Monday, 24 November 2014

Unwilling freelancers give the lie to unemployment statistics

an article by Tom Clark published in The Guardian (28 October)

More than half of recent job growth nationwide reflects workers going it alone, but much ‘self-employment’ is something less benign

Every month, it seems at the moment, the unemployment numbers are surprisingly good. Every month, too, however, there are also new caveats to attach to the claims about “more people in jobs than ever before”.

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and do, please, get as far as noting that instead of getting Working Tax Credit based on actual earnings as a freelancer (as I did back in the day) the new Universal Credit is based on a more-than-somewhat-misguided assumption on income received.

Apologies for much of the late posting, I am still playing catch up and actually omitting a lot of stuff that, had I read it nearer its publication date, I would have included.

Just previewed this and realise that anyone can look at the number of posts published and draw a graph of my mental health!
I am actually on the up at the moment having found a really good counsellor who I see monthly.

What PISA can – and can't – tell us about adults’ skills

via OECD Education Today by Marilyn Achiron (Editor, Directorate for Education and Skills)

Can PISA results predict the quality of a country’s labour force one decade later?

To find out, we compared some of the results from the PISA 2000 and PISA 2003 tests with results from the 2012 Survey of Adult Skills (a product of the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, or PIAAC).

As we explain in this month’s PISA in Focus, we found that those countries where 15-year-old students achieved high scores in PISA were also the countries whose populations of young adults scored at high levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy a decade after they had participated in PISA.

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Trivia (should have been 6th September)

Manhattan Hobo: 1942
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Manhattan Hobo: 1942
New York, 1942
“Street vagrant pushcart”
Who’ll be first to pinpoint the location?
Photo by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information
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Vigoro, a hybrid sport
via The Patent Search Blog by Stephen van Dulken
The BBC website has a story titled Vigoro: the Edwardian attempt to merge tennis and cricket. It is an entertaining account of a hybrid sport invented by John George Grant, a London commercial traveller, who even took out a trade mark for it. It is rather like playing cricket with a racket. The sport continues to be played in Australia, mainly by women. There is a Wikipedia article on Vigoro. Below is a video showing the sport being played.

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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Exposed teeth, bunched cheeks, crinkled eyes: A smile is a peculiar thing, not least because of the spooky similarity between laughter and crying… more

Scientists track the origins of a ship buried under the World Trade Center
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
In 2010, construction crews found the hull of a very old ship, buried at the site of the World Trade Center towers. Using dendrochronology, scientists now know how old the ship is and what city it was made in.
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The fall of Rome to the rise of the Catholic Church, in pictures
via OUP blog by Peter Heather
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Western world went through a turbulent and dramatic period during which a succession of kingdoms rose, grew, and crumbled in spans of only a few generations. The wars and personalities of the dark ages are the stuff of legend, and all led toward the eventual reunification of Europe under a different kind of Roman rule – this time, that of the Church.
Historian Peter Heather selects ten moments from the period upon which the fate of Europe hinged.
See more
I found that the slideshow went too fast for me to read the text accompanying each picture.
Maybe that’s the setting on my laptop?

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Reading as addiction: Is Fifty Shades of Grey a gateway drug for literary fiction? Probably not. Yet we cling to the idea… more

When did Star Trek ever *not* violate the Prime Directive?
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

“The Prime Directive is paramount, the Prime Director is sacrosanct, the... wait, these blissed-out primitives worship a computer inside of a big stone head? Fuck the Prime Directive, it must be destroyed!”
From a Facebook post by Gareth Branwyn

When the world was black and white...
via An Awfully Big Blog Adventure by Anne Rooney
In the Middle Ages, the world was all in colour.

