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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 08:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,551

Journal Archives

Yes, robots will steal our jobs; but don’t worry, we’ll get new ones

The U.S. economy added 2.7 million jobs in 2015, capping the best two-year stretch of employment growth since the late ‘90’s, pushing the unemployment rate down to five percent.

But to listen to the doomsayers, it’s just a matter of time before the rapid advance of technology makes most of today’s workers obsolete – with ever-smarter machines replacing teachers, drivers, travel agents, interpreters and a slew of other occupations.

Almost half of those currently employed in the U.S. are at risk of being put out of work by automation in the next decade or two, according to a 2013 University of Oxford study, which identified transportation, logistics and administrative occupations as most vulnerable.

Does that mean that these formerly employed workers will have nowhere to go? Is the recent job growth a last gasp before machines take over, or can robots and workers coexist?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/yes-robots-will-steal-our-jobs-but-dont-worry/

Donna Smith: Dear Americans, please stop dreaming of a better nation

This political season seems decidedly more bizarre than others have been. It’s not just the fact that someone as arrogant and ignorant about real life as Donald Trump is leading on the Republican side. What really troubles me is the assertion that we ought not aspire to achieve the best, most equitable and just solutions to our most serious problems because that is unrealistic, politically infeasible and dooms us to fail. This criticism of Bernie Sanders’ platform is really unsettling.

This argument that we ought to tamp down our political aspirations has taken many forms as it is oft repeated by those politicos who seem terrified that Bernie might actually win the Democratic presidential nomination. Some say it’s the difference between going with the heart or the head. Others have suggested that you have to ground yourself in reality to actually get things done. And still others seem to suggest that the reason Bernie does so well with young people is that they are somehow hopelessly idealistic and not yet willing to see the realities of political feasibility.

Wow. I think these arguments might be the most unacceptable and bizarre part of the presidential primary season. Who would ever want to ask our young people to scale back their dreams and goals? As Americans, I thought we have always prided ourselves on our unbridled optimism and our ability to do what others do not believe they can do. We are a nation of dreamers and a nation of doers. And I want every young person in America to keep attaching themselves to a powerful narrative of building a better future. My generation hasn’t done so well so far in leaving a legacy of improved conditions, and Bernie offers that hope to me and to the young alike. That is powerful stuff. Why would we ever want to temper that?

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/stop-dreaming-of-a-better-nation/

John Kiriakou: Trump’s impeachable offense

For anyone who cares deeply about being informed, watching Republican presidential debates can feel like a form of torture. But the program becomes more terrifying altogether when their ignorance is hitched to an endorsement of actual torture.

At the latest GOP debate in New Hampshire, Donald Trump heartily endorsed waterboarding and other forms of torture, which he promised to reinstitute in national security interrogations if he wins the election. “I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” Trump vowed.

Trump’s position was condemned immediately by Republican Senator John McCain, who knows a thing or two about torture. McCain, who was brutally beaten as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, accused his fellow Republicans of “sacrificing our respect for human dignity” with their “loose talk” about instituting human rights abuses.

McCain reminded Trump — and Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina, who also seem to be enamored of torture — that the torture techniques employed by the Bush administration after 9/11 were unreliable. They produced no actionable intelligence, disrupted no terrorist attacks, and saved no American lives.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/trumps-impeachable-offense/

If football is deadly, why do we still watch?

There are two reasons why pro football in particular and organized football in general won’t go out of existence, despite a consistent flow of head injury stories.

The first is popularity, and the financial strength that popularity means. Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers illustrates the point perfectly.

Want to guess what the most-watched event in U.S. television history was? Last year’s Super Bowl, with 114.4 million viewers. What to guess the second? The Super Bowl in 2014. And so on, until the final episode of “M*A*S*H” at number seven. Not only does the NFL dominate this one Sunday, it crushes the competition for sports viewing throughout the fall. According to Sports Media Watch, NFL games were 43 of the top 50 most-watched sporting events in the U.S. in 2015. Three others were college football.

The NFL’s influence doesn’t stop with TV. Las Vegas’ legal betting handle last year was nearly US$116 million and record merchandising sales are expected this time around, given the 50th anniversary of the game and the sleek gold logo that goes with the event.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/if-football-deadly-why-do-we-still-watch/

Everything you need to know about the Planned Parenthood videos

On Monday, a grand jury indicted David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, a center employee, on felony charges of tampering with government documents and a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs. The charges stem from the investigation surrounding the controversial Planned Parenthood videos that surfaced last summer.


The videos became a hot-button issue and talking points for many GOP primary candidates – some of whom turned to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustrations with Planned Parenthood. Even Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, called the pictures from the videos "disturbing," although some of the images were later found to be deceptive .

