Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Morning Links!

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* CFP: Octavia E. Butler Society American Literature Association 26th Annual Conference May 21-24, 2015.

* Rob Nixon reviews Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age and the “good Anthropocene.”

* To Save the Humanities, Change the Narrative.

* Teaching evaluations and student buy-in.

If students know what they’re getting and know why it’s supposed to be beneficial, then education and satisfaction should go together. In a total vacuum of explicit pedagogical reflection, students will default to non-academic standards for satisfaction, because we’re giving them nothing else. If students don’t know how to evaluate whether we’re helping them to learn, it’s not because students are stupid and ignorant and we shouldn’t ask them anything — it’s because we’ve failed to teach them that. And the only way to lay the groundwork for actually teaching them that is to make focused discussion of pedagogical commitments, with both fellow faculty members and with students, a pervasive feature of the culture of a given school.

 

* Also from Adam Kotsko: Plagiarism and self-plagiarism: A defense of Žižek.

* The Federation and cultural decay.

* Time to move on to the next boondoggle: Universities Rethinking Their Use of Massive Online Courses.

* And speaking of boondoggles: Just say no to Wisconsin transportation boondoggles.

* Another triumph for the left! Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture.

* Membership has its privileges: A former Kentucky correctional officer who admitted to sexually assaulting inmates where he worked will not be going to prison.

* Patriarchy may be down but it still has its sense of humor: The First Person Charged Under Virginia’s New ‘Revenge Porn’ Law Is A Woman.

* Speaking of patriarchy.

* …there’s no evidence that electing Democrats stops Ferguson-like situations from happening.

* Could it be? Is The Stock Market Driven Mainly by Bullshit?

* The idea that the inventors of an actually working hoverboard would need Kickstarter to launch the project just seems totally self-refuting, but I guess 2015 is just around the corner and we’ve all decided we’re going to go with it.

* Don’t like cigarettes but this seems like it’s got to be illegal.

‘It Will Never Be The Same’: North Dakota’s 840,000-Gallon Oil Spill One Year Later.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine Max Landis’s 436-page script for a Super Mario movie, forever.

* Trailer for the return of The Comeback, which is all I can think about.

* Probably the most Reddit thing that has ever happened.

* The Annotated MST3K.

* And because it’s not all bleakness and horror: Photos of children playing around the world.

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What I Learned at My MFA

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There’s one very clear take-away from the latest report released by the collective BFAMFAPhD: people who graduate with arts degrees regularly end up with a lot of debt and incredibly low prospects for earning a living as artists. Or, as they put it in the report, titled Artists Report Back: A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists, “the fantasy of future earnings in the arts cannot justify the high cost of degrees.”

Indicting Higher Education in the Arts and Beyond. Full report here.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 20, 2014 at 9:19 pm

SFFTV Invites DVD Reviewers

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Science Fiction Film and Television would like to invite reviews of current DVDs in SF/F, with possible selections including but not limited to such titles as:

Snowpiercer
The Rover
Rick & Morty
Orphan Black
Zero Theorem
Under the Skin
The Signal
Edge of Tomorrow

We are reasonably successful at obtaining review copies from smaller arthouse and independent distributors. Although we are keen to expand our review coverage of mainstream sf film and television, obtaining review copies from major distributors is a lot harder – so if you have your own copy, and would like to review it, we would love to hear from you.

Our film and TV reviews (1000-2000 words) are intended to fill the gap that exists between popular/journalistic reviews and the fuller critical treatment only some films and tv shows will receive, often much later, in academic venues. Ideally, a review will situate the film/show within a broader critical and/or historical framework and sketch out a critical analysis which will prove useful to students and researchers. We are interested in reviews of films/shows (of whatever vintage) that are new to DVD/Blu-ray. If you would like to claim one of these options or propose a different film/show to review, please contact the editors (gerrycanavan@gmail.com, mark.bould@gmail.com or sherryl.vint@gmail.com). If you have not written for us before, please send your cv when you get in touch.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 20, 2014 at 9:05 am

Monday Morning Links!

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* I have an essay in Oil Culture, out this week, on “Retrofutures and Petrofutures.” It’s about science fiction framings of fossil fuel use and its eventual supersession. Amazon link!

* Fascinating survey of budget cuts in academia even at colleges that are making more money than ever before.

In other words, these universities unnecessarily reduced the pay of hard-working professionals, and for no other purpose than to say that they did so. The motto of so many university administrators was “leave no crisis behind,” as these administrators used the national economic situation as justification for unnecessary reductions in the compensation of the people who educate our students.

* In academia, conferences matter.

