Rise in lip reduction procedures and labiaplasty driven by pursuit of ‘normal’

1 month, 18 days ago

White European beauty ideal partly motivates women to seek out procedures, experts said, as breast augmentation is still the most popular cosmetic surgery

Lip reduction procedures in the US have increased dramatically, according to figures released today from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Last year, there were 3,547 lip reduction surgeries, representing a 283% increase from 2015.

The procedure is much more popular among African-American and Hispanic women according to Debra Johnson, a practicing plastic surgeon and president of the ASPS. Some people have overly endowed lips, Johnson explained, so lip reduction is a way to bring them into a more normal range (the irreversible procedure can be carried out for less than $1,000).

However, there is no objective definition of normal lip size, so individuals use social cues to decide whether to get surgery. As Christina Greer, a professor of political science at Fordham University explains: The standard of beauty and acceptability in America is a white standard.

Dr Germaine Awad would agree. The professor of educational psychology at the University of Technology has written about how female African American college students define beauty. When asked why lip reduction has become so popular, Awad said: The only thing that I can think would be a possible reason for this is the notion of striving toward a white European beauty ideal.

But its ironic, Awad added, because lots of other women are increasing the size of their lips. There were 28,430 lip augmentation procedures last year according to ASPS numbers.

After lip reduction, labiaplasty (cosmetic surgery which reduces the outer lips of the vulva) had the second highest year-on-year growth. A total of 12,666 labiaplasty procedures were carried out in 2016, a 39% increase on the previous year. That trend, too, is partly driven by societal depictions of normal.

What does a normal vulva look like?

Though lip reductions have increased far more than any other cosmetic procedure, they are nowhere near as common as other procedures. For every lip reduction carried out in 2016, there were 82 breast augmentation surgeries. Other reasons for going under the knife include liposuction (235,237 procedures in 2016) and nose reshaping (223,018 surgeries).

Boobs up, butts down – breast augmentations rose 4% in 2016 while buttock lifts declined by 11%.
Boobs up, butts down – breast augmentations rose 4% in 2016 while buttock lifts declined by 11%.

But even higher are non-surgical procedures which have been steadily increasing for years. In 2016, there over 7m Botulinum Toxin procedures in the US (commonly referred to by the brand name Botox). In 2000, that number was 786,911. Small amounts of this acutely lethal toxin are often administered to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Early Man review – back-of-the-net triumph from Aardman

1 month, 18 days ago

Nick Parks hilarious family animation pitches the stone age against the bronze age in a prehistoric football fantasy

Early Man review – back-of-the-net triumph from Aardman

Early Man review – back-of-the-net triumph from Aardman

Nick Park’s hilarious family animation pitches the stone age against the bronze age in a prehistoric football fantasy

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Tina Sharkey has something to sell you( 300 things, actually)

1 month, 18 days ago

Brandless is an usual company. A direct-to-consumer purveyor of food, beauty, and personal care products, it said today every item it makes is non-genetically modified, kosher, fair-trade, gluten-free, often organic and, in the case of clean supplies, EPA “Safer Choice” certified. They are also priced at$ 3 across the board. The idea, says cofounder and CEO Tina Sharkey, is to “democratize better.” She believes that Brandless — which is very much a brand — is selling items to people, often with dietary restrictions, who “couldn’t shop their values” before Brandless.

That’s no small thing to Sharkey, who cares very much about Brandless’s customers, as anyone who has assured her speak publicly can attest. In fact, Sharkey, seeming at a StrictlyVC event earlier this week, spoke about the importance of shared principles in sweeping language that elicited ardor in many of the gathered listeners — and some wearines in others.

She talked of Brandless users who didn’t have access before to affordable gluten-free and organic products or “who had to drive 100 miles round trip” or who “didn’t know things existed like tree-free toilet paper, stimulated with sugar cane and bamboo grasses.”( This last product was news to us, too .)

Sharkey — who has led a number of consumer-facing companies in her career, including cofounding iVillage and later serving as chairwoman and CEO of BabyCenter — said she sees in Brandless users “all of America, ” not just those who “live in such a frickin’ bubble on the coasts.”

Elites in East and West Coast cities are “not our country” alone, she said. “Our country is filled with extraordinary people, and we have bifurcated and sliced and diced and segmented people to such a degree that we’ve forgotten that we’re all awesome Americans, and American deserve better , no matter your politics.”

If it was hard to remember at times that she was talking about a company that sells nearly 300 household items, from maple syrup to fluoride-free toothpaste, the crowd didn’t seem to notice , nod along in agreement.

Sharkey doesn’t reveal much publicly about revenue or user or growth numbers, though in fairness, it’s early days. She favor talking instead about the roughly 70 percentage savings that Brandless says it provides clients compared with well established brands of similar quality, whose goods are usually bought on retail shelves. Brandless calls this mark-up a “brand tax” and has trademarked the term.

Sharkey is also quick to note what else Brandless does for its clients. For instance, in addition to selling affordable products that it says are better for users, Brandless has partnered with the charitable organization Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks that’s trying to fight thirst in the United States. When customers check out, they are informed that they’ve merely bought a dinner for someone, which, according to a footnote on Brandless’s website, is the equivalent of merely 9 cents per order.

Sharkey is determining other ways to shape Brandless’s positive narrative, too, including Brandless Life, a content-rich initiative that’s currently in beta and designed to both keep shoppers engaged and sell them more products.

As Sharkey explained it, the company already has at its fingertips a lot of data to put to further utilize, including about what attracts visitors, how often they return to shop, and what drives them to either try new things or replenish items they’ve purchased in the past. Why not use it to boost marketings?

By way of illustration, snacks falls into the “expandable consumption” category, Sharkey said, adding, “If I send you a huge box of snacks, you’re likely to eat them or discuss the matter at the office or soccer game.” On the other hand, she’d said, “If I send you a huge box of our peppermint mouthwash” — which Sharkey find is “alcohol- and sulfate-free and only$ 3” — a shopper “is not likely to gargle more.”

Largely, it’s such “one-and-done” products that Brandless believes it can sell more of, including by proposing new utilizes for them via breezy articles and videos. As it pertains to that mouthwash, said Sharkey, “Did you know you can clean your cleaning machine with it? Did you know you could soak newspaper towels with it and put it at the bottom of your garbage? ” Users will soon, she suggested.

Of course, whether Brandless succeeds or fails will ultimately depend on the quality of its products and how many people it persuades to try them. For all of Sharkey’s talking here community and content and Brandless’s mindfulness about those in need, the company’s Brandless products better savour and perform better than everyone else’s on the market in a similar price band.

Roughly $50 million in funding from investors, which Brandless softly shut before reaching the market last summertime, should help get them there.

But Sharkey is a powerful force-out, too. Though we would have preferred learning more about the company’s inner workings — and its challenges — Sharkey’s marketing approach, her avowed faith that marketings come from “understanding people, first and foremost” and her emphasis on “connecting people around their affinities and passions, ” may well be a strategy that pays.

More than an hour after wrapping up her talk, numerous attendees could still be overheard singing Sharkey’s praises. “Ugh, I merely loved Tina’s talk, ” one of them told us on her way out the door. “I hadn’t even heard of Brandless until tonight. I’m definitely buying something from that woman.”

Read more:

If Jeremy Corbyn were American, his career would be over

1 month, 18 days ago

( CNN) Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, has an anti-Semitism problem — and so now does the rest of the United Kingdom.

Back then, it didn’t appearing to matter much. Corbyn was an overshadow, if long-serving, backbencher in the House of Commons, never trusted with ministerial office by the Labour prime ministers he served in nothing except name and devoted to an eclectic range of anti-establishment, largely left-wing and anti-capitalist causes.

With his unexpected elevation to the Labour Party’s leadership in 2015, however, those interests came into sharper focus. And to many British Jews — and non-Jews — a number seemed unpalatable.

Who is Jeremy Corbyn?