To help sort through the timeline of the controversy surrounding the videos here's a reading guide:

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-planned-parenthood-videos/

Exciting space missions could unlock secrets of the solar system in 2016

The Juno NASA spacecraft will reach Jupiter in July. Juno will orbit Jupiter 32 times for a year helping us to answer questions about how the planet formed, how much water exists inside its atmosphere and how its mighty magnetosphere works.

Meanwhile, the Cassini mission will begin a gradual grand finale in September, orbiting between Saturn and its outermost ring while flying past the moons Titan and Enceladus before crashing into Saturn in 2017. This will provide a last opportunity to analyse the water-rich geysers on Enceladus. In 2015, researchers even suggested that certain chemical reactions inside its internal ocean may provide enough energy to feed microbial life. The study predicted that these would create molecular hydrogen that should be detectable in the plumes.

An even more exciting candidate for life in our solar system is Jupiter’s moon Europa, which has a fractured crust of ice thought to overly an ocean which might harbour life. It would be nice if Europe got involved in exploring this, perhaps by contributing a “penetrator”, a light probe designed to bury itself on a body’s surface, to a planned NASA fly by mission.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/exciting-space-missions-could-unlock-secrets-of-the-solar-system-in-2016/

New report issues dire carbon warning: Keep it in the ground

From coal mines to oil reserves, a new report released Monday by a group of leading environmental organizations outlines the world’s biggest carbon threats in an era of runaway warming—and the ongoing efforts to keep those fossil fuels in the ground.

The report, compiled by Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and 350.org, examines the carbon risk of deposits throughout the globe that, if developed, would push the world past the agreed-upon 2°C climate threshold.

Released just months after world leaders signed a climate pact at the COP21 negotiations in Paris—and just days after scientists declared 2015 the “hottest year on record“—the report issues an urgent call to stand up to powerful fossil fuel interests and prevent environmental catastrophe.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/new-report-issues-dire-carbon-warning-keep-it-in-the-ground/

The Chinese mix of frugality and risk-taking is driving global stock markets wild

A byproduct of this transition into a more mature economy is slower growth. Typically, as a nation progresses from poor to middle-income – and from basic needs and manufacturing toward a service economy that includes more creativity and intellectual assets – growth rates naturally slow down for reasons economists do not fully fathom.

But what’s really behind all this angst, the booms and the busts? And are investors and traders right to be increasingly concerned about a global recession?

A longer-term view suggests the fears are misplaced: the world economy will actually benefit from a successful transition in China, despite a few bumps along the way.

And as for the cause, it helps to examine Chinese culture and history. A heady brew of frugality, wild risk-taking and amateurism has created huge bubbles – ones that were bound to deflate.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/the-chinese-mix-of-frugality-and-risk-taking-is-driving-global-stock-markets-wild/

Attack on unions shows why we need a new social contract governing work

Labor legislation passed in the New Deal (minimum wages and overtime protections, social security, unemployment insurance and the right to unionize) provided the foundation for that social contract, and collective bargaining made it work by negotiating wage increases in tandem with productivity growth.

But at least in part because those policies and practices could not cope well with developments since 1980 – such as globalization and corporate short-termism – the country has experienced three decades of wage stagnation, rising income inequality and the erosion of the social safety net that was designed to ensure basic protections and minimum employment standards.

Restoring such a safety net, which would be further eroded if the Supreme Court rules against the unions, will require broadening the circle of debate to engage the powerful interest groups that don’t necessarily share the view that changes are needed.

Given the hopeless gridlock in Congress on labor policy issues, the best path forward might be to focus on private sector leaders and those on the front lines of innovations that might just help identify the features of a new social compact.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/attack-on-unions-shows-why-we-need-a-new-social-contract-governing-work/

Kid gloves for homegrown extremists are part of a smart strategy

Soon after a bunch of white guys with guns holed up at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in protest against the federal government, wags took to social media to deride them.

"Y'all Qaeda," "YeeHawdists" and "Vanilla ISIS" are some of the clever put-downs circulating on Twitter.

Critics also decried what they perceive as a double standard in the seeming lack of response from law enforcement. If the gun-toting men were black or Muslim, went the typical argument, they would have incurred the full, militarized wrath of law enforcement.

So it might appear, but if you think law enforcement agencies are being deferential out of fear, you couldn't be more wrong. Be very grateful that federal officials know exactly whom they are dealing with: troublemakers just itching for an excuse to claim that the federal government provoked them first.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/kid-gloves-for-homegrown-extremists-are-part-of-a-strategy/

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