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Killexams : Business-Objects Professional student - BingNews Search results Killexams : Business-Objects Professional student - BingNews Killexams : The 7 Best Microscopes for Students of All Ages No result found, try new keyword!All of the microscopes we recommend come from brands known for their high-quality instruments, such as AmScope and Omax. These microscopes are designed for students and kids from grade school to high ... Wed, 23 Aug 2023 05:19:00 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : I flew weightlessly on a parabolic flight to see incredible student science soar No result found, try new keyword!Every year, a few Canadian students climb and fall in mid-air for a few precious research moments in microgravity. This is what it's like to fly along. Fri, 18 Aug 2023 22:00:30 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : Bezalel industrial design students show off innovation

From flying defibrillators to biodegradable toilet paper, the young geniuses at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design are displaying their final projects to the public at the Bezalel Graduate Exhibition, from August 3-18, at the academy’s new campus in the historic Russian Compound area of Jerusalem.

Boris Shatz, who founded the school in 1906, would be proud of the new facility and the students. Prof. Ido Bruno, who is in charge of final projects at Bezalel certainly is. The former director of the Israel Museum expressed the school’s excitement over the new building and its more than 400 graduates, with 40 students from the Industrial Design Department. 

“The final projects are initiated by each student,” he said. The four-year bachelor’s degree covers a variety of studies, but the final project, which takes the entire final academic year, is something unique, he added. “They study in the field, build models and mock-ups. Each project is presented to a panel to receive feedback before display to the general public.

“You will find themes and subjects that are highly relevant in contemporary society,” Bruno stated. “Some relate to issues of sustainability and environmental impact, and there are projects that respond to the political issues happening in the country.” 

Material left over from the current nationwide protests served as inspiration. One student developed a series of chairs made from unused police barricade fences found at festivals and protests. Another student created musical instruments/noisemakers from plastic bottles and other materials left after protests. 

YONI ZAZON developed a watch for blind people. (credit: YONI ZAZON)

One project was innovative outdoor furniture intended for use at the new campus. Yet another was a floating race car that uses magnets, estimated to be a reality by the year 2048.

Bruno teaches a first-year basic course in industrial design to guide the students through the first steps of manufacturing methods and materials, and a third-year course on medical innovations. For example, this year the students visited the EEG unit of Hadassah Medical Center and heard lectures by professionals on EEG readings for people with epilepsy and other types of neuropathologies.

Bruno also manages the final projects. “Five of my students have done projects about sustainability, saving fruit and vegetables, a special kit to build homes for wild bees, and the reuse of clothing,” he said proudly.

Another student designed a “Bli Ayin Hara” ceremony against the evil eye, based on her Jewish-Egyptian family roots. “She studied a ceremony that her great-grandmother from Egypt performed, which she redesigned, keeping most of the features but in a new environment,” Bruno said.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Bruno graduated from Bezalel’s Industrial Design Department in 1992 and returned to teach two years later. He spent 2017-2021 as the director of the Israel Museum, something that also has its roots in the school.

He explained that while “Bezalel was initiated 117 years ago by Boris Shatz – a visionary, dreamer, art professor, and accomplished artist who came to Jerusalem with a dream of art and design but also a museum – ” the Israel Museum “is actually the manifestation and evolution of Boris Shatz’s dream of creating a museum in Jerusalem.”

Bruno’s roots at Bezalel go back to his great-uncle, the noted painter Samuel Hirszenberg.

“Shatz invited him in 1907, and he taught at Bezalel. My mother studied jewelry there in the 1960s. My sister studied there in the 1980s, and my sister’s son is now studying in the Industrial Design Department. So it’s four generations now.”

Bruno estimates that the majority of the country’s creative community, whether in art or design, have either studied or taught at Bezalel or have some connection to it.

The historic Bezalel building where Shatz once taught still stands on Bezalel Street. It now houses only the Architecture Department. Until this year, most of the other departments were housed on the Hebrew University of Jerusalem campus.

“Our greatest asset is our students,” Bruno said. “We usually say that students learn about 80% from their peers and 20% from their teachers.”

At a special press event for journalists at last week’s opening event, students supported each other rather than competing for attention, and were eager to promote each other’s projects. 

Innovative practical ideas

Graduate student Rafael Amzallag traveled the world after his IDF service. His experience in backpacking and trekking led him to create an ultra-lightweight and compact two-person tent using hiking poles

“I’m kind of a big guy,” Amzallag said, “so I like to have my space inside a tent and not have it be cramped and small.”