Election 2017 poll tracker: How the parties compare – BBC News

1 month, 18 days ago

Who will win the general election and by how much? Check what the latest opinion polls say and follow updates from the BBC’s senior elections and political analyst Peter Barnes. The poll tracker will be updated as the campaign unfolds.

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Note on margin of error: Polling companies generally claim that 95% of the time, a poll of 1,000 people will be accurate within a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. This means that a figure in the poll could be up to three percentage points higher or lower than that shown.

Latest updates from senior elections and political analyst Peter Barnes

7 June: Final polls

Nearly all the final polls are now out. Ipsos MORI will publish on Thursday and ICM are expected to update their preliminary figures from earlier today. Apart from that, we’re there. What should we take from them?

First, it’s worth making the obvious point that every single poll throughout the campaign has put the Conservative Party ahead. If Labour receives more votes tomorrow it will be a bigger polling failure than in 2015.

Second, the range of vote shares for the parties in polls published on Tuesday and Wednesday are CON 41-46%, LAB 34-40%, LD 7-10%, and UKIP 2-5%. Not all the polls separate out the SNP, Plaid Cymru or Green Party.

We’ve looked a lot at the gap between the two top parties – arguably too much. But the polls suggest it could be anywhere between a one and 12-point Conservative lead, with Survation suggesting the closest result.

That suggests anything from a small swing to Labour to a 2-3% swing to the Conservatives. And it’s doubly difficult to estimate how that could play out in terms of the number of seats each party wins. So much will depend on variations in different parts of the country and in different types of constituency. There could be no national swing between Conservatives and Labour but still a significant shift in seats.

The BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll will be published at 10pm on Thursday, when polls close. It would be an understatement to say it’s eagerly awaited.

Scotland and Wales

The final polls in Scotland suggest a fairly settled picture – although there have only been seven of them during the whole campaign so there’s not much to go on. The SNP are clearly out in front on 40% or a little higher. The Conservatives and Labour are in a battle for second place at around 25%, perhaps with the Conservatives’ ahead by a nose.

That would represent a significant shift from the actual 2015 result of SNP 50%, LAB 24%, CON 15%.

In Wales, YouGov are the only company to have produced polls throughout the campaign so we have even less evidence. Their last, released on Wednesday, showed little change from the previous two. Labour remain on 46% and the Conservatives fall back one point to 34%. Plaid Cymru are on 9% with both the Lib Dems and UKIP on 5%.

That implies a modest swing to Labour with UKIP losing well over half their 2015 votes.

7 June: Final polls – what to expect

Three polls have been published since the weekend – by Opinium, Survation and ICM. None of them showed dramatic changes from what they’d had before.

The race is still very close according to Survation – their phone poll showed similar figures to their weekend internet poll – but the Conservatives have a handsome lead according to ICM.

Opinium’s poll (CON 43, LAB 36, LD 8, UKIP 5, SNP 5, GRN 2) was their last of the campaign.

Lots of other polls are expected today.

We should have final figures from ComRes, ICM, Kantar Public and YouGov. Others are possible as well. We’ll update the poll tracker as they are released.

Ipsos Mori are expected to publish their final figures on Thursday.

That won’t get added to the BBC poll tracker because of editorial guidelines, which state that no opinion poll on any issue relating to the election can be published on polling day.

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3 June: Last weekend of polls

The normal array of Saturday night polls have been published – six in total. All of them still have the Conservatives in the lead but by a widely-varying degree. The gap over Labour ranges from just one point in Survation’s poll to 12 points according to ComRes.

Clearly, the discrepancies between the polling companies are very large. And that obviously makes it hard to draw firm conclusions.

Survation’s poll has the narrowest gap of any poll so far during the campaign. It’s the only company that has not changed its methodology since 2015. But up to now they’ve not been especially favourable to Labour.

Their poll was conducted today, after last night’s Question Time special, where Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn faced questions from a live audience. And they found that more people who watched the programme said it made them more likely to vote Labour than Conservative.

