A study of single-dwellers in the United States has revealed what may be a surprising tidbit for those who assumed bliss was tied up in being constantly around people: people who live alone are generally happier. Eric Klinenberg is a professor of sociology at New York University and conducted more than 300 in depth interviews with ‘singletons’ across the States to gauge their satisfaction levels and found them to be remarkably happy – but moreso if they lived in a city. “Living in a city makes it much easier for singletons to get out into the public realm and contribute to the common good,” he says. He found that those living solo are more likely to eat out, exercise, attend extracurricular classes, public events and lectures, and volunteer. After all this socialising, for solo dwellers, nothing could be more appealing than retreating to their exile on main street. As for us, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that by 2031, 3.6 million people will live in lone person households. Klinenberg added:
“The rising status of women has been essential to the change, because their economic independence and personal freedom allowed women to delay marriage or escape failing ones,” he says.
“Then there’s the communications revolution, beginning with the telephone and continuing to Facebook and Skype, because these technologies allow people to be connected even while they’re home alone.
“Urbanisation is a third force, because it created booming subcultures of singles who live alone, together in particular urban neighbourhoods throughout the world. Finally, there’s the longevity revolution, which has made ageing alone a common experience too.”
By the middle of the decade it will be illegal in New South Wales to smoke in a number of outdoor areas like bus shelters, out the front of buildings and in outdoor dining areas. Some states, like Queensland, enacted similar bans on outdoor smoking areas in 2006.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said a pre-election promise to the clubs industry prevented the bans from being implemented in outdoor commercial dining areas until March 2015, but bans in the other areas would take effect immediately.
She said the government would honour its memorandum of understanding with ClubsNSW. Mrs Skinner said smoking-related illness accounted for 5200 deaths and 44,000 hospital admissions each year in NSW – costing NSW $8 billion each year.
Do the laws go far enough? Too far?
The Federal Government continues to wrestle with its approach to the well received schools funding report delivered by businessman David Gonski. We read the 300+ page report so you didn’t have to, get across the details quickly here. The Government wouldn’t commit to the minimum $5 billion cash injection the report said was needed (based on 2009 figures) instead saying ‘the scope of the proposed new funding contributions may be too large’ and that returning the budget to surplus was a priority. Instead of immediate action, Ms Gillard committed to another round of consultations and working parties will be established with stakeholders including state education ministers. Parents would be included in the talks. But in allaying concerns of private schools yesterday, Ms Gillard said she believed it was a right of all parents to expect some government funding for their child’s education. ”I do believe that as effectively a citizenship entitlement, people are entitled to see government support for the funding of their child’s education,” she said.
A disgruntled Moroccan employee of a firm Facebook uses to outsource its content moderation has handed over detailed documents to tech website Gawker, revealing for the first time the incredibly specific guidelines Facebook uses to moderate user content. The man said he handed the documents over because he was tired of being treated like ‘the third world’ and being paid just $1 an hour to do the work. The revelations come after a sustained campaign by (mostly) mothers who were outraged when Facebook began deleting pictures of breastfeeding. The guidelines only apply to content that has been flagged as inappropriate by other users at which point the vast teams of moderators decide whether it should be deleted on the spot, kept or processed higher up the chain. Gawker reports of the 17-page document:
It’s divided into categories like “Sex and Nudity,” “Hate Content,” “Graphic Content” and “Bullying and Harassment.” The document was current as of last month.
Facebook, it appears, will delete pretty tame stuff. For example, any of the following content will be deleted, according to the guidelines:
- Blatant (obvious) depiction of camel toes and moose knuckles.
- Mothers breastfeeding without clothes on.
- Sex toys or other objects, but only in the context of sexual activity.
- Depicting sexual fetishes in any form.
- ANY photoshopped images of people, whether negative, positive or neutral.
- Images of drunk and unconscious people , or sleeping people with things drawn on their face.
- Violent speech (Example: “I love hearing skulls crack.”).
Facebook is more lenient when it comes to violence. Gory pictures are allowed, as long somebody’s guts aren’t spilling out. “Crushed heads, limbs etc are OK as long as no insides are showing,” reads one guideline. “Deep flesh wounds are ok to show; excessive blood is ok to show.” Mairjuana is also OK to show; other drugs are not. What do you think?
The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) is reviewing a complaint of a poster advertising the live Brisbane show of the ‘Puppetry of the penis’ crew who contort their genitals on stage to laughs from an audience. The billboard at the Twelfth Night Theatre at Bowen Hills has prompted one complaint with a letter stating: “We teach our children to behave civilly and use words appropriately. This billboard offends against this dignity by thrusting the male genital part into the public arena for entertainment and laughs.” The complainant said the ‘shape of the font used on the billboard to promote the new 3D show could be perceived as suggestive and could negatively impact the community’. Puppetry of the Penis founder Simon Morley said he didn’t want to make any drama for the ASB. “I just think people see the word penis and get very defensive,” Mr Morley said. “We just did a five month tour in the UK and there wasn’t one complaint.” But if the complainant thought that was bad, the poster from 13-years ago might make uncomfortable viewing. The comparison is an interesting one.
A business forum has been told that women in executive positions help
companies perform better. News.com.au reported: Carolyn Kay, a non executive director of the Commonwealth Bank, says gender diversity should be viewed as a management essential. “It’s important for women to be in decision-making levels to help reshape the culture of organisations,” Ms Kay said at the Women in Leadership forum in Sydney last night. Ms Kay said numerous studies have shown that companies with three or more women in senior management roles outperformed those without any women at the top. “There are many studies – by Harvard, Catalyst (and) McKinsey to name a few – that show strong correlation between … organisations with women at the top and the relative success of those organisations.” Females represented 29 per cent of all new appointments to ASX 200 companies in 2011, compared to 25 per cent in 2010.
A new ‘study’ shoes the average woman buys four pairs of shoes each year, half that of her UK counterparts but slightly more than the 3.8 pairs women in the United States and New Zealand buy. The Daily Telegraph wrote:
“While our British counterparts are big on quantity, they only spend $53 on average for a pair of heels. Aussies, it seems, are about the quality, spending an average of $70 per pair.
In Australia and New Zealand, the total amount spent on shoes every year falls with age; 25 to 34-year-olds spend about $333, 35 to 59-year-olds spend $312 annually, while those over 60 spend $205 every year. The research also revealed that 67 per cent of respondents buy shoes on sale, 12 per cent spend an average of more than $200 on a pair of shoes, while 76 per cent spend $100 or less.” Hmmm, what about you?