-ins about comments made by their employees. Often those employees are shocked to find they’ve been linked back to their employer so easily.”

An employee’s “capacity to affect the reputation” of their agency and the APS “does not stop when you leave the office”. “APS employees are required by law to uphold the APS Values at all times,” the guidelines say.

Even joining the wrong Facebook group could get public servants in hot water, they add. “People will draw conclusions about you and your ability to work impartially from a range of factors. This can include the nature of any online communities that you join.

“For example, if you work as a Customer Service Officer in Centrelink while being a member of a Facebook group that is opposed to current laws about the payment of welfare benefits to migrants. This might raise a concern about whether you would deal with all of your clients fairly and professionally in your APS role.

“People would reasonably be concerned about your ability to implement Government policies in a way that is free from bias and in accordance with the law.”

Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, described the new policy as “overreach”, saying it “clearly does not strike the right balance between giving our community faith in the Commonwealth public service and allowing people who work in public services to undertake normal, everyday activity in a democracy”.

“The notion that the mum of a gay son who happens to work in Centrelink can’t like a Facebook post on marriage equality without endangering her job is patently absurd,” Ms Flood said in a statement.

“It is one thing to say that public servants working on a particular Government policy shouldn’t be publicly criticising that policy, quite another to say they have no right to engage on social media on anything that could be a community issue.”

Ms Flood said government “acts in every area of life”, so the situation could not be compared to the private sector. “It’s completely unreasonable for a worker to face disciplinary action over a private email or something as benign as ‘liking’ a social media post,” she said. “Of course there need to be limits but [this] policy goes too far.”

 

 

source;http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/public-servants-face-tough-new-social-media-rules/news-story/db2893503fa0cb7997f9e066936c322c

Loneliness, Social Isolation Greater Health Problem In US Than Obesity

6th Aug 2017
Is feeling alone the greatest health problem Americans face? While the obesity epidemic has long been front-and-center in major cities across the U.S., new research finds that loneliness and social isolation is an even greater public health threat than being overweight.

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University conducted two meta-analyses of previous studies to determine how social isolation, loneliness, and living alone plays a role in a person’s risk of dying.
Person sitting alone on bench
New research shows that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone pose a greater heath threat to Americans than being overweight.

In an analysis of 148 studies that included more than 300,000 people total, her research team found that “a greater social connection” cuts a person’s risk of early death by 50 percent.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” says Holt-Lunstad in an American Psychological Association press release. “Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”

In her second analysis, she looked at the role that loneliness, social isolation, and living alone played in a person’s lifespan. Using 70 studies that included more than 3.4 million participants (mostly from North America, but some studies did look at people in Europe, Asia, and Australia), the research team concluded that all three were as much of — and in some cases more — a threat to a person’s health as obesity and other risk factors.

All three conditions were found to be equally hazardous and significantly raised the risk of premature death.

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” says Holt-Lunstad.

According to AARP’s Loneliness Study conducted in 2010, 35 percent of Americans age 45 and older are suffering from chronic loneliness — which equates to about 43 million people. Similarly, half the country’s adult population is unmarried and more than a quarter live alone, according to U.S. census data.

“These trends suggest that Americans are becoming less socially connected and experiencing more loneliness,” adds Holt-Lunstad, who presented the findings today at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington.

Moving forward, Holt-Lunstad hopes that health officials nationwide spend significant resources  to help tackle the issues of loneliness and isolation. She suggests primary care physicians screen for such conditions during routine examinations and that Americans consider ways to ensure they enjoy a socially-connected retirement in similar ways they plan financially for retiring. Otherwise, she sees the issue growing far worse in the near future.

“With an increasing aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’ The challenge we face now is what can be done about it,” she says.

 

source: https://www.studyfinds.org/loneliness-social-isolation-alone-obesity/

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

6th Aug 2017

The more I pored over yearly surveys of teen attitudes and behaviors, and the more I talked with young people like Athena, the clearer it became that theirs is a generation shaped by the smartphone and by the concomitant rise of social media. I call them iGen. Born between 1995 and 2012, members of this generation are growing up with smartphones, have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet. The Millennials grew up with the web as well, but it wasn’t ever-present in their lives, at hand at all times, day and night. iGen’s oldest members were early adolescents when the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, and high-school students when the iPad entered the scene, in 2010. A 2017 survey of more than 5,000 American teens found that three out of four owned an iPhone.

The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of “screen time.” But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.

To those of us who fondly recall a more analog adolescence, this may seem foreign and troubling. The aim of generational study, however, is not to succumb to nostalgia for the way things used to be; it’s to understand how they are now. Some generational changes are positive, some are negative, and many are both. More comfortable in their bedrooms than in a car or at a party, today’s teens are physically safer than teens have ever been. They’re markedly less likely to get into a car accident and, having less of a taste for alcohol than their predecessors, are less susceptible to drinking’s attendant ills.

Psychologically, however, they are more vulnerable than Millennials were: Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.