There are only two tent poles, and they double as walking sticks. The goal was to create the most comfortable tent weighing the least amount, he explained. “It’s the largest and lightest tent in its category, weighing under a kilo, 872 grams, including the stakes,” he said.

“During the day, you walk with your hiking sticks, and then use them for the base construction of the tent. If you have two tents, you can merge them to create a shared space,” he said. 

For first-timers, the tent takes about four minutes to erect, but once you are familiar with the process, it can take less than a minute. There are also magnetic snaps and flaps to make the tent user-friendly and wind-proof. 

“Bezalel taught me how to take an idea and find if it’s relevant for the real world and how to create a real functioning product,” Amzallag explained.

Saving lives

Arad Rubinovitch trained for earthquake rescue while in the IDF search and rescue unit. Her project is a backpack system that contains all the necessary equipment in convenient, easy-to access compartments.

“It’s really simple tools,” she said, not items that require a lot of guidance. Although rescue systems are already in place, Rubinovitch thought her backpack would streamline them. “After an earthquake, there is so much chaos, and I wanted to find a solution,” she said.

The backpack contains a walkie-talkie, pick ax, and other tools for breaking, removing, lifting, and more.

Despite all her training, Rubinovitch never actually participated in an earthquake rescue operation, but the training she got in the IDF has stayed with her ever since. “A lot of us go through life and we practice and practice and sometimes we are in real events, but a lot of time we are just practicing and that’s okay,” she said. “It’s also important to give over the information to other people as much as possible.”

Personal struggles turned into products

Many of the projects in the Industrial Design Department came from personal experiences. Ran Shtub created AirPulse, a defibrillator that can be delivered by UAV to someone having a heart attack in a remote area. 

The idea came from the tragic loss of Shtub’s father, who died of a heart attack in 2004 while bicycling in the Jerusalem Hills region. The amount of time it took for an ambulance to reach his father was too long to be able to save him. But with Shtub’s design, a defibrillator could reach a person in about two and a half minutes.

“It flies like a long-range missile,” Shtub said, “and is able to land as a multi-rotor drone with a precise soft landing.”

The graduate student explained that the first five minutes of a heart attack are the most critical. “We will be able to save 70% of the people who have heart attacks,” he estimated.

AirPulse is connected to GPS, so a fellow hiker or bicyclist can drop a pin, and the paramedics can send the defibrillator to be easily applied to the victim’s body until professional help arrives.

Shtub worked with an aeronautical engineer from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to develop the lightweight device and designed it using 3D modeling software.

MAAYAN COHEN Bar-On created smart underwear for those suffering from endometriosis. (credit: BEN BRESKY)


Maayan Cohen Bar-On struggled through her four years of classes at Bezalel suffering from endometriosis, a chronic disease that affects one in 10 women. Her final project was a line of smart underwear made with e-textile. The disease is difficult to diagnose, so the underwear can help identify symptoms and also has heating pads to alleviate pain.

Cohen Bar-On designed and sewed the clothing decorated with yellow and red flower shapes, which resemble what the disease looks like under a microscope and the yellow ribbon symbol representing endometriosis awareness.

“It took 15 years to diagnose me, so it’s my biggest victory,” she said. “I have a lot of pain, so I especially wanted to do something good from my bad experience.”

In her research, she spoke to doctors and studied different types of feminine undergarment products. “That’s how I chose the fabrics and the technology in it,” she explained.

“I’m from Jerusalem, so all of my life I’ve heard about Bezalel, and I’m very happy to finish in this new, beautiful building,” Cohen Bar-On stated.

E-Steem nightgowns

Another clothing design was E-Steem, a series of nightgowns created by Deborah Hoffnung, intended for cancer survivors who have undergone a mastectomy. “It’s very hard for them to look at themselves and to deal with this new body,” she explained. The clothing uses hi-tech fabric to create “a calm mindfulness sensation about her own body after treatment, “ she said.

Hi-tech solutions

Hye Seo Chang developed her project based on seeing parents struggling to get small children – who were afraid of the dark and of monsters under the bed – to sleep. Her interactive AI sleeping companion, called Snuggles, is a combination baby-monitor and night-light that sing songs and reads books.

“It helps educate the child to fall asleep and adopt a natural, healthy sleeping pattern,” she explained. “It has a monitor for parents to know the status of the child as the child is falling asleep.” The parents have an app that vibrates and tells them if their child needs immediate help in case of an emergency.

