Ethical literature – Jews For Morality Tue, 12 Oct 2021 06:41:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ethical literature – Jews For Morality 32 32 Should genetics make us socialists? Tue, 12 Oct 2021 04:17:50 +0000 The Genetic Lottery, by University of Texas psychologist Kathryn Paige Harden, is a good book with an unconvincing central ethical argument. This is not a contradiction: conveying a flawed thesis clearly and completely is valuable, and the books are worth more than the merit of their main arguments. The Genetic Lottery is warmly written, it […]]]>

The Genetic Lottery, by University of Texas psychologist Kathryn Paige Harden, is a good book with an unconvincing central ethical argument. This is not a contradiction: conveying a flawed thesis clearly and completely is valuable, and the books are worth more than the merit of their main arguments. The Genetic Lottery is warmly written, it lucidly explains recent advances in human genetics, and urges the political left to take these advances seriously. While few of the book’s arguments are new, and many have been advanced by those Harden demonizes as “eugenics” and “scientists of the race,” The Genetic Lottery will almost certainly have a greater influence on mainstream discourse than older work thanks to the liberal kindness of Harden. fides.

The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA is Important for Social Equality, by Kathryn Paige Harden. Princeton University Press, 312 pages, $ 29.95.

It is not, however, an impartial book or even a very charitable one. Readers should approach with skepticism his almost Manichean presentation of “eugenic” versus “anti-eugenic” accounts of human genetic variation, especially when he deals with “bad guys” such as Charles Murray, whom he invariably caricatures.

The genetic lottery has two main objectives. The first is to convince readers, especially readers on the left, to take genetic differences seriously. These differences, according to Harden, are causally linked to social inequalities, and policies that ignore them risk being costly, unnecessary and ineffective. The second objective is to persuade readers that these genetic differences are the result of chance and therefore that the resulting social disparities are somehow unjust or undeserved. Influenced by philosopher John Rawls, Harden argues that “society should be structured to work for the benefit of those less advantaged in the genetic lottery”.

The book successfully achieves its first objective. Harden is an excellent guide through recent genetic literature. Readers who are confused by jargon such as “polygenic risk score”, “GWAS” or “population stratification” will benefit from reading it. The key points are these. Almost all human differences in traits and behavioral tendencies, from cognitive ability to persistence, are at least partially caused by genes (i.e., they are hereditary). However, most are not caused by one or two genetic variants, which means that there is no single “gene” for most traits.

Instead, the differences are caused by thousands of genetic variants working together. Traditionally, such complexity has made it difficult to study the genetic causes of human variation, but with new and powerful techniques, researchers can now create “polygenic indices”, or scores from collections of hundreds to thousands. of variants, which successfully predict the variation of traits. (such as cognitive ability) and life outcomes (such as education level and income). It is therefore no longer reasonable to claim that genes are not linked to important social outcomes. As Harden writes, “the inescapable conclusion is that genetic differences between people cause social inequalities”. But many still avoid this reality and castigate those who recognize it as classists, biological determinists or racists.

Harden’s rejection of this kind of trendy genetic denial is welcome. Unfortunately, she flatters the left by regularly denouncing the intellectuals on her right as “eugenics”. At one point, for example, she says that according to Murray and Richard Herrnstein, the co-authors of The Bell Curve, “to get a better score on IQ tests is to be better; to be white is to be superior; to be superior is to be superior. Compare this paraphrase to Murray’s actual words from his recent book Human Diversity: “I reject claims that groups of people, whether of genders, races or classes, can be ranked higher than inferior. I reject claims that the differences between groups have any bearing on human worth or dignity. It is perfectly reasonable, of course, to disagree with Murray’s policies, but it is a lie to imply that he is a white supremacist.

Harden does a great job exposing science, but his success in making his moral point is much more limited. She rightly claims that a person’s genes are not acquired, but she misleadingly jumps from that statement to the statement that “appreciating the role of genetic luck in people’s educational and financial success undermines the blame that is cast on people for not ‘accomplishing’ enough and might, in fact, strengthen the case for a redistribution of resources to achieve greater equality. In short, she argues that our understanding of genetic influence on life outcomes should avoid or at least significantly dilute our concept of merit. And once we get rid of the fiction that the good looking, the athletic, or the smart deserve their monetary and social rewards, we can more effectively advocate for redistributive and equity-based social policy.

I can’t do justice to all the intricacies of this argument, which inevitably touches on free will and other abstruse metaphysical questions, but I think it’s worth pointing out that it rests on an important elision. Consider these two statements:

(1) “F. Scott Fitzgerald did not deserve to be a smart, vocal writer.”

(2) “F. Scott Fitzgerald did not deserve to be paid thousands of dollars for his stories.

It is undoubtedly true that one does not “deserve” the accidents of one’s existence. It does not follow, however, that one is never entitled to enjoy the fruits of the traits and skills with which one is born. Fitzgerald was paid handsomely not because he deserved to be a gifted writer, but because he was a gifted writer, which meant people were willing to pay to read what he wrote. In any social system in which people are allowed to enter into free trade with each other, the inevitable result, given an unequal distribution of natural and acquired talents, is an unequal distribution of resources.

This would be true even in a society where everyone started out with exactly the same resources. People would be more willing to buy stories from good writers than from bad writers and so, over time, good writers would end up with more money. The only alternative would be an ongoing series of coercive interventions to take the resources of successful people and redistribute them to those who fail. Such interventions are not necessarily illegitimate, but it is important to recognize the compromise. If we abandon the concept of merit and actively allocate resources more equitably, as Harden advocates, this will require a meaningful compendium of human freedom.

I also find Harden’s assertion that “society should be structured to work for the benefit of those less advantaged in the genetic lottery” unappealing. To be fair, when she thinks of the “less fortunate,” she probably thinks of a nice person who is just plain unintelligent, unattractive, or indolent. But sociopaths, murderers, torturers, sadists and other depraved criminals are also losers in the genetic lottery. Does the company really have to be structured to work for the benefit of Ted Bundy or Ed Gein? Harden would obviously say no, but what is his basic distinction between the lazy and the depraved? Why should we design society to help a person who is unintelligent or unproductive but not a person who wants to torture other people? She might have a good answer, but I couldn’t find it in her book.

The genetic lottery is correct that people do not deserve things in a cosmic sense, but it is incorrect that this vitiates the practicality of the term. Moreover, it seems doubtful to me that the arbitrariness of our genes has anything important to say to us about social justice. I can sympathize with men who complain that they don’t have LeBron James’ natural athleticism and with women who complain that they don’t have Adele’s natural voice. But I don’t think such reflections are morally uplifting.

Bo Winegard is a behavior scientist and essayist who received his PhD from Florida State University in 2018. Follow him on Twitter: @ EPoe187.

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Key words: Reviews of books, books, science, genetics, psychology

Original author: Bo Winegard

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Keira Knightley doesn’t want to ‘spoil’ the kids | Entertainment Sun, 10 Oct 2021 20:00:00 +0000 Keira Knightley does not want her children to be “spoiled”. The 36-year-old actress – who has Edie, six, and Delilah, two, with husband James Righton – is always happy to buy new books for her daughters because she gets bored hearing the same stories , but she is more reluctant. to cover them with toys. […]]]>

Keira Knightley does not want her children to be “spoiled”.

