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News & Current Events
06-11-2017, 07:27 PM
Post: #1141
RE: News & Current Events
The Advantage of Being a Little Underemployed

To realize how outdated the five-day, 40-hour workweek is, you have to know where it came from.

Before 1900 the average American worker worked more than 60 hours a week. A standard schedule was ten-hour days, six days a week. The only structural limits to working were lighting and religion. You stopped working when it was too dark to see or to go to church. It was exhausting. It was often fatal.

Unions helped turn this around. In 1916, railroad unions demanded an eight-hour work day, largely because work after that point correlated with a rise in accidents and death. The railroads declined. So workers went on strike. America’s rail system nearly came to a halt.

This was during World War I, when transporting military equipment by rail was vital to national security. President Woodrow Wilson, desperate to get the trains moving, asked congress to write an eight-hour railroad work day into law. He told a joint session in 1916:

I have come to you to seek your assistance in dealing with a very grave situation which has arisen out of the demand of the employees of the railroads engaged in freight train service that they be granted an eight-hour working day … I turn to you, deeming it clearly our duty as public servants to leave nothing undone that we can do to safeguard the interests of the nation.
It worked. Congress passed the Adamson Act, and overtime pay after an eight-hour day became railroad workers’ right.

Twenty years later, the New Deal pushed for broader workers’ rights. It used the Adamson Act as a template, as no one wanted to favor one field over another. The eight-hour, five-day workday was standardized for all industries.

Eighty years later this work schedule – originally designed for the endurance constraints of railroad depot workers – has become so ingrained that we rarely question it, regardless of profession.

Which is crazy.

The biggest employment change of the last century is the number of careers that shifted from physically exhausting to mentally exhausting. From doing stuff with your arms to doing stuff with your head.

Since the constraints of physically exhausting jobs are visible, we took decisive action when things weren’t working, like the Adamson Act. But the limits of mentally exhausting jobs are nuanced and less visible, so we get trapped in a spot where most of us work a schedule that doesn’t maximize our productivity, yet we do nothing about it.

Every person I’ve worked with comes back from vacation saying some variation of the same thing:

“Now that I had some time to think, I’ve realized …”

“With a few days to clear my mind, I figured out …”

“While I was away I got this great idea …”

The irony is that people can get some of their most important work done outside of work, when they’re free to think and ponder. The struggle is that we take time off maybe once a year, without realizing that time to think is a key element of many jobs, and one that a traditional work schedule doesn’t accommodate very well.

Not all jobs require creativity or critical thinking. But those that do function better with time devoted to wandering and being curious, in ways that are removed from scheduled work but actually help tackle some of your biggest work problems.

It’s just hard to do that because we’re set on the idea that a typical work day should be eight uninterrupted hours seated at your desk. Tell your boss you found a trick that will make you more creative and productive, and they ask what you’re waiting for. Tell them that your trick is taking a 90-minute walk in the middle of the day, and they say no, you need to work. Another way to put this is that a lot of workers have thought jobs without much time to think.

David Leonhardt of the New York Times recently wrote about former Secretary of State George Shultz, who carved out time to sit and wonder:

His hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.
That last sentence is crucial for anyone whose jobs involves strategy, analysis, creativity, innovation, managing people, non-structured decision-making, or really anything outside of repetitive tasks.

The “moment-to-moment tactical issues” Shultz refers to are what happens in the office during the eight-hour, five-day workweek. Meetings. Spreadsheets. Meetings. Phone calls. Meetings.

The “larger questions” often can’t be tackled at work, because creativity and critical thinking require uninterrupted focus – like going for a walk or sitting quietly on a couch by yourself. Or a bike ride. Or talking to someone outside your field.

Steve Jobs did most of his serious conversations while walking. Tim Armstrong spends four hours a week just thinking. Jeff Weiner does something similar. Jack Dorsey famously wanders about. Someone once asked Charlie Munger what Warren Buffett’s secret was. “I would say half of all the time he spends is sitting on his ass and reading. He has a lot of time to think.”

Amos Tversky, the late collaborator of Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, once said “the secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

The same is true for a lot of jobs.

The traditional eight-hour work schedule is great if your job is repetitive, customer-facing, or physically constraining. But for the large and growing number of “knowledge jobs,” it might not be.

You might be better off taking two hours in the morning to stay at home thinking about some big problem.

Or go for a long mid-day walk to ponder why something isn’t working.

Or leaving at 3pm and spend the rest of the day envisioning a new strategy.

It’s not about working less. It’s the opposite: A lot of knowledge jobs basically never stop, and without structuring time to think and be curious you wind up less efficient during the hours that are devoted to sitting at your desk cranking out work.

There’s never going to be an Adamson Act for knowledge workers who need time to think. It’s up to you to figure it out. The first step is realizing that taking time in the middle of your day to do stuff that doesn’t look like work is the most important part of your work day.

More at Collaborativefund.com.
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06-12-2017, 09:48 AM
Post: #1142
RE: News & Current Events
Good read. I've found that if you are productive and effective many bosses are open to a little more flexibility. The biggest problem is being around to network with others.
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06-17-2017, 07:39 PM
Post: #1143
RE: News & Current Events
amazon plans to acquire Whole Foods

http://www.businessinsider.com/whole-foo...ash-2017-6
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06-19-2017, 03:03 AM
Post: #1144
RE: News & Current Events
ASIA British Teen Gets Life in Prison for Brutally Murdering Chinese Grandpa Visiting His Daughter

https://nextshark.com/wenqing-xu-murder-...ichardson/
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07-19-2017, 04:37 PM
Post: #1145
RE: News & Current Events
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-17...tle-secret
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07-23-2017, 07:12 AM
Post: #1146
RE: News & Current Events
https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/....hVnS6Zvib

"When you think of a federal sting operation involving weaponry and military gear, the Government Accountability Office doesn’t immediately jump to mind. The office is tasked with auditing other federal agencies to root out fraud and abuse, usually by asking questions and poring over paperwork.

