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“If you’re reading this at work, there’s a good chance that you’re sitting at an open desk or communal table. (Hey, is that guy reading over your shoulder? Hi!) And if you’ve been in the workplace awhile, you might be adjusting from the not-so-distant past when you sat in a comparatively private cubicle.
Every generation or two, our offices completely change, driven by culture and consultants. Cubicles, perhaps the most reviled of these trends, were supposed to be the apex of office design. More precisely, the Action Office (zip! swoosh!) was supposed to. A product of the utopian 1960s, this was a flexible, customizable system of office furnishings that balanced community and privacy. It sounds downright revolutionary, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for companies to realize they could take the customized pieces and use them to herd employees into grayscale grids. The Action Office quickly evolved into the Cube Farm.
But the open-plan offices that have cropped up in response are hardly utopian paradises. (Still in a cubicle now? The open-office plan is probably coming for you, too.) Meant to foster conversation, there’s evidence they do the opposite, as employees tune each other out with headphones and use Slack channels to take the place of connecting at the water cooler.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."