Tuesday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

There were some really great posts this week, folks. Check them out:

All it takes is to point out to a person that they said something racist for them to come out with a beautiful post on how all nostalgic references to the good old days are offensive. A beautiful, beautiful post. It takes a lot to appease my sensibilities in this area but this post did it.

Companies spy on employees in really creepy ways: “Another pioneering outfit is Sociometric Solutions, which puts sensors in name badges to discover social dynamics at work. The badges monitor how employees move around the workplace, who they talk to and in what tone of voice.

When will neo-colonial economics end?

In a curious twist, Spain might actually end up being the least anti-Semitic of Western European nations.

A really, really great post about the connection between teaching and research.

Why people who believe that unemployed love getting unemployment benefits are idiots.

Every academic needs to read this short post and think about what it says. It’s important!

In a long article about the marriage of religious people who have 19 children and a lot of sex, I got stuck on the following: “They abstain when Michelle has her period, and also after childbirth: 80 days before sex if it’s a girl, 40 days after a boy.” Can the mathematicians and the theologians who read my blog explain this strange arithmetic to me? I’m genuinely puzzled. Does she think that giving birth to a girl is twice as sacred as giving birth to a boy? Or what?

Rebecca Schuman pokes fun at a ridiculous job listing at Ole Miss.

Why do workers refuse to unionize? This really mystifies me.

The kind of response everybody dreams to get from a student.

U of Hawaii decided to drop the pretense that student service fees actually pay for useful services and decided to charge for nothing. And then they defended this decision, saying “that’s life.”

White American “progressives” give France a complete and total pass on all of its ongoing crimes in Africa because it provides health care to the rich white people living within her European borders. Just more evidence that white “progressives” are in reality far more racist against Black Africans than any poor crackers living in Mississippi.” The guy is right, folks. And he lives in Africa, so he knows what he’s on about.

This is the blogger to read if you are interested in knowing about global warming.

We’re pretty much done here in the United States with the argument over whether or not an adult, gay and/or straight, should be able to marry another adult, should they both be so inclined. Oh, sure, just like a fish flopping on a dock lakeside before it takes its last gasps, there’s gonna be some thrashing around. But, unless the Supreme Court stabs that fish in the head so it’s over quicker, it’s all just a matter of time before it dies.” Very true.

I will never understand people who go to college and don’t do the work. I do understand that just by being in a conversation that they are probably learning something. If nothing else, they are hearing names of people that they might think about reading later, when they figure out what’s at stake in life.” Yes, that’s the hope. At least, they can hear the names.

This bears repeating: “Seriously people. If someone tells you they’re struggling with low sexual desire and they mention reading a thing that said there’s “no treatment,” please tell them, “There’s no DRUG treatment, but there IS effective treatment!”

While there is much to criticize about the regimes in oil rich Arab states, many of them have done a much better job than Black African states in using that wealth to benefit their own people.”

No other country benefits economically as handsomely from its migrant population as Switzerland does.” Like this was ever a factor in how people vote.

 

38 thoughts on “Tuesday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. “They abstain when Michelle has her period, and also after childbirth: 80 days before sex if it’s a girl, 40 days after a boy.” Can the mathematicians and the theologians who read my blog explain this strange arithmetic to me? I’m genuinely puzzled. Does she think that giving birth to a girl is twice as sacred as giving birth to a boy? Or what?”

    It is bizarre. But I don’t think it’s twice as sacred to have a girl– it’s think it’s twice as dirty.

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      1. The Biblical source is Leviticus 12 which doesn’t say why there’s a difference. I don’t know how Christians interpret it, but modern Jewish apologetics often give an explanation that’s similar to yours (that it’s because
        girls are more holy). On the other hand, an opinion in the Talmud states that it’s because people are happier when a boy is born (and so a woman will want to resume sexual relations with her husband sooner after the painful experience).

