Posts Tagged ‘actually existing media bias’
* Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield has long been a critic of grade inflation. He’s developed his own way of trying to combat it: giving students two sets of grades — the one they deserve and the one that shows up on their transcript.
In a landmark 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the right to a lawyer during plea bargaining, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that 95 percent of convicted U.S. criminal defendants enter into a plea bargain and never go to trial. That percentage is even higher for drug defendants, who enter into plea deals in 97 percent of federal cases, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. Prosecutors have had a significant hand in turning the criminal justice system into a system of pleas, wielding in many instances the threat of harsh mandatory minimum prison terms and other sentencing enhancements so severe that defendants may frequently plead guilty simply to avert the high risk. As Human Rights Watch phrased it, prosecutors “force” defendants to plead guilty.
The consequences for those who choose to exercise their Sixth Amendment right to a trial in this system are significant. The average federal drug sentence is three times longer for those who go to trial than for those who plead guilty, at 5 years and 4 months for guilty pleas, and 16 years after trial, the report found…
* This won’t be the last time you hear about it, but Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction finally has a pre-order page.
* In a post-employment economy ridden with arbitrary credentialism, a résumé is often not a reflection of achievement but a document sanctioning its erasure. One is not judged on what one has accomplished, but on one’s ability to walk a path untouched by the incongruities of market forces.
* “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?
* Should celebrities teach online classes? This was a reductio ad absurdum just a few months ago; I guess things really do move fast in the future.
* We cannot have a realistic discussion of the state of the humanities in the United States without talking about the disinvestment in public education that is taking place at all levels of America’s educational system. But the New York Times says we can solve it all with one quick fix so transparent and obvious it can’t even find a single skeptic to quote!
* Federal Bureaucrats Declare ‘Hunger Games’ More Complex Than ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ As an SF studies guy, I’m quite conflicted about this; luckily the rest of the article makes clear how broken the whole system is so I don’t have to worry.
* Which Companies Dominate Your State’s Politics? More links below the image!
* China Miéville in Guernica on the new law of the West Bank.
* Western black rhino declared extinct. Still have north, south, east, and a bunch of other colors though. Nothing to sweat about.
* What happens if all the ice melts? Even more links below the image!
* Dolphins and humans: friends or frenemies? Aeon reports.
* Surely some threshold has been crossed: Under Armour Outfits Northwestern In Blood-Splattered American Flag Football Uniforms.
* You can now order the special Paradoxa issue on “Africa SF.” The testimonials indicate that Samuel Delany has at least heard of something I’ve written, so there’s that…
* Those who do not study history will have their wise decision ratified by bean-counting administrators: One of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses could stop offering degrees in physics, history and political science. If you read that sentence and thought to yourself, “gee, I bet that’s a historically black college,” give yourself a prize!
-Half the population would be white men.
-Five percent of the population would be black men.
-Just 1.9 percent of the world would be Asian or Latino men.
-Overall, 57 percent of the population would be men.
-34 percent of the world would be white women
-3.8 percent would be African-American women
-And 3.8 percent would be Latino or Asian women
-31.8 percent of the population would work for the police or some sort of federal law enforcement agency.
-9.7 percent of us would be doctors.
-2.6 percent of us would be criminals.
-1.9 percent would be supernatural creatures or robots.
* What they are defending is a system in which wealth is passed off as merit, in which credentials are not earned but bought. Aptitude is a quality measured by how much money you can spend on its continual reassessment.
Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on “enrichment” activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills – jobs which don’t “count” in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed ”the un-exotic underclass” - the poor who have “the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting”, the poor who make up most of the US today.
* …a recent Twitter thread started by a popular feminist blogger examines a dark side of that cliché in real-life academe, one in which professors’ advances – intellectual and otherwise – feed a need for validation and flattery, and at times cross the line into sexual harassment.
* Obama’s going to be super-mad when he finds out about the nonsensical security state procedures his administration has been using in lieu of actual oversight. And breaking into Yahoo! and Google? Why didn’t anyone tell him!
* Ripped from the pages of Philip K. Dick! Pentagon weighs future of its inscrutable nonagenarian futurist.
* The Chronicle follows up on last year’s PhD-on-food-stamps, who is now in a TT position at Martin Methodist College.
* The richest country in history: The Number Of Homeless Students In The United States Hits A Record.
* They’re marketing the Veronica Mars movie as a love triangle. This is my skeptical face.
* What’s W.R.O.N.G. with ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? A.L.M.O.S.T. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
* No accidents, comrade: The New Inquiry considers Cold War nostalgia and Twilight Struggle.
