The news of the day
Today's New York Times had several interesting articles:
First up, I was very amused to see that the French are freaking out over Sarkozy's proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
If two years really is a big deal, why does anyone act like doing two more years of postdoc should just fly by? Here's a whole country of people who agree that life is short, and two years longer than you planned is a very long time.
Meanwhile, I wonder if I could have gotten into a better college if my parents had known that I would have been better off studying somewhere other than my bedroom. Maybe that would have changed the entire course of my life? At the time when I was getting ready to apply, my parents seemed to think I should live and die by every single grade - especially if it wasn't an A.
Still, there are apparently federal programs for retraining those in the tech sector whose jobs have been outsourced overseas (this is mentioned briefly at the end of the article). What programs, I wonder? And why is it important to fund retraining for people who didn't keep their skills current and competitive? And why would we have programs for people whose jobs got outsourced when we don't have hiring programs that favor citizens over non-citizens?
Speaking of, I recently learned that there are services to help overeducated immigrants find jobs in the US. Of course, I'm not eligible for these, because I'm a citizen. I'm not aware of similar programs to help underemployed, overeducated non-immigrants find jobs in the US.
And because it's almost 9/11, I couldn't help reading this article about a girl who was killed that day and her family's efforts to make the world a better place in her stead. But I couldn't help thinking what a waste it was, that she apparently disliked the job that took her to the WTC every day, and had phoned her mother on 9/10 to say she planned to quit. The story implies there must have been some family pressure for her to work there in the first place, and she only worked there a few months before realizing she hated it. Sure, only a few months, but you never know when tragedy might hit.
In other news, I found this series of essays written by a mother who is treating her autistic son with marijuana very interesting. I think it's a perfect illustration of how most Americans come to find out about "alternative" treatments and how the medical establishment is often less helpful than anecdata from other patients.