/blog > archive > July 2012

speaknoevil

It doesn’t get much less transparent than this. It’s kind of sad when the least damning explanation for this behavior is that Jay Carney has no idea what the correct answer is and is trying to avoid admitting that. It’s worse if the administration’s official position is not to answer the question. Granted, somebody gets offended no matter which way you answer. But that wouldn’t prevent the administration from taking the position that the matter is being studied. (Or that their position is “evolving.”) But to say “you know our position” rather than to actually state a position. Wow.Read More…

Logical Neo

Nothing will ever top this one. Sheer perfection.Read More…

Employment

View #1: Post-Employment Sucks In the Atlantic, Conor Sen offers up a quick overview the post-employee economy. One graph from the manufacturing sector pretty much tells the story. Since 1970 production has increased 170% while hours worked has decreased 30%. Businesses can do more work with fewer employees. And it isn’t just manufacturing — across the board automation and outsourcing are providing the means by which companies can provide their products and services with fewer people on the payroll. This in part accounts for the precipitous drop in participation in the workforce that we’ve seen over the past few years. Sen spells it out for us: The issue, if you’re labor anyway, is those productivity gains accrue to consumers and the owners of the factors of production, not labor. And while until now these job-destroying forces have mostly been confined to the goods-producing and information sectors, it looks like the…

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personalcareeranalytics

We live in an age of unprecedented exposure to and reliance on data. Business and government are driven by myriad data points: financial, market, geopolitical — even weather. A few decimals points change in one indicator can snowball into a massive shift in another. But it isn’t just the business and public sectors. Individuals are making increasingly refined and precise use of powerful information technology tools via their laptops and smartphones to track personal data points.  An entire movement has grown up around people tracking data about their health, their moods, and their goals. Conceived by Wired founder Kevin Kelly and his colleagues Alexandra Carmichael and Gary Wolf, the Quantified Self movement has thousands of followers worldwide. Forbes blogger Kashmir Hill recently tried the Quantified Self lifestyle on for size. Here are a few snippets from her adventures with self-data tracking: 6:55 A.M. The sensors in my Zeo headband detect…

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hulk

The question: what to do with an employee who keeps throwing temper tantrums? My gut reaction: tell him or her to knock it off or they’re fired. Expert HR advice from Suzanne Lucas: ditto. This presupposes screaming-fit temper tantrums. If someone is becoming violent then you can skip the warning and just let the individual know he or she is fired as security (or the police) escort them out of there. Of course, this assumes he or she is still conscious, which will depend on what steps you had to take before help arrived.Read More…

credentials

Last week’s post about post-credentialism kicked off some interesting discussion. My good friend Stephen Gordon makes a pretty strong case for credentials: The credential I know best is a law degree. Obtaining it required three years of my time (and that was after college), lots of money, and lots of time spent studying at a time in my life when fun was pretty important and my peers were clearly having more of it. That was followed by four months of 12 hour days studying for the bar exam – which in my state takes three days (two days of multiple choice. One day of essay). I completed that 15 years ago this summer and I still look back on that time and shudder. JC suggested that the current credentialing process demonstrates the ability to show up on a regular basis and follow instructions. True. But it also is something that…

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mortar-board

N + 1 provides an insightful analysis of how credentialism and elitism have led to the current higher education bubble, beginning with a recap of how the 19th century antecedent to today’s situation led to insanity, civil war, and some 20 million deaths. Encouraging! As we’ve been saying over the past many months, the established market for credentials and contacts (the actual product sold by top universities) is being challenged by new models  both for dissemination of educational material and awarding of certification. The university as we know it is on its way out. What will replace it? Stop by your local Starbucks for a sneak preview. From the article linked above: Introductory economics courses paint “rent-seekers” as gruesome creatures who amass monopoly privileges; credential-seekers, who sterilize the intellect by pouring time and money into the accumulation of permits, belong in the same circle of hell. Indeed. And the current…

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