This is the period I first wrote about, many years ago. The rich brilliance of medieval colours is startling, a feast for the eyes.There is a lot blue, the colour of heaven (and also a relatively common paint pigment - it might not have been an accurate representation of reality.)
Continue reading and do please read the insightful comments

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Irascible and defiant Beethoven is a cliché, yet it is true that he understood people little and liked them less.Music was his only joy… more

Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri
via Big Think by Big Think editors
Look at this photograph and it’s easy to feel as though you’re in the cockpit of a spaceship, speeding down a galactic highway.
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Job emotions and job cognitions as determinants of job satisfaction: The moderating role of individual differences in need for affect

an article by Christian Schlett and Rene Ziegler (University of Tuebingen, Germany) published in Journal of Vocational Behavior Volume 84 Issue 1 (February 2014)


Research has shown that job satisfaction is determined by both cognitions about the job and affect at work. However, findings from basic and applied attitude research suggest that the extent to which attitudes are based on affective and cognitive information is contingent on stable individual differences, in particular need for affect.

Based on current conceptualizations of job satisfaction as an attitude toward the job, we hypothesized that job satisfaction depends more on affect and less on cognitions, the higher a person’s need for affect is.

To test these hypotheses, we conducted two correlational studies (N = 194 university employees; N = 134 employees from various organizations) as well as an experimental study (N = 191 university employees) in which the salience of positive versus negative job cognitions was varied.

Results supported our hypotheses.

We discuss theoretical and practical implications of these differences in affective and cognitive underpinnings of job satisfaction.

Monday, 17 November 2014

CPAG wins test case

Thus a headline in the most recent edition of Poverty (Issue 149 Autumn 2014) from the Child Action Poverty Group that I have seen.

Checking it out I find that I should have been following CPAG in Twitter.

Excellent write up of our test case win, led for us by @MikeSpencerLaw, by @patrickjbutler Includes Sandwell response ...
or, indeed, reading the Guardian more carefully.

You can read the Guardian’s article from the end of July here.

On reflection this was probably happening whilst I was still sitting in the pit of depression and not doing anything very much by way of “work”.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Trivia (should have been 31 August)

Lake Nonotuck: 1908
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Lake Nonotuck: 1908
“Lake Nonotuck boathouse, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass”
Two girls in a rowboat, probably talking about you
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What Causes Auroras?
via How-To Geek

Auroras are quite stunning to behold, but why and how do they happen? Learn what makes these phenomenal wonders of the sky possible in today’s video from SciShow!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Fire and brimstone. As old as the concept of hell is the concept of hell-denying. Consider the surprisingly modern theology of Origen of Alexandria… more

The 25 Greatest Homes in Literature
via Flavorwire by Jason Diamond
Great characters in literature get all the credit, but the fictional spaces they occupy are often just as interesting and can provide an opportunity for the reader to go even deeper into a story.
What would some of your favorite stories be without the creepy old farmhouses, crumbling castles, and estates overlooking a body of water whose waves crash against the rocks at night?
Today [13 May], as we celebrate the birthday of Daphne du Maurier – a writer who gave us one of the 20th century’s most unforgettable grand old homes, in Rebecca – we’re rounding up the most memorable structures that served as settings for some of our favourite stories.
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Vermeer’s paintings might be 350 year-old colour photographs
via Boing Boing
Tim Jenison, a Texas-based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the art world: 
How did Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically 150 years before the invention of photography?
Here’s how he conducted his experiment.
Fascinating, absolutely fascinating

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Why are all the cartoon mothers dead? In animated kids’ movies, the dead-mother plot dominates along with the fantasy of the fabulous single father. There are exceptions, and you should be wary… more

The working women’s struggle for the vote
via National Archives by Vicky Iglikowski
On 20 June 1914 one of the first deputations of suffragettes met with the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. Contrary to the popular view of suffragettes it was a group of six working class women.
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Change Your Posture, Change Your Life
via Big Think by Steven Maizie
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
William James
I’m not so sure about James’s claim. Yes, your attitude has a strong effect on the quality and nature of your life.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
That science is incommunicable without reference to metaphor reveals an uncomfortable truth, at least for fact fanatics: Physics leans on literature… more

Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children

In the late 1800s, children’s stories were published in periodicals and distributed weekly or monthly to readers. To further capitalise on their market, publishing houses put together annuals filled with the best stories, illustrations and games from the year. The book was released for Christmas, and marketed as the perfect gift (both entertaining and educational) for children. The annuals were generally distributed in Britain and its colonies such as Canada and Australia, although sometimes also in the United States.
These vintage annuals are usually large, hardcover books with at least 200 pages and illustrations both in colour, and black and white. Their bright cover art is filled with eye-catching art.
At the turn of the century publishers began to include new, unpublished stories in order to boost sales. Often notable authors like W.E. Johns, Enid Blyton, Angela Brazil, E. Nesbit and P.G. Wodehouse were among the contributors. Each annual had a specific market - girls, or boys, girls and boys, or a certain genre like a cinema club. Today’s equivalent is a teen magazine, or a periodical for a celebrity or band.
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Salvation in a Start-up?

from the RSA

Our report Salvation in a Start-up? explores the factors behind the boom in self-employment and examines what life is really like for the growing numbers of people who now work for themselves.

The UK is experiencing nothing short of a boom in microbusinesses and self-employment. Today there are 600,000 more microbusinesses in existence than there was when the recession first began in 2008, and 40 per cent more than at the turn of the century. Likewise, the number of people working for themselves has shot up by around 30 per cent since 2000, with the result that 15 per cent of the workforce can now count themselves as self-employed.

This phenomenon throws up a number of important questions. What ‘types’ of microbusinesses are becoming more commonplace? What has caused the large increase in recent years? And what effect are they having on the economy and wider society? In a bid to answer these, the RSA and Etsy have launched a new project, The Power of Small, which seeks to better understand this changing community. This report – the first of three – focuses in particular on the individuals involved, including why so many people are turning to self-employment and what this means for them personally.

Our research identifies three myths in particular that have so far distorted the debate: that most of the newly self-employed have been forced into that position, that the boom in self-employment is largely accounted for by ‘odd jobbers’, and that the growth we have seen in the past few years is a cyclical blip that will die down once the economy returns to full health. Indeed, our research suggests that the rise in self-employment has as much to do with structural changes in our economy and society as it does with economic fluctuations. This includes changing mindsets, shifting demographics and the emergence of new technologies.

The fundamental question remains, however, as to whether the growth in self-employment is really a good thing for those directly involved. Should we be enabling more people to start up in business, or should we discouraging it? Relative to others, they appear to work long hours, get paid little and find themselves cut off from the wider world. Yet our research also shows that they are more satisfied and happier overall than most other groups in the wider workforce. As highlighted in the findings of our RSA/Populus survey, the reason is because the self-employed often derive greater freedom, meaning and control from their work.

We finish the report with a number of imperatives for the future:

  • Rewrite the narrative – There needs to be a more balanced debate about the benefits and costs of self-employment – one that does not drown in the hyperbole of ‘entrepreneurship’, nor one that treats self-employment as the haven for the desperate and needy
  • Agree a new settlement – An urgent task for the government and others is to improve the livelihoods of the vast majority of people who genuinely want to work for themselves. We recommend launching an urgent review of government policy on self-employment – from welfare and taxes, all the way through to education and housing
  • Harness the crowd – Greater collaboration between the self-employed community should be encouraged wherever possible. A good place to start is for the trade unions to begin recruiting such workers into their ranks of members. We should also recognise the benefits of ‘new mutualism’ and co-operatives between the self-employed
  • Stimulate growth and recruitment – The government has sought to stimulate recruitment and growth among the newly self-employed through several conventional measures, yet these have had little effect to date. This indicates the need for a fresh approach – one that treats the self-employed as inherently human and which goes with the grain of their behavioural quirks and frailties

 Download Salvation in a Start-Up? full report (PDF 72pp)

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Pre-employment training for the unemployed: A case study of a call centre foundation programme

an article by Julian Clarke (Nottingham Trent University, UK) published in Local Economy Volume 29 Number 1-2 (February/March 2014)


This paper examines a single pre-employment training programme for the unemployed.

The training aimed to prepare unemployed participants for work on the front-line of telephone call centres.

Drawing on participant observation and semi-structured interviews, the paper analyses one area in particular; the training participants received to enhance their soft skills, particularly as they relate to the concept of ‘aesthetic’ labour.

