Friday, October 25, 2013

A Four-Screen Week

What do I mean when I say too many tabs? Here are the stats.

I use a 23" monitor with my computer. My browser window is usually open about two-thirds of the monitor width. When the tabs build up to a painful level, there are three screens worth. Right now there are four.

Hence, a download of internet goodness is in order. Here goes.

McDonald's doesn't want to pay its workers more. It wants you to pay its workers more. As seen in this video by Low Pay Is Not OK, which includes audio of a phone call from a 10-year McDonald's employee to the company's help line. The person helpfully tells her to apply for SNAP and Medicaid.

One day recently I went down a rabbit hole reading about street design, bikes, cars, and all that. The career I forgot to have was in urban planning. Drat. But here are the articles:

The latest from economic democracy advocate Gar Alperovitz -- Beyond Corporate Capitalism: Not So Wild a Dream from The Nation.

I try not to get on the bandwagon of comedian/actor Russell Brand, but it sounds like he has some things to say that are worth listening to. His recent call for a new way of making social change got my interest.

A look at the decline of the Wikipedia's base of editors. As the process of editing has gotten more restricted to prevent vandalism, it has become harder to join the ranks of the editors, and attrition has reduced the ranks by a third in the past five years. Ninety percent of editors are male, which leads to problems like this. And it's not just women who are left out; according to the article, "84 percent of entries tagged with a location were about Europe or North America. Antarctica had more entries than any nation in Africa or South America."

The Auschwitz All Around Us by Ta-Nehisi Coates, from The Atlantic. Coates has been reading about post-WWII Germany and the public denialism makes him think of America since the Civil War.

Have you ever wondered what happened after the famous "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog" cartoon?

My latest discovery: a blog called It started with this post, called Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed. The late-20-something author had recently returned to full-time work after traveling the world for nine months and was struck by how much he felt his time constricted, to the point where it changed him to a convenience-needing, entertainment-craving person he didn't recognize. "The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce."

Follow that story up with this: The modern phenomenon of nonsense jobs. Why are we not all working three- to four-hour days, given our technological capacities? From the Sydney Morning Herald. "The answer clearly isn't economic: it's moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on its hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the 1960s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them."

How to implement free public transit in a U.S. city of 1 million people. From the Free Public Transit blog.

It's mostly a review of Countdown, the new book by Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us, but Elizabeth Kolbert's article Head Count: Fertilizer, fertility, and the clashes over population growth is worth a read on its own.
“Before artificial nitrogen fertilizer became widely available, the world’s population was around 2 billion,” Weisman observes. “When we no longer have it—or if we ever decide to stop using it—that may be a number to which our own naturally gravitates.” The alternative to an orderly global “countdown” is, he warns, pretty dire. “Whether we accept it or not, this will likely be the century that determines what the optimal human population is for our planet,” he writes. “Either we decide to manage our own numbers, to avoid a collision of every line on civilization’s graph—or nature will do it for us.”
In the latter half of the article, Kolbert ties in another book by a crazy guy named Jonathan Last. He thinks we don't have enough people. Really. Kolbert writes of him, "Among the problems he attributes to low fertility rates is that they tend to make countries reluctant to fight wars. Among the solutions he advocates is cutting back on higher education, thereby reducing its depressing influence on American fertility."

A Portland massage therapist comments on what people really look like. "…nobody looks like the people in magazines or movies. Not even models. Nobody. Lean people have a kind of rawboned, unfinished look about them that is very appealing. But they don’t have plump round breasts and plump round asses. You have plump round breasts and a plump round ass, you have a plump round belly and plump round thighs as well. That’s how it works…. And women have cellulite. All of them." I told you so.

Did Ashkenazi Jews originate in Italy? DNA says yes, or at least their mothers did.

A beautiful short documentary from 1961 showing what London's Waterloo Station was like. Entrancing. Watch out for the lost umbrella room.

Why are there still so few women in science? An infuriating and real story by a woman who could have been a physicist, but is now a writer, talking to young (and older) women in academic sciences. From the New York Times magazine.

Of course, the world is better now than it was in 1900. Hard to argue with, as far as it goes. From Salon.

And finally, the U.S. needs a moratorium on (privileged) white men pontificating on race, class, and gender. Including the author, as he admits.

There. That got the tabs down to just two screens worth.

No comments: