Asides

Authors of their own demise

Japanese baby. They’re becoming rarer and rarer so women, savour the cuteness while it lasts!

Last Thursday (24/10/13) there was a very interesting documentary on BBC2 called No Sex Please, We’re Japanese, hosted by Anita Rani. It described a very strange phenomenon in Japan: a severe population  decline. It’s calculated that if present birth rates continue, the population of Japan could be reduced by a third within the next 4 decades! For many other nations this would equate to 2 generations but in Japan it’d be much closer to 1.

Reasons for this include:

  • Japanese men have become increasingly scared of real females, preferring virtual ones in games consoles. Worse, they’re not even virtual women but virtual schoolgirls! Such is the otaku (ultra-nerd/ geek) culture, and this doesn’t just apply to single men but even married men,
  • Many women (real flesh-&-blood women I mean) have stepped up their game and become professionals & businesswomen, while most men (the ones who are still into real women!) still want the traditional stay-at-home housewives,
  • Modern Japanese workplace ethics have left many people too busy to have sex,
  • Like China, Japan is ethnically extremely homogenous. Almost everyone in Japan is Nihonjin, with tiny percentages of foreigners because immigration laws are very tight. This means that Japanese are pretty much stuck with their own men, unless they’re open to interracial relationships (as many Easian women in UK & US are).

Interesting things this has resulted in include the over-65s being 25% of the country’s population, too few youth to pay taxes to support the economy and a resultant national debt worse than Greece’s, the closure of nurseries & maternity wards in hospitals, and adult nappies outselling baby nappies. Furthermore, about a third of the prison population (260 in total if memory serves me right) are pensioners, many of whom re-offend after release!

Oh yeah, and a cheerleaders club exclusively for women over 55.

Ding dong! The witch is dead!

She is? Oh thank heavens… Oh wait, you mean me. Oh bother.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher (née Roberts, 1925-2013), aka. the Iron Lady, was to date England’s only female Prime Minister (PM). She gained the nickname the Iron Lady because she was known for taking s*** from no-one. Whenever she wanted to do something she did it, whether people liked it or not. This is no different from other PMs except that she was blunt and vocal, so she did what she said she would.

She was in office 1979-1990, therefore was Britain’s longest serving PM! She was a huge fan of privatisation, making most businesses private-sector. There are 2 sectors – public (parts and services of society owned & looked after by govt) and private (parts and services owned & looked after by laypeople). She thought privatisation would increase competition and thus create wealth. In a sense that was true, but it only increased wealth among those who were already in charge of businesses or could afford to be. And increasing competition meant that the rich & poor are in a constant fight, the rich to get richer and the poor to… get richer. Thus the capitalist status quo remained unchanged, and if anything was worsened. Under her unemployment, poverty & income inequality increased (see the figures here).

Privatisation also meant rather than closing on Wednesdays & Sundays, as most businesses did before her, they could open on those days – and most do. Before they had set opening times, now they choose their own opening times, leading to the 24-7 culture we live in now. This has increased foreign investment because foreign investors see our highly flexible working hours as greater opportunity to earn money. What they don’t see (or maybe do but don’t care) is that wealth is only generated for them and the business owners, everyone else is barely scraping by. It’s thus said that she was a PM for the rich.

She is even known to have called Nelson Mandela a terrorist (because back then it wasn’t synonymous for Muslim). That alone says what kind of person she was, but even worse she invited Pieter Willem Botha, a South African PM & apartheid leader, to London. Also bear in mind that the Brixton race riots happened during her rule, in ’81 & ’85.

Thatcher lived through both world wars. In 1982 she took the Falkland Islands back from Argentina during the Falklands War, which won her a re-election in ’83. For this reason she was (and still is) loved by patriots. However, people have been holding parades and parties over the past week since her death. One played the Wizard of Oz song Ding dong the Witch is dead, just to really get across their feelings about her. A police officer has resigned over an anti-Thatcher comment he made, and one of the parades was even planned from 10 years ago! Though I wouldn’t have gone so far as to throw a party (not because I respect her in death but because she’s not important enough to me), knowing what I know of her I sympathise with them.

