Machines to ‘Do Half of All Work Tasks by 2025’: World Economic Forum

Republicans Already Packing Lower Courts ; Scientists Are Teaching Dogs to Sniff Out COVID-19 ; and More Picks

automation forecast, workplace, jobs, inequality, 2025
The author writes, “Half of all work tasks will be handled by machines by 2025 in a shift likely to worsen inequality, a World Economic Forum report has forecast. The think tank said a ‘robot revolution’ would create 97 million jobs worldwide but destroy almost as many, leaving some communities at risk. Routine or manual jobs in administration and data processing were most at threat of automation, WEF said. But it [also] said new jobs would emerge in care, big data and the green economy.” Photo credit: ICAPlants / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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The 8th Wonder of the World (Gerry)

From the Verge: “Hopes were high among the employees who joined Foxconn’s Wisconsin project in the summer of 2018. In June, President Donald Trump had broken ground on an LCD factory he called ‘the eighth wonder of the world.’ The scale of the promise was indeed enormous: a $10 billion investment from the Taiwanese electronics giant, a 20 million-square-foot manufacturing complex, and, most importantly, 13,000 jobs. Which is why new recruits arriving at the 1960s office building Foxconn had purchased in downtown Milwaukee were surprised to discover they had to provide their own office supplies.”

Republicans Already Packing Lower Courts, Even in California (Reader Steve)

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “While Vice President Mike Pence and fellow Republicans accuse Democrats of plotting to ‘pack’ the Supreme Court with additional members if they win next month’s election, there’s a Republican strategy already in effect — it could be labeled court-packing of a different sort — to fill scores of lifetime judgeships in the nation’s federal courts. The seats on U.S. district and appellate courts became vacant when judges retired during President Barack Obama’s second term. But Senate Republicans, in most cases, refused to consider Obama’s nominees — sometimes invoking Senate rules they’ve since repealed — and held the seats open for the next president, who turned out to be Donald Trump.”

Microfibers From Blue Jeans Are Polluting Arctic Oceans (Dana)

The author writes, “Just one pair of blue jeans sheds a staggering 56,000 microfibers per wash on average, according to new research, and that immense amount of microscopic waste seems to be accumulating in the Arctic. Every time a piece of clothing is washed, small fuzzy bits come loose and go out with the wash. These ‘microfibers,’ tiny strands of organic or synthetic material less than five millimeters long, flow out with the wastewater into our rivers, oceans and environments. Together with microplastics — teeny pieces of plastic — these miniscule pieces of our built environment are quickly becoming one of the most prevalent sources of pollution in our oceans.”

‘It’s a Game for Them.’ Scientists Around the World Are Teaching Dogs to Sniff Out COVID-19 (Dana)

The author writes, “Scientists have long known that people sick with certain diseases emit particular odors — different infections affect different parts of the body in different ways, often producing specific combinations of volatile compounds. Dogs have shown a remarkable ability to pick up on those airborne chemicals, detecting when people are infected with malaria, infectious bacteria, and even certain types of cancer. Now scientists are hoping that dogs’ keen sense of smell, 10,000 times better than that of humans, can help them identify people carrying COVID-19, too.”

Our Least Favorite Vegetables Could Do Us the Most Good (Mili)

The author writes, “New research has shown some of our least favourite vegetables could be the most beneficial when it comes to preventing advanced blood vessel disease. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the research has found higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, is associated with less extensive blood vessel disease in older women.”

Paleontologists See Stars as Software Bleeps Scientific Terms (Peg)

The author writes, “The trouble started when Thomas R. Holtz Jr., an expert on the Tyrannosaurus rex, typed ‘Hell Creek Formation,’ the rock unit in Montana where the remains of North America’s last giant dinosaurs have been found. … But Mr. Holtz was stunned when instead of the word ‘Hell,’ four asterisks appeared in the chat. Puzzled, he described the issue on Twitter. Colleagues chimed in with other words that had been rejected by the software system set up to filter out profanities: knob, pubis, penetrate and stream, among others. ‘Most funny to us was the censorship of “bone,” which, after all, are the main thing we work with,’ Mr. Holtz said.”

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