The soft plush toy uses mirroring psychology, so when it’s bedtime the eyes close, prompting the child to close their eyes as well. “It reminded me of my own childhood; I also had a fear of darkness,” Chang said.

Chronoline watch for the blind

Yoni Zazon developed a watch for blind people called Chronoline. “You can become blind at any age from a variety of different reasons,” he said. “The watches that exist for the blind today are somewhat lacking in design and comfort. The most common watches are talking watches that are impractical if you try to use them in a very noisy environment or in a very quiet environment, like a meeting or an appointment,” Zazon said.

“There are several small servo-motors that push up and down lines; that way, you can just move your finger on top of the surface and you can literally feel the time as it goes by,” he explained. Zazon received feedback from people in various states of blindness to develop the most effective model.

Making marriage work

Shir Sharabi created a series of candles designed for couples therapy inspired by the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman.

“A couple can light a candle during dinner or just in their living room in the evening and practice each principle,” Sharabi stated. Match in hand, she demonstrated a two-branched candle that is separated at the top but comes together at the bottom as the flames burn.

Another design is a cluster of separate small candles representing “all the good things that the partner is giving me. We have a lot of candles to remember to appreciate the little things,” she explained. 

“I tried to show that objects can help us change our life,” Sharabi said. “If we have a different design, it will affect us differently. We choose colors, smell, the material, the scenario. And then we can change our life.”

Regarding her coursework, she added, “I’m glad to graduate. It was hard, but it was a great opportunity.”

‘Nereids’ in the ocean

In a side room was a display of tubes and beakers with coral behind blueish lights. Sunny Lustov explained her project in which she designed underwater structures intended to safeguard coral reefs. Naming them “nereids,” the structures provide active cooling for endangered areas. “They are made of a thermoresponsive, biocompatible hydrogel,” she said. 

For the past two years she has been researching the gel at Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics. “The unique thing is that it is biocompatible and used for human implants and tissues but never used for this. It changes its form as a response to temperature fluctuations,” she said.

Coral reefs are dying due to heat, Lustov explained, but placing nereids in the ocean could absorb more heat and help alleviate the problem.

Bezalel was not Lustov’s first choice, but a friend urged her to enroll because the education is more than just practical. 

“It gives you a way to think. It broadened my view, thoughts, and imagination.”

RAFAEL AMZALLAG with his ultra light, easy-to-assemble tent. (credit: BEN BRESKY)

Imagining the future

Dor Zerkavod created a spacesuit which he hopes one day will actually be put to use. 

“It’s a simulating gravity suit for travel in deep space, in zero gravity,” he stated. “The concept of this project was born from my fascination with deep space travel and the idea that soon enough, humans will be venturing off into deeper space, and there are problems that zero gravity creates on the body because of the lack of gravity that we have here on Earth,” he said.

“Right now, space is secluded for very prestigious, highly trained individuals, and the whole concept of this project is to find the solutions to enable the body to withstand zero gravity so everyone can go into space,” he explained.

The form-fitting suit is displayed in front of a video depicting the bulky space suits of the 1960s. As Zerkavod stood next to his creation, he explained it was “a 3D knitted textile that is electro-active, which means that it gets an electric pulse and knows to contract and concede with a program. 

“Surrounding the textile are pressure sensors and thermoelectric generators to enable the suit to capture body heat and transfer it into energy so the suit doesn’t need to be charged as much,” he said.

The suit is designed to be worn as much as possible so that there are fewer effects on the body, Zerkavod explained. “We put in special zippers for going to the bathroom which are very intuitive, so it’s very easy to get in and out of the suit.”

Zerkavod compared Bezalel to other schools he attended on semesters abroad. “Bezalel really admires students that try and break the rules and create things that no one has ever done before, and I love that I can do a conceptual, technology-based futuristic object.”

Toilet paper made from oranges

Avia Revivi designed biodegradable toilet paper made from oranges. It was the sight of discarded, used toilet paper during a visit to a nature park that motivated her to find a better way to go to the bathroom while hiking or camping. Her toilet paper substitute is called O-Sow, and her business card is printed on a rectangle of the material.

“I started to dry some vegetables and fruits to find the best material,” she said, “and I discovered that not everything is soft, flexible, or non-absorbent.”

After much trial and error, she used the inside of an orange, from which she could develop the right thickness and comfort. The toilet paper is also embedded with tiny seeds of other plants so that the human waste will fertilize these seeds, and plants will eventually grow on the spot where the orange toilet paper was used.