This paper provides evidence for the role of conferences in generating visibility for academic work, using a ‘natural experiment': the last-minute cancellation — due to ‘Hurricane Isaac’ — of the 2012 American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Meeting. We assembled a dataset containing outcomes of 15,624 articles scheduled to be presented between 2009 and 2012 at the APSA meetings or at a comparator annual conference (that of the Midwest Political Science Association). Our estimates are quantified in difference-in-differences analyses: first using the comparator meetings as a control, then exploiting heterogeneity in a measure of session attendance, within the APSA meetings. We observe significant ‘conference effects': on average, articles gain 17-26 downloads in the 15 months after being presented in a conference. The effects are larger for papers authored by scholars affiliated to lower tier universities and scholars in the early stages of their career. Our findings are robust to several tests.

With Voter ID On Hold, Here’s What Wisconsin Republicans Have Planned For Election Day.

* New York as I remember it from day trips growing up: A City Covered in Graffiti.

Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man.

* Reduce the deficit, use only female astronauts.

* Maps of the end of the world.

* Ebola in Perspective. Also at Cultural Anthropology: “Ecologies of Empire: On the New Uses of the Honeybee.”

* Pentagon gearing up to bring their famous competence to the war on Ebola (in the US).

* Paul Farmer’s Ebola diary.

* That Time The Reagan White House Press Briefing Erupted With Laughter Over AIDS 13 Times.

* The Dark Market for Personal Data. An interview with Frank Pasquale on his book The Black Box Society.

* Headlines from the apocalypse: NASA Confirms A 2,500-Square-Mile Cloud Of Methane Floating Over US Southwest.

* Something’s gone wrong in America: Police are looking for a group of men who opened fire after losing a game of beer pong.

* Biocapital watch: How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got entangled in a vast financial scandal.

* Why we can’t have nice things: a nice demonstration of how 12% of the U.S. population controls 60% of the Senate.

* And science has finally proved I’m not a baby: men really do have weaker immune systems. If anyone needs me I’ll be in bed…

Saturday Night Links!

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* I’ve had a nice bit of professional good news: I’ve been asked to join Extrapolation as an editor beginning with their Spring 2015 issue.

“Crutzen, who is not a geologist, but one of the modern great scientists, essentially launched a small hand grenade into the world of geological time scales,” Jan Zalasiewicz, chair of the ICS’s anthropocene working group, told the Guardian. “The word began to be used widely, well before geologists ever got involved.”

* That old-time religion: Now that science fiction is respectable, it’s lost almost all of the conceptual craziness and dubious sexual politics that made it both fanboy bait and of genuine interest.

* From AfricaIsACountry: Ebola and neo-imperialism. And from Jacobin: The Political Economy of Ebola.

* The arsenal of, well, let’s say democracy: The U.S. sold $66.3 billion in weapons last year –- more than three-fourths of the entire global arms market.

* Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report.

* Climate change: how to make the big polluters really pay.

Of Collaborators and Careerists.

* Whites are more supportive of voter ID laws when shown photos of black people voting.

* Meritocracy watch: Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong.

* The 21st century university: women’s only colleges and trans identity.

Since the sinking of the Titanic, there has been a widespread belief that the social norm of “women and children first” (WCF) gives women a survival advantage over men in maritime disasters, and that captains and crew members give priority to passengers. We analyze a database of 18 maritime disasters spanning three centuries, covering the fate of over 15,000 individuals of more than 30 nationalities. Our results provide a unique picture of maritime disasters. Women have a distinct survival disadvantage compared with men. Captains and crew survive at a significantly higher rate than passengers.

The Milwaukee police officer who killed Dontre Hamilton in Red Arrow Park is believed to be the first officer in the city fired as a result of a fatal on-duty shooting in at least 45 years.

* “Weird hobby.”

* More back-and-forth on carceral feminism from Amber A’Lee Frost and Freddie deBoer.

* Pieces like this are enough to make you nostalgic for the quietly understated narcissism of “job creators.”

* An oral history of The Wonder Years.

New Scrabble Dictionary Disrepects The Game.

* Stop worrying about mastermind hackers. Start worrying about the IT guy.

* And just for fun: How to die in the 18th century. Watch for for evil, and for the purples…

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Weekend Links!

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Marquette University invites applications for the Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program. Mitchem Fellowships seek to help increase the presence of currently underrepresented racial and cultural groups in the U.S. professoriate by supporting advanced doctoral candidates during completion of the dissertation. The fellowships provide one year of support for doctoral candidates who are well into the writing stage of their dissertation work, are U.S. citizens, and are currently enrolled in U.S. universities. In addition to library, office and clerical support privileges, Mitchem Fellows receive a $35,000 stipend plus fringe benefits, research and travel monies for the 2015-16 academic year. The teaching load is 1-0.

* UC-Riverside Call for Postdoctoral Fellow: “Alternative Futurisms.”

* NEH watch: Save the Overseas Seminars.

