Cybertopia

“As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools to close beginning in March, sales at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt began to cool, leading to a 2.4% drop in revenue, to $189.9 million, for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, compared to last year’s first period, the company reported. The publisher had an operating loss of $338.2 million in the quarter, up from $101.8 million in the first period of 2019. The most recent loss includes a one-time charge of $262 million which HMH said was “a direct result of the adverse impact that Covid-19 has had on the company.” To offset the decline in sales, HMH initiated a number of cost-saving measures in late March, which included the imposition of a four-day work week across the company, stopping all discretionary spending, and temporary closures of warehouses and distribution centers. No time has been given for when a full work week will be restored. Despite the expense reductions, HMH said it expects that its businesses will be “severely impacted” by Covid-19 in the second quarter ending June 30.”
HMH Hoping for a Second Half Rally, by Jim Milliot, PW, 07 May 2020

A four-day work week is better than a zero-day work week, yes?

“Ume Tsuda was one of five young girls sent by the government of Japan to the U.S. to receive a Western education. The intent of both the Japanese and U.S. governments was that the girls would return as adults to Japan and help introduce possibly useful Western ideas about education and women’s role in society. Three of the girls ended up growing up in the U.S. and became fully Americanized until, as young adults, the time came for them to return to Japan and essentially pay back the Japanese government’s investment in them. The two older girls still remembered how to speak Japanese, but the youngest, Ume, no longer spoke her birth language. Even so, at eighteen she was eager to return to Japan and try to share some of her learning over there, as was expected of her. But she would soon discover a whole additional set of expectations. All three girls felt the pressure not only to somehow impart their American education to Japan, but to do it while sensibly and honorably married. Ume’s two friends married soon after returning to Japan, for complex and almost unavoidable financial and societal reasons. Ume, however, had never wanted to marry. She thought it would interfere with her dreams of contributing to Japanese education and culture by starting a school. She was right. But staying single in late 19th century Japan was a lot, lot harder than she’d thought it would be.”
Great Single Women in History: Ume Tsuda, by Onely, 8 May 2020

Okay, not the Meiji era, however, here’s a lovely bit of slang for an unmarried woman 26 years or older: Christmas Cake. And it’s not a compliment.

“A favorite new debate taking place around the Twitter hearth is whether complying with social distancing guidelines is a partisan statement in and of itself. Blue states, such as Washington and New York, were initially hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, and stay-at-home orders went into effect as early as March 19 (California was first out of the gate). A number of red states have refrained from implementing such public-safety orders, and many Republican-leaning states, particularly in the South, didn’t issue orders for weeks afterward — as late as April 3 in Florida and Georgia. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis waffled over closing the state but eventually did so under pressure from state lawmakers. But, at least on the front end of this crisis, Americans weren’t deciding what to do based on politics. Americans living in red states appear to have taken the crisis plenty seriously; data shows that residents there were staying home well before their governors issued stay-at-home orders. Cuebiq, a private data company, assessed the movement of people via GPS-enabled mobile devices across the U.S. If you look at movement data in a cross-section of states President Trump won in the southeast in 2016 — Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky — 23 percent of people were staying home on average during the first week of March. That proportion jumped to 47 percent a month later across these six states. Almost uniformly across these states, people started staying home beginning on March 14. The percentage of people staying home rose rapidly over the following nine days and tended to plateau by March 23.”
Americans Didn’t Wait For Their Governors To Tell Them To Stay Home Because Of COVID-19, by Clare Malone and Kyle Bourassa, 538, 8 May 2020

Oklahoma never issued a stay at home order… wtf? See Which States Are Reopening and Which Are Still Shut Down, by NY Times updating

“… hazards faced by Metro bus drivers during the coronavirus pandemic. Nationally, more than a hundred transit workers, many of them bus drivers, have died of COVID-19. Metro operators are “spending hours in a confined space with strangers, wondering whether this will be the day they get sick.” The article highlighted several problems, including with riders and mask wearing …”
Supervisor Hahn Calls for Requiring Face Covering for Metro Bus Riders, by Joe Linton, StreetsBlog, 5 May 2020

“In what a study from University College of London’s Genetics Institute has revealed this week, by December, the novel coronavirus that would be named COVID-19 likely had left Wuhan and was entering communities in Florida, France, and elsewhere. As Morgan McFall-Johnson at Business Insider reported Thursday (May 7), researchers are now urged by the World Health Organization to reexamine samples from December and January, to see if an earlier-than-expected presence can be detected. And at that point, Publishing Perspectives readers were learning of an alarm being sounded by scientific research publishers about a proposed policy change in the United States that effectively would require scientific journal articles be made available immediately, without embargo. A group of more than 100 publishing and/or research organizations including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) were telling the administration of Donald Trump that this would ‘effectively nationalize the valuable American intellectual property that we produce and force us to give it away to the rest of the world for free.'”
Trump Administration Would ‘Eviscerate’ Copyright, Say Industry Players, by Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 8 May 2020

I don’t know how I feel about this.

