Archive for the ‘Look at what I found on the Internet’ Category
At io9, Annalee Newitz has a brief writeup on my Octavia Butler research, including some of my scattered notes about what the Fledgling sequel might have been like.
* After long neglect I’ve updated the “online articles” page on my Professional Website, if you’re interested.
* Jacobin‘s brief history of neoliberalism is quite good, though the claim that the Tea Party is irrelevant or that the GOP is on the ropes seems especially odd after last night’s wonderfully improbable defeat of Eric Cantor.
* You’d think at the “legacy project” point of his presidency Obama might want to avoid phrases like “misspent years” and “talking your way through” things.
* Pizzeria Boss Fined $334K Because You Can’t Pay Workers In Pizza And Soda. Why not let the free market decide if pizza is currency?
* The Mental-Health Consequences of Unemployment. The jobs with the highest incidence of depression. Both cases seem like prime candidates for the left critique of the medicalization of depression, which is that sometimes you’re depressed because your circumstances are bad, not because your brain is misfiring.
* Headlines you don’t want to read about your new city: “Getting Milwaukee’s rivers to meet state water quality standards won’t be easy.”
* Map: All the Countries John McCain Has Wanted to Attack. I have to believe this is a significant undercount.
* My “but it could actually be good” fantasy script for Batman vs. Superman get less and less likely by the day. Alas.
* And could we finally see another Star Trek TV series courtesy of Netflix? Only if you promise it’s not Captain Worf.
* Meanwhile, my new best friend Levar Burton says Octavia Butler is the writer he most wishes he’d met.
* An itinerary is by no means the only thing required for setting out on a trip. And the itinerary will change along the way. But for a deliberate departure from capitalism, rather than a blind flight, a preliminary itinerary will be necessary. Whatever we think of the term communism, the crossroads Marx and Engels glimpsed in the Manifesto is coming more clearly into view: either a left alternative to capitalism or “the common ruin of the contending classes”.
* As horrific as recent mass killings have been, the idea of a slide into ongoing domestic terrorism is just nightmarish.
* Meanwhile: War Gear Flows to Police Departments.
* Temple University is investigating an ethics complaint that two of its professors did not properly disclose funding from the private prison industry for their research on the cost of incarceration.
* Grad Students Could Win Big as Obama Slashes Debt Payments. Understanding the CBO’s bullshitting about how the government doesn’t make money on student loans. Lawsuits and the end of the NCAA. College’s inequality disgrace: Millionaire university presidents and indebted students. In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments. Yes, the Humanities Are Struggling, but They Will Endure. And Now We Know I’ll Never Be MLA President.
* Emily Bazelon covers the Title IX crisis in American colleges. Taekwondo Is Great but Not the Solution to Campus Rape. U. of Oregon Student Who Alleged Rape by Athletes Writes Open Letter. And then there’s George.
* Jezebel covers Wikipedia’s internal fighting over #YesAllWomen.
* I thought this was genuinely stunning even by Fox’s already low standards: Fox News Guest Launches Race-Based Attack On Neil deGrasse Tyson.
* The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different. I know this because I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done with trafficking victims.
Last December I had the improbable privilege to be the very first scholar to open the boxes at the Huntington that contain what Butler had written of Trickster before her death.What I found were dozens upon dozens of false starts for the novel, some petering out after twenty or thirty pages, others after just two or three; this cycle of narrative failure is recorded over hundreds of pages of discarded drafts. Frustrated by writer’s block, frustrated by blood pressure medication that she felt inhibited her creativity and vitality, and frustrated by the sense that she had no story for Trickster, only a “situation,” Butler started and stopped the novel over and over again from 1989 until her death, never getting far from the beginning…
The second part of my Octavia Butler piece is up at Los Angeles Review of Books, all about Parable of the Trickster!
* Gasp! Rashad McCants, the second-leading scorer on the North Carolina basketball team that won the 2004-05 national title, told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that tutors wrote his term papers, he rarely went to class for about half his time at UNC, and he remained able to play largely because he took bogus classes designed to keep athletes academically eligible.
* Sarah Kendzior: On Being a Thing.
* College administrators have been blaming everyone and everything but themselves for tuition increases for thirty years.