Through providing an in-depth account of the training the paper offers a critique of the programme and identifies the potential drawbacks associated with offering this form of ‘employability’ training for those who face many barriers to employment.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The effects of ill health and informal care roles on the employment retention of mid-life women: Does the workplace matter?

an article by Siobhan Austen (Curtin University, Australia) published in JIR: the journal of industrial relations Volume 55 Number 5 (November 2013)


This article uses longitudinal data to measure the effects of ill health and informal care roles on the employment chances of mid-life women, and to examine how these effects are mediated by workplace characteristics.

We find that women in jobs with lower skills/status encounter the greatest difficulty in finding accommodations for changes in their health and informal care roles. We identify an important role for paid sick leave and holiday leave in boosting employment retention.

However, we find that the positive employment effects of permanent contracts do not extend to women experiencing increased informal care roles. Additionally, we do not identify a positive link between employment retention and flexible working time arrangements.

However, we do establish a link between a preference for reduced working hours and employment cessation, suggesting that some women experience problems in achieving flexible working hours and that this causes some of them to leave work altogether.

We argue that these findings are relevant to the design of policy initiatives aimed at lifting rates of workforce participation as part of the response to population ageing.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Women in the criminal justice system: The triumph of inertia

an article by Elaine Player (King’s College London, UK) published in Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume 14 Number 3 (July 2014)


This article explores why the government strategy for women offenders has failed to achieve its key objectives despite extensive agreement about the need and direction of change and the momentum generated by the Corston Report.

It argues that although the women’s policy agenda is supported by equality and human rights legislation, the operational context of the criminal justice system inhibits its realisation. The reforms recognise the need for differential treatment in the pursuit of gender equality and reflect principles of distributive and non-distributive justice that promote individual welfare and social inclusion.

Paradoxically, they are advanced within a criminal justice system that is predominantly concerned with the distribution of just deserts and the management of criminal risk. The inherent contradictions reflect not only theoretical differences but distinct ideological constructs that shape the ways in which concepts of equality, rehabilitation and justice are interpreted and given practical effect.

The agreed policy of equal justice for women requires a culture of rights that undermines the present concepts of desert and ‘less eligibility’ and replaces risk management with rehabilitative opportunities that provide a reparative approach to social harm.

Disengaging From Unattainable Career Goals and Reengaging in More Achievable Ones

an article by Peter A. Creed and Michelle Hood (School of Applied Psychology and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia) published in Journal of Career Development Volume 42 Number 1 (February 2014)


Participants were 181 university students who completed measures of career development (self-efficacy, perceived barriers, distress, planning, and exploration) and goal adjustment capacity (disengagement and reengagement).

We expected
     (a) that when contemplating unachievable goals, those with a higher capacity to adjust their goals (i.e., to disengage and reengage) would report less distress, more career planning, and more exploration; and expected
     (b) that the relationships between goal adjustment and the outcome variables (distress, planning, and exploration) would be moderated by self-efficacy and perceptions of barriers.

We found that those with a higher capacity to adjust their goals by disengaging and reengaging reported more exploration. Less distress was associated with disengagement, but not reengagement, whereas more planning was associated with reengagement, but not disengagement.

Additionally, we found moderating effects for self-efficacy and perceptions of barriers; that is, having higher levels of efficacy and perceiving fewer barriers protected when goal adjustment capacity was lower.

Monday, 10 November 2014

The ‘living wage’, low pay and in work poverty: Rethinking the relationships

an article by Fran Bennett (University of Oxford, UK) published in Critical Social Policy Volume 34 Number 1 (February 2014)


The ‘living wage’ is an idea with a long history in the UK currently enjoying a renaissance.

This article explores possible reasons for its re-emergence as a policy demand, but argues that thinking of low pay primarily as ‘poverty pay’ caused by employers’ failure to pay a living wage raises practical and conceptual issues that are problematic.

