Personally, I welcome our new 8-year-old overlord.
It was initially reported that the sword was at least 1,000 years old, but the museum later contacted The Local to clarify that they believe it may be even older, estimated to date back to the 5th or 6th century AD, pre-Viking Age. The find has prompted huge interest from archaeologists and historians.
Save The Children has released a report on infant mortality that, among other things, claims the United States has the second highest infant mortality rate among industrialized countries. The problem with this claim, however, is that the United States and other countries can’t quite agree on what counts as a dead baby. As such, infant mortality rates aren’t directly comparable between the United States and other countries.
The problem lies in a fact that, as the Save The Children report notes, most infants who die in the industrialized world die because they are either a) born too early or b) have a very low birth weight (and, of course, the earlier the delivery, the lower the birth weight tends to be).
In the United States, an infant born prematurely and weighing less than 400 grams will receive intensive medical interventions to try to keep it alive. If, as is likely, such expensive interventions fail, the event will be recorded as a) a live birth and b) a death.
In much of the rest of the world — including the industrialized world — such extreme medical interventions would never be attempted. Moreover, this would not be recorded as a live birth or as a subsequent death.
The Save The Children report simply relies on World Health Organization statistics, and the WHO itself recommends that births of less than 1,000 grams not be registered as live births in official records. Most countries follow this definition, whereas the United States doesn’t.
How big of a difference does this make? According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2003 infants weighing less than 1,000 grams accounted for 48.7 percent of infant deaths in the United States.
Assuming that rate holds for the 2004 U.S. statistics the Save the Children report covers, that results in a >1,000g infant mortality rate of 3.5 per 1,000 births for the United States. That rate puts the United States barely behind countries like Japan, Finland, and Sweden which clock in at 3 deaths per 1,000 births. Not bad, especially given the largely mono-racial nature of those societies as compared to the United States.
Of course, why should we expect advocacy groups or the media to bother with such arcane statistics when U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says makes such a good headline?
In March, the European Union Commission ruled against a Swedish law that banned battery cages for hens because the law conflicts with European Union regulations.
Under the law, battery cages were banned in Sweden and it was also made illegal to sell eggs from hens that were kept in the cages. The European Union has regulations that will eventually phase out the cages, but not for several more years.
The EU commission ruled that the Swedish law was invalid because it interfered with the free transport of goods among members of the EU (part of the EU’s mission is to create a unified European trade bloc).
Sweden has until May to respond to the ruling.
EU to block Swedish egg law. The Local, March 28, 2005.
The Earth Liberation Prisoner Support Group published a helpful list of animal rights activists currently being held in jail in the United States, Great Britain, Italy and Sweden.
David Blenkinsop — Blenkinsop is serving a 5-and-a-half year sentence for his role in an animal rights bombing campaign; a four year sentence for his role in the 2001 assault on Huntingdon Life Sciences managing director Brian Cass; and 18 months for stealing 600 guinea pigs from a supplier.
Paul Leboutillier — currently serving 2-and-a-half years for making threatening phone calls to medical researchers, farmers and others.
Barry Dickinson — currently serving a 5 month sentence for using vehicle licensing computers to provide animal rights extremists with home addresses and other details of medical researchers.
Sarah Gisborne — currently being held while awaiting charges of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
Sergio Maria Stefani – currently being held while awaiting trial on charges of causing criminal damage to stores in Italy and planting an incendiary device outside a butcher’s shop.
Daniel Hedqvist — currently serving a 10 month prison term for damaging the incubator at a chicken hatchery, ending the development of an estimated 55,000 eggs.
Peter Schnell – currently jailed for violating terms of his probation. Schnell was sentenced in 2002 to two years in jail after pleading guilty to possession of explosive devices.
The ELP list does not included convicted animal rights terrorists who have cooperated with the government or testified against other animal rights extremists.
Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network. January 2005.
What used to be called sexism is now being called progressivism by some Scandanavian politicians.
A number of Swedish female Members of Parliament have signed onto a motion that would impose a tax on men and use the money to fund treatment of violence against women.
Gudrun Schyman, Member of Parliament and former Left Party leader, wrote the motion which reads, in part,
When the costs of this aspect of socially destructive male behavior are added up, it becomes clear how much money men’s violence costs society – money which could be used to increase women’s income, for healthcare, better working environments, and so on. It’s then only natural to ask how men collectively should take economic responsibility for men’s violence against women.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald,
The Left Party says the idea of men collectively paying for the social costs of violence towards women is similar to the principle of poor people paying less tax than the rich.
Ah, yes, collectivism taken to its logical outcome — who needs individual responsibility, when you can just assign people to groups and treat them as such? I believe in previous eras that this was called things like sexism and racism, but in the 21st century it’s what passes for progressivism among some.
Even in Sweden, however, the proposal won’t come close to having enough support to actually pass.
Sweden debates hitting men with domestic violence tax. Telegraph (London), October 5, 2004.
Schyman in equality policy shock: tax men. TheLocal.Se, October 5, 2004.
Tax on men for violence on women proposed. Reuters, October 5, 2004.