April 24, 2014
"When people like Cliven Bundy assert the primacy of the past it is important that we do not recount it selectively. American enslavement is the destruction of the black body for profit. That is the past that Cliven Bundy believes “the Negro” to have been better off in. He is, regrettably, not alone."

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on Cliven Bundy, slavery, and racism in America.

April 24, 2014

In Focus: Squatters in Venezuela’s 45-Story ‘Tower of David’

In 1990, construction began on the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, a huge high-rise office complex in Caracas, Venezuela. Construction halted in 1994, after a banking crisis and the death of the building’s main investor, David Brillembourg. The 45-story tower stood vacant until 2007, when squatters began moving in, displaced by a massive housing shortage in Caracas. Authorities turned a blind eye, and the skyscraper, nicknamed the “Tower of David” (after David Brillembourg), is now home to more than 3,000 residents. The third-highest skyscraper in the country has been jury-rigged with electricity and water up to the 22nd floor. Reuters photographer Jorge Silva spent some time with tower residents earlier this year, returning with these photographs of the world’s tallest slum.

Read more.

April 24, 2014
The Origins of Office Speak

"Here’s your ‘buzzword bingo’ card for the meeting,” Wally says to Dilbert, handing him a piece of paper. “If the boss uses a buzzword on your card, you check it off. The objective is to fill a row.”
They go to the meeting, where their pointy-haired boss presides. “You’re all very attentive today,” he observes. “My proactive leadership must be working!”
“Bingo, sir,” says Wally.
This 1994 comic strip by Scott Adams is a perfect caricature of office speak: An oblivious, slightly evil-seeming manager spews conceptual, meaningless words while employees roll their eyes. Yet, even the most cynical cubicle farmers are fluent in buzzwords. An email might be full of calisthenics, with offers to “reach out,” “run it up the flagpole,” and “circle back.” There are nature metaphors like “boil the ocean” and “streamline,” and food-inspired phrases like “soup to nuts” and “low-hanging fruit.” For the fiercest of office workers, there’s always the violent imagery of “pain points,” “drilling down,” and “bleeding edge.”
Over time, different industries have developed their own tribal vocabularies. Some of today’s most popular buzzwords were created by academics who believed that work should satisfy one’s soul; others were coined by consultants who sold the idea that happy workers are effective workers. The Wall Street lingo of the 1980s all comes back to “the bottom line,” while the techie terms of today suggest that humans are creative computers, whose work is measured in “capacity” and “bandwidth.” Corporate jargon may seem meaningless to the extent that it can only be called “bullshit,”  but it actually reveals a lot about how workers think about their lives.
Read more. [Image: Jackie Lay]

The Origins of Office Speak

"Here’s your ‘buzzword bingo’ card for the meeting,” Wally says to Dilbert, handing him a piece of paper. “If the boss uses a buzzword on your card, you check it off. The objective is to fill a row.”

They go to the meeting, where their pointy-haired boss presides. “You’re all very attentive today,” he observes. “My proactive leadership must be working!”

“Bingo, sir,” says Wally.

This 1994 comic strip by Scott Adams is a perfect caricature of office speak: An oblivious, slightly evil-seeming manager spews conceptual, meaningless words while employees roll their eyes. Yet, even the most cynical cubicle farmers are fluent in buzzwords. An email might be full of calisthenics, with offers to “reach out,” “run it up the flagpole,” and “circle back.” There are nature metaphors like “boil the ocean” and “streamline,” and food-inspired phrases like “soup to nuts” and “low-hanging fruit.” For the fiercest of office workers, there’s always the violent imagery of “pain points,” “drilling down,” and “bleeding edge.”

Over time, different industries have developed their own tribal vocabularies. Some of today’s most popular buzzwords were created by academics who believed that work should satisfy one’s soul; others were coined by consultants who sold the idea that happy workers are effective workers. The Wall Street lingo of the 1980s all comes back to “the bottom line,” while the techie terms of today suggest that humans are creative computers, whose work is measured in “capacity” and “bandwidth.” Corporate jargon may seem meaningless to the extent that it can only be called “bullshit,”  but it actually reveals a lot about how workers think about their lives.

