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Employment advice for Millennials


Diesel Sweeties creator R. Stevens has some advice for Millennials who are having a hard time finding work in the modern economy. It's so simple!

Six Totally Easy Tips For Millennials To Get Ahead In Today’s Economy (via Wil Wheaton)

NSA leaks as a demographic phenomena

Writing in the Financial Times, Bruce Schneier expands on Charlie Stross's demographic theory of US military/espionage leaks, which holds that the end of the "job-for-life" culture in the spookocracy and the corporate America from which it draws its foot soldiers means the end of the deep loyalty of spooks.

Read the rest

Hating Millennials - the prejudice you're allowed to boast about


Cartoonist Matt Bors got a spot on CNN for his great, scathing critique of the narrative of the lazy, narcissistic "Millennials," which has gone well beyond "get off my lawn" territory and into the realm of out-and-out demographic prejudice. Click through for the whole thing.

The generation we love to dump on (via Geeks Are Sexy)

Actually, most college students aren't hooking up as much as you think

Really interesting little bit of social science at Slate where Lisa Wade looks at the "OMG COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE JUST INDISCRIMINATELY BANGING EACH OTHER WHILE DRUNK ALL THE TIME" scare story, and finds a very different picture of what's happening in reality. The catch: In order to understand why both the pop narrative and the reality can co-exist, you have to break college students down by demographics. Some students really are engaging in what's come to be called "hook-up culture", but they tend to be the most privileged students — the ones whose wealth, race, and social status can better protect them from the consequences of mistakes, and who think about their college life (and future goals) in very different ways compared to less-privileged peers. Maggie 9

Women beat 18-34 men for tech adoption and purchasing power

An interesting piece from The Atlantic's Alex Madrigal points out that the coveted 18-34 male demographic is no longer the most important force in technology consumption and purchasing. He quotes Intel anthropologist and all-round awesomesauce dispenser Genevieve Bell's research, which shows that women lead tech adoption in "internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, mobile phone location-based services, text messaging, Skype, every social networking site aside from LinkedIn, all Internet-enabled devices, e-readers, health-care devices, and GPS. Also, because women still are the primary caretakers of children in many places, guess who controls which gadgets the young male and female members of the family get to purchase or even use?"

Of course, the neglect of women -- and other groups of systematically disenfranchised people, like gblt people and people of color -- is a recurring theme in the history of business. And periodically (generally in the midst of a recession that makes the previously unthinkable into the inevitable), some industry will figure out that there's a group of people whom they've ignored or held in contempt with a lot of money on their hands, and you get a new boom of targeted products, media and advertising. And exploitation, of course. Lots of exploitation.

Terry O'Reilly's "Age of Persuasion" podcast has done some good episodes on these turns in advertising history -- here's one on women, one on people of color, and one on gblt-targeted ads.

How can an industry get its market so wrong?

One huge reason is the relative lack of women at major venture capital firms, startups, electronics makers, and Internet companies. The other huge reason is the historical erasure of women's roles in the history of technology, as Xeni Jardin pointed out in response to a New York Times article that overemphasized the role men have played in the creation of the Internet. When you look around, it *seems* as if technology is by and for dudes, but the reality is much more complicated than that.

But even if you are the biggest sexist in Menlo Park, even if you believe that only men create technology, even if you are real-life Jack Donaghy hell bent on profits alone, you'd still want to change your approach to women as technology consumers. Follow the money and follow the users: you'll find yourself in a female-dominated landscape.

Bell concludes: "So it turns out if you want to find out what the future looks like, you should be asking women. And just before you think that means you should be asking 18-year-old women, it actually turns out the majority of technology users are women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. So if you wanted to know what the future looks like, those turn out to be the heaviest users of the most successful and most popular technologies on the planet as we speak."

Sorry, Young Man, You're Not the Most Important Demographic in Tech (via /.)

China's ageing population and the "demographic time-bomb"

I found Tania Branigan's Guardian article on China's coming demographic spasm really interesting. China's One Child policy means that there's a giant cohort of imminent retirees and a much smaller group of young adults of working age who'll have to support them. Combine that with the tradition (and law) of filial piety, which puts responsibility for the elderly on their children, increased life-expectancy, and a shame-taboo against retirement homes, and you've got the makings of some very turbulent times ahead.

China's economic miracle has been fuelled by its "demographic dividend": an unusually high proportion of working age citizens. That population bulge is becoming a problem as it ages. In 2000 there were six workers for every over-60. By 2030, there will be barely two.

Other countries are also ageing and have far lower birth rates. But China is the first to face the issue before it has developed – and the shift is two to three times as fast.

"China is unique: she is getting older before she has got rich," said Wang Dewen, of the World Bank's China social protection team.

Tens of millions of workers have migrated to the cities, creating an even worse imbalance in rural areas which already suffer low incomes, poor public services and minimal social security.

Most old people there rely on their own labour and their children. China not only needs to support more older people for longer, but to extend support to new parts of society. World Bank researchers point to promising advances, such as the national rural pension scheme and the expansion of health insurance.

China can help deal with increased costs by raising its retirement age; at present, only about a fifth of urban women are still working at 55. Improving education should also raise productivity. Some experts believe such measures will be enough to wipe out the "demographic debt". Others wonder if China will begin to welcome immigrants.

China faces 'timebomb' of ageing population

Population streams: globalization results in liquefaction

Venkatesh Rao (one of my favorite provocative thinkers) noodles around with the idea of "streams" -- demographics of people who follow a particular international course, in long, stable, weird, nearly invisible arcs. Rao calls this "Globalization as liquefaction" and says, "Globalization signifies an incomplete process, not a state. For a long time I was convinced that there was a bit of semantic confusion somewhere. Why is there a becoming without discernible being states before and after? The reason is that the word globalization works like the word liquefaction. Liquids aren’t a transition from one solid state to another. They are a transition from a fundamentally static state to a fundamentally dynamic one. The world is not getting flatter, rounder or spikier. It is liquefying. There you go, Thomas Friedman, that’s my modest little challenge to your metaphor."

For most of the last decade, Israeli soldiers have been making the transition back to civilian life after their compulsory military service by going on a drug-dazed recovery trip to India, where an invisible stream of modern global culture runs from the beaches of Goa to the mountains of Himachal Pradesh in the north. While most of the Israelis eventually return home after a year or so, many have stayed as permanent expat stewards of the stream. The Israeli military stream is changing course these days, and starting to flow through Thailand, where the same pattern of drug-use and conflict with the locals is being repeated.

This pattern of movement among young Israelis is an example of what I’ve started calling a stream. A stream is not a migration pattern, travel in the usual sense, or a consequence of specific kinds of work that require travel (such as seafaring or diplomacy). It is a sort of slow, life-long communal nomadism, enabled by globalization and a sense of shared transnational social identity within a small population.

I’ve been getting increasingly curious about such streams. I have come to believe that though small in terms of absolute numbers (my estimate is between 20-25 million worldwide), the stream citizenry of the world shapes the course of globalization. In fact, it would not be unreasonable to say that streams provide the indirect staffing for the processes of modern technology-driven globalization. They are therefore a distinctly modern phenomenon, not to be confused with earlier mobile populations they may partly resemble.

The Stream Map of the World

(via Futurismic)

(Image: table mtn stream 040608, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wolfgrams's photostream)

Chinese netizens angered by "princelings" -- spoiled children of the rich and powerful

From CNN, an article about the growing anger in China at "taizidang" ("princelings"), the spoiled children of the rich and powerful who make the news for driving luxury cars into innocent bystanders, demanding special treatment from law enforcement, and receiving light sentences in the end. The latest princeling in the public eye is 15 year old Li Tianyi, who drove his BMW into a family's car, then leapt out and berated the family for stopping suddenly, while their child cried in the back seat. Li was driving without a license, and had previously been sanctioned for 36 other moving violations while driving without a license.
The teenager grew up in an elite family, his parents both singers who frequently appear on stage and on television. His father, Li Shuangjiang, has long been a household name in China, best known for his renditions of patriotic military songs.

After the incident, Li issued a public apology for spoiling his son and asked that he be given another chance, CCTV reported.

However, this failed to stop the tide of public anger. Many voiced their anger on Sina Weibo, China's popular micro-blogging site.

"We will give him another chance, but the law can't." posted @ Gujingyema. "For kids with family and social connections, the only way to deal with this kind of kid is to go by laws."

Privileged kids anger Chinese public