lunes, 21 de agosto de 2017

The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years. | August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |

The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years.

August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |







The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years.

Choosing quality over quantity.
Shannon Roberts | Aug 21 2017 | comment 



Would you buy a sweatshirt that guaranteed you 30 years of wear?  Does such a sweatshirt even exist?  You might be surprised to find that it does.  The 30 Year Sweatshirt offers a repair service for thirty years after purchase, meaning that come the final days of July 2047 you might want to calendar in any final repairs. 
The company is not alone in focusing on traditional, long-lasting well-built goods, rather than disposable, ‘made to break’, throw-away products.   Quality, well-made goods are normally somewhat pricier – but they will last.  Apparently they are also on the rise.
Zack Sears is a design director at Kickstarter who co-founded his own New York-based watch brand Throne.  He recently commented to The Telegraph:
"I think it’s a trend across manufacturing. It’s less about mass scale, you can put a little bit more time and money into niche markets as consumers are becoming more educated."
Throwaway technology and badly built appliances seem to have increased dramatically over the last 50 years.  After our washing machine recently broke after only three years, we got told that that was a reasonable period for it to have lastest (it was not a cheap brand!).  We have had similiar issues with having multiple kettles replaced.  This mentality is in contrast to my father’s early working years when he has often commented that the toaster repair man was the busiest man in his building.  
It is surprising that so many companies still have a throw-away design mentality, while seemingly voicing increased concern for the environment.  In the end money talks, I guess.  Many even also suggest that “overpopulation” in country’s with the lightest environmental footprints is the thing that needs to change.  Perhaps also, addicted to materialism as so many of us are, we actually enjoy making a steady stream of purchases. 
In an effort to both combat materialism and better protect the environment, maybe we could start with making more thought-out, quality purchasing decisions where we can afford to.  It would also be lovely to be able to trust appliances again.  The 30 year sweatshirt anyone?




MercatorNet

August 21, 2017

On the same-sex marriage front in Australia, the latest news is that one homophobic poster was been sighted in laneway in the Melbourne CBD. “Hurtful filth”, says the leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. Several articles have suggested that predictions of an avalanche of hate in the upcoming campaign for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage are coming true.
A reality check, though, suggests that the LGBT elephant is hysterical over a very small mouse. One poster in one laneway does not constitute an avalanche.
However, it does indicate how passionate the debate will be. Australia is the only big country in the Anglosphere which has not legalised same-sex marriage. If the electorate votes No, it will send a signal to the rest of the world that the LGBTQI juggernaut can be stopped. So I would urge all Australians to cast their vote.
Legalisation comes with consequences. One of them could be polygamy. This is derided by supporters of same-sex marriage – but a recently published book by an American academic says that it is the next logical step. Read all about it here



Michael Cook
Editor
MERCATORNET















The ethical spin on spinners
By Karl D. Stephan
Yet another example of the power of marketing to get people to buy something they never knew they wanted
Read the full article
 
If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married
By Michael Cook
Will LGBT bigotry be the biggest obstacle to legalising polygamy?
Read the full article
 
The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years.
By Shannon Roberts
Choosing quality over quantity.
Read the full article
 
‘It’s about people like me’: disabled and dead against euthanasia
By Liz Carr
Assisted suicide laws are at their core about disability.
Read the full article
 
Total eclipse, partial failure: Scientific expeditions don’t always go as planned
By Barbara Ryden
Maps, locals, weather have all threatened to foil eclipse hunters.
Read the full article
 
‘God has a good ear for music’: the Catholic response to Reformation music
By Chiara Bertoglio
Polyphony was never in real danger from the Council of Trent.
Read the full article
 
A prenuptial for indissoluble marriages
By Patrick F. Fagan
For couples aiming at ‘forever’.
Read the full article
 
Religion and politics at the dinner table: challenging the old maxim
By Christopher W. Love
Families are uniquely able to foster civil dialogue.
Read the full article
 
European childlessness is on the rise
By Marcus Roberts
But does it mean total fertility rates are dropping?
Read the full article


MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AU | +61 2 8005 8605

If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married | August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |

If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married

August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |







If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married

Will LGBT bigotry be the biggest obstacle to legalising polygamy?
Michael Cook | Aug 21 2017 | comment 