Oh, and there was once a time in England when children got free cartons of milk at school. Thatcher abolished that, which is how she also became known as Maggie Thatcher the Milk Snatcher. You may even hear some people (who are grown adults now) complaining that she stole their milk.

As England’s only female PM so far, some may get the impression that our country has become more progressive. This is wrong, because she never went out of her way to help the disadvantaged. Societal progress shouldn’t be measured by who’s in charge, but by what’s being done by who’s in charge (ie. unemployment, poverty, education, job opportunities, etc). Some wonder that since we’ve had a female PM when will we have a ‘black’ PM. My answer is 32nd December 3-thousand and NEVER, and even if we did who’s to say he won’t be like Obama, making so many grand promises and not delivering? And considering his/her cabinet & party members & advisors would still be ‘white’, it’s extremely unlikely a ‘black’ PM will do any good for us. At least with Thatcher you knew what to expect.

Tomorrow (17/4/2013) is her actual funeral day, after the government spent the past week having her carried through London. What will the partygoers do then, I wonder?…

You either love her or hate her, just like Marmite

And now the actual funeral has happened, she’s been laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral. Finally it’s over and done with! Most attendants loved it, the protesters hated it. Some threw a mock cremation of her body in the street, someone even put up a charity tin to raise funds for a funeral party! Wow, they genuinely hate her.

An old-time friend & supporter of Thatcher

Scenes of the funeral procession

Scenes of protests

 

About blond hair in non-‘white’ people

Most people equate light hair with light skin but for Melanesians in the Pacific Islands, a.k.a. Oceania, this  isn’t the case at all as Melanesians typically have skin as dark as many Africans. I’ve known about the existence of ‘black’ people with naturally blond hair for quite a while. I also knew it was an indigenous trait not caused by early European explorers, as was previously assumed.

However, I had no idea about the genetics behind it. According to research by S. Myles, N.J. Timpson and others (geneticists) the blond hair trait has a different genetic origin in Melanesians than in North Europeans. In North Europeans it’s mainly caused by variants in a gene called melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), while for the Melanesians it’s predominantly produced by variation of a gene called tyrosinase related protein 1 (TYRP1). There were other genetic variants as well but this TYRP1 was the most prevalent among blond Melanesians, accounting for about 26% of hair colour variation*. In genetics it’s unusual for a single gene to account for such a high frequency of an observable trait. Just like in people of North European descent this gene variant is recessive so a person has to inherit it from both parents to have blond hair.

* With age and sex accounted for (as women and young children possess blond hair more frequently).

Some samples of blond-haired ‘black’ Oceanian children 

This variant of TYRP1 seems to occur only in Melanesians. This completely debunks an old hypothesis that Europeans brought the blond genes to that region when they first ‘discovered’ it in the late 16th century (when Spaniards were searching for the Ophir of biblical King Solomon, hence how the Solomon Islands were named). In the light of current scientific understanding, this hypothesis was flawed from the start since Spaniards never were well-known for having blond hair. After Melanesians NORTH Europeans (which doesn’t include Spaniards or Mediterraneans as they’re from South Europe) are known to have the highest frequency of blond hair on Earth.

This research was published in the journal Science, 4th May 2012. Here’s the link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/336/6081/554.abstract

S. Myles, one of the researchers, made a telling comment about the current state of genetics and the implications of this research on it. He explained how in medical genomics research is done almost exclusively on people of European ancestry (i.e. ‘white’ people). This means most of the understanding of genetic disease risk comes from the smallest (and incidentally wealthiest) population on the planet. This inevitably ignores the vast majority of human genetic diversity and thus distracts from knowing of them. The comment can be seen at:

http://www.cultivatingdiversity.org/2012/05/03/melanesian-blond-hair-explained/

All very fascinating…