Monday, 20 February 2017

No country for young men?

a blog post for the Resolution Foundation by Daniel Tomlinson

In decades gone by paid work was a thing that men did. Families, the world of work and the welfare state were structured to make this the norm. But this mid-20th century certainty is no more. Women in the UK are participating in the labour market in ever greater numbers with the gender employment gap now at a record low. This is good news.

But rising female participation hasn’t been the only big labour market shift over the last 50 years. There has been a massive upheaval in the nature of work carried out too. The classic mid-skilled jobs of the past – secretarial and routine manufacturing jobs – are in long-term decline and won’t be coming back (no matter what President Trump says). This has huge consequences for the career prospects of younger generations (a key theme of our Intergenerational Commission) but also for how different genders experience the world of work.

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A tale of two cities: Rescaling economic strategy in the North Midlands

an article by Will Rossiter (Nottingham Trent University, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 31 Issue 8 (December 2016)

Abstract

This paper addresses the implementation (or mediation) of industrial policy at the regional and local level in the northern sub-region of the English East Midlands. At the heart of both New Labour and Coalition Government policy on local and regional economic development was a simple proposition to the effect that if decision-making for economic development could be better aligned to ‘functional economic geographies’, better economic outcomes should result.

The abolition of Regional Development Agencies and creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships brought this proposition into sharp focus. This paper explores the consequences of this shift in the spatial scale of decision making for the development process and policy content of place based economic strategies.

Strategies produced for three ‘nested’ geographic areas in the north midlands are compared. An apparent tension between economic development and institutional trajectories is considered.

Full text (PDF)


Status insecurity and temporality in world politics

an article by Joshua Freedman (Northwestern University, USA) published in European Journal of International Relations Volume 22 Number 4 (December 2016)

Abstract

International Relations scholars concerned with explaining status-seeking behaviour in the international system draw heavily from social comparison theory and its observations that individuals judge their worth, and accordingly derive self-esteem, through social comparisons with others. According to this logic, states become status seekers because, like individuals, they have an innate desire for favourable social status comparisons relative to their peers.

Thus, the great power status literature is often framed in the language of accommodation, and adjustment, which presupposes that status insecurities develop from unfavourable social comparisons and can be resolved through relative social improvements. This article challenges these assumptions by noting, as psychology has acknowledged for some time, that individuals use both social and temporal forms of comparison when engaging in self-evaluation.

Where social comparisons cause actors to ask “How do I rank relative to my peers?” temporal comparisons cause actors to evaluate how they have improved or declined over time. This article advances a temporal comparison theory of status-seeking behaviour, suggesting that many of the signalling problems associated with status insecurity emerge from basic differences in how states evaluate their status, and whether they privilege temporal over social comparisons.

The implications are explored through China’s contemporary struggle for status recognition, situating this struggle within the context of China’s civilisational past and ongoing dispute over Taiwan.

Full text (PDF)


Sunday, 19 February 2017

And for Sunday I start with maps (big time suck) and end with Marc Bolan

The Map Room
via Marcus Zillman

The Map Room is a weblog about maps, curated and composed by map connoisseur Jonathan Crowe. Readers will find frequently updated posts on everything from the use of maps in fantasy novels to election maps to multilingual maps of India.
Entries are short - usually less than 100 words – and packed with links to fascinating and informative sites from around the web. After readers have scrolled down the page and taken in all the latest from Mr. Crowe, they may like to explore the categories of Archives, Fantasy Maps, Publications, and Reviews.
Archives date back to 2003 and include hundreds of entries. They can be scouted by month or by subject (Antique Maps, Environment, GPS, Transit, and about two dozen other). There is also an excellent tag function, where readers can find everything from NASA to 3D Printing to refugees.
This will be added to Reference Resources Subject Tracer™.
From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2016. https://www.scout.wisc.edu

Oh the side trails that one can go down on the Internet!
The Library of Congress’s map blog, Worlds Revealed, has begun a series of posts about imaginary maps. “We’ll be exploring all of these types of maps and imaginary worlds this summer. Come revisit the Hundred Acre Wood and the other worlds of your favorite children’s stories, spend some time in medieval Europe, and run from White Walkers in Game of Thrones.” So far we have an introduction and a look at maps from the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, with Tolkien’s map of Middle-earth next on the schedule. [WMS]
I give up or I will never get anything done!! But I tell you that the Hundred Acre Wood map is superb.