She hopes her experiments can also be used to develop biodegradable food packaging and for other potential uses.

Humor in challenging times

Not all the projects were serious. Some injected a sense of humor to provoke thought. 

Chen Smadar created Keter Chair Martial Arts, an imaginary sport involving fighting with white plastic chairs. Ubiquitous in Israel are the plastic chairs manufactured by the Keter company, which can be found at beaches, synagogues, malls, and private homes. 

Her inspiration came from reading news coverage of a brawl in which people threw chairs at each other. That prompted her to imagine a sport, similar to capoeira, the Brazilian dance form based on martial arts. Smadar designed a special uniform padding for the chair, and a point system, all detailed in a brochure explaining the fictional history of the sport.

Regarding the school’s new facility, Smadar, like most of her fellow graduates, praised it. “This is the first year that we are in the middle of the city center. I think Jerusalem is ‘a thing’ for us in the world and as Jews,” she said.

As designers and artists, Smadar believes that now she and her fellow graduates who are leaving the academic world “have a mission.”

“We can make money and try and survive in this reality, but I want to believe that it means a lot to be here in Israel, in this time, in Jerusalem,” she said. “We have a mission in this world to make it better.” ❖

Fri, 11 Aug 2023 05:15:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Weekly Horoscope Libra, August 20-26, 2023 predicts a productive week for students

Libra - 23rd September to 22nd October

Weekly Horoscope Predictions says, you symbolize love

Resolve love issues while professional challenges will be easier to handle. Avoid rifts both in personal and office life. Wealth is an issue this week.

Libra Daily Horoscope, August 20-24, 2023: Resolve love issues while professional challenges will be easier to handle.
Libra Daily Horoscope, August 20-24, 2023: Resolve love issues while professional challenges will be easier to handle.

Troubleshoot old rifts within the relationship this week to have a good romantic life. Avoid office politics to professionally grow. Your health is good but financial troubles will exist.

Also Read: Horoscope Today, 20 August 2023

Libra Love Horoscope This Week

Some long-distance relationships may not work out this week and problems will get severe. It is important to resolve every issue before things go out of hand. Unfortunately, Libras can face a breakup this week but do not despair as new love is waiting for you. Handle love-related problems with care. Some Libras will be sensitive but you need to know that a love life needs to be based on sensibility. Be realistic in the romance to stay happy.

Also Read: Love and Relationship Horoscope Today, 20 August, 2023

Libra Career Horoscope This Week

Handle all job-related problems with confidence. Expect new responsibilities and do not say no to any new role. Instead, make use of every opportunity to ensure your professional success. Some Libras will travel this week for job reasons. Healthcare professionals, marketing persons, lawyers, and civil engineers may change the organization this week. If you are planning high studies and are appearing for exams of the same, the week will be highly productive.

Libra Money Horoscope This Week

Handle finance carefully this week. Maintain a balance between both income and expenses as you need to save for the rainy day. Some Libras will find investment a safe option and you may consider stock market and mutual funds along with speculative e-business smart options for tomorrow. However, it is good to take the help of a financial expert for guidance. Businessmen will see profits but some entrepreneurs may have problems in raising funds this week.

Libra Health Horoscope This Week

While the health horoscope predicts good general health, some Libras may have body aches, muscle pain, hypertension, and oral issues. It is good to consult a doctor whenever needed. Seniors should not lift heavy objects in the first half of the week. Ensure you practice a healthy diet rich in nuts, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

Libra Sign Attributes

  • Strength: Idealist, Socially presentable, Aesthetic, Charming, Artsy, Generous
  • Weakness: Uncertain, Lazy, Non-interventionist
  • Symbol: Scales
  • Element: Air
  • Body Part: Kidneys & Bladder
  • Sign Ruler: Venus
  • Lucky Day: Friday
  • Lucky Color: Brown
  • Lucky Number: 3
  • Lucky Stone: Diamond

Libra Sign Compatibility Chart

  • Natural affinity: Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius, Aquarius
  • Good compatibility: Aries, Libra
  • Fair compatibility: Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio, Pisces
  • Less compatibility: Cancer, Capricorn

By: Dr. J. N. Pandey

Vedic Astrology & Vastu Expert



Phone: 9717199568, 9958780857

Sat, 19 Aug 2023 06:36:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Two Vintage Clothing Dealers’ Greatest Find: Their House

