Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Trivia (should have been 13 September)

Crescent Limited: 1926
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Crescent Limited: 1926
Alexandria, Virginia, circa 1926
“American Locomotive Co. – Southern R.R. Crescent Limited 1396”
Seen here from the other side, with more info in the comments
National Photo Company Collection glass negative
View original post

==========================================
How Optical Illusions Trick Your Brain
via How-To Geek by Nathan S Jones (YouTube)
Optical illusions are a lot of fun to look at and seem to be so much more than what they truly are, but how do they manage to trick our brains like they do? Today’s video shows how our eyes and brain interact with the optical illusions we see and how those illusions are able to trick us.


==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Dr. Zhivago, CIA, Pope
Cold War geopolitics were, in no small part, a philosophical struggle. Intellectual sensitivities were on edge. A novel could make a superpower tremble… more

==========================================
How accounting forced transparency on the aristocracy and changed the world
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

In the 16th century, celebrated Dutch painters did a brisk trade in heroic portraits of accountants and their ledgers. That’s because accounting transformed the lowlands, literally bringing accountability to the aristocracy by forcing them to keep track of, and report on, their wealth. As Jacob Soll (author of The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations) writes in the Boston Globe, from the 14th century invention of double-entry bookkeeping until the 19th century – when accounting became a separate profession instead of something that every educated person was expected to practice – accountancy upended the social order, elevating financial transparency to a primary virtue.
Continue reading

==========================================
Cicero On The Importance of Knowing History
via Big Think by Big Think editors
Bt_cicero_pic_final

==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Let’s talk about God
Believers and secularists talk about each other all the time, but not to one another. On both sides, there is a lack of insight and an abundance of knowing smirks… more

==========================================
Microbe cross-stitches for germy decor and hobbyists
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Alicia Watkins’s Microbe cross-stitches are an absolute treat (and part of a deep and impressive collection of nerdy cross-stitches running the gamut from The Princess Bride to Star Trek). You can get them in five-packs, as well as in patterns you can complete yourself.
Check it out for yourself

==========================================
Wow!
Using regular screenings to crowdsource information on silent films.
via ResearchBuzz
“Deep in the archives of the Library of Congress’ Culpeper, Va., film preservation center lie thousands of movies in cool, climate-controlled vaults. Hundreds are a century old or older, and unidentified. Their titles have been lost over the years and the library knows little about them, so it started inviting fans of early film to a yearly event called Mostly Lost to help figure out what they are.”
Continue reading

==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Coded into economics and technology is an ideology of efficiency. Why not have everything we want – immediately? Ours is the Impulse Society… more

==========================================
What it’s like to take a 36-hour sleeper train from LA to Seattle
via Boing Boing
Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, which it bills as “A Grand West Coast Train Adventure,” is its last remaining full-service sleeper train. The Coast Starlight is home to what would have previously been standard: a dining car, an observation car with floor-to ceiling windows, a movie theater, and a full slate of entertainment options, including the two complimentary wine tastings.
Nicole Dieker takes the trip.
image02
Continue reading

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Recognition of skills gained outside school or university is still a challenging road to take, report revealed

via Social Europe e-newsletter

Member States still have a long way to go to ensure that knowledge, skills and competences that people have acquired outside school or university are recognised, valued and accepted despite some good progress since 2010, according to a report released on 20 November 2014.

The 2014 European Inventory on Validation of Non-formal and Informal Learning, which covered 33 European countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey), showed that a better design and implementation of effective tools to recognise those skills is needed so they can better contribute to tackling current bottlenecks within the EU labour market.

The sharp increase of structural unemployment in the EU has showed the existence of a massive skills mismatch within the EU labour market. To tackle structural bottlenecks in national labour markets, better skilled and knowledgeable workers are essential.

People gain knowledge and skills throughout their lives, often outside the formal education and training system. They should be able to demonstrate what they have learned. Yet information about how to identify, document, assess and certify such learning is, in most countries, not easily accessible.

Some of the major challenges identified by the report include:
  • The low level of awareness regarding the possibilities and potential value of validation, especially amongst the general public.
  • The social and labour market acceptance of validation, whilst growing, remains in many countries lower than the acceptance of formal education.
  • The level of bureaucracy and costs involved in validation are still a significant barrier to its implementation in most countries.
  • Few countries have comprehensive systems in place. Most systems are collections of initiatives, projects and procedures and there is a lack of coordination between stakeholders and across sectors. This creates challenges regarding scalability, and the possibility to adopt a long-term and general approach to validation.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention

an article by Erik Dane (Rice University, USA) and Bradley J Brummel (University of Tulsa, USA) published in Human Relations Volume 67 Number 1 (January 2014)

Abstract

In recent years, research on mindfulness has burgeoned across several lines of scholarship.

Nevertheless, very little empirical research has investigated mindfulness from a workplace perspective. In the study reported here, we address this oversight by examining workplace mindfulness – the degree to which individuals are mindful in their work setting.

We hypothesise that, in a dynamic work environment, workplace mindfulness is positively related to job performance and negatively related to turnover intention, and that these relationships account for variance beyond the effects of constructs occupying a similar conceptual space – namely, the constituent dimensions of work engagement (vigor, dedication, and absorption).

Testing these claims in a dynamic service industry context, we find support for a positive relationship between workplace mindfulness and job performance that holds even when accounting for all three work engagement dimensions.