It’s very unclear whether this could really have caused a significant shift though. A further complication is that most of Survation’s polls in this campaign have been conducted by phone. This was an internet poll so it makes comparisons with their previous figures harder.

Leader ratings

Ipsos MORI also published a poll on Friday with a Conservative lead of 5%. In addition to the voting intention numbers, they reported a dramatic change in attitudes towards the two main party leaders.

Since she became Prime Minister, Theresa May has always enjoyed positive approval figures – more people have said that they are satisfied with her performance than dissatisfied. But in their latest poll she has slumped to a negative overall figure of -7% (43% satisfied, 50% dissatisfied).

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s rating has shot up. He’s still in negative territory and, on -11%, still behind Theresa May. But that contrasts with -41% in March, before the election was called.

Other pollsters have seen a similar trend. ComRes have also reported Theresa May’s first negative negative rating (-3%). Opinium put Jeremy Corbyn on -12%, up from -35% at the start of the campaign. Theresa May has fallen to +6%.

More polls to come

For ORB tonight’s poll will be their last of the campaign. Their final figures are CON 45%, LAB 36%, LD 8% and UKIP 4%.

Other companies will be publishing further polls in the final week of the campaign though. YouGov have also been updating their seat projection – that should also continue in the coming days.

31 May update: How close is the gap now?

After their striking seat projection published last night, YouGov has a new poll this evening which has the narrowest gap between the main two parties so far during the campaign. It has the Conservatives on 42% and Labour on 39% – their highest rating in any poll since 2014.

It’s not all good news for Labour though. Kantar Public also published a poll on Wednesday with a slightly increased Conservative lead compared to their previous poll. They now have the Conservatives on 43% and Labour on 33%.

Its not the only company which still shows a large gap. In fact, it’s more than 10% according to ICM and ComRes.

The main reason for this disparity is the different ways that the pollsters estimate turnout.

Polling companies are sometimes accused of “herding” – manipulating their figures so they all say the same thing. Nobody could accuse them of that at this election. If anything, the differences have become more stark as we approach election day.


There was also a rare Scottish poll published on Wednesday afternoon. The SNP, on 43%, maintained the commanding lead that they’ve had throughout the campaign and for a long time before that. More interesting was that Labour and the Conservatives were on level pegging at 25%. That’s the first time this year that the Conservatives haven’t been in a clear second place.

As with the other nations, though, it’s hard to draw conclusions when there have been so few polls.

31 May: YouGov seat projection

The polls covered in the BBC tracker are standard voting intention polls. That is, they try to gauge levels of support for each of the parties across the country. They do not attempt to say how many seats each party would win.

There’s a good reason for that.

The first-past-the-post electoral system means that there is no straightforward relationship between votes and seats won.

The 2017 election could be almost a repeat of the 2015 result in terms of vote share but produce a very different outcome in terms of the number of MPs returned for each party.

Clearly, though, people are interested in knowing how votes might translate into seats.

So YouGov have attempted to model how that could work. Their projection of a hung parliament has, understandably, caused a stir.

The model used to make this projection is complicated.

It’s not based on a single poll, but on the responses of 50,000 people who have taken part in other YouGov polls. Nor does it work by just counting up how the respondents in each constituency said they would vote.

Even with 50,000 people there wouldn’t be nearly enough to have a reliable sample in each of the 650 constituencies in the UK.

Instead, it uses demographic information about the people who take part in the polls, as well as information about where they live and how they’ve voted before, to try to work out how different types of people are likely to vote.

Then it looks at the demographic make-up of each constituency and comes up with an estimate of the likely outcome.

YouGov themselves have indicated that their projection is subject to quite a lot of uncertainty.

And Stefan Shakespeare, the company’s Chief Executive, has said that it would only take a small shift in favour of the Conservatives to see them win a healthy Conservative majority.

So it should definitely be treated with caution.

Wales update

There’s been no shortage of Britain-wide polls but in the individual nations it’s a different story.

With so few polls focused on the election in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland it’s impossible to identify any well-supported trends.

