Saturday, 25 October 2014

Trivia (should have been 23rd August)

Second Life: 1943
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Second Life: 1943
April 1943. Baltimore, Md.
“Trolley of 1917 vintage. Many old cars have been reconditioned because of wartime transportation pressure”
Medium format negative by Marjory Collins for the Office of War Information
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How Ink is Made: A Beautiful Reflection of the Analog World we still inhabit
via Scholarly Kitchen by Todd A Carpenter
In this age of digital content distribution, most of us probably think about publishing as a clean digital process with sleek computers, mutable fonts and hi-tech reading devices, rather than a messy, dirty manufacturing process. In fact, even most modern manufacturing facilities aren’t messy or dirty, but clean and efficient. The dance of creating things in those environments is so often shielded from our eyes these days that we aren’t often connected to the process that creates the thing you purchase in a store or order from an online shop. In part, there’s a loss to this, since there is a real art in manufacturing, especially in printing.
Continue reading (and watch a fascinating video)

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Silly and sweet, clowns are the epitome of buffoonish humor. And yet something sinister has always lurked beneath the face paint… more

A New Timeline for Mysterious Permian Extinction
via Big Think by Big Think editors
252 million years ago, a massive amount of carbon was released into the Earth’s atmosphere. Where did it come from? We’re not sure. But we do know that the chemistry of the Earth’s oceans changed drastically, and up to 96 percent of all marine species became extinct.
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What’s climate change ruining now? Baby penguin edition
via BoingBoing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

A 28-year study of Magellanic penguins in Argentina suggests climate change plays a direct role in reducing the number of baby penguins that survive to become adults, slowly leading towards the extinction of the species.

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The most interesting silence is that of a mind free of words, of thoughts, of self-regard. But if the monologue ends, where would identity be? Scary thought… more

Lithograph of the Salem Witch Trials
via BoingBoing by David Pescovitz
Salem witch trials lithograph 715 jpg 600x0 q85 upscale
Joseph E Baker’s Witch No. 1 (1892) is a stunning lithograph illustrating the imagined events that are part of the mythology of the horrific Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century. To learn more, check out Smithsonian’s Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials

Lawrence in Arabia
via 3QuarksDaily by Azra Raza
Jan Morris in The Telegraph

Force of personality: TE Lawrence by James McBey, 1918  Photo: Getty images
This tremendous book puts me in mind of a huge murky kaleidoscope, an ever-shifting display through which one image remains ambiguously constant. The scene is the tumultuous world of the Arabs during the last stages of the First World War; the enigmatic central figure is that of Thomas Edward Lawrence, a small Anglo-Irish archaeologist in his late twenties, later to be known as Lawrence of Arabia.
It was a populist, even patronising epithet, because there was nothing Arabian about him. This hefty volume, though, by a scholarly American journalist, demonstrates how central he was to the infinitely convoluted, deceptive and contradictory goings-on that were eventually to bring into being the Middle East as we know it now.
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Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
In the oozy stretches of eastern England, man and oyster have been on intimate terms for millennia… more

20 Classic YA Literature Heroines, Ranked
via Flavorwire by Michelle Dean
This week, [nearly a year ago] The Book of Jezebel comes came out, and you should order it immediately – which I say because I was one of its contributors but also because it’s great – a desk reference of every bit of feminist trivia you could want. In particular, I think it’d make a great gift for young teenagers who are still coming up and learning about feminist reads on popular culture.
But let’s face it: no one starts with an encyclopedia, in evaluating these things; you start with the books girls are given as young’uns, and, troublesome lot that they are, those titles give you models of feminine behaviour and independence to measure yourself against. It’s a testament to their formative importance that women, well into their adult lives, insist that these characters shaped the way they saw themselves and the world.
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Hazel’s comment:
As always with lists of this kind one can take issue with the inclusion/exclusion of your favourites and with the ranking that Michelle allots to them.
My main issue though is the title of the piece: “YA” literature indeed. I’d read many of these (those that were published) before I was even a teenager.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Employers’ views of learning and training for an ageing workforce

an article by Vanessa Beck (University of Leicester, UK) published in Management Learning Volume 45 Number 2 (April 2014)


This article questions how employers view and evaluate the role of learning and training for older workers in light of the increasing number of older workers in the labour market. Learning and training opportunities could be utilised to respond to the ‘extending working lives’ agenda, but interviews with employers suggest that this is not being done.

A small number of human resource professionals, managing directors and owners were interviewed to determine what learning opportunities were offered to their older workers and how these workers’ experience could be utilised better. Respondents implicitly accepted that there were few learning opportunities for older workers and suggested that they expected this group of workers to take on additional roles in making learning and experience available to younger colleagues.

Dichotomies in employers’ views emerged in that they differentiated between groups of workers and their need for skills, experience and the ‘right’ attitudes.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

‘It’s all hands-on, even for management’: Managerial work in the UK cafe sector

an article by Caroline Lloyd (Cardiff University, UK) and Jonathan Payne (De Montfort University, UK) published in Human Relations Volume 67 Number 4 (April 2014)


The growth in managerial jobs is often presented by policy makers as evidence of the UK’s success in developing high-skilled, well-paid employment. At the same time, concerns have been raised that the lack of higher level qualifications in the managerial workforce has a detrimental impact on productivity and performance.