The 36-year-old actress – who has Edie, six, and Delilah, two, with husband James Righton – is always happy to buy new books for her daughters because she gets bored hearing the same stories , but she is more reluctant. to cover them with toys.

She said: “Toys, mine are not so much allowed because we don’t want them to be spoiled, but the books they want are absolutely allowed.

“I think it’s also because I’m too bored reading the same ones.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actress admitted that she doesn’t read much at home because her dyslexia means she needs to be able to concentrate without distraction and her daughters don’t give her a lot of opportunities. .

She told The Daily Telegraph’s Luxury Supplement: “I’m dyslexic, so I find it difficult to read. I have to really focus – and I have young kids, so it’s impossible.

“Mine doesn’t let me read at all. There are so many ways to lie about a book and they’ve found every one of them.

But Keira likes audiobooks as an “entry” into literature.

She said: “Since I was young, audiobooks have been my path in literature, which was otherwise largely closed to me. And now with the children I use them again.

“At this point in my life, the audiobook has become so important to me. “

However, the “Bend it Like Beckham” star admitted that she couldn’t secretly listen to stories like she did after cutting her hair.

She said, “I am known to have buds in my ears and take care of children and get a lot of reprimand from my husband.

“I actually just cut my hair and it’s boring, I think, because everyone knows if I have headphones in it.”

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Understanding Family Planning Decision Making: Perspectives from Providers and Community Actors in Istanbul, Turkey | BMC Women’s Health Sat, 09 Oct 2021 17:09:38 +0000 The results of this study highlight the main factors that influence family planning decision making. According to Turkey’s 2018 Demographic and Health Survey, 99.5% of married women of childbearing age know at least one method of contraception. [8]. Our results are consistent with the existing literature which shows that contraceptive methods (modern or traditional method) […]]]>

The results of this study highlight the main factors that influence family planning decision making. According to Turkey’s 2018 Demographic and Health Survey, 99.5% of married women of childbearing age know at least one method of contraception. [8]. Our results are consistent with the existing literature which shows that contraceptive methods (modern or traditional method) are widely known in the community. Thus, a key finding of the study is that women, and especially married women, are familiar with at least one method of contraception. Therefore, high levels of contraceptive knowledge provide an opportunity for programs to overcome barriers that may hinder the application of this knowledge.

We found that, according to the perceptions of key informants, traditional methods were preferred over modern methods, and most respondents explained that women prefer traditional methods mainly because of the absence of side effects and ease of use. of use. There is a widespread perception that modern methods could have unwanted side effects. In addition, there are religious reasons such as the consideration by couples of a natural and easy to use method with more minor side effects for traditional methods being the most preferred methods. According to Cebeci et al., However, even religious beliefs should not be identified as the dominant barrier to contraceptives; rather they affect the choice of particular methods such as withdrawal [7]. The effect of religious beliefs on the choice of contraception may be the reason why couples continue to rely on traditional methods. There is, however, a need for studies to better understand the motivations for the preference for traditional methods in the study and how women could be supported to ensure that these methods meet their reproductive needs.

Participants noted that family planning is a “women’s domain,” although sometimes other family members, such as mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law, can influence decision-making. A study of married people in Umraniye, another district of Istanbul, also found that family planning decision-making was perceived as a “women’s problem” by male partners. [7]. Yet decision-making is not limited to women and women’s partners; family members are also involved in their contraceptive choices. These models highlight the need for a better understanding of intra-family relationships and the opportunities that these relationships offer to help the women in the study achieve their reproductive goals.

Our results show that although women trust family planning providers on contraceptive issues, they are more confident in the previous family planning experiences of other people such as their friends, neighbors, or relatives. This underlines the importance of women’s social networks as a source of information as well as a determinant of behavior. As Yee and Simon discovered, women have identified their social networks as one of the most influential factors in the family planning decision-making process, especially when it comes to side effects, safety. and effectiveness, and most of them considered this information to be more reliable than other sources. of information [15]. Husbands, however, do not tend to share contraceptive information with each other. Thus, husbands can turn to their wives for accurate and reliable information on contraception. [16]. Understanding how the social networks of women and men influence contraceptive use in this context can be essential for increasing contraceptive use in women who do not want to become pregnant. Intervention studies might also consider leveraging women’s social networks to provide contraceptive education (eg, peer educators or women’s groups).

Regarding the accessibility and quality of services that influence decision-making, our results show that women prefer women to men doctors and contraceptive consultants. In addition, some community actors have reported prejudices regarding access to contraceptive methods against unmarried women. Pharmacies provide male condoms, pills, and emergency contraception without a written prescription in Turkey. The pharmacy sector supplies more than 45% of the male condom and pills [8]. Many single women find it more convenient to obtain contraceptives from pharmacies, although contraception is not free at pharmacies. This is probably due to the fact that many single women prefer to avoid social pressure in health facilities and fear being ostracized for having sex considered illegitimate. The finding that many women in the study prefer to obtain contraceptives from pharmacies suggests a need to improve the ability of pharmacists to provide contraceptive information and advice to clients.

Various studies in Turkey have shown that a variety of perspectives must be taken into account to fully understand family planning decision-making processes. On the one hand, men say family planning is a shared responsibility [6], and that pregnancy planning should be done jointly between partners [17] which is consistent with existing evidence showing that male participation and shared decision-making is a key component of reproductive decisions [5, 18]. On the other hand, several studies show that both men and women are not resistant to contraception, although women are seen as those who make decisions about family planning. [7, 19]. Our results show that men are not very involved in family planning decision-making and that it is often women who decide whether or not to avoid pregnancy. While some respondents suggested men might be against contraception, the majority said men were just indifferent. In addition, the lack of male involvement probably stems from pro-natalist views. The results suggest the need for a better understanding of contraceptive decision-making at the couple level and how best to involve men in addressing women’s reproductive needs.

Studies show that various factors influence fertility decisions, including the number of children alive [20, 21], educational level of parents and especially female partners [22], and socio-cultural norms and religious attitudes [17]. However, men in almost all settings want more children than women [17, 23]. In general, family planning service providers and community actors in our study reported that men want more children than women. However, the burden of raising children falls on women, which reflects the gender roles in the family. Men’s desire to have children may be associated with a need to continue the family line and improve their social worth [24], making sense in terms of the social value of having a child mainly for men [25]. This is yet another indication of the need to understand men’s perspectives in the study and how best to involve them in addressing women’s reproductive needs.

Our results showed that women attached greater importance to religious beliefs even though in practice these beliefs did not directly influence decisions about family planning. Although the women believed that contraception could be against God’s will, that did not stop them from using the methods. This is consistent with the results of another qualitative study which showed that religious beliefs were not barriers to contraception, but these beliefs influenced the choice of methods. [7]. Religion does not often dissuade women and men from wanting small families, but instead of using the most effective methods, they instead rely on methods they perceive to be in accordance with religious beliefs or methods that are not as bad as the others. Although most of those interviewed in our study reported that contraception is viewed as a sin, women still used methods. Religious values ​​may encourage the use of traditional methods, such as withdrawal, which have a long and historical tradition of being used in this setting. Cebeci and his colleagues found that in addition to viewing withdrawal as a natural and easy-to-use method with fewer side effects compared to modern methods, some viewed it as the method promoted by the Prophet Muhammad, indicating that modern methods are seen as harmful. [7]. The findings underscore the need for family programs in the study to incorporate empowerment principles into client counseling in order to dispel misconceptions about modern contraceptives influenced by religious beliefs.

