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In the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors' Award 2003, this very smart caning machine for schools won a commendation award for its inventor, Tan Song Koy of Yuying Secondary School. The entries in this annual competition are entirely serious and useful gadgets. This one was up against a cockroach catcher and an improved helmet for cyclists, among other things. Its aim is "to deliver even and consistent caning strikes to all offenders".
Song Koy had witnessed the punishment of six boys at his school, and felt it was "unfair when his friend, being the first to be caned, received the hardest strikes ... The discipline master (DM) was tired by the time he caned the last offenders, therefore his strike is lighter in comparison". (This is, in part, the argument put forward by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century in the quote at the beginning of this article.)
The offender stands on the yellow platform with his front against the red pad, and bends over the pillar, grasping the red handles low down on the other side. In so doing, he presents the tautened seat of his pants to the cane, which is on a spring and which strikes when a catch is released, unfortunately not clearly shown in the pictures. The machine folds up when not in use, and has two wheels at the base enabling it to be pulled easily from one classroom to the next.
There is no word on whether the machine was ever put to actual use, but anecdotal reports from the school where it was designed and built are of traditional canings by a human DM. I am pretty sure that in practice it would be very difficult to get a machine to replicate the accuracy, power and timing (and especially that crucial flick of the wrist at the last moment) of a skilled discipline master, such as is employed by most secondary schools in Singapore. An easier way, perhaps, to solve the problem identified by Song Koy would be not to punish six students all at one go, but instead to give the DM a 10-minute break between canings.

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Popular Culture Focus Study: >> Fashion

Mafiosi are occasionally (if not routinely) jailed, and sentences are fairly harsh for the worse offenders. Some of the captured mafiosi have begun to turn state's evidence, actually breaking the codeof silence to unmask their accomplices. The most famous of these is Tommaso Buscetta. Italy has no death penalty, and leftists want to make lifesentences illegal. Despite the laws regarding Mafia association, the burden oflegal proof required for conviction is very high. Unfortunately, while it's sometimes easy enough to confiscate a chain of supermarkets or even a (yes, they're in health care too), the related matters of bribery and corruption in public life are more difficult to address.

Fashion is a vital component to this global popular culture in which we live

Andrews argues for the essential role slaves and free people of color played in the independence wars, not just for wining independence but for initiating a great wave of movements for abolition and equality, which would roil the 19th century. He also explores how after the 1880s scientific racism’s dominance worked to roll back previous gains of citizenship and equality and restrict much popular action.

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Unfortunately, cultural factors have sometimes added to the confusion; tooutsiders, New Yorkers Rudolph Giuliani and John Gotti seemed to representopposite sides of the same ethnic coin, and the negative side of that coin still appeals to some of America's Italian descendants in search of an easily-acquired cultural identity, the so-called Renting trilogy at the DVD store is easier than reading Dante's . and were successful parodies, while and presented a slightly more accurate, and less varnished, view of the Mafia in America.

THE SPANKING MACHINE: A RESILIENT MYTH IN POPULAR CULTURE

On the other side of the ocean, several Italian-American culturalorganisations decry the persistent cinematic image as nothing less than bigotry, citing the (accurate) statistic that fewer than one percent of Italo-Americans are in the Mafia. A few of these organisations,echoing the official position held by the FBI until the 1970s, denied the veryexistence of the Mafia until it was mentioned in criminal cases in federal courts in the 1980s. Until then, anti-defamationlobbying garnered some isolated and unexpected results; it was strange, forinstance, to hear references to "the syndicate" in American telefilmswhen everybody knew from context that the teleplays' characters were referring to the Mafia, which American mafiosi usually referred to as "our thing" or "our business." Sicilians laugh at the charming Italo-American myth that "the Mafia doesn't exist," but they also enjoy and