Legendary nutcase John Bolton was in the running for a high-level cabinet pick in millionaire president-elect Donald Trump's administration. Multiple sources claim that he was denied serious consideration, however, because Trump makes decisions based upon people's looks. To put it plainly: he simply cannot stand to look at Bolton's equally legendary facial hair. The cabinet hunt was described as a "casting call" in one report.
Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players.
“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage but also the international stage, depending on the position,” said Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller.
To lead the Pentagon, Trump chose a rugged combat general, whom he compares to a historic one. At the United Nations, his ambassador will be a poised and elegant Indian American with a compelling immigrant backstory. As secretary of state, Trump tapped a neophyte to international diplomacy, but one whose silvery hair and boardroom bearing project authority.
Now you know why Chris Christie doesn't have a job. Read the rest
Over at Democracy Journal, my Institute for the Future colleagues Marina Gorbis and Devin Fidler explore the "digital coordination economy" (aka the on-demand economy) and how "it may take deliberate design choices in platform architecture, business models, new civic services, and public policy to prevent this increasingly seamless “coordination economy” from becoming highly inequitable as well." From Democracy Journal:
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As software takes an increasing role on both sides of transactions—ordering and producing—it promises to bring vastly more efficient coordination to these kinds of basic economic functions. This emerging digital coordination economy, with its efficient matching and fulfillment of both human and nonhuman needs, has the potential to generate tremendous economic growth.
However, as software engineers essentially author a growing segment of our economic operating system, it may take deliberate design choices in platform architecture, business models, new civic services, and public policy to prevent this increasingly seamless “coordination economy” from becoming highly inequitable as well. Already the growth of on-demand work has allowed investors and owners in some industrialized regions to reap substantial financial returns while many of the people using platforms to generate income streams are struggling to maintain their standard of living. Uber drivers, for example, have seen a drop in earnings in the United States over the last couple of years, even as the company continues to grow at a dramatic pace.
It is clear that the fundamental technologies driving the coordination economy are neither “good” nor “bad,” but rather offer a heady combination of opportunities and challenges.
As Boing Boing U's Assistant Deputy President of the Committee on Neighborhood Communications and Principal Vice Liaison to Interdepartmental Technology of the Subcommittee for Academic Communications, I insist that we form a committee to investigate whether the "web site" University Title Generator constitutes unacceptable bait speech. Read the rest
UK retailer Tesco is hiring "Christmas Light Untanglers" so they can provide this new service at their stores.
Ideal candidates are "able to untangle 3 meters of Christmas lights in under three minutes" and "passionate about Christmas."
From the job description at Tesco Careers:
Your roles and responsiblities will include: • Man and managing the Christmas Lights Untangling stand • Taking time to listen and help out wherever you can: Every little helps • Check lights and bulbs for signs of breakage / broken bulbs and report findings to the customer • Handle customers Christmas lights carefully to keep everything in tip-top condition • Talking to colleagues, sharing your enthusiasm and helping to create team spirit • Getting to know your customers, greet them with a smile and serve them with pride. • Give a brilliant customer experience, making sure you deliver only the best service and put a smile on customers faces • Successfully untangle customers Christmas lights neatly, quickly and efficiently and in an orderly fashion • Abide by our Health and Safety policies • Always be there on time and properly presented • Be passionate and knowledgeable about the service you are offering
Michael Geist sez,
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The Canadian government has turned to the video game industry as a major source of support for its much criticized digital lock rules. Given the fact that writers, performers, publishers, musicians, documentary film makers, and artists have all called for greater balance on digital locks, the government has been left with fewer and fewer creative industries that support its position. On Monday, government MPs repeatedly referenced the video game industry and the prospect of lost jobs as a reason to support restrictive digital lock rules. For example: "I wonder if the member and her party opposite are talking about putting an end to the video gaming industry in this country with weak TPM measures [ed: that is, making it legal to break DRM if done for a purpose that doesn't violate copyright]."
Later, an MP asked an MP: "Could he explain to the House how, in the absence of effective technical protection measures, that industry could continue to flourish in the province of Quebec?"
Government MPs regularly referenced the 14,000 jobs in the industry and suggested that they would be put at risk with "weak" TPM measures. Given the focus, it is important to examine the evidence that supports claims that jobs are at risk. A closer look at the industry' own evidence demonstrates the government's claim that adding balanced digital lock rules to Canadian copyright law would destroy the industry is plainly false. Based on the industry's own data, opinion surveys of Canadian video game makers, industry growth in other countries with balanced digital lock rules, and the massive taxpayer investment in the industry, there is little reason to believe that amending the Bill C-11 digital lock approach would harm the Canadian video game industry.
First: The details. This fact came not from a recently published study, but from a Wall Street Journal interactive tool that allows you to look up data about pay and employability by undergraduate college major. The data in the tool is drawn from previous research done by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, an independent research center at Georgetown University. So they're not just pulling this out of thin air.
If you want to see where the information comes from in more detail, there are a couple of relevant reports: One comparing the economic value of different college majors, and another looking at the demand for people with science, math, engineering, and technology skills.
Here's what I found scanning through those reports: • In the college majors report, the sample size of astronomy and astrophysics majors was very small—small enough that the researchers couldn't put assign those majors a statistically significant median salary. So when you see 0% unemployment, that could represent a small number of people surveyed. It could also represent the fact that this is a small field, to begin with. • The same report stated that 94% of astronomy and astrophysics majors were employed. That's pretty good for a single major. But it's not 100% employment, either. I couldn't find a mention of 0% unemployment for astronomy and astrophysics majors in either Georgetown report. Read the rest
I'll be honest. I did not realize that you could just apply to be an astronaut like it was any old job listing. Nor would I have guessed that the NASA "Apply to be an Astronaut!" recruitment video would feel as odd and strangely lame as the recruitment video for any old normal job.
Astronauts: They're just like us! (But with way more awesome resumes.)