* Going on the academic job market this fall? Some prep advice from Vitae.
* Adjuncting for Dummies. Would you like to know more?
* On, Wisconsin! Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin’s same-sex marriage ban.
* Stanford Rape Victim’s Powerful Message Is a Wake Up Call For Colleges Everywhere. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast has a master’s class is how he said / she said journalism defaults to “he said,” even if the normal point about the unworkability of campus tribunals is one I actually tend to agree with.
At what point in manufacturing + branding anti-homeless spikes do you apprehend the state of your soul and claw out your own eyes in horror?—
Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) June 07, 2014
* Elsewhere in not-even-denying-it eliminationism: Arizona Prisons Ignored Medical Needs And Let Sick Inmates Die, Major Lawsuit Claims.
There’s an almost absurd quality to it: white supremacy is so pervasive, and its structural mechanisms so powerful, that even white anti-racist consciousness can be a mechanism for reinforcing white supremacy. It’s an important lesson that shows why anti-racism isn’t just about purifying what’s in our hearts or our heads. It’s about transforming the economic systems and property relations that continue to reproduce racist practices and ideas.
* It’s great Watterson drew some new comics; I just wish they were a little more interesting…
* From the too-good-to-check files: Ayer vs. Tyson.
* And Uber is a lawsuit factory. If only there were some centralized way we could approve and license drivers before they were allowed to provide taxi services…
Part one of my two-part writeup on the Octavia Butler papers, “Knowing No One’s Listening: Octavia E. Butler’s Unexpected Stories,“ has gone up at the Los Angeles Review of Books. Part two, on Parable of the Trickster, goes up on Monday!
* The results are readily apparent. The overwhelming number of retractions due to flawed methodology, flawed approach, and general misconduct over the last decade is staggering. Stories in almost every field have seen a rash of inaccuracies. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased tenfold since 1975.
* But the biggest fundamental problem with the administration’s proposed ratings system is that it presents market principles as the cure for an illness that is itself caused by the indiscriminate application of market-mad nostrums to a context (education) where they don’t belong.
* Norfolk, Virginia could be the first city we lose to climate change. Vox voxplains and revoxplains why we’re doomed, but never gets around to considering that flogging away uselessly in the same failed institutions might not be the answer.
* The coming grim death future has given us one gift, though: Darren Aronofsky Adapting Futuristic ‘MaddAddam’ Book Trilogy As HBO Series.
* In other words, Louie is sketching out the psychology of an abuser by making us recognize abuse in someone we love. Someone thoughtful and shy, raising daughters of his own, doing his best. Someone totally cognizant of the issues that make him susceptible to the misogyny monster. Someone who thinks hard about women and men and still gets it badly wrong.
* Obama won’t take simple anti-corporate tax reform action he could institute unilaterally today. I suppose it’ll probably always be a mystery.
* Today in the rule of law: Attorney for teen set up by FBI in terror sting kicked out of courtroom while secret evidence is discussed. Judge Threatens, Allegedly Attacks Public Defender During Hearing. The public defender is very happy that cops are being sent to harass people who request public defenders.
* LAPD’s new air drone program will respect privacy. Well , that’s a relief!
* Prosecutors say two 12-year-old southeastern Wisconsin girls stabbed their 12-year-old friend nearly to death in the woods to please a mythological creature they learned about online. The two girls will be tried as adults because they’re making such mature, clear-headed decisions.
* My beloved alma mater in the news! Judge Orders Case Western to Grant Diploma to Medical Student.
* The Secret Service wants to build a computer that can detect sarcasm. Maybe the computer could then explain it to Twitter users?
* This seems so nutty to me. I think I probably spent half my childhood wandering around in the woods without supervision and the other half in the back seat of a locked car.
* “Ann B. Davis stood, walked over to the trash can, and emptied her tray. She walked out of the cafeteria and into a small, gray town near Pittsburgh. I wanted her to *be* Alice. I wanted her to smile as if she loved me. I wanted her to say, ‘Buck up, kiddo, everything’s going to be all right.’ And what I’m trying to tell you now is this: I grew up in a split-level ranch-style house outside a town that could have been anywhere. I grew up in front of a television. I would have believed her.” RIP, Ann B. Davis.