* Matt Zoller Seitz completes his series on video essays on Wes Anderson films. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!
* PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27: Princeton’s freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as “the greatest living person” in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian.
* And it looks like they’ve finally (almost) proved that Darth Vader wasn’t always going to be Luke Skywalker’s father. Gotcha Lucas! You can run but you can’t hide.
* A poorly designed (to my eye) study purporting to show adjunct faculty teaches better than tenured and tenure-track faculty is getting a ton of press today, as you’d expect.
* More than the dress-up or the fabric-inspired mindbeat, fashion compelled me because the field is underwritten. Very little in the way of popular writing considers both the material reality and symbolic worth of fashion and dress, considers the field as we consider other cultural fields as worthy of critical discourse. What crushed me most about my foray into fashion journalism was a Word document I titled “EDITED OUT FUCK” (EOF), where I collected my writing that had been cut due to advertiser conflict. Finding Not Vogue was like discovering a Wikileak of my EOF.
* History’s greatest monster: How Joss Whedon may have accidentally got Angel cancelled.
* Legally blind and completely blind Iowans can obtain permits to carry guns in public due to a 2011 adjustment to state law banning sheriffs from denying permits based on physical ability, the Des Moines Register reported Sunday.
* New van Gogh discovered. Wow.
* And Twitter reminded me that Strange Horizons posted John Rieder’s “On Defining SF, or Not: Genre Theory, SF, and History,” and I’d completely forgotten to link it.
* ‘Save the gun’ law bars North Carolina cops from destroying guns. Finally, someone is solving the real problems.
* Football’s death spiral: Trainers who butt heads with coaches over concussion treatment take career hits.
* But even moralizing liberals should be on guard against moral sentimentalism, because it ultimately serves immoral ends — it props up class stratification and impedes the realization of social justice. For ordinary folk, who have little control over public affairs, it offers the fantasy of feeling empowered, of taking pride in their own individual conduct as all that really matters. It is a new opiate for the masses in our post-religious age. For elites, it is a way of steering the public away from taking political action to reform their affairs. Moral sentimentalism is one of the principal ways in which our bourgeois society checks impulses towards radical change.
* And rest in peace, Fredrik Pohl. One of science fiction’s great writers and editors.
* A Functional Form Has Its Own Beauty: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson. I liked Redshirts and all, but 2312 really should have won the Hugo.
* Florida International extracted more than $18 million of its $25 million in 2011-12 revenues in the form of student fees. College Football’s Grid of Shame.
* Radiation levels spike at Fukushima nuclear plant. But the lede is buried a bit here:
TEPCO had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could read only measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.
Better even than a real conflict, though, is a hypothetical conflict. Why bother with the effort of forgetting, when you can merely invent? Those are the very best wars, the ones that are dreamt of in the American imagination. No conflict has ever been as noble, no war as good, as our hypothetical war for Rwanda.
* And the news just gets worse: Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement.
* Outrageous even by the bargain basement standards of the war on the terror: the United Kingdom held Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow (and seized all his electronics) purely for the purposes of harassment. More from Greenwald himself.
* Speaking of which, ugh.
* “Since 1998, 92% of white males who were considered for tenure got it. During the same period of time only 55% percent of women and minority candidates were granted tenure. Looking at ethnicity alone, USC granted tenure to 81% of its white candidates but only to 48% of its minority candidates.”
* The New York Times runs what amounts to an unpaid* ad for Georgia Tech’s new all-MOOC master’s degree. * At least I assume it’s unpaid.
* As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK’s diplomatic and economic hopes.
* Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.
In general, the right seems committed to some mixture of denying the atrocities in Vietnam, claiming that everyone did it or the misdeeds were somehow justified by what the North Vietnamese did, and blaming the hippies. Latterday liberals acknowledge that bad things happened, but mostly don’t want to open up the can of worms, for fear that they’d be accused of being unpatriotic and hating the troops or something. The result is a strange form of historical forgetting, where there’s a general sense that bad things happened, but no understanding of how general these bad things were, nor desire to hold people accountable for them.
By comparison: can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall? Suppose you could walk down the street and step on a reminder that this building was constructed with slave labour, or that the site was the home of a Native American tribe before it was ethnically cleansed? What we have, instead, are national museums of Native American and African American culture, the latter scheduled to open in 2015. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian boasts exhibits showing superbly crafted Pueblo dolls, the influence of the horse in Native American culture, and Native American athletes who made