Over Thanksgiving weekend I was talking to a friend of mine about the mayoral election in New York City. This friend has always been politically engaged – perhaps to a bigger extent than I. She responded to my query with a sigh…”I just can’t get jazzed about any political candidate. Nothing any of them have done in the past 20 years has accomplished anything except to make my life harder.”
Apathy – The calm before the storm…
We all talk about the apathetic citizen who doesn’t vote and doesn’t care. And it is true that a certain percentage of the population couldn’t find their way into a voting booth if their lives depended on it. But what of the voters that DO care? They are politically informed and make to the polls for every election. My friend is such a citizen. She is well-read, informed and very active in her union. When you start to regularly get that “meh” response from that kind of a voter, the country is in serious trouble.
Work is under attack. It doesn’t matter what kind of work that you do, if you work as an employee, you are probably in a bunker hoping things just don’t get worse. It all began in the early 80s and after more than a generation of decline, we are now watching the middle class is in its death throes.
Over the past week I came across two blogs that seem to dovetail the same issue even though at first blush, they are seemingly unrelated. On the phenomenon of bullshit jobs, and Too tired to hustle. The first blog came to my attention because from Mike, the mad biologist’s although I have lost the exact link to his post.
Once upon a time, in a place called America, there was a thing called the American Dream. A person growing up in that America knew that if they dared to dream and worked hard, their dream would become reality. Secure in the knowledge that inspiration, hard work, tenacity and careful planning would lead to success, young Americans reached for the sky and even to the stars (remember Neil Armstrong).
It’s official – Thomas Friedman is a jackass. Plain and simple. His latest op-ed in the New York Times “When Complexity is Free” is dissertation in total lunacy from a man who obviously understands nothing about engineering, science or the discovery process.
It appears that economist Jared Bernstein is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Here is a quote from today’s blog:
Listen elites: you want less people on food stamps…then stop screwing up the economy. Then we’ll talk. Until then – until we are back around full employment, until you stop blowing bubbles, I really don’t want to hear from you about hammocks and the bad decisions of the poor. You want to talk about job creation, infrastructure investment, skills training, mobility, opportunity – I’m all ears. Otherwise, quiet down and get to work.
Traditionally elections SHOULD have consequences, but in this case they did not. Obama’s strong victory in 2012 did nothing to stop the draconian sequester cuts. As far as the sequester goes, 2012 did nothing to stop the carnage. But actions (or inaction in this case) always has consequences and we are seeing them now.
Yesterday, I posted a blog on the famous fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911. For those who are following this blog, you may be wondering what this has to do with technology and innovation in America. I don’t want this blog to degenerate into a politically progressive tirade, even though I am an avowed progressive. So please let me explain.
Decay into a latter day gilded age…
I grew up in the hey day of unions. I didn’t associate the egalitarian life that I took for granted with presence of unions, but I was way too young to connect those dots. But I lived in a world where if you worked hard, played by the rules, and had a strong moral compass, almost anything was possible. The rags to riches stories were not fairy tails, but were the result of hard work, ingenuity and yes, a bit of good luck.
102 years ago a careless mistake caused the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory to become a fiery death trap. It was perhaps the most deadly industrial accident in the history of New York City. The loss of life was amongst the greatest in US history for any industrial accident. 146 garment workers died, the youngest victim a mere 14 years of age.
Continuing with Barack Obama’s theme of making access to college more affordable for more Americans, I decided to explore the issue of taking classes online. What’s good, what’s bad and what is downright unacceptable. My knee-jerk reaction had been that this type of vehicle is fine for some forms of CE and for “light learning” of the sort that I have done on Lynda.com.
Speaking as someone who has had to reinvent myself more than once, I have found on-line learning to be a mixed bag. Sometimes an online tutorial on a site like Lynda.com was all that I needed to move forward in an area where I was stuck.
Although Lynda.com is hardly a substitute for a university level course, its the only online training that I have any personal frame of reference with in the capacity of a student. Nevertheless, from that experience, I learned several things:
Learning styles need to be considered:
Lynda.com does a very professional job with their videos and I have learned to reference them easily when I need to. However, having a PDF to reference is good too. I found myself taking notes on notepad for quick reference. This comes down to learning styles. Some people use visual memory and like to see the words in front of them, some people use auditory more, others find the visual/audio combination most effective.