"Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks. "
'I Butchered a Pig' - The process of butchering an entire pig while trying not to waste anything, documented by Mefi's own backseatpilot. [via mefi projects]
Supreme Skills is a show on the NHK, presented here dubbed well into English, in which two groups of Japanese engineers who compete to meet the challenge of exceptionally strict production standards according to their talents and natural biases. Eight additional shows are linked inside.
In Supreme Skills! Miracle Tops: May They Spin Forever! [24:47] A group of young satellite engineers and a group of wizened craftsmen compete to produce a top that will spin the longest in an understated drama of rapidly rotating dreams. It showcases the design focuses and production process of both teams as well as the engineering and physics concepts they demonstrate supreme mastery over as we watch the tops spin and the engineers grow increasingly nervous.[more inside]
The role of the modern librarian, and other things. Interviewed by Erica Heilman, in which Jessamyn elaborates on librarians and libraries, the people they help, some of their needs, teaching tech and online skills in a rural community, and the balance of the online and the offline life. [more inside]
Interview with a fast talker. Interview with a hand model. Interview with a Joss Whedon. Interview with the relentlessly positive. Interview with a cat lady. Interview with a racist. [more inside]
Lifehacker asked "What Necessary Adult Skills Were You Never Taught Growing Up?" Since personal hygiene skills was a popular response, the site created "An Adult's Guide to Hygiene (for Those Who Weren't Taught Growing Up)"
The "skills gap" is a myth. So why does it persist? "...by blaming workers for their own plight, the skills myth shifts attention away from the spectacle of soaring profits and bonuses even as employment and wages stagnate. Of course, that may be another reason corporate executives like the myth so much. So we need to kill this zombie, if we can, and stop making excuses for an economy that punishes workers." [more inside]
"Recently, I applied for a retail job. Upon receiving my resume, the owner of the store emailed me asking for a full breakdown of my payment and benefits desires along with my availability. After sending her an email back explaining my negotiations, she then wrote me back asking for a video of me explaining my abilities and what skills I would be able to bring to her boutique. ... This is when I realized that I have been going about applying for jobs all wrong! So here's my new resume."
"Learning to draw primarily comes from practice. Spend ten to twenty minutes every day sketching something new. Don't feel demotivated if you start off as a not-very-good artist." Want proof? Check out the dates of this conceptart.org thread: Over the next sixty pages and seven years of drawing, you'll see how Jonathan Hardesty was working a little bit every day and developing from a beginning hobby artist to an accomplished art teacher. [more inside]
The Swiss Army Tampon - a life-saving wilderness survival tool
Ernest Callenbach, author of the classic environmental novel Ecotopia among other works, died of cancer at 83 on April 16th, leaving behind this document on his computer.
100 skills every man (or woman) should know (with videos!) from Popular Mechanics - learn how to split firewood or solder a wire, among others. Before you look, take the quiz and see how you stack up against people like our own Adam Savage. Need more? Esquire offers a more touchy-feely list of skills; the Art of Manliness has a list that includes how to land a plane and how to survive a street fight; and also a (PDF) book listing medical skills for surviving the end of the world. And if you prefer the fictional, there is also the classic list of skills from Robert Heinlein and the skills of a certain TV stuntman.
What do making a poultice out of deer fat, IDDQD & IDKFA, and balancing the tonearm on a turntable have in common? They are obsolete skills.
Much of the “jobs of the future” rhetoric surrounding the eagerness to end shop class and get every warm body into college, thence into a cubicle, implicitly assumes that we are heading to a “post-industrial” economy in which everyone will deal only in abstractions. Yet trafficking in abstractions is not the same as thinking...
The Value of Algebra: "Gabriela, sooner or later someone's going to tell you that algebra teaches reasoning. This is a lie propagated by, among others, algebra teachers."
Teenagers find the internet a frustrating experience A survey in the north east of England finds that teenagers are increasingly being alienated in their online experience because they aren't being given the skillsets to cope with finding or using the information. Seems to be the old story of schools buying computers but the kids not being engaged enough on how to use them (which has been the case since I was stuck in front of an Acorn Archimedes fifteen years go). Here is a similar article from Australia which describes how their eductation system is coping with the issue.