* What is even the payoff for shining a laser at a plane? That’s bananas.
* On Sept. 13, 1848, at around 4:30 p.m., the time of day when the mind might start wandering, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life.
* I can’t imagine how colleges could do mandatory mental health screenings right, but less how badly they’d screw it up by trying to do it on the cheap.
* There are dozens of us! The AV Club rediscovers The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
* “It was pretty much slave labor,” she says, “but there was nothing I could do about that. I needed stamps to write to my child. I needed hygiene products.” Modern-Day Slavery in America’s Prison Workforce.
In fact, not a cent of Zuckerberg’s money has gone toward hiring counselors, social workers or nurses. Meanwhile, “there have been DRAMATIC cuts to wraparound services,” wrote Mike Maillaro, Newark Teachers Union’s director of communication and research, in an e-mail. Last year, every attendance counselor in the district was eliminated.
Hawthorne Avenue reports losing eight support staff members since 2011, including a guidance counselor and two instructional coaches. The school has neither a music teacher nor a librarian.
Zuckerberg’s money would instead “create systemic education reform in Newark.” In 2011, it was reported that a full third of the foundation’s cash had found the pockets of consultants. As Dale Russakoff recently reported in a lengthy New Yorker article, that total now sits at about $20 million.
Though a smattering of grants have benefitted local causes—after-school yoga ($31,000), book drives ($1.2 million), new district schools ($2.1 million) and sundry others—over 40 percent of the money granted to organizations has left the state. Outside talent and recruitment agencies, for instance, raked in over $4 million to align district staffing with Anderson’s politics.
* Black legislators in North Carolina are blasting a provision in the State Senate’s budget bill that they say is an attempt to force the closure of Elizabeth City State University, a historically black institution, WRAL News reported.
* Is College Worth It? Clearly, New Data Say. Even Middle-Class Students Have Poor Odds of Graduating From College. 2 Years On, Two-Thirds of This Graduating Class Aren’t Financially Self-Sufficient. How to end the college class war.
* Making Olin’s problems worse, the school’s only subject, engineering, is very expensive to teach. Unlike other schools with a broader array of programs, Olin cannot subsidize engineering students by charging their classmates the same tuition for cheaper majors such as English and sociology. At many schools — although they may not know it — liberal arts majors are in effect helping to underwrite the high cost of science and technical education.
* All This: Mad Men and the Persistence of the Old Regime. As good as it gets: Mad Men and neoliberalism. Mad Men‘s Robert Morse on Dancing Into the Sunset. Mad Men’s Trudy Campbell is a KGB Spy. The Matt Weiner Interview. As fun as this show is, it’s about some pretty grimy shit.
* In an attempt to emphasize heterosexuality, fear or hatred of homosexuals and misogynist language developed. The bro, in short, is a culture-wide defense mechanism against the gay.
* Back to the top of the order: Let’s Debunk Scientific Racism, Again.
* BREAKING: The rule of law is a joke.
* The religious right, who liked to call themselves the “moral majority” at the time, actually organized around fighting to protect Christian schools from being desegregated. It wasn’t Roe v. Wadethat woke the sleeping dragon of the evangelical vote. It was Green v. Kennedy, a 1970 decision stripping tax-exempt status from “segregation academies”—private Christian schools that were set up in response to Brown v. Board of Education, where the practice of barring black students continued.
* Report of the Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature (2014). Just clap your hands if you believe in job training!
* It doesn’t get better: Sorry, nerds: Fraternity brothers have more fulfilling lives later on.
* Incoming Title IX Mess: Duke Student Sues For Diploma After He’s Expelled for Sexual Assault.
* Two great tastes! NCAA Teams Up With Defense Dept. on $30-Million Concussion Study.
* Cruel optimism watch: Hulu In Talks To Pick Up New Season Of Community.
* And nothing good will happen anymore: Alfonso Cuarón says he won’t be directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
* There were some Sunday Super Sunshine Hit Links late last night, in case you missed them.
* The challenge is to see the killings as reasonable and normal. Notes on Understanding the UCSB Killings.
* “We have a financial and moral obligation to be good stewards of these dollars”: Obama’s Department of Education continues to pretend the government is hurt by the student loan regime.
