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The Dole Changes People

New research suggests long stints of unemployment can have long-term effects on personality traits, changes that may become near-permanent.
It's accepted knowledge that unemployment can have negative psychological consequences. Not only is a person's job status is not only often tied inextricably to a person's self-worth, but it's the life jacket that keeps the rising tides of poverty at bay. But how does unemployment affect the psyche long-term?
researchers found that men who spent several years looking unsuccessfully for work tended to demonstrate higher levels of "agreeableness" during their first two years of unemployment. Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits identified by psychology's five-factor model (FFM) -- along with openness, conscientiousness, extroversion and neuroticism. The testing showed after an uptick in agreeableness during the first two years, men's agreeableness levels began to quickly slump, with long-term ag…

Only human nature, ain't it?

Human nature is something that ordinary people have very badly – which is why we need tough laws.  All the ills of present-day society are attributed to the imperfection of human nature. This is what we are taught.

Marx explained that "each new class which puts itself in the place of the one ruling before it, is compelled, simply in order to achieve its aims, to represent its interest as the common interest of all members of society i.e. ..to give its ideas the form of universality and to represent them as the only rational and universally valid ones". Ideas become presented as if they are universal, neutral, common sense. However, more subtly, we find concepts such as freedom, democracy, liberty or phrases such as "a fair days work for a fair days pay" being bandied around by opinion makers as if they were not contentious. They are, in Marxist terms, ideological constructs, in so far as they are ideas serving as weapons for social interests. They are put forward …

"It's only human nature , isn't it?"

Sooner or later a socialist will be faced with the question “What about human nature? Socialism is against human nature" as the reason to why the struggle for socialism is doomed and why socialism itself will not work. Rarely, if ever, is the question phrased “What aspect of human nature do we feel we should encourage to achieve socialism?”

Human nature has always been invoked every time there has been any question of social progress. The slave-holders said some people were born to be slaves. The slave was a possession of the slave owner and only lived and worked for his benefit. The master had full control of the life and family of the slave. The owner was everything, the slave nothing. It was the natural order of things.

Capitalism has been responsible for a great deal of human suffering. Concentration of wealth and property, exploitation of labour, the abuse of nature for profit, the violent suppression of opposition, the manipulation of democracy and control of information, …

A sharing, caring Scotland

A total of 2,025,400 people had put their names forward for the NHS Organ Donor Register as of 31 March - almost 40% of the population. Across the UK, the number of people on the organ donation register stands at 30%.

Three people in the UK die every day because of a lack of access to organs. The Scottish government also said the number of people who died while waiting for organs fell from 38 in 2010-11 to 36 in 2011-12. The tragic fact is that more than 600 people in Scotland are still waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Horse Sense

Millions of pounds spent each year on the sperm of race-winning horses. The owner of one superstar stud can earn £25 million a year. British breeders can typically expect to pay more than £500 a time in stud fees, with some American horses commanding fees of up to £10,000. Stallions reputed for producing good quality offspring come at a premium, and can fetch far higher fees.

Research published today will cast doubt on the rationale that bringing champion horses together will produce potentially race-winning foals. a horse's lineage is far less important than was previously thought. Genes account for only 10% of the prize money a horse wins in its lifetime

"The offspring of expensive stallions might tend to win more money, but not necessarily because they have inherited the best genes . It is likely those breeders best able to pay high stud fees are also those who are able to spend more on care of the horse, how it is trained, and who rides it - all of which will contribute mor…