That said, there has been one Welsh poll since I last mentioned them which showed a very different picture from the two that had gone before.

YouGov gave Labour a 10 point lead in Wales whereas previously they’d shown a clear Conservative advantage.

The direction of shift is consistent with what we’ve seen in the national polls but it’s very difficult to know what to make of the particular numbers. It’s a huge turnaround and we really would need more evidence before drawing any firm conclusions.

27 May: Conservative lead continues to shrink

Five polls have been published this evening. Overall, they reinforce Thursday night’s polls which suggested that the Conservative lead over Labour has shrunk again since last weekend but there are quite large differences between the pollsters’ figures.

ICM and ComRes have a larger gap between the two main parties than the other companies. They put it at 14% and 12% respectively but that’s still down from what they were showing two weeks ago. The others have it at 6%-10%.

There will no doubt be some talk about the fact that Labour has dropped two points in YouGov’s poll compared to the one they published on Thursday. But that still means that the gap is narrower than they found last weekend and it would be unwise to read too much into a small change between two individual polls.

The general trend is clear. The Conservatives are still ahead but Labour has closed the gap.

Is the shift believable?

The godfather of psephology or the study of elections, Sir David Butler, said this week that the movement in the polls over this campaign is bigger than in any election he’s covered since 1945. But many experts think that election campaigns don’t make much difference – voters’ views are set years or months before polling day.

So does that mean the polls must be wrong? Not necessarily. Voters have become much more volatile than they used to be – much less loyal to a single party.

Chris Prosser and Jane Green from the British Election Study have shown that over the last 50 years the proportion of voters who switch parties between elections has risen from around 15% in the 1960s and 1970s to 43% in 2015.

We can’t be sure that the same will happen this time and many of the people who do switch might have made up their minds before the campaign started. It’s also possible that people who said they were going to switch at the start of the campaign have gone back to the party they supported before.

But if voters are more likely to change allegiance than in the past then perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised if the polls show large movements.

How reliable is Labour’s vote?

One reason for caution about Labour’s advance is that their improved polling numbers are based on very high levels of support among young voters and people who didn’t vote in 2015.

A big part of the problem with the polls in 2015 was that they failed to estimate accurately the difference in turnout rates among different groups of voters. In particular, they underestimated the turnout gap between young and old voters.

As I’ve mentioned before, many of the pollsters have adjusted their methods to try to overcome this problem.

But concerns remain about whether the people who say they’ll vote Labour will actually do so on 8 June. If they don’t then Labour’s vote share could be lower than the polls suggest.

26 May: Gap narrows further

Two new polls published on Thursday night suggest a further continuation of the trend we’ve seen throughout the campaign so far. The gap between the Conservatives and Labour has narrowed again. It’s down to eight points in Kantar Public’s poll and just five points in YouGov’s – smaller than the actual gap between the parties at the 2015 election.

The Manchester attack has, rightly, meant that the country’s attention has been focused away from the election. But as the campaign resumes, it’s inevitable that people will ask whether it’s had an effect on how people might vote.

So it’s important to note that Kantar Public’s poll was conducted before the attack, but YouGov’s was done afterwards – on Wednesday and Thursday.

That doesn’t mean we can say that the latest shift is related to the attack.

Theresa May has consistently had a strong lead over Jeremy Corbyn on the issues of defence and security. That hasn’t changed. YouGov found that 55% of respondents trusted Theresa May to make the right decisions to keep Britain safe from terrorism compared to just 33% who trusted Jeremy Corbyn.

It’s possible that the polls are still reacting to the fallout of the manifesto launches last week – and the revisions to the Conservatives’ social care plans announced on Monday (they denied it was a U-turn). There could also just be an element of natural polling variation.

Whatever the cause, the important thing to remember is to look at the general trend rather than concentrating too much on individual polls. The Conservatives retain a clear lead over Labour but the gap has closed significantly.

20 May: Labour closing the gap

After the week of the manifesto launches for the main GB-wide parties, the trend of Labour improvement that we’ve seen throughout the campaign is continuing.

