* “The Great Stratification” at CHE essentially argues that academia turn into the skid and establish an official multiple-tier levels of instruction, like the hierarchy of care that exists in medicine. I think this misunderstands the nature of medicine; it’s not that medicine has somehow escaped the logic of deprofessionalization so much as it’s simply the last “good career” to do so. Medicine is only starting to see the flexiblization that has already destroyed everybody else.
* Most History Ph.D.’s Have Jobs, in Academe and Other Solid Occupations. Lots of hand-waving and dedifferentiation here.
* Attacks on Obama over the rough rollout of the ACA hit the president where it hurts: his attempt to replace politics with expert management.
* On teaching outside your field: The Courage to be Ignorant.
* Shimizu, a Japanese architectural and engineering firm, has a solution for the climate crisis: Simply build a band of solar panels 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide (pdf) running all the way around the Moon’s 11,000-kilometer (6,835 mile) equator and beam the carbon-free energy back to Earth in the form of microwaves, which are converted into electricity at ground stations.
Bezos’ neat trick has knocked several real stories about Amazon out of the way. Last week’s Panorama investigation into Amazon’s working and hiring practices, suggesting that the site’s employees had an increased risk of mental illness, is the latest in a long line of pieces about the company’s working conditions – zero-hour contracts, short breaks, and employees’ every move tracked by internal systems. Amazon’s drone debacle also moved discussion of its tax bill – another long-running controversy, sparked by the Guardian’s revelation last year that the company had UK sales of £7bn but paid no UK corporation tax – to the margins. The technology giants – Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al – have have huge direct reach to audiences and customers, the money to hire swarms of PR and communications staff, and a technology press overwhelmingly happy to incredulously print almost every word, rather than to engage in the much harder task of actually holding them to account.
* Dozens of commuters missed connections Sunday night when Delta Airlines kicked them off their Gainesville-to-Atlanta flight to accommodate the University of Florida men’s hoops team.
* And paging Margaret Atwood: A chimp-pig hybrid origin for humans?
* Great moments in state competence: The Nuclear Launch Code Was 00000000.
* I remind you that academic freedom is a limited protection, and applies only to your research and classroom teaching, and, in the case of the latter, to discussion of materials relevant to the course subject. Otherwise, faculty can be (and have been) punished for written and oral communication that is disruptive or uncivil.
* The email describes a pilot project in which faculty are asked to identify and approve UC Online courses at other campuses that meet the major requirements of their own programs. This move, of course, would serve to integrate UC Online, parasitically, into already legitimate UC programs. UC Online, in other words, would become a zombie, feeding off the legitimacy of those programs in order to bring itself back from the dead.
At the airport Roger presented their identification cards to a representative of the airline company, who used her own computer system to check his identity and retrieve his itinerary. She entered a confirmation number, and gave him two passes which gave them access to the boarding area. They now underwent a security inspection, which was required for all airline flights. They handed their luggage to another representative; it would be transported in a separate, unpressurized chamber on the aircraft.
“Do you think we’ll be flying on a propeller plane? Or one of the newer jets?” asked Ann.
“I’m sure it will be a jet,” said Roger. “Propeller planes are almost entirely out of date, after all. On the other hand, rocket engines are still experimental. It’s said that when they’re in general use, trips like this will take an hour at most. This one will take up to four hours.”
* And suspected arson hits Detroit’s Heidelberg Project again. This is why we can’t have nice things.
* The law, in its majestic equality… Rejecting Man’s Bid For Refugee Status, Court Rules Climate Change Is Not ‘Persecution.’
* “I haven’t read any superhero comics since I finished with Watchmen,” [Moore] said in a discussion on his latest work, Fashion Beast. “I hate superheroes. I think they’re abominations. They don’t mean what they used to mean. They were originally in the hands of writers who would actively expand the imagination of their nine-to-13-year-old audience. That was completely what they were meant to do and they were doing it excellently. These days, superhero comics think the audience is certainly not nine to 13, it’s nothing to do with them. It’s an audience largely of 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-year old men, usually men. Someone came up with the term graphic novel. These readers latched on to it; they were simply interested in a way that could validate their continued love of Green Lantern or Spider-Man without appearing in some way emotionally subnormal. This is a significant rump of the superhero-addicted, mainstream-addicted audience. I don’t think the superhero stands for anything good. I think it’s a rather alarming sign if we’ve got audiences of adults going to see the Avengers movie and delighting in concepts and characters meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of the 1950s.”
