The daily catch-up: fathers looking after children, World Cup questions and Nostradamus

Half a dozen jewels culled by our political columnist from the great sediment laid down on the internet


1. The Chart of the Day shows the hours per week spent by parents in America working, doing housework and looking after children, in 1965 and 2011, from The Economist (the asterisk refers to "adults with own children living in household".)

There have been remarkable changes in the pattern of life over nearly half a century, and a striking shift towards equality between the sexes.

The chart is, however, incidental to the main theme of the article, which is what I call the Rentoul Thesis: that today's young people are the politest, the best educated and most socially responsible generation ever. Partly, this is because their parents have brought them up better than previous generations of parents, and more equality between mothers and fathers, and especially fathers being more involved in child care, is part of that.

2. Quiz question: which team was unbeaten in the 2010 World Cup? The answer is here. The winner was Joe Middleton.

3. "I hate politicians who say that they won't 'stand idly by'. Anyone who's serious about idling knows that you don't do it standing up." Tom Freeman.

4. I have only just caught up with Professor Green's article about Twitter from last week in The Independent, thanks to Lisa Markwell. It's wise:

"Twitter isn't the problem. Used correctly (step forward Stephen Fry), it's a brilliant platform; it's just that lots of us use it incorrectly. We spew forth the mundane. We follow people we have no interest in. We've allowed it to take away, ironically, our "IRL" ("in real life") experience. We're so concerned with documenting our digital persona that we've forgotten to experience reality. There's now a generation of kids watching an entire gig through their phone. Rather than experiencing the experience, we're Instagramming it. Make memories people, not Vine videos."

5. The big question for this weekend is: Do Germany get to keep the World Cup trophy if they win a third time? Some pedants point out that previously they have won as West Germany, although I would have thought this gives them a stronger claim as they were a smaller country then. But a friend points out an important precedent: "They weren't allowed to keep France."

6. Finally, another gem from Chris Heaton-Harris:

"My predictive text doesn’t know how to spell Nostradamus."


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