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The Fifth Column Add to ...

Editor's Note: Our Fifth Column is currently on hiatus, but will return

AUG. 31, 10:39 A.M. ET : When given a choice, people over the age of 50 prefer reading negative - rather than glowing - news about young folk, a German study finds. Reader carol789 sees a trend:

So boomers resent getting old and younger people resent boomers for taking all the good jobs. Will somebody please pay me to study why it gets dark at night?

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AUG. 25, 9:56 A.M. ET : Alvaro Vargas Llosa evaluates Brazil's development progress and concludes that it's headed in the wrong direction. Reader deepak.sapra offers a different view:

The article represents a very one sided view of the situation. Brazil's cash transfer schemes at home and its strong posturing at fora internationally have definitely had a positive impact on its people. No longer is the old adage, "Brazil is the country of the future, and will always be" true; i would credit this government for bringing to the fore a more confident and self assured Brazil, something which to my mind, is now the part of an irreversible process. Lula's party might not be the best bet for the city of Sao Paulo, whose interests Serra might be able to defend better, but it is surely a far better option for the rest of the country!

AUG. 24, 6:55 A.M. ET : Jeffrey Simpson's nationalistic column on the potash wars gets some surprisingly lively (for potash) comments from readers such as be serious, Slip2 and kdeluca:

Tell a person that they cannot sell their home because the highest offer is from a foreigner and see what reaction you get. If ownership means anything it is the right to sell what you own.

Go for it Simpson. Raise 40B from your socialist friends and go go!

I have heard this argument for 40 years and it is as true now as it was then. Canadian commercial empires rest on the resources of the land which, in theory, should belong to the people.

AUG. 23, 10:05 A.M. ET : A Facts & Arguments essay-writer details how much *nicer* people are in Calgary than Toronto. Reader Bunk spares you the trouble of reading many of the other responses:

This is like the ULTIMATE globe article. It will simultaneously allow commenters to bash Calgary (a current whipping boy) and Toronto (the old standard) and for each to bach each other.

AUG. 19, 8:40 A.M. ET : David Eddie uses his advice column to discuss the case of a man who's being excluded from his brother's wedding ceremony because he doesn't belong to his church. Readers karmagirl and Jim McBob offer their insight into this prickly situation:

Happened to me when a friend asked me to be her maid of honour. As our friendship wasn't based on religion, she forgot I wasn't Mormon when she asked. She cried when she had to come back later to tell me I wasn't allowed in the Temple during the ceremony. She chose a different maid of honour and didn't ask me to hang around outside to be in the pictures after the ceremony. Instead, we had pictures taken together at the reception on another day. Hopefully the writer and his family can work out something similar rather than creating even more strain.

My advice: Go to the wedding. The inconvenience will last for one day. If you don't go, you will carry this around with you forever. In the longer term, going with the flow will allow you to put all this behind you and move.

AUG. 18, 11:22 A.M. ET : This year's Beloit College Mindset list is out, kicking off the prelude to fall semester and a deluge of commenters with bones to pick about other generations. Reader UnabashedOpinion, happily, is among those who understand the point of the list and why it's relevant:

Many commenters here miss the point of the annual Beloit list. When one stands in front of a lecture hall of fresh(wo)men, one is prone to drop contemporary cultural references to illustrate a point. If done poorly, the prof loses the respect and attention of the class. However, by being aware of, and acknowledging the cultural mindset of the students, the prof can begin to expand their minds, beginning from where THEY are, rather than from where the otherwise self-absorbed professor might be.

AUG. 17, 1:17 P.M. ET : North Korea on YouTube and Twitter? Apparently, but as reader EMPEE reminds us, it's not just a Stalinist novelty:

The antics of North Korea would be funny if so many of its citizens weren't starving to death.

AUG. 16, 10:28 A.M. ET : New research appears to counter those who would let their infant children cry through the night as sleep training. Readers cyan blue and Krokodil Gena offer their own, different opinions:

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