Half of young lovers are cheats [Evening Standard]

“They say the path of true love never runs smoothly but nearly half of young people have cheated on a partner, it seems.

Forty-seven per cent of Britons aged between 25 and 34 have been unfaithful and a fifth of those have cheated on their current partners, a new study suggests.

A quarter of people questioned insisted they did not even feel guilty and a defiant six per cent said sex with someone else did not constitute being unfaithful.” MORE

Down with 21st century philistinism [Spiked]

Brendan O’Neill reviews Frank Furedi’s new book “Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?”

‘Dumbing down’ is often seen as being about the rise of reality TV and other dumb culture. In fact, says Frank Furedi, the problem is much bigger than Big Brother.

‘Cultural institutions like universities and galleries no longer challenge us or encourage us to question what we know. Instead they flatter us. But flattery will get us nowhere.’ Not content with having taken on risk-aversion, therapy culture and the paranoid parenting industry in his previous books, Furedi, a sociologist and prolific author who doesn’t suffer faddish thinking gladly, lays in to dumbing down (or ‘twenty-first century philistinism’ as he prefers to call it) in his latest offering.

Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?, described by former Oxford don Terry Eagleton as a ‘vitally important book’, is a short and sharp critique of the way in which intellectual life has been degraded. MORE

See also former posts:

The Psychological Turn of Public Policy – a lecture given by Professor Furedi at the Policy Exchange, 2 December 2003.
Theodore Dalrymple reviews Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi
‘PANIC ATTACK: INTERROGATING OUR OBSESSION WITH RISK’ – Furedi made an excellent speech at this event.
Singleton society by Frank Furedi

Abelard.org just keeps getting better

The site has recently added a Tech section, has some beautiful photos, keeps putting out superb position documents, briefings, primers and news analysis. Here are two recent samples:

Selections from Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s speech to Congress and President Bush’s speech recent speech the UN.

and this from the excellent Behaviour section of the site

The size of human groups with some comment on terror cells

See in particular the notes on “the so-called Dunbar Number”.

“However, Dunbar’s work itself suggests that a community size of 150 will not be a mean for a community unless it is highly incentivized to remain together. We can see hints of this in Dunbar’s description of the number and what it means:

“The group size predicted for modern humans by equation (1) would require as much as 42% of the total time budget to be devoted to social grooming.

“My suggestion, then, is that language evolved as a “cheap” form of social grooming, so enabling the ancestral humans to maintain the cohesion of the unusually large groups demanded by the particular conditions they faced at the time.” MORE

Excellent stuff.

The London Noise Map [NoiseMap]

“The London Noise Map Web Viewer contains maps that show calculated levels of road traffic noise across the Greater London area. The maps do not include the effects of any other sources of noise, such as railways, aircraft, industrial or neighbour noise. One set of maps show noise from All Roads, and another set show only noise from Major Roads. Each map shows the level of noise using different ways of accounting for the variation of noise, both from moment to moment and at different times of day. These are called Noise Indexes. You can also view the maps at a selection of different sizes.” MORE

Talking to your dying child [Science Blog]

Very sad topic, but worth noting:

For the first time a major study is now being presented in which parents of children who died of cancer were given the opportunity to talk about their experiences. The findings are being published in several acclaimed articles and a doctoral dissertation at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. All parents of children who died of cancer in Sweden between 1992 and 1997 were contacted four to nine years after the death of their child. One part of the study…takes up the question of whether the parents had talked with their severely ill child about death. None of the 147 parents who had done so regretted doing so. On the other hand, 69 (27%) of the 258 parents who had not spoken with their child about death later regretted not having done so, most of them because they had realized that their child had in fact understood that he/she was dying. MORE

Critical Thinking on The Net is back from summer break…

New posts and quotes, like this:

“Our dangers, as it seems to me, are not from the outrageous but from the conforming; not from those who rarely and under the lurid glare of obloquy upset our moral complaisance, or shock us with unaccustomed conduct, but from those, the mass of us, who take their virtues and tastes, like their shirts and their furniture, from the limited patterns which the market offers.”
– Learned Hand ” The Preservation of Personality”

Horror photos of Russian school siege and aftermath

I have not really got much to say about this. I though suicide bombers were the nadir of Islamic fascists, but I was wrong. The deliberate targeting of children – despite a near universal human given that children are innocent and inviolable – takes this war to a new level of barbarity.

Two photo albums at fotki.com have harrowing photos of the siege and its aftermath. Details on how to contribute to the relief effort can be found there too.


School siege tragedy

Aftermath of Belsan terrorist attack

For an example of a picture Al Reuters will not show you with the casual description of “victims of militants“, shock yourself here: Dead children.