“The reason sickness is undesirable is not that it causes distress or discomfort but that it results in what is often called “lost productivity”. This is a sinister and absurd notion, predicated on the greedy fallacy of counting chickens before they have hatched. “Workplace absence through sickness was reported to cost British business £32bn a year,” the researcher claimed in Metro: a normal way of phrasing things today, but one with curious implications. The idea seems to be that business already has that money even though it hasn’t earned it yet and employees who fail to maintain “productivity” as a result of sickness or other reasons are, in effect, stealing this as yet entirely notional sum from their employers.”—
In the US there are companies that take sick days and personal time off from the same pool of days. I had fifteen total in a year, and that’s regarded as pretty generous. Of course, if I actually did have anything that didn’t physically stop me getting in to work, I’d do so - it’s better for me to sit at my desk unproductive (and possibly infecting co-workers) than lose a holiday day.
Well done for reverse incentives there, free market capitalism.
“it would be silly to expect the national-security story of the decade to break in a California business publication. Swisher and fellow panelist Alexia Tsotsis, the co-editor of TechCrunch, spoke of the non-investigative nature of the bulk of their coverage—fundings, job changes, new product features. Tsotsis was especially abject, suggesting that even if she’d received the Edward Snowden documents, she probably “would have succumbed to the pressure of the Obama administration now”; TechCrunch “is just a cheerleader,” she said, and “a lot of tech media is sort of in the pockets of the people we cover … We’re inviting them to our parties. We might be dating some of them. We are right in the middle, in the thick, of the tech industry.””—Benjamin Wallace in New York Magazine, as part of a profile on Kara Swisher, who was also on the panel.
“I hate to be the one to break it to Joe, Nate, and Brian, but prior to the Industrial Revolution, one way people “belonged” to other people was through chattel slavery. Another was through marriages that made women the property of their husbands. It’s less funny than a doodle of a vagina, but perhaps more evocative of the limited viewpoint of the company’s three white, male founders.”—Julia Carrie Wong on the voiceover of the AirBnB video introducing their (not good) new logo.
“Cities used to be villages. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home. But after the mechanization and Industrial Revolution of the last century, those feelings of trust and belonging were displaced by mass-produced and impersonal travel experiences. We also stopped trusting each other. And in doing so, we lost something essential about what it means to be a community… That’s why Airbnb is returning us to a place where everyone can feel they belong.”—AirBnB, in the voiceover to their video introducing their new logo, as transcribed by Julia Carrie Wong. I described it on Twitter as “one long ”.
“According to [Jens Nygaard Knudsen] the Red and White spacemen started as Cosmonauts and Astronauts. Later they became red pilots and white explorers, yellow were introduced as scientists/engineers, blue as security/soldiers, black as spies. Pete and I decided mech/walker Pilots should be a new colour. Green!”—
Mark Stafford, in a comment on Pete Reid’s photo of multiple classic Lego space minifigures.
I’d always wondered if the red and white mapped to Soviet and US uniforms. It turns out, yes, they did, kind of.
“The thing is Thor is not just a comic character. He’s real mythology. Sure, Marvel’s version of Thor is not meant to follow the original nordic pantheon 100% but it’s still the equivalent of deciding to make Morgan Le Fay into a man or Zeus into a woman. A lot of people also forget there are “real pagans” today who still worship the old gods and old goddesses. Christians would get offended if Christ was gender-bent yet older religions seem to be “fair game” for this kind of random derpitude.”—Lucien Deshade in the comments on Newsarama’s story, Thor Drops The Hammer, a new female Thor takes his place.
“Bay really thinks the world is obvious. Fighting is gigantic boxers pummelling one another. War is explosions and buildings collapsing and air superiority. Love is the kiss between the stick-thin supermodel in hot pants and a handsome young body-builder whose job is racing race-cars. There’s nothing else.”—Adam Roberts on Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction for Strange Horizons.
“If highly paid teams of suits sitting in air-conditioned rooms in LA have really decided that the best way to make new movies is to rip off Prometheus, of all films, then something has gone very wrong somewhere.”—Adam Roberts reviewing Transformers: Age of Extinction for Strange Horizons.
“Published in his collection of essays Travels in Hyperreality (1986), Eco links football “with the absence of purpose and the vanity of all things” questioning the corrosive banality of its punditry, its inherent prejudice and exclusivity and its (a)political morality. The essay concludes with Eco asking rhetorically “Is the armed struggle possible on World Cup Sunday…Is revolution possible on a football Sunday?””—I Don’t Love Soccer Because Soccer Has Never Loved Me
“[Mincing Lane] was for some years the world’s leading centre for tea and spice trading after the British East India Company successfully took over all trading ports from the Dutch East India Company in 1799. It was the centre of the British opium business (comprising 90% of all transactions), as well as other drugs in the 18th century.”—
Wikipedia’s entry on Mincing Lane in the City of London. The article continues:
“Back in the late 90s, when Internet dating was still new, I interviewed the founder of a UK site called Cybersuitors. He was a network academic and told me he deduced that a dating site needed a minimum of 144 people to create interesting possible pairings—“the same number of people you’d need to populate a multigenerational starship headed to Alpha Centauri,” as he joked. The number is probably a lot higher than that, but you get the point.”—Clive Thompson in How Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe hacked Metcalfe’s Law.