Our results can be influenced by how the participants were selected. In particular, community actors and service providers were purposely selected on the basis of their knowledge of topics related to women’s reproductive health, including family planning, and the sample included only one male participant. . All interviews were conducted in Turkish and translated into English for analysis. Although some meanings may be lost in the process, a small sample of the transcripts was back-translated to determine the extent of this loss. There was no loss of meaning due to the translation from one language to another. In addition, all interviews were conducted in a private space in order to reduce the risk of social desirability bias. By its very nature, our sample has limited external validity, which prevents us from making inferences about trends within the study setting or the country as a whole. While our results, based on a small intentional sample with key informants, are consistent with the results of other studies using larger samples with more diverse groups of women, other qualitative research with representative samples of women in childbearing age are needed to determine how well our findings align with prevailing trends across the country.

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The season of fear, folklore and ghosts Wed, 06 Oct 2021 07:00:00 +0000 The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences hosted an event exploring society’s fascination with Halloween and the supernatural in early fall. Ghouls and ghosts dominated the conversation. (Julia Hur | Daily Trojan Horse) As fall sends its first gentle October breeze to Los Angeles, Halloween is just around the corner. To uncover the mysteries […]]]>
The Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences hosted an event exploring society’s fascination with Halloween and the supernatural in early fall. Ghouls and ghosts dominated the conversation. (Julia Hur | Daily Trojan Horse)

As fall sends its first gentle October breeze to Los Angeles, Halloween is just around the corner. To uncover the mysteries of society’s fascination with Halloween, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences hosted a Zoom panel on Monday to discuss the allure of the holiday and the relationship between ghosts and humans.

The event, introduced by Dornsife Dean Amber Miller, was moderated by Lisa Bitel, Dean’s religion and history teacher. Guest panelists included Tok Thompson, Professor of Anthropology, and Leo Braudy, Professor of English, History and Art History and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature.

Bitel opened the event by explaining the Samhain festival in Celtic culture. Samhain takes place on November 1, October 31 being the eve of Samhain. In Irish mythology, Samhain’s Eve is the time when ghosts and demons set foot on the earth, characteristics that influence modern Halloween.

“Samhain, the day which for thousands of years has been celebrated as the beginning of winter and the beginning of [a] time [of] darkness and a time when the cracks between our world and another world are opening, ”Bitel said. “Not always to allow the dead and the living to mix, but sometimes to allow all kinds of beings to mix with others.”

The Halloween dread is not only evident in its origins, but also in people’s fear of the supernatural, Braudy said. The desire to understand life and death is often what draws people’s attention to ghosts. Analyzing this phenomenon, Braudy said that religion plays an important role in trying to address the boundaries between life and death and the uncertainties of this relationship.

It gives people an idea of ​​”what it’s like to be alive or to have relationships with those who have died,” Braudy said.

Thompson added that perceptions of ghosts also vary across cultures. In some cultures people don’t believe in ghosts at all, while in other cultures people describe ghosts in different ways.

“The way we think about the afterlife, or souls, or the cosmos and our relationship with it is wonderfully, wonderfully diverse,” Thompson said.

Thompson described how when they envision ghosts, people often relate them to those who have been abused. He went on to explain that there is always immorality associated with the presence of haunting ghosts, which implies that people can be haunted by ethical failures. However, ghosts are only part of the moral issues with Halloween. Braudy said other stories of supernatural beings, both on earth and aliens, are associated with morality.

“They all talk a lot about our fears and our hopes, and the clash between the two of them,” Braudy said.

In many generational horrors, there have been common themes, such as history and social ills, that led to the discussion of morals. Thompson explained how the American ghost stories that take place at Native American cemeteries reflect and tell a societal story of those who have been wronged.

For Braudy, themes can also reveal what is repressed in society. The horror element of these stories serves as psychotherapy that forces American culture to face its own ailments. Just as the problems in many ghost stories can ultimately be resolved, the panelists agreed that the way to solve what haunts society is to right the wrongs.

The modern portrayal of ghosts, supernatural creatures and their stories is not just found in books and conversations. Panelists described their presence through various types of new technology, such as AI, movies, and stop-motion photography. New technologies can help people see things that seem “supernatural” and even reconnect with deceased loved ones, according to the panelists. Technology isn’t developing new types of horror – it just mirrors existing ones.

“You can’t just make things up,” Thompson said. “You can’t let the ghosts act in a completely different way or people won’t buy it. It is not fair. This is not how they act. The [are] limits to tradition. There is agency within limits, but limits within tradition.

The speakers also discussed the future of ghosts and monsters and what might haunt people in the years to come. Braudy indicated that unlike in the past, the creatures most concerned at the moment are the zombies. This is because people have gone from fear of monsters alone to fear of groups of monsters. This reflects the potential fear of the masses in the future. Thompson added that xenophobia and racism were also at the root of this fear.

“This kind of idea of ​​xenophobia, [is] that there’s always the other and they’re not really people, then it’s okay to kill them because they’re not really people. All they want is to take charge of us [and] take control of our brains, ”said Thompson.

Towards the end of the panel, professors recommended books to members of the public interested in learning more about horror and the supernatural. Thompson presented “Ghosts and the Japanese” by Michiko Iwasaka and Barre Toelken and “Shakespeare in the Bush” by Laura Bohannan. Braudy presented his book “Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds”.

“The basic argument [in the book] is: which religion has a better relationship with the spirit world? Braudy said. “What religion knows what God is really doing? So this conflict produces all kinds of ghosts and gives it a quantum boost. “

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Suicide Prevention Study in Adolescents and Young Adults with Autism – Jagwire Mon, 04 Oct 2021 19:09:22 +0000 Many Americans don’t realize the large number of adults with autism across the country who routinely struggle with suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors. Compared with the general population, people with autism are up to nine times more likely to think about suicide, up to five times more likely to attempt suicide and more than seven […]]]>

Many Americans don’t realize the large number of adults with autism across the country who routinely struggle with suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors.

Compared with the general population, people with autism are up to nine times more likely to think about suicide, up to five times more likely to attempt suicide and more than seven times more likely to die by suicide, according to Dr. Teal Benevides, an associate. Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Allied Health Sciences, University of Augusta.

“There are a shocking number of individuals on the spectrum who are at risk for suicide, suicidal ideation and self-harm,” Benevides said. “Numerous publications suggest that many adults on the spectrum suffer from anxiety and depression, and therefore these co-occurring mental health problems are very common and may contribute to the risk of suicidal thoughts. “

As children with autism reach adulthood, Benevides said many young adults on the spectrum face various risk factors for suicide.

Dr. Teal Benevides is Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Augusta University.

“One of the things people don’t recognize is that people on the spectrum want and desire to be a part of society,” she said. “They want to have friendships. They want to have relationships. They want to have a job. They want to be able to do things that we all enjoy. However, these things are sometimes more difficult to do, given the characteristics of autism.