We also find support for a negative relationship between workplace mindfulness and turnover intention, though this relationship becomes insignificant when accounting for the dimensions of work engagement. We consider the theoretical and practical implications of these findings and highlight a number of avenues for conducting research on mindfulness in the workplace.


An Analysis of Work Engagement Among Workers With Mental Disorders Recently Integrated to Work

an article by Patrizia Villotti, Sara Zaniboni and Franco Fraccaroli (University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy), Cristian Balducci (University of Bologna, Italy) and Marc Corbière (Centre for Action in Work Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada) published in Journal of Career Assessment Volume 22 Number 1 (February 2014)

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine the validity of the work engagement construct among mentally ill workers and to develop a nomological network delineating the relationship of work engagement with its antecedents, and its consequences in this specific population.

Three hundred and ten people with mental disorders employed in Italian social enterprises accepted to take part in this longitudinal study and filled out the Utrecht Work Engagement scale (UWES-9) and questionnaires on severity of symptoms perceived, social support from coworkers and supervisor, and occupational self-efficacy. Individuals who were still eligible at the 12-month follow-up phase of the study completed a questionnaire on future working plans.

Confirmatory factor analysis and path analysis were used to validate the UWES-9 and test its nomological network. The results indicated how work engagement, as well as its drivers, impacted important work outcomes, such as to work in the open labor market, in workers with mental disorders.


“I Just Live Here”: Everyday Practices of Disaffiliation of Middle-class Households in Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

an article by Fenne M. Pinkster (Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam) published in Urban Studies Volume 51 Number 4 (March 2014)

Abstract

This paper explores different explanations for the continuing presence of a large share of middle-class households in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the Netherlands, a seeming anomaly to middle-class residential practices of disaffiliation and elective belonging identified in the research literature.

In-depth interviews with middle-class residents in urban restructuring neighbourhoods in Amsterdam and The Hague provide insight into the way in which these residents make sense of and engage with their residential surroundings.

The study found that respondents downplay neighbourhood problems and validate living in an urban restructuring area through a value-for-money discourse. At the same time, they display subtle ways of disaffiliating from the neighbourhood through both discursive and socio-spatial practices in everyday life.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Trivia (should have been 7 September)

Crunch Time: 1923
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Crunch Time: 1923
Washington circa 1923
“Auto crash in woods”
Continuing our series on vehicular mayhem around the nation’s capital
Harris & Ewing photo
View original post

==========================================
Collaborating with your kids: the story of A Dark and Dismal Flower
via Boing Boing by J C Herz

JC Herz and her five year old daughter, Eve, created A Dark and Dismal Flower, a beautifully-animated picture book. In this essay, Herz offers her advice on how to collaborate with your own kids.
Continue reading

==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
When did “issues” – which conveys both judgment and understanding – become the perfect word for our postmodern times?… more

==========================================
How Cézanne Saw a World in an Apple
via Big Think by Bob Duggan
Cat8_pma-still_r344--crop
Just as poet William Blake asks us “To see a world in a grain of sand” in his poem “Auguries of Innocence”, painter Paul Cézanne asks us to see the world in an apple in the many still lifes that span his long career.
Continue reading

==========================================
Statue man rescues statue lady from floodwaters
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker
BqgVE1XCIAAVpRV
Flooding on Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis makes this statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic lovers Minnehaha and Hiawatha suddenly a little too on the nose.
(Photo by Ben Garvin / St. Paul Pioneer Press)

==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
What color, exactly, is Anna Karenina’s hair? How tall is Melville’s Ishmael? We “see” literature in our minds, but what does it mean?… more

==========================================
Faith and science in the natural world
via OUP blog by Tom McLeish
There is a pressing need to re-establish a cultural narrative for science. At present we lack a public understanding of the purpose of this deeply human endeavour to understand the natural world. In debate around scientific issues, and even in the education and presentation of science itself, we tend to overemphasise the most recent findings, and project a culture of expertise.
Continue reading

==========================================
The Oort Cloud – Believe It or Not
via How-To Geek

While the existence of the Oort Cloud has not been proved via direct observation yet, astronomers are sure it is there because it helps to answer a lot of questions about our solar system. But how big is it and what could we expect to find there? Today’s video from SciShow Space looks at the current theories about the Oort Cloud.

==========================================
Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
Despite the invective, Mary Beard does not feel bad about her neck or hair or teeth. “I’m a classicist, not an autocue girl.”… more

==========================================
Reader shares a 1946 book: 'BBC War Report from D-Day'
via Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin
2655812119_5ab7f5a9ed_b
At the end of a week that marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Boing Boing reader Joe Gordon shares photos of a wonderful book in his personal collection, in our Boing Boing Flickr Pool.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Tens of thousands of single parents face wrongful sanctions

via Touchstone blog by Philippa Newis of Gingerbread

Sanctions have been a key plank in welfare policy for both Labour and the coalition government. They are designed to make sure that claimants looking, or preparing, for work comply with the requirements the job centre places on them in return for their benefits. However, there is very little evidence to suggest that sanctions actually help single parents to move into sustainable work.

Gingerbread’s new report, Single parents and benefits sanctions found that tens of thousands of single parents are facing wrongful sanctions under a broken regime that is overly focussed on sanctions, at the expense of support that really would help more single parents in to work.

Continue reading