On marriage trends in the EU

From the WSJ:

According to Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency, the probability of marriage before age 50 has been plummeting for European women and men, while the chance of divorce for those who do marry has been soaring. In Belgium—the birth-land of the scholars who initially detected this Second Transition—the likelihood of a first marriage for a woman of reproductive age is now almost down to 40%, and the likelihood of divorce is over 50%. This means that in Belgium the odds of getting married and staying married are under one in five. A number of other European countries have similar or even lower odds.

It seems to be a bit of both the growth of single-person households - now accounting for 45% of households in Denmark (32% across the EU) - as well as the shift from a legal marriage to living common law.

Random links

France wants companies to make appliances that last longer
"France is ordering manufacturers to inform consumers how long they can expect their TV, cell phone or other appliance to last — before they buy it." Trying to work around planned obsolescence sounds worthwhile.
How Oregon's Second Largest City Vanished in a Day
Did not know the following about Oregon: "When Oregon was admitted to the United States in 1859, it was the only state whose state constitution explicitly forbade black people from living, working or owning property within its borders. Until 1926, it was illegal for black people to even move into the state"
How cable networks speed up shows to squeeze in more ads
I tend to squeeze in a lot of audiobooks and podcast at about 2-3x actual speed which would look pretty ridiculous in video form. However, it seems broadcasters are indeed increasing speed: "channels like TBS and TNT are now speeding up syndicated programs, classics films and other shows by as much as 7 percent. ... A Seinfeld episode that originally ran 25 minutes was nearly 22 after the process"
Surprisingly Uncontroversial Program That Gives Money To Poor People
Earned Income Tax credits... how to incentivize work while helping the poor.

"Sex crime prevention program cut by Ottawa"

The program described in this article strikes me as one at very least worth continuing and probably even worth expanding. The program in question targets reintegrating sex offenders into society at the end of their sentences which means that the optics of funding it are terrible. i.e. who wants to be seen as giving money to sex offenders?

Given that Christians are often part of the getting-tough-on-crime crowd - beyond noting as the CBC article does that the program seems effective both in reducing crime and reducing justice system costs - it seems worth quoting a Correctional Services Canada page which describes the program's origins:

Just how does CoSA work and where did it start? CoSA-Ottawa program director Susan Love explains:
“CoSA originated in Hamilton in 1994 with Mennonite Pastor Harry Nigh, who befriended a mentally delayed, repeat sex offender — a man who had been in and out of institutions his entire life. Nigh and some of his parishioners formed a support group and obtained funding from the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario and CSC to keep the group going. It was effective; the man did not re-offend.”
A few months later, a similar situation arose in Toronto that would play a large part in CoSA’s inception. Another sex offender had been released amid a public outcry and a circle was formed to support him. And again, it worked. From these two acts, which mirrored the “radical hospitality” espoused by the Christian Gospels, sprang what has since become a world-renowned project embraced by faith and non-faith groups alike.

i.e. it seems well grounded in the principles of restorative justice and you'd be hard pressed to find a government program more explicitly acknowledging Christian origins. It also seems to exhibit a "there but for the grace of God go I" mentality. To quote again that Correctional Services Canada page:

When one CoSA volunteer was asked what prompted him to work with sex offenders, he replied, “I used to be like everyone else. I hated these guys. Then I met one. I realized pretty quickly that he’s just like me. He’s a human being just like I am. Once I understood that, I could not turn my back on him. I hate what he’s done but if he’s willing to do his part, I’m willing to be there to help him. I don’t want there to be any more victims.”

More random links

'Ban the vuvuzela', says WHO expert on deafness
I'd definitely appreciate it along with banning "deliberate attempts to increase stadium noise" to reach the maximum possible decibel rating.
Save the Honeybee, Sterilize the Earth
On issues of unhealthy bees: "The reality of colony collapse disorder, researchers now believe, is that there is no single culprit. Bees are falling victim to several overlapping forces that Jeff Pettis, a USDA researcher, calls “the three Ps”: pesticides, poor nutrition, and pests." An interesting comment which makes sense but I never thought of: "pollinating a crop like almonds, which provide abundant and nutritious pollen, is “like living on nothing but broccoli”—in other words, not a balanced diet"
Mountie Takes Aboriginal Woman Home From Jail Cell To Pursue Relationship
"RCMP Const. Kevin Theriault took an intoxicated woman he had arrested out of a cell and drove her to his northern Manitoba home to pursue a personal relationship" - a week's pay seems like a bit of a light sentence. At least here it was other RCMP officers who monitored and reported the situation, stopping it before it got worse.
Facebook Adds New Gender Option for Users: Fill in the Blank
58 options just wasn't enough. In related news, the alphabet soup of identity label descriptor is now up to LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.
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