THOUGH SALIMA BOUFELFEL and Roberto Cowan are known in the fashion world as the owners of the influential vintage clothing boutique Desert Vintage, they’re historians at heart. Tucson natives, they met as college students while working at an outpost of the used clothing chain Buffalo Exchange across the street from the University of Arizona. Boufelfel, 36, grew up in a family of artists and academics and developed an affinity for styling while costuming school plays; Cowan, 33, comes from a long line of seamstresses and taught himself to sew around age 13. Both knew early on that they wanted to work with historical fashion so, in 2012, after the owner of a Tucson vintage boutique that Boufelfel frequented put the business up for sale, they took it over, keeping the name and stocking it with pieces not only obscure (Jean Varon and Michael Vollbracht evening gowns; an ’80s jumpsuit from a label called Workers for Freedom) but also rare (Fortuny Delphos dresses, a Victorian-era matador jacket). Eleven years later, their collection of some 5,000 items — spanning Edwardian London to Y2K Tokyo — has drawn a global following of designers and stylists, who turn to Desert Vintage both to inform their work and to fill their personal wardrobes.

Yet even as they’ve traveled the world to source stock from dealers, archives and private collectors — they opened a second storefront on New York’s Lower East Side last year — Boufelfel and Cowan have remained in their hometown. For many years, they were romantically involved but are now best friends, professional partners and housemates, sharing an 1860s Territorial Style adobe-brick bungalow built using millenniums-old techniques. Situated just south of downtown Tucson in Barrio Viejo, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, the two-bedroom structure functions as a source of inspiration for the pair. “It’s like living inside a piece of folk art,” Boufelfel says.

The two have rented the 2,000-square-foot house for the past five years from friends, the interior designers Gary Patch and Darren Clark, who bought and restored the place in the 1990s. It sits just a few blocks away from a similar home that had been owned, until 2011, by Cowan’s grandfather’s family since the late 1800s. Developed in the latter half of the 19th century, Barrio Viejo has been home to successive waves of new Americans — working-class Mexicans, Chinese railway workers and European farmers and craftspeople. But in the years since Boufelfel and Cowan moved in, the neighborhood has seen an influx of gentrifiers. Even though Cowan didn’t grow up in Barrio Viejo himself, he felt it was important to remain there in the face of rising prices and a proliferation of Airbnbs. “I’m holding it down for my family,” he says.

When it came to furnishing the single-story house, Boufelfel and Cowan took a restrained approach. The 14-foot-tall ceilings are traversed by rough pine structural beams called vigas, which were likely harvested from nearby Madera Canyon and then overlaid with tightly packed rows of unfinished latillas, dried saguaro cactus ribs with variegated textures. (The adobe-specific technique dates back to an era before railroads, which enabled the import of cheaper materials.) Instead of decorations, there are richly patinated plaster-coated walls, original molded fireplaces and inset display niches that they often fill with simple beeswax candles.

THE HOUSE’S FLOOR plan unfolds in a spiral pattern, with a series of spaces arranged around a central pathway paved with herringbone brick. Boufelfel likens the layout to a meditation labyrinth. “To be able to just walk through the house in a circular way is really important, energy-wise,” she says. The smaller of the two bedrooms is walled off from the main living space by a series of raw pine shelves filled with books. On the other side of that room, an interior window opens onto the dining area, a vestige of the original footprint; large bundles of olive and eucalyptus branches gathered from the property serve as a natural curtain.

The living and dining areas and the mottled yellow plaster-walled primary bedroom are outfitted sparingly with mostly 20th-century and contemporary furniture, including a ’70s Milo Baughman shearling sofa and a simple, wood-framed daybed made by a friend. Many of the artworks and textiles were gifts or trades, such as tapestries by Boufelfel’s sibling Kam’s label, Community Handweaving, and a patchwork bunny made by their friend Emily Adams Bode Aujla, the designer of the upcycled fashion brand Bode. Throughout the house are antique objects that double as found sculptures: A 13-foot-tall, tufted spire leaning in a living room corner is actually an old Mexican cobweb duster, while the rough-hewn iron cones arranged in a vignette on the dining-area mantel are antique Laotian rice-farming tools.

