the future of work – the missing middle, farm field poppies wallpaper, paint it black

There have been a few articles over the last year or so claiming that high unemployment is here to stay. Corporate profits and bonuses are higher than ever. If business can make profits with fewer employees they will. This article is another entry in that wave of thinking, Successful businesses will be those that optimize the mix of humans, robots, and algorithms.

Some economists believe automation may explain why U.S. economic output has grown since 2007 while the number of jobs has fallen. That kind of dislocation is unusual. The U.S. economy has evolved from agriculture to manufacturing to service industries. Each time jobs were destroyed in one sector, they were replaced elsewhere. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics provide some clues to what the next economy will look like. Among the 10 fastest-growing new job categories between 2009 and 2011, seven have the word “computer” or “software” in them, according to an analysis by Matt Beane, a doctoral student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

An obnoxious troll here uses this to make the claim this proves that capital does not come from labor. One assumes he thinks computers. automated picking devices like Amazons and the software that runs these machines arose from the ether, fully formed. The economy needs people at the high-end – very specialized technical skills and at the low-end, making sandwiches, changing sheets, selling travel club memberships over the phone. The middle is gone. The middle is what many Americans think of as the reasonably attainable dream. Enough in wages to afford decent housing, food, transportation and a reasonable amount of consumer goods to make life comfortable and enjoyable. That middle may never come back. Those jobs are in Asia. Sadly they are not in Asia because most of those manufactured or assembled goods cannot be made here and still provide a reasonable profit. U.S. business likes it this way. They have rendered labor – organized or not – relatively powerless. Conservatives are like rabid beavers constantly chewing away the political power of the lowest wage earners by way of voter ID laws. A powerless middle and working poor means a country finally run by the elite, the dream of the plantation owners of the Antebellum south finally comes true.

 A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

“We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

Right. What’s the impact for these people again?

Back in 2008 I saw a couple on TV that had similar hardships. They were forced to sell off their $12 million dollar mansion and move into a run down shack they bought for $4 million. With such a rough and tumble life no wonder they support a guy who thinks the middle-class and working poor should pay for the Wall Street meltdown of 2007 until 2040 or however long it takes.

farm field poppies wallpaper

There is some disagreement on whether it is 6 or 14, but anyway – After 14 Years, Furby Has Returned

After 14 years and a lengthy hibernation, Hasbro is reviving one of its most famous toys for this fall, with new technology, a hefty price tag ($60) and an app connection. This Furby is more huggable, with soft fur that hides touch sensors, and more expressive, with rubbery ears that twitch and a pair of backlit LCD eyes with mechanical eyelids that blink, look around or respond to the sounds picked up by Furby’s onboard microphone.

According to Don Cameron, a Hasbro engineer, novelty is an essential part of Furby’s appeal. “You never know what Furby might do or say.” For example, Furby can differentiate between the tone of your spoken language, the sound of another Furby or the rhythm of a song for dancing. Furby can understand high frequency audio codes to “talk” with your iPad or another Furby.

Apparently it is also capable of some learning – to eventually respond to different words and their tone.

1928 London Museum poster.

Facebook Use Does Not Lead to Depression, According to New Study. No, but thinking of all the time people waste on Facebook causes depression.