[links] Link salad asks what’s the matter with him? Is he all right?

Paradise Lost 3 — Looking for a tight writers’ conference with a high staff:student ratio? Plus me? Check it out.

Post-Sick SharksScrivener’s Error with a whole bunch of commentary and links on publishing and copyright, with focus on (among other things) orphan works. Recommended reading if you’re serious about this stuff.

Amazon ‘used neo-Nazi guards to keep immigrant workforce under control’ in Germany — Yep. That’s Amazon, predatory business practices and all. (Snurched from Andrew Wheeler.)

The Complete 14 Batman Window Cameos — Hahahah! (Via David Goldman.)

JayBall rules — Because reasons! (Thanks to [info]garyomaha.)

I’m Elyn Saks and this is what it’s like to live with schizophrenia — Wow. (Via Lisa Costello.)

The CIA funded abstract art during the Cold War — Umm…

Optical Calibration Targets — Oh, wow, this is cool. I want to visit some of these in person.

Bioinspired fibers change color when stretchedColor-tunable photonic fibers mimic the fruit of the “bastard hogberry” plant. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Love of aviation launches teens’ fight to reopen museum — A local story from the Portland area.

Why Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam — And why we have so many videos of the recent Russian meteor strike. (Via David Goldman.)

Russian Meteor Is Largest Since 1908 Siberian Blast, NASA SaysA meteor that exploded in the skies above Russia’s Ural Mountains was the largest since the Tunguska blast in Siberia in 1908 and released about 33 times the energy of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Sex in the Middle Ages — Life after 40? No, wait…

Before Love: Puritan Beliefs about Sex and Marriage — Unfortunately, that Puritan sexual ethos continues to have grip on American culture, especially in the minds of the vocal and destructive Christianist minority, as part of their ongoing campaign of wholesale social repression and denial of individual rights in the name of a very narrow view of religion and morality.

Rising Voices in S. Korea, Japan Advocate Nuclear Weapons — What could possibly go wrong>

How the NRA Hobbled the ATF

The Art of Infinite War, Ctd.: The Administration’s Drone Campaign — Ta-Nehisi Coates with commentary from Judah Grunstein, who edits World Politics Review.

QotD?: How do you know?


2/16/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (2,400 words on novella in progress, to 15,700 words, plus 0.25 hours of collaboration with [info]the_child.)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 232.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block covering up high crimes and misdemeanors in Benghazi: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

2 thoughts on “[links] Link salad asks what’s the matter with him? Is he all right?

  1. Cora says:

    Regarding the Amazon thing, here is the link to the actual documentary on German TV:

    http://www.ardmediathek.de/das-erste/reportage-dokumentation/ausgeliefert-leiharbeiter-bei-amazon?documentId=13402260

    Now I haven’t seen this particular documentary, but I have seen others in the same series (they did one about Apple and one about supermarket chains among others) and any good points they make are drowned out by screechy hyperbole. They are inconsistent, too, e.g. the same run-of-the-mill supermarket chain is portrayed as a snooty upmarket chain out to scam customers in one documentary and accused of peddling tainted products in search of rockbottom prices in the next. So in short, I wouldn’t take those documentaries too seriously. This is a pity because the ARD used to make good documentaries rather than tabloidesque trash.

    There probably is some truth to the “Neo Nazi” security, if only because private security firms tend to employ scary people in general. And Amazon is far from the only company to use them. Besides, the core issue in the documentary are not the Neo Nazis (the Independent cherry picked this bit, because Germans and Nazis together are always good for a headline) but the exploitation of temp workers. This is a real problem in many companies in Germany and was caused by the social policies of the Schröder government (which was supposed to be socialdemocratic), which was desperate to lower unemployment numbers by loosening the regulations for temp work, while keeping protections for the already employed (it is very difficult to fire workers in Germany, particularly if they are older) intact to satisfy the unions. Since full time employees are difficult to fire and temps were suddenly plentiful and barely get any protection at all, lots of companies stopped hiring full time workers and started hiring temps. As a result, this created a division between full time employees, often older, with lots of benefits and temps with very few benefits and job security and often abysmally low pay for the same work. Plus, Germany has no minimum wage, because much of the conservative party and the entire liberal (in the European sense) party oppose this. Amazon takes advantage of the temp system, as do many other companies.

    As for migratory workers from poorer EU countries being housed in less than ideal conditions, crowded dwellings, etc…, this has been a problem for years in the agrarian sector. For example, during asparagus season hundreds of Polish and now Romanian and Bulgarian (because the Poles have become to expensive) are carted into Germany to do the very strenous work of harvesting asparagus. They live in huge dorms in farm villages literally in the middle of nowhere. Yet I have never seen anybody call for boycotting asparagus and indeed people get very angry when you as much as mention the fact. But when Amazon does the very same thing that asparagus farmers have been doing for decades, it suddenly sparks a tell-all documentary, official investigations and complaints by the very politicians who oppose minimum wages and job protection for temp workers.

    There have been some concerns that Germans increasingly shop online and that they don’t shop at the established mail order companies, most of which are bankrupt by now (probably because they peddled low quality crap for decades and most people of my generation have learned to associate the old catalog retailers with trash) but at new upstart companies, some of which are American. Indeed, the whole impetus behind this documentary series seems to be “young people today are not buying the things their parents did.”

    In short, a weird mix of hyperbole, protectionism and genuine problems, which however were not caused by Amazon or any of the other companies featured in this series.

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