- Independent Work
Working nine to five for a single employer bears little resemblance to the way a substantial share of the workforce makes a living today. Millions of people assemble various income streams and work independently, rather than in structured payroll jobs. This is hardly a new phenomenon, yet it has never been well measured in official statistics and the resulting data gaps prevent a clear view of a large share of labor-market activity. To better understand the independent workforce and what motivates the people who participate in it, the McKinsey Global Institute surveyed some 8,000 respondents across Europe and the United States. We asked about their income in the past 12 months-encompassing primary work, as well as any other income-generating activities, and about their professional satisfaction and aspirations for work in the future. The resulting report, Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy, finds that up to 162 million people in Europe and the United States-or 20 to 30 percent of the working-age population – engage in some form of independent work. While demographically diverse, independent workers largely fit into four segments (exhibit): free agents, who actively choose independent work and derive their primary income from it; casual earners, who use independent work for supplemental income and do so by choice; reluctants, who make their primary living from independent work but would prefer traditional jobs; and the financially strapped, who do supplemental independent work out of necessity.
- Tax on Meat
A day would come, Percy Shelley predicted in 1813, when “the monopolizing eater of animal flesh would no longer destroy his constitution by eating an acre at a meal”. He explained: “The quantity of nutritious vegetable matter consumed in fattening the carcass of an ox would afford 10 times the sustenance if gathered immediately from the bosom of the earth.” Two hundred years later, mainstream agronomists and dietitians have caught up with the poet. A growing scientific consensus agrees that feeding cereals and beans to animals is an inefficient and extravagant way to produce human food, that there is a limited amount of grazing land, that the world will be hard-pressed to supply a predicted population of 9 billion people with a diet as rich in meat as the industrialized world currently enjoys, and that it’s not a very healthy diet anyway. On top of this, livestock contribute significantly towards global warming, generating 14.5% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions, according to one much-quoted estimate from the United Nations. Now that the problem has been identified, the challenge is to persuade people in wealthy countries to eat less meat. That might seem a tall order, but governments have successfully persuaded people to quit smoking through a combination of public information, regulation and taxation.
- Ecology and Climatology
Ecology is the study of interactions of organisms among themselves and with their environment. It seeks to understand patterns in nature (e.g., the spatial and temporal distribution of organisms) and the processes governing those patterns. Climatology is the study of the physical state of the atmosphere – its instantaneous state or weather, its seasonal-to-interannual variability, its long-term average condition or climate, and how climate changes over time. These two fields of scientific study are distinctly different. Ecology is a discipline within the biological sciences and has as its core the principle of natural selection. Climatology is a discipline within the geophysical sciences based on applied physics and fluid dynamics. Both, however, share a common history.
The origin of these sciences is attributed to Aristotle and Theophrastus and their books Meteorological and Enquiry into Plants, respectively, but their modern beginnings trace back to natural history and plant geography. Seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century naturalists and geographers saw changes in vegetation as they explored new regions and laid the foundation for the development of ecology and climatology as they sought explanations for these geographic patterns. Alexander von Humboldt, in the early 1800s, observed that widely separated regions have structurally and functionally similar vegetation if their climates are similar. Alphonse de Candolle hypothesized that latitudinal zones of tropical, temperate, and arctic vegetation are caused by temperature and in 1874 proposed formal vegetation zones with associated temperature limits.
- Language Teaching Approaches
Over the years, language teachers have alternated between favoring teaching approaches that focus primarily on language use and those that focus on language forms or analysis. The alternation has been due to a fundamental disagreement concerning whether one learns to communicate in a second language by communicating in that language (such as in an immersion experience) or whether one learns to communicate in a second language by learning the lexicogrammar – the words and grammatical structures – of the target language. In other words, the argument has been about two different means of achieving the same end.
As with any enduring controversy, the matter is not easily resolved. For one thing, there is evidence to support both points of view. It is not uncommon to find learners who, for whatever reason, find themselves in a new country or a new region of their own country, who need to learn a new language, and who do so without the benefit of formal instruction. If they are postpubescent, they may well retain an accent of some kind, but they can pick up enough language to satisfy their communicative needs. In fact, some are natural acquirers who become highly proficient in this manner. In contrast, there are learners whose entire exposure to the new language comes in the form of classroom instruction in lexicogrammar. Yet they too achieve a measure of communicative proficiency, and certain of these learners become highly proficient as well. What we can infer from this is that humans are amazingly versatile learners and that some people have a natural aptitude for acquiring languages and will succeed no matter what the circumstances.
- Greenland Shark
An international team of scientists is set to go to Arctic to investigate the Greenland shark longevity mystery. The shark is known to be the longest living vertebrate animal on the planet Earth. One of the members is Dr. Holy Shiels, a physiologist and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. She will be the only British scientist in the team to study Greenland shark, which is believed to be the vertebrate animals and mammals with the longest living. The shark is reported to have lived for more than 200 years, and possibly close to or more than 400 years. The shark is both hunter and a scavenger, that feed on seals and other animals including polar bears and whales. It is also known as one of the largest sharks, reaching to five and a half meters (1 8 feet), very close to the size of a great white. The research team is commissioned by the Greenland government and will conduct the research on board the multi-purpose research vessel Sanna, operated by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. A Greenland shark is estimated to be able to live for 400 years according to Science Magazine. Professor Shiels expects to gather sufficient data of Greenland shark, a top predator in the Arctic sea. She wanted to find a clue of how Greenland shark is able to survive in the deep sea of the Arctic sea, by examining how its heart and circulation work in its normal habitat, as she specializes in the cardiovascular function. “Greenland sharks are classified as data deficient,” Shiels said. “This means that we don’t know enough to put measures in place to protect them from over-fishing, pollution or climate change.”
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