Daily Archives: December 1, 2017

Building a border at 4,600 meters

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Omissions, distortions and inaccurate history in BBC WW1 ‘educational’ feature

BBC Watch

Those following the BBC’s commemoration of the World War One centenary may have noticed this Tweet on September 20th.

Tweet BBC WW1

The link leads to a feature on the BBC’s iWonder webpage titled “Does the peace that ended WW1 haunt us today?” which is presented by the BBC News diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall.  Launched in January 2014, the iWonder brand was described by the BBC as a project intended to “educate and inform”.

“To coincide with the start of the BBC’s World War One season the BBC today launches a range of exciting digital content under a new brand called BBC iWonder.

iWonder is the new brand from the BBC designed to unlock the learning potential of all BBC content. Interactive guides – curated by experts and BBC talent including Dan Snow, Kate Adie, Ian McMillan and Neil Oliver – are the first phase of this initiative.[…]

Tim…

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Is Animal Testing Justified?

Green Jihad

During 2012, BBC‘s program The Big Question hosted a lively, intersting debate on the issue of animal testing (aka vivisection). The program started off civil but then the animal rights, anti-testing side (not surprisingly) hurled accusations and half-truths toward the middle of the exchange. The opponents of animal testing knew they could not win the debate so they made slanderous charges against their opponents.

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Economic efficiency and social justice

The Logical Place

by Tim Harding

At first sight, the concepts of economic efficiency and social justice might seem unrelated or even counterposed.  Some people intuitively feel that in the economic sense, efficiency works against fairness and therefore equality. Economic inequality just seems unfair and wrong.

In this essay, I propose to argue that the concept of economic efficiency can be used as part of a case that social justice does not require economic equality.  My case is primarily based on the works of Frankfurt; but Rawls’ Difference Principle is also of assistance.  I also intend to consider some objections to this case, and to either provide counter-arguments against them, or to suggest that the objections are not sufficiently important to outweigh the case I am putting forward.

Economic efficiency is typically defined as a Pareto optimum – a state of affairs in which it is impossible to make anybody better-off without…

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Uncovering drinking habits of 16th century Ireland..

People also drank beer as a way of purifying water.

Mostly Economics

Fascinating research by Dr Susan Flavin:

You spend years “burrowing away on dusty documents”, then a line in your research – admittedly attention-grabbing – about workers in Ireland in the 16th century quaffing rations of 14 pints of beer a day, gets noticed, and suddenly historian Dr Susan Flavin is getting calls from all over the place. Images of burly stone masons lurching around drunkenly wielding medieval hammers and chisels come to mind.

Flavin, a lecturer in early modern history at Anglia Ruskin University, has been researching 16th century social and economic history for years, and says today that people have “jumped on” the beer angle. She’s had an offer from someone who wants to recreate a 16th century oat brew and send her bottles, and a well-known craft brewery has also offered help in recreating the methods, for which she’s hoping for research funding.

So, if people routinely quaffed…

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An ambitious AG, a disgruntled competitor, and the contrived antitrust case against Google in Missouri

Truth on the Market

The populists are on the march, and as the 2018 campaign season gets rolling we’re witnessing more examples of political opportunism bolstered by economic illiteracy aimed at increasingly unpopular big tech firms.

The latest example comes in the form of a new investigation of Google opened by Missouri’s Attorney General, Josh Hawley. Mr. Hawley — a Republican who, not coincidentally, is running for Senate in 2018alleges various consumer protection violations and unfair competition practices.

But while Hawley’s investigation may jump start his campaign and help a few vocal Google rivals intent on mobilizing the machinery of the state against the company, it is unlikely to enhance consumer welfare — in Missouri or anywhere else.  

According to the press release issued by the AG’s office:

[T]he investigation will seek to determine if Google has violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act—Missouri’s principal consumer-protection statute—and Missouri’s antitrust laws.  

The…

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Green Jihad

A five-year study published earlier this month in the journal Social Science and Medicine states that Twitter is flourishing with anti-vaccine sentiment.

However, what is interesting is that geography, not politics, that makes a difference. FiercePharma points out researchers found tweets from users in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania posted the highest number from 2009 to 2015.

No matter where they are located, anti-vaccine activists can review their handiwork first hand with an interactive map posted online by the Vaccine Alliance. The map is based on data compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations from 2008 to 2017 and shows outbreaks of preventable diseases worldwide.

Recent research suggests that recent outbreaks of diseases, like measles or smallpox, are attributed to anti-vaccine groups and the disinformation they spread. A measles outbreak in Hennepin, Minnesota among the city’s Somali Muslim community is connected to anti-vaccine groups who campaigned heavily in…

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Religious affiliation in Australia over the last 50 years

Did animal “rights” activists free Mevy from her circus cage?

Green Jihad

One-and-a-half-year-old, 440 pound tigress, Mevy, escaped from her Cirque Bormann-Moreno circus cage in Paris on Sunday. Upon discovering this and after the tiger wandered through city streets, Mevy’s owner, Eric Bormann, located the tiger in an alley near the Eiffel Tower and shot her dead.

Soon after the shooting, the animal rights group Bridgette Bardot Foundation naturally expressed outraged. They used the occasion to call for banning the use of live animals in circuses.

Eric Bormann explained that a tranquiler gun was not used since the drugs would have taken too much time to take effect. What is of note isn’t just the outrage expressed by animal rights activists over the shooting, nor the killing of Mevy herself after she left her cage, but that Bormann suspects foul play in terms of how the tiger got out.

The tiger trainer says that Mevy’s cage was secured with a…

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