* Rortyblog: How to Waste a Crisis.
In what sense is this neoliberal? Some of this could be viewed as an attempt to create market citizens, and an ideological story can be told about how the right’s current program fully shifts risks to the individual and makes them an even more conscious participant in managing their own risks. But on its face, it looks a lot like class war, full stop. Mirowski never explains why the ideological project of market subjectivity serves any other purpose but class war, or why, even when neoliberal tenets about embracing precarity as liberation have taken hold broadly, the movement continues to fuel itself with reactionary ressentiment. If neoliberalism is not class war, why hasn’t it been content with winning?
The report’s emphasis on skills over content occurs even when it specifically addresses humanities research, or the production of knowledge, itself. For example, the most sustained definition “The Heart of the Matter” gives of humanities research is that research in the humanities “enables us to see the world from different points of view so that we may better understand ourselves” (38). This definition frames the purpose of humanities research as helping us to broaden our perspective and to understand ourselves better, not as making new discoveries and producing new knowledge about our past and our present. Such a definition, again, reduces the production of complex humanistic knowledge to the transmission of generally applicable skill-sets. This reaffirms one of the major criticisms leveled at the humanities today: that the subjects humanists study are impractical, useless, and unimportant. By defending the value of the humanities on the grounds that the most important thing humanities disciplines do is teach important skills, we concede the point that the specific knowledge humanistic disciplines produce is unimportant.
* The Pope Just Published One Of The Most Powerful Critiques Of Modern Capitalism That You Will Ever Read. Evangelii Gaudium. ”I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.”
* More Vatican-City-style communism! 14 Genius Ideas The U.S. Should Seriously Consider Adopting.
* Over 176 Pounds? The morning after pill probably won’t work for you. The comments (which of course are terrible) reveal other instances of this kind of body normativity in medicine that I simply had no idea about.
These employees allege, and available AHA internal evidence supports their claims, that the organization distorts its film ratings, downplays or fails to publicly acknowledge harmful incidents and sometimes doesn’t seriously pursue investigations. The AHA staffers agreed to speak because they say they have lost hope in the potential for meaningful reform unless outside pressure is brought to bear. (They all have insisted on maintaining their anonymity for fear of retribution.)
* African-American girl faces expulsion over ‘natural hair.’ The school has elected not to get sued into oblivion at this time.
* Adam Roberts is annoyed that hypertrophic spoilerphobia won’t let him write a proper review of Maddaddam (though he basically does anyway).
* To be clear, shale drilling has created jobs, particularly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and cushioned some drilling-intensive areas in these states from the worst effects of the Great Recession and the weak recovery. The number of actual shale jobs created, however, is far below industry claims. Shale employment remains a small share of overall employment and has made little difference in job growth in any of the six states studied.
* The national conservative movement is waging a war… in SeaTac. That’s a weird sentence. Out of all the places to wage a political fight, why would conservatives and the infamous Koch Brothers choose a Pacific Northwest village of 26,000 that most Americans have probably never heard of?
* After years of leaning on tuition increases to make up for declining state support, about four in 10 public universities now report tuition revenue is not keeping pace with inflation, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service. Probably should cut funding some more and see if that helps.
* Initially, the university’s consultants claimed that AST would render a savings of $17 million. Over time that figure shrunk to $5 million, and by some accounts now is reputed to be as low as $2 million. Yet the university has already reportedly spent at least $3 million on this effort with even more spending on the horizon.
* What should be happening is the immediate cancellation of all “Third World” debt, just as the US government forgave far larger sums and bailed out its own banks after the 2008 financial crash. Moreover, developed nations actually have to add money for climate change induced “loss and damage” to the balance sheets of developing countries, rather than subtract it. Understanding Warsaw: Capitalism, Climate Change and Neocolonialism.
* The impact of recession is clear in countries with the most severe economic problems. In Greece, for example, suicides rose by 17 per cent and murder rates more than doubled between 2007 and 2011. Half of new HIV infections between 2009 and 2011 are estimated to have been self-inflicted to secure monthly benefits of €700. That second stat seems very hard for me to accept.
* And Democrats say sanctions forever. Forever, damnit!