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Insects are conscious, according to study
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

“Brain scans of insects appear to indicate that they have the capacity to be conscious and show egocentrico, apparently indicating that they have such a thing as subjective experience.” That's the finding of study written by Andrew B Barron and Colin Klein, and published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.
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Ghetto: The Shared History of a Word
via 3 Quarks Daily: Adam Kirsch in Tablet
Today most Americans would be surprised to learn that the original ghettos were inhabited by Jews. That is the experience Mitchell Duneier relates in his new book Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea, when it comes to teaching his own students at Princeton about the history of the ghetto. For the last 70 years, Duneier shows, the word “ghetto” has for Americans become exclusively associated with poor black neighborhoods, especially in big cities like New York and Chicago. Few people know that, for centuries before America even existed, Jews in many European cities were legally confined to walled neighborhoods known as ghettos. (“Ghetto” is the Italian word for “foundry”; the first Jewish enclave in Venice was located on the same island as a foundry, and the word came to refer to the neighborhood by extension.)
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BT Archives: making a collaborative resource
via The National Archives Blog by James Fleming
It’s difficult to overstate the impact of the First World War on people across the globe; from the significant political consequences, to the military and medical legacies, the effect of the First World War on the development of society can still be seen today. Among the various technological developments to medical and military equipment is the impression the war had on British telecommunications and the technological strides that were made as a result.
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War and Peace on screen
via OUP Blog by Amy Mandelker
I’m 15 years old and I have just thrown up in the lavatory at the movie theater. Shaking too hard to reach the paper towels, I need to hide out there for the entire intermission of the third instalment of Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic 1967 film adaptation of War and Peace. In its uncut version, the film is almost 9 hours long, requiring four separate screenings of almost 3 hours each, shown on two consecutive weekends of two nights each.
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What Killed off the Neanderthals? You Might Not Like the Answer
via Big Think by Philip Berry
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Beginning about 400,000 years ago, Neanderthals began moving across Europe and Western Asia. They roamed widely for hundreds of thousands of years. Then something happened about 45,000 years ago. That’s when a new, invasive species turned up on the scene, homo sapiens—our direct ancestors. This group began migrating across Africa and into Europe. Waves of them came and spread out. The next bit has been a mystery to modern science. 5,000 years later, the Neanderthals disappeared. No one knows why. But a new discovery has us one step closer to a definitive answer.
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Mourning, memory, and performance
via OUP Blog by Laurie Maguire
There is a wonderful Christopher Rush novel, Will (2007), in which Shakespeare says that what he does best is death: “I do deaths you see. And I can do the deaths of children. Their lips were four red roses on a stalk… – that sort of thing.” From the death of young Rutland in 2 Henry VI to the unexpected death of Mamillius in The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare’s plays are full of loss.
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The Mad Dogs of London: A Tale of Rabies
via The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice
L0048997 A mad dog on the run in a London street: citizens attack it
There was panic on the streets of London in 1760, and the city’s newspapers weren’t helping the situation. Hundreds of column inches, for week upon week, were full of terrifying reports about an outbreak of attacks by rabid dogs. Armchair experts even wrote letters to newspaper editors offering advice and hypotheses on the causes and prevention of rabies (or “hydrophobia” as contemporaries called it).
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Bosch Mania
via 3 Quarks Daily: Morgan Meis in The Easel
This year [2016] is shaping up to be downright Boschian. We are speaking here of Hieronymus Bosch, the painter. 2016 happens to mark the five-hundred-year anniversary of Bosch’s death. So, Bosch’s home and eponymous town, Den Bosch (or, more correctly but much harder to say, ‘s-Hertogenbosch), has assembled the largest retrospective of Bosch’s work ever to be exhibited. The exhibit (Jheronimus Bosch – Visions of a Genius) is at the Noordbrabants Museum through May 8th. Such is public demand to see the show that this normally sedate regional museum has extended its opening hours until past midnight. And Bosch mania will not end there. The Prado in Madrid, for example, is hosting its own blockbuster Bosch exhibit beginning at the end of May and running into September. The crowds at the Noordbrabants Museum and the activity in the global press suggests that Bosch is more relevant, more interesting to the public mind than ever. Bosch mania is set to peak at the same time as the heat of the Northern summer, with festival events scheduled throughout the summer.
Continue reading and discover what, like me, you missed.

