Economic growth: business as usual despite dire warnings

It seems that the majority of people, economists and policy makers still view economic growth as the holy grail of social well-being. Whatever the news may be on other fronts, first and foremost the economy must be strong; and the way to ensure economic strength is by encouraging consumerism.

Headlines like "Weak consumption hits growth" are not surprising because growth and consumption are always a concern:

Opposition forces government to shut down Human Rights Committee

Thanks to the opposition party, the Human rights committee will be disbanded:

The Human Rights Advisory Committee and the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, both chaired by Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), will stop functioning to show the Presidential Office's respect for the legislature, as well as its sincerity in maintaining a harmonious relationship with opposition parties, Chen said.

(...)The Legislative Yuan passed a resolution in January requesting that six non-institutional bodies set up under the Presidential Office be dissolved.

Will the sun rise, tomorrow morning?

Sometimes I really wonder what people are thinking when they read news that run under catchy headlines like "gruesome warnings put Singaporeans off their cigarettes". Do they really think we've made some progress in understanding the human psyche?

Images of diseased gums and cancerous lungs along with anti-smoking warnings on cigarette packages have had an effect on smokers in Singapore, a survey said yesterday.

Twenty-eight percent of the 650 smokers queried said they smoked fewer cigarettes and seven in 10 said they knew more about the effects of smoking on health, according to the Health Promotion Board findings.

(...)The warnings, introduced in August 2004, carry six images: Diseased gums, a cancerous lung, a dying baby, a brain oozing blood, a patient on his deathbed and a family suffering from second-hand smoke.

(...) The average number of callers to the board's Quitline increased from 100 prior to the warnings and images to 300 a month since they were introduced.

(...) Singapore has an international reputation for social engineering, and keeps a close check on an array of public activities.

I applaud the Singapore's administration for daring actually protect their citizens' health, but really, the "findings" have found nothing new: since the 1960s, the consumers' behaviour has been known to be easily influenceable through subliminal and not so subliminal messages, also known as advertising.

What Singapore is doing with its provocative pictures on cigarettes packages is manipulating the consumers in exactly the opposite direction but using the same techniques as the highly influential advertising industry.

peak oil and free energy

Peak oil and free energy? :
I am not sure about the free energy part (but I am willing to remain open minded).
The Peak Oil has got me concerned, though...

Foster homes giving a few happy years to abused children.

While our world is full of problems, there as still many people who are part of the solution. While there are still many abused or neglected children, among the real unsung heroes of today's society are foster parents who open up their homes:

When foster mother Sung Kan-mei (宋甘妹) in Miaoli County took in a sexually abused junior high school girl as a foster child, she wanted to give the child what she had always lacked -- a safe, stable and happy family.

However, it was not as easy as she had thought it would be.

From the Arctic's glaciers to Saudi Arabia's oil fields

The ability of the media and the people to gloss over the most important news of the day can be quite unnerving.

Today an article says that Arctic winter ice cover shrinks to all-time low:

Satellite measurements show the area covered by Arctic winter sea ice reached an all-time low in March, down some 300,000km2 on last year.

Scientists say that the decline highlights an alarming new trend, with recovery of the ice in winter no longer enough to compensate for increased melting in the summer. If the cycle continues, the Arctic Ocean could lose all ice earlier than expected, possibly by 2030.

Forcing TV viewers to watch advertising... and more...

I progressively stopped watching television when I started figuring out how detrimental it was for my health.

It's obvious that corporations are cashing in on TV's captive audience.

It's obvious to anyone who dares to seriously think about it that television advertising has a profound influence on our psyche: if ads failed to brainwash us into buying some products, corporations wouldn't spend untold sums of money for a 30 second spot on television. That's why the television industry, to protect its revenue stream, is thinking about new ways to force us to watch the ads:

Erotica: connecting the dots...

Do you see the connection between this picture:

Viva erotica
A model wears boots and underwear with Brazilian motifs on Friday during the 10th Erotic Fair that is currently being held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

...and the two stories that were published the same day, in the same newspaper about abuse and adultery??

For those who don't get it, the picture is 'newsworthy' because erotica 'sells'. Erotica 'sells' because it is on demand. It is on demand for the same biological reasons that marital abuse and adultery are common...

80% against adultery? Do they know about the "Coolidge Effect"?

Yet another poll reveals that 80% of Taiwanese support for adultery remaining a crime

Despite efforts by local women's rights groups to promote the decriminalization of adultery in Taiwan, 79 percent of respondents to a survey released yesterday disapprove of the idea and believe that adultery should remain subject to criminal penalties.

Abused women are depressed: who will give couples the real cure?

A Taiwanese poll shows that abused women are more prone to depression:

More than 80 percent of Taiwanese women who are physically abused by their husbands have a tendency toward depression, with one quarter considered to be seriously at risk of committing suicide, according to the results of a survey (...)conducted by the Modern Women's Foundation.

Surely, the results have nothing surprising. One even wonders why this is newsworthy.