I spoke to people who gave testimonies echoing similar dilemmas: Annie, who noted how many women taking care of preschoolers were ultimately forced to quit and find office jobs to pay the rent, and Hannibal, the medical researcher, who summed up his experience in the medical field with the formula “the amount of money I can charge for doing the work I do is almost perfectly inversely correlated with how useful it is.” That there’s a real problem here can be demonstrated by a simple thought experiment I proposed in a 2013 article that led to this book (On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant): imagine if a certain class of people were to simply vanish. Let me expand on this for a moment. If we all woke up one morning and discovered that not only nurses, garbage collectors, and mechanics, but for that matter, bus drivers, grocery store workers, firefighters, or short-order chefs had been whisked away into another dimension, the results would be equally catastrophic. If elementary school teachers were to vanish, most schoolchildren would likely celebrate for a day or two, but the long-term effects would be if anything even more devastating.
In these complaints, the democracy movement (as my colleague Jonathan Chait has dubbed it) sees all the telltale signs of a bad case of norm-erosion. Democracies can’t live on laws alone; they also require adherence to certain informal rules that correct for the inevitable flaws in any Constitution’s design, and protect against the threat of charismatic leaders consolidating power. Thus, to heal our republic, and immunize it against future strains of the same virus, several liberal thinkers have called for the formation of bipartisan coalitions, united in defense of democratic norms and the rule of law. In their view, the threat that Trump poses is so grave and unique, ideologues on both sides of the aisle should now prioritize maintaining a rule-based order over winning policy battles, so as to safeguard their freedom to settle such disputes democratically in the future.
Your Home is Your…Snitch? (jdargis)
It seems new smart gadgets are introduced every week. There are smart TVs, which suggest the programs they think you’ll like. Smart refrigerators are equipped with interior cameras and UPC scanners that keep track of the items you stock in your refrigerator, and then reorder them as they run out. One brand of smart mattress “tracks over 15 factors about your sleep and health, including deep sleep, heart rate and respiratory rate,” according to its website.
The decision to buy the pipeline may become the biggest test of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that his government is balancing the needs of the energy industry with environmental concerns like climate change. It is likely to sour Mr. Trudeau’s relations with environmental groups.
Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War (Michael S.)
Per terms of the deal that was reached on Thursday, Gazprom will be banned from imposing restrictions on how its customers in central and Eastern Europe use gas. Meanwhile, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia will no longer be banned from exporting gas to another country.
Volcanic eruptions are more common in the western states. Most are located in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Earthquakes are likewise common on the west coast, but also happen in portions of the central and eastern United States. In fact, a series of large earthquakes ripped through the area surrounding New Madrid, Missouri in 1811 and 1812.
While some waste managers already send their recyclable materials to be processed domestically, or are shipping more to other countries, others have been unable to find a substitute for the Chinese market. “All of a sudden, material being collected on the street doesn’t have a place to go,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, one of the largest waste managers in the country.
Are avocados toast? (jdargis)
A lot of the country’s tree crops grow in California, which produces two-thirds of the fruits and nuts for the United States. The same is true of grape vines, which bear abundant fruit for about 25 years (they slow down after that, but can keep going for hundreds of years). It’s in large part because so many farmers are making these long-term gambles on orchard crops that a recent scientific paper noted: “Agricultural production in California is highly sensitive to climate change.”
Gold & Silver
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