blogging

Paris’ street-sweeping heroes

“A seemingly humble job often belies the richness of a man’s life.” Words and photos to remind us of the importance of work that is often undervalued or unnoticed, and the workers who take pride in doing that work.

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Photography often makes me adopt some strange positions. Such was the case when I slithered on my belly along Paris’ Seine river to frame this shot.

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So engrossed was I in my task that I barely registered the sound of the street-sweeping vehicle approaching from behind, nor did I notice it stopping.

“Is everything alright, madame?” I saw the man’s boots first, then his uniform, and finally his masked faced. I felt a bit stupid as I stood up and explained that I was suffering for my art taking a photo.

He sometimes took photos too, he said, pulling out his phone. He flipped through shots he had taken while running an 850-kilometer (528-mile) race last year to raise funds for displaced children. “I came in third in my age group,” he beamed. “Wait. Let me show you …” There he was, standing on the winners’ podium. “And this is…

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All About Work’s Fifth Birthday

From “Scriptores historiae Augustae” (Milan, 1475). Photo credit: University of Glasgow Libraries on Flickr

All About Work turned five years old on March 18. Usually I do a photo with my minikin to mark the blogiversary, but this year has been exceptionally busy – so in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this beautiful Roman numeral five from an Italian illuminated manuscript.

To date, the blog has had more than 148,000 views. The most-read posts of all time are: (more…)

Friday Follow-Ups

Updates on two posts from earlier this year:

  • And on a related note, two weeks earlier the CBC ombudsman issued a ruling that Lang violated the CBC’s conflict of interest policy, by not revealing personal connections to the Royal Bank of Canada before she interviewed the bank’s CEO. The text of that ruling is here.

Small Business letter to the Telegraph; an attempt to defraud the electorate?

I’ve written a couple of blog posts about media outlets mindlessly reporting information without bothering to verify it first. Here, sadly, is another example. The Daily Telegraph newspaper in England ran a letter it claimed was signed by “5000 small business owners” expressing support for Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party in the upcoming UK general election. Blogger Alex Andreou decided to follow up some of the names of the signatories to the letter, and discovered….that it was not quite what was claimed. And now other bloggers and writers are finding other discrepancies and errors. Good on Alex, and shame on the Telegraph for its carelessness.

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How the letter from small business owners to the Telegraph in support of the Tories fell apart

UPDATE 21:00 The list is back up. Scanning it for changes. It was down for a good twenty minutes, then briefly up then disappeared again and now it is back up. No possibility of mistaken http, as it was open on my desktop when it suddenly refreshed to this. What is going on?

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UPDATE 20:30 on 28/4: The Telegraph has finally taken down the list of businesses which purported to have signed the letter. The link is now dead. The letter is still on their website, but the link to the signatories leads nowhere. No statement or apology has been issued as far as I am aware – from The Telegraph, CCHQ or Karen Brady.

The Charity Commission has become involved now, writing to charities it has identified from the list. A spokesperson…

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All About Work’s Third Birthday

Today marks the third anniversary of the launch of All About Work. Writing and managing the blog has been a tremendous learning experience for me, as well as being a lot of fun.

In the blog’s three years of operation, its posts have received a total of nearly 95,000 hits. The most popular posts to date have been: (more…)

“All About Work” Is Taking a Holiday Break

For the next few weeks, All About Work will be taking its annual end-of-year holiday break.

The blog has been a very busy place this year; thanks to all the readers and supporters that visited it and participated over the past 12 months. The five most popular posts of 2014 are: (more…)

Jellyfish Journalism Fail

I’ve written a number of posts about media misreporting of scientific research, and here – sadly – is another example of the same problem, from blogger and oceanographer Dr. Craig McClain. His description of different news sources progressively misreporting his story about a jellyfish – and getting the facts more and more wrong – would be funny if it weren’t so depressing.

And to further contextualize his tale of woe, the Daily Mail website – which was responsible for some of the major errors as the story was circulated – is one of the most visited news websites in the world. So who knows how far this misinformation has spread, and who knows what else out there is so very, very wrong?

Sigh.

(Thanks to science writer Kathleen Raven for her Tweet that led me to Dr. McClain’s article.)

How the Media Isolate Academics: A Response to Nicholas Kristof

Nicholas Kristof usually produces thoughtful and insightful commentary in his columns in the New York Times. However, his recent article entitled “Professors, We Need You!” was such a lazy piece of writing that I found myself wondering whether his byline had been stuck on the column by mistake. The article trotted out very broad and very tired stereotypes of academic disciplines being too isolated from reality, and academics themselves being too wrapped up in their own self-serving work to engage with society or with the public.

Other blogging academics such as the political scientists at The Monkey Cage, the administrator at Confessions of a Community College Dean, and the scientist at Doing Good Science have already dissected the errors in Kristof’s article, along with pointing out the article’s failure to mention the structural, occupational and institutional factors creating the kind of academic work that Kristof denigrates. However, what I want to discuss is (more…)

Tell Someone “No”, Get Called a “Whore” – #StandingwithDNLee #batsignal

DN Lee received a request to write for a blog – for “exposure”, not compensation – and when she refused, the blog contact wrote back calling her an “urban whore”. Her video response is brilliant!! Kudos to her for standing up not only against blogs that expect contributors to work for free, but also against such inexcusably rude treatment.

And check out Isis The Scientist’s following post, in which she discovered that DN Lee’s post about her experience mysteriously disappeared from Scientific American‘s website after DN publicly told her story. Kudos to Isis as well for bringing this ridiculousness to our attention.

Why (Most) Business Books Suck

Whenever I go to a bookstore, I always take a look at the section with business books, and inevitably I walk away feeling discouraged or mad. I couldn’t really put my finger on why, until I read this article by political scientist Andrew Gelman and this response by his blogging colleague Henry Farrell. Gelman and Farrell have identified some of the things that really annoy me about popular-press business books, and I’m going to (more…)