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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2009-07-25

  • Twiddling your thumbs in a recession-struck office? Yearning to break away from the monotony of routine? If “yes” is the answer to these questions, you might consider joining the growing ranks of “sabbat-packers”. This new breed, recently identified by Lonely Planet, is using the economic downturn to its advantage by taking unpaid leave and going off to do something more thrilling instead. It’s a good move for employers, too—by stepping aboard what’s being touted as the flexible working revolution and allowing employees to opt out temporarily for little or no pay, companies slash their costs when business is slow. Since June, more than 4,000 of the 40,000 staff at British Airways have applied for unpaid holiday (which could be as short as one week or up to one year, with the option to spread their reduced salary over the entire period). BA’s sabbat-packers are variously volunteering in wildlife sanctuaries, climbing Kilimanjaro, going on archeological digs and writing dissertations.
    (tags: gapyear)
  • Anyone who doubts the central role that the Web has taken in government life should consider all the attention paid to Recovery.gov. The General Services Administration created the site earlier this year to show the public how federal economic stimulus money was being disbursed. But the first iteration of the site proved to be too inscrutable for the public. So the agency contracted with a company to redesign the site — to the tune of $18 million over the next five years.
    The days of a Web presence being an optional component for agencies are long gone. For most citizens, the primary way of interacting with their government is through Web sites. By and large, agencies have responded to that demand by creating richer, more interactive sites. A lot has changed since Government Computer News created its first list of 10 great government Web sites last year.
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