During this morning's rowing I caught a lovely little short story on EscapePod - The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu read by Ragan Khanna. Nice fantasy and the reading is good. It starts about 3 minutes in and finishes before the end of the podcast - about 25 minutes total. The text is there if you prefer that (Jheri:-)
EscapePod has scifi-ish stories roughly once a week and some are good. A nice way to spend some of my Saturday time on the rowing machine.
As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today.
Well, not exactly. But you won’t have it easy.
First, you’re going to have a hell of a hard time finding a job. The job market you’re heading into is still bad. Fewer than half of the graduates from last year’s class have as yet found full-time jobs. Most are still looking.
That’s been the pattern over the last three graduating classes: It’s been taking them more than a year to land the first job. And those who still haven’t found a job will be competing with you, making your job search even harder.
Contrast this with the class of 2008, whose members were lucky enough to get out of here and into the job market before the Great Recession really hit. Almost three-quarters of them found jobs within the year.
You’re still better off than your friends who didn’t graduate. Overall, the unemployment rate among young people (21 to 24 years old) with four-year college degrees is now 6.4 percent. With just a high school degree, the rate is double that.
But even when you get a job, it’s likely to pay peanuts.
Last year’s young college graduates lucky enough to land jobs had an average hourly wage of only $16.81, according to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute. That’s about $35,000 a year – lower than the yearly earnings of young college graduates in 2007, before the Great Recession. The typical wage of young college graduates dropped 4.6 percent between 2007 and 2011, adjusted for inflation.
Presumably this means that when we come out of the gravitational pull of the recession your wages will improve. But there’s a longer-term trend that should concern you.
The decline in the earnings of college grads really began more than a decade ago. Young college grads with jobs are earnings 5.4 percent less than they did in the year 2000, adjusted for inflation.
Don’t get me wrong. A four-year college degree is still valuable. Over your lifetimes, you’ll earn about 70 percent more than people who don’t have the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today.
But this parchment isn’t as valuable as it once was. So much of what was once considered “knowledge work” – the kind that college graduates specialize in – can now be done more cheaply by software. Or by workers with college degrees in India or East Asia, linked up by Internet.
For many of you, your immediate problem is that pile of debt on your shoulders. In a few moments, when you march out of here, those of you who have taken out college loans will owe more than $25,000 on average. Last year, ten percent of college grads with loans owed more than $54,000. Your parents have also taken out loans to help you. Loans to parents for the college educations of their children have soared 75 percent since the academic year 2005-2006.
Outstanding student debt now totals over $1 trillion. That’s more than the nation’s total credit-card debt.
The extraordinary rise in student debt is due to two related facts: the cost of a college education continues to increase faster than inflation, and state and local spending per college student continues to drop – this year reaching a 25-year low.
But this can’t go on. If unemployment stays high for many years, if the wages of young college grads continue to fall, if the costs of college continue to rise and state and local spending per college student continues to drop, and if the college debt burden therefore continues to explode – well, you do the math.
At some point in the not-too-distant future these lines cross. College is no longer a good investment.
That’s a problem for you and for those who will follow you into these hallowed halls, but it’s also a problem for America as a whole.
You see, a college education isn’t just a private investment. It’s also a public good. This nation can’t be competitive globally, nor can we have a vibrant and responsible democracy, without a large number of well-educated people.
So it’s not just you who are burdened by these trends. If they continue, we’re all f*cked.
Those of you in the Southwestern US should be alert for the annular solar eclipse this afternoon.. Sadly the moon is too far out in its orbit and its apparent size is smaller than the Sun's - so the eclipse will not be total. But the views are still amazing. The Sun will still be very bright, so use eye protection or watch projections of the light though leaves on trees, holes punched in paper and so on. If you can get welder's glasses a number 14 filter (or darker) is about right.
For many the eclipse will still be underway at sunset. If you have an unobstructed view of the West this may be the best time to watch as the colors of sunset and the weird spectacle of the eclipse will combine to produce amazing views.
Those of us too far away can watch in real time online. Sky and Telescope has a listing of streaming video sites. Many have views through nice solar telescopes and some at interesting wavelengths of light. The Hydrogen-alpha line is particularly beautiful.
First I stress this is only a single study, but it is interesting.
What if the timing of when food was eaten was as or more important than the type of food?
A study appeared in the May 16th issue of Cell Metabolism that appears to have shown a serious benefit for mice that fastest for 16 hours (straight) a day compared with those who could eat at will.
Both groups ate the same amount of food, but the fasting group was able to handle fat much better.
So if you want to experiment, this seems simple enough ... if you have the will power and promise to be kind to those around you.
I only know the estingboatterns of a few, but some who have had no weight problems seem to not be snackers - just three meals a day at "normal" times. It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation
Perhaps they are eating during these efficient times.
And when I was a kid we first ate at breakfast around 7am and then in the evening around 6 with very little snacking until I became a teen.
One has to wonder if the pre-TV era was marked by 12 hour daily fasts?
I'm going to bet that this isn't a silver bullet, but that timing is important at some level and partial fasting can't hurt (unless you go crazy).
But if it is very important the snack food and restaurant industries need a bit of re-thinking. And there is this other question of what is the impact of the timing of exercise.
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
Department of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
Received 7 February 2012. Revised 18 March 2012. Accepted 25 April 2012. Available online 16 May 2012.
Published online: May 17, 2012.
While diet-induced obesity has been exclusively attributed to increased caloric intake from fat, animals fed a high-fat diet (HFD) ad libitum (ad lib) eat frequently throughout day and night, disrupting the normal feeding cycle. To test whether obesity and metabolic diseases result from HFD or disruption of metabolic cycles, we subjected mice to either ad lib or time-restricted feeding (tRF) of a HFD for 8
hr per day. Mice under tRF consume equivalent calories from HFD as those with ad lib access yet are protected against obesity, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation and have improved motor coordination. The tRF regimen improved CREB, mTOR, and AMPK pathway function and oscillations of the circadian clock and their target genes' expression. These changes in catabolic and anabolic pathways altered liver metabolome and improved nutrient utilization and energy expenditure. We demonstrate in mice that tRF regimen is a nonpharmacological strategy against obesity and associated diseases.
► Time-restricted feeding improves clock and nutrient sensor functions ► tRF prevents obesity, diabetes, and liver diseases in mice on a high-fat diet ► Nutrient type and time of feeding determine liver metabolome and nutrient homeostasis ► tRF raises bile acid production and energy expenditure and reduces inflammation
A few months ago Mark Bittman tried it and approved as a way to get a good enough meat substitute that has a much lighter resource footprint. Animals are inefficient mechanisms for turning food into -- well -- food. In theory it will be cheaper than the real thing (probably not at first).