In fact, four polls released on Saturday, for the Sunday papers, suggest that the Labour advance has strengthened. And, while the Lib Dems and UKIP are still below where they were when the election was announced, for the first time it looks as though the latest Labour rise is coming at the expense of the Conservatives.

The Conservative lead was generally around 20 points or a little above in the middle of April. It’s down to between 9 and 13 points in today’s polls.

As ever, the figures should be treated with caution. It’s particularly worth noting that none of the most recent polls come from the companies that tend to put Labour on a lower figure.

ICM and Kantar Public both make adjustments based on turnout rates for different groups of people at previous elections. They’ve had Labour at a lower level than some of the other companies throughout the campaign. So it will be interesting to see whether their next polls follow a similar pattern.

What’s causing the shift?

Looking beneath the voting intention figures there are some clues about what might be causing the shift towards Labour that we’ve seen.

One is voters’ responses to the manifestos. For example, Survation found that nearly half of respondents opposed Conservative plans for changes to the system of funding for social care. By contrast, Labour’s plan to increase income tax for people earning over 80,000 was backed by more than six out of ten people and opposed by under a quarter.

Jeremy Corbyn has also seen an improvement in his approval ratings although he still lags a long way behind Theresa May. For example, Opinium have him on a net figure of -18 this week, up from -28 last week.

Still a big gap

Despite the significant moves we should still remember that the Conservatives retain a large lead by historical standards.

If today’s polls were repeating on 8 June it would be the biggest gap between the two parties since Tony Blair’s landslide in 1997 in terms of share of the vote.

There’s also some evidence in the polls that the Labour vote is “softer” than the Conservative vote. In other words, more Labour voters than Conservative voters say they might change their minds.

15 May: Labour improvement

Four polls over the weekend reinforced the picture of a Labour improvement during the course of the campaign so far. ORB, Opinium, ComRes and YouGov all had them at 30% or above – clearly above the levels seen at around the time the election was announced.

However, this increase has not come at the expense of the Conservatives who remain in the mid-to-high 40s with a commanding lead.

The main losers have been UKIP, who are down in the 3-6% range.

If the current polls were reflected in the final result it would mean the two main parties between them capturing a significantly larger share of the vote than at recent elections.

In 2015, they received a total of 69%. The polls suggest a joint share of almost 80%.

You have to go back to 1992 to find an election where the total Conservative and Labour share was close to that – the figure was 78%. The last time it was above 80% was 1979.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

All the polls shown in the tracker report vote intention share across Great Britain, but that’s not very helpful for working out what’s going on in parts of the UK where other parties stand.

However as we’ve only seen two campaign polls in Scotland, two in Wales and one in Northern Ireland so far, there’s not very much evidence to go on.

Having said that, both of the Scottish polls, conducted by Survation and YouGov, have given the SNP over 40% with a clear lead over the Conservatives on 28% and Labour down in third place on 18%.

In Wales, two YouGov polls have put the Conservatives ahead of Labour, but with a smaller gap than across Britain as a whole.

Like in the national polls, Labour’s share has seen an improvement from the beginning of the campaign. Plaid Cymru are back in third place

In Northern Ireland, the single Lucid Talk poll gave the DUP a narrow lead over Sinn Fein with the UUP, SDLP and the Alliance all some way back.

Most important issue

As well as asking people which party they intend to vote for, pollsters also ask which issues are the most important. In 2015 the three biggest issues were the NHS, immigration and the economy.

A significant change at this election is the emergence of Brexit. Polls conducted since the election was called have put it at the top of the list of important issues ahead of the NHS in second place with the economy and immigration battling it out for third.

This may help to explain, at least in part, the Conservatives’ lead in the polls.

So far as we can tell, they’ve managed to attract the support of a large number of new voters who backed leave at last year’s referendum whilst holding on to most of their own supporters who backed remain – many of whom now think that the Government has a duty to implement the outcome of the referendum.

