Theoretical Work – Radical Philosophy Sat, 18 Sep 2021 13:34:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Theoretical Work – Radical Philosophy 32 32 China wants concert workers to have more power, but not too much Sat, 18 Sep 2021 12:30:09 +0000

The moves also bolster Xi’s massive efforts to exert more control over one of the country’s few strategic sectors dominated by private capital.

China’s human resources ministry last Friday summoned 10 of the country’s largest digital platform companies, including internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., ride-sharing service provider Didi Global Inc. on terms for the tens of millions of contract workers who drive the nation’s consumer economy.

Meeting officials reminded technical executives of instructions Beijing issued in mid-July to improve wages and benefits for concert workers, and to adjust algorithms used to manage workers to lighten workloads. and reduce penalties for late arrivals or deliveries.

Under Xi, the Chinese state has surprised analysts and volatile markets by taking aggressive action against some of the country’s biggest tech companies in recent months, accusing them of violating antitrust, data security and work.

Increasingly, Beijing has presented its actions as the prelude to a new stage in China’s development, one in which the enormous wealth generated during the country’s prosperous years is distributed more evenly.

At least some companies appeared to be responsive. On the same day as the meeting, Meituan posted his algorithm rules on social media and pledged to relax them, such as designating a range for on-time deliveries instead of strict deadlines.

Meituan is also planning to create an umbrella company-level union for its workers, in addition to establishing more local union branches across China, according to a person familiar with the matter. E-commerce company Inc. said it formed an umbrella union for its workers last month.

Meituan said on Tuesday that it has established a special task force to review and address its current labor and technology practices. Alibaba and Didi did not respond to requests for comment.

China’s drive to tackle the challenges of working in the tech sector comes as governments around the world question how to regulate the economy of odd jobs and allegations of widespread exploitation of workers. In May, the Biden administration blocked Trump-era regulations that would have made it easier for companies to categorize American and other workers as independent contractors. Earlier this year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Uber Technologies Inc. drivers are entitled to benefits such as paid time off and pensions.

Contract workers working for Chinese digital platforms numbered 84 million in 2020 and represent a growing proportion of the urban workforce, according to a think tank affiliated with the country’s central planning agency. Most are paid on delivery, work long hours with few benefits, and are often paid dockside for failing to meet strict performance targets. Last winter, a Chinese worker died while working and another attempted suicide by self-immolating himself in protest against what he called unpaid fees.

Last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sparked a national debate on social equality when he revealed that 600 million Chinese earn a monthly income of 1,000 yuan ($ 140) and that many of them had suffered disproportionately during the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to union activists and academics, the renewed attention given to labor issues by the nominally Marxist ruling Communist Party of China is likely to benefit workers to some extent, although some say the campaign appears more motivated by top-down consolidation efforts. control only by the concerns of workers.

Much of the party’s efforts have focused on forming unions. Tech companies have helped form scattered local branches, but have also dragged their feet in response to Xi’s 2015 call to expand the reach of unions, according to a government official who works on labor issues. .

Companies are now “cooperating proactively,” including creating umbrella unions that cover most employees, the official said, citing pressure from Beijing’s continued regulatory campaign targeting the industry.

Chinese unions, unlike their American counterparts, are not self-organized and do not engage in collective bargaining. Instead, they all operate under the control of a party-controlled body known as the China Federation of Trade Unions and focus on mediating labor disputes.

Meituan, for example, offered to facilitate unions as part of a broad package of behavioral remedies related to regulatory violations that would provide new opportunities for government officials to exert influence over the company, according to the company. person familiar with Meituan’s plan.

Aidan Chau, a researcher at the Hong Kong-based non-governmental organization China Labor Bulletin, said Beijing’s emphasis on regulating algorithms and its drive for redistribution are theoretical gains for Chinese workers. But it wasn’t clear how the tech companies planned to implement some of the government’s guidelines. And as independent contractors, many concert workers fall outside the legal mandate of the new unions, Mr. Chau said.

The Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security forwarded a request for comment to the Federation of Trade Unions of China, which did not respond.

