Five by 8 – 5/27/10: Blood on the iPad

1) Does it matter to you how the products you love get made? iPad users and potential customers are faced with a growing ethical dilemma. Apple customers historically have tended to be more concerned about social justice; they change their avatar colors on Twitter in protest of human rights abuses in Iran, and boycott BP because of the oil disaster (a boycott that likely won’t work, Jason Derusha reports). The Independent reports that there’s blood on the iPad. The company in China which makes the iPad has even set up suicide nets to keep people from jumping out of the buildings:


All the incidents involved workers aged under 25, who apparently have been disturbed by the long shifts and strict discipline. Talking and music are banned during shifts, which last at least 10 hours. Workers must perform a certain number of repetitive operations per shift, under the eye of allegedly harsh military-style supervisors.

Yesterday, company officials gave journalists a tour of the plant to show how happy everybody is there. Hours later, another worker committed suicide.

Do the human rights abuses in the manufacturing of the iPad make you less likely to buy one or keep using one?online survey

So, how do we decide when to push back against injustice? How do we decide what is worth protesting?

(h/t: Paul Douglas, Star Tribune)

2) FiveThirtyEight.com wades into why two polls on the same subject have two different results if they purport to be representative of the public. In the process, it analyzes the Rasmussen polling system:


In general, if you’re trying to understand what makes Rasmussen polling “different”, the key heuristic is to assume that their polls are suffering from significant self-selection bias, and that the people who respond to their polls are significantly more likely to be active consumers of political news. This is probably why Rasmussen polls tend to show extremely large “bounces” associated with seemingly banal political events, and why they tend to show good results for candidates associated with activist movements, even if those candidates are barely known among the broader public. In essence, they’re about half-way toward being polls of political junkies. (I’d love to see the percentage of people in their polls who claim, for instance, to have donated to political candidates, something which we could cross-check against FEC records; I’d bet you that it’s very high.)

The Rasmussen poll in Minnesota this week showed the governor’s race a tossup, according to MPR’s Tom Scheck.

3) A company that makes American flags in Pakistan is doing a booming business. A resurgence of pro-American attitude? No. Protesters burn the flags.


“I have nothing to do with any political party, but it is really enjoyable when you see your work on TV screens,” a laughing Rasheed told AFP.

“I’m busy every day making banners and placards for different religious and political parties, but work gets a boost — especially when international controversy concerning Muslims breaks out,” he said.

4) Viral video of the week:

I don’t have anything to say about this. The story is here.

5) Webcams are like looking in someone’s windows. Hello, Northfield!

Free Videos by Ustream.TV

KYMN Radio and the Northfield Historical Society have just set up this camera in Bridge Square. Can’t wait for something to happen.

Eye Candy: Clouds and stars above a volcano. (h/t: Open Culture)

TODAY’S QUESTION

A major new study finds a strong link between indoor tanning and melanoma. Does vanity lead you to do things you know are bad for you?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Members of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th “Red Bull” infantry division have been back in Minnesota for more than three months now. Midmorning speaks with two Guard members about the reintegration process.

Second hour: Facebook has made privacy a new priority following pressure from advocacy groups and Washington. These changes will give users more control of their information, but are the updates able to keep up with our ever-changing expectations about privacy?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Special reports from MPR News’ “Retooling Minnesota’s Job Factory.” Comments from economist Louis Johnston.

Second hour: Live coverage of President Obama’s news conference about the oil spill and other matters.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Debt put Greece on the edge. Spain or Portugal or Ireland or Italy may be next. Bond trader Scott Mather says the dominoes may fall from there. What happened in Europe? And what does it mean for us?

Second hour: The only thing more jarring than incessant sound might be silence. Fed up with all the noise, George Foy sought silence in Parisian catacombs, under noise cancelling headphones, flotation tanks and finally, the quietest place on earth — a sound-blocking chamber in Minnesota.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Stories about people dying are in the news every day. What’s not usually in the news is how families cope day after day with their grief, and how differently each person in the family can be affected. Sixteen-year-old Antonio Gonzalez’s mother, Judy Ojeda died suddenly last October of an undiagnosed and untreated brain infection. She left behind her husband and six children. Today in MPR’s Youth Radio Series, Antonio Gonzalez gives us a portrait of life in his family, seven months after losing his mom

We’ll have another installment in the MPR series, Retooling Minnesota’s Job Factory. For years, the job market has been tilting in favor of educated workers, and that trend is likely to accelerate in the future. Many of the fastest growing occupations will only be accessible with college experience– and, in some cases, multiple degrees. In addition, educated workers earn more and are less likely to suffer unemployment. But many people in Minnesota’s fastest growing demographic groups don’t even finish high school. Those individuals have suffered badly this recession, and life will likely only get harder. Minnesota’s labor market watchers say the public sector will have to improve the graduation rates of Minnesota students, the workforce in waiting, and do more to prepare the state’s existing workers for the global marketplace of the future. That means facilitating adult education and worker retraining. Minnesota’s prosperity depends on it.

Wait until this afternoon to hear it or read it now.

  • what about

    Foxconn also makes products for Dell; it would be dishonest to suggest this is only Apple’s problem.

    This is part of a broader problem and at least this news may help people become aware of just how their gadgets are sourced and the true cost of these products.

  • JackU

    Once again a News Cut poll without a choice I can select. In this case I would have preferred one more choice: I have no interest in an iPad.

  • http://www.skyseastone.net/jvstin/ Paul W

    That Volcano and stars movie is certainly pretty.

    Re: Silence. Silence is scary.

    The quietest place I ever found was in the Badlands of South Dakota, at night. It was also the best place for stargazing I ever found…but the silence was so overwhelming that I made noise just to hear something…

  • Bob Collins

    On my wife’s and my trip to the SW in March, we stopped the car on a road and got out to listen to the silence (there’s a picture on my private blog). It was great, except my constant ringing in the left ear reminded me I’ll never “hear” actual silence again.

  • Momkat

    The weather caller is both hilarious and disgusting at the same time. Could she be any more self-absorbed?

  • Ed P

    “Blood on the iPad”

    Too cute Bob.