Even when a seismic event—a war, a technological leap, a free concert in the mud—plays an outsize role in shaping a group of young people, no single factor ever defines a generation. Parenting styles continue to change, as do school curricula and culture, and these things matter. But the twin rise of the smartphone and social media has caused an earthquake of a magnitude we’ve not seen in a very long time, if ever. There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives—and making them seriously unhappy.

 

Read more/ source:https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/

Archaeological find in Jerusalem ‘proves Bible passage is historically true’

6th Aug 2017

Archaeologists excavating in Jerusalem have found burned artifacts dating from 2,600 years ago – which prove that a passage in the Bible is true…

Researchers uncovered charred wood, grape seeds, fish scales, bones and pottery while digging in the City of David in Jerusalem.

The find provides evidence that the Babylonians “burned all the houses of Jerusalem”, described in the book of Jeremiah.

Researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority found the artifacts beneath layers of rock in the City of David – along with jars with seals which enabled the researchers to date the artifacts.

“These seals are characteristic of the end of the First Temple Period,’ said Dr Joe Uziel of the Israel Antiquities Authority, ‘Used for the administrative system that developed towards the end of the Judean dynasty.”

The fire damage can be dated to 2,600 years ago – which ties with events described in the Bible.

The book of Jeremiah says, “Now on the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.

“He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every great house he burned with fire.”

source:https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36618776/archaeological-find-in-jerusalem-proves-bible-passage-true/#page1

GM corn set to stop man spreading his seed

29th July 2017

Original article dated 2001.

 

Scientists have created the ultimate GM crop: contraceptive corn. Waiving fields of maize may one day save the world from overpopulation.

The pregnancy prevention plants are the handiwork of the San Diego biotechnology company Epicyte, where researchers have discovered a rare class of human antibodies that attack sperm.

By isolating the genes that regulate the manufacture of these antibodies, and by putting them in corn plants, the company has created tiny horticultural factories that make contraceptives.

‘We have a hothouse filled with corn plants that make anti-sperm antibodies,’ said Epicyte president Mitch Hein.

‘We have also created corn plants that make antibodies against the herpes virus, so we should be able to make a plant-based jelly that not only prevents pregnancy but also blocks the spread of sexual disease.’

Contraceptive corn is based on research on the rare condition, immune infertility, in which a woman makes antibodies that attack sperm.

‘Essentially, the antibodies are attracted to surface receptors on the sperm,’ said Hein. ‘They latch on and make each sperm so heavy it cannot move forward. It just shakes about as if it was doing the lambada.’

Normally, biologists use bacteria to grow human proteins. However, Epicyte decided to use corn because plants have cellular structures that are much more like those of humans, making them easier to manipulate.

The company, which says it will not grow the maize near other crops, says it plans to launch clinical trials of the corn in a few months.

 

 

source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2001/sep/09/gm.food

Richard Dawkins Event Canceled; views on islam

25th July 2017

According to Berkeleyside, the event in question was organized by progressive radio station KPFA.

Dawkins, a notorious atheist and harshly outspoken critic of all religions, was to appear on-stage and talk about his latest book ‘Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist.’

Berkeleyside reports that KPFA sang praises for Dawkins and the book – until a number of his anti-Islam tweets came to their attention.

Subsequently, the outlet states, the station sent an email to all ticket buyers that read, “we had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.”

“KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.”
Putting the sheer insanity of the suggestion that one could know who Richard Dawkins is and not be aware of his hatred for Islam, it’s of course interesting that KPFA took offence with the author’s critique of Islam specifically.

Dawkins addressed that point in a statement.

“I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that,” the statement reads. “Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?”
 

Dawkins’ statement goes on to call into question the notion that he has spoken about Islam in an “abusive” manner.

“You say I use ‘abusive speech’ about Islam,” it reads. “I would seriously – I mean it – like to hear what examples of my ‘abusive speech’ you had in mind. When you fail to discover any, I presume you will issue a public apology.”

While no one involved in the matter has mentioned exactly what tweets provoked KPFA, Berkeleyside reports, “a perusal of Dawkins’ recent tweets shows that he comments often about Islam, but he also comments about other religions.”

“Dawkins has sent out tweets and made statements that are critical of extremist Muslims, the female genital mutilation practiced by some Muslim societies, and the requirement that women must wear burkas.”

Apparently that’s “abusive” to progressives.

 

 

source/read more:https://milo.yiannopoulos.net/2017/07/richard-dawkins-berkeley/

Tech Billionaires Are Secretly Funding a Plan to Break the Human Race out of The Matrix

16th July 2017

On the southwestern edge of Lake Titicaca, Peru, there is an ancient 23-foot doorway known as the Aramu Muru. Local natives call it the “Puerta de hayu Marca,” the gateway to the lands of the gods and immortal life. Throughout their history, the natives have described people disappearing and appearing at this doorway.

In 1998, purported extraterrestrial contactee Jerry Wills claimed a tall blonde humanoid named Zo taught him how to access Aramu Muru and enter “another universe.” Wills further claimed that Zo illustrated to him how our universe is an experimental simulation within his species’ universe. They built it to understand their own reality, which is itself nested inside a larger universe.

The next year, in 1999, the blockbuster science fiction film The Matrix came out and forever emblazoned into our collective subconscious the idea that our existence is a simulation created by a more advanced race of beings. Incidentally, the film also made long black trench coats, black sunglasses, and my last name all the rage, but I digress…

A few years after the release of The Matrix, philosopher Nick Bostrom published the Simulation Argument, a concise paper entitled “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” It presented a trilemma, a mathematical breakdown of why at least one of three provocative scenarios must be true.

“(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a ‘posthuman’ stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.”

The “posthuman civilization” to which Bostrom refers defines a period of time after which humans have merged with technology. This is sometimes referred to as post-Singularity, with the ‘Singularity’ describing futurist Ray Kurzweil’s designation of a society in which humans are post-biological, living synergistically with artificial intelligence.

The Simulation Argument presupposes the development of this posthuman civilization, at which point, Bostrom states, advanced humans or AI might develop simulations of the past in the same way that current scientists create test environments; some of the simulations would likely be for entertainment reasons, as well, in the same way humans currently create video games and movies.

In recent years, a number of high-profile figures have come out to state their belief that we are living in a simulation. Chief among them is tech magnate Elon Musk, who has stated that the video game No Man’s Sky confirmed his belief that someday simulations would approximate reality so comprehensively that they would be indistinguishable from reality. Apparently, he was sitting in a hot tub with friends when he finally converted.

Musk is the CEO and brains behind Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and OpenAI. In recent years, he has expressed bold plans for his companies that he believes will advance the human race: with Tesla, he wants to spearhead a transportation infrastructure that doesn’t rely on burning hydrocarbons; with SpaceX, he wants to assist in humanity’s gradual extraplanetary migration to Mars; and with Neuralink and OpenAI, he wants to facilitate humanity’s merger with advanced computer technology.

When he was asked about whether humans are living inside a computer simulation, Musk made headlines last year by saying he thinks the chances are one in billions that we aren’t.

“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following: 40 years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot,” Musk stated. “That’s where we were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality….”

 

 

source/read more;http://www.activistpost.com/2017/07/tech-billionaires-secretly-funding-plan-break-human-race-matrix.html

95 Per Cent of Gang Criminals in Stockholm Have a Foreign Background

4th July 2017

Amidst a wave of bloody, gang-related murders in Stockholm, and police warnings that the situation is likely to get worse, a report has found 94.5 per cent of people identified as being involved in the Swedish capital’s violent, organised crime scene have a migration background.

Stockholm has been the site of 552 shootings linked to criminal gangs since January 2011, 46 of which were deadly. Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that the city has seen a “record number of unsolved murders amidst seemingly endless gang shooting incidents” in recent years.

Expressen’s analysis of the situation, which included mapping 192 individuals who police confirmed to be part of gangs in Stockholm and the city’s organised crime scene, uncovered striking statistics about mass migration’s effect on crime in the Swedish capital.

According to the study, 94.5 per cent of people involved with organised crime had at least one parent born abroad. 40.6 per cent of the criminals looked at by the newspaper were themselves born overseas, whilst both parents of 82.2 per cent of gang members were foreign-born.

The report notes the main country of origin for gang criminals was Iraq, but other overrepresented nations which stood out to researchers include Somalia, Syria, and Turkey.

Criminologist Manne Gerell, a researcher at Malmö University, said that “structural racism” is what lies behind the massive overrepresentation of migrants from poor and violence-plagued third world countries in Sweden’s crime statistics.

“Many people who come from other countries and living in deprived areas feel they are discriminated against,” he told Expressen.

Adam Marttinen, an MP for the populist Sweden Democrats, offered a different explanation for the figures, asserting that “irresponsible levels of immigration lead to crime”.

“Other political parties’ indulgence of such policies have enriched organised criminal gangs,” he posted to Facebook, commenting on the Expressen report.

The latest police efforts to map and prevent gang violence, Project Mareld, estimates that between 500 and 700 gang members in 49 different networks are connected to the wave of violence in the city in recent years.

“Criminal gangs can be found throughout Stockholm, in all suburbs. The common denominator with gang members is that they all live in the same area and engage in crime. It is what links them together. Criminals in a specific area form a network,” said Inspector Gunnar Appelgren, coordinator of Project Mareld.

Noting that these 49 networks are currently involved in 17 conflicts in the Swedish capital where the police believe there is a risk of lethal violence, Expressen reports that gang crime is a growing problem across the entire nation.

In the 61 areas they have categorised as “vulnerable”, police say there are around 5,000 criminals who are active in around 200 organised crime networks, in a new report.

“In these areas, criminals rule,” said Linda Staaf, head of National Police intelligence. “In the past, they would shoot people in the leg to intimidate, whereas now, they aim for the head  — to kill.”

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/07/04/95-per-cent-gang-crime-stockholm-foreign/