“China is trying to tackle issues of redistribution without addressing the issue of representation,” said Eli Friedman, a sociology professor at Cornell University who studies state-labor relations in China. “The one thing the Chinese state doesn’t want to consider: granting rights to workers to organize themselves.

MM. Chau and Friedman both pointed to the government’s continued suppression of independent and local labor activists and researchers.

In late August, Fang Ran, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Hong Kong, was arrested by security officers in Nanning, the provincial capital of southern Guangxi province, and charged with subversion of state power, according to an article published on social networks. by his father which his close friends have verified as genuine.

The friends said they suspected the authorities had targeted Mr. Fang because of his interest in organizing the workers. Mr Fang had strong Marxist beliefs and has championed coal miners suffering from black lung disease since he was a teenager, but his recent work was mostly academic in nature, they said.

Nanning Police forwarded a request for comment to the municipal government, which did not immediately respond.

In February, Beijing police arrested Chen Guojiang, a food delivery boy and union activist, on charges of “arguing and causing trouble,” according to information posted on a channel in the associated Telegram chat app. to Mr. Chen.

Mr. Chen was known as the head of the “Delivery Man Alliance,” a network of more than a dozen WeChat accounts that reached about 14,000 drivers, China Labor Bulletin said. He was known to speak out against online platforms for breaking the rules and sometimes to suggest other drivers protest unfair labor practices.

Mainland China-based social media accounts have been deleted since Mr. Chen’s arrest.

“Chen Guojiang was trying to push for better working conditions outside of direct state control. Now things are improving, but he is behind bars, ”said Mr. Chau, the labor law researcher.

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Arizona State University: ASU receives $ 12.5 million NSF award to establish transdisciplinary institute Fri, 17 Sep 2021 23:17:34 +0000

The National Science Foundation announced the award of $ 12.5 million to Arizona State University for the development of a new Institute of Biological Integration.

The award will launch an academic program, under the guidance of Michael lynch, principal researcher and director of Biodesign Center for Evolutionary Mechanisms.

Evolutionary cell biology aims to unite the fields of cell biology and the theory of evolution in a rigorous new discipline, based on three major frameworks of theoretical and quantitative biology: biochemistry, biophysics and genetics of populations.

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The new center will focus on the emerging and exciting field of evolutionary cell biology, a discipline Lynch has helped develop. He will examine the ways in which cellular evolution through life forms is guided by internal cellular constraints, based on the laws of biophysics, bioenergetics and population genetics. The intensely interdisciplinary company will draw on tools from mathematics, physics, chemistry, biophysics, structural biology, cell biology and evolution.

Lynch is joined by the co-PIs Jeremy wideman, Wayne Frasch, Kerry Geiler-Samerotte and Ke Hu, who are all researchers at the Biodesign Center for Mechanisms of Evolution.

The Institutes represent an ambitious program designed by NSF to encourage collaborative teams to study questions spanning multiple disciplines within and beyond biology.

According to the NSF: “Each institute must identify a research theme, centered around a broad and compelling biological question ready for breakthroughs through collaboration between biological sub-disciplines.

More than a century and a half has passed since Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”. Yet the underlying mechanisms responsible for the astonishing variety of life on Earth are only partially understood. This is especially true of evolutionary processes at the cellular level.

Cells are fundamental units of life. Evolutionary cell biology studies cell life to help inform evolutionary processes, while using the tools and perspectives of evolutionary biology to explore how cells function and why they take the various forms they take.

Despite significant advances in fields ranging from molecular and genomic evolution to evolutionary developmental biology and ecology, studies of cellular evolution are sorely lacking. “We just jumped over the cell and yet this is where all of biology begins – at the cellular level,” Lynch said.

Evolutionary cell biology aims to unite the fields of cell biology and the theory of evolution in a rigorous new discipline, based on three major frameworks of theoretical and quantitative biology: biochemistry, biophysics and genetics of populations.

As Lynch notes, crucial concepts in biochemistry and biophysics have been deeply under-explored in the world of evolutionary biology, while cell biologists have, for the most part, avoided considering the evolutionary pathways by which various cellular characteristics can. to have emerged.

