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"Knowledge Transfer"=Train Your Indian Replacement
Here's a sickening story, from USA Today, explaining how job outsourcing works. You get a pink slip, and are offered one more paycheck and some increased severance if you will train your replacement. A new employee, who will be working for about one-fifteenth of your pay, is flown over from India or China for a few weeks, and you get to teach him or her how to do your job. This is called "knowledge transfer."
UPDATE: I removed my angry comment about this story because it didn't make me feel any better. Suffice it to say, labor issues are growing steadily worse as society becomes more mobile and faceless. You cant picket the big factory on the hill because nobody knows precisely where the owners are anymore. And by having security guards escort you out when you're laid off, employers never see your face or feel any consequences of their actions.
UPDATE: See the comment to this post for more on the mechanics of "knowledge transfer."
From Aaron in Japan, the website of a Japanese-speaking Canadian working for Hitachi in Yokohama. Many affectionate bad english quotes, a Dance Dance Revolution page, photos. Almost as good as traveling there.
Just a few more thoughts on this Net Art thing (hey, someone has to do this, if the Times won't).
1. Early Net Art was made by software writers who knew their way around the enabling programs, hence the prevalence of flow charts, clickable steps, etc built into the art. Now, more artists are just working with the tools (image-making, sound-making software) and using the Net as a delivery system. This newer work is less about commenting on, reproducing or "deconstructing" the tools, or the Net itself--although those concerns do (and should) linger, since proprietary programs are controlling and kind of evil.
2. Early Net Art was made in a era of limited bandwidth, hence all the ASCII drawings and text-based art.
3. Bandwidth-hogging current Art on the Net (as opposed to Net Art) is aimed at an "elite net" of broadband users.
4. For a few examples of non/anti/post Net Art please see the links column to the left and my revised BitStreams roster.
Lt. Col. Nate "Heavy Dose of Fear and Violence" Sassaman is back in the news this week. His men allegedly forced some Iraqi curfew violators to jump off a bridge into the Tigris (wearing flex cuffs, apparently), and one of the Iraqis allegedly never came out of the water. Oh yeah, and then Sassaman allegedly covered it up.
But otherwise, things are going well over in Iraq. Looks we'll have a nice orderly transition of power to the new government (Ahmed Chalabi) come June, and then we can all pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. Sure, there are a few problem regions and an "outlaw cleric" to be dealt with, but overall, the Bush team--and especially the "brain" Dick Cheney--has done a superlative job on this thing.
Below is my own reconfiguration of the "MTAA simple" and "Linkoln complex" net art diagrams, a stab at representing graphically the point I was trying to make in a (somewhat rewritten) previous post. File this under art criticism (or trainspotting), not art.
There has been a little controversy in bloggerville over the American mercenaries killed by the mob in Fallujah. Kos, who posts on the liberal website Daily Kos, made a supposedly ill-advised remark in some other blogger's comment section about the deaths, leading right wing law professor Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) to recommend boycotting or censuring Kos's sponsors, many of whom were Democratic candidates. A few advertisers pulled out (don't know if any--or how many--were candidates), but Kos says he's replaced them. Predictably, the unctuous Kerry campaign publically de-linked Kos from its website.
Here's what Kos said about what he said:
There's been much ado about my indifference to the Mercenary deaths in Fallujah a couple days ago. I wrote in some diary comments somewhere that "I felt nothing" and "screw them."Those deaths were terrible but I hate that saying "screw the mercenaries" is being framed as an issue of patriotism or "supporting the troops." These high-paid soldiers of fortune are essentially a private army dedicated to securing Middle East oil assets and protecting corporate interests abroad. And just a reminder: they're shooting Iraqis today; tomorrow they could be over here in the States breaking strikes and busting protesters' heads. This isn't as farfetched as it sounds: the Bush campaign recently hired Vance International, notorious anti-labor thugs, for "private security." This privatization of military functions is a sick trend, and I actually think it's more patriotic to oppose it. Unfortunately the Kerry campaign seems to think we should "support the mercs."
My language was harsh, and, in reality, not true. Fact is, I did feel something. That's why I was so angry.
I was angry that five soldiers -- the real heroes in my mind -- were killed the same day and got far lower billing in the newscasts. I was angry that 51 American soldiers paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly in Iraq in March alone. I was angry that these mercenaries make more in a day than our brave men and women in uniform make in an entire month. I was angry that the US is funding private armies, paying them $30,000 per soldier, per month, while the Bush administration tries to cut our soldiers' hazard pay. I was angry that these mercenaries would leave their wives and children behind to enter a war zone on their own violition.
So I struck back.
[In] Iraq, our men and women in uniform are there under orders, trying to make the best of an impossible situation. The war is not their fault, and I will always defend their honor and bravery to the end of my days. But the mercenary is a whole different deal. They willingly enter a war zone, and do so because of the paycheck. They're not there for humanitarian reasons (I doubt they'd donate half their paycheck to the Red Cross or whatever). They're there because the money is DAMN good. They answer to no one except their CEO. They are dangerous, hence international efforts (however fruitless they may be) to ban their use.
So not only was I wrong to say I felt nothing over their deaths, I was lying. I felt way too much. Nobody deserves to die. But in the greater scheme of things, there are a lot of greater tragedies going on in Iraq (51 last month, plus countless civilians and Iraqi police). That those tragedies are essentially ignored these days is, ultimately, the greatest tragedy of all.