Elizabeth Wayland Barber: Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times
Paul Krugman: The Rise of the Machines: "Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries…. [I]t’s not good news for workers!… shift[s] the distribution of income away from workers…. Twenty years ago… capital bias didn’t look like a big issue… the academic literature focused almost exclusively on 'skill bias'…. But the college premium hasn’t risen for a while. What has happened, on the other hand, is a notable shift in income away from labor…. Better education won’t do much to reduce inequality…. Creating an 'opportunity society', or whatever it is the likes of Paul Ryan etc. are selling this week, won’t do much if the most important asset you can have in life is, well, lots of assets inherited from your parents…. [W]e’d better start paying attention to those implications."
Clay Shirky: Udacity and its peers don’t even pretend to tell the story of an 18-year old earning a Bachelor’s degree in four years from a selective college…. [T]hey try to answer some new questions… like 'How do we spin up 10,000 competent programmers a year, all over the world, at a cost too cheap to meter?'… Open systems are open. For people used to dealing with institutions that go out of their way to hide their flaws, this makes these systems look terrible at first. But anyone who has watched a piece of open source software improve, or remembers the Britannica people throwing tantrums about Wikipedia, has seen how blistering public criticism makes open systems better…"
Claire Jones: Britain fears triple-dip recession looming: "George Osborne was forced to confront a downgrade in the growth prospects in his Autumn Statement, fresh data have raised fears that Britain is heading for a triple-dip recession…. Manufacturing output, which makes up just more than 10 per cent of the economy, slumped 2.1 per cent in the 12 months to October…. 'Triple-dip watch starts here', said Alan Clarke, an economist at Scotiabank…. 'Judging by the official data we have seen for the fourth quarter, notably retail sales, trade and industrial production, the UK will struggle to avoid a renewed downturn after the brief return to growth in the third quarter', said Chris Williamson, economist at Markit, the data analyst…. Other economists are gloomier still…"
Jan Cienski: Massacre haunts Polish history: "Standing on the edge of the village of Jedwabne, a stone pillar dusted with early winter snow commemorates an event that many Poles would prefer to forget. In 1941, local people, at the instigation of their German occupiers, drove more than 300 of their Jewish neighbours into a barn and set it on fire, killing them all. That dreadful crime is the inspiration for “Aftermath”, a new film.... The movie has set off a furious national debate over how to deal with the darker episodes in Poland's history…. 'The longer that Poland is independent, the more it has to change for the better', Mr Pasikowski writes... 'retreat to communist times is no alternative. Dealing with one’s own imperfect past is better than burying one’s head in the sand.'… Jedwabne itself is a poor village in north-eastern Poland that has been largely bypassed by the economic boom experienced by central and western Poland over the past two decades. The village is only known for the 1941 massacre, an event that brings a steady stream of Jewish pilgrims to the monument lying behind the village. 'They don't say anything to us and we don't say anything to them', says a middle-aged woman in a dark coat and black beret shopping for flowers in the town square. 'The whole thing is really unfair. A lot of other towns also killed their Jews – I don't know why they picked on us. Now the whole world thinks that the people of Jedwabne are devils.'"
Timothy Egan: The Great Gun Gag: "On national television, you can talk about the sordid details of your sex life, the depth of your religious piety or your belief that an organization that no longer exists, Acorn, stole the 2012 presidential election…. But you cannot talk about the 300 million or more guns circulating in private hands in the United States. The most armed society in the world, ranked first among 179 nations in the rate of gun ownership, had 9,146 gun homicides in 2009. The same year, Canada had 173. But don’t bring that up."
Tom Slee: What Cascade Theories Don't Tell Us
Government can't create jobs, except for when they're defense jobs in GOP districts and oh-my-God-the-Fiscal-Cliff-think-of-the-children!— Top Conservative Cat (@TeaPartyCat) December 8, 2012
Insufficient discussion of what would happen to poor 65-66 year olds in states that don't expand Medicaid if Medicare age raised.— Austin Frakt (@afrakt) December 8, 2012