This article focuses on the relatively neglected figure of the first line manager in private services through a study of the UK cafe sector. It explores the content and quality of the cafe manager’s job, and interrogates the purported benefits of upskilling through graduate level qualifications. The findings indicate that these jobs leave much to be desired in terms of pay and work content, and that managers are highly constrained by the degree of centralised control wielded by head office.

Limited autonomy and, in many cases, poor job quality raise crucial questions about the ability of lower level managers to influence performance, even allowing for higher level qualifications.

‘Managing’ the rights of gays and lesbians: Reflections from some South African secondary schools

an article by Deevia Bhana (School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) published in Education, Citizenship and Social Justice Volume 9 Number 1 (March 2014)


Against the backdrop of South Africa’s policies that guarantee equality on the basis of sexual orientation, this article documents the ways in which school managers negotiate and contest the rights of gays and lesbians at school, analysing the implications. It draws on a queer approach which recognises relations of heterosexual domination and subordination as well as the material and social realities through which such relations are produced.

Of importance, the study finds that the political emphasis on rights has positive effects for raising the homosexual agenda at schools. Yet, this is not the only means through which rights are managed. Discrimination, sexual denial and religious intolerance combined with racialised and cultural practices point to severe restrictions.

Nonetheless, the article provides important insights for educational management noting the broadening options amid political and policy emphasis on schools’ responsibilities for sexual rights.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Libraries, donations and freedom of expression: The case of Scientology

an article by Paul Sturges (Loughborough University, UK) and Almuth Gastinger (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway) published in Journal of Librarianship and Information Science Volume 46 Number 1 (March 2014)


Whilst until the late 19th century most libraries were dependent on donations for their stock, since then donations have been insignificant for the majority of libraries in comparison with purchased acquisitions. There are organisations, however, which have considerable donations programmes and the Church of Scientology is a prominent example.

Scientologists suggest that their donations of sets of the works of L Ron Hubbard are frequently ignored and discarded without due consideration. They adduce information regarding the response to donations made to libraries in Germany and France to support this suggestion. Furthermore, they cite the principle of freedom of expression as a rationale for the inclusion of Scientology material in library stock.

The relevance of freedom of expression in the matter of donations is assessed in relation to established library principles relating to balanced and representative collections. The importance of clear policies on collection development, derived from a respect for freedom of expression, is stressed as a basis for reasoned explanations to donors of why their donations might be accepted or rejected.

Hazel’s comment:
Relevant to careers information?
I believe that the answer is “yes”.
Careers libraries still rely to a large extent on free information, from training organisations, colleges, industry representative bodies, trades unions and major companies.
Making that conglomeration comprehensive whilst at the same time covering all the angles and removing any actual or potential bias is a difficult task.

Career Decision-Making Intervention With Unemployed Adults: When Good Intentions Are Not Effective

an article by Emily Bullock-Yowell, Kari A. Leavell, Amy E. McConnell, Amanda D. Rushing, Lindsay M. Andrews, Michael Campbell and Lauren K. Osborne (Department of Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi) published in Journal of Employment Counseling Volume 51 Issue 1 (March 2014)


This study adapted existing empirically supported interventions to explore options for serving large numbers of unemployed adults.

Participants included 150 unemployed adults (72 experimental group, 78 control group) seeking employment office services to maintain U.S. federal unemployment compensation. A 1-hour workshop was offered to the 72 experimental group participants. The same career development variables were assessed during data collection for both groups.

Results revealed the workshop had no impact on negative career thinking and potentially increased career decision-making difficulties in the experimental group. Intervention effectiveness issues, implications for future research, and intervention options with unemployed adults are discussed.

Full text available

Monday, 20 October 2014

Gender, space and identity: Male cabin crew and service work

an article by Ruth Simpson (Brunel University, UK) published in Gender in Management: An International Journal Volume 29 Issue 5 (2014)


The purpose of this paper is to explore the intersection of gender, sexuality and occupation and to analyse how male cabin crew utilise space in managing gender identity.

The paper draws on a project where interviews were conducted with 17 male cabin crew, all aged < 35 years, from 5 different airlines in airports in the South East of England. The crew worked in a mixture of short-haul, low-cost and long-haul global carriers.

The paper shows how men in a feminised service role negotiate masculine subjectivities within and through space and how gendered meanings attached to space can impress on and both challenge and be challenged by the performances and subjectivities of individuals within them.

Research limitations/implications
The findings on which the paper is based surface the diverse challenges facing men in non-traditional roles – an area that would profit from further research in different contexts. Further, the findings have implications for work-based practices and employee relations within a paraprofessional service role.

The paper adds to the understanding of how gender and identity intersect as well as to how space, seen as both gendered and gendering, is implicated in the processes involved.