Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘1990s

Secret Past of TV’s “Stan” Revealed!

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

April 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm

MOOCs, Progress, and Player Piano

leave a comment »

Most important, once the faculty converts its courses to courseware, their services are in the long run no longer required. They become redundant, and when they leave, their work remains behind. In Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Player Piano the ace machinist Rudy Hertz is flattered by the automation engineers who tell him his genius will be immortalized. They buy him a beer. They capture his skills on tape. Then they fire him. Today faculty are falling for the same tired line, that their brilliance will be broadcast online to millions. Perhaps, but without their further participation. Some skeptical faculty insist that what they do cannot possibly be automated, and they are right. But it will be automated anyway, whatever the loss in educational quality. Because education, again, is not what all this is about; it’s about making money.

David Noble’s “Digital Diploma Mills” (1998), via iterating toward openness.

Monday Night Links

with 2 comments

Monday Morning Links

with 5 comments

* The line on Obama’s jobs plan from establishment bloggers is that Obama’s new mode is “no compromise.” We’ll see. At the very least we could get another wonderful debt ceiling clash out of all this, allowing my beloved debt ceiling alignment chart another chance to go truly viral.

* Two David Graeber interviews at Louisville’s Radical Lending Library and Democracy Now! (at ~23 minutes).

* The questions we don’t ask: Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields. Thanks for the link, Fiona…

* And the questions we do: A class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday against a prominent Baltimore medical institute, accusing it of knowingly exposing black children as young as a year old to lead poisoning in the 1990s as part of a study exploring the hazards of lead paint. (via)

* And Netflix utterly determined to destroy itself. Unbelievable.

David Graeber on Buffy

with 6 comments

If nothing else, Buffy reminds us how much ’60-style youth rebellion was premised on an assumption of security and prosperity: Why put up with all this stodginess when life could be so good? Today’s rebellious youth, rather, are reduced to struggling desperately to keep hell from entirely engulfing the earth. Such, I suppose, is the fate of a generation that has been robbed of its fundamental right to dream of a better world. The very notion of being able to take part in a relatively democratically organized group of comrades, engaged in a struggle to save humanity from its authoritarian monsters, is now itself a wild utopian fantasy–not just a means to one. But cynics take note: If the mushrooming success of Buffy means anything, it’s that this is one fantasy which surprising numbers of the Slacker Generation do have.

From the archives: ‘Rebel without a God.’

Written by gerrycanavan

August 31, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Tuesday Links

leave a comment »

* For me the most discomforting aspect of today’s big East Coast earthquake was the presence of the Lake Ana nuclear power plant near the epicenter. Recently named the 7th-most at-risk nuclear power plant in the country, the plant lost external power after the quake, but it looks like safety systems worked and everything is fine.

* Now comes Hurricane Irene.

* Chart of the Day: Student Loans Have Grown 511% Since 1999.

* Is welfare reform working? Not if it was supposed to make life better for the poor. So yes, it’s working perfectly.

* Yet rather than poke further holes, much of the climate science that’s been published since 2007 appears to have strengthened the consensus, not weakened it. Another synthesis eport published last May by Britain’s Met Office, looking at more than 100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies, found that the case for human influence has been bolstered: “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings.”

* And Mother Jones has a special issue this month on the FBI informant program. It’s going just about exactly like you’d expect.

Tuesday Links

leave a comment »

* There’s very high turnout in Wisconsin today. Probably good news, but who can say.

* Nick Mamatas says to understand libertarians, we should forget Ayn Rand and read Robert Heinlein.

* The last time CNN polled party approval, the GOP had 44% approval, 43 disapproval. In today’s poll the picture is slightly different: 33% approval, 59% disapproval. This is worse than their numbers during Clinton’s impeachment. So at least Americans have noticed what’s going on.

* Of course, two years later Republicans (kind of) won the presidency anyway. And it could easily happen again.

* A liberal is just a conservative who’s given birth: Fox’s Megyn Kelly comes out in favor of maternity leave. A little sad that this is noteworthy, but there you are.

* Chart of the day: Women Have to have a Ph.D. to Make as Much as Men with B.A.s.

* Life here began out there? NASA Proves Building Blocks Of DNA Come From Space. Naturally, the actual text of the story is a lot less definitive than the headline.

* In Wire news: Felicia “Snoop” Pearson has pled out, and will avoid jailtime if she doesn’t violate a three-year probation.

* Al Gore goes blue.

The model they’re using in that effort was transported whole cloth into the climate debate. And some of the exact same people — I can go down a list of their names — are involved in this. And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: “This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It may be volcanoes.” Bullshit! “It may be sun spots.” Bullshit! “It’s not getting warmer.” Bullshit!

* Meanwhile, Fox News Responds To Record Heat Waves By Predicting Global Cooling. Over to you, Al…

Sunday Night Links with Yoda, Clark Kent, and Banksy

with 5 comments

The Coupland

leave a comment »

There was a time in my life when I was unreasonably fond of Douglas Coupland. That time is long over, and yet I cannot help but link to his Glossary of New Terms and Radical Pessimist’s Guide to the Next 10 Years. You had me at “It’s going to get worse.” Via Alex and MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Worse Than Watergate

leave a comment »

The White House digs in on Whoompgate.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Wake Up Sheeple

leave a comment »

Barack Obama appears exactly one minute into this classic video. The truth is out there.


Written by gerrycanavan

June 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Saturday 2

with one comment

* A rather cromulently argued article at The Star says The Simpsons was the Beatles of the 1990s, which I think I actually buy.

O’Brien added later that he wanted to address rumors swirling about his show and Leno’s, including one that “NBC is going to throw me and Jay in a pit with sharpened sticks. The one who crawls out gets to leave NBC.” UPDATE: Video here.

* Which films are most popular in your neighborhood? Netflix by Zip code. Via Kevin Drum.

* Somebody in my Facebook feed sent me looking for Wikipedia’s list of animal names.There’s some real poetry here: a congregation of alligators, a shrewdness of apes, a colony of badgers, a sleuth of bears…

Late Night Links

leave a comment »

Late night links.

* The 1990s are back! My hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, reviews DVD releases of The State and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.

* John Scalzi rates science fiction films by the only rubric that has ever made sense, their explosions. There seems to be some grade inflation at work here.

* Grist has a new feature called “No, there’s not a debate about the science of climate change,” debunking denialist memes currently in circulation.

* The Atlantic investigates the elusive green economy.

In 1977, the country appeared poised on the brink of a new age, with recent events having organized themselves in such a way as to make a clean-energy future seem tantalizingly close at hand. A charismatic Democrat had come from nowhere to win the White House. Reacting to an oil shock and determined to rid the country of Middle East entanglements, he was touting the merits of renewable energy and, for the first time, putting real money into it— $368 million.

But things peaked soon afterward, when Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the roof of the White House. “A generation from now,” Carter declared, “this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken—or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”

Oh, Jimmy.

* And MetaFilter investigates how to fall out of a plane.

The Boring ’00s Redux

leave a comment »

American Stranger has a long-form take on the question he posed the other night in my living room: What have been the great cultural innovations since the 1990s? Are there any?

Written by gerrycanavan

May 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

The Boring ’00s

leave a comment »

Question of the night (hat-tip: Ryan): What have been the great cultural innovations since the 1990s? Are there any? We struggled for an hour tonight to find something more noteworthy than “YouTube” or “text messages/status updates.” These are platforms more than cultural forms.

“Blogs” (as cultural form, not platform) come closest, but even these really originate in the homepages of the ’90s…

Written by gerrycanavan

May 2, 2009 at 2:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,919 other followers