“We now know that 24 hours without sleep, or a week of sleeping four or five hours a night induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .1 percent. We would never say, ‘This person is a great worker! He’s drunk all the time!’ yet we continue to celebrate people who sacrifice sleep for work.”—
There’s a green OXO mixing bowl filled with lemons and oranges that appeared on my dining table a few days ago. I didn’t put it there — so it must have been the husband. It looks staged. As if we were preparing for an scheduled open house this weekend. We’re not. There’s also an easter basket filled with plastic eggs that hold Cheerios, Goldfish and nasty yogurt puffs — yeah, I tried them.
Feels odd to sit down in front of my laptop to write a blogpost while the sun is still streaming into my kitchen. Who am I and how did I get here? Who do I want to be and how do I get there? Those are the questions I’ve been contemplating for the past few days.
I have all these anecdotes stored up in my mind that I’ve been collecting since January. I’ve made a million mental notes to blog about this or that. The Malaysian flight that disappeared, Edward Snowden, and the shooting at the Jewish Center. But whenever I sit down and open up Tumblr, it all seems not worth documenting or not worth reporting.
Out of character, I know.
I’ve been savoring my reading of The Goldfinch and lines like this haunt me:
When I looked at the painting I felt the same convergence on a single point: a flickering sun-struck instant that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature — fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.
Kindle tells me that these lines have haunted at least 1880 other readers.
Conservatives often say the poor and jobless got that way because of their own personal failings, but Americans tend to blame the plain old free market.
A new HuffPost/YouGov poll released Thursday finds Americans generally think both the rich and the poor ended up where they are more because of the opportunities they had in life than because of personal successes or failures.
But not everyone feels that way. Republicans are far more likely to pat rich Americans on the back for their hard work while blaming poor Americans for not working hard enough.
Among all Americans, 44 percent said they think poor people are poor mostly because of a lack of opportunities, while only 30 percent said it’s mostly because of their individual failings. More specifically, 47 percent said poverty has to do more with the fact good jobs aren’t available, while only 28 percent said it’s because poor people have a poor work ethic.
Maybe there’s some good that comes with this recession: more progressive thinking.
“My [UberX] driver turned out to be a Google employee who said he drew the lucky H1-B visa straw to get out of Bulgaria … he told me he works at the company’s Mountain View campus, but started driving for UberX for two hours on Saturdays and Sundays to send money to a family of four kids he met on vacation, who couldn’t afford to go to school or even shoes. ‘I just calculated that if I work four hours of a week, I can clothe all of them,’ he told me. ‘For so little, it’s amazing what you can do.’”—(via Valleywag)
"Regulators might be tempted to agree with Comcast that its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in stock poses no threat to competition… But the issue with cable mergers is not that they reduce or eliminate head-to-head competition for subscribers, because most cities…
My post on Americans starting to recognize class realities has brought some predictable reactions, which I’d place under two headings: (1) “But they have cell phones!” and (2) it’s about how you behave, not how much money you have.
My answer to both of these would be to say that when we talk about being middle class, I’d argue that we have two crucial attributes of that status in mind: security and opportunity.
By security, I mean that you have enough resources and backup that the ordinary emergencies of life won’t plunge you into the abyss. This means having decent health insurance, reasonably stable employment, and enough financial assets that having to replace your car or your boiler isn’t a crisis.
By opportunity I mainly mean being able to get your children a good education and access to job prospects, not feeling that doors are shut because you just can’t afford to do the right thing.
If you don’t have these things, I would say that you don’t lead a middle-class life, even if you have a car and a few electronic gadgets that weren’t around during the era when most Americans really were middle class, and no matter how clean, sober, and prudent your behavior may be.
"Remember when you could be utterly stupid without the whole world finding out…" (@lorcanRK)
I’m still fascinated by things going viral.
Not sure if public idiocy is a good or bad thing. I don’t like how people confuse the right to free speech with the offensive nature of being a bigot. Sure, we have rights to a lot if things but that doesn’t mean we won’t be criticized for exercising those rights. And to be clear, we don’t have the freedom to hate speech.
I scratched my head a little after watching the Amazon Prime Air video (see here), and considered the impact of delivery drones and autonomous vehicles on the future of work:
[…]the big question about drones and autonomous vehicles in general is about the impact on work. Right off the bat, the several million people (mostly men) employed as truck and delivery drivers will be out of a job. Yes, some of them might get work in the Amazon warehouses, but as soon as AI and robots are up to it, those jobs will be gone too.
This won’t be limited to megacorporations like Amazon, although Amazon might be planning to leverage this as an additional industry disruptor, like they’ve done with Amazon’s elastic computing technologies. Imagine a local florist, Bette, in downtown Beacon NY (my home) wanting to make a delivery to a local customer’s home. No longer reliant on Ralph, her former part-time driver, she simply logs into Amazon Prime Air, types in some details, and twenty minutes later a drone touches down in the loading zone outside her store, picks up the flowers for Mrs Johnson, and takes off for North Brett Street.
Of course, her flowers arrive by an autonomous truck three times weekly, and her Samsung Smart Pallet communicates with the truck, gathers her flowers, and brings them to her cold room, without the services of Sheila, her former part-time assistant.
But Ralph and Sheila are off starting microbusinesses, where autonomous vehicles make the economics work.