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The Cognitive Origins of Religion
via Big Think by Derek Beres
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To understand the human brain we often turn to neuroscientists and psychologists. Two decades ago, Professor of Archaeology Steven Mithen decided to explore the origins of our nervous system (and much more) through his field of study. Besides popularizing the term ‘cognitive fluidity’, in his landmark book, The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion, and Science, Mithen speculated on exactly how primates evolved to the current iteration of the brain.
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Marc Bolan of T. Rex hosted a glam rock TV music show in the 1970s, and it was awesome
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Marc Bolan
I didn't know glam rock icon Marc Bolan hosted a music TV show in the 1970s. It was called simply MARC, and judging from this sixth (and final) episode, it was terrific.
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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Start with biological age and end with a brave new world. An eclectic mix.

Your Birth Date Is Arbitrary – It’s Your Biological Age That Matters
via Big Think by Philip Berry
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In a study published in the journal Molecular Cell, researchers discovered rapid aging in HIV patients. Biologist Trey Ideker and his team at the University of California, San Diego made this discovery, finding that these patients were susceptible to age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and dementia five years earlier than their non-infected peers. Researchers aren’t sure whether it is anti-retroviral drug treatments or the virus itself that causes this. But some aspect seems to speed up their biological age. So what is one’s biological age, and how is it different from the chronological kind?
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Paying for the privilege: a new Shakespeare discovery
via The National Archives Blog by Adrian Ailes
One third of a pound does not go far today – it’s not even a small child’s pocket money. But in 1603, it helped Shakespeare secure his future.
Six shillings and eight pence is what Shakespeare’s company of actors, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, were charged for the first stage of a bureaucratic process to gain a licence granting them the patronage of the new king, James I; henceforth, the company would be known as the King’s Men. It was expensive – at the time, actors in London were normally paid less than one shilling a day – but it was to prove a wise investment.
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Locations From Harry Potter That You Can See in Real Life
via MakeUseOf by Dave LeClair
Are you a huge fan of Harry Potter? Have you read all the books and seen all the movies multiple times each? What better way is there to truly express your love of all things Hogwarts than by actually going there, or at least going to place on which it’s based.
Check out the infographic here

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Inner Earth Is Teeming With Exotic Forms of Life
via 3 Quarks Daily: Sandeep Ravindran in Smithsonian
Ancient bacteria from nearly two miles below Earth's surface: that's what first drew Tullis Onstott to begin his search for life in the most unlikely of places. The geomicrobiologist had just attended a 1992 U.S. Department of Energy meeting about rocks estimated to be more than 200 million years old—older than most dinosaurs. These prehistoric rocks had been unearthed from a gas exploration well, and they turned out to be teeming with bacteria. “That was pretty amazing to me,” says Princeton University's Onstott. “The idea that these bacteria had been living in these Triassic rocks since they were deposited at a time prior to the age of the dinosaurs, that idea caught my fancy,” he says. These rocks were among the first substantial evidence that life existed miles underground, and they jumpstarted researchers’ efforts to study life in the so-called deep subsurface. Over the past 20 years, Onstott and others have found that there is a greater variety of life in a lot more inhospitable places than anyone had imagined.
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Sheldon Museum of Art
Back in April of last year Research Buzz said that the Sheldon Museum of Art was digitizing its collection and that the work should be finished in late fall.
Intrigued I had to go and look and I found a treasure trove.
Look for yourself

