Thursday 29 October 2015

Links 29/10/15


What it means to live in a country where only very few workers are organised in unions: 
Unions reduce inequality by bringing up the wages of middle-income and the lowest-paid workers. And workers in unions aren’t just getting better wages—they’re also getting better compensation in general. [...]
Unions appear to raise productivity for an interesting reason: employers of unionized workers tend to spend more on updating their machines and computers and training their workers. They’re more incentivized to do so when an hour of work is relatively more expensive, and this raises productivity overall. This boost also goes toward explaining why unions have no discernible detrimental effect on unemployment. 
The Atlantic CityLab: Unions Are Basically Dead and That's Really Bad, October 28, 2015
Two major climate change headlines this week: the Gulf states will be uninhabitable by 2070, and in parts of South East Asia, productivity will be severely affected by rising temperatures and humidity. 

Morocco is going solar (and uses molten sand to store energy, solving one of the main issues with solar energy) - and is aiming to become an exporter. 

On Hungary

This Brookings article neatly summarises some of the policy suggestions for when robots replace human workers without bringing about an utopia where we all focus on creative endeavours instead (I have yet to find a serious answer to this that does not include the suggestions of a basic income). 

While non-traditional ways of delivering higher education are becoming more and more popular, and effective in involving students who would otherwise miss out on tertiary education, in the US (and elsewhere) accreditation and inclusion into conservative pathways is slow to progress. 

The New Yorker about Biopiracy and the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library which battles against Western firms attempting to patent traditional knowledge. 

Pop Culture: 

This bookforum interview with Carrie Brownstein about literature is amazing: 
I definitely tried to write without vanity and without a sense of self-consciousness. I mean, self-consciousness from the craft perspective, yes: I wanted the sentences to be good, I wanted the structure to be good. But what you're talking about, the juxtaposition between invisibility and display. Invisibility is so strange, because there's sort of the self-exile, that version of invisibility. And then there's feeling invisible because other people don't see you, don't recognize you, and I don't mean that from a fame perspective, just, you know, that you're sort of ignored by society in any number of ways. And so that journey towards visibility, it's precarious, because there's also wounds and dangers that come from visibility. [...]
The common thread, I think, in all my work has been the writing. Even in the early years of Sleater-Kinney. I talk about this a bit in the book. I have always felt slightly outside of the music that I've made. It's like, I'm observing myself as if from the outside: Oh, there I am playing—what is that about? You know, it's just this over-analytical perspective. So, the writing of the music, the writing of Portlandia—the common thread is trying to make sense of it and form a connection with other people. So yeah, writing is where I'll continue going. I really like it. I mean, I hate it. But I like it.
Bookforum talks with Carrie Brownstein, October 28, 2015
(and in a Guardian interview profile - they are always so specifically awkward, I don't even know, and what an odd photo choice to illustrate "the part of our relationship that had the most meaning, to both of us, was the creative collaboration. The music: that was the love story.")

I feel pretty strongly about this essay - supporting a sports team because it isn't winning, for someone who has realised that "there are some things worth failing at". (also, Australia is not a good place to bring that attitude to sports). 

No comments: