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  • Five things that Brave New World got terrifyingly right

    first_imgThe Telegraph 25 November 20131) The tyranny of “happiness” 2) Drugging the populaceThe people of Brave New World are kept chilled with a drug called soma. Described as having “all of the advantages of Christianity and alcohol [and] none of their defects”, it’s a psychoactive drug that induces feelings of calm, thus negating any need to discover and potentially tackle the true source of one’s sorrow. Soma subdues all “malice and bad tempers”. Modern society uses antidepressants in a disturbingly similar way. This week a report discovered that prescriptions for antidepressants have “surged across the rich world”. A British psychiatrist is worried that antidepressants are being dished out not to combat serious depression but merely to “get rid of unhappiness”. Ritalin use among children has “soared” in Britain, as parents and doctors take to drugging kids who seem overly pesky. As in Brave New World, we prefer to supress “malice and bad tempers” with drugs rather than ask what travails might lie behind such emotions and how they might be addressed.3) The fashion for euthanasiaIn Brave New World, death is celebrated. Most of those who reach 60, and become economically useless, are euthanised. Hearses are “gaily coloured”. People are sent to die in comfortable, primrose-coloured apartment blocks, which are “alive with gay synthetic melodies” and where there’s a TV at the foot of every bed. Today, people aren’t euthanised en masse, of course, but there is a fashion for euthanasia, or what we must now bizarrely call “the right to die”, particularly in liberal-leaning circles. The bright, gay death centres of Brave New World find their equivalent in the euthanasia clinics of modern Europe, where one can request a “good death” in comfortable surroundings if one is suffering from a terminal illness or, in the case of Belgium, simply from depression. Baroness Warnock has said elderly people should ask themselves if they have a “duty to die”, because “if you are demented… you are wasting the resources of the NHS”. A Times columnist recently said we should legalise voluntary euthanasia in order to address society’s “unaffordable explosion in dementia and age-related illness”. That isn’t a million miles from Brave New World’s use of euthanasia to limit the number of resource-sucking sick people and keep the economy healthy.4) Malthusian miserabilism5) Bashing the familyIn Brave New World, promiscuity is encouraged and family life is frowned upon. The family is viewed as a drain on people’s creativity. Having a family demands “a narrow channelling of impulse and energy”, officials insist, as they mock “the frictions of tightly packed [family] life, reeking with emotion”. Today, too, the family is sneered at. Feminists depict it as a site of abuse, especially of women and children; bookshop shelves creak with misery memoirs about wicked mothers and violent fathers; Cameron complains of Britain’s thousands of “chaotic families”, who apparently need state guidance. The number of people across the globe who live alone rather than as part of a family unit has “skyrocketed”, rising from 153 million in 1996 to 280 million today. As in Brave New World, today not only are we surrounded by misanthropy, authoritarianism and emotion-modifying drugs in public life, but even that once quiet, private sphere of family life, that old heart in a heartless world, is being thoroughly undermined.http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100247159/five-things-that-brave-new-world-got-terrifyingly-right/last_img read more

  • Health Officials urge residents to test for radon

    first_imgStatewide—Radon, a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in most soil, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer among smokers and the number-one cause among non-smokers. It is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. each year, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates.January is National Radon Action Month, and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging homeowners to test their homes for radon because this tasteless, colorless and odorless gas can build up in homes without residents’ knowledge.“You can’t see, smell or taste radon, but it could be present at a dangerous level in your home,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. “By testing, Hoosiers can determine whether a high radon level is present and take steps to fix the problem and ensure their families are breathing safe and healthy air.” Test kits also can be purchased at most home improvement and hardware stores and through some online retailers.Radon enters homes and other buildings through small cracks and holes in the foundation, where it becomes trapped and accumulates in the air. When people breathe in radon, it damages the lungs. Long-term exposure can eventually cause lung cancer.Because radon has no taste, smell or color, a home must be tested to find out how much radon is in the air. There is no safe level for radon, but the EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend fixing homes that have levels at or above 4pCi/L (picocuries per liter). More than two-thirds of Indiana counties have predicted average indoor radon levels of 4 pCi/L, according to the EPA.If high levels of radon are detected, licensed contractors can install mitigation systems to eliminate the problem and protect the occupants of the home.To learn more about radon, visit the ISDH’s radon page at http://www.in.gov/isdh/24346.htm and the EPA’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Radon” at https://www.epa.gov/radon/publications-about-radon. To find out what levels of radon have been found in your community, see ISDH’s map here.last_img read more


    first_imgDONEGAL TD Thomas Pringle has called on the Government to protect self-employed people who find themselves in difficult circumstances by provision of additional social welfare payments.Speaking on the matter at Topical Issues in the Dáil the Independent TD for Donegal South West stated: “We are all aware of the hardship being faced by many people currently. When someone is made unemployed, paying the bills and mortgage while putting food on the table is a daunting prospect. While some supports are available to help those in need, life is still a struggle.”“As it stands, however, the self-employed who find themselves in a similar situation are not entitled to that support and are left with nothing – that is not right and should not be allowed to continue. While social welfare may be available through Jobseeker’s Allowance, jumping through the necessary hoops to show they have a need and can satisfy the means test is very difficult for self-employed people.” “There is a high level of unemployment and many were self-employed but because of their status, they are not entitled to Jobseeker’s Benefit or disability benefits, which can have untold consequences on the individual and his or her family. I realise a situation exists where on an actuarial basis self-employed contributors receive a lot more than they contribute to the Social Insurance Fund, but these people must be protected when they are unemployed like any other person.By doubling self-employment contributions from 4% to 8%, with such qualifying contributions being made for no less than 104 weeks, we could provide for such people to be eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit and disability benefits without it having a massive impact on the Social Insurance Fund,” explained Pringle.“The Minister for Social Protection previously suggested voluntary contributions could be an option, but I disagree. We have already seen how voluntary contributions worked for fishermen, with only 20 individuals availing of this option in 2009 out of 1,400 fishermen. Many of them probably subsequently regretted their decision not to pay the additional contributions, and it is for that reason the contributions must be mandatory for the system to work.”“In 2011, 2,300 people started businesses in Ireland. These people are classified as being self-employed and are those whom it is hoped will employ others in the future. Consequently, such a measure should be considered as a stimulus package. “I therefore ask that the Minister for Social Protection gives this proposal serious consideration which would give many a safety-net in difficult circumstances,” stated Pringle. PRINGLE: GOVERNMENT MUST PROTECT SELF-EMPLOYED was last modified: October 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:PRINGLE: GOVERNMENT MUST PROTECT SELF-EMPLOYEDlast_img read more