Reality TV show stars Brady Williams and his five wives in 2015
While the unmet demand for legal polygamy may not be huge, there are an estimated 50,000 polygamous families in the United States at the moment – mostly fundamentalist Mormons, Muslims, African-American Black Muslims and Hmongs from Vietnam and Laos. About 500,000 people live in situations which are described as “ethical non-monogamy”, a coy euphemism for polyamory.
There are certainly enough of them around to sue for legal recognition of their stigmatised status. And according to Mark Goldfeder, a legal academic at Emory Law School in Georgia, they can make a coherent and persuasive case. He has sketched out a map for legalisation in his recent book Legalizing Plural Marriage: the Next Frontier in Family Law.
It’s essential reading for all Australians in the upcoming plebiscite on same-sex marriage.
The all-but-universal cry from the same-sex marriage camp is that “the polygamy argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny”, in the words of American gay journalist Jonathan Rauch. Polygamy harms women, harms children and harms young men excluded from the marriage market. Because polygamy is poison for voters, supporters of gay marriage do their best to dismiss it. But is this consistent? The argument for polygamy is remarkably similar to the argument for marriage for gays and lesbians, except that it is the gays and lesbians who seem to be its loudest opponents.  
But Goldfeder believes when the US Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges, it became obvious that the time for legalised polygamy could not be far away. He writes:
the idea is not really as radical as you might at first glance think; ... the legal arguments against it are surprisingly weak; and ... administratively , by drawing on extant legal resources to reform the edges of family law , it would not actually be that difficult to accommodate .
From a legal point of view, the landmark moment for American polygamy was US v Windsor, the 2013 case in which the Supreme Court struck down the Federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife”. DOMA had effectively banned both same-sex marriage and polygamy. But if marriage could be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, why not between one man and two women?
in calling DOMA definitions unconstitutionally restrictive, the court, perhaps unwittingly, also struck down the federal numerical limitation in a marriage, immediately reopening the possibility of plural marriage at the state level.
American society is already moving towards a more fluid definition of marriage. No-fault divorce made possible what Goldfeder describes as” polygamy on the instalment plan”. (He cites an astonishing statistic: every week 43,523 American couples divorce.) Once the sanctity of couple-marriage was broken, families began to come in all shapes and sizes: the blended families of divorced couples; co-habiting thruples; children with surrogate mothers, genetic mothers and caring mothers; children in open adoptions and so on.
Goldfeder calls this process the “unbundling” of marriage – picking and choosing amongst the elements of traditional marriage.
Without a clear definition of marriage, it is inevitable that polygamy will become a possibility. This was certainly the view of Chief Justice John Roberts in his dissent from Obergefell v. Hodges:
"It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage."
What substantial objections can there be to polygamy? Social revulsion is no longer enough for American courts. After another important case which came before the Supreme Court in 2003, Lawrence v Texas, morals-based legislation is no longer constitutional. In contemporary jurisprudence practices may only be proscribed if they cause demonstrable social harms.
And Goldfeder says that no harms are evident. As a lawyer he represented formerly polygamous women and children who had suffered in their relationships. But studying the bigger picture, he concluded that polygamy is largely benign.
I believe that at its core polygamy is an amoral tool and that the people who practice it are either good or bad; I believe that the harms we have come to associate with plural marriage are not intrinsic to the practice but rather arise from a combination of (a) bad actors who should be prosecuted for other evil crimes , and (b) an unregulated system that makes prosecution very difficult.
Because polygamy is illegal, there are no reliable statistics about how it affects participants. So the harms to women and children cited by same-sex marriage advocates are based on surmise, not evidence. In fact, Goldfeder cites a 15-year longitudinal study of polyamorous families by a sociologist, Elizabeth Sheff. It is a small study – only 22 children – but so are many studies of the children of same-sex couples. And she concludes that polyamorous families, in general, provide positive and enriching environments for children. Another study by Duke University law professor Maura Strassberg found that:
Children can benefit from having multiple loving parents who can offer not only more quality time but a greater range of interests and energy levels to match the child’s own unique and growing personality.
So if life in a polygamous family is at least no worse than life in more conventional families, are there any real obstacles to legalising polygamy?
Goldfeder says No: “legalizing plural marriage does not have to be difficult or ground-breaking. It can, in fact, be quite as easy as connecting a few dots, and cause no real disruption or trouble.” To make things easier, he sketches out a legal structure for polygamous marriages which would accommodate sticky issues like inheritance, divorce, taxation, healthcare directives, and so on.
In short, polygamy would tick all the boxes that same-sex marriage ticked, at least in the United States: it is not harmful, some people desperately want it; regulation is possible; it won’t weaken the traditional family; and it is a beautiful way of life. Goldfeder’s concluding remarks echo the gushing prose in campaigns for gay marriage:
Plural marriage is not a sexual system. It is about multiplying everything that is good in a traditional dyadic marriage: love, responsibility , selflessness , and self-identification and expression given and received in a communal context that is well rooted and well understood.
Anyone interested in in life in Australia after same-sex marriage should read this clearly-reasoned road map to polygamy. Who but Australian Marriage Equality could possibly object to it?
To put new life in a shop-worn slogan, if you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married. Don’t deprive others of a love your pitiful and bigoted minds cannot understand.
Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 