These barriers can sometimes contribute to depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, Benevides said. “The experience of feeling excluded throughout life, and perhaps being bullied and marginalized, contributes to some pretty significant mental health issues,” she said. “As a result, the risk of suicide is higher, as well as suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are also higher. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Suicide prevention strategies

Benevides, along with Dr Stephen Shore, autism educator and clinical assistant professor at Adelphi University, co-leads the Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engage Together (AASET) team. Benevides and Shore are co-investigators of a national study funded by a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) $ 9 million grant that will compare the effectiveness of two suicide prevention interventions in people with autism.

Dr. Brenna Maddox, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in the Department of Psychiatry at Chapel Hill, is the principal investigator of the national study that will involve four health systems in the United States.

The study will be co-led by Dr. Shari Jager-Hyman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The University of North Carolina’s TEACCH Autism Program and the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, as well as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, will enroll a total of 1,500 people with autism between the ages of 15 and 24 who test positive for suicidal ideation.

From there, the study will compare the effectiveness of two evidence-based suicide prevention strategies adapted for people with autism by Maddox, Jager-Hyman and their team. The two evidence-based suicide prevention strategies are called “Safety Planning Intervention-Autism Spectrum Disorder” (SPI-ASD) and “SPI-ASD plus Structured Follow-up Care” (SPI-ASD +).

“SPI-ASD is a brief intervention that results in a personalized plan designed to reduce the risk of short-term suicide in young people with autism,” Maddox said in a recent press release from the University’s medical school. from North Carolina. “In a single session, a clinician works with the person with autism to develop a list of warning signs that signal the need to use the safety plan; sources of distraction, comfort and support; reasons for living; and emergency services available. Part of security planning is also discussing how to increase security by reducing access to lethal means. “

Clinicians delivering SPI-ASD + will implement SPI-ASD, followed by at least two brief contacts by phone or text message, depending on the preferences of the person with autism.

According to the press release, the structured follow-up communication includes a brief risk assessment and a mood assessment; a review and, if necessary, a revision of the SPI-ASD; and support related to the initiation of outpatient mental health treatment.

The research team will follow several outcomes of interest during one, six and 12 month evaluations with participants with autism.

Participants will be asked about suicidal thoughts and behaviors, engagement in mental health care, quality of life, social well-being, skills to manage suicidal thoughts and behaviors, access to means fatalities, use of the safety plan and use of acute care services for suicidality, according to Maddox.

“An important strength of this study is the genuine involvement of people with autism and other key stakeholders throughout the research process,” Maddox said. “Dr. Jager-Hyman and I had the incredible opportunity to partner with AASET to develop the study proposal, and stakeholder engagement will be a critical element in all phases of the study.

Ensuring that people with autism were involved in developing the study proposal was crucial because people with autism have historically been excluded from the research process, Benevides explained.

“The lack of involvement of people with autism in research on people with autism is a moral issue,” Benevides said. “If you are planning to develop an intervention for a particular community, it is essential that it gets involved and contributes to this process.

It is important that this valuable research is led by the community it is meant to serve, said Benevides.

“From an ethical standpoint, we need to make sure that ongoing autism research reflects the priorities of people with autism,” Benevides said. “In partnership with my colleague Stephen Shore, who is an adult with autism, we embarked on a journey to truly develop a team of people with autism, as well as caregivers of people with autism, to educate research teams on the priorities of autism. autism research and health care. “

A collaborative study

The project and the research have been successful because it is a collaborative effort, Shore said.

“We will build on the work we have initiated with AASET and this will have a direct impact on how people with autism will be involved in this research,” Shore said in the press release.

AASET will work with Maddox, Jager-Hyman and the entire research team to ensure that people with autism are meaningfully engaged throughout the study. Roles include co-development and co-delivery of clinician training, assisting in data collection and analysis, serving on an advisory board, and disseminating results.

People with autism, family members, clinicians, public health leaders, and representatives from medicare, autism advocacy and suicide prevention organizations will also be participating. part of a multi-stakeholder advisory board to discuss study progress and plan for dissemination early on.

Researchers plan to start enrolling participants with autism by the end of 2022, Benevides said.

“What I like about this project is that Dr Maddox and Dr Jager-Hyman were interested in developing this collaborative study. AASET was funded by PCORI in 2017, ”she said. “This two-year project has identified research priorities for the autism community. Our team kept meeting and asking, “Now that we have these research priorities, what else can we do? “

Benevides said the group has shared their work with autism researchers who also have training and education as intervention researchers to spur research on the priorities.

This five-year national study could have a dramatic impact on adults and adolescents with autism across the country who routinely struggle with suicidal thoughts, Benevides said.

“We need to think about how we as a society can design autism differently to reduce stigma, but we also need evidence-based strategies to prevent suicides,” Benevides said. “Our immediate goal with this study is to prevent these suicide attempts.”



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National curriculum framework: what the curriculum panel should keep in mind Sun, 03 Oct 2021 23:45:00 +0000 The composition of the committee is astonishing in the total omission of experts in the field and discipline of school education. By Janaki Rajan The NDA, in 2014, appointed a committee chaired by TSR Subramanium, former GoI Cabinet Secretary, to draft a National Education Policy (NPE) which was submitted in April 2016. After much public […]]]>
The composition of the committee is astonishing in the total omission of experts in the field and discipline of school education.

By Janaki Rajan

The NDA, in 2014, appointed a committee chaired by TSR Subramanium, former GoI Cabinet Secretary, to draft a National Education Policy (NPE) which was submitted in April 2016. After much public feedback, another committee for the preparation of an NPE project (DNPE) was appointed, chaired by scientist K Kasturirangan; this committee submitted its report in May 2019. The government sought the opinions of various stakeholders and the public, and obtained thousands of responses, the compilation of which is not in the public domain. A special meeting of the Central Advisory Council for Education (CABE) was held to gather opinions on the DNPE 2019. A meeting was also held with the Standing Parliamentary Committee on November 7, 2019. However, neither meeting was held. ‘resulted in the approval of the DNPE. 2019. As education is on the concurrent list, any NPE requires Central and State consensus, obtained through the approval of CABE, which is a federal agency, Parliament and the National Development Council (NDC). The 1986 NPE has been approved by all of these organizations.

Due to the lack of such approval from DNPE 2019, NPE 1986 remains the policy in effect to this day. On September 21, 2021, the Cabinet approved a curriculum committee tasked with designing four national curriculum frameworks (NCFs), as part of the follow-up to the 2019 DNPE. The 2019 DNPE and any future curriculum framework would require formal approval of the CABE, Parliament and National Development Council. The work of the framework committee must be reviewed from this angle.

The program panel includes 12 members: Indian space scientist K Kasturirangan, Chancellor of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration Mahesh Chandra Pant, Chairman of the National Book Trust Govind Prasad Sharma, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Jamia Millia Islamia Najma Akhtar, VC of Central Tribal University TV Kattimani, Indian author of French origin Michel Danino, founder of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dalit Milind Kamble, Chancellor of the University Punjabi powerhouse Jagbir Singh, Indian-American mathematician Manjul Bhargava, social activist MK Sridhar, retired bureaucrat and primary education author Dhir Jhingran, and entrepreneur and marketing professional Shankar Marwada.

