Recent reading (5 links for March 10)



Irregularly, I post noteworthy articles I recently read. Enjoy!


Startup of the Week: Fabsie
Fabsie allows furniture designers to upload ready-to-assemble furniture designs that are CNC-milled at a maker near you. They’re really on to something, and it resonates strongly for me, as the general approach isn’t that far from what we’re building with Makers Make. Wishing the Fabsie team to rock their Kickstarter. – by Wired.co.uk Staff (link)  


3D Printing takes the Faux out of Fake Leather
Modern Meadow claim they might be near printing leather, and later potentially food-grade meat. What would a world be like if you could remove the ecological and ethical issues around eating meat? And what other issues would arise? I’m deeply fascinated by these questions. – by Juho Vesanto (link)  


Forget creepy Intel: SHORE unlocks your face at a glance, and it’s already in use
Fraunhofer’s new, super powerful face recognition system isn’t just impressive/creepy, it’s also already in use out there. A glimpse five minutes into the future. – by Chris Davies (link)  


On Early Warning Signs / Seedmagazine
The author makes a strong case for embracing a more complex, systemic understanding of how the world works, and some careful pokes at how to see early warning signs across domains. – by George Sugihara (link)  


The No-Limits Job
The NYTimes on the abusive culture of serial internships. As someone who’s done a fair share of unpaid internships (but nowhere near this scale or general level of suck) I’m convinced that a four week free internship is fine (but useless for businesses), but anything beyond should be paid work. Simple as that. – by Terry Wayne (link)  

Internships – How Should They Be Set Up?


intern coffee by david boyle, CC licensed

Recently I’ve been having a lot of discussions about internships and how they should be done, how they would work best for both interns and their employers. I used to discuss this from the intern’s point of view. Now that I’m on the other end of the discussion, I don’t just want to switch sides. I’d like to do it better, if possible.

Here’s the main questions that have come up:

  • How long? After some training time, how long is it legit to “keep” your interns? One month, two, three?
  • How much? What is a fair salary reinbursement for interns? This varies from industry to industry, of course. But any idea is appreciated. (I’ve had only unpaid internships and never regretted them, but a world of unpaid internships is not the world I want see. Everybody has to eat.)
  • What? What kind of tasks are legitimate, and what kind of tasks make sense? Of course every company loves the fully studies, near-pro intern to take some workload off. But let’s face it, that doesn’t make sense. So what’s a realistic set of tasks that is both challenging yet not overly so, and where do the company’s needs come in here?

It’s really quite a dilemma since so many companies (and non-profits, universities, political institutions etc) rely on interns, and interns need the experience (both for themselves and their CV). Still, there seem to be an awful lot of questions that haven’t been resolved.

So I’d like to open up this point to discussion: What’s a good way to go? Thank you!

Image by David Boyle (some rights reserved)