Recommended Links from the Week of May 21st
A weekly roundup of worthwhile reading online, mostly from my Instapaper Liked articles feed. Particularly noteworthy items are highlighted. Remember, friends should share, so feel free to include links to anything that tickled your fancy this week in comments. Just as a reminder, spamming and anti-social behavior is not well looked upon here.
Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss?
“There is a quasi religious tone to many tech convention speeches and press releases. What other industry constantly professes utopian visions for all humanity? What other industry would dare proclaim they were liberating artists? Students? Workers? What other industry thinks they are mystical shaman “Let’s send our magic objects, our laptops to poor children in third world countries”. What other industry genuinely believes they (and only they) possess the lapis philosophorum? They have even created their own God. A Superhuman intelligence that they (naturally) have created. The singularity. Their egos know no bounds. Not only is the New Boss worse than the Old Boss. The New Boss creeps me out.”
The internet is a profit- and jobs-destroying machine
“I’m not saying that the internet is going to cause mass unemployment. What I am saying is that it will help hollow out wages for workers with specific skills – like academics – at a fairly impressive rate. And also that investors are being absurd if they expect internet businesses to ever match the profitability of the firms they are replacing.”
A Year After the Non-Apocalypse: Where Are They Now?
“I was struck by how some believers edited the past in order to avoid acknowledging that they had been mistaken. The engineer in his mid-twenties, the one who told me this was a prophecy rather than a prediction, maintained that he had never claimed to be certain about May 21. When I read him the transcript of our previous interview, he seemed genuinely surprised that those words had come out of his mouth. It was as if we were discussing a dream he couldn’t quite remember.”
In U.S. Steel town, fatal gas explosion goes unpunished by OSHA
“Revetta was among 4,551 people killed on the job in America in 2009, carnage that eclipsed the total number of U.S. fatalities in the nine-year Iraq war. Combine the victims of traumatic injuries with the estimated 50,000 people who die annually of work-related diseases and it’s as if a fully loaded Boeing 737-700 crashed every day. Yet the typical fine for a worker death is about $7,900.”
The Onion’s AV Club gives Niall Ferguson’s Civilization a ’C’
“Niall Ferguson is public television’s idea of a party reptile: a good-looking bloke with a full head of dark hair and an air of solemn glibness. Ferguson entertains interviewers by talking about how he chose his political leanings on the basis of what side he thought would be more fun to piss off, and how he likes working in the United States because that’s where the money and star power are. … His new two-part, four-hour PBS series allows him to take 500 years of history and wedge as much of it as he can into a mold designed to flatter his neo-imperialist worldview.”
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