Life’s Labor, When Labor isn’t Needed

What will people do, when labor isn’t part of life expectations? If China can use robots and other advanced technologies to retool types of production never before automated, that might turn the country, now the world’s sweatshop, into a hub of high-tech innovation. Less clear, however, is how that would affect the millions of workers recruited to China’s booming factories. (via China Is Building a Robot Army of Model Workers)

Gun Culture and Parental Responsibility in USA circa 2016

I am sorry these toddlers died, but what does this say about parent responsibility and the insane gun culture that some people in the US hold so dear. To me, it looks like the Darwin Awards in action. During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings. (via One Week in April, Four Toddlers Shot and Killed Themselves – The New York Times)

Axis Shifting as Pole Ice Melts

Talk about the earth moving under one’s feet…
The movement of the Earth’s axis has no practical effects on humans, because it is so small. “We suspect these changes are occurring at a meter [or] a meter-and-a-half, at the most, per year,” Ivins says. But tracking the shifts in the Earth’s axis is crucial for other reasons, including GPS positioning and proper functioning of orbiting satellites. (via Melting ice is causing the Earth’s axis to shift direction | Public Radio International)

A serious problem the news industry does not talk about — We Are Hearken

A serious problem the news industry does not talk about — We Are Hearken

Now that I’ve stepped back from the newsroom/classroom culture of the journalism department, I wish I had spoken up about this more. Sometimes I was surrounded and just thought I must be a pollyanna. I didn’t do enough to fight the miasma of audience disrespect I found in journalists and journalism teachers.

Automated Reporting in Political Journalism and Polls

Automated reporting is coming to political reporting. This site uses prediction markets, econometric models and a couple of traditional kind of polling to feed into its algorithm, which then gives forecasts for upcoming elections. As of April 14th, all the methods except econometric, put the Democrats ahead in November. The PollyVote predicts the two-party popular vote-shares in US presidential elections by combining forecasts from different component methods. (via PollyVote – Evidence-based election forecasting since 2004)

Porn Withheld in Opposition to anti-LGBT Bill

A low blow, or more aptly, “no blow” for Tar Heels as large online porn site withholds its content to show its opposition to the anti-LGBT bill recently passed into law in North Carolina
XHamster.com, a porn website that, as of Monday, is one of the world’s 100 most visited websites according to data from Alexa, is refusing to serve anyone using a computer in North Carolina. Since 12:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday, the website has appeared as a black screen for anyone with a North Carolina IP address. (via Major porn distributor delivers blow to North Carolina’s viewing pleasure)

Monkey Cowboys

(via Welcome to the Cowboy Monkey Show — MEL Magazine)

A wonderful story. How strange though, because Norm and I were just talking about monkeys riding dogs the other day…

“The monkey-dog teams will be chasing four sheep, which also travel with the show. The idea, played out night-after-night in venues like this one, is to give the collies something to chase, the monkeys something to ride and the crowd something to laugh at.”

PoMo Blog on Panama Papers/Iceland news

Technology may be providing the means, but it’s the culture’s rebellion against hierarchies that is providing the heat for the Postmodern awakening…Every complex organization will be impacted, because the view from the top is no longer private, and as I wrote long ago, every day that an average person uses the internet, they become more and more disruptive. Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog – Local Media in a Postmodern World

Sometimes I just check to see what Terry is writing about these days. This one was posted yesterday (4/5/2016) and speaks to what happened right away in Iceland, after disclosures about government officials who were hiding assets offshore, and what will be rippling through other “complex organizations” in the next few months.

Panama Papers Explainer (fall of Iceland’s leaders)

Vox is getting to be my “go to” news summary each day. This explainer about Iceland/Panama papers is short, useful, and includes a bit of humor…

Gunnlaugsson’s party has said it will simply name a new prime minister. But other parties might force an election. The current government was facing labor unrest and discontent long before the Panama Papers leaked. [Al Jazeera America / Ned Resnikoff]
The likely beneficiary of new elections would be Iceland’s Pirate Party, a left-libertarian coalition that might, or might not, move the country substantially to the left.

Vice’s Explainer on the “Panama Papers” and Mossack Fonseca

The leaked documents show that Mossack Fonseca has worked with ponzi schemers, diamond traders, drug kingpins, Ukrainian oligarchs, Saudi kings, and close associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The documents also link Mossack Fonseca to an infamous 1983 gold heist in England, where six thieves tied up security guards, doused them with gasoline, and set them on fire while they plundered a vault containing nearly 7,000 gold bars, diamonds, and cash. According to ICIJ, the Panama Papers allegedly show that Mossack Fonseca’s agents were aware that they were managing money connected with the notorious theft. (via The VICE News Guide to the Panama Papers | VICE News)