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Women and Careers 2006 August 19

Posted by Lily in Society & Culture, Work.
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First of all, a job does not equal a career. There’s a lot of overlap, but a career involves a sense of trajectory and education that a job does not. That said, having a job after childbirth is common — not to mention extremely stressful. Career after motherhood? Not so much.

Like it or not, in business, law, and medicine, there’s a noticeable difference in the career trajectories of mothers and non-mothers. It’s not normal for mothers to have families and be successful at work.

Yes, the ultimate problem is that the workplace demands too much time. However, my experience in business makes me doubt corporations are going to change these policies without political intervention. With that in mind, you can make decisions based on how the world should be or you can make decisions based on how the world is.

Furthermore, this is a must read for women who think that an academic career will insulate them from the family/career tardeoffs most female lawyers have to make. I don’t care if you go to Yale; no one’s special when it comes to the laws of physics and biology. Unless you’re entering law school at 18 (and if you are, you’re probably a Simon’s Rock alumn — which means you probably know me), your childbearing years will conflict with your ability to put out enough publications to make tenure. Academia may not be as bad as business, medicine, and law, but “less bad” is not necessarily “good.”


Crocs, Geeks, and Stupidity 2006 August 1

Posted by Lily in Randomness, Society & Culture, TV/Movies.

TiVo recorded something about Sarchosuchus, a giant 30-to-40-foot crocadile that lived 110 million years ago. Paul Serreno, a palentologist at the University of Chicago, thought it would be a good idea to study live crocs to understand their fossilized cousin. Now, those of you who watch the Discovery Channel on a frequent basis know where this is going: a group of 5 or 8 men grab the animal with ropes, then sit on her, and put tape over her eyes before her put them in a pickup truck and take her to the lab.

My question is this: why don’t they get rope, shoot a tranquilizer into the animal while she’s still in the water, and then pull her out, wrap up her muzzle, and put her in the pickup truck?

Now, because tranqs were developed on mammals, I can understand why that approach may not work. However, if tranqs are ineffective, there’s still another, natural substitute you can use: lactic acid. The documentary noted that crocs produce far more lactic acid much more quickly than most mammals, which is why they didn’t have to restrain the animal after a certain point. But if that’s the case, doesn’t it make more sense to just let the animal thrash around in the water for a little while longer until he tuckers himself out, then drag him out and secure him?

My tentative hypothesis is that it’s a combination of machismo and being at the bottom of the scientific hierarchy: they’re just a bunch of geeky guys who want to prove to themselves that they are even manlier than the nerds upstairs in the physics department.

sXe Conservative Conceptual Metaphors 2006 July 26

Posted by Lily in Society & Culture.

So as most of you know, for the past year I’ve been working with a bunch of straight-edge 20-somethings, one of whom was the drummer for a relatively well-known sXe band. And for those of you who don’t know, straight-edge is a sub-set of punks who don’t drink, smoke, eat meat or dairy, or “do anything socially poisonous.” (Evidently elitism and gambling addictions don’t count.)

During the past three months, I’ve become fascinated by this sub-culture. More specifically, it started when my boss’s sister asked two of my co-workers about what straight-edge was all about. When they answered, I noticed two things. The first was just how flawed their intellectual justifications for their lifestyle choices were. The second was that they talk like little Republicans.

Now, when I say “talk like little Republicans,” I don’t mean that they bitch about SEC regulations or praise Ann Coulter’s latest book. I mean something far more subtle. They refer to causation and authority in similar terms, although from different sides of the power divide. Consequently, they tend to frame issues pertaining to family, women, social relationships, and economics in Republican ways.

At first I thought it was just the two of them. After last night, however, I think it may be a little more widespread. It almost makes me wish I were going to graduate school for anthropology and/or linguistics: I would love to hear what a trained eye sees.

D.C. Needs a Few Good Urban Planners and Designers 2006 July 24

Posted by Lily in 0L, Society & Culture.

Edmund Bacon was a great man. Aside from being one of the few architects in his generation who valued history and a community’s aesthetic appeal over individual architects’ egos, you have to respect a man who protested Philadelphia’s skateboarding ban by skating in Love Park when he was 92.

That said, every now and again he was just flat-out wrong. His belief that cities shouldn’t allow buildings to be taller than the city’s primary historical/political landmark is exceptionally problematic — especially when it comes to D.C.

When I first started apartment hunting two months ago, I couldn’t figure out why studios were going for $1800-2000 a month around campus — and why it was still considered to be a dangerous ghetto. I knew it was gentrifying, and I knew a lot of government types wanted to live in the city, but that didn’t really account for the magnitude of the increase.

However, this weekend shed quite a bit of light on the topic. Unlike my previous excursions, where I hopped out of my car and straight onto the law center’s campus, my brother and I did an extensive walking tour of the area. During our meanderings, he said something that made everything else become clear: “Hey, here’s a weird little factoid about D.C.: Because they won’t let any new buildings be built be higher than the Capitol building, the lower a land’s elevation, the more valuable it is. After all, that way you can have more floors with windows.”

In other words, the city artifically constricts the housing and commercial office supplies, which leads to insanely high rents. In turn, those unnecessarily inflated rents have a huge impact on homelessness, poverty, and the city’s long-term economic growth potential. The lack of mixed-use zoning, walkable blocks, and poorly retro-fitted roads and all the other usual suspects urban planners point to are, in this case, actually secondary issues that merely exascerbate the social problems.

That said, I’m 95% certain that I found a place to live that’s under $1500 a month! (I haven’t sent the security and pro-rated first month’s rent yet, so I’m afraid of jinxing it.)

Ignorance is Bliss 2006 July 24

Posted by blackfelix in Articles, Society & Culture, Work.

The NYTimes recently provided us with these observations on the law firm-cultural institution nexus. The bottom line? Firms are partnering with cultural institutions to expose summer associates to finer artistic venues. Why? It helps the firms woo the summers and enables the institututions to cultivate a roll of future donors. The article notes:

The Summer Art Circle is not the first attempt to match young lawyers and culture. Last year, the Apollo Theater Foundation was host to summer associates from Skadden, Arps at the first-ever “Summer Associates’ Amateur Night at the Apollo.” This year, five firms each paid $3,500 for 50 of their summer associates to enjoy a backstage tour, private reception and center orchestra seats at the show on June 28.

The next day, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland held its first “social networking party” for 10 local nonprofits and summer associates from five of Cleveland’s top law firms.

But will these young legal machines herding in and out of galleries, museums and concert halls turn into a new generation of arts patrons? Can they be convinced that buying art can ease the spiritual burden of 2,500 billable hours a year?

Ms. Ellis says yes and yes. Others are less optimistic.

Unless the art comes in the of the naked female body (a real one, that is), I think I’ll need something a bit more substantive to keep me sane. Just saying is all.