Posts Tagged ‘1990s’
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.
* Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman: There’s no need for an Equal Pay Law because money is more important for men. Scott Walker’s on board. What decade is this? Honestly.
* One of my earliest political disillusionments was discovering how bad Clinton’s trumpeted “welfare reform” really was. Everything old is new again.
* And Ze is back. Hooray for everything.
* 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.
* 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.
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.’
* 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.
* 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.
Barack Obama appears exactly one minute into this classic video. The truth is out there.
* 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.
* 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…
* 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.”
* And MetaFilter investigates how to fall out of a plane.
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?
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…