The first time I came across the name Johns Hopkins University I thought someone had committed a typo, but it gradually dawned on me that that was its real name -- strictly speaking The Johns Hopkins University. I assumed then it must be named after two people whose surnames were Johns and Hopkins, but no, it was one person, an entrepreneur and philanthropist whose first name was Johns. It still seems odd to me, but it's a genteel oddity compared with today's roll call of Jedis, Thunders and Vanilles...
I only mention it becaue the author of the article about the ice bucket challenge, Nathaniel Comfort, is a professor in the Department of the History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University, which is a private research university in Baltimore. So when he argues against giving charity money to biomedical research -- whether for Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is what the ALS ice challenge is about, or any other disease -- he should have good reasons. Check them out.
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Apologies to Demography Is Destiny subscribers who got a bad link to the article about gender balance in the latest update. The one above will work.
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This newsletter comes warm, if not hot on the heels of yesterday's, I'm afraid, because of a scheduling error. In other words, I hit the wring button. This one should have arrived at the regular time.
From our short list today I'd like to highlight the article by Ali Mamouri, a Sydney PhD student, who offers a timely reminder that "there exists Islams, not Islam" and that the vast majority of Muslims do not hold with violence and terrorism. We need to get to know the Muslims living quietly on our streets and worshipping at the local mosque, understand what they believe and together contribute to a global dialogue that will eventually isolate the intolerant and violent elements.
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Demography blogger Shannon Roberts today asks the interesting question, Will we all be Africans one day soon? It is prompted by a new UNICEF report on child demographics in Africa -- in which, from a quick scan, I detect a note of anxiety rather than celebration over the continent's burgeoning population. And yet, after Asia, it is the most attractive investment destination in the world. From whichever angle you look at it, Africa is not a part of the world to be ignored.
If you have anything to do with young adults take a look at my piece on some brand new research from the US National Marriage Project -- Before 'I do': how the new relationship script can affect marital happiness. The vast majority of young people still dream about a happy marriage one day and they have a right to know what raises or reduces their chance of achieving that.
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER: Dr Michelle Cretella has written a brisk, persuasive case against legalising marijuana. She says that smoking it is unhealthy compared to tobacco and that its purported health benefits are adequately covered by other medications. Check it out.
But while I was backgrounding myself on this, I came across a YouTube video from Bloomberg on the world's most expensive cigars. These apparently come from a company in the Dominican Republic, Gurkha Cigars. A box currently costs about $25,000 -- or about $1,000 per cigar. Holy Smoke! you might say. Somehow they seem overpriced. If this is your favourite after-dinner entertainment, perhaps you could send one to MercatorNet so that we can raffle it off to raise funds for our autumn marketing drive.