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      2. Not exactly, the Talmud seems to think that when a woman gives birth she will swear never to do have sex with her husband again (presumably so she won’t have to experience the pain of childbirth again). But when she gives birth to a boy, she soon regrets what she’s sworn because everyone is so joyful.
        You can see the Talmudic source for yourself here (fifth paragraph on page 31b):
        http://come-and-hear.com/niddah/niddah_31.html

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      3. You know, it’s almost Freudian when I think about it…. women are unclean (at LEAST when they menstruate, but also when they give birth, because that’s bloody and icky too) (and unclean is a word used a lot in Deuteronomy justifying certain practices). So a woman giving birth to a future menstruater is really dirty and nasty. But if she gives birth to a penis-holder, she is…somehow…given reprieve and cleansed twice as fast. Behold the power of the penis, which can purify a nasty vagina from within!

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        1. But then this should mean that in this ideology sex is cleaner and holier than childbirth. So in the Madonna / whore dichotomy, a whore is more pure than a mother. This just doesn’t compute.

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    1. The post still doesn’t get at the _reason._ Why does anyone do this? I know it has to do with childbirth being deemed impure in the Old Testament. And I think giving birth to a girl is somehow classified as particularly impure. But I don’t understand the “reason”–even if it’s a strange one– for this.

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      1. Yes, there is still the mystery of why infant girls mean twice as much time off from sex. There has to be some logic, as weird as it will be , guiding this.

        Also, I can’t believe that a woman who gave birth to 19 kids really considers women inferior.

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      2. “Also, I can’t believe that a woman who gave birth to 19 kids really considers women inferior.”
        Why not? She has completely lost her subjectivity or any sense of selfhood and her life been reduced to becoming some sort of reproductive/house cleaning machine. The “quiverful” people are truly demented. I read an interview with her (the Duggar wife) once and she told some sad story about how she was pregnant and doing laundry in the middle of the night while her husband was sleeping. She apparently felt overwhelemed and tired so she started singing some sort of worship song and then somehow Jesus “helped” her with laundry. It’s really a terrifying cult.

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  2. I think workers refuse to unionize when they believe that their employers will shut down and take the jobs elsewhere. This is the view in a lot of the South. My father said he would NEVER belong to a union.

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  3. Re: The employee monitoring link

    This is typical management bullshit. Always looking for more “productivity”. Someone probably got a stinking promotion for this stupid idea. Aquiring more control over subordinates is all rage amongst the useless management/administration people. I guess this is how you fight against this feeling of uselessness and unknowning. You understand fuck-all what the people you are monitoring are actually doing, but at least you can piss in their tea pots so they don’t dare mention it.

    Not to mention, that this would probably be flatout illegal in most sensible nations. This is certainly wouldn’t fly here in Germany.

    I am not quite happy with how the linked article handles monitoring employees versus monitoring equipment. Recording how your employees interact with each other is outrages bullshit and a big intrusion of privacy. However, the same does not apply to the monitoring of company resources such as e-mail or internet access in general. Even though this also has its limits, a company has a right to know what you are doing with their resources.

    And oh wow, monitoring your employees scores you a whooping 5% more productivity! Never mind that productivity is a complete irrelevant word that sounds super big, at least if you don’t define what productivity for you exactly is (More items processed? More customers handled? More e-mails read?) If you consider that someone actually has to do the monitoring, this seems hardly worth it, financially speaking.

    But it is all about productivity these days. More work per employee means less employees for the same work. And that means you can save some in HR expenses! Hint: That means firing someone.

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    1. Tim: brilliant comment. I agree 100%. These useless idiots in HR are coming up with ways to justify their useless existences.

      As for the use of Internet in the workplace. Few people get to be more productive than I am in my profession. But the way my brain functions is that I interrupt my writing, grading, course planning, etc about every 15 mins to look at my blog, my RSS feed, look up random things online. I’m a responsible adult, and the idea that somebody should be telling me that my working process is wrong is simply ridiculous.

