Goodbye to The Good, Bad, and IDK

Well, I’ve spent two years of my life writing on this blog. 

We’ve talked everyone from birds who make more money than us to a guy who invented blue to keep your vaginas shut. 

What has kept me going these past two years isn’t the relentless talking of news, but the wide variety of opinions everyone you have all shared with me. 

I think an open dialogue is the most important this day and age that is preached by many to be what they want, but really is just a phrase people use to seem reasonable. 

But now, I have to start a new project. If there is one thing you can takeaway from all this is say what you mean and mean what you say, but for Christ sakes think it though first. 

Is equality a scale or a bar?

In the past 100 years, there has been more social change than ever before. People of colour have equal rights, you can get married regardless of sexual orientation, women have become presidents of countries and CEOs of Fortune 500 businesses, abortions are legal, there are dozens of recognized types of gender, and so much more. None of these things would have even been a seed of a concept all those years ago.

However, the mindset of society is starting to split off into multiple directions. Planned Parenthood is losing funding if it provides assistance with abortions, there is an endless debate over the racial profiling and the police, women aren’t paid as much as men, millions of people denounce any gender that isn’t male or female, and all of this and much more is leading people to revolt and form groups against the constant progressive chance.

All of the issues of today boil down to equality, and in the news, I’ve seen a lot of different opinions on social issues. One of the biggest reasons many arguments on these issues end in stalemates is because both sides define equality in different ways. To properly debate social equality, both sides need to agree on what the definition of equality actually is. So that poses the question – is equality a scale or a bar?

Let me explain.

To even out a scale, you need to put enough weight on both sides of the scale until it balances itself out. For example, If I put a one pound weight and a seven pound weight on the left side of the scale, and then I put a five pound weight and a three pound weight on the right side, both sides equal eight pounds, and therefore, both sides are equal, and the scale is balanced.

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If we look at equality as a scale, every type of person doesn’t need to have the same programs, platforms, and privileges but need the same value when you add them all up. If we applied this logic to social equality, men making more money than women would be okay as long as they pay more for dates, groceries, gifts, childcare, etc.

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On the other hand, equality is also seen as a bar. This logic means a standard (or bar) is set, and to achieve equality everyone has to reach it. If you see social equality as a bar, men and women should make the same amount of money for the same amount of work because the standard pay for that job requirement is set at X amount.

So equality is a bar, right? Well, it’s not that simple.

When you look at the example of equal pay, it’s easier to see equality as a bar because we are all human, and humans should be paid the same regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion.

But now let’s look at scholarships. Milo Yiannopoulos started the Privilege Grant. It’s a scholarship only available to white men. The media has a field day with this news, criticizing him for being a sexist white supremacist.

Before I continue, I just want it on the record that on almost every issue I am in opposition of Milo Yiannopolous. However, is it fair to label him a sexist white supremacist on this issue alone? Obviously, he has done other things to back up that theory, but block out everything you know about him and try and focus on this one stance.

NerdScholar conducted a study on demographics of university scholarships. They discovered there are four times as many scholarships for women than there are for men. If you see equality as a bar than this should be appalling to you because men are at a severe disadvantage when it comes financial assistance from schools. There are also thousands of scholarships exclusively available for African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, and Indigenous, and scholarships only available for people of a certain religion as well. If equality is a bar, then offering a scholarship for white men is a step in the right direction.

“Well, that’s different because white men have had it good for so long.”

Ah, but now you’re looking at equality as a scale because you’re weighing the centuries of higher social status and opportunity against the surplus of scholarships for minority groups. But then that begs the almost impossible-to-answer question – how much is either side worth?

“Well, why can’t it be a scale in some cases and a bar in others?”

Because that’s the problem!

Everyone has their own take on when equality should be a scale and when it should be a bar. This leads to confusion between the parties involved in the debate because depending on the argument, people will flip flop between seeing it as a scale or as a bar to suit their personal agenda.

So what’s the right answer?

