Audrey Hepburn, the British actress and fashion icon, once famously said that ‘elegance is the only beauty that never fades.’ Years later, the maxim is still relevant whether in the world of culture or politics as the example of Kate Middleton demonstrates clearly. From her first public appearance, the Duchess of Cambridge has been hailed as the perfect example of an empowered and elegant royalty. source http://katemiddletonstyle.org/orla-kiely-bird-print-dress-art-room/ Whether canoeing in Canada, planting a tree or attending a state visit, sophistication, modesty and elegance define h…

Philosophy has a problem with expertise. The discipline is, at its heart, a form of questioning that struggles to provide for easy or definite answers. I think this is one of philosophy’s strengths, but it can provoke problems. One such problem when those without philosophical training speak with authority on philosophical issues. The problem here is that the authority they hold in one domain - say, science - doesn’t translate in the way they imply. Richard Dawkins is arguably the most prominent example, but others - such as Neil deGrasse Tyson - are also culpable. The most recent instance o…

End of season sales, Boxing Day sales, Black Friday, end of summer sale: the calendar year seems to be divided by these new reminders to keep on buying. The message sent out to us could not be clearer: ‘Keep calm and carry on shopping.’ As customers always on the lookout for the best occasion, consciously or not, we often give into the bold advertising that can so effectively model our behaviour. ‘Fast fashion’, a term used to describe low-cost clothing collections that change very quickly and mimic current fashion trends, redefined the way dress fuelling our desire to follow the newest trends…

Pope, patriarchs and prelates are crying out for intervention. Where are the presidents and prime ministers? I've known Maronite leader Monsignor Sharbel Maroun for many years, talked with him on radio in 2006 after Telelumiere was nearly destroyed in the Lebanon War that summer, and many times before and after then about the ongoing work of unity and mutual respect of Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. He just returned from Lebanon recently, we talked again this week, and he is despondent. What he said is captured well here. Catholics in the Middle East are being persecuted and slau…

Five Minutes of Heaven (2009) directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel [image from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1238291/] Despite its title, Hirschbiegel’s film offers anything but light-hearted entertainment. Instead, it is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the questions of forgiveness, restorative justice, and revenge. The film intertwines fictional and factual material. In the first part, it recreates the historical killing 19-year-old Jim Griffin by 17-year-old Alistair Little in 1975 and in the second part it imagines a fictional meeting between the killer and the victim’s …

Promoting “genderless parenting” contradicts what the facts show us about the benefits of having a mom and a dad. There’s been a strange turn of opinions about fatherhood—at least in recent public debates. Decades of research have now documented the tremendous challenges children face when they grow up without their fathers. But you would never know it by looking at some of the recent public arguments for “genderless parenting.” So what do the decades of research on fathers say? Boys from fatherless families are twice as likely to end up in prison before age 30. Girls raised in homes without …

My husband and I are millionaires. Or at least we ought to be. According to a recent New York Times article The Cost, in Dollars, of Raising a Child "would run close to $2 million by the time it was all over." So, with five children in the nest, we must either be extravagantly wealthy or utterly broke. That’s according to the Times. In her article, Nadia Taha calculates the price of raising one child in an up-scale New York neighborhood. Claiming to be "conservative" in her calculations she uses a recent US Department of Agriculture report and adjusts it to the cost of daycare and housing in h…

Having reviewed one of de Botton’s earlier books, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, I am acquainted with his way of thinking: an intellectual (of the ivory tower variety) and an aesthete, he is always asking himself, “what gives meaning to life?” Of course, any serious-minded person must ask himself this, just as he should ask himself, “What is truth?” de Botton, blessed with a privileged life, does not wait for an answer. The son of secular Jewish parents and conscientiously brought up by them to think of religious belief as irrational nonsense, he admits to a “crisis of faithlessness” in hi…