Read more. [Image: Jackie Lay]

April 24, 2014
Farming At the White House

When the Crawford family was recruited to help Michelle Obama grow her vegetable garden, they got a close look at the frustrations and thrills of politics.
Read more. [Image: Chuck Kennedy/White House]

Farming At the White House

When the Crawford family was recruited to help Michelle Obama grow her vegetable garden, they got a close look at the frustrations and thrills of politics.

Read more. [Image: Chuck Kennedy/White House]

April 24, 2014
The Rich Live Longer: So How Much Money ‘Buys’ One More Year of Life?

Climbing America’s income ladder today is truly a game of life and delayed death—and thousands of dollars are separating the rungs. 
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

The Rich Live Longer: So How Much Money ‘Buys’ One More Year of Life?

Climbing America’s income ladder today is truly a game of life and delayed death—and thousands of dollars are separating the rungs. 

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

April 24, 2014
The iPad Falls Short of Expectations—But What Does That Mean?

April 23, 2014
theatlanticcities:

Here’s a look at America’s first cat cafe. The best part: All the cats are up for adoption.
[nejienej/Instagram]

theatlanticcities:

Here’s a look at America’s first cat cafe. The best part: All the cats are up for adoption.

[nejienej/Instagram]

April 23, 2014
Was Shakespeare a Good Actor?

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, today, will bring an outpouring of written appreciations for his works. Many, though, will likely omit or only fleetingly mention one fact: Shakespeare’s first acts of creation were not poems or plays, but the characters he gave life to as a struggling actor.
This is no small omission. The stage is where Shakespeare taught others to lose sight of him, where he taught himself to lose sight of Shakespeare. The first lesson served him as a player, the second as a playwright. Omit the stage, and you omit the origin of William Shakespeare.
Read more.

Was Shakespeare a Good Actor?

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, today, will bring an outpouring of written appreciations for his works. Many, though, will likely omit or only fleetingly mention one fact: Shakespeare’s first acts of creation were not poems or plays, but the characters he gave life to as a struggling actor.

This is no small omission. The stage is where Shakespeare taught others to lose sight of him, where he taught himself to lose sight of Shakespeare. The first lesson served him as a player, the second as a playwright. Omit the stage, and you omit the origin of William Shakespeare.

Read more.

April 23, 2014
How Going To Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain

The first astronauts who set foot on the moon were quarantined for three weeks when they returned to Earth. Scientists weren’t sure what kinds of lunar germs they might have brought back with them. 

That level of caution may sound absurd today, but a new study shows trips to outer space can still mess with astronauts on a physiological level. 

New research from Johns Hopkins finds that long-term deep space missions can alter brain proteins and cause cognitive deficits like lapses in attention and slower reaction times. Researchers came to this conclusion by exposing rats to high-energy particles that simulate the conditions that astronauts would experience in deep space, then running them through a series of test that mimic the fitness assessments that astronauts, pilots, and soldiers are required to take. 
But the strange thing scientists found is that deep-space conditions don’t affect everyone the same way.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]

How Going To Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain

The first astronauts who set foot on the moon were quarantined for three weeks when they returned to Earth. Scientists weren’t sure what kinds of lunar germs they might have brought back with them. 

That level of caution may sound absurd today, but a new study shows trips to outer space can still mess with astronauts on a physiological level. 

New research from Johns Hopkins finds that long-term deep space missions can alter brain proteins and cause cognitive deficits like lapses in attention and slower reaction times. Researchers came to this conclusion by exposing rats to high-energy particles that simulate the conditions that astronauts would experience in deep space, then running them through a series of test that mimic the fitness assessments that astronauts, pilots, and soldiers are required to take. 

But the strange thing scientists found is that deep-space conditions don’t affect everyone the same way.

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

April 23, 2014
Here's a Thought: 'Abolish the Capitalist Mode of Production'

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