11 May 2017: Should we ignore the polls?

As everybody knows, the polls got the 2015 general election wrong.

They suggested that the likely outcome was a hung parliament but, as we know, the Conservatives won an overall majority. So is it worth paying attention to them this time?

Well, we certainly shouldn’t assume that the result will be exactly what the polls say. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely useless.

For one thing, critics have perhaps exaggerated other polling “disasters”.

The belief that the polls were just as bad at the EU referendum and in the US Presidential election is widely held. However, whilst some polls gave a misleading picture at the referendum, others were pretty close.

We reported at the time that the polls overall indicated a very narrow race in the weeks running up to referendum day.

Similarly, at the US election, the national polls weren’t that far off in terms of the share of the vote won by Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton – Clinton actually won the popular vote by over 2%.

It was state polls that were unreliable and led to a misleading impression as to who would emerge from the Electoral College system as president.

In both cases, if all we’d taken from the polls was that the votes would be close, we would have been on the right lines.

New methods

The polling companies have also made adjustments to try to prevent the problems of 2015 from happening again and to resolve issues that arose at the referendum.

These methodological changes vary from pollster to pollster but there are some general trends.

Several of them now ask the people who take part about their educational background. The aim, as with questions about class, age, gender and region is to get a sample of people who are representative of the population as a whole.

Others have developed more sophisticated ways to estimate how likely it is that somebody who takes part in a poll will actually vote. Just asking people whether they will vote is not a good guide.

Of course, we can’t be sure whether these adjustments will make the polls more accurate. So some people will no doubt decide to ignore them all together.

But there’s still clearly an appetite for them.

No fewer than 30 have been conducted since the Prime Minister made her surprise announcement on 18 April.

That’s more than one a day.

General election: What you need to know

What’s happened since the election was announced?

It’s now three weeks since the election was announced and the official campaign is well under way.

After Theresa May’s surprise statement, the Conservatives saw their poll rating jump with several polls suggesting a comfortable 20 point lead.

Since then, nothing very dramatic has happened. There has been a modest uptick for Labour, who are generally up to the high 20s or around 30 – up from the mid 20s just after the announcement.

But that still leaves a very large gap between the main two parties.

UKIP seem to have slipped a little further down and perhaps the Lib Dems have also fallen back a bit, although these trends are not clear.

How are polls actually carried out?

Most opinion polls, and all of the ones covered in the BBC poll tracker, are either conducted by telephone or online.

For phone polls the polling company rings up landline and mobile numbers.

In principle, anyone with a phone could be asked to participate.

For internet polls, the company maintains a panel of people who are prepared to take part. For each poll they will contact the required number of panel members.

In both cases the company will aim to survey a sample of people who are representative of the country as a whole – in terms of age, gender, social class, etc.

They will generally then apply weighting adjustments if one or other group is over-represented or under-represented in their sample.

It’s also common to seek a representative sample or apply a weighting based on past-voting behaviour.

Polls included: All polls conducted by companies which are members of the British Polling Council. This includes: BMG, ComRes, GfK, ICM, Ipsos-Mori, Opinium, ORB, Populus, Panelbase, Survation, Kantar Public (TNS-BMRB) and YouGov.

Sample area: Polls record voting intention for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

Dates: Polls are ordered by latest date of fieldwork.

Margin of error: Polling companies generally claim that 95% of the time, a poll of 1,000 people will be accurate within a margin of error of +/-3%. This means that a figure in the poll could be up to three percentage points higher or lower than that shown.

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk

Beautyblender’s New Makeup Comes In An Embarrassingly Noninclusive Shade Range

1 month, 18 days ago

Beautyblender, known for its spongy makeup-blending tools, just announced the launch of its first foundation line ― but many fans aren’t happy.

The line features 32 shades, but only a handful appear to be suitable for darker skin tones. Makeup brands such as Tarte and IT Cosmetics have faced similar backlash for having no more than a few darker foundation shades.   