The composition of the committee is astonishing in the total omission of experts in the field and discipline of school education. Eight members have held senior administrative positions in universities, two are entrepreneurs, three are experts in science, mathematics and Indian literature at senior and research levels, these qualifications are not mutually exclusive in some cases. Without depriving them of their indisputable merit in their respective fields, their capacities for the specific role of writing school curricula seem a question mark. Children’s education and pedagogical fields are rigorous interdisciplinary fields that require decades of intense teaching / learning experience, study of the field at the university level, rigorous research into how children and youth learn, understanding how language and cognition are integrated, how to engage with children critically. Members should keep in mind the following:

– Acknowledge their lack of in-depth knowledge and expertise in the disciplinary field of school education and induct 12 members, including authors of children’s literature, proven research practitioners with educational material and curriculum transactions in key areas.

– Before and since the 2000 national curriculum framework, there have been clear ideological divisions over what constitutes knowledge and what should be taught in schools. The panel should rise above ideology and find consensus in the selection of program content and material and provide a critical, unbiased, fact-based understanding from multiple sources with space for multiple interpretations.

– The tendency to regard science and technology as superior must be reviewed. The committee should situate each domain within a knowledge matrix that recognizes the vital nature of each domain to form aesthetic, ethical, knowledgeable and creative children who are curious about diversity and learn across cultures with inclusive worldviews. As Zakir Hussain points out in Nai Talim, we need a kind of education “in which one community will trust another … so that different cultures can flourish side by side and each one brings out the virtues of the community. ‘other ; where each citizen can be able to participate in society with the full resource of his personality ”.

– The executives become banalities when they are linked to the authority of the textbooks, regurgitated in the exams, sanctified by the marks as gateways to success. The panel should investigate why developed countries do not adopt such practices. The terms “test” and “exam” reflect philosophical differences. Testing is learning what children know and how to teach them better. Reviews label them.

– Advanced countries use education standards which are conceptual and qualitative statements of what children are expected to learn at key stages. The committee may consider revising the term “syllabus” which is primarily a list of content that boils down to data points and suggests standards.

The committee needs to reflect on epistemologies – both of knowledge and of how children generate their own knowledge through subjective encounters with objective realities. Very young children develop the topological sense then the projective sense and only much later the logical-mathematical sense. Each step is high quality epistemology comparable to the most rigorous research anywhere.

Writing a succinct curriculum framework that will shape 41% of India is a Herculean but very rewarding task. It should be text through a matrix of goals to prepare children for the future, developmentally and cognitively appropriate, conceptually rooted with clear guidelines for teachers, material makers and testers without any ambiguity.

Retired Professor, Faculty of Education – Jamia Millia Islamia

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Overview of Governance: From a Broad Perspective to Board Practices Sat, 02 Oct 2021 19:51:20 +0000 I stepped down as an independent non-executive director of a leading financial institution a few months ago. My nine-year association with her, as well as my continued involvement with several other companies has given me greater exposure to governance. It was about enriching myself in the creation of shared value for the benefit of the […]]]>

I stepped down as an independent non-executive director of a leading financial institution a few months ago. My nine-year association with her, as well as my continued involvement with several other companies has given me greater exposure to governance. It was about enriching myself in the creation of shared value for the benefit of the institution in particular and economic growth in general. Particularly for me it was a valuable two-way exchange as I contribute to an institute and bring back this experience to enrich my association with the “learning partners” of the MBA. Today’s column explains how I experienced governance, from a general perspective to the practices of boards of directors.


Governance is a much broader concept than typical corporate governance. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), it can be defined as the decision-making process and the process by which decisions are implemented. These are essentially the initiation and implementation decisions. We can see this happening at four levels, namely, international, national, sectoral and institutional.

Global bodies such as the United Nations advocate governance as a key requirement to ensure “a life of dignity for all” as progress is accelerated towards the Sustainable Development Goals. From a national perspective, we can still remember the perspectives and problems that Sri Lanka experienced during the “Yahapalana” regime. Whether it really is about exhibiting the expected precepts of “good governance” remains a debatable subject. I chose to use the term “exemplary governance” during my tenure as Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), where governance has been a key pillar of its “edifice of excellence”.

We can see the need for governance at four general levels, namely, international, national, sectoral and institutional. Exemplary governance is in high demand at the national level in many countries including Sri Lanka. It is in fact the interaction between the state, civil society and the business sector. I would suggest triple P’s to think about to deepen such an interaction. They are linked to proactivity, predictability and productivity,

Aspects of governance related to proactivity include looking to the future with a good set of vision, mission and action. It begins with aspiring to a desired state (vision) and clearly identifying the reason for achieving it (mission) and ensuring the execution of elaborate strategies (action). Sad to note the treatment of vision and mission as mere cosmetics by some, disregarding how vibrant nations got to where they are now with such a proactive approach.

Aspects of governance related to predictability include compliance, consistency and connectivity. It’s about ensuring professionalism on all fronts by being legal and ethical when decisions are made. Being consistent by being transparent as opposed to favoritism is also of great importance. In my opinion, connectivity is the need to involve all stakeholders to convince them of the need to comply with a set of policies, procedures and practices. Sad to note the varying occurrence of the above in many developing states and we are no better.

The productivity aspects of governance refer to efficiency, effectiveness and efficiency. How leaders’ statements are usefully converted into action is what is required. To avoid election manifestos just exposed during elections and not afterwards, doing things right (efficiency), doing the right things (efficiency), having the right mindset (efficiency) are all interconnected. In other words, it is about ensuring the right use of resources (efficiency), getting the right results (efficiency) and the right response with confidence (efficiency).

Rather than bemoaning the lack of the triple P above, what it takes is to start from somewhere. It is far too valuable to leave in the hands of politicians whose populist agendas are said to have many contradictions. One way to find solace is to see if we can draw inspiration from the eastern roots of governance.

The Eastern Roots of Governance

It is encouraging to see the “Dasa Raja Dharma”, or ten royal virtues, providing us with a solid foundation, as opposed to anything that can be called a “Western conspiracy”. In the ‘Kutadanda Sutta’ (Digha Nikaya), the Buddha explains that in order to eradicate crime, the economic condition of the people must be improved. The relationship between employer and employee should be made cordial primarily through the payment of adequate wages, gifts and incentives. As mentioned in an article by Danister Fernando (, these ten “best practices” can be briefly stated as follows:

Dana: Liberality, generosity or charity.

If the : Morality – a high moral character.

Pariccaga: Make sacrifices for the greater good of the people.

Ajjava: Honesty and integrity.

Maddava: Kindness or gentleness.

Tapas: Restraint of the senses and austerity in habits.

Akkodha: Non-hate.

Avihimsa: Nonviolence.

Khanti: Patience and tolerance.

Avirodha: Non-opposition and non-enmity.

It is believed that after the advent of Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa, in the 3rd century BC. governance. Needless to say if we see the presence or absence of these in the current day and time. As Martin Luther King said: “Let us light a candle rather than curse the darkness.” It is in this context that I would orient myself towards corporate governance.

Corporate governance at a glance

As described by the Chartered Governance Institute of the United Kingdom and Ireland, corporate governance is the system of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. Sir Adrian Cadbury (1929-2015), who was a pioneer in global governance who presided over the development of the world’s first corporate governance code in 1992, gives a much simpler but meaningful definition, “the way companies are managed and directed ”.

According to James McRitchie, publisher of the Pioneering Corporate Governance website ( since 1995, “Corporate governance is most often seen as both the structure and the relationships that determine leadership and the performance of the company ”. He also states that the board of directors is usually at the heart of corporate governance.