It examines to what extent recent attempts to resolve such issues in the UK and elsewhere have succeeded, and concludes by suggesting that alternative ways of analysing and addressing the two key issues associated with the living wage, low pay and in work poverty, are required.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Trivia (should have been 30th August)

Grand Entrance: 1939
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Grand Entrance: 1939
“Watts-Parkman-Gillman House, 713 Mabry Street, Selma, Dallas County, Alabama. Two-story masonry construction dates to 1852. Greek Revival stone columns across front. Fine ironwork on second-story balcony.&rdquo
8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston
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The secret lives of lost shipping containers – and the lives they support
via Boing Boing Every year, thousands of shipping containers are lost to the briny deep.
Maggie Koerth-Baker on the strange new homes they create for marine creatures.
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One of the most interesting articles I have read in a very long time.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The doyen of Darwinists, E.O. Wilson, has an explanation for consciousness, for art, for religion. It’s remarkable. But is it convincing?… more
This might not look like much but I promise you, it is fascinating.

The Famous Artworks That Inspired 15 Films
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
There is a fascinating interplay between the visual cultures of film and art. Directors have frequently used imagery from painting and other art forms to shape the look and meaning of their works.
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Fun With Searches: Internet Movie Databases
via Research Buzz
It’s funny how we all focus on different things. You see a movie and you might focus on the settings or the plot. Someone else might focus on the technology used. I might focus on how the dialogue makes my ears bleed. We all take our own context out of everything we review.
Because of that I’m not surprised that there are so many subsets of the famous Internet Movie Database. Sure, it’s a great site, but why stop there? There are many, many more ways that movies can be delineated.
I did a little poking around, therefore, and present for your amusement a list of Internet Movie databases. Please note: these are all real. I am not The Onion.
Check them out for yourself

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Look at the odd relationship between Nabokov and his novels, and several questions are raised. Not least: Is Humbert Humbert Jewish?… more

A British 30s and 40s film archive has been completed
via BBC News (entertainment and arts)
An online archive of films showing snapshots of typical life in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s has been completed. The final 25 movies in the collection have been digitised and loaded onto the British Council’s website. Scenes include the pubs of England, Sheffield’s steel industry, London’s preparations for war and a mystery for Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad.

Plants that “eat” metal
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
A cool graphic by Maki Naro explains the science of hyperaccumulators, plants that are capable of absorbing toxic levels of potentially dangerous minerals without harming themselves.
Part 2 of a short series in Popular Science

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Much of the best intellectual work is being done by journalists, not scholars, says Jill Lepore. Why? Journalists write for money… more

Mathematics: The Beauty of Abstraction
via Big Think by Big Think editors
“What is it that distinguishes us from cavemen?” asks the mathematician Edward Frenkel. “I would say it’s the level of abstraction that we can reach.”
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Concerts and dances in a library? An undergraduate library as campus cultural space

an article by Catherine M. Brown (UCLA College Library) published in College and Research Libraries News Volume 75 Number 7 (July 2014)

The title of this article is taken from the not really surprising reaction we sometimes get from students and visitors. Aren’t libraries supposed to be quiet places for studying and student work? As we seek to diversify academic library cultural offerings, similar to our public librarian colleagues, having concerts and dances in a library is a way to open the library to the community in an intriguingly different way, and to enhance curriculum by offering a new venue for students to perform in and for their audiences, as well. This article will examine some of the types of collaboration that have taken place as a result, the benefits to our students as well as to ourselves, and some how-to’s.

Continue reading (full text)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Career Indecision, Meaning in Life, and Anxiety An Existential Framework

an article by Aaron D. Miller and Patrick J. Rottinghaus (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL, USA) published in Journal of Career Assessment Volume 22 Number 2 (May 2014)


The current study examines the role of meaning in life with respect to career indecision and state anxiety in a sample of 229 university students.

This article seeks to build upon the career indecision literature by examining the role of meaning in life.

An existential model of career indecision was applied in order to provide a theoretical framework for the relationship between career indecision and anxiety. Measures include the Career Decision Scale (Osipow, Carney, Winer, Yanico, & Koschier, 1976), the Meaning in Life Questionnaire (Steger, Frazier, Oishi, & Kaler, 2006), and the State-Trait Inventory for Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety (Ree, MacLeod, French, & Locke, 2000).

