Links 12/23/14

Links for you. Science:

‘A Great Moment’: Rover Finds Methane, a Clue That Mars May Harbor Life
How to Write a Science Feature
Fast test reveals drug-resistant bacteria
Congress polishes the turd that was NCCAM
Measles Transmission at a Domestic Terminal Gate in an International Airport — United States, January 2014 (Unlike Ebola, measles is highly transmissible. Unlike Ebola, there is a vaccine. Unlike Ebola, no one freaks out when anti-vaxxers put us all at risk)

Other:

Why it matters whether or not torture works
Public Support for Torture is Exactly Why We Shouldn’t Torture
When Helping Rape Victims Hurts a College’s Reputation
I Don’t Know What to Do With Good White People
A short, true story about a good dog
“To Protect You… From Me.”
Tales of the American Working Class
A black hole for our best and brightest: Wall Street is expanding, and the economy is worse off for it.
4 things that should happen now that we know the truth about witness #40, a white supremacist
How not to shoot civilians: 9 community policing tips from a chief who got it right
The next policy to help the middle class that Republicans will oppose
How Smart NYS Fracktivists Beat Cuomo And Won The Fracking War
What Happened When Marissa Mayer Tried to Be Steve Jobs
Democrats Are Petrified of Defending Government—but They Need to Start
My week in the right-wing lie machine: When Fox News, Twitchy and Montel Williams declared war on me. When I wrote the troops don’t protect my freedoms, the response was ugly, vitriolic and confirmed everything I said

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3 Responses to Links 12/23/14

  1. RE: “a black hole” about the size of the financial sector…

    Why is it that even an article like that, I get the sense that the writer still feels the need to pay lip service to the tired nonsensical ideas, by sprinkling in sneaky sideways assurances that they aren’t actually knocking those myths?

    The most galling is this paragraph:

    “There’s a prominent theory among some economists and policymakers that says the big problem with the American economy is that a lot of Americans don’t have the talent to compete in today’s global marketplace. While it’s true that the country would be better off if more workers had more training — particularly low-skilled, low-income workers — that theory misses a crucial, damaging development of the past several decades.”

    It sure does miss the point. But so does that paragraph.

    1) Competing in “today’s global marketplace” involves being the lowest bidder (accepting lower wages) – it’s not primarily about skills, talent, or education. It’s about cheapness for companies.

    2) There are loads of people with college degrees and various kinds of talents and advanced training, already working in, and competing for, many low wage jobs that don’t require much, if any, skills, talent, or training.
    If more people were over-educated & overqualified for those jobs, there’s no reason to think that would make the country better off. (In fact, it might just make the financial sector even better off.) It would simply make for more people getting a pitiful ROI for their education investment.

    3) There is still, and may always be, a need for people to work in “low skill” jobs — jobs that barely require much training, talent, or skills. (Housekeeping, road maintenance, trash management, food service, debt collections.)
    I happen to personally think that the world would be better off if everyone had the opportunity for a decent foundation education. But it’s ridiculous to think that the country would be better off if all janitors had masters degrees, or that everyone working in a customer service call center went into debt to attend a 4 year college.

    4) There’s almost no evidence that there’s an abundance of jobs that need filling, that couldn’t be filled by talented and appropriately skilled & educated people, if the jobs paid well enough to actually attract the proper workers to them. If it was lucrative for companies to fill those positions, they would get filled.

    Example: Over the years I’ve seen MANY articles about a so-called shortage for trained & qualified CNC machinists.
    Yet, strangely, over the years, I’ve also known & met several qualified CNC machinists who have deliberately chosen to work in OTHER jobs (often requiring less or no skills & training), because there was simply no good incentive for them to take low paying jobs in worse working conditions.
    And who could blame them?

    If the trained CNC machinist decides NOT to take a CNC machinist job… I think the reason is pretty clear. The jobs don’t pay enough to attract skilled workers into those less than attractive positions, when they have other viable options.

    More training & education for these people is not going to fix that.
    The only way you’re going to force those people into those positions, at those rates of pay, is if you cut off every other possible way for them to make a living in some other job. That any of those jobs get filled at all is a testament that’s already happened because of the shortage of jobs in general.

    There’s a similar story, I think, with CDLs & CNAs.
    People keep saying there are positions for truck drivers & elder care nursing assistants… but the jobs are very unattractive and the pay is lousy.

    Getting more people certified with a CNC, a CDL, a CNA, or even an MBA, only to have those people take jobs that don’t require them, is hardly an efficient or practical way to run a civilization.

  2. mikegraney says:

    Re. How to not shoot civilians. Spot on. Great link

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