We have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of people working from home as directed by governments and employers around the world to help stop the spread of COVID-19. If, as some expect, people are likely to work from home more often after the pandemic, what will this mean for infrastructure planning? Will cities still need all the multibillion-dollar road, public transport, telecommunications and energy projects, including some already in the pipeline? World’s largest work-from-home experiment Remote working was steadily on the rise well before COVID-19. But the pandemic suddenly escalated the trend into the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment”. Many people who have had to embrace remote working during the pandemic might not want to return to the office every day once restrictions are lifted. They might have found some work tasks are actually easier to do at home. Or they (and their employers) might have discovered things that weren’t thought possible to do from home are possible. They might then question why they had to go into the workplace so often in the first place. But what impact will this have on our cities? After all, many aspects of our cities were designed with commuting, not working from home, in mind. Stress test for NBN and energy networks From a telecommunications perspective, the huge increase in people working from home challenges the ways in which our existing networks were designed. Data from Aussie Broadband show evening peak broadband use has increased 25% during the shutdown. Additional daytime increases are expected due to home schooling with term 2 starting. Research by the then federal Department of Communications in 2018 estimated the average Australian household would need a maximum download speed of 49Mbps during peak-use times by 2026. If more people work from home after COVID-19, the size and times of peak use might need to be recalculated. […]
by Pip Williams In 1901, the word ‘Bondmaid’ was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it. Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the ‘Scriptorium’, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word ‘bondmaid’ flutters to the floor. Esme rescues the slip and stashes it in an old wooden case that belongs to her friend, Lizzie, a young servant in the big house. Esme begins to collect other words from the Scriptorium that are misplaced, discarded or have been neglected by the dictionary men. They help her make sense of the world. Over time, Esme realises that some words are considered more important than others, and that words and meanings relating to women’s experiences often go unrecorded. While she dedicates her life to the Oxford English Dictionary, secretly, she begins to collect words for another dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. Set when the women’s suffrage movement was at its height and the Great War loomed, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. It’s a delightful, lyrical and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words, and the power of language to shape the world and our experience of it.
Rumors had swirled around Harvey Weinstein for decades, and the New York Times’s Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were not the only reporters to put their noses to this ugly trail. But as they spoke to actresses and, in a surprising turn, more and more female former employees of the Weinstein Company, they discovered that settlements and nondisclosure agreements had smothered the truth. The steps taken by others to conceal Weinstein’s actions and give them legal cover are almost as chilling as Weinstein’s abuse, and Kantor and Twohey’s unwinding of this camouflage is a delicate maneuver made possible only by women willing to break their silence. The reporters’ urging of an actress to go on the record about Weinstein’s abuse and a last-minute face off with Weinstein and his lawyers in the Times’s offices brings the investigation to its pinnacle of tension. As the book switches to another high-profile accusation, the pacing grows clunky, likely because the authors were not embedded in that investigation, but then rises again, buoyed by a small gathering of very different women at Gwyneth Paltrow’s house. Their candid talk on the lingering toxicity of abuse, social media backlash, and the damage to these women’s careers caused by both silence and speaking out will bring home to readers how one abusive moment can ruin lives, and how listening to what “she said” is the first and important step to stopping someone from perpetrating crime after crime.
Mariah Levin, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum. Each year, the World Economic Forum names its new YGLs Young Global Leaders are under the age of 40. Influential people who want to make the world a better place. What does the winner of the FIFA Women’s World Cup have in common with the prime minister of Finland? They are both young leaders who gained international repute over the last 12 months. And now Megan Rapinoe and Sanna Marin have been recognised as Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum – joining a community of people dedicated to changing the world for the better. Each year, the Forum of Young Global Leaders identifies the world’s most promising leaders under the age of 40 – people driving innovation for positive change across civil society, arts, culture, government and business. By connecting them to a community of remarkable peers and investing further in their leadership abilities, the aim is to create a ripple effect over five years that benefits their organisations and the world. Here are some of the 115 YGLs that make up the class of 2020: Megan Rapinoe – As co-captain of the US women’s soccer team, Rapinow lifted the 2019 FIFA World Cup. Off the field, she advocates for gender equality, including equal pay in her sport, and speaks out on diversity and inclusion. Jesús Cepeda – Chief Executive Officer of OneSmart City, a company that uses blockchain and artificial intelligence to help city authorities provide digital services. Cepeda hopes the technology will create greener cities and stronger institutions in line with the UN goals on sustainable development. Larry Madowo – The BBC Africa Business Editor launched six new business TV shows for African audiences in English, French and Swahili. Madowo is also an on-air correspondent on BBC radio and […]
COVID-19’s impact on the Australian labour market has been dramatic and multifaceted. Some sectors of the economy have been almost completely shut down by government order. The demand in many industries has collapsed, while a few others have seen an increase. As many as one million jobs are under threat. Such estimates came before the government’s extraordinary JobKeeper scheme, which will undoubtedly reduce this figure considerably. Despite that, many who will keep their jobs may not actually have much to do at work. The economy will be in “hibernation” or on “life-support” for some time to come. We’ve gained about 1 billion hours of time If the economy has shed the equivalent of one million jobs, then we’ve gained about one billion hours of available time, and that’s just over the next six months. The full impact of the crisis could be even larger. What should we do with this time? Many of us are spending more time with children who are no longer physically at school. Some of us are doing tasks which our older relatives previously did. Netflix is also a compelling option. From a human capital perspective, the crisis presents a unique economic opportunity to re-train and up-skill Australia’s labour force. The Australian government jumped on board on Sunday, announcing funding that would cut the price of new six-month, remotely delivered diplomas and graduate certificates in nursing, teaching, health, information technology and science provided by universities and private tertiary institutions. Economists have long observed that investment in human capital (education, skills) tends to increase during recessions, because there aren’t as many well-paying alternatives. We can use it to get ahead of the curve In the current recession, the opportunities for training are greater. Even those of us who will remain employed but have little to do can use the time to invest in training. Our […]