Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Links

  • Formula One car racing is going hybrid.
  • The level of creepiness in online advertising is getting extreme.  Bruce Schneier is absolutely right to characterize the Internet as a surveillance state. (he's recently made some changes to his blog to make online tracking harder - would be interested in my reader's take on these issues).
  • The challenge of being a millenial in the current economy.
  • Future generally not bright for the middle class, says Bruce Bartlett.
  • Superb piece on how disability is essentially becoming the welfare program of last resort for the working class.  I had already pretty much figured this out, but there's lots of evidence and color at the link.  This (and related issues) is why I prefer to use the employment/population ratio for working age men as my employment indicator of choice, rather than relying on the unemployment rate. Excerpt from the piece:
After sitting in the waiting room of his clinic several mornings in a row, I met Dr. Timberlake. It turns out, there is nothing shifty about him. He is a doctor in a very poor place where pretty much every person who comes into his office tells him they are in pain.

"We talk about the pain and what it’s like," he says. "I always ask them, 'What grade did you finish?'"

What grade did you finish, of course, is not really a medical question. But Dr. Timberlake believes he needs this information in disability cases because people who have only a high school education aren't going to be able to get a sit-down job.

Dr. Timberlake is making a judgment call that if you have a particular back problem and a college degree, you're not disabled. Without the degree, you are.

Over and over again, I'd listen to someone's story of how back pain meant they could no longer work, or how a shoulder injury had put them out of a job. Then I would ask: What about a job where you don't have to lift things, or a job where you don't have to use your shoulder, or a job where you can sit down? They would look at me as if I were asking, "How come you didn't consider becoming an astronaut?"


Stephen B. said...

Having worked with behaviorally-challenged kids with mental health disorders for over a decade now, I've been around long enough to see what happens to them when they are old enough to work and from what I've seen a good deal of them have ended up graduating into a life based on an SSI disability check rather than a job.

It's either that or they end up on the streets terrorizing the rest of society.

I realize that what I am talking about isn't quite what you and Joffe-Walt are getting at in that you are referring to more able-bodied or minded workers, but I do think there is a relationship to what I see, for if the economy still offered more menial work to people, I think more of my former clients could participate in the economy more fully than is the case now.

The future rise of AI as discussed in your other blog entry is only going to push many in society even further down the disability path.

In a way, I am glad I'm middle aged because, perhaps rather pessimistically, I don't see these trends being dealt with in a pleasant manner and I'd just assume not be around. Of course, maybe society will work around this all in a very humane, equitable manner, but somehow I doubt it.

Stephen B. said...

A follow up eight hours later...

Facebook just suggested a "Social Security Disability Income Help" page to me in my news feed.

I wonder where, oh, where they got the idea I was interested in that subject?!?

I guess Schneier might be on to something.

Greg said...

I like Bruce Schneier's changes. I hope other bloggers adopt them.

I'm using a Firefox extension called Facebook Disconnect which says that it does the same sort of thing (for Facebook only), but I haven't figured out how to verify that yet.

Until Google announced the end of Reader, I was using Ghostery, which is recommended by the EFF.

I disabled Ghostery because, I decided, I'd rather that advertisers continue to fund the services I use. In particular, search: I could accept the loss of Facebook from the Web, but a Web without Google search would be much poorer.

Also, I wondered about Ghostery's business model. How does Evidon generate cashflow? If I can't find or don't understand the answer to the cashflow question, I'm reluctant to use a service. After reading the information provided in the links from Ghostery's FAQ, I'm still doubtful.

WwoofBum said...

I suppose that tracking might sometime become of use to more than just advertisers, or that the advertisements might become so prevalent that they displace content. But all the concern about targeted advertising prompts me to ask the question: are most web users sheep? Do they unquestioningly click on links that advertise something the user once looked at?

I say, track me all you want, if it supports the content providers. But don't expect me to buy anything.

Alexander Ac said...

Hi Stuart,

using the lastest EIA graph about US oil production and population adjusted vehicle miles driven, try to solve this paradox