That’s something we need to decide as a society. If it’s a scale, then some groups can have more than other, but it’s harder to manage because now we need to numerically add value to social equality, which is highly subjective depending on your background. If it’s a bar, then everyone gets the same programs, platforms, and privileges regardless of the past, present, and future.

Discussing this dilemma is imperative, so please comment below and let’s start this conversation together. It’s the only way to solve the problem.

What makes a country happy, and who is the happiest

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international association that provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seeks solutions to common problems.

Since 2012, they have created and released the World Happiness Report, a study measuring the 155-member country’s well-being. The OECD believe the happiness of a country’s people is a direct cause of social and economic development and works with countries to propel their financial and social status in the right direction. I’ve broken down the most important points for you, but there is a link to the report at the bottom of the article if you’re interested.

So, what makes people happy?

The OECD measures a person’s happiness through a series of questions getting and individual to evaluate their own life on a scale from 0 – 10. They do many other things as well to calculate the long-term effects of their studies, but that’s the gist of it.

According to their report, the main factors that make people happy are their levels of:

  • Caring
  • Freedom
  • Generosity
  • Honesty
  • Income, and
  • Good governance

However, the 6 key variables that affect the factors above and help explain the measured differences between a country’s levels of happiness are:

  • The GDP per capital
  • Social support – the number of people in your community you can count on in times of need
  • Healthy life expectancy
  • Social freedom – the amount of freedom one has to choose what they do with their lives
  • Generosity – people donating their time and money to help the community
  • Absence of corruption in business and government

Who is happy?

The world’s average level of happiness is 5.310. The top three regions are Northern America & ANZ with a mean of 7.046, Western Europe at 6.593, and Latin America & the Caribbean at 6.342.

The bottom three regions are the Middle East & North Africa at 5.117, South Asia at 4.442, and Sub-Saharan Africa at 4.292.

The top ten happiest countries are:

  1. Norway – 7.537
  2. Denmark – 7.522
  3. Iceland – 7.504
  4. Switzerland – 7.494
  5. Finland – 7.469
  6. Netherlands – 7.377
  7. Canada – 7.316
  8. New Zealand – 7.314
  9. Australia – 7.284
  10. Sweden – 7.284

Other notable countries
14. United States – 6.993
16. Germany – 6.951
49. Russia – 5.63
79. China – 5.373
155. Central African Republic – 2.693 (Last)

Taking in the key variables mentioned above, it’s not surprising the top ten countries are all first-world progressive nations, and 16 of the bottom 20 countries are in Africa where social and economic development is the lowest.

Another notable statistic is that only 70 out of the 155 countries had increasing happiness levels (Canada actually decreasing by a small margin).

Is this data reliable?

Personal surveys are very subjective. However, happiness is a feeling so one’s subjective response is one of the only ways to can analyze it. You will get people taking part in the survey that are having great days and horrible days that would skew the results, but the OECD’s sample size was large enough to negate that issue.

Regarding accuracy, it makes a lot of sense when you look at the data. For example, the Ukraine’s happiness level went down almost an entire point over the past 10 years. What’s been going on in the Ukraine? Continuous riots and protest against the government and Russia taking Crimea. These issues have had a serious impact on all 6 of the key variables.

Compare that to Nicaragua, the country whose happiness has increased the most over the past 10 years (by 1.354). They’ve invested heavily in technology, infrastructure, and tourism. This has boosted the country’s economy, brought people from all over the world to explore the country and meet the people, and helped developed the social tolerance and standing of the nation.

The main takeaway

Any community looking to further itself has to take care of the people first. Create an environment where people feel free to take chances and be themselves, and the economic growth will follow.

Sources:

The report: https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdsn-whr2017/HR17-Ch2_lr.pdf

OECD’s website: http://www.oecd.org

Should not disclosing HIV be illegal?

On February 22, dozens of protesters stood outside the Attorney General of Canada’s office demanding the law stating HIV-positive people needing to disclose their status to all potential sexual partners be revoked.

