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The Week in Ideas (8/28)

Posted by Josh Rothman  August 28, 2012 09:30 AM

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The people with no lobby in Washington: Three political scientists on the groups who are actually under-represented by lobbyists. “It’s not hard to identify the noisiest organizations; it’s much harder to look at a crowd and systematically figure out who’s not there.” Their new dataset reveals the stark truth: the vast majority of lobbying organizations favor “the haves,” with only a tiny fraction representing groups like blue-collar workers.

What happened when women joined the office: Joanna Weiss talks with Julie Berebitsky, a historian whose new book, “Sex and the Office,” highlights what hasn’t changed: gender roles which make sexuality a problem in the workplace. “We still have understandings of masculinity that are very much defined by men’s sexual prowess. We still expect women to be feminine, attractive, and sexy.”

From the annals of Britain’s UFO Desk: Chris Wright on the British bureacrats who were responsbile for investigating UFO reports. They did it for nearly fifty years – all the way up to 2009, when the office was “disbanded for budget reasons.”

Plus: Ben Zimmer on the youth’s coolest new slang term, YOLO; Kevin Lewis on how watching reruns makes you happier than watching new shows, and more.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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