I observe three key players involved in corporate governance. Figure 1 illustrates my way of conceptualizing it.

As shown in Figure 1, shareholders expect returns as stewards of the organization, while directors explore pathways for sustainable growth while gatekeepers and managers execute strategies with associated actions as as contributors. The harmonized interaction between the Triple C parties, namely, the custodians, custodians and contributors, is essential to ensure exemplary governance.

Pillars of corporate governance

As often mentioned in the literature, the four pillars of corporate governance are accountability, fairness, transparency and independence.

The board of directors, executive and non-executive, dependent and independent, is collectively responsible for the management of the company. It is serious business that goes beyond “going to meetings and having tea”. Executive directors are more involved in management tasks, being engaged full time with an emphasis on planning and implementation. In contrast, non-executive directors are more involved in governance tasks being hired part-time with an emphasis on advice and sharing of expertise.

With the dynamism of social media, a business cannot hide an unfair practice under the rug. It could be a minor case like the unwarranted extension of a product’s expiration date or a major case like the avoidance of a huge tax payment to the state. Transparency in statutory declarations and relationships with key stakeholders is essential. The independence of the board of directors in making the best decision for the organization without any direct or indirect external influence is the ideal scenario.

Within the Board, the chairman provides general management of the company while the CEO generates results by leading the functional experts. A clear division of responsibilities between the president and the CEO is essential to ensure the coherent engagement of the two. Another difficult task that I see in the Sri Lankan scenario is the balance of power on the board without undue concentration in an individual. The tendency to move away from minor operational issues without focusing on strategic issues and political aspects is a common temptation in boards of directors. Board members must follow certain precepts to ensure the expected governance.

Seven precepts for administrators

They can be described as the need to be informative, responsive, empathetic, strategic, holistic, mature and human.

Be informative

This is a call to update and update by being up to date. In a changing world, this is an absolute must. They are meant to bring new ideas to the discussion rather than just being rubber stamps.

Be responsive

Quick feedback for faster decisions is essential. Despite busy schedules and multiple commitments, it is necessary to react quickly to avoid delays and the associated disastrous consequences.

Be empathetic

This is a required overall improvement as pointed out by many researchers. Respecting the point of view of others through a thoughtful listener will cost you nothing. The attitude of “my way is the highway” will not be the right way.

Be strategic

Demonstrating a futuristic approach is essential for collective success. Conceptual skills necessary for both visualization and evaluation should be demonstrated.

Be holistic

The need to see problems from multiple angles has become increasingly important in the new normal. The implications of a decision taken, whether positive or negative, must be assessed objectively.

Be mature

The ability to handle constructive feedback is essential in the boardroom. Maturity in separating a person from his point and an individual from his idea is necessary to avoid unwanted interpersonal conflicts.

Be human

The need to respect precious human resources as the only living and dynamic resource that can take command and control of other resources, should be the way forward. COVID19 had shown us the value of “lives” more than “livelihoods” in painful ways.

The above seven precepts offer a recipe for an awakening to lasting results.

Go forward

“Good corporate governance is about being decent and prospering,” said Toba Beta, an Indonesian economist. Governance on all fronts is not easy to navigate. He has to face major challenges. For example, dominance over democracy in deliberations is a common occurrence. The next column of human results will cover these challenges in relation to the Sri Lankan context.

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A comparative analysis of the influence of contraceptive use and fertility desire on the length of the second birth interval in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa | BMC Women’s Health Sat, 02 Oct 2021 09:59:30 +0000 Design and implementation of the study Surveys (DHS) conducted in four sub-Saharan African countries: DR Congo DHS (2013/14 DRCDHS), Ethiopia DHS (2016 EDHS), Nigeria DHS (2018 NDHS), South Africa DHS (2016 SADHS). DHS is cross-sectional in design and provides population-based health indicators to help policy makers and program managers design and evaluate programs and strategies […]]]>

Design and implementation of the study

Surveys (DHS) conducted in four sub-Saharan African countries: DR Congo DHS (2013/14 DRCDHS), Ethiopia DHS (2016 EDHS), Nigeria DHS (2018 NDHS), South Africa DHS (2016 SADHS). DHS is cross-sectional in design and provides population-based health indicators to help policy makers and program managers design and evaluate programs and strategies to improve the health of a country’s population. The data, collected by trained field workers, contains self-reported information on the sexual and reproductive health history of the women sampled.

Currently, the four countries have varying population sizes: DR Congo (90 million), Ethiopia (115 million), Nigeria (206 million) and South Africa (60 million); these constitute the largest population in the central, eastern, western and southern regions of SSA [1], respectively. It should be noted that these countries are among the nine countries of the world which are expected to host more than 50% of the increase in the world population by 2050, with the exception of South Africa. [4]. The growth rates and the TFR in DR Congo are respectively 3.5 and 6.2; Ethiopia, 2.7 and 4.3; Nigeria, 2.5 and 5.3; and South Africa, 1.1 and 2.3 [1]. Although South Africa’s fertility rate remains the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, its observed fertility decline is still above replacement level. In addition, these countries are classified as low middle income countries by the World Bank. Nigeria and South Africa are the two main economic countries on the continent classified as middle income countries; Ethiopia and DR Congo are classified as low income countries.

In these countries, the DHS employs a two-stage stratified cluster sampling technique using the frame containing the enumeration areas (EAs). In the first step, the clusters (otherwise known as EAs) are selected using a probability proportional to size approach per stratum. At the second stage, households are selected as secondary sampling units using systematic cluster sampling. Women of childbearing age who reside in the respective countries were the study participants. A detailed description of the sampling plan and strategies has already been reported [32,33,34,35].

Study population and variables

Of the 18,827 15,683 41,821,814 women aged 15 to 49 who participated in DRCDHS 2014, 2016 EDHS, 2018 NDHS, 2016 SADHS respectively, 13,884, 10,114, 29,296, 6039 had at least one birth and were included in the current study. These were participants who had reported at least one single birth at the time of the survey.

Result variable The dependent variable of interest was the time between the first and second childbirth for women in the selected countries. Women who had not had a second childbirth at the time of the survey were right-censored and coded 0; otherwise, 1 in the analysis.

Independent variables The main independent variables were contraceptive use and fertility desire. Contraceptive use was derived from questions asking women to indicate “if they have ever used anything or tried to delay or avoid getting pregnant” and their “current use of contraceptives by type of method”; this was categorized as “never-, past or current use” of any means to delay / stop pregnancy / childbirth. Fertility desire, derived from questions asking women to indicate whether they wanted more children, was reclassified as “more, unwilling or undecided”. Based on existing empirical studies [16, 36], the other covariates taken into account for the study were ethnicity, religion (Christian, Islam, traditionalist / other), education (none, primary, secondary, tertiary), wealth index (low, medium , high), age (<20, 20-24, ≥ 25 years) and marital status at first birth (never married, married before first birth, married after first birth), employment status (does not work, works), sex at first birth (male, female) and the first -birth survival (dead, alive). It should be noted that the wealth index variable, derived from the weighted factor score generated by the principal component analysis contained in the women's recoding file, was grouped into low, middle and high wealth quintiles. This is an indirect measure of the socio-economic status of the household due to the lack of information on household income. The term ethnic origin denoted the self-reported ethnic group in each of the countries except South Africa where information on skin color was provided. Additionally, information on religion was not available in the 2016 SADHS.