“The global Covid-19 pandemic has challenged companies to manage their enterprises in new ways. Organizations are not only experiencing enormous scope changes to their daily business but also a restructuring of the economic order. Many organizations are now forced to transform their business, organization, and way of work for their survival and existence. Working with distributed teams is a very good example of such a business transformation that applies to most of the organizations today.”
https://www.digitalhrtech.com/managing-transformation-people-analytics/, by AIHR-bot, 6 May 2020

Is this HR-speak or is this site written by robots? I wonder.

“Despite hard times, publishers continue to put their communities first.”
4 Shout-Outs to Publishers Doing Their Part During the COVID-19 Outbreak, by FOLIO: Magazine Staff, 8 May 2020

“It’s important, too, to look not just at how many people are out of work, but which sectors of the economy have been hit hardest and which are continuing to do well. “There’s a real question about how many industries can weather this moment,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative. In March, the job losses were overwhelmingly concentrated in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes bars and restaurants. This month, those industries were hit hardest again: leisure and hospitality lost 7.7 million jobs, a decline of 47 percent. Women (15.5 percent) also had a higher unemployment rate than men (13 percent) — which is atypical, since women usually have a lower unemployment rate than men. And in recessions, men are usually the first to feel the impact. But women are more likely to hold jobs in the industries that have been pummeled since the pandemic began, like health care and child care services, which may explain why they’re experiencing more of the job losses this time around.”
The Terrible Jobs Report Gets Worse The More You Read It, by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Julia Wolfe, 538, 8 May 2020

“Part of a very worried industry, Les Arènes’ Bottura and his team came up with a plan for a kit that could help bookstores welcome consumers within the government’s reopening guidelines. The kit includes a poster with the slogan ‘The Only Thing You’ll Catch Here Is Good Books.’ There’s also a stand for hand sanitizer. And there’s a series of colorful adhesive strips emblazoned with literary quotes to mark safety perimeters before reaching the bookshop’s cash register.”
Coronavirus Worklife: A Publisher Helps Prepare France’s Reopening Bookshops, by Olivia Snaije, Publishing Perspectives, 6 May 2020

I guess U.S. publishers are too busy losing money to think of something like this. See above.

“From distractions to jealousy, how Americans navigate cellphones and social media in their romantic relationships.”
Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age, by Emily A. Vogels and Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center, 8 May 2020

Apparently as badly as ever.

“With an increased demand for services and a decrease in access to government funding, nonprofit organizations need additional money to remain viable and high-net-worth individuals provide a practical option. To understand the charitable behavior of individuals, the literature largely focuses on the drivers or motivations underlying their giving. Through 20 semistructured interviews with high-net-worth philanthropists, this study looked at the reasons behind their giving based on the concept of making an impact. This study found that high-net-worth individuals exhibit a “giving style” that defines a favored approach to making an impact through philanthropic giving as well as specific attributes and engagement preferences for interacting with a nonprofit. This study identified four giving styles: a) transformational, deep systemic change style; b) seed funding / multiplier style; c) feeling the impact style; and d) collaborating partners style, although there are others. The attributes and engagement preferences outline experiential and personal predilections such as preferences about how and when to fund, the type and complexity of activities; and level of engagement with staff, beneficiaries and others. Through conversation and research, nonprofit staff can determine a high-net-worth individual’s general giving style, attributes and engagement preferences, provide complementary activities and engender greater satisfaction and interest with the ultimate aim of generating greater funding from high-net-worth philanthropists. Based on these findings, future research can expand on understanding the activities and communications nonprofits can offer to better align with high-net-worth philanthropists’ attributes, engagement and giving preferences to strengthen relationships and increase personal and financial investments in nonprofit organizations.”
Making an impact with high-net-worth philanthropists: understanding their attributes and engagement preferences at nonprofit organizations, by Muna Deriane, Dissertation, 2019

The fabulous Muna Deriane’s brilliant dissertation! Now online for your reading enjoyment.

Quotes:

Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.
Mae West

April is the cruellest month.
T.S. Eliot

Art is an attempt to integrate evil.
Simone de Beauvoir

Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
Frank Zappa

Art never improves, but… the material of art is never quite the same.
T.S. Eliot

As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a remedy to life in society I would suggest the big city. Nowadays, it is the only desert within our means.
Albert Camus

As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As soon as there is life there is danger.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.
T.S. Eliot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *