Swearing and bullying

“Giles Coren fails to understand that the principal purpose of swearing is as a means of bullying and control. This explains its use by drill sergeants, celebrity chefs, university lecturers and drunken louts on trains. “Swearing is the lexical equivalent of the shaken fist, used by the more powerful as a means of intimidation against …

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Why is pay between men and women so different?

Female high school graduates, aged 21 to 24, earn an average of 92 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Curiously, in America and contrary to expectations, the salaries of female graduates, in general, are 79% of those of their male peers of the same age group. Only a year ago the figure …

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Is running a university worth such huge salaries?

To The Times From Louise Richardson’s complaint that her salary as Vice Chancellor of Oxford (£350,000 a year) is not in the same league as footballers and bankers, to the yacht-owning George Holmes at Bolton (£222,120 a year and a £1m loan to buy a house) saying he is underpaid compared with top US institutions, …

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Inequality in the United States

According to the Guardian Weekly (November 11th) the world’s 1,542 billionaires increased their wealth this year by 17% to $6tn, a return impossible to get on most stock markets and rather a distance from the average interest income of 0.35% offered normal people by normal banks. The IMF has told western governments to increase taxes …

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Sexual harassment insurance

Sexual harassment is the consuming subject at the moment in America, with aggrieved women popping up all over the place, and startling news about secret shananigans in Congress (about how the taxpayer has been paying for financial settlements, a lot of them concerning sexual harassment) hitting the news. But there is something happening that I …

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Thought for the day

49% of teenagers say they have contacted someone by email or text message while in the same room as them.   26% of adults have done the same thing. Just 15% of 16-to24-year-olds think that phone calls are the most important method of electronic communication.  (Ofcom/The Sunday Times)

Managers, managers and yet more managers

The number of managers and senior managers employed across the National Health Service rose by 11% between October 2014 and April this year. In the same period, the number of nursing staff and health visitors grew by just 1.1% (and it has fallen since April). (The Daily Telegraph) What do you want more managers for, …

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The end of liberal democracy and humanism? (Part 1)

According to Yuval Noah Harari, in his book “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” there is new challenge to liberal democracy. It’s primary roots lie not in ideology but in bioscience and information technology. He sugesrs that in the 21st Century “the train of progress is pulling out of the station – and this …

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The people are parting company with the corporations

The disconnect between the people and the business community community has reached huge proportions in the US. Corporations are enjoying record profits but investing very little in the economy. Only one third of Americans believe large corporations are having a positive effect on the country and only 2 in 10 people surveyed say they have …

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The best news sources

Despite significant advances in media and communication technology, high quality journalism remains something hard to come by. Newspaper revenues are in decline, caused by a shift to reading the news online. To make matters worse, many people choose to get their news via social media, eschewing the need to visit news websites at all. As …

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Are Oxford and Cambridge being racist? Part 2

What is the job of a university? To produce people who can think laterally, not literally; who can think critically and for themselves; who can mentally assemble information in a logical way, and transmit the information to others in a clear, concise manner. It is not the job of universities to reflect the racial make-up …

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