Statistical data analysis

Survival analysis methods were used for the analysis. The “time to failure” for women who had a second birth was the SBI. The “censored time” for women without a second birth was the time elapsed since the first birth and the date of interview. The Kaplan-Meier survival method was used to describe the time between women and the second birth, while the log-rank test was used to examine the association between the duration of SBI and individual explanatory variables. The semi-parametric Cox proportional risk regression (CPH) was then used to assess the effect of contraceptive use and fertility desire on SBI among other controlled variables, in each of the selected countries.

Model expression The CPH model can be written in the form:

$$ h left ({t_ {i}} right) = h_ {0} left (t right) ell ^ {{ sum nolimits_ {j = 1} ^ {p} {b_ {j} x_ {ji}}}} , mathop { longrightarrow} limits ^ {imlying} , ln frac {{h left ({t_ {i}} right)}} {{h_ {0} left (t right)}} = mathop sum limits_ {j = 1} ^ {p} b_ {j} x_ {ji} $$


or ({b} _ {j} )—Jth coefficients of the explanatory variable Xj, p– number of explanatory variables, ({h} _ {0} left (t right) )– reference risk function such as ({ mathrm {h} left (t right) / h} _ {0} left (t right) )—Indicates the risk ratio (HR) and the conditional probability of experiencing a second childbirth in a short time interval (t, t + ∆t) having survived until the time t is

$$ h left (t right) = mathop {{ text {lim}}} limits _ { Delta t to 0} left {{ frac {{P left ({t le T le t + Delta t left | T right rangle t} right)}} { Delta t}} right } $$


Usually, the relationship between the functions of risk, H



$$ S left (t right) = mathop smallint limits_ {t} ^ { infty} f left (y right) dy = P left ({T> t} right) = 1 – F left (t right) $$


$$ F left (t right) = mathop smallint limits_ {0} ^ {t} f left (y right) dy = P left ({T


The F


Yes mI is the number of women who were at risk of having a second childbirth, censored women included, before Isurvival time (tI) and II is the number of women who had a second birth in tI, then Eq. (7) below estimates the survival functions.

$$ s left (t right) = mathop prod limits_ {i = 1} ^ {m} left {{ frac {{n_ {i} – l_ {i}}} {{n_ { i}}}} right } mathrel backepsilon t_ {m}


or m is the number of different failure times (i.e., the experience of a second birth).

The unadjusted CPH model was used to explain the association between each of the major independent variables, including other covariates and the SBI. Using the Wald test to assess the significance of the interaction between key variables (contraceptive use and fertility desire), the statistical significance of the interaction term was not uniform across the countries studied (this was not has not been presented). Thus, after confirming the non-violation of the proportional risk assumption, two adjusted CPH models were fitted. Model 1 only constitutes the key independent variables and model 2 includes all significant variables (p<0.15) based on the log-rank test in addition to the main independent variables. The Wald test using the deviance statistic, - 2log likelihood (- 2LL), was used to select the best model, the lower value being considered the most adequate.

Hazard ratios (HR), including their 95% confidence intervals, are shown. The exponentials of the coefficients (bj which indicates changes in the expected time to the second birth due to a unit change in the jth predictor) suggest the risk trend at the second birth; thus, HR> 1 indicates a higher risk and HR <1 a lower risk. The data were weighted to take into account the differences in population size of each region of the selected countries. All analyzes were performed at 5% significance level, using STATA 14 SE.

Ethical considerations

Ethical approval for the parental study was obtained from the National Ethics Committee in the respective countries and from the ICF Institutional Review Committee. Details of the ethics approval were reported earlier [32,33,34,35]. The analysis for the present study used a secondary dataset, freely available for use in the public domain, which does not require ethical approval. In the meantime, the Demographic and Health Surveys Program has authorized the use of the dataset for this analysis.

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Best food subscription giveaways for 2021 Thu, 30 Sep 2021 16:00:10 +0000 A subscription to delicious food or alcoholic drinks can be the perfect gift. When you sign someone up for a dining club, they’ll receive a pleasant (and probably delicious) surprise delivery every month. A small bite or a small glass to brighten up their day. Whenever this packet shows up with a mysterious dark chocolate […]]]>

A subscription to delicious food or alcoholic drinks can be the perfect gift. When you sign someone up for a dining club, they’ll receive a pleasant (and probably delicious) surprise delivery every month. A small bite or a small glass to brighten up their day. Whenever this packet shows up with a mysterious dark chocolate bar, a packet of fragrant spices, or a bottle of regional hot sauce, they’ll be thinking of you.

See? This is serious gold.

If you want to give someone a little monthly yum on this holiday, your options for amazing food and drink subscriptions are plentiful. Most of these monthly food clubs and edible subscriptions make great giveaways, but find the better a monthly food club to gift your friends, family or coworkers takes a little sleuthing.

From savory snack bags filled with goodies from far away places to algorithm-guided wine tastings, boxes of fine chocolate or cheese, these boxes of excellent edibles (and drinks) will be delivered regularly for as long as you will choose to keep them coming.

These are the best (yes, I’ve tested them all) food and drink subscriptions to give someone that party.

Golden belly

If you’re too busy to plan a road trip across the country to munch on all of this land’s best food. has to offer, Goldbelly has a back-up plan and you’ll be spending a lot less on gas. This is the Best of Goldbelly membership and it includes three months of monthly boxes curated with truly legendary dishes from places like New York’s Magnolia Bakery or the famous Russ & Daughters delicatessen.

Each delivery is different and cannot be changed, but it’s really fun and Goldbelly does a great job of making sure everything is packed securely. Three months of the Best of Goldbelly cost $ 229.

Read more: Our favorite dishes on Goldbelly from all over the country


Spices are the backbone of any good food I have ever had. As someone who cooks often but doesn’t have much access to fresh spices, I can say that I would love this gift.

Raw Spice Bar sends 2 ounces of a spice or spice blend like Indian garam masala or Japanese furikake. Plus, you get chef-tested recipes to cook with everyone, all for under $ 10 a month. The best part is that the spices are freshly ground – unlike anything you get at the supermarket. And believe me, they will know the difference.

Murray cheese

The varieties of cheese are endless, which makes the cult food an ideal candidate for the subscription. New York’s iconic cheese factory, Murray’s, has several subscription options if you want to give someone ridiculously good cheddars, bries, and manchegos every month.

While we’re not talking about budget cheese here, you can prepay for three months of cheese deliveries for a total of $ 175. Each expedition will include three to four cheeses selected by Murray’s masters. I have personally tested Murray’s subscription melty products and can confirm that this is a category A food club to join.

Read more: Best monthly coffee and club memberships to give away in 2021


The Bokksu brings together some of Japan’s best snacks and compiles them into a tasting box that runs monthly or once a month. I have both given and received a Bokksu and it is always a success.

Inside the incomparable orange boxes, you’ll find dishes like seaweed tempura, lime green tea cakes, and Japanese sweets like yuzu candy and strawberry matcha Kit-Kats. Additionally, Bokksu includes informative literature explaining a little bit about each, including historical and cultural significance.

Bokksu boxes start at $ 40 per month for subscriptions and $ 50 for a one-time shipment.

