Marriage is good for men and women

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Police everywhere are worried about the rise of binge drinking among young women. Recently I watched a television news item on attempts to control weekend drunkenness and violence in an English town, and most of the film showed young women trying to beat the lads at the own game.

Why has this problem got so bad? An answer occurred to me when I read about a study looking at the links between marriage and mental health. The study, led by New Zealand clinical psychologist Kate Scott and using WHO international data, found that, among the whole sample of women and men, regardless of marital status, women were more likely to experience depression and anxiety disorders than men, who were more likely to succumb to substance abuse.

Marriage (first marriage), however, reduced the risk of substance abuse still further for women.

Dr Scott said this could be… click here to read whole article and make comments



Unusual reunion for twins separated at birth

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A friend recently sent me this story, which comes from the Canary Islands:

The case of twins separated at birth seems more like a Hollywood script than real life. However, once again, reality exceeds the imagination.

36 years ago, twin sisters (the names were not released) were born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and at the same time, another girl was born at the same hospital. But the twins were mixed up and went to different families. One returned home with her biological parents. The other newborn girl and the other twin went to the biological family of the third child.

Now a court has decided to fine the local Government 360,000 euros to compensate the twin sister who has lived all her life apart from their biological family. It decided that a medical error had happened in the nursery of the old… click here to read whole article and make comments



Advertising adultery

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In the middle of the Tiger Woods infidelity furore a website that sells adultery (“an affair to remember” in three months or your $249 back) has been trying to get a Toronto public transport company to run ads on its street cars urging: Life is short. Have an affair.”

What is worse, reading a Globe and Mail report carefully it seems that the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which runs the trams, was on the verge of accepting the AshleyMadison ads when emails from the public started pouring in. City councillor Suzan Hall says, “There hasn’t been a single person emailing in to say they’re in support of this.”

AshleyMadison, a Toronto-based company, boasts five million members and its boss Noel Biderman claims that people are tolerant of affairs these days. Oh yes? That is not what Tiger Woods’ erstwhile sponsors seem to think. Nor what caused other adultery ads… click here to read whole article and make comments



Education and the art of swallowing pigeons

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Image: GoogleFurther proof of the parlous state of education in the so-called information age comes from Crooked Timber blog (“Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made”). Someone who teaches a college information science course relays a student’s class presentation about Google.

The student had searched -- on Google, of course -- “How does Google work?” and clicked on the first link that came up -- an old April Fools Day hoax perpetrated by Google itself, describing how it uses an algorithm called PigeonRank to rank search results. We are not talking metaphor here but real, live grey pigeons. Here’s a quote:

When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds... When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it… click here to read whole article and make comments



Marriage and money in the Great Recession

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How are marriages -- American marriages, at least -- doing during the Great Recession? That is the question the latest State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project sets out to answer, and the findings are not all bad news.

Good News: Divorce fell during the first full year of the recession -- the first annual dip since 2005, and evidence that the challenges of job losses, foreclosures and depleted retirement accounts may be driving some couples to stick together, says a press release from NMP.

Sociology professor Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia, who currently heads the project, suggests that “tough times foster real family solidarity” as families meet more of their needs within the home, and that “many couples are rediscovering the longstanding sociological truth that marriage is one of society’s best insurance plans”.

Credit card debt is down and with it… click here to read whole article and make comments



Why women had to get to work

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Image: LA TimesOne of the less appreciated benefits of the female workforce revolution is the fact that women no longer have time to watch daytime soap operas. This week another long-running American serial, As The World Turns, went down the plughole, bringing the number on three networks down to six -- more than enough, heaven knows.

At its peak in 1978, ATWT had 10 million viewers a week hooked on the loves and losses (not to mention the silliness and sins) of the folks in Oakdale, Illinois. In the 1990s it was still pulling in six million but this season it is down to 2.5 million and half its viewers are over 58. Advertisers are not terribly interested in women about to retire on a pension; they want to reach the younger women, who are more likely to be watching programmes at night.

Not that… click here to read whole article and make comments



Children change climate for the better

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As the climate change summit opens in Copenhagen, the UN Population Fund’s recent message is still ringing in my ears: more babies will undermine attempts to stop global warming.

This nonsense from the UN is not new: we have heard for some time now that the most climatologically (ergo morally) responsible thing you can do is have fewer children or none at all. I have read countless columns, articles, and comments on blogs and websites blasting large families for increasing their “carbon footprint” and jeopardizing the future of the planet.

My husband I are the proud parents of seven children. This makes us an anomaly in post-modern western culture, where the birth rate has fallen below replacement level. What makes our family slightly more extraordinary is that they are all girls. I am rather proud of this fact, though technically, I’m not sure I had much to do with… click here to read whole article and make comments



UK reports says ‘don’t try to fix the family’

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Katherine Rake, awarded OBE in 2008Golly, it’s hard to keep up with the Brits and their reports on families and parenting. You would think that government and academics actually understood something about those subjects, but more often than not they add to the confusion.

The latest “major report” to pronounce on the fate of the family advises the government not to try to preserve the “traditional family” as it crumbles under the impact of marital breakdown and workplace pressures. The Family and Parenting Institute says the family as we knew it is no longer “the norm” and government efforts to rescue it are futile; members of the extended family -- grandparents, uncles and aunts, even siblings and cousins -- can make up for absent parents, says the FPI.

To be precise, that is what the institute’s new chief executive, Katherine Rake, said at its… click here to read whole article and make comments



Consult baby before changing nappy

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With fewer babies around these days, scientists and assorted experts are paying them more attention than ever before. One theory with a growing number of disciples is based on the idea that one should treat babies like little adults, consulting them before changing a nappy or taking them on outings.

Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) first took hold in Los Angeles (of course) in 1980, but has Hungarian roots. One of its exponents, Polly Elam, is in New Zealand right now running seminars at $125 a head for Kiwi parents and childcare staff. RIE is catching on here and centres using it have had glowing reports from the government’s education watchdog, the Education Review Office.

What’s familiar in the programme is the idea that babies and toddlers should learn at their own pace, not be prompted and coached -- by, for example, pushing them to start rolling over, or… click here to read whole article and make comments



‘I was never your father’ - DNA testing and what it can do to children

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We are used to the sad stories of children who have never known their fathers, and of those whose fathers become estranged through divorce; but there are a growing number of children who risk losing the only father they have ever known because he discovers he is not their father after all.

The New York Times Magazine ran a long article recently on the issue of men taking DNA tests to establish paternity status when they are in dispute with their wife, or when they have been named as the father of a child under welfare rules. Their aim is to avoid paying child support.

The biggest issue here -- especially when it involves the break-up of a family after a number of years -- is the devastating effect on a child of what can amount to losing a father twice over. In one instance, a divorced man walked… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@

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