Ffortsa reads the Atlantic
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The cover article is about how some corporations are beginning to bring selected manufacturing activities back to the US, especially GE. The company has found it better, with shorter product cycles, to engage the line people in figuring out how to make the product and its assembly simpler, more efficient, and cheaper to make in the US than to spec and then ship from Asia. It's a very encouraging article.
And another encouraging note. Ann Patchett writes about the adventure of co-owning a brand new bookstore in Nashville. After the last bookstores selling new books closed, even though they were making a profit, she decided to investigate opening one herself, and found a team to make it work. Lovely story. Makes me want to go to Nashville.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, creationists are assembling a real live Ark, a la Noah, as part of a theme park. I think it might be a kick to go, although paying the entrance fee supports that kind of thinking.
And who among us actually signs their business correspondence with XOXOXO? This is supposedly the new feminization of business correspondence. Thanks, but I get enough email already!
There's an interesting short piece on Uri Simonsohn, a professor of Social Psychology who has begun to formally question the conclusions drawn in studies in his area of expertise. He has discovered how manipulated some of the results are, usually to prove the hypotheses of the researchers, and has had more of an effect than he thought, as people whose data does not stand up to standards actually leave the field. Although some of the conclusions he has torpedoed might be light-weight and not particularly consequential, the adoption of such manipulative tactics is similar in the pharmaceutical industry, where it can and has done much more harm.
I've never watched 'TOSH.0', and I think I'm glad, after a review of the show, which seems to feature laughing at the woes of people as displayed on the internet. I didn't like Candid Camera either.
And we made the issue, as Genevieve Bell reveals that women use the internet more than men do, but the corporations still think they have to hook us in some special way. Bah.
And I'm just half-way through.
I think it might be a kick to go
Once it opens, based on the precedent of the creation museum, there will be tour groups of the skeptical, with photos and snarky comments. You won't need to go yourself.
who among us actually signs their business correspondence with XOXOXO
Seriously? Are they 13?
There is a second article on manufacturing coming back to the US. In this one, James Fallows outlines the problems facing companies in China, such as Foxconn, where turnover is extreme because the company is organized in such a way that burnout is inevitable after a fairly short time. It's become a stepping stone of sorts to personal liquidity, after which employees go somewhere else (or back home).
He also makes a point of a highly successful entrepreneur who would have set up his company in California, but was denied a green card and instead went back to Ireland, where his company is now headquartered to do business in China.
Fallows then focuses on new companies in San Francisco, small, agile (sorry for that word), that can react with astonishing speed to market and technical requirements because of developments like 3-D printing for prototypes and also because of available skilled labor. (This reminds me of a story I read about a company in Spain whose entire business is geared for almost instant response to fashion trends. It's all about speed.) Fallows says some of these firms work so fast that there's no time to outsource to China - the work must be local to get to market in time.
It's the same principle cited in the first article - keep the design and manufacturing close together for maximum speed to market.
On a more somber and timely note, Jeffrey Goldberg lays out the case for more guns, not less, along with more gun control. But he's light on the gun control angle and big on the self-defense angle. In light of this past week's events in Connecticut, I'd say he was both timely and out of step. I understand his argument, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and in the pit of my stomach. I'd rather take Australia's path, which seems to have worked for them. although they are an even younger and possibly more macho culture than ours.
There's a nice, short review of reivews, that is, the Essays of Virginia Woolf, volume 6, that makes me want to read the other five volumes some time.
And there's a bit longer review of Salmon Rushdie's Joseph Anton. Rushdie doesn't come off very well in this appraisal of his writing pre- and post-fatwa. The reviewer, Isaac Chotiner, feels the fatwa and the ensuing efforts to stay alive had a very poor effect on Rushdie's writing, his social values, and his ego. Alas.
And that is truly it, for this issue. A pleasure from cover to cover (except for the gun essay).