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This Is Either The Craziest Scientific Paper Of All Time Or A Very Clever Hoax | IFLScience https://www.iflscience.com/physics/this-is-either-the-craziest-scientific-paper-of-all-time-or-a-very-clever-hoax/

Lol! It's missing aliens
#science
 

The Infection of #Science by #Politics: A Nobel Laureate and Biophysicist on the #Coronavirus Crisis


Source: https://architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk/2020/09/21/the-infection-of-science-by-politics-a-nobel-laureate-and-biophysicist-on-the-coronavirus-crisis/
One of the claims made by the #governments of the world to justify imposing the regulations and programmes of a #biosecurity state on their populations is that they are ‘following the science’. By the same token, those who uncritically support these measures — in both #mainstream and social media — claim that anyone who criticises or opposes them are ‘anti-science’.

As #Professor #Levitt states: it is not governments that are following the science; rather, it is #politics that has ‘infected’ the scientists. By making the statements of eminent scientists with the courage to speak out against Government and #media lies more widely known, it is our hope that the debate the people of #Britain should be having will be opened to the knowledge we should be applying to this crisis, which goes far beyond a virus with the fatality rate of a severe #flu, and which threatens the existence of our human rights, civil liberties and democratic politics.

1st statement

People are insisting on refereed reports. No-one wants to share anything. The #scientists are more panicked and scared of reality than anybody else.

This has got nothing to do with the politics. As a group, scientists have failed the younger generation.

‘Deciding what to do in this situation is really, really difficult. We cannot rely on one or two voices. There should have been a committee formed, either by the Nobel Foundation, by Lindau, by The Royal Society, The National Academy, in the middle of February when this was coming down the road, and we should have discussed this.

‘Instead, we let #economics and #politics dedicate the science.

There was total #panic. And the fact is that almost all the science we were hearing — for example, from organisations like the World Health Organisation — was wrong.

We had Facebook censoring [views contrary to] the World Health Organisation.

Nobody said to me: “Let me check your numbers”. They all just said: “Stop talking like that”.

.. but the fact is that viral cases and deaths follow a time trajectory, and I think that physicist and theoretical chemists who understand trajectories are way better qualified.

2nd Statement

‘I am not against #lockdown. I’m against stupid lockdown without considering the full picture. That is, not just combating a
virus that is exactly as dangerous as flu, but also avoiding the economic damage that every country has caused itself, except #Sweden

In other words, everything is data-driven, but people have chosen not to look at the data. In many places, the politics has infected the scientists. Certainly in the USA the politics has infected the scientists.’

3rd Statement

‘I think the problem is not just science and public. It’s science to other scientists. Nobody ever said: “You’re saying this: can I check your numbers” This is something which any intelligent person could do themselves in a few days. Every science needs problems to be worked over.

The one place that did have some intelligent #conversation — but I only got involved in it very late — was the European Molecular Biology Lab.

The #criticism is wonderful, because [with]good science, you have to be able to stand up to criticism. Scientists expect to be torn apart. We circled the wagons against this, and it really, really hurt us.’

4th Statement

‘I’m not saying that corona is like flu. But It has exactly the same excess death and age-ranges as flu, and flu is a very serious disease, so I’m not undermining [the existence of] #COVID.

Scientists are arrogant, and refuse to listen to people not in their fields. Scientists are getting away Scott-free for causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage, and this is something which cannot be allowed to happen.

‘It’s not just the World Health Organisation. #Ferguson wanted Sweden to lock down, and got Britain to lock down. And when the numbers become normal, exactly what you would expect without lockdown, he then says: “Ah, it’s because of lockdown”. This is terrible science. This is science which should go on trial. Scientists cannot cause damage like this and refuse to listen.

‘The fact is that #epidemiology and modelling has been a disgrace. They have not looked at the #data. They have been wrong at every turn. We’re going to see that, although coronavirus is a different disease, the net #impact of death is going to be very similar to severe flu. And it’s going to be that way without lockdown.

Michael Levitt, Professor of Structural #Biology at Stanford University since 1987, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001, made a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, and received the Nobel Prize for #Chemistry in 2013.
#WHO #GB #COVID19 #new normal
The Infection of Science by Politics: A Nobel Laureate and Biophysicist on the Coronavirus Crisis
 
Scientific Research Center » New fossil named after metal band The Ocean https://www.mnhn.lu/science/2020/09/21/new-fossil-named-after-metal-band-the-ocean/?lang=en

When #science meets #music
#paleontology
New fossil named after metal band The Ocean
 
WebPlotDigitizer - Extract data from plots, images, and maps https://automeris.io/WebPlotDigitizer/

Very cool!
#science #software #graphs
 

New ESA podcast explores history of spaceflight in Europe








Join astronauts and experts for an aural journey through the history of European spaceflight in the latest series of ESA podcast, ESA Explores Time and Space.

#news #space #science #esa #europeanspaceagency
posted by pod_feeder_v2
 

New ESA podcast explores history of spaceflight in Europe








Join astronauts and experts for an aural journey through the history of European spaceflight in the latest series of ESA podcast, ESA Explores Time and Space.

#news #space #science #esa #europeanspaceagency
posted by pod_feeder_v2
 
#politics #science #antropology #work #rant #bullshit-jobs

In memory of David Graeber (RIP)

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant (by David Graeber)


In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia—still being eagerly awaited in the '60s—never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, ‘professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers’ tripled, growing ‘from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.’ In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be.)

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world's population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza delivery) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs’.

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don't really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.

The answer clearly isn't economic: it's moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the '60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don't like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done—at least, there's only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there's endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it's all that anyone really does. I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: ‘who are you to say what jobs are really “necessary”? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the “need” for that?’ (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn't seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I'd heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he'd lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, ‘taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.’ Now he's a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

There's a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call ‘the market’ reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met a corporate lawyer who didn't think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely (one or t'other?) Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia—still being eagerly awaited in the '60s—never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, ‘professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers’ tripled, growing ‘from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.’ In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be.)

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world's population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza delivery) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs’.

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don't really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.

The answer clearly isn't economic: it's moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the '60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don't like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done—at least, there's only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there's endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it's all that anyone really does. I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: ‘who are you to say what jobs are really “necessary”? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the “need” for that?’ (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn't seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I'd heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he'd lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, ‘taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.’ Now he's a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

There's a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call ‘the market’ reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met a corporate lawyer who didn't think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely (one or t'other?) Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one's job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It's not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It's even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It's as if they are being told ‘but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?’

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc.)—and particularly its financial avatars—but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3–4 hour days.
 
#politics #science #antropology #work #rant #bullshit-jobs

In memory of David Graeber (RIP)

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant (by David Graeber)


In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia—still being eagerly awaited in the '60s—never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, ‘professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers’ tripled, growing ‘from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.’ In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be.)

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world's population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza delivery) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs’.

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don't really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.

The answer clearly isn't economic: it's moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the '60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don't like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done—at least, there's only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there's endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it's all that anyone really does. I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: ‘who are you to say what jobs are really “necessary”? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the “need” for that?’ (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn't seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I'd heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he'd lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, ‘taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.’ Now he's a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

There's a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call ‘the market’ reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met a corporate lawyer who didn't think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely (one or t'other?) Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

In the year 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that, by century's end, technology would have advanced sufficiently that countries like Great Britain or the United States would have achieved a 15-hour work week. There's every reason to believe he was right. In technological terms, we are quite capable of this. And yet it didn't happen. Instead, technology has been marshaled, if anything, to figure out ways to make us all work more. In order to achieve this, jobs have had to be created that are, effectively, pointless. Huge swathes of people, in Europe and North America in particular, spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.

Why did Keynes' promised utopia—still being eagerly awaited in the '60s—never materialise? The standard line today is that he didn't figure in the massive increase in consumerism. Given the choice between less hours and more toys and pleasures, we've collectively chosen the latter. This presents a nice morality tale, but even a moment's reflection shows it can't really be true. Yes, we have witnessed the creation of an endless variety of new jobs and industries since the '20s, but very few have anything to do with the production and distribution of sushi, iPhones, or fancy sneakers.

So what are these new jobs, precisely? A recent report comparing employment in the US between 1910 and 2000 gives us a clear picture (and I note, one pretty much exactly echoed in the UK). Over the course of the last century, the number of workers employed as domestic servants, in industry, and in the farm sector has collapsed dramatically. At the same time, ‘professional, managerial, clerical, sales, and service workers’ tripled, growing ‘from one-quarter to three-quarters of total employment.’ In other words, productive jobs have, just as predicted, been largely automated away (even if you count industrial workers globally, including the toiling masses in India and China, such workers are still not nearly so large a percentage of the world population as they used to be.)