This year, the agency went a little more cowboy. The GAO created a fictitious law enforcement agency — complete with a fake website and a bogus address that traced back to an empty lot — and applied for military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense.

And in less than a week, they got it.


A GAO report issued this week says the agency’s faux cops were able to obtain $1.2 million worth of military gear, including night-vision goggles, simulated M-16A2 rifles and pipe bomb equipment from the Defense Department’s 1033 program, which supplies state and local law enforcement with excess materiel. The rifles and bomb equipment could have been made functional with widely available parts, the report said.

They never did any verification, like visit our ‘location,’ and most of it was by email,” said Zina Merritt, director of the GAO’s defense capabilities and management team, which ran the operation. “It was like getting stuff off of eBay.”

In its response to the sting, the Defense Department promised to tighten its verification procedures, including trying to visit the location of law enforcement agencies that apply and making sure agents picking up supplies have valid identification, the GAO report said. The department also promised to do an internal fraud assessment by April 2018.

A Defense Department spokesman declined to comment further.

The sting operation has its roots in the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. At the time, many were surprised to see law enforcement respond to protests with armored trucks, sniper rifles, tear-gas bombs and other weapons of war.

Reporting by The Marshall Project and others found that much of the equipment came from the obscure 1033 program, which dates back to the Clinton era. Any equipment the U.S. military was not using — including Humvees, grenades, scuba-diving gear and even marching-band instruments — was available to local cops who could demonstrate a need.

The program has transferred more than $6 billion worth of supplies to more than 8,600 law enforcement agencies since 1991."
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07-23-2017, 07:18 AM
Post: #1147
RE: News & Current Events
https://theintercept.com/2017/07/22/dona...an-empire/

"Even as President Donald Trump faces ever-intensifying investigations into the alleged connections between his top aides and family members and powerful Russian figures, he serves as commander in chief over a U.S. military that is killing an astonishing and growing number of civilians. Under Trump, the U.S. is re-escalating its war in Afghanistan, expanding its operations in Iraq and Syria, conducting covert raids in Somalia and Yemen, and openly facilitating the Saudi’s genocidal military destruction of Yemen.

Meanwhile, China has quietly and rapidly expanded its influence without deploying its military on foreign soil.

A new book by the famed historian Alfred McCoy predicts that China is set to surpass the influence of the U.S. globally, both militarily and economically, by the year 2030. At that point, McCoy asserts the United States Empire as we know it will be no more. He sees the Trump presidency as one of the clearest byproducts of the erosion of U.S. global dominance, but not its root cause. At the same time, he also believes Trump may accelerate the empire’s decline.

McCoy argues that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the beginning of the end. McCoy is not some chicken little. He is a serious academic. And he has guts.

During the Vietnam war, McCoy was ambushed by CIA-backed paramilitaries as he investigated the swelling heroin trade. The CIA tried to stop the publication of his now classic book, “The Politics of Heroin.” His phone was tapped, he was audited by the IRS and he was investigated and spied on by the FBI. McCoy also wrote one of the earliest and most prescient books on the post 9-11 CIA torture program and he is one of the world’s foremost experts on U.S. covert action. His new book, which will be released in September, is called “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power.”

“The American Century, proclaimed so triumphantly at the start of World War II, may already be tattered and fading by 2025 and, except for the finger pointing, could be over by 2030,” McCoy writes. Imagining the real-life impact on the U.S. economy, McCoy offers a dark prediction:

“For the majority of Americans, the 2020s will likely be remembered as a demoralizing decade of rising prices, stagnant wages, and fading international competitiveness. After years of swelling deficits fed by incessant warfare in distant lands, in 2030 the U.S. dollar eventually loses its special status as the world’s dominant reserve currency.

Suddenly, there are punitive price increases for American imports ranging from clothing to computers. And the costs for all overseas activity surges as well, making travel for both tourists and troops prohibitive. Unable to pay for swelling deficits by selling now-devalued Treasury notes abroad, Washington is finally forced to slash its bloated military budget. Under pressure at home and abroad, its forces begin to pull back from hundreds of overseas bases to a continental perimeter. Such a desperate move, however, comes too late.

Faced with a fading superpower incapable of paying its bills, China, India, Iran, Russia, and other powers provocatively challenge U.S. dominion over the oceans, space, and cyberspace.”

Alfred McCoy is the Harrington professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the now-classic book “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade.” His new book, out in September, is “In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power.”

This week, I [Jeremy Scahill] interviewed McCoy for the Intercepted podcast. We broadcast an excerpt of the interview on the podcast. Below is an edited and slightly condensed version of the full interview. In this wide-ranging interview, we discuss Trump and Russia, the history of CIA interference in elections around the world, the Iran-Contra scandal, the CIA and the crack-cocaine epidemic, U.S. proxy wars, narcotrafficking in Afghanistan, and much more."
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Yesterday, 05:16 AM
Post: #1148
RE: News & Current Events
I've been telling people silver, yen, and BITCOIN.

Men tend to paint themselves in a better light when they're about to die; and Texas ground is filled with fools who thought they were quicker
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Yesterday, 01:45 PM
Post: #1149
RE: News & Current Events
bitcoin might not take off as people think. digital currency will gain further traction but I'm thinking they will come up with a format that is more easily traceable
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Yesterday, 01:51 PM
Post: #1150
RE: News & Current Events
the price action of bitcoin isn't normal. should be cause for pause
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