The Japanese “celibacy syndrome” isn’t just a problem that will affect Japan’s economy; new documents reveal that former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wanted to ban sex toys in her country; meanwhile, the German government’s anger over NSA leaks has been curbed due to fear of Islamic State. These discoveries and more below.

Japan’s Sexual Apathy Is Endangering the Global Economy People in Japan are so averse to romantic relationships that the country’s media even has a name for it: sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome,” according to a widely circulated Guardian story on the country’s low rates of marriage, childbearing and even sex.

Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer This fall, JetBlue airline finally threw in the towel.

In Search of Lost Time In a piece forwarded to me by a former student, the Economist reminds us of John Maynard Keynes’s 1930 prediction that, in one hundred years, a new age of abundance and leisure would mean we’d have to do very little work—perhaps three hours a day, just “to satisfy the old Adam in most of us.”

Not-So-Virgin Birth: Why Stories of Jesus Became More Magical Over Time Sometime toward the end of the first century, the writer of Luketold a story that would become one of the most treasured in all of Western Civilization, the birth of the baby Jesus.

Cracking the Sitcom Code After signing up to write a script for Croatian television, I learned that virtually all TV comedies, from Seinfeld to South Park, follow a simple formula.

Palestinians Will Outnumber Israeli Jews in 2016 Report published by Palestinian Bureau of Statistics says even as the average Palestinian family decreases in size, number of Palestinians living in both Israel and territories will exceed that of Jews beginning in 2016.

Maggie Thatcher Wanted to Ban Sex Toys We always knew Margaret Thatcher was a prude, but we had no idea she was this puritanical.

Asian Men on TV: Waiting for the (Onscreen) Kiss Popular culture is one important realm where Asian Americans, along with other communities of color, negotiate and manage the representations of their communities.

Where Have Israeli Intellectuals Gone? At the main gathering in 2006 to mark the 11th anniversary of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, author David Grossman delivered an impassioned speech.

Time for the Social Sciences Governments that want the natural sciences to deliver more for society need to show greater commitment towards the social sciences and humanities.

Ownership Society Here’s another chart summarizing data from Ed Wolff’s study, “Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962-2013: What Happened over the Great Recession?”

Backlash in Berlin Over NSA Spying Recedes as Threat from Islamic State Rises In a crescendo of anger over American espionage, Germany expelled the CIA’s top operative, launched an investigation of the vast U.S. surveillance programs exposed by Edward Snowden and extracted an apology from President Obama for the years that U.S. spies had reportedly spent monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

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