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Psycho thrillers: five movies that teach us how the mind works
Power, violence, death and reality … the movies can teach us plenty about life’s big issues. From the Godfather to Groundhog Day, five psychologists pick the films that tell us what makes humans tick
via 3 Quarks Daily: Catherine Shoard, Philippa Perry, Steven Pinker, Dacher Keltner, Sue Blackmore and Susan Greenfield in The Guardian
films and the mind
Read it here

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New Shakespeare discovery reveals fee for royal favour
via The National Archives Blog by Dr Adrian Ailes
Archivists at The National Archives have discovered a 400-year-old document which reveals a new insight into how Shakespeare’s acting company rose to become royal favourites, known as the King’s Men.
It has long been known that Shakespeare and his colleagues acted as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men under Elizabeth I, and that King James I and VI made them the King’s Men after he came to the English throne in 1603.
What was not known until now was how much Shakespeare paid to receive this privilege.
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The Science Behind Why Freddie Mercury's Voice Was So Damned Compelling
via Big Think by Brandon Weber
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Scientists have studied the voice and vocals of one of the greats of pop music, Freddie Mercury of the band Queen. And the results?
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Fun “perpetual motion” gizmo made from office supplies
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
I was wondering how this “swing thing” kept going. I had to make the video full screen to see the power source. Very cool!
Watch it for yourself

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Is it a brave new world if you're a woman?
via 3 Quarks Daily by Sarah Firisen
There’s never been a better, safer, healthier, fairer time to be a woman than right now. On the other hand, the bar was set pretty low for most of history. Yes, we are no longer chattel, the property of our fathers and husbands. We can vote, hell one of us is probably on track to be the leader of the free world come January. But in reality, there have been other major female leaders before: Margaret Thatcher, what about Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, how much did she do to advance the cause of women in England? How much did either of them do, either in terms of policy or as icons who caused a major shift in public attitude and behavior?
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Friday, 17 February 2017

Should governments of OECD countries worry about graduate underemployment?

an article by Francis Green and Golo Henseke (UCL Institute of Education) published in Oxford Review of Economic Policy Volume 32 Number 4 (Winter 2016)

Abstract

To assess potential public concerns, this paper examines theory and evidence surrounding graduate educational underemployment (overeducation) in this era of mass higher education. Using a new, validated, index of graduate jobs, we find that the prevalence of graduate underemployment across 21 countries is correlated with the aggregate supply-demand imbalance, but not with indicators of labour market flexibility.

Underemployment’s association with lower job satisfaction and pay is widespread. Yet in most countries there are external benefits (social trust, volunteering, and political efficacy) associated with higher education, even for those who are underemployed.

Taken together with existing studies we find that, in this era of mass higher education participation, under-employment is a useful indicator of the extent of macroeconomic disequilibrium in the graduate labour market.

We conclude that governments should monitor graduate underemployment, but that higher education policy should be based on social returns and should recall higher education’s wider purposes.

JEL Classification: I23, I28, J2, J3, J4

Full text (PDF)


A Study into Breaches of Youth Justice Orders and the Young People Who Breach Them

an article by Laurie D. Grandi (Middlesex University, London, UK) and Joanna R. Adler (affiliation(s) unknown) published in Youth Justice Volume 16 Issue 3 (2016)

Abstract

This study concerns the incidence and aetiology of breach of youth community sentences.

A between-groups archival study compared those who breached with those who did not, on socio-demographic and criminogenic factors. Breachers were a minority, likely to breach repeatedly and were similar to those who re-offended.

Whether they breach or re-offend may depend on something other than the characteristics of the Order and the young person’s situation. Youth Justice Professionals should be mindful of the identified areas of need and responsivity when considering compliance.