But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world's population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza delivery) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs’.

It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the sort of very problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don't really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organizing or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets.

The answer clearly isn't economic: it's moral and political. The ruling class has figured out that a happy and productive population with free time on their hands is a mortal danger (think of what started to happen when this even began to be approximated in the '60s). And, on the other hand, the feeling that work is a moral value in itself, and that anyone not willing to submit themselves to some kind of intense work discipline for most of their waking hours deserves nothing, is extraordinarily convenient for them.

Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don't like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done—at least, there's only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there's endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it's all that anyone really does. I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.

Now, I realise any such argument is going to run into immediate objections: ‘who are you to say what jobs are really “necessary”? What's necessary anyway? You're an anthropology professor, what's the “need” for that?’ (And indeed a lot of tabloid readers would take the existence of my job as the very definition of wasteful social expenditure.) And on one level, this is obviously true. There can be no objective measure of social value.

I would not presume to tell someone who is convinced they are making a meaningful contribution to the world that, really, they are not. But what about those people who are themselves convinced their jobs are meaningless? Not long ago I got back in touch with a school friend who I hadn't seen since I was 12. I was amazed to discover that in the interim, he had become first a poet, then the front man in an indie rock band. I'd heard some of his songs on the radio having no idea the singer was someone I actually knew. He was obviously brilliant, innovative, and his work had unquestionably brightened and improved the lives of people all over the world. Yet, after a couple of unsuccessful albums, he'd lost his contract, and plagued with debts and a newborn daughter, ended up, as he put it, ‘taking the default choice of so many directionless folk: law school.’ Now he's a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm. He was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.

There's a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call ‘the market’ reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever met a corporate lawyer who didn't think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries outlined above. There is a whole class of salaried professionals that, should you meet them at parties and admit that you do something that might be considered interesting (an anthropologist, for example), will want to avoid even discussing their line of work entirely (one or t'other?) Give them a few drinks, and they will launch into tirades about how pointless and stupid their job really is.

This is a profound psychological violence here. How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one's job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way, as in the case of the fish-fryers, to ensure that rage is directed precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It's not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well.

Even more perverse, there seems to be a broad sense that this is the way things should be. This is one of the secret strengths of right-wing populism. You can see it when tabloids whip up resentment against tube workers for paralysing London during contract disputes: the very fact that tube workers can paralyse London shows that their work is actually necessary, but this seems to be precisely what annoys people. It's even clearer in the US, where Republicans have had remarkable success mobilizing resentment against school teachers, or auto workers (and not, significantly, against the school administrators or auto industry managers who actually cause the problems) for their supposedly bloated wages and benefits. It's as if they are being told ‘but you get to teach children! Or make cars! You get to have real jobs! And on top of that you have the nerve to also expect middle-class pensions and health care?’

If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it's hard to see how they could have done a better job. Real, productive workers are relentlessly squeezed and exploited. The remainder are divided between a terrorised stratum of the, universally reviled, unemployed and a larger stratum who are basically paid to do nothing, in positions designed to make them identify with the perspectives and sensibilities of the ruling class (managers, administrators, etc.)—and particularly its financial avatars—but, at the same time, foster a simmering resentment against anyone whose work has clear and undeniable social value. Clearly, the system was never consciously designed. It emerged from almost a century of trial and error. But it is the only explanation for why, despite our technological capacities, we are not all working 3–4 hour days.
 

Menschenkenntnis: Wie gut können wir Lügen erkennen? - Spektrum der Wissenschaft


Ganz spannend , diese ganze nonverbalen Mikro Anzeichen taugen wie erwartet nicht als Anzeichen um eine Lüge zu erkennen.
Wenn jemand bei einem Verhör Angst hat, heißt das nicht, dass er lügt. Man kann aus einer Emotion nicht auf eine Täuschung schließen.
Und
Eine souveräne Lüge kann glaubhafter wirken als eine gestotterte Wahrheit
Das ist eigentlch die Kernaussage.
#Lügen #science
 
Did you ever listen to a glass of whiskey?
I had to share[this with you. It's a brilliant experiment in the name of #science :-)

#humour
 

Acronym acrimony: glut of abbreviations ‘hindering understanding’


