Here are updates to six recent posts on a variety of subjects.
Post: Unpaid Internships: The New Indentured Servitude?
The days of indentured servitude—umm, unpaid internships—may be coming to an end. Recent legal decisions have put employers on notice that (1) internships have rules that must be followed and (2) there are consequences for treating college students like upscale slaves. In “Colleges, Lawyers Rethink Internship Policies,” Rachel Feintzeig and Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal report on current developments.
Both corporations and the universities that have been supporting internships are changing their policies. Some companies have begun paying interns while others have scrapped the programs altogether rather than pony up the money. This at least reveals their true intentions. After all, “The Fair Labor Standards Act says that unpaid internships shouldn’t be for the direct advantage of the employer, should benefit the intern and be educational, and must not displace regular employees.” If you would rather scuttle the program than pay for the work, than it was probably just for your benefit from the start.
Post: They Shoot Horses Don’t They? And Will They?
Just the day after I wrote this post on the movement to ban carriage horses in some cities, a horse spooked in Charleston, S.C. and took off down Market Street on a ride somewhat wilder than the tourists in the carriage had expected. As reported on WCIV, the ABC news affiliate in Charleston, the horse was spooked when it accidentally hooked its bridle in a trash can and then pulled it partially off. That dropped the blinders and let the horse see the carriage behind him, which they can’t normally do. It panicked and ran. And on April 17, a horse bolted in Savannah, GA, taking five tourists from New York City on an unexpected ride.
Have these incidents changed my mind about the safety of horse-drawn carriages in cities? Not really. Periodically a car gets driven through a store front, posing a much greater risk of injury. This happened last week in Watertown when a car was rear-ended and went through the plate glass into a Dunkin Donuts. Do we ban cars because of it? Of course, not. Life is not Disneyland. We take risks when we walk out the door every morning
Post: The Innovation District Scales Up from the Fish Piers
In this post I noted the irony of start-up companies opening their doors in the Innovation District to attract young, hip college grads when the rents in Boston—and the Seaport in particular—are so high and going ever higher.
Today, Katheleen Conti reports in the Boston Globe that “In suburbs, rents soar as vacancy rates plummet.” Sure enough, young people, who are already burdened with college debts higher than jumbo mortgages, are discovering that they are priced out of Boston and even the immediate suburbs.
So they are aiming their searches further out of the city, to communities like Quincy, Lynn and Lawrence. What does this mean for the ability of new companies to hire hip young people? Well, they can certainly do it but those folks will now face a formidable commute into a part of Boston that’s difficult to reach. That’s the opposite of what these companies anticipated when they moved into the city.
Post: It’s Baa-ack: Good News and Bad News about the MERS Corona Virus
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has begun reaching outside of the Gulf States. Yemen, Malaysia, the Philippines and Greece have reported cases, all of which are connected to people who have traveled to the Middle East. Officials in the Philippines are searching for all passengers aboard an Etihad Airlines flight from Abu Dhabi that carried a Filipino nurse who tested positive for the MERS coronavirus before returning home. The results did not come in until after he had reached his destination.
The incubation period of 14 days means that an infected person can easily travel elsewhere in the world before displaying symptoms. In Malaysia, a man died of
MERS after traveling to Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage. The level of concern about the disease is rising and countries are beginning to strengthen their precautions.
Post: Age Doesn’t Matter—Unless You Want It To
Here’s a humorous, but true, insight into the point’s I made yesterday about the reluctance of short-sighted companies to hire qualified, experience people just because they’re over 50. Thanks to Susanne Skinner for passing it along.
How funny this cartoon is, of course, depends on which side of the hiring equation you occupy.
Post: The Lessons I Learned at Lincoln Park
On a lighter note, the amusement park season is set to open and this year ten amazing new roller coasters will be rolling out of the station. Pam Grout reports in @CNN on “The most insane new U.S. coasters,” rides that go higher, faster, and twistier than roller coasters ever have before. Here’s the list:
- Goliath—at Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, IL
- Banshee—at Kings Island, Mason OH
- Verruckt—at Schlitterbahn, Kansas City, KS
- El Loco—in the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, Las Vegas NV
- The Thunderbolt—at Luna Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn NY
- Flying Turns—at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, PA
- Firechaser Express—at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge TN
- Lightning Run—at Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville KY
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train—at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista FL
- Roar-O-Saurus—at Story Land, Glen NH
Unfortunately, the one here in New England is in a children’s amusement park where they received 100 inches of snow this winter. The opening may be delayed, just like spring.