Currently under Canadian law, not informing your sexual partner you’re HIV positive can land you an aggravated sexual assault charge, which is anywhere from 5 years up to a lifetime in jail. This offense has been enforced before, one example being Marjorie Schenkels, a woman who is HIV positive was charged with aggravated sexual assault charge for having unprotected sex three times with a friend in 2014. That being said, there is no official law stating the correct punishment for someone who doesn’t disclose having HIV.

When I first heard about this, I didn’t understand how people could protest this law. How could people want this law to be scratched and increase the chance of people contracting HIV?

Well, let’s dive into both sides of the argument because it’s more complicated than you might think.

The Arguments

The easier side to understand is people who are in favour of the current law. Their argument is simple: HIV and AIDS are deadly diseases. People should be well informed before being put into a situation where they might contract them. It’s the only real argument they have, but that’s all right because IT’S A VERY GOOD ONE.

Once you venture into the other side of the argument is when thinks start to get more complicated.

The first point people against the current law make is HIV isn’t as transmittable as people think due to general misconceptions surrounding it. According to a scientific consensus statement on aidslaw.ca, there are three main factors that contribute to the transmission of the virus:

  • Type of sexual act
  • Condom use
  • Antiretroviral therapy use and viral load in the HIV-positive person

The type of sexual act increases or decreases the chance of transmission. For example, oral sex has a significantly lower chance than vaginal and anal sex because HIV isn’t transferable through saliva. Is only transferable through semen, vaginal fluid, and anal fluid, and even then is only transferable these fluids come into contact with specific cells in an HIV-negative person.

Condom use is important because as long as the condom doesn’t break, HIV cannot pass through the latex barrier. However, they recognize condoms do tend to break from time to time.

Antiretroviral therapy is how people with HIV are treated. The goal of this type of treatment is to stop the virus from making copies of itself. Viral load is how contagious someone with HIV actually is, and the goal of antiretroviral therapy is to have an undetectable viral load, meaning little to no HIV.

The scientific community against the current Canadian law says the combination of these three factors can lead to HIV almost being completely non-transmittable. You can read the detailed report discussing these factors and more about HIV prevention here: http://www.aidslaw.ca/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Canadian-statement1.pdf

The other argument is the law surrounding HIV creates a stigma that does more damage than it does good. Protestors say shaming people for having HIV and making them afraid of the social and legal consequences deters them from wanting to tell anyone about their HIV status, especially when they can be legally labelled as people who committed aggravated sexual assault.

What do I think?

I think both sides have very valid points. Being labelled a rapist for not telling someone of a condition you’re ashamed of is harsh. You could create a specific category in the Criminal Code of Canada addressing HIV transmission, but giving it its own section could further add to the stigma surrounding the virus. On the other hand, unlike chlamydia or other STIs, HIV and AIDS are deadly. I still think you should make people fully aware of what they’re getting into before they make a decision that could possibly end their life – no matter how low the risk is.

So, what do you think? Am I right? Am I wrong? Should it continue to be illegal not to disclose your HIV to sexual partners? Should the Canadian government trash the law surrounding it? Should there be a new section introduced into the Criminal Code of Canada addressing this issue? Let me know in the comment section below, and make sure to get your friends and family in on the debate by sharing this article.

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/hiv-non-disclosure-law-1.3914429

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/02/07/stop-the-witch-hunt-of-hiv-criminalization.html

http://www.aidslaw.ca/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Canadian-statement1.pdf

 

Having your period? Just… glue it shut?

Yep, you read the title right.

Mensez is a product developed by Dan Dopps, a chiropractor in Wichita, that is supposed to revolutionize the world of feminine hygiene and possibly do away with tampons and pads entirely.

According to the company’s website, it’s a lipstick-like applicator that uses a combination of natural oils and amino acids to seal your labia shut. The seal dissolves when you pee, releasing all of the fluids stored inside and making your trip to the bathroom much more efficient.

This product is patented and Dopps claims several manufacturers are interested in the product. Although, many women aren’t.

Women on Twitter haven’t been a huge fan of the product. Comments range from asking Dopps to glue his mouth shut to asking if he understands female anatomy at all.

Dopps claims he have spent years of research perfecting the product and is surprised pads and tampons are the best solution women have been able to come up with.

Ashley Robbins, an OB-GYN (obstetrics gynaecologists) at the Mid-Kansas Women’s Center, says Dobbs is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exists and believes the product would be unsafe and ineffective.

What do I think? I think it doesn’t take a doctor to realize you shouldn’t try this product.

I can see how this product could save women time, money, and the inconvenience of using tampons and pads, but there is so much grey area to be addressed before I would feel safe with my female friends and family using this product. What if the glue doesn’t work? What if you spill a drink on your shorts? What if you have a large flow and it burst through the glue, or worse, keeps it inside and causes you health problems? What does a chiropractor know about women’s reproductive organs?

Also, from a corporate perspective, the amount of liability damage you’d have to pay if this product turns out to be damaging to women could astronomical.

When it comes down to products like this, don’t just look at the problem it can solve. Think about all the problems it can cause. There are a lot of products out there that sound like they’re home runs, but after you think about it, turn out to be complete duds – and Mensez is one of them.

 

Sources:

Company website – http://mensez.com

The Wichita Eagle – http://www.kansas.com/news/local/article134119134.html

 

Time to Talk: Cop Hate

Do you trust your local police force? Do you like your local police force?

If you’re a Winnipegger, you probably have heard the story about Trent Milan. He is a police officer that is charged with 15 counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, breach of trust, attempt to obstruct justice, and theft, and drug trafficking.

This isn’t the first time a report has come out about a dirty cop, and it won’t be last.

If you’ve been on the Internet in the past ten years, you’ve probably seen a video of a police officer being overaggressive, whether it is one of them beating an unarmed individual or shooting people without cause. You’ve also probably seen videos of cops acting like complete power-hungry dickheads.

This has added to the mentality that all cops are dirty and abusive; a mentality that is all too prevalent in today’s culture.

Thetoptens.com is a website that allows people to vote and add their opinions to create top ten lists regarding a certain topic.

The “Top Ten Biggest Reasons People Hate Police” list

1. They are working for politicians and not the people
2. They’re stupid (mainly false)
3. They think they can talk and treat you however they want
4. They’re criminals in disguise
5. They hate black people
6. They beat you during interrogation
7. They’re more annoying than math teachers (really? are you 5?)
8. They think they own you
9. Police in third world countries make money by taking bribes
10. They always want to be right

Reuters.com conducted a poll in the United States and when asked the question “Do Police officer routinely lie to serve their own self-interest?”

• 30.9% agree
• 43.8% disagree
• 25.2% were unsure

It also concluded 37.3% believe police officers unfairly target minorities, and only half believe they are fair and just.

So is all this cop hate justified?

o-police-tape-facebook

 

Yes, but that doesn’t make it right.

The reason why all these abusive police officers are in the news is because their actions are out of the norm. CBC, CTV, FOX, etc. don’t report on cops doing their job correctly because it’s not newsworthy or interesting. The news wouldn’t report you walking to school because you do that every day. If you were walking to school and were hit by a bus, now there is a story to talk about because that shouldn’t have happened.

There is more than 765,000 sworn personnel (people with the ability to make arrests) in the United States alone. Even if there was an abusive/dirty police officer case talked about on the news every singled day in the past ten years, that would still mean under 0.01% of police officers have been reported as abusive/dirty.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not blind. I know that there are racist, dirty, abusive, paid-off, terrible police officers in the world. I am in no way ignorant to that fact. But they are the minority.

At the end of the day, the reason you have the freedom to whine about the police is because the majority of them are good citizens that protect your freedoms. There are some that are bad at their job and should be jailed for what they’ve done, but most would give their lives to protect you.

