I arranged my office furniture so colleagues could not stop to talk | Jonathan Wolff

Once academic work was collaborative and enjoyable now for many its a series of lonely billable hours Folkore has it that the reason why the academic year is punctuated with a long summer break is to allow students to return home to help with the harvest. I suppose there must be a few students who still do this, but, frankly, it would seem to be something of a minority pursuit. These days the main purpose of the break is to allow universities to maximise their commercial revenue through summer rentals, and to provide purveyors of stationery a second annual opportunity to market their wares, and especially new diaries. Those academic year diaries have missed a trick, though, by not having …

These 30 Pics Show How Dystopic Our Society Already Is, And Its Pretty Terrifying (New Pics)

Brilliant, isn’t it? But it’s ok, there’s always Facebook to scroll through (Bored Panda too, obvs), Netflix to watch, chemical-laden meals to consume, manufactured outrages over a mermaid’s skin color to comment on… who’s got time for thoughtful resistance? Even those that think they are resisting by electing bigoted billionaires, bankers and Eton toffs to represent them are simply playing into their hands, as their dishonest, scaremongering claptrap divides us ever further over political, racial and gender lines! So if you didn’t find the sinister scenes of mindless automatons chanting #2 Real Problem #3 This Is Caleb. Caleb Has A Degree In Zoology And Asks His Customers What Their Favorite Animal Is. He Gives Them Facts While Completing Their Orders! …

Retirement should not mean hardship but many older Americans live in poverty

As inequality has grown, American seniors have been exposed to financial distress in ways that often go unnoticed Vivian Majors spent her life cleaning houses while her husband, Martin, worked as a carpenter. Their bodies broke down in their 60s. She is now 71, living on her own and struggling to pay her bills. He is in a nursing home and has Parkinsons disease. She survives on a $960 monthly social security check and $50 in food stamps. Hardened by years of physically taxing work that left her hovering around the poverty line, Majors, now retired, is girding herself for more years of financial hardship. Partnership Elderly poverty was supposed to be a thing of the past. Social security supposedly …

Parents face shock rise in childcare costs as government cuts bite

Up to half of nurseries set to close or reduce services they offer, survey warns Parents will be forced to pay higher fees for childcare this year because of a lack of government funding, new research suggests. Nurseries and childminders are being driven out of business, while staff feel stressed, demoralised and even suicidal. The burden of higher wage bills while subjecting them to a real-terms funding cut. A survey of EYA members, seen by the Observer, suggests two-fifths are likely to reduce staff over the next year as a result of this under-funding. Nearly half of providers fear they will go out of business in the next 12 months and 81% say they are so stressed about financial viability …