Saturday Reads Around the Internets - Big Brother Strikes Again

shocknews Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.


Target Knows You're Pregnant Before You've Told Anyone

The never ending invasion into our privacy knows no bounds. We just saw Google ignoring browser privacy settings and even when you delete cookies, flash cookies and even use proxy servers, you're being tracked. For those who have strong boundaries this is just irritating as hell. It's also stupid in terms of statistics. One percent, which is the typical dismissed exception of these profiling algorithms, equates to 3 million people in the United States.

Why Did the Unemployment Rate Drop When Only 120,000 Jobs Were Added?

The headlines blare unemployment rate lowest since March 2009! Yet November only added 120,000 jobs, barely enough, as usual, to keep up with population growth. So, how could the official unemployment rate drop -0.4 percentage points, from 9.0% to 8.6% in a month?

Let's look at the data.

Where are the Jobs? Offshore Outsourced of Course!

A new study by the Hackett Group, Acceleration of Offshoring Trend Driving Loss of Millions of Finance and IT Jobs in U.S. and Europe is something everyone should read if you're wondering where the jobs are.

On top of 2.8 million jobs lost from 2000 to 2010 in finance, IT, HR and procurement, The Hackett Group projects that another 1.0 million will disappear by 2014 in North America and Europe, representing a total reduction of 46% of jobs in these functions since 2000.

Scenes from the World Food Crisis

Events of the past two years have made food an increasingly worrisome item in household budgets and in the budgets of nations. In early 2008, food prices to the American consumer were 25 percent greater than two years earlier. This reflected dramatic increases in farm beef prices, while farm corn prices were double and wheat prices triple those of early 2006. Clearly something new has happened to a food market which has historically fed Americans well and for a uniquely small proportion of their income.

A series of events was associated with these price adjustments. In 2005 the U.S. dollar began to depreciate and a major realignment of international currencies set underway. (1) [A series of crop failures and poor harvests around the world magnified the food problem]. Finally, Congress adopted legislation that drastically altered the framework of American agriculture....
- Foreign Affairs (2)

Too Many People - Too Little Work

One of the current problems in the developed world is that there is too little work to go around. As the two biggest areas of traditional enterprise (manufacturing and agriculture) have become increasingly mechanized, the number of people needed has declined.

In much of the industrialized world agriculture now requires under 5% of the workforce. Many industrial firms typically run at 70-80% of capacity. Societies have adapted in two ways, the most commonly considered is the rise of services, the other is the creation of new products of marginal utility. Even these steps have not solved the problem, the unemployment rate is kept at a modest level, but the percentage of people employed continues to decline. The two numbers don't track because official reporting agencies exclude various categories of the non-working from the labor force.