The house’s lone bathroom was carved out of the original kitchen by the owners, with small, eye-shaped windows and a shower floor covered with Mexican beach pebbles. (“They massage your feet,” Cowan says.) The claw-foot tub was relegated to the large cactus garden out back, where it sits beneath a chinaberry tree. During the milder months, Boufelfel and Cowan often work and host alfresco dinner parties there, accompanied by their cat, Cléo, and, until two years ago, a pet tortoise, Flora, who came with the place. (She moved in with another tortoise across town.) When the heat gets too intense, Boufelfel and Cowan retreat to the narrow study, where art and design books are stacked on a 1920s burl wood table, and inspirational garments, such as a smocked silk dress and a caftan embroidered with Venetian glass beads, hang overhead like mobiles. It was there that they dreamed up their recently launched clothing collection, Ténéré, a series of seasonless, everyday pieces inspired by beloved early 20th-century favorites in their own wardrobes, including an Edwardian sailor blouse and a slouchy 1920s silk suit.

For all its visual appeal, though, the most notable feature of the house is the way it feels: The two-foot-thick mud walls keep the air cool, while providing a rare, almost churchlike silence. “People stay here and say, ‘I had the best night of sleep of my life,’” Boufelfel says. Hushed and still, the house, she adds, “is like an extension of us and how we live our lives, in a quieter way.”

Tue, 08 Aug 2023 21:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : The Best Podcasts to Represent Every US State (Plus DC) No result found, try new keyword!Trackside Podcast: Trackside is the top IndyCar podcast and hosts Kevin Lee and Curt Cavin are the best in the biz. Daily, they bring you wrap-ups of what you might have missed and previews for what’s ... Thu, 17 Aug 2023 05:00:00 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : Why we all might want to bring a bit of Barbie to work
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What can we learn from Barbie about resisting objectification at work?Getty Images

Madeline Toubiana is an associate professor and Desmarais Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. Trish Ruebottom is an associate professor at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.

Is Barbie now a feminist icon? Maybe? Okay, probably not. However, she might just be the icon of workplace empowerment that we’ve been looking for.

A prominent theme tackled by the Barbie movie is the objectification of women. Contrary to Barbieland, where the Barbies are in charge (and the Kens are most definitely not), when Margot Robbie’s Barbie first enters the Real World, she notices something is off. She feels “conscious of my … self?” Men leer and jeer at her, with one going so far as to grab her butt. Unlike Barbieland, in the Real World, Barbie has to deal with being sexually objectified.

We appreciated this spotlight on the objectification of women. It is much needed. However, without necessarily meaning to, as business professors who study organizations and work, we also watched the movie through the lens of employment – and we saw another way in which Barbieland illuminated certain inadequacies in the Real World. In Barbieland, each of the Barbies has a specific profession they are proud of (author, lawyer, physicist) while the Kens (spoiler alert) eventually take issue with the fact that they aren’t afforded individual identities or meaningful work (their profession is listed broadly as “Beach”).

Interestingly, in the movie’s Real World, workers are experiencing something even worse than the Kens. At Mattel headquarters, they occupy plain, dark cubicles and wear the same forgettable outfits. One lowly office worker has to be asked for his name on several occasions, while a group of C-Suite suits aren’t afforded names at all. They all do what the boss tells them to do, for the sole benefit of the company.

In her 1995 essay Objectification, philosopher Martha Nussbaum identified the qualities involved in objectifying someone – the seven ways in which we might treat a person as a thing. First, instrumentality and ownership: treating a person as a tool used for the purposes of another, as if they are owned by another. Next, denial of autonomy and subjectivity: preventing a person from choosing how to act, and ignoring their interests and feelings. Finally, inertness, fungibility and violability: expecting a person to lack agency, treating them as interchangeable with others, and infringing on their boundaries.

What is most interesting about this list is that many of the items align with how we think about present-day employees. Employees are instruments – resources – used by companies to fulfill the needs of customers, with little choice or autonomy; they are fungible, interchangeable with all other employees in the same position; their work-life boundaries are often violated since their labour is owned by the company, and any expectations they might have of leaving work at their workplace are increasingly eroded. Their subjectivity is most definitely denied – the feelings and interests of employees are rarely taken into account. This is simply the description of typical working conditions in current late-stage capitalism. The drab, cubicled and nameless employees in the Barbie movie’s Real World were not an exaggeration.

Corporations act as if they own us, or at least our labour, and aim to squeeze out as much productivity from us as they can. Whether it’s the algorithms of the gig economy that turn workers into numbers, the partner in the firm whose worth is solely determined by the amount of money they bring in, or the quest for “professionalism” in the office that leaves no room for personality or work-life balance, companies are increasingly taking the “human” out of “human capital.”

So, what can we learn from Barbie about resisting objectification at work?