MercatorNet

August 21, 2017

On the same-sex marriage front in Australia, the latest news is that one homophobic poster was been sighted in laneway in the Melbourne CBD. “Hurtful filth”, says the leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. Several articles have suggested that predictions of an avalanche of hate in the upcoming campaign for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage are coming true.
A reality check, though, suggests that the LGBT elephant is hysterical over a very small mouse. One poster in one laneway does not constitute an avalanche.
However, it does indicate how passionate the debate will be. Australia is the only big country in the Anglosphere which has not legalised same-sex marriage. If the electorate votes No, it will send a signal to the rest of the world that the LGBTQI juggernaut can be stopped. So I would urge all Australians to cast their vote.
Legalisation comes with consequences. One of them could be polygamy. This is derided by supporters of same-sex marriage – but a recently published book by an American academic says that it is the next logical step. Read all about it here



Michael Cook
Editor
MERCATORNET















The ethical spin on spinners
By Karl D. Stephan
Yet another example of the power of marketing to get people to buy something they never knew they wanted
Read the full article
 
If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married
By Michael Cook
Will LGBT bigotry be the biggest obstacle to legalising polygamy?
Read the full article
 
The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years.
By Shannon Roberts
Choosing quality over quantity.
Read the full article
 
‘It’s about people like me’: disabled and dead against euthanasia
By Liz Carr
Assisted suicide laws are at their core about disability.
Read the full article
 
Total eclipse, partial failure: Scientific expeditions don’t always go as planned
By Barbara Ryden
Maps, locals, weather have all threatened to foil eclipse hunters.
Read the full article
 
‘God has a good ear for music’: the Catholic response to Reformation music
By Chiara Bertoglio
Polyphony was never in real danger from the Council of Trent.
Read the full article
 
A prenuptial for indissoluble marriages
By Patrick F. Fagan
For couples aiming at ‘forever’.
Read the full article
 
Religion and politics at the dinner table: challenging the old maxim
By Christopher W. Love
Families are uniquely able to foster civil dialogue.
Read the full article
 
European childlessness is on the rise
By Marcus Roberts
But does it mean total fertility rates are dropping?
Read the full article


MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AU | +61 2 8005 8605

The ethical spin on spinners | August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |

The ethical spin on spinners

August 21, 2017 | MercatorNet |







The ethical spin on spinners

Yet another example of the power of marketing to get people to buy something they never knew they wanted
Karl D. Stephan | Aug 21 2017 | comment 


