…some number pilfered from Aaron Bady!
* “None of my friends are working on nukes anymore,” he says. “This is the most evil place on the planet, and nobody’s talking about it.”
* The fire next time: geoengineering and nationalism.
* To speak of disaster communism is to recognise that if communism is to emerge, it will do so in the anthropocene. As capitalism accelerates climate change, ‘possible’ reforms become utopian and ‘impossible’ revolution becomes realistic. We live in strange times. The bourgeoisie is blasting and ruining not just its world, but the Earth systems which sustain human civilisation. We are going to inherit ruins and abandoned cities, there is only the slightest doubt about that. But we still also know how to build, and to build better.
* What adjuncts do. The difference between large schools and small schools, and between large and small departments, becomes extremely important here. We cannot continue to talk about “academic labor” as if it were only one thing that is the same everywhere.
* To that end, it must be remembered that this current crisis in American public higher education and the larger Great Recession did not result from an absolute scarcity of money but rather from an unwillingness to safeguard, manage, and fund some of this country’s most basic public goods.
* Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980.
* Headlines from the apocalypse: Packs of Chihuahuas running loose in Phoenix neighborhood cause concern.
* The science fictional sublime: the art of Penguin science fiction.
* From the syllabus of my wonderful Cultural Preservation class: “Can Auschwitz Be Saved?” and “The Myth of the Vanquished: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.”
* Where the money goes: what $60,000 tuition at Duke buys you.
* Always worth relinking: StrikeDebt’s Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.
* On most policy questions of any importance, there are enough academics doing work to generate far more policy ideas than can seriously considered by our political system. When it comes to systemic risk, we have all the ideas we need–size caps or higher capital requirements–and we have academics behind both of those. The rest is politics. What we really need is for the people with the big megaphones to be smarter about the ideas that they cover.
* CFPs for MLA 2015 from the discussion group for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and utopian literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Concept of Culture (guaranteed session) and From Siberia to the Planet Mars (fingers crossed).
* America’s fraternities, and the lawyers who serve them. Great piece.
When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.
The first wagon train of the Oregon Trail heads out the same year the fax machine is invented.
Nintendo was founded in 1888. Jack the Ripper was on the loose in 1888.
1971: The year in which America drove a lunar buggy on the moon and Switzerland gave women the vote.
NASA’s Gemini program was winding down at the same time as plate tectonics, as we know it today, was becoming refined and accepted by the scientific community.
When the pyramids were being built, there were still woolly mammoths.
The last use of the guillotine was in France the same year Star Wars came out.
Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded.
* President Obama Pens Personal Apology to an Art Historian. Spoiler: it’s a pretty lousy apology!
* The film ‘Back to the Future’ provides the OED’s earliest recorded example of a colloquial sense of ‘hello’, used to imply (sometimes disbelievingly or sarcastically) that the person addressed is not paying attention, has not understood something, or has said something nonsensical or foolish. – See more at: http://oupacademic.tumblr.com/post/52859022183/the-film-back-to-the-future-provides-the-oeds#sthash.3jb8w2Nr.EuYbel9A.dpuf
* Making the rounds again: Kurt Vonnegut Diagrams the Shape of All Stories in a Master’s Thesis Rejected by U. Chicago.
* In Louisiana, which offers some of the most lucrative tax giveaways to Hollywood, the Legislative Auditor’s Office reported that the subsidies cost the state $170 million in lost tax revenue in a single year. By one estimate, the state is handing $70,000 per episode to the cast of Duck Dynasty – all while pleading poverty to justify deep cuts to public health care programs and to retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters and teachers.
* About a dozen faculty members and 30 students at St. Mary’s College, a public school in Maryland, have proposed a plan to limit the salary of the highest-paid employee to 10 times that of the lowest-paid employee.
* [grabs popcorn] Emails Suggest Scott Walker Knew Of Illegal Campaign Coordination.
* Wednesday’s proposed reforms efforts — reached in negotiations between the civil liberties group and the state DOCCS — entail an end to the solitary confinement of prisoners under 18-years-old, pregnant women and prisoners with developmental disabilities. You mean to tell me they were using solitary confinement on — what? What?
* Missouri Likely To Drop Its Lifetime Food Stamps Ban For Drug Convicts. You mean to tell me they were — really?
