Tag Archives | Jobs

South Korean Lawmaker Uses Tear Gas to Protest Free Trade with the U.S. (Video)

Now, why would a member of parliament in South Korea object so strongly to a free trade deal with the United States? Haroon Siddique reports in the Guardian:
An opposition MP set off a teargas canister in the South Korean parliament in a failed attempt to prevent the ruling party passing a free trade deal with the US. Proponents said the deal, the largest US trade pact since the 1994 North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), could increase commerce between the two countries by up to a quarter. But the opposition claims it will harm South Korean interests, putting jobs at risk ...
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America’s Concentration Threatened By Adderall Shortage

2310749647_339fa45387Is Adderall the crystal meth of the middle and upper classes? Well, both drugs became huge at around the same time. The Fix writes that prices are skyrocketing and panic and withdrawal are setting in across the nation as pharmacies’ shelves run short:

When Jay V.’s pharmacist told him about the nationwide Adderall shortages last weekend, he reacted as any economically rational finance professional would, and attempted to bribe her. Whatever the cost, “it’s cheaper than cocaine,” his reasoning went. And even if it isn’t, you can’t put a price on never having to go back to doing bumps in the work bathroom to get through late night deal committee meetings, can you?

Jay’s pharmacist said she was reserving her supply for regular customers, but that the price had doubled and the clock was ticking.

If addiction is the kind of thing you think about a lot, it’s easy to overlook its significance in the cold, objective Realpolitik scheme of things, which is this: it’s a great fucking business model.

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Using Prisoners As Unpaid Firefighter Squads

Cities and towns from coast to coast are straining under the weight of budget shortfalls, so what are they to do? Lay off essential public employees and replace them with slave labor by prisoners -- it's what Camden County, Georgia is doing in regards to firefighters. Will the next step be unpaid prisoners teaching your kids?
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The True Cost of Commuting

I-80

Photo: Minesweeper (CC)

Via Mr. Money Mustache:

It was a beautiful evening in my neighborhood, and I was enjoying one of my giant homebrews on a deck chair I had placed in the middle of the street, as part of a nearby block’s Annual Street Party.

I was talking to a couple I had just met, and the topic turned to the beauty of the neighborhood. “Wow, I didn’t even realize this area was here”, the guy said, “It’s beautiful and old and the trees are giant and all of families hang out together outside as if it were still 1950!”. “Yeah”, said his wife, “We should really move here!”.

Then the discussion turned to the comparatively affordable housing, and the other benefits of living in my particular town. By the end of it, these people were verbally working out the details of a potential move within just a few months.

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The Golden Age Of Female Computer Programmers

computer-girls1Via the blog of software developers Fog Creek, a look at the forgotten history of women programmers, and the strange ways in which different work fields are labeled as “male” or female”:

Computer science has always been a male-dominated field, right? Wrong.

In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women. And 34% of the systems analysts in America were women. Women had started to flock to computer science in the mid-1960s, during the early days of computing, when men were already dominating other technical professions but had yet to dominate the world of computing. For about two decades, the percentages of women who earned Computer Science degrees rose steadily, peaking at 37% in 1984.

In fact, for a hot second back in the mid-sixties, computer programming was actually portrayed as women’s work by the mass media. Check out “The Computer Girls” from the April 1967 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

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Occupy For A General Strike (#HitEmWhereItHurts)

50 American RevolutionsMickey Z. writes on the Fair Share of the Common Heritage:

“A strike is an incipient revolution. Many large revolutions have grown out of a small strike.”William “Big Bill” Haywood

Thanks to the popularity of my recent articles here at Fair Share of the Common Heritage, I found myself recruited to write something about the prospect of a U.S.-based general strike.

So, off I went, scanning news across the interwebs … My eyes widened when I read: “Social groups reiterated their call to a general strike for 24 hours November 14, asking the labor, productive and academic sectors to join the mobilization, guaranteeing it will be peaceful and with innovative forms of protest.”

But alas, it was an update from the Dominican Republic. Shortly thereafter, my heart jumped at these words: “Trade unions have called a general strike in protest.”

Great — but not for the US — as the article was in relation to Portugal.

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9 Dying Occupations: Thanks To Technology

WatchMichael B. Sauter writes on AOL:

Since textile workers in England were replaced by mechanized looms in the 19th century new technologies have been continuously taking the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of laborers. In the 20th century — the age of machinery, robotics, and computers — the United States has seen the loss of millions of factory jobs. Now, in the era of the Internet and further automation, a new generation of full-time workers is on the verge of losing their positions to technology. 24/7 Wall Street used information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the jobs that will lose the largest percentage of their current positions over the next decade.

Many jobs are in industries where technological advancement has already caused major reductions in the workforce. Now, further contraction is expected in those same industries as workers who were trained to oversee the machines are themselves replaced by new machines and software that manage the old machines.

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Prisoners Help Build Patriot Missiles

Patriot MissileFile this in the “in case you missed it” news cycle. Why should the government not hire unemployed Americans to do this …? Noah Shachtman reported back in March on the excellent WIRED’s Danger Room:

This [past] spring, the United Arab Emirates is expected to close a deal for $7 billion dollars’ worth of American arms. Nearly half of the cash will be spent on Patriot missiles, which cost as much as $5.9 million apiece.

But what makes those eye-popping sums even more shocking is that some of the workers manufacturing parts for those Patriot missiles are prisoners, earning as little as 23 cents an hour.

The work is done by Unicor,  previously known as Federal Prison Industries. It’s a government-owned corporation, established during the Depression, that employs about 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons to make everything from clothing to office furniture to solar panels to military electronics.

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Company Hires Adults With Autism to Test Software

CubeVia the Associated Press:

The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.This is the unusual workforce of a U.S. startup that specializes in finding software bugs by harnessing the talents of young adults with autism.

Traits that make great software testers — intense focus, comfort with repetition, memory for detail — also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.

Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed.

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