Updates to posts from the past on the FM site:
- Anthropologists go to war
- The biofuel boom goes bust
- Power shifts from men to women
(1) Anthropologists go to war
“Reality Check: Human Terrain Teams“, Foreign Policy, 8 September 2009 — “It sounded like a good idea: Swarms of social scientists would help U.S. troops better understand local customs and avoid cultural mishaps. But is the program creating more problems than it solves?”
This is an update to an interesting story evolving over the past few years. For more about this the FM reference page Anthropologists go to war AND Revolt of the Anthropologists.
(2) The biofuel boom goes bust
“U.S. Biofuel Boom Running on Empty“, Wall Street Journal, 27 August 2009 — Excerpt:
The biofuels revolution that promised to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil is fizzling out. Two-thirds of U.S. biodiesel production capacity now sits unused, reports the National Biodiesel Board. Biodiesel, a crucial part of government efforts to develop alternative fuels for trucks and factories, has been hit hard by the recession and falling oil prices.
The global credit crisis, a glut of capacity, lower oil prices and delayed government rules changes on fuel mixes are threatening the viability of two of the three main biofuel sectors — biodiesel and next-generation fuels derived from feedstocks other than food. Ethanol, the largest biofuel sector, is also in financial trouble, although longstanding government support will likely protect it.
Posts on the FM site about biofuels:
- Fantasy sells so much better than news!, 18 April 2008
- A snapshot of our engines of innovation, as they develop new energy sources, 12 May 2008
- An urban legend to comfort America: alternative energy will save us, 16 September 2008
- The greenest of energy: inedible biofuels, 22 September 2008
For more information see the biofuels section on the FM reference page Peak oil and energy – studies and reports.
(3) Power shifts from men to women
This might be a more important shift than that from West to East: “Women gain as men lose jobs“, USA Today, 2 September 2009 — Excerpt:
Women are on the verge of outnumbering men in the workforce for the first time, a historic reversal caused by long-term changes in women’s roles and massive job losses for men during this recession. Women held 49.83% of the nation’s 132 million jobs in June and they’re gaining the vast majority of jobs in the few sectors of the economy that are growing, according to the most recent numbers available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That’s a record high for a measure that’s been growing steadily for decades and accelerating during the recession. At the current pace, women will become a majority of workers in October or November. … “It was a long historical slog to get to this point,” says labor economist Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
… This time, the boost came from a severe recession that has been brutal on male-dominated professions such as construction and manufacturing. Through June, men have lost 74% of the 6.4 million jobs erased since the recession began in December 2007. Men have lost more than 3 million jobs in construction and manufacturing alone.
The only parts of the economy still growing — health care, education and government — have traditionally hired mostly women. That dominance has increased in part because federal stimulus funding directed money to education, health care and state and local governments. The Postal Service is cutting tens of thousands of unionized, blue-collar jobs dominated by men while new hires are expanding in teaching and other fields dominated by college-educated women.
The gender transformation is especially remarkable in local government’s 14.6 million-person workforce. Cities, schools, water authorities and other local jurisdictions have cut 86,000 men from payrolls during the recession — while adding 167,000 women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is just the begining of a long trend. The consequences will be beyond anything we can imagine. Other posts about this on the FM site:
- Women dominating the ranks of college graduates – What’s the effect on America?, 7 July 2009
- A better answer to “why women outperform men in college?”, 8 July 2009
- Women as soldiers – an update, 25 August 2009
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