* Cop Allegedly Shot And Killed Teenage Boy After Mistaking His Wii Controller For A Gun. ”Allegedly” doing a whole lot of work in that sentence given that plain facts of the matter on which everyone agrees.
* Twitter lost $645 million last year, almost as much as its total revenue.
* The Pentagon’s whitewashed history of the Vietnam War provokes troubling questions about how the invasion of Iraq will one day be remembered.
* What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” Have a good weekend, everyone!
* Man tragically unable to remember saying Barack Obama would make a great president says Hillary Clinton will make a great president. Meanwhile, the rest of us are reduced to talking about Obama’s secret achievements.
* Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth? The dream remains alive.
“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”
Busche is the second Hanford whistle-blower to be fired by URS in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.
* A world of horrors: There is no such thing as a child prostitute.
* In the same way that certain styles of dance simulate sex, the Winter Olympics simulates scraping one’s February-chapped nostrils against the surface of a Kleenex whose aloe content is useless and reaching out for the warm escape of death. It’s an art of failed suicide attempts.
* A preliminary sketch of the data reveals, of course, that by 2050 films will be reviewing us.
* Grace Kerr sometimes jokes with her family that “Amanda was not that great. Zach is awesome.” What she means is that her son is finally happy, and is helping others.
* News You Can Use: Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo.
* And our long national nightmare is over: Obama apologizes for disparaging art historians.
Melting Ice Makes The Arctic A Much Worse Heat-Magnet Than Scientists Feared. Coal Ash Piles Up As High As 5 Feet In North Carolina River, Endangering Aquatic Life. Ohio Agency Tasked With Limiting Fracking On Public Lands Was Actually Planning To Promote It. Texas Knows ‘Almost Nothing’ About Pollution From One Of The Country’s Most Active Drilling Sites. Wyoming’s Leading Paper Argues Coal Is ‘Relatively Good’ For The Environment. Chevron apologizes for fracking well explosion with coupons for free pizza.
* Fake Blood and Blanks: Schools Stage Active Shooter Drills. This is utterly horrific. The country has lost its mind.
* Nowhere in all this information is there any mention of the fact that more than one in four U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery. These presidents bought, sold, and bred enslaved people for profit. Of the 12 presidents who were enslavers, more than half kept people in bondage at the White House.
* Jefferson had a number of slaves who gained their freedom by various methods. He freed two slaves in his lifetime and five in his will. Three others ran away and were not pursued. (Still others successfully ran away despite pursuit.) All ten freed with Jefferson’s consent were members of the Hemings family; the seven he officially freed were all skilled tradesmen. About 200 slaves were sold at estate sales after Jefferson’s death.
* On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn: I insist that the irrelevance of black life has been drilled into this country since its infancy, and shall not be extricated through the latest innovations in Negro Finishing School. I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson’s genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington’s abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge, that the G.I Bill’s accolades are somehow inseparable from its racist heritage. I will not respect the lie. I insist that racism must be properly understood as an Intelligence, as a sentience, as a default setting which, likely to the end of our days, we shall unerringly return. I had never heard Oney Judge’s story before. What a life. More, more.
* Justifiable Homicides Up 200 Percent in Florida Post-Stand Your Ground. Just make sure you don’t get more than one DUI a year or you could miss out in the horrible war of all against all.
* On Friday, the Department of Justice sent a letter to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office in Montana, alleging that it has found “substantial evidence” that prosecutors there systematically discriminate against female sexual-assault victims.
* But as journalist Kevin Cook details in his new book, “Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America” (W.W. Norton), some of the real thoughtlessness came from a police commissioner who lazily passed a falsehood to a journalist, and a media that fell so deeply in love with a story that it couldn’t be bothered to determine whether it was true.
* 8 Book Historians, Curators, Specialists, And Librarians Who Are Killing It Online. #4 with a bullet: Duke’s Own™ Mitch Fraas.
* National recruitment sources have become necessary because most Black youth from our city who attend college outside of Milwaukee decide never to return. And you can’t blame them given the fact that several studies have shown Milwaukee to be among the worst cities in the country for African Americans.
* The Duke Chronicle profiles a first-year student who also works in the porn industry.
* Event in NYC: All the Women in Capital.
* And The Cast of The Grand Budapest Hotel Says Wes Anderson Is a Genius Hardass. Hurry up and get here, March!