Because we know your life better than you

Today’s news brought one of those amazing statements by a person who just can’t stand to see other people having fun.

Stuff reports that the average New Zealander drank 115 liters of sugary drinks last year, “despite constant lobbying against sugary soft drinks”.

Anyone who believes people can think for themselves would conclude that consumers had seen the lobbying, considered the health costs and reached their own conclusions, which add up to around one tall glass of fruit juice a day. Unfortunately the lobby group in question doesn’t see things that way (emphasis added):

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Mourning a colleague: Bernard Maris

One of the victims of the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was an economist, Bernard Maris. He wrote a column under the name Oncle Bernard.

I didn’t know Professor Maris. I never heard of him until today. His Wikipedia page shows him to be prolific and multidisciplinary – he’s written novels, stood for local office, worked at the Bank of France, been in films and engaged extensively with media. It was this last that got him killed.

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Teaching financial literacy via the Tooth Fairy

Chilhood myths such as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy don’t usually do much for a child’s education. Beyond a small encouragement to critical thinking (how does Santa visit every house in only one night?), all they really do is delay telling kids how the world really works.

Jenny Trout has hit on a better way: she’s using the Tooth Fairy to help her daughter understand that there are two sides to every market. Way to go!

What other practical uses have you heard for these myths?

Rich vs poor and Christmas entitlement

It’s a rough season for some. Two news stories already this week have shown people abjectly failing to plan for Christmas.

On the one hand we have the family turned down by the Salvation Army for Christmas aid “because they have relied on handouts rather than trying to help themselves”. On the other, the dad who doesn’t want to pay duty to release his imported Christmas presents from Customs.

The two stories are weirdly similar.

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Gender is not a choice

The heartwarming story of the Brisbane parents who posted a classified to announce their trans son’s coming out has been all over social media the past few days.

In the notice, the family says in 1995 they placed an ad to announce the birth of their daughter Elizabeth Anne.

“He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son – Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room,” the notice read.

That’s awesome! What supportive parents. Too bad the media isn’t so supportive. Kai’s decision to share his true gender identity with his family is reported like this (emphasis mine): Continue reading

New victim stats reveal Pakeha privilege

On Friday the Police released the first of their new series of statistics, “Recorded crime victims statistics”. The media release says these are an improvement on the old recorded offences numbers, and aim to “count the victims behind the crimes” in order to “provide new information about victims and a more complete picture of who is affected by crime in New Zealand”. The victims statistics will be complemented by statistics on offenders, to be released next year.

This change in reporting is a positive step towards humanising talk about crime.
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