The first time I saw one in a store, I couldn't figure out what it was for and I had to ask my wife. "Oh, that's a fidget spinner," she said. "You don't need one." She's right there.
As most people under 20 (and a few people over 60) know, fidget spinners are toys that you hold between your finger and thumb and spin. That's it—that's the whole show.
When the fad showed signs of getting really big, somebody rushed into production battery-powered Bluetooth-enabled spinners. My imagination obviously doesn't run in mass-marketing directions, because I couldn't think of what adding Bluetooth to a spinner could do.
Well, a quick Amazon search turns up spinners with little speakers in each of the three spinning lobes (playing music from your Bluetooth-enabled device), spinners with LEDs embedded in them and synced to the rotation somehow so that when you spin it, it spells out "I LOVE YOU," spinners with color-organ kind of LEDs that light in time to music—you name it, somebody has crammed the electronics into a spinner to do it.
But all this electronics needs super-compact batteries, and where there's batteries, there's the possibility of fire.
Already, there have been a couple of reports of Bluetooth-enabled spinners catching on fire while charging. No deaths or serious injuries have resulted, but the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has put out a nannygram, as you might call it: don't overcharge the spinner, don't plug it in and leave it unattended, don't use a charger that wasn't designed for it, and so on.
I am not aware that teenagers are big fans of the CPSC website, but nobody can say the bureaucrats haven't done their job on this one.
The Wikipedia article on spinners discounts claims that they are good for people with attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity, and similar things. Seems to me that holding a spinning object in your hand would increase distraction rather than the opposite, and some high schools have agreed with me to the extent of banning the devices altogether.
As a long-time manual tapper (no equipment required), I think I can speak to that aspect of the matter from personal experience.
Ever since I was a teenager or perhaps before, I have been in the habit of tapping more or less rhythmically on any available surface from time to time. My wife is not exactly used to it—she will let me know now and then when it gets on her nerves—but it's no longer a huge issue between us. Often when she asks me to stop, it's the first time I've fully realized I'm doing it, and that's part of the mystery of tapping or doing other habitual, useless things with your hands.
The most famous manual fidgeter in fiction was a character in Herman Wouk's World War II novel The Caine Mutiny, Captain Philip F. Queeg, who had the habit when under stress of taking two half-inch ball bearings out of his pocket and rolling them together. (Queeg lived in an impoverished age when customized fidget toys were only a distant dream, so he had to use whatever fell to hand, so to speak.)
During the court martial that forms the heart of the novel, a psychologist is called to the stand to speculate on the reasons for Queeg's habit of rolling balls. The doctor's comments ranged from the sexual to the scatological, and will not be repeated here. But it appears that psychology has not made much progress in the last 70 years to find out why some people simply like to do meaningless motions with their hands. That hasn't kept a lot of marketing types from making money off of them.
Fidget spinners are yet another example of the power of marketing to get people to buy something they didn't know they wanted till they saw one. I don't know what the advertising budget was for the companies that popularized the toy, but I suspect it was substantial.
For reasons unknown to everyone but God, the thing caught on, and what with Bluetooth-enabled ones and so on, the marketers are riding the cresting fad wave for all it's worth before it spills on the beach and disappears, as it will. Somehow I don't think we're going to see 80-year-olds in 2100 taking their cherished mahogany spinners out of felt-lined boxes for one last spin before the graveyard.
Like most toys, fidget spinners seem to be ethically benign, unless one of them happens to set your drapes on fire. Lawsuits are a perpetual hazard of the consumer product business, but the kind of people who market fad products are risk-takers to begin with, so it's not surprising they cut a few corners in the product safety area before rushing to the stores with their hastily designed gizmos.
By the time the cumbersome government regulatory apparatus gets in gear, the company responsible for the problematic spinners may have vanished. Here's where the internet and its viewers' fondness for exciting bad news can help even more than government regulations.
When hoverboards started catching fire a year or two ago, what kept people from buying more of the bad ones wasn't the government so much as it was the bad publicity the defective board makers got on YouTube. And that's a good thing, when consumers who get burned (sometimes literally) can warn others of the problem.
As for Bluetooth-enabled spinners, well, if you want one, go get one while you can. They'll be collectors' items pretty soon. And those of us who learned how to cope with tension the old-fashioned way by drumming on a table-top can at least rest assured that they aren't going to take our fingers or table-tops away. But they might tell us to stop tapping.
Karl D. Stephan is a professor of electrical engineering at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. This article has been republished, with permission, from his blog, Engineering Ethics, which is a MercatorNet partner site. His ebook Ethical and Otherwise: Engineering In the Headlines is available in Kindle format and also in the iTunes store.




MercatorNet

August 21, 2017

On the same-sex marriage front in Australia, the latest news is that one homophobic poster was been sighted in laneway in the Melbourne CBD. “Hurtful filth”, says the leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten. Several articles have suggested that predictions of an avalanche of hate in the upcoming campaign for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage are coming true.
A reality check, though, suggests that the LGBT elephant is hysterical over a very small mouse. One poster in one laneway does not constitute an avalanche.
However, it does indicate how passionate the debate will be. Australia is the only big country in the Anglosphere which has not legalised same-sex marriage. If the electorate votes No, it will send a signal to the rest of the world that the LGBTQI juggernaut can be stopped. So I would urge all Australians to cast their vote.
Legalisation comes with consequences. One of them could be polygamy. This is derided by supporters of same-sex marriage – but a recently published book by an American academic says that it is the next logical step. Read all about it here



Michael Cook
Editor
MERCATORNET















The ethical spin on spinners
By Karl D. Stephan
Yet another example of the power of marketing to get people to buy something they never knew they wanted
Read the full article
 
If you don’t like plural marriage, don’t get plural married
By Michael Cook
Will LGBT bigotry be the biggest obstacle to legalising polygamy?
Read the full article
 
The sweatshirt that lasts 30 years.
By Shannon Roberts
Choosing quality over quantity.
Read the full article
 
‘It’s about people like me’: disabled and dead against euthanasia
By Liz Carr
Assisted suicide laws are at their core about disability.
Read the full article
 
Total eclipse, partial failure: Scientific expeditions don’t always go as planned
By Barbara Ryden
Maps, locals, weather have all threatened to foil eclipse hunters.
Read the full article
 
‘God has a good ear for music’: the Catholic response to Reformation music
By Chiara Bertoglio
Polyphony was never in real danger from the Council of Trent.
Read the full article
 
A prenuptial for indissoluble marriages
By Patrick F. Fagan
For couples aiming at ‘forever’.
Read the full article
 
Religion and politics at the dinner table: challenging the old maxim
By Christopher W. Love
Families are uniquely able to foster civil dialogue.
Read the full article
 
European childlessness is on the rise
By Marcus Roberts
But does it mean total fertility rates are dropping?
Read the full article


MERCATORNET | New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2, 5 George Street | North Strathfield NSW 2137 | AU | +61 2 8005 8605