Presence of meaning in life mediated the relationships between career indecision and anxiety.

However, the results did not support the hypothesis that the search for meaning in life moderates the relationship between career indecision and anxiety.

Future research and practical implications are also discussed.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Trivia (should have been 24th August)

Full Stop: 1917
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Full Stop: 1917
Washington, D.C., or vicinity
“Auto wreck”
Tree 1, Car 0. Another of National Photo’s “auto wreck” plates from 1917
8x10 glass negative
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Kenneth Clark at Tate Britain: A civilising force
via Prospero by L.L.B.
“Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation” is was at Tate Britain, London, until August 10th 2014 but it is still worth reading the review.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Is evil innate or groomed? Is immoral behavior more a consequence of where you are than who you are? Let’s ask a war criminal… more

A Fire Rainbow Over Ohio
via Big Think by Big Think editors
Have you spotted a fire rainbow before? They make the clouds appear to shine in different colours due to the ice crystals of distant cirrus clouds catching the sun’s light. NASA released this picture and explains Continue reading and find lots of interesting links

The finest literary locations
via pages and proofs (Abe Books) by Richard Davies
Put away your passport and forget about the luggage. The literary world is full of fictional locations that can all be visited with the simple turn of a page. From the outdoor life of farms and villages that are not what they seem to lonely islands and lakes full of mysteries, these books will take you on a trip you won’t soon forget.
The criteria for our bumper list of fictional locations is that the place is also the title of the novel or the location has been used in the title (so Hogwarts and Tara are not included). We have also not left our planet (so we’re not dining at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) or veered into fantasy (so no Wonderland or Discworld).
Authors seem drawn to farms, hotels, lakes, islands, villages and stately homes. Animal Farm and The Mayor of Casterbridge represent the two ends of fictional locations. The home of Napoloeon cannot be placed on a map, while Hardy’s Casterbridge is based on the actual town of Dorchester. Many fictional places in literature can be clearly located to a distinct area – Lake Woebegon is in Minnesota. Salem’s Lot (full name Jerusalem’s Lot) is in Maine, Watership Down is in Hampshire and Stepford is in Connecticut. Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead (somewhere in the South of England) is particularly interesting as the stately home has clearly seen better days, like the family it hosts.
See the list
Warning: Abe Books is my favourite, and most scary, website. Prices for good quality second hand books start at 62p with shipping at around the £3 mark.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Holocaust memory is a singular accomplishment of the postwar age, a harbinger of human-rights consciousness. How did it emerge?… more

10 Problems With How We Think
via Big Think by Ross Pomeroy
By nature, human beings are illogical and irrational. For most of our existence, survival meant thinking quickly, not methodically. Making a life-saving decision was more important than making a 100% accurate one, so the human brain developed an array of mental shortcuts.
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Steven Pinker: “We don’t throw virgins into volcanoes any more”
via 3quarksdaily by S. Abbas Raza
Oliver Burkeman at CNN:
ScreenHunter_545 Mar. 08 17.09
At first glance Pinker’s implacable optimism, though in keeping with his sunny demeanour and stereotypically Canadian friendliness, presents a puzzle. His stellar career – which includes two Pulitzer Prize nominations for his books How the Mind Works (1997) and The Blank Slate: The modern denial of human nature (2002) – has been defined, above all, by support for the fraught notion of human nature: the contention that genetic predispositions account in hugely significant ways for how we think, feel and act, why we behave towards others as we do, and why we excel in certain areas rather than others.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Eighty percent of pre-1930 American films, on fragile film stock, are lost. Now think about this: Who is preserving software for posterity?… more

15 Photos That Capture Famous Romances
via Flavorwire by Alison Nastasi
A picture tells a thousand words – and photos of famous couples throughout pop culture history can tell us more about their relationship than all the tabloids, biographies, and interviews put together. Photography may be a two-dimensional medium, but passion and intimacy cannot be contained by paper alone.
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