Read more: The best snack subscription boxes in 2021


This Vinebox wine subscription (starting at $ 158) is the best way to add variety to someone’s grape varieties without committing to full bottles. The selections are cleverly distributed in the form of glass-sized samples from the world’s leading producers and styles.

Wine may appear to be the gift of withdrawal with a reputation, perhaps legitimate, of impersonality. Winc, like some of the other wine clubs, hopes to change that by diving deep into your palate and making ordering wine by mail an engaging experience. If you think there’s someone on your list who would like to learn more about wine or their own preferences – strange as it sounds – a Winc membership is a great place to start. The company starts with a profile and palate analysis, then sends you the wines they think you’ll like. Each time you rate them, shipments from various producers start to match your taste better.

Monthly Winc subscriptions start at an affordable price of $ 39 (plus $ 9 shipping) for three bottles per month. You can buy a gift card for as few or as many months as you want to bequeath, or just send a one-time shipment of wine. Who doesn’t like it?

Read more: The best wine subscriptions in 2021

Fuego box

Hot sauce lovers are very serious about this and Fuego Box makes a perfect gift for anyone who is a bit heated. Fuego Box hot sauce subscriptions start at $ 18 per month, although $ 30 per month for three bottles is a much better deal.

There are also many unique gift sets like this one with hot honey, hot peach habanero sauce and spicy garlic seasoning. In addition, Fuego Box is a small business that supports other small businesses, so you can feel good about it.

Bar & Cocoa

Chocolate is about as safe as it gets, making it a great gift for someone you don’t know what to buy – or a known chocolate lover, of course. The Bar & Cocoa Chocolate Club will be sending out some of the best bars in the business (four full bars per month, to be exact) and we’re not talking about mass-produced Hershey here either. Some of the major chocolate producers include Amano, Chocolate Madagascar, and A. Morin. All are ethical, sustainable and eco-conservative. Like I said – the good stuff.

A three month membership starts at $ 129 total, but you can go for a six or 12 month period and any one of them can be canceled at any time.

Read more: Great bar gifts for a home mixologist

The best thing about Mouth is the seemingly endless options for gift boxes, basket subscriptions, and more. I would venture to assume that even if you’re not sure what gift you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it in the sprawling online market for quality food. Mouth offers monthly subscriptions for everything from pickles and cocktails, jerky and general snacks. You can also browse the freebies, where there are even more options like a Backyard Bonfire Bites box or a Bloody Mary cocktail kit.

Butcher’s shop

For a carnivorous foodie, a box of premium meats is never a bad decision and your gift options abound in 2021. We have tried ButcherBox many times and it has established itself as the best service to deliver a box of. meat or a subscription for the grill girl in your life.

Other online butchers specialize in niche beef, like KC Cattle Co.’s 100% American wagyu stock. Another newcomer, Porter Road, has some cool cuts and holiday bundles, while the former Rastelli’s will allow you to prepare a box of meat. and seafood to send. Check out our favorite online butchers for that meaty little something to gift your favorite carnivore.

More Holiday Gift Gold

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Ethical PR firm “blew judges away” at awards Wed, 29 Sep 2021 17:32:00 +0000 Harrogate social enterprise PR firm Cause UK was named the 2021 PR Agency of the Year at the Prolific North Awards. Pictured (L to R): Host Hattie Pearson, Managing Director of Cause UK Clair Challenor-Chadwick, and Laura Maguire, Customer Manager for YouGov, which sponsored the award. Cause UK won the PR Agency of the Year […]]]>
Harrogate social enterprise PR firm Cause UK was named the 2021 PR Agency of the Year at the Prolific North Awards. Pictured (L to R): Host Hattie Pearson, Managing Director of Cause UK Clair Challenor-Chadwick, and Laura Maguire, Customer Manager for YouGov, which sponsored the award.

Cause UK won the PR Agency of the Year award at the Prolific North Champions Awards, held in Manchester.

The awards recognize talent in the creative and digital sector and feature major national brands including Channel 4 and Immediate Media.

Alexandra Balazs, Operations Manager at Prolific North, said: “This entry blew the judges away. The judges said Cause UK, which supports the arts, ethical businesses and social enterprises, is not doing things by halves and has done wonders. They do a commendable job and stood up for what matters. “

Founded in 2010, Cause UK was created by Clair Challenor-Chadwick, who was joined by her journalist sister Ann in 2011. In addition to specializing in representing good causes, the agency represents ethical businesses, including the technology for good.

Clair Challenor-Chadwick said: “This award is a fantastic validation from our peers and esteemed judges for all of our hard work and the passion we put into this work.”

She added, “We really want to thank all of our customers, creative collaborators, friends and family for supporting us over the past 11 years. It has been particularly difficult in recent months for small businesses, so sharing the room with national brands was a real honor. “

Cause UK’s various clients include arts organizations such as the Ilkley Literature Festival and the Leeds Hospitals Charity. She has provided editorial and public relations services to Key Fund, a pioneering social investor in the North, for over a decade, and has represented numerous social enterprises. The team also promotes the Green Agenda, with clients such as Nidderdale Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership.

During the pandemic, the majority of Cause UK customers have had to temporarily shut down or pivot to adapt.

Ms Challenor-Chadwick said: “We have stepped into the work and supported our clients, including those who have grown closer to the grassroots in their communities. We have also won new business, including medical, science and innovation projects. In 2021, we succeeded in obtaining a cultural revival grant from the Arts Council, which helped us to continue our artistic offer. “

Its strength lies in creative, high-impact yet affordable PR campaigns, working with Cause UK creatives and associates across the North, including designers, editors, filmmakers and photographers.

Cause UK has started a social enterprise – the Veterans Craft Bakery at Catterick Garrison. Since 2010, they have raised £ 1million for good causes.

It also offers its own events and festivals, with Brian Blessed, Chris Packham, Steve Backshall and Ken Loach. The team have worked with Miriam Margolyes at their Malton Dickensian festival for many years. They will bring Miriam to the Royal Hall at 3 p.m. on October 17 for an event focused on her new memories, and welcome Martin Hughes-Games and Iolo Williams on a Wildlife Road Trip later in the evening.

Cause UK was up against five major PR agencies, Active Profile, Brazen, Roland Dransfield, Truth PR and Viva.

Ann Chadwick, Director of Cause UK, said: “Covid has underlined the importance of a kinder, more equal and greener society. We aim to be agents of change and put heart and intelligence on the current agenda. Our work is proven to raise profiles, attract investment, increase footfall and ultimately increase revenue for our clients, proving that when done right, public relations are the most profitable and impactful marketing tool.

A recent major campaign has been the media launch of the revived Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra (YSO). The YSO has been reformed to support musicians in the North affected by the pandemic, with Skipton’s Ben Crick as the new conductor.

A media launch that used film, drone footage and photographs at Harewood House resulted in more than 130 articles in print. Blanket included The temperature, The telegraph of the day and a full page function in the Guardian, with interviews on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House, as well as extensive regional press and social media. The team also got Alan Bennett as YSO boss; Clair has been appointed special advisor to the orchestra.

Despite the economic challenges the pandemic has brought to small businesses, Cause UK has secured new clients such as Yeadon Town Hall, the Fairwork Foundation and Nosterfield Nature Reserve.

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