“We have people all the time that we know have been involved in robberies, rapes and murders. We haven’t been able to prove our cases, but we’re in court with them for second-offense possession of marijuana. What do you think we’re going to do?”—
The tiles were extremely industrial objects, but usually, in the late 20C industrial framework, if you have several thousand similar industrial things, they’re interchangeable – that’s kind of the point. Not the tiles. They were made for particular spots on the orbiters, and each one has a binder – so the legends say – recording how it was made, anything that might have influenced its quality, who attached it to the orbiter body, its inspections before and after every mission, sketches of damage, and so forth.
… So the obvious thing is a big viz. Take every tile that flew, draw its lifetime as a line, align it to all the others on its orbiter, mark everything that happened to it, and print it all up big. We can imagine the horizontal lines formed by especially rough launches and reëntries, the cut-offs of the disasters, call-outs showing which tiles lasted the longest, and so forth. This seems like a difficult project but in a fun way.
“The new Bay Bridge raises several important considerations for policy analysts of megaprojects. … It is important to recognize that the pursuit of the technological sublime may derail public processes and negatively affect a project’s design, budget, and schedule. Participants may be blinded by an overly optimistic belief that design and engineering can overcome the technical complexities and risks associated with implementing large-scale projects.”—Pursuing the Technological Sublime: How the Bay Bridge Became a Megaproject by Karen Frick in Access.
“Microphones changed everything. Rather than spraying the balcony with emotion (or using a simple megaphone for amplification) the act of performance became more intimate, the singer more vulnerable. In time, the tinnier carbon microphones (as in the telephone) gave way to condenser microphones. Far more vocal subtlety could be transmitted. The dynamics of entertainment allowed for quiet. A different sort of voice found its place on stage and in recordings: the crooner.”—How Bing Crosby and the Nazis Helped to Create Silicon Valley, by Paul Ford for the New Yorker.
“Eno told me that he heard from a fan who manages a supermarket in London and decided to play “Discreet Music” there. A week later, Eno went to visit him. “He said, ‘It was lovely—people stayed much longer in the shop and bought far less.’ I thought that was a very nice thing to say about the music.””—From Ambient Genius- The Work Of Brian Eno, by Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker.
“Her pitch was pretty genius. She would go to chapters of her sorority, do her presentation, and have all the girls at the meetings install the app. Then she’d go to the corresponding brother fraternity—they’d open the app and see all these cute girls they knew.”—Joe Munoz, author of the back end of Tinder, quoted by Nick Summers in an article for Business Week, The Truth About Tinder And Women: It’s Even Worse Than You Think, speaking about Whitney Wolfe, who has recently filed suit against Tinder’s chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen.
If you have the time and inclination, reading the abstract reveals an interesting mix of human/machine interface factors, management decisions, and failures to use safety equipment (the deaths of two passengers are linked to their failure to wear seatbelts during the landing). It’s also reassuring that 99% of occupants survived, for me at least.
“"Repealing Sunday parking meter operations is in response to the mayor’s call to make San Francisco a little more affordable for people who live, work and visit the city," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said. Another wave of changes — including a single-trip fare increase of a quarter to $2.25 and a $2 increase in the monthly Muni pass to $68 — will go into effect Sept. 1.”—
As Jameson Wieser wrote at Muniverse, “Making it more expensive to ride Muni is an odd way to make the city more affordable.”
“To fully understand what’s happening here, let’s zoom out and take in the wider picture. San Francisco is a relatively small part of a much larger nine-county metropolitan area of over seven million people. Within this area, governance is fragmented at the county and city levels and it is served by a slew of separate transportation agencies, including six separate but overlapping bus agencies and four regional rail or light rail agencies. There are three major airports, run by separate agencies, and while regional housing policy is supposed to mandate that all municipalities provide their respective shares of housing demand, based on employment patterns, this is often undermined at the local level.”—
As someone who comes from a country where there’s strong central government, this level of fragmentation in politics is baffling. That said, it’s hardly as if London and the UK is a great example of housing policy either.
“I wanted to imply that poor old England is back on its feet and has united with the Japanese, who have taken over the building of spaceships the same way they have now with cars and supertankers. In coming up with a strange company name I thought of British Leyland and Toyota, but we obviously couldn’t use Leyland-Toyota in the film. Changing one letter gave me Weylan, and Yutani was a Japanese neighbor of mine.”—