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Rick Bowmer/The Canadian Press

First, we need to bring our whole selves to work. In our work, we hear over and over again that we are training our students to be “professional,” not just to learn the technical skills of accounting or marketing or whatever courses they are expected to take. But we resist the notion that we must teach them all to be the same, to leave themselves at the door. The truth is that when you try to fit within the image of the ideal worker, it is easier for others to see you as an object – someone who could be anyone, indistinguishable from everyone else in your position.

In Barbieland, the Barbies put their whole selves into their work, wearing brightly coloured costumes that showcase their personalities. In the end, even Weird Barbie finds her place in the Barbieland government – without having to be less weird. We should all be encouraged to bring our weird and wonderful selves to our work. Employers and co-workers should be able to see you as a real human being, with interests and desires of your own.

Second, we need real autonomy. Before the pandemic, CEOs and managers in companies of all sizes said workers were simply unable to work from home – we couldn’t be trusted to be productive. It was assumed employees needed the ever-present surveillance of bosses and even co-workers to keep us focused, to keep productivity high. Autonomy was seen as antithetical to work.

Often, the autonomy that matters is having control over our schedules or the right to say no to certain customers – a promise that was made in the gig economy, but one that is often left undelivered, as shown in the accurate documentary The Gig is Up, about the failings of the industry. Even in the gig economy, there is no autonomy: Algorithms have taken the place of bosses.

But in Barbieland, none of the Barbies seem to report to a boss. Even their president shows up to a group sleepover, and they definitely don’t have an algorithm quantifying their work lives. Yet each day, they go off to work with a sense of purpose. This is the key to autonomy: purpose.

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Barbie dolls are displayed in the Careers Today exhibit during the 2021 Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada.Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Purpose is why productivity went up during the pandemic – we were all invested in keeping the world going – and why it has gone down in accurate months. We all started questioning what we were doing. With purpose, autonomy becomes a real possibility.

Third, we also need to support each other. So often in the workplace, we are pitted against one another as part colleagues, part competitors. We fight over what we are told are scarce resources: pay increases, bonuses and even “good jobs” from the boss. Our workplaces reflect (and exacerbate) our individualist ideology.

In Barbieland, it is a lovefest at work. Compliments for everyone! And while a lovefest might not be realistic in our workplaces, it does point to the importance of community and support.

If we are to put our weird and wonderful selves into our work and build the purposeful autonomy that we require, we need support from others. We need a community that accepts us as human beings, not simply as objects fulfilling our corporate duty.

Another spoiler: After the Kens take over Barbieland by instituting their own brand of patriarchy, the Barbies can only break free by becoming aware of the fact that they’ve been objectified. After hearing a bit of feminist theory, they break out of the Kens’ spell, and are able to be intentional about the way they resist. Their individual personalities and autonomy return.

This awareness is crucial.

If we are to solve the current labour crisis, we need to be aware of all of the ways we are objectified and bring forward our humanity as we rethink what work should be.

We are not suggesting that following the plot of Barbie is a panacea for objectification – there are so many ways we are objectified at work, and the movie only scratched the surface. But as we think about how to redesign work, there is much we can learn about resisting objectification and reclaiming our humanity.

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The new line up of 2018 Barbie Career dolls at the 2018 New York Toy Fair including eye doctor, beekeeper and paleontologist.Diane Bondareff/The Canadian Press

Sat, 19 Aug 2023 02:00:00 -0500 en-CA text/html
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Virginia Commonwealth University has always been a bit of an oddity, created by the legislature in 1968 through the merger of Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia. The former was once an arm of the public co-educational College of William & Mary. The latter’s origins are in private males-only Hampden-Sydney College.

Fifty-five years on, this marriage — still something of a shotgun affair — has been shaped by promise and problems: the promise of serving as a comprehensive urban university with a richly diverse student body. The problems synonymous with its multifaceted character, most notably the ever-increasing expense of accommodating it and whether that cost makes dollars and sense.

VCU President Michael Rao speaks in April during the opening of the new College of Humanities and Sciences STEM building on West Franklin Street in Richmond.

Michael Rao has made most of these calls since becoming VCU president in July 2009. As an Indian American, Rao is a symbol of the university he leads. With academic and health campuses at opposite ends of Broad Street that it says contribute $1.5 billion to the Richmond economy, cash-strapped VCU — with 28,408 undergraduate and graduate students, a decline of 3,000 since Rao’s appointment — is majority-minority. Black, Asian and Hispanic students make up 52% of its enrollment.