* For a whole year, a Chilean artist using the name Fried Potatoes (Papas Fritas) planned his revenge. Saying he was collecting material for an art project, the 31-year-old visual artist sneaked into a vault at a notorious private, run-for-profit university and quietly removed tuition contracts. Fried Potatoes – whose real name is Francisco Tapia – then burned the documents, rendering it nearly impossible for the Universidad del Mar to call in its debt – which he claimed was worth as much as $500m (£297m). “It’s over. You are all free of debt,” he said in a five-minute video released earlier this month. Speaking to former students, he added: “You don’t have to pay a penny.”
* And your suspended animation tube is finally ready. Please, form an orderly queue…
It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:
American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter plans flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.
The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody good as new.
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly so they would never hurt anybody ever again.
The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn’t in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
* “The professional backgrounds of many of the defendants is troubling,” said James T. Hayes Jr., a special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations. “We can no longer assume that the only people who would stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters.” WHY WERE YOU ASSUMING THAT?
* Adjuncts are not considered “full time” or “part time” mostly because no one still bothers to accurately keep track of hours. It’s a choice; not an impossibility.
* Breaking: Alt-Ac Isn’t the Answer.
* For Hire: Dedicated Young Man with Down Syndrome. From Michael Bérubé.
I knew Jamie would not grow up to be a marine biologist. And I know that there are millions of non-disabled Americans out of work or underemployed, whose lives are less happy than Jamie’s. I don’t imagine that he has a “right” to a job that supersedes their needs. But I look sometimes at the things he writes in his ubiquitous legal pads when he is bored or trying to amuse himself — like the page festooned with the names of all 67 Pennsylvania counties, written in alphabetical order — and I think, isn’t there any place in the economy for a bright, gregarious, effervescent, diligent, conscientious and punctual young man with intellectual disabilities, a love of animals and an amazing cataloguing memory and insatiable intellectual curiosity about the world?
* They proposed that we genetically engineer a species of cat that changes color in the presence of radiation, which would be released into the wild to serve as living Geiger counters. Then, we would create folklore and write songs and tell stories about these “ray cats,” the moral being that when you see these cats change colors, run far, far away.
* This 9/11 Cheese Plate May Be The 9/11 Museum’s Most Tasteless Souvenir. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark.
* Buzzfeed’s list of underrated towns includes both Milwaukee and Burlington.
* “For reasons that I really don’t understand Durham is an outlier,” said Baumgartner. “Where we found a 77 percent disparity across the state between blacks and whites and their likelihood of being searched, in Durham, it’s about 260 percent. So that is truly astounding.”
* Richard Dawkins: “I am a secular Christian.” Oh, New Atheism, what have you become!
* Jessie White, a 99-year-old woman from Belfast, Maine, was finally granted her college degree from Bangor’s Beal College after the college’s president stepped up and paid the $5 transcript fee she’d not been able to afford in 1939.
* Today in free speech: This Drug Defendant Spoke Her Mind, Then A Judge Told Her She’d Stay In Jail Until She Retracted Her Statements To The Media. Meanwhile, Utah Man Facing Hate Crime Charges Says Threatening Black Child Was ‘Just My Opinion.’
* Cruel optimism watch: Could Scott Walker lose in November?
* David Wittenberg reviews a whole lot of time travel for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
* And Marvel has made its first DC-level big mistake. What a bummer.
For people who’ll be in the area, this Friday at 2:30 PM I’m presenting in the SFRA academic track at WisCon in Madison, giving a short talk titled “‘There’s Nothing New / Under The Sun, / But There Are New Suns’: Recovering Octavia E. Butler’s Lost Parables.” The talk comes out of the research I did last December in the Butler archive at the Huntington Library, which I’ll be following up with a second trip this coming November. I mostly talk about the many, many versions of Parable of the Trickster in this one, though I also talk a bit about God of Clay, the failed Parables book Butler started before Sower featuring a much more sinister Olamina as a middle-aged power broker (who actually orders the assassination of a local politician who crosses her). It’s great stuff! The only reason I’m not saying more here is that I have a piece on the subject circulating that I’m trying to place in a mainstream outlet, which I hope will happen soon.
If you’re at SFRA/WisCon, hope to see you!