Wednesday, September 30, 2015

3 reasons to work a 6 hour work day

Filimundus, a Stockholm-based app developer, moved to a 6 hour work day last year.
The thinking behind the move is that because the working day has been condensed, staff will be more motivated and have more energy to get more done in a shorter period of time. Feldt reports that not only has productivity stayed the same, there are less staff conflicts because people are happier and better rested.
Not only that, but:
...we probably shouldn’t even be forced to clock on at 9am anyway, with expert Paul Kelley from Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute saying that society is in the midst of a sleep-deprivation crisis, because our 9-5 working hours are at odds with our internal body clocks.
While impressions of staff being happier and full of energy aren’t exactly scientific basis for declaring 6-hour work days as 'better' than the 8.7-hour work day endured by the average American, we do have evidence that what we’re doing right now isn’t working.
Anyway, these are just three quotes from a great piece at Science Alert, Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day.

I highly recommend reading it and sharing what you think in the comments below,


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why doesn't anyone at Burning Man 'look' like me?


Because I've almost never, EVER been around anyone who has 'look'ed like me.

I say almost never because I did recently meet this cute guy on okcupid whose mom was filipino, like me, and whose dad was black, like me.

But what does that even mean, people who 'look' like me, because we don't just mean looks...and the only one I constantly get is people telling me I look like Usher. Well, no, Usher looks like me. I know he's older than me, and that's not the point.

But I digress...

This whole, people hang around with people who look like them (I'm not going to debate how true it is or isn't) but we don't just mean look, we mean sounds, we mean appearances, we mean musical tastes, we mean so many more things than just "looks"...and I think we all understand on some level that "looks" means more than appearances.

Because despite how I look, I don't sound the way some people expect me to sound. And what's worse is that sometimes I've felt the need to qualify or explain it by mentioning that I went to a small, all-boys, private school (conversational code for predominantly white / not black).

But I'm so stuck in my head because I can't even honestly relate to that false cultural/racial/social binary because I'm so frickin' Filipino. And what's crazy, sometimes I can anticipate how much I have to defend/explain that based on the perceived background of the person I'm talking to.

Actually, no. I had one man (and I won't describe him by certain characteristics, because I wouldn't want to then be seen as generalizing and stereotyping all men who share those characteristics) who tried to tell me that I couldn't possibly be part Filipino. And he knew, because he actually lived in the Philippines for several years and knew what they (including my mom?) looked like, and I didn't "look" like them.

I didn't look like what he thought a mixed Filipino/Black man should look, which obvisouly trumps any genetic truth, not that race itself is anything more than a social construct. So yeah, what we "look" like is completely objective and not based on perceived stereotypes at all.

But I digress...

I've never been around people who looked, sounded, dressed like me.

Based on my background alone, I grew up with the assumption that I have absolutely nothing in common with anyone around me. And that was true, until fifth grade (or B Form) and the National Cathedral Boys Choir. I sang...I had that in common with all the choristers who'd ever sung there. I loved to sing...I had that in common with the  close to twenty other guys who I'd be singing there with. I was good at singing...I didn't realize I had that in common with the three others in my class who also joined the chorus that year.

And I realize that that is where I find the people who "look" like me, not the passive "look" referring to physical appearance slash all the other things we really mean when we say that, but the active "look" related to examining, considering, exploring the world around us, and ultimately the other...

And finding, despite this sometimes overwhelming gap between the self and the other, things like singing to bridge the abyss, to connect with others.

I have found people who "look" like me, and they look at a world of creativity and possibility, a world where we are shaped by our past and our environment, but bring our own intent and values to move forward. They "look" at each other, with all their sorrows and joys, the ones they can relate to and the ones that they can't. We "look" at ourselves, as we work on the best of us and hope others will see it too.

There is no one at Burning Man that looks like anyone else. To even make such a comparison is the beginning of a path that leads to generalizations and stereotypes. What Burning Man is full of, is people who look at each other...for the most part. And herein I realize the irony of making a blanket statement out of a specific observation and experience.

But I digress...

Why doesn't anyone at Burning Man "look" like me? Because I'd like to believe that most of the people who look AT me, get to know ME and wouldn't think I look like anyone else BUT me.

Except for the few that asked me if anyone's ever told me I look like Usher.

- Nexus

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fresh Talk at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Join the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) on Sunday, October 18, for their launch of "Women, Arts, and Social Change".

This is NMWA’s new initiative on women and the arts as catalysts for change and it begins with "FRESH TALK: Righting the Balance", which asks if there can be gender parity in the arts.

It is a topic I've been aware of since undergrad at College Park as a dance major. During our senior seminar, it had come up how despite the overwhelming majority of women in dance, the majority of Artistic Directors seemed to be men. That was only the tip of the iceberg and the beginning of a much larger conversation.

Anyway, one can only hope that the question, "Can there be gender parity in the arts?" is a rehtorical one, to which the answer is yes and the next question is what to do achieve it.

The event runs from 3 to 8 pm. Admission to the event is $25 for general admission, or $15 for members, seniors, and students. The price includes museum admission and Sunday supper.

View more information, at their website.

Hope to see you there,


Friday, September 25, 2015

DC projected to appropriate $22.30 per capita for its arts agency in FY16

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies put together a map of projected legislative appropriations per capita of its members, for the 2016 fiscal year.

Learn more about funding for state arts agencies at
Source: State Arts Agency Legislative Appropriations Preview, Fiscal Year 2016
Washington, DC's is projected at $22.30 per capita, or for each resident. This is the most per capita for ANY State Arts Agency (SAA) in the country, with the closest runner up being Puerto Rico at $6.74 and only 11 other SAAs appropriating more than $2 per capita. Of those 13 SAAs, 6 are not agencies for states, but 5 of the 6 are U.S. territories, and the remaining one is the District of Columbia.

But some perspective on that $22.30 number for DC and where it falls compared to some of the others.

The population of the city, according to the most recent estimate from the United State Census Bureau which is for 2014, is 658,893. This puts the estimated budget appropriation at a little over $14,693,000, using last year's population estimate.

For the record, 2014 is also the year which this funding  report used in terms of population numbers.

The population of Puerto Rico is estimated at 3,548,397 for 2014. This puts the appropriation for the territory at a bit more than $23,916,000, so about 163% of the appropriation amount of DC for a population roughly 5.39 times larger.

California's population (the population of the most populous state in the U.S.) is about 38,802,500 according to the census estimate for 2014. Their total estimated appopriation is a little over $10,864,000. So with a population about 58 times larger than DC, they are getting about 74% of the total funding that DC is receiving.

And this is why per capita is such a good way to compare such things. So yay, wow!! DC in general is doing good, comparing apples to apples. But per capita often requires context to be able to make sense of such comparisons, as these kind of things are not that simple.

Have you looked at this report? What would you say about any of the numbers I pulled out above, or any of the other findings in the appropriations preview.

Share your thoughts and observations, conclusions and questions in a comment,

- JR

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Burning Man's Brainchild

So, this actually might be my favorite photo of those I took, of an art project at Burning Man this year.


by: michael christian
from: Berkeley, CA
year: 2015
Brainchild embodies two of the elements of creative exploration i love most- celebrating the inquisitive spirit of play and exploring the plurality of forms that can be expressed through biologically inspired shapes and patterns found in nature.
Read more here.

Anyway, just wanted to share.

Did you go this year? What were some of your favorite pieces?

- Nexus