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Living in an Extreme Meritocracy Is Exhausting - The Atlantic
"Even if models could be perfected, what does it mean to live in a culture that defers to data, that sorts and judges with unrelenting, unforgiving precision? This is a mentality that stems from Americans’ unabiding faith in meritocracy, that the most-talented and hardest-working should—and will—rise to the top. But such a mindset comes with a number of tradeoffs, some of which undermine American culture’s most cherished egalitarian ideals.

First, it is important to recognize that the word “meritocracy,” coined by the British sociologist Michael Young in his 1958 book The Rise of the Meritocracy, originally described not some idealized state of perfect fairness, but a cruel dystopia. The idea was that a society evaluated perfectly and continuously by talent and effort would see democracy and equality unravel, and a new aristocracy emerge, as the talented hoarded resources and the untalented came to see themselves as solely to blame for their low status. Eventually, the masses would cede their political power and rights to the talented tenth—a new boss just as unforgiving as the old one, Young suggested.

The new technology of meritocracy goes hand in hand with the escalating standards for what merit is. To hold down a decent job in today’s economy, it is no longer enough to work hard. Workers need brains, creativity, and initiative. They need salesmanship and the ability to self-promote, and, of course, a college degree. And they need to prove themselves on an ever-expanding list of employer-administered metrics."
culture  psychology  education  failure  parenting 
10 hours ago by pacpost
Men Don’t Want to Be Nurses. Their Wives Agree. - The New York Times
And it is not only blue-collar men who recoil at taking traditionally female jobs.

Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has studied middle-aged white-collar professionals who have lost their jobs. He found that some men who might have been willing to consider lower-paid jobs in typically feminine fields encountered resistance from their wives, who urged them to keep looking.
gender  work  culture 
11 hours ago by ramitsethi
The Disadvantages of Being Stupid - The Atlantic
"But even as high intelligence is increasingly treated as a job prerequisite, evidence suggests that it is not the unalloyed advantage it’s assumed to be. The late Harvard Business School professor Chris Argyris argued that smart people can make the worst employees, in part because they’re not used to dealing with failure or criticism. Multiple studies have concluded that interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and other “emotional” qualities can be better predictors of strong job performance than conventional intelligence, and the College Board itself points out that it has never claimed SAT scores are helpful hiring filters. (As for the NFL, some of its most successful quarterbacks have been strikingly low scorers on the Wonderlic, including Hall of Famers Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly.) Moreover, many jobs that have come to require college degrees, ranging from retail manager to administrative assistant, haven’t generally gotten harder for the less educated to perform."

"Confronted with evidence that our approach is failing—high-school seniors reading at the fifth-grade level, abysmal international rankings—we comfort ourselves with the idea that we’re taking steps to locate those underprivileged kids who are, against the odds, extremely intelligent. Finding this tiny minority of gifted poor children and providing them with exceptional educational opportunities allows us to conjure the evening-news-friendly fiction of an equal-opportunity system, as if the problematically ungifted majority were not as deserving of attention as the “overlooked gems.”"
politics  psychology  culture 
11 hours ago by pacpost
The Golden Age of Restaurants in America - The Atlantic
"The golden age of restaurants is similarly beset by cancellations. The experience of being an affluent diner in New York, Washington, D.C., or San Francisco is something like gastronomic nirvana. But the number of restaurants in all three cities is now falling amidst cut-throat competition, according to NPD data. Restaurants hovering around a 3.5 rating are on the razor’s edge of success and total failure; a half-point rise in Yelp ratings for such restaurants can increase sell-out evenings by about 50 percent. These mediocre-rated restaurants operate on such slim margins that a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage can seriously increase the likelihood of closing."
food  culture  business 
11 hours ago by pacpost
BBC - Future - The secret to a long and healthy life? Eat less
Permanently cutting the daily calories you consume may turn out to have a profound effect on your future life, according to some tantalising scientific studies.
weight  culture  food  health 
12 hours ago by ramitsethi
Build a Boat (and a classroom culture) | Chemical Education Xchange
An activity that requires students to attempt to build a boat with the best Cost / Weight ratio in a limited amount of time. Nice introduction to modeling and classroom culture.
culture  activity  modeling 
15 hours ago by benwildeboer
MIT Visualizing Cultures
This project allows students to gain access to historic images and use technology to analyze and present images that "open windows on modern history."

Looks pretty solid
SocialStudies  images  projects  culture 
15 hours ago by benwildeboer
Six 'uniquely' human traits now found in animals - New Scientist
Several traits that have been described as unique to humans have been found in animal populations as well.
biology  science  culture  personality  morality  emotion  animals  traits 
15 hours ago by benwildeboer
Why You Don't Believe In Facts, And How To Fix It
> This is the transcript of a talk I gave at Re:publica in Berlin at the 9th of May 2017. You can find all the slides in that insanely fast GIF up there as PDFs on Github. You can also find a video recording of this talk on YouTube.
video  culture  politics 
18 hours ago by sechilds

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