Beautyblender, which had stuck to selling its teardrop-shaped makeup sponges, will also be rolling out a set of sponges to match each foundation shade. Outrage and disappointment ensued after a picture of the line’s shades was shared on TrendMood, a popular makeup news account on Instagram: 

The foundation line launches on July 24, according to the Beautyblender website. Many Twitter users expressed their disapproval of the limited shade diversity and included comments about the orangey appearance of several of the darker shades. We can’t blame them. 

One Twitter user expressed disappointment, given that Rea Ann Silva, Beautyblender’s CEO, is Latina and ran the makeup department for “Girlfriends,” which starred four black women.

Beautyblender did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

Bond Investors in Italy Counting Winnings After U.K. Brexit Vote

1 month, 18 days ago

As Italian bank stockholders mourn their loss, government bond investors are counting their winnings.

Money managers stepped up purchases of Italian and peripheral bonds after the U.K. votedon June 23 to exit the European Union, narrowing the spread between Italian 10 -year securities and their German peers to its tightest since the start of that month.

Investors are betting that the vacuum left by Britains shock decision to leave the EU will force the European Central Bank to support more fragile economies, bolstering Italian bonds even as concerns mount over the nations fiscal system. Italian banking stocks have lost about 17 percent of their value since the referendum because of the lenders mountain of bad loans and need to recapitalize.

In a curious way, restoring balance sheets through nation aid and observing the assistance provided by the ECB is most likely after Brexit than before, said Alan Wilde, head of fixed income at Baring Asset Management in London, who bought Italian bonds after the referendum.

ECB purchases of Italys BTP debt increased by 1.5 percent in June while the central bank buying of Spanish indebtednes climbed by 1.2 percentage, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc computations based on ECB data.

The extra yield, or spread, that investors receive for holding Italian 10 -year bonds instead of benchmark German debt widened to 191 basis phases the day after the U.K.s vote. It was at 126 basis points at 12:44 p.m. Rome time on Monday, up from 125 basis phases Friday.

Several more firms, including Pacific Investment Management Co LLC and Pioneer Investments, have a positive opinion of Italian and Spanish securities, portfolio managers and analysts said in interviews with Bloomberg.

We ran long Italy vs bund after Brexit, said Tanguy Le Saout, head of European fixed income at Pioneer Investments in Dublin, referring to German indebtednes. We expect the ECB to act as a backstop in case of need.

Investors expect the ECB to tweak the rules currently in place for its bond purchases, the so-called capital key structure of purchase.

Sufficient Pool

Loosening those guidelines are guaranteed in a sufficient pond of securities are eligible for quantitative easing, after investor flight into safe havens pushed down yields on some sovereign debt too far to meet current criteria.

Pioneers Le Saout said in a July 6 interview we insured ECB buying BTPs more than usual.

As the U.K. divorce from the EU plays out, the outlook for peripherals is set to remain positive, economists say.

Russel Matthews, portfolio administrator of European bond strategies at BlueBay Asset Management LLP in London expects a patch to be put one over the problems in the Italian banking industry over coming weeks. This will give a meaningful lift to peripheral government bonds, he said in a note Monday.

Economists in a Bloomberg survey predict the European Central bank will keep policy unchanged on Thursday but announce fresh measures before the end of the year.

Sign up to receive the Brexit Bulletin, a daily briefing on the biggest news related to Britain’s departure from the EU .

Frederik Ducrozet, senior economist at Pictet Wealth Management expects the ECB to change its bond-buying program either in July or in September.

There will be a response eventually that is likely to support peripheral indebtednes, he said.

Read more: www.bloomberg.com

Scalia and the Friars: a look at his views on religion and the law

1 month, 18 days ago

Washington( CNN) On a dreary day a few weeks before he died, Justice Antonin Scalia delivered a talk to an unusual Washington audience: a room full of Dominican Friars in white robes.

True to form, he provoked a debate about Saint Thomas Aquinas, the intellectual giant of the Dominican Order.


Scalia forged unlikely friendship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg

1 month, 19 days ago


1 month, 19 days ago


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