      People are different, we are not robots. If somebody needs to shoot the breeze with a colleague or online to produce ideas, that’s their business. And if somebody needs to sit on the toilet spacing out for an hour to come up with something brilliant, then who’s to say this is bad?

      This just gets me too angry.

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      1. The problem these wannabe managers have is that work done in non-linear fashion is hard to quantify. And this scares them terribly!

        If you have a factory worker that puts nails into boxes his manager can easily count how many boxes he filled. He filled 100 boxes yesterday, but after giving him that reprimand I gave him he filled 105? Wow, more productivity!

        This is how they think. Everything needs to be quantified, to be put in numbers. And horror ensues when they meet a workplace that cannot be easily quantified.

        I am a programmer and I was until recently subjected to such an individual. This person tried to evaluate our productivity by logging how many lines of code we wrote! Can you imagine this? Someone coming to you and saying “You only wrote 500 lines this week, but last week you wrote 1200 on your research project! Why are you less than half as productive?!”. I don’t have to tell you how much bullshit this is. I have a project for which I have written a single line of code in the last 7 weeks now and I have been far from unproductive. I mean I did fill an entire bachelor dissertation with the research sourrounding that single line.

        Software development is a horrible place for this. Not only entire books but also university classes have been filled with attempts to quantify the productivity of engineers, software developers and designers and there is a giant amount of people arguing which is the least horrible managing strategy for these workplaces.

        Sorry if im rambling, this hits a nerve.

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        1. “I am a programmer and I was until recently subjected to such an individual. This person tried to evaluate our productivity by logging how many lines of code we wrote! Can you imagine this? ”

          – I have no words. No words. My husband also writes code, and I know he will freak when I tell him this. This is unbelievable idiocy.

          “Software development is a horrible place for this. Not only entire books but also university classes have been filled with attempts to quantify the productivity of engineers, software developers and designers and there is a giant amount of people arguing which is the least horrible managing strategy for these workplaces.”

          – Of course, we all need to get more productive to hire more productivity managers who will then hire even more managers to manage the managers, and so on.

          “Sorry if im rambling, this hits a nerve.”

          – No, feel free. This is, indeed, absolutely ridiculous.

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      1. I can’t tell if the second half of this response is meant to be tongue-in-cheek or not, but . . . George Orwell? Margaret Atwood? If politics and literature don’t seem to go together these days, we have the Rockefeller Foundation et. al. to thank.

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        1. A work of art always is a lot bigger than what its author intends it to be. Often, it is also completely different. Whatever political ideas an author might want to transmit with a work of art, there is a high probability that readers will take something completely different away from it.

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      2. Ah yes, it’s true that politics goes through many transformations when a work of art is produced and read or seen. But its also true that politics infuses everything we do and think. The interesting point that Eric Bennett argues is that the impact of the grant funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, State Department, and CIA went beyond political ideology to questions of style and form. And based on my experiences, I think he’s right. Here’s his original post.
        http://chronicle.com/article/How-Iowa-Flattened-Literature/144531/

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        1. I can only repeat that a person who attends something called “Writers’ Workshop” will never create a work of art. 🙂 🙂 So there is no need to worry.

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  4. Not sure where to put this. But, I would be interested on another post from you on Ukraine now that things have turned violent again. The latest news is that the Canadian embassy in Kiev has been attacked.

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    1. Yes, things are getting even worse. Now people have started dying. Supporters are traveling from all over Ukraine to join the protesters in Kiev.

      And the Western media are still maddeningly insisting that this is all about the EU.

      Why is it that the concept of people defending democracy is so hard to grasp?

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        1. Yes, yours is a great post. But you live in Africa, and that gives you a wider perspective. Americans and Western Europeans often want to make absolutely everything about themselves.

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  5. Here’s where I try to explain something idiots don’t get. Actually, I am doing some sparring training of late, which knocks around the elements in my head and makes them jar. So I am able to recall more accurately some of the more intense associations in my life.

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