Marcus Rashford and other black athletes have run out of patience and are forcing change | Derek Bardowell | Opinion | The Guardian


Black British sportspeople are seizing the moment to speak out about racism and poverty, says author Derek Bardowell

Source: Marcus Rashford and other black athletes have run out of patience and are forcing change | Derek Bardowell | Opinion | The Guardian

A clue to stopping coronavirus: Knowing how viruses adapt from animals to humans : The Conversation


Some of the world’s worst diseases have come from animals. Bats, cows, camels and horses have all contributed. Now, scientists are working to know which animal introduced the new coronavirus.

Source: A clue to stopping coronavirus: Knowing how viruses adapt from animals to humans : The Conversation

Two gay Saudi journalists ‘treated like criminals’ in Australia after seeking asylum | Australia news | The Guardian


Exclusive: Men who fled own country after threats to out them have been detained in Australia

Source: Two gay Saudi journalists ‘treated like criminals’ in Australia after seeking asylum | Australia news | The Guardian

Law change means 100,000 more people will get personal health budgets : Welfare Weekly


A change in law means people who use wheelchairs or need mental health support will have greater choice and control in managing their own health and care.

From 2 December, everyone eligible for an NHS wheelchair and people who require aftercare services under section 117 of the Mental Health Act will have access to a personal health budget.

Personal health budgets are planned and agreed between individuals and clinicians, giving people greater choice, flexibility and control over their health and care support.

A personal health budget could be spent on specially adapted wheelchairs designed to maximise independence, a choice of personal care assistants who can be trained to meet the individual’s needs, and exercise classes to help maintain a healthy lifestyle, gain confidence and reduce stress.

 

Source: Law change means 100,000 more people will get personal health budgets : Welfare Weekly

Games blamed for moral decline and addiction throughout history : The Conversation


Video games are often blamed for unemploymentviolence in society and addiction – including by partisan politicians raising moral concerns.

Blaming video games for social or moral decline might feel like something new. But fears about the effects of recreational games on society as a whole are centuries old. History shows a cycle of apprehension and acceptance about games that is very like events of modern times.

From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, historians know that the oldest examples of board games trace back to the game of senet around 3100 B.C.

One of the earliest known written descriptions of games dates from the fifth century B.C. The Dialogues of the Buddha, purport to record the actual words of the Buddha himself. In them, he is reported to say that “some recluses…while living on food provided by the faithful, continue addicted to games and recreations; that is to say…games on boards with eight or with 10, rows of squares.”

That reference is widely recognized as describing a predecessor to chess – a much-studied game with an abundant literature in cognitive science and psychology. In fact, chess has been called an art form and even used as a peaceful U.S.-Soviet competition during the Cold War.

Despite the Buddha’s concern, chess has not historically raised concerns about addiction. Scholars’ attention to chess is focused on mastery and the wonders of the mind, not the potential of being addicted to playing.

Somewhere between the early Buddhist times and today, worries about game addiction have given way to scientific understanding of the cognitive, social and emotional benefits of play – rather than its detriments – and even viewing chess and other games as teaching tools, for improving players’ thinkingsocial-emotional development and math skills.

 

Source: Games blamed for moral decline and addiction throughout history : The Conversation

Vaping likely has dangers that could take years for scientists to even know about : The Conversation


Many smokers have reported that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes has helped their physical well-being, including reduced coughing.

But a few randomized clinical trials examining the use of e-cigarettes as a cessation tool have shown mixed results. While some trials demonstrate a significant increase in cessation success (from 9.9% to 18%), people using e-cigarettes were much more likely to remain dependent on nicotine as compared to those randomized for more traditional nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine patch, gum and nasal spray. Or, they were more likely to relapse to using cigarettes.

In short, whether, how, and to what extent e-cigarettes have potential as a cessation tool is not yet settled, especially considering that more than 80% of smokers randomized to use e-cigarettes continued to smoke after the cessation trial.

Safer than a spitting cobra

Cessation claims aside, the messaging of e-cigarettes as a “safer” alternative may have led many of the 3.6 million teenagers in the U.S. who use e-cigarettes today to believe these devices are “safe.” “Safer” does not equal “safe,” and the messaging of “safer” was based on comparisons to cigarettes.

 

Source: Vaping likely has dangers that could take years for scientists to even know about : The Conversation

Sheffield’s LGBT-only halls were called a ghetto – but a year on, they’re thriving | Katharine Swindells | Education | The Guardian


A year ago, the University of Sheffield made headlines when we became the first UK university to launch LGBT-only flats in our accommodation. Much of the coverage was based on untruths and exaggeration, conjuring images of huge rainbow-clad buildings where all gay students were forced to stay.

The reality was far less dramatic: 32 students in seven flats scattered among the three student villages, with no way of being identified aside from by their tenants. It was hardly the “ghettoising” we were accused of.

The debate hit the news during my first week as the students’ union welfare officer. The project was a result of a partnership between the university and the students’ union LGBT committee. As an LGBT activist myself, I initially had concerns. But my worries were quickly assuaged when I did what lots of news outlets didn’t: actually talk to the students concerned.

They never saw themselves as part of a big political controversy. In fact, they were baffled by all the attention. For the LGBT students, it was about not having to feel like they look feminine or masculine enough to fit in. Or being able to talk about Tinder dates and seminar crushes without fearing judgment or intrusive questions. It’s about one of the most fundamental human needs: to feel safe and comfortable in your own home.

One resident I spoke to, Fran, acts as a mentor in several flats. She said she has heard lots of LGBT students voice fears that their new flatmates might share the views of their school bullies or unsupportive parents. For those students, being around even one other queer person can make life easier. “As a queer person, in an environment that still isn’t great, especially for trans students, your very existence and the fact that you’re living out is resistance in its own way,” she said.

Veronica, a first-year biology student, told me that she had worried about living with someone homophobic. LGBT halls gave her the assurance that her sexuality would be accepted. She had friends express concerns, saying that LGBT students should mix with others to teach them acceptance. But living in the halls made her mingle more by giving her the confidence to go out, meet new people and try new things.

 

Source: Sheffield’s LGBT-only halls were called a ghetto – but a year on, they’re thriving | Katharine Swindells | Education | The Guardian

The Global Assault on Indigenous Peoples : Counter Punch


“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

– Arundhati Roy

“We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of the Earth and of its spirits.”

– Berta Caceres, Indigenous rights and environmental activist of the Lenca people, murdered in Honduras in 2016

A few years ago when I was in Panama I was fortunate to spend some time with the indigenous Ngäbe–Buglé. They reside in the lush rainforest that blankets much of the country. Their villages are simple, but graciously laid out with the natural world around them. The people have a reverence for wildlife, using only what they need, and culture, ancestral ways and community are paramount. But as in every other place on the planet they have been under siege by the forces of capital.

Dam projects largely devised to benefit mining companies have inundated scores of villages and devastated farms and fishing. Rare species like the Tabasará rain frog are threatened with extinction due to the loss of habitat. Four years ago a dam claimed a small indigenous village on the sacred Tabasará River. The villagers narrowly escaped drowning as their homes flooded in the night. They were given no warning.

 

Source: The Global Assault on Indigenous Peoples : Counter Punch

Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be king | Salon.com


Some things don’t change. The promise of a new year. The excitement of new love. Donald Trump being a petty, self-promoting liar with ties to sketchy Russians.

That would be the best way to sum up the new book,“Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace” by New York Times best-selling author Laurence Leamer.  As Leamer made it clear when I interviewed him on “Salon Talks,” Trump has not changed much since the day he bought his 17-acre Mar-a-Lago estate in 1985.

 

Source: Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be king | Salon.com