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That diversity is supposed to be good for business, in theory, helping produce a workforce that looks like Virginia. But are Rao, the state’s longest-serving university president and one of its highest paid, and VCU’s two governing bodies — comprised largely of gubernatorial appointees — leading the university in a businesslike manner? Reporting by the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Eric Kolenich and others suggests the reality is otherwise.

The collapse of VCU’s plan to erect a 17-story tower on city-owned property at the western edge of its medical campus is not only a consequence of a post-pandemic contraction in the commercial property market, but a dispute at the highest levels of the university, and of which members of VCU’s governing body, the board of visitors, knew little if anything.

The fight pit that eventually forced-out head of VCU Health, Dr. Art Kellermann, against Rao, an education specialist who also leads the authority that runs the hospital and on whose watch the top brass of the health care program has turned over a confounding three times. Kellermann, an emergency medicine expert, didn’t last three years.

VCU’s revolving door is not confined to the health campus, home of the medical, nursing, dental and pharmacy schools. At the academic campus, seat of VCU’s front office, the departures of seasoned, well-connected state government veterans — people who can be enormously helpful to a university president — have not gone unnoticed.

All this recalls a defining feature of Rao’s tenure: that from its earliest days — when even some of his biggest fans on the board of visitors expressed buyer’s remorse and insisted on hiring an out-of-state consultant to, in effect, tutor him on how to be a big-school president — chaos and confusion can dwarf advances and accomplishments.

There’s been a four-fold spike in fundraising over Rao’s years at VCU and Richmond’s skyline has been remade with the construction of a pediatric hospital — developments for which Rao was rewarded with an 8% pay raise in 2022, pushing his base pay north of $700,000. That figure doesn’t include expensive perquisites befitting a president.

The failure of the proposed office and education high-rise on the site of the city’s shuttered public safety building spotlights a troubling issue: that spirited disagreement, a supposed feature of academe, is discouraged at VCU, especially if it’s seen as inconsistent with Rao’s agenda.

From the political rubble of the health campus project are emerging questions — some now asked by the board of visitors, which hires and fires the school’s president — about red flags raised by Kellermann as well as the white-shoe law firm that advises the hospital authority, Hunton Andrews Kurth, and where VCU’s new rector, Todd Haymore, heads the Virginia economic-development program.

Their concerns, as laid out in Kolenich’s reporting: the project could have had the university bleeding millions of dollars, with the building barely filled.

That puts in focus another headache for higher education, in general, and VCU, in particular; with birth rates falling and more people less convinced a four-year degree is their meal ticket, the university’s acceptance rate is approaching 94%. Someone’s got to foot the bill for faculty, extra-curricular activities and all that bricks and mortar. Just-announced layoffs help but at the expense of those now out of work.

The deal was torpedoed, but not before VCU Health got stuck paying $73 million — what passes for a kill fee — to the banking firm peddling the project as a safe investment for pension funds and other institutional investors.

There apparently were opportunities to pull out of the deal sooner and, presumably, at a lower cost. But VCU kept Rao-ing the boat, depicting the project as essential to maintaining goodwill with Richmond and its mayor, Levar Stoney, an all-but-announced candidate for the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination who’s betting that big, shiny objects will entice voters.

Embarrassing headlines and an investigation by an outside law firm — finally — got the attention of the board of visitors as the principal overseer of the university. Its representatives on the hospital authority, who had pledged to keep secret the troubled deal from the board of visitors — have been replaced. And backstairs murmurings of a leadership shakeout are persistent.

Though some things haven’t happened, yet, an investigation by the General Assembly’s watchdog agency, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, as demanded by Rao’s nonstop tormentor, former Gov. Doug Wilder, who teaches public policy at the VCU school that bears his name, or the intervention of Gov. Glenn Youngkin by way of board appointments tailored to shake up the school, as was the case with selections for the University of Virginia governing panel.

JLARC could decide on an inquiry when it next convenes in October or wait until directed by the legislature when it returns in January for its winter session. Having made two rounds of appointments of VCU trustees in as many years, Youngkin has near-total control of the board and will have a majority of loyalists in place by next June, though he conceivably could press for replacements sooner.

Maybe VCU has already paid obeisance to Youngkin, rejecting as a requirement a racial-awareness course sought by students. The school says it hasn’t the money for such a program; that making it optional is far less expensive.

Plus, the university ducks the political cost of crossing Virginia’s anti-woke governor.

Wed, 09 Aug 2023 03:35:00 -0500 en text/html
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