Could you give your life to protect innocents if it came down to it? Would you?

I’m not saying you should start placing your faith in them. I’m not even saying you should stop protesting. In fact, I encourage it. It’s an issue that needs to be dealt with it will never get dealt with until the government realizes how much it matters to you. All I’m saying is before you start spouting off cop hate, realize that for every shitty police officer that beats a black individual for no reason other than to get a rush out of it – there are 1000 that do nothing but try and keep you safe at night.

Time to Talk: #AllLivesMatter

If you have even one social media account that you use regularly, you must have come across #AllLivesMatter at least once in recent history. Looking at the hashtag on its own, it’s harmless. Of course, all lives matter and all people should be treated equally.

So why has #AllLiveMatter been getting so much flak?

A lot of people already know why and have formed their opinion on the subject. However, there is still a large portion of people I’ve come across that still doesn’t understand. I mean, what’s the big deal?

Now I’m not tackling this to start up a race war. I’m just trying to illustrate the type of people that try and justify #AllLivesMatter as a better alternative to #BlackLivesMatter.

First – what is #BlackLivesMatter?

Because the eruption of #AllLivesMatter happened in the past year, people think the Black Lives Matter movement began just before it. It actually started back in 2013 in response to the Trayvon Martin shooting. After the killer didn’t face criminal charges, members of the African American community decided to protest against:

  • Racial profiling and police brutality by police officers
  • The unfair treatment of black people in the judicial system

As the years past, more African Americans were shot and killed by police officers and the movement continued to grow. But, like with most movements, the larger it became, the easier it was to pass on its message and have that message can be misinterpreted. People started thinking that the Black Lives Matter movements focussed too much on the injustices done to African Americans (go figure) and that everyone has problems – and so began #AllLivesMatter.

Some of you might be thinking – Well, They’re right. All Lives do Matter. Everyone has his or her problems.

Well, I’ll let these people explain why replacing #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter makes you kind of a dick:

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Yes, all lives matter. No one is questioning that. But the topic of discussion is about injustices to African Americans. Changing the subject just belittles the problem and does nothing to fix it.

Many people have used homicide reports and statistics to try and accomplish this by saying “Cops kill more white people than black people,” and “Black people kill more black people than cops kill black people.”

These are both true statements. However, black people only make up roughly 6% of the population in the United States, and white people make up the majority, so obviously more white people are killed – there is way more of them. And yes, Black on Black crime is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.

But that’s not what we are talking about right now

The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t saying these other problems don’t exist. It’s trying to address the problem of racial bias in the eyes of the judicial system. That’s it. So, let’s keep the topic of discussion related to that issue.

This juvenile way to debate can be traced back to childhood. It’s like when a classroom just finishes a race in gym class, and Johnny won. The teacher congratulates Johnny and then Jake says “Well, my brother is faster.”

Well, that’s great for your brother Jake, but we are praising Johnny right now.

I hate talking about this because I think the majority of police officers are heroes risking their lives for us. When you are walking the street and all of a sudden somebody whips out a gun, you get to run away and go home to your family. They have run into the fray so you have that luxury. But there is a small portion whose actions are influenced by race and need to be stopped. And the #BlueLivesMatter, the cop support movement in response to Black Lives Matter, is similar to tweeting #AllLivesMatter. Yes, they are important, but it’s not the topic of discussion.

Sadly, when a movement or social issue goes on long enough, people stop caring. It’s just a fact of life. And when it goes on for too long, people stop thinking its a big deal and try and belittle it in an attempt to make it go away.

If your sick of a problem, instead of ignoring it until it goes away, solve it so it never comes back. You can keep putting coasters until a wobbly table to keep it upright, but the table will never be level until you fix the fucking leg.

Stop tweeting #AllLivesMatter. And if Black Lives Matter offends you, or you think it’s trying to cop shame, just remember the graphic below.

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