* When Harvard is one of the worst colleges in America: colleges ranked by social mobility index. Marquette doesn’t come out looking all that great by this standard either, though it does beat both Duke and Case Western by a good bit. (Greensboro, oddly, seems not to have been ranked at all.)

* If I can’t dance: U.C. Berkeley set to pull plug on anarchist’s archive.

* Student loan borrowers are not getting enough help avoiding default, according to a report released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Meanwhile, the Nation reports: Should You Go to College?

* Against Carceral Feminism. I agree with @DavidKaib that “carceral liberalism” is the more important frame here; there’s no reason to single out feminism when so much of liberalism across the board is carceral in its orientation.

* Then the drought ate all the sportsball.

* Youth Are on the Frontlines in Ferguson, and They Refuse to Back Down.

* The Adjunct Crisis Is Everyone’s Problem.

* A people’s history of Gamergate. The Routine Harassment of Women in Male Dominated Spaces. Brianna Wu: It Happened to Me. ‘We Have a Problem and We’re Going to Fix This.’

4 Reasons Why A Travel Ban Won’t Solve The Ebola Crisis. Why travel bans will only make the Ebola epidemic worse. Why An Ebola Flight Ban Wouldn’t Work. And yet I would guess one is only a few days off.

* Peak Meritocracy: Andrew Cuomo thinks being the son of a former governor has been a “net negative” for his political career. If only we could somehow harness the radical cluelessness of these people and use it for productive ends.

* Two reports on outcomes for humanities majors could serve to reinforce two disparate beliefs about the field: one where they are seen as a viable path to a successful career, and another where they are seen as a track to a low income and few job prospects. The gender gap is vitally important here.

* Italy Just Pulled Out of Recession Because It Began Counting Drug and Prostitution Revenue.

* John Grisham, completely full of shit.

* Report: Airbnb Is Illegal, Rapacious, & Swallowing Lower Manhattan.

* Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa.

* Podcast interview with out-of-character Stephen Colbert, as he transitions towards taking over The Late Show.

* Another great Superman deconstruction from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

* Paradise is always just five years off: 3D printed mud houses will soon be an option in impoverished countries.

* John Siracusa reviews OS Yosemite.

White House Seeks Advice On “Bootstrapping A Solar System Civilization.”

* And what has been seen cannot be unseen: Spider Burrows Into Dylan Thomas’s Appendix Scar & Up Into His Sternum.

Thursday Links!

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* Marquette English Spring 2015 courses! I’m teaching a section of 3000 (our new intro to major — mine is themed around magic) and the second round of my NEH “Cultural Preservation” course. I’m also doing a honors seminar on “video game culture” that I’m really excited about, GamerGate notwithstanding.

* A rare spot of optimism: Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy.

* But don’t hang on to it: It’s time to push the panic button on the global economy. Markets are panicking again. What’s going on?

Sea Level Rising Faster Than Anytime In 6,000 Years, Study Finds.

* WHO: 10,000 new Ebola cases per week could be seen. The CDC is apparently taking the over. One thing is certain: it’s time to panic.

* Another Obama triumph for the left: let a thousand wage thefts bloom.

The Assassination of Detroit.

* Charter School Power Broker Turns Public Education Into Private Profits. Neoliberalism, Higher Education, and the Rise of Contingent Faculty Labor.

* Identifying The Worst Colleges In America.

* Could Oculus Rift be the next great higher education boondoggle?

* In Taste of Autonomy, Sports Programs Now Battle for Athletes’ Bellies.

The most alarming thing I’ve heard from friends who’ve had miscarriages is their surprise (only upon miscarrying) at hearing about how many of their friends, aunts, cousins, sisters, mothers and grandmothers have had them, too. If miscarriages are so common, why do we hide them behind a wall of shame and silence?

* What It’s Really Like to Have an Abortion.

* The radical teamsters of Minneapolis showed what democratic unionism looks like.

* “Most schools’ internal judicial systems are the worst of both worlds,” Berkowitz said. “They don’t give the accused the protections of the criminal justice system, and they mistreat the victims, too.”

For example, even into the 1980s, some doctors didn’t believe that babies felt pain and so routinely did surgery on them using just muscle relaxants to keep them still. Pain and medicine.

* Guy Debord’s The Muppets. More links below Gonzo.

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* “You had one job” screwup of the week.

* South Carolina governor levels outrageous accusation against the nation’s CEOs, says they’re all white supremacists. Huge if true.

* Study claims that whales and dolphins can speak to one another.

* DC has a bit hit on its hands with The Flash, so of course the smart move here is to recast for the film.

* Father, there’s a gateway to Narnia in the closet!

The Absolute Weirdest Thing Ever To Happen At A Political Debate.

How A California Man Was Forced To Spend 100 Days In Prison For Being An Atheist.

* Next week: Civilization: Beyond Earth.

* Behold! The Counter-Intuitivist!

* And we are all Bartleby now.

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