“We are delighted that ASU is welcoming a deeply creative and interdisciplinary effort to understand the evolutionary foundations of cellular structure, function and diversity,” said Joshua LaBaer, executive director of the Biodesign Institute. “The research is poised not only to transform our understanding of cells and the theory of evolution, but also to provide crucial information to better respond to a range of societal issues, from antibiotic resistance to herbicides and pesticides for the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. “

The master plan for the new center includes three main research objectives. The first major project will involve the construction of an extensive atlas of cell biology, using a range of new investigative techniques. One problem facing the field is the fact that the majority of cell biology research to date has focused on a small subset of cell diversity, particularly yeast cells and a few bacteria like E. coli.

“The idea here is to explore the cells of the entire tree of life,” Lynch said. “We want to understand what’s inside cells, how proteins are assigned to different subcellular locations, how much cells invest in different organelles, and so on.

After completing a year or more of distance and hybrid learning due to COVID-19, a significant portion of traditional school districts are returning to familiar in-person models this school year. Even so, the benefits of e-learning remain clear, especially with around 40 students.

A forward-thinking school network in Cleveland offers students and their families a one-of-a-kind solution to keeping students up to date with school content and curriculum they are at risk of missing due to a COVID-quarantine. 19.

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A new offering called Learning Under Quarantine from ASU Prep Digital, considered for Revolutionary public schools in collaboration with The 305 Education Group, is now in place. To avoid learning losses related to COVID-19, ASU Prep Digital is providing online instructors to teach students in the Cleveland area who miss in-person learning due to a 10-day quarantine.

This innovative approach simultaneously increases teaching and learning time, while providing a practical solution for schools that simply do not have the human or financial resources to operate dual models in person and online.

During the 2020-2021 school year, Breakthrough Public Schools – one of Ohio’s most successful nonprofit public charter school networks – only operated remotely. However, for the 2021-2022 academic year, network leaders knew changes were needed.

“Our families overwhelmingly wanted their children to return to school buildings this year, and as educators we believe in-person education is of critical importance at this time to address unfinished learning and social development. and emotional of our students, ”said Tyler Thornton, COO of Breakthrough Public Schools, which serves students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. “At the same time, we recognize that COVID quarantine is a growing reality, and we have a responsibility to keep students engaged and advancing in their education, even when they cannot attend school in person. . “

After selecting potential partners to meet this need, Breakthrough Public Schools selected ASU Prep Digital. The PreK-12 Online School, developed by Arizona State University, combines easy-to-use technology with a strong curriculum, qualified educators, specific and concurrent college courses, and customizable solutions. Each of these components blend together to create unique formulas (or learning plans / models) that are customized to meet the needs of schools and students, helping them succeed and advance academically.

“We have implemented the Quarantine Learning Model for State-of-the-Art Public Schools to help their cadre reopen, so quarantined students can continue to learn, while easing the burden on teachers and parents,” said declared Julie young, Managing Director of ASU Preparatory Academy and ASU Prep Digital.

“Many schools are looking for an approach that allows them to teach effectively in this still unpredictable COVID environment,” Young said. “At ASU Prep Digital, we have the benefit of a proven online program that gives schools and students the opportunity to excel in a non-traditional way. Through an extensive collaborative process, we have created this new Quarantine Learning Model to Meet the Needs of Breakthrough Students We look forward to customizing this offering to meet the needs of more schools that may use this same type of quality teaching aid. ”

This press release was produced by Arizona State University. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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Time crystals dodge the second law of thermodynamics, Thanos’ style Fri, 17 Sep 2021 12:13:01 +0000

People call it a breakthrough, a new phase of matter – Google’s invention of time crystals has turned science and technology upside down. No, we’re not talking about one of the six physics-defying stones escaping Thanos’ grip. It is real science that apparently challenges our current understanding of physics.

Here is a discovery that could bring us closer to the most precise and the most powerful atomic clocks, gyroscopes and magnetometers to date, but that’s just the icing on the cake. Who knows what other practical applications a discovery of this magnitude might have.