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Showing posts from September 2, 2018

on the bezos bill

Senator Sanders so called Bezos bill has caused an interesting backlash. Some liberal economists, like Jared Bernstein, think that the bill will result in unemployment. In brief, the bill proposes to charge those companies, like Amazon and Walmart, who make a habit of employing workers at such a low wage that they have to depend on foodstamps. Basically, Sanders bill calls this a social cost that the company should shoulder. Bernstein’s worry is that the workers will be fired, since the company does not want to shoulder that cost. It is an interesting worry, because it depends on the assumption that there is enough slack in the logistical or clerical line that certain workers will be priced out. In other words, X company employs X amount of employees to get a certain task done – stock shelves, load packages onto trucks, etc. But they hire more than they need. Thus, they can fire some without endangering the process by which products are transported, shelved, checked out, etc.

why grow up?

In etymological circles, there is a hot dispute about the etymology of the Latin word elementum. One theory holds that this is an outgrowth from the Etruscan, and the other theory holds that it is definitely, absolutely and completely not. Things get complex. The Oxford English Dictionary blog has a fascinating discussion (fascinating at least for some people) of where elementum comes from, and why it, rather than abecedarium, took up the space for letter or particle. From this discussion, I only want to point out one Harry Potterish thing, which is that elementary school, which is the name for grammar school in the U.S., could easily have been abecedarium school, with a few tweaks in our philological history. In France, the terms are ecole primaire and ecole elementaire – I think the latter is gaining currency due to the occupation of France of an American version of English. And the first cycle begins with CP. That first cycle began two days ago, and swallowed Adam. Sob.


NOBODY READS ANYMORE I was truly psyched, this morning, that the angry internet mob forced David Remnick to disinvite Steve Fascist from the New Yorker's ideas party. And I'm going to use this as a plug for my essay on the Books and Film Globe site , since it is relevant. What I was trying to argue didn't have a snappy label. Now I've come up with one: hyperliteracy. The thing one reads, over and over, is that "nobody reads anymore." N+1, a supposedly lefty site, just featured an editorial that went over the ground with a special hauteur, like the Marquis complaining about the gardner: "Gone are the happy days when we dialed up to submit a comment to , only to be abused by Glenn Greenwald or destroyed — respectfully — by the academics at Crooked Timber. Back then, we could not have imagined feeling nostalgic for the blogosphere… Even those who stridently disagreed shared some basic premises and context… Today’s internet, by contrast, i