An international conference of psychiatrists is ignoring the clamorous debate over the psychological consequences of abortion. Perhaps most importantly, the "pro-choice" Professor David Fergusson reported in 2008 in the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP) that his research shows that women who have abortions are twice as likely to suffer mental health issues and three times more likely to suffer specifically from depression than women who have either given birth or never been pregnant. And yet there is an ideological drive to state that there are no psychological consequences to having an abor…

Recently the managing editor of a Canadian student newspaper, Rebekah Hebbert (a young woman not unfamiliar to MercatorNet readers), sent me a rather daunting request: "If you had one message/piece of advice/warning for students, what would it be?" What on earth could be important enough to be that “one message”? I decided that what we all know to be important – family, friends, love, trust, loyalty, honesty and so on – should not be the focus of my message. So, I thought long and hard, but then, as I always do when faced with a complex and difficult decision, I decided to “trust my unconsciou…

Faces of rioters include that of an 11-year-old boy, and of a 19-year-old university student who attended a top grammar school. (Daily Telegraph) No structure to life, no moral values,no father, little or no ability to read and write, a passion for consumer goods fuelled by an upbringing focused on the fulfilment of immediate needs – all this plus physical strength, ferocious anger, and commitment to a strong gang – it all makes rioting a good way to spend a summer evening. And the main things that have blighted the lives of the young thugs and thieves who have been burning shops and stealing …

One of four distinguished Kenyan women who died recently was a doctor who spent herself on the welfare of AIDS victims and strengthening the African family. In an extraordinary turn of events, four prominent Kenyan women have died during the past month. One of them, Dr Margaret Ogola, gave MercatorNet one of its first and best interviews in 2005, speaking eloquently about the top issues facing her country and the continent: poverty, AIDS, healthcare and, above all, the need to strengthen the African family.Africa needs good women leaders and it has many of them. But to lose four of its own di…

Recently, we looked at a claim, published in a serious science journal, Intelligence, that belief in God correlates worldwide with lower IQ. From the same journal in the same year, we learned that religion correlates with lower IQ among American teenagers. Just think, teens grow up believing that misbehaving rots their brains, and now - for pious teens - it’s religion! Helmuth Nyborg, who was one of the investigators in the adult study, reported. The present study examined whether IQ relates systematically to denomination and income within the framework of the g nexus, using representative dat…

Where do you seek entertainment when you’re through with sentimental romance? In graphic violence, perhaps? War, persecution, abuse, suffering -- these are common themes in literature and I am not overly disturbed by them, at least in principle. Some happy stories—as much as I love them—can seem disconnected from reality, and escapism’s comfort is too fleeting to satisfy. Dark themes are a part of life, and even if they are difficult to face they can be invaluable for testing character, proving virtue, and drawing out what is most beautiful in human nature, as well as the worst. In teen litera…

How to break through the top 12 barriers to exercise Regular physical activity may help prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. It also may also increase your energy and boost your mood. But many people don’t know how to make physical activity a part of their lives and they hold on to one or more of the common barriers to physical activity listed below. Personal Barriers Barrier 1: Between work, family, and other demands, I am too busy to exercise.Solutions: Make physical activity a priority. Carve out some time each…

Use these cuisine essentials to keep you on the path to eating right and staying slim. By Helen Racanelli 1. Cast iron frying pan This is the original nonstick pan. It's a bit tricky to "season" it -- in other words, to build up a natural nonstick surface by rubbing it with oil or grease and heating it. The upside: once it's seasoned, you need only a little bit of oil to cook meat, vegetables, etc. Plus, they're inexpensive. 2. Measuring cups Are you really doling out a half-cup of spaghetti, or are you just eyeballing it and hoping for the best? If you're really serious about portion cont…

Walking with polesHow can you make walking a better overall workout without feeling like you are exerting any more energy? How can you overcome the slouching, neck and shoulder pain many get from working at desks and computers? Across Europe, millions of people have taken up nordic walking to give them a good workout and loosen their neck and shoulders. What is Nordic Walking? Nordic walking uses two specially designed poles to work the upper body while walking. Like cross country skiing, the poles are used by the arms to match each step the person takes. How is it Better Than Just Walking…