Australian analysis finds acronym use has multiplied tenfold in abstracts, with 94 per cent of 17,500 possible three-letter combinations used at least once.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/acronym-acrimony-glut-abbreviations-hindering-understanding

The article is paywalled, so here is the full text, accessed thanks to Pocket:
An epidemic of acronyms is turning journal articles into alphabet soup, with authors combining almost every conceivable grouping of letters in a misguided drive to make their work more intelligible.
An analysis of 70 years of scholarly publishing has found more than 1.1 million unique abbreviations embedded in the titles and abstracts of almost 25 million papers. Half of them were used fleetingly, and 30 per cent only once.
Some of the 2,000 or so abbreviations in common usage proved no less mystifying. Many sported multiple meanings, including six of the 20 most popular ones. They included OR (“odds ratio” or “operating room”), MS (“multiple sclerosis” or “mass spectrometry”) and US (“United States”, “ultrasound” or “urinary system”).
The analysis, published in the journal eLife, found that the concentration of acronyms – defined for the purposes of the study as words in which half or more of the characters were upper-case letters – had more than tripled in article titles and multiplied tenfold in abstracts.
“These increases have happened despite the word and character limits that many journals place on the length of titles and abstracts,” the paper notes. “New acronyms are too common, and common acronyms are too rare.
“Acronyms are not the biggest current problem in science communication, but reducing their use is a simple change that would help readers.”
Co-author Zoë Doubleday said there was an assumption that abbreviations made papers easier to understand, so long as they were spelt out initially. “That often doesn’t help,” said Dr Doubleday, a marine ecologist at the University of South Australia.
“These papers are so dense. People tend not to read them linearly; you pick different parts you want to read. You come across the acronyms and then you’re flicking back and forth trying to remember what they mean. It’s another thing to add to the cognitive load when you’re already thinking hard.”
She said acronym use was largely “cultural” but also encouraged by the explosion and diversification of knowledge, with students automatically adopting what they saw in published papers or their supervisors’ practices: “We tend to emulate what’s come before us.”
The analysis found that three-letter acronyms – which the authors jokingly dubbed “TLAs” – were more popular than abbreviations with two or four characters. Of 17,576 possible combinations of three upper-case letters in the English alphabet, 94 per cent had been used at least once.
Two-letter acronyms are equally problematic, the paper suggests, citing a 2019 study that identified 36 “possible meanings and potential misunderstandings” of the abbreviation “UA”.
They ranged from medical interpretations such as “umbilical artery”, “unstable angina” and “uric acid” to usages from broader walks of life – including “urban area”, “user agreement”, the chemical “uranyl acetate”, the clothing brand “Under Armour” and institutions such as the “University of Antwerp”.
Dr Doubleday said possible measures to reduce acronym use included capping them to a set number per paper, banning them from abstracts or titles and maintaining a database of universally recognised permissible abbreviations.
The paper says another possibility, “software permitting”, is for journals to offer two versions of the same paper – one with acronyms and one without – so that readers can “select the version they prefer”.
But the best remedy is for scientists to desist, it adds. “We suggest a second use for DNA: do not abbreviate.”
#science #scienceCommunication
 

Acronym acrimony: glut of abbreviations ‘hindering understanding’


Australian analysis finds acronym use has multiplied tenfold in abstracts, with 94 per cent of 17,500 possible three-letter combinations used at least once.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/acronym-acrimony-glut-abbreviations-hindering-understanding

The article is paywalled, so here is the full text, accessed thanks to Pocket:
An epidemic of acronyms is turning journal articles into alphabet soup, with authors combining almost every conceivable grouping of letters in a misguided drive to make their work more intelligible.
An analysis of 70 years of scholarly publishing has found more than 1.1 million unique abbreviations embedded in the titles and abstracts of almost 25 million papers. Half of them were used fleetingly, and 30 per cent only once.
Some of the 2,000 or so abbreviations in common usage proved no less mystifying. Many sported multiple meanings, including six of the 20 most popular ones. They included OR (“odds ratio” or “operating room”), MS (“multiple sclerosis” or “mass spectrometry”) and US (“United States”, “ultrasound” or “urinary system”).
The analysis, published in the journal eLife, found that the concentration of acronyms – defined for the purposes of the study as words in which half or more of the characters were upper-case letters – had more than tripled in article titles and multiplied tenfold in abstracts.
“These increases have happened despite the word and character limits that many journals place on the length of titles and abstracts,” the paper notes. “New acronyms are too common, and common acronyms are too rare.
“Acronyms are not the biggest current problem in science communication, but reducing their use is a simple change that would help readers.”
Co-author Zoë Doubleday said there was an assumption that abbreviations made papers easier to understand, so long as they were spelt out initially. “That often doesn’t help,” said Dr Doubleday, a marine ecologist at the University of South Australia.
“These papers are so dense. People tend not to read them linearly; you pick different parts you want to read. You come across the acronyms and then you’re flicking back and forth trying to remember what they mean. It’s another thing to add to the cognitive load when you’re already thinking hard.”
She said acronym use was largely “cultural” but also encouraged by the explosion and diversification of knowledge, with students automatically adopting what they saw in published papers or their supervisors’ practices: “We tend to emulate what’s come before us.”
The analysis found that three-letter acronyms – which the authors jokingly dubbed “TLAs” – were more popular than abbreviations with two or four characters. Of 17,576 possible combinations of three upper-case letters in the English alphabet, 94 per cent had been used at least once.
Two-letter acronyms are equally problematic, the paper suggests, citing a 2019 study that identified 36 “possible meanings and potential misunderstandings” of the abbreviation “UA”.
They ranged from medical interpretations such as “umbilical artery”, “unstable angina” and “uric acid” to usages from broader walks of life – including “urban area”, “user agreement”, the chemical “uranyl acetate”, the clothing brand “Under Armour” and institutions such as the “University of Antwerp”.
Dr Doubleday said possible measures to reduce acronym use included capping them to a set number per paper, banning them from abstracts or titles and maintaining a database of universally recognised permissible abbreviations.
The paper says another possibility, “software permitting”, is for journals to offer two versions of the same paper – one with acronyms and one without – so that readers can “select the version they prefer”.
But the best remedy is for scientists to desist, it adds. “We suggest a second use for DNA: do not abbreviate.”
#science #scienceCommunication
 
Ich brauch mal eure Hilfe,
ich bin auf der Suche nach einer oder mehreren wissenschaftlichen Methoden zur Auswahl von sowas wie Standards or Projektpartnern. Also irgendwie eine Bewertungsmethode oder so.

Weiß jemand wie solche Methoden heißen?

I am searching for names of a/some scientific methods for selecting things like technical Standards or project partners. Somehow a kind of evaluation method or so.
Does anyone know the name of such methods?

#followerpower #science #help
 

Festmahl der Tiere

Was geschieht, wenn ein Tier im Wald stirbt? Hirsche, Wildschweine, Mäuse, Käfer, Fliegen, Wespen und andere – was besteht hier für ein Zusammenhang? Diesen spannenden Fragen widmet sich ein Forscherteam im Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald, denn bislang wissen wir nur wenig darüber. Klar ist, dass ein totes Tier erstmal ein grandioses Festmahl für die Lebenden ist ...
Ganz spannende Doku

#Tiere #science #Wissenshaft #Wald #Doku #Insekten #arte
 
Songbirds, like people, sing better after warming up https://phys.org/news/2020-08-songbirds-people.html

That's impressive.
#birds #science
 

Cool Off with a Piezo and a Glass of Water


#homehacks #science #555 #atomizingtransducer #coolmist #humidifier #mosfet #piezo #piezodisk #transducer #ultrasonicatomizer #hackaday
posted by pod_feeder_v2
Cool Off with a Piezo and a Glass of Water
 

Cool Off with a Piezo and a Glass of Water


#homehacks #science #555 #atomizingtransducer #coolmist #humidifier #mosfet #piezo #piezodisk #transducer #ultrasonicatomizer #hackaday
posted by pod_feeder_v2
Cool Off with a Piezo and a Glass of Water
 
#science #sciencemanuelacasasoli
Math of the Penguins
Emperor penguins display rigorously geometric spacing and mathematical efficiency when they huddle together for warmth, which may reveal secrets to their overall health.
 
#science #sciencemanuelacasasoli
Math of the Penguins
Emperor penguins display rigorously geometric spacing and mathematical efficiency when they huddle together for warmth, which may reveal secrets to their overall health.
 
Ganz interessant, Kolumbus hat keie Schuld

#science #syphilis
 
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