Monday, January 06, 2014

Speed Blogging, 1/6/14. From daycare, abortion policies and rape to progressive economic policies and the Neanderthals.

1.  An interesting piece on daycare in Quebec, because it also addresses the economic framework.

A snippet:

Even limited spaces, though, have allowed Quebec to meet one major goal: to get moms working and lift families out of poverty. And that’s gone a long way toward paying for the system itself.
In 1997, women 25 to 44 in Quebec were less likely to be in the labour force than those of any province outside Atlantic Canada. Ten years later, their participation was among the highest in the nation – an about-face especially notable among those with children under 12.
The number of mothers with jobs went up across the country. But unlike places such as Newfoundland, where oil was fuelling some of those hires, Quebec employment rates aren’t tied to an obvious change in the job market. Quebec economists, such as Pierre Fortin, a professor at the University du Québec à Montréal, ascribe the boost to childcare. According to Dr. Fortin’s work, in 2008 alone, the program accounted for 70,000 newly employed moms.

2.  Content warning:  Horrible sexual violence

In India, protests erupt as the police still has trouble with how to handle rape cases.  Those protests are a good thing, showing change.  If we look far back in the history, the police has probably never taken most rape cases very seriously in most countries.  Recent US examples exist, too. 

3.  Texas and its abortion policies.  Lindsay Beyerstein did research on what is going on.

In somewhat related news,  Marlise Munoz lies brain dead in a Texas hospital.  Her husband, Erick Munoz,  is not allowed to take her body off life support because she is nineteen weeks pregnant, even though he states that this would have been her preference and is his preference.  This is because of a Texas law, according to some experts.  Others state that the law doesn't cover brain dead individuals.

4.  Jesse Myerson plays the bad cop in the good-cop-bad-cop setup of getting political change done by offering a rather extreme progressive list of economic changes that young people should support. That list includes guaranteed jobs for everyone with living wages and a universal basic income for everybody, whether working or not.  The latter is like being able to retire the minute you are out of the school system.

Well, I think Myerson intends to play the bad cop here, but I could be completely wrong.  Still, it's good not to always play defense when it comes to economic policies.

5.  The Neanderthal genome is finally mapped, we are told.  Interesting stuff, but always remember how small the samples are that researchers must be working with when it comes to ancient species.  This article is good at reminding us about that when it talks about the possible incest stuff:  Finding that one specific individuals was probably the result of what we would call incest does not mean that that's what all Neanderthals practiced, everywhere. 

But more generally, if you had the time to go back and see how earlier findings have been reported you would come away with a firm new year's promise to always take all new results with a small pinch of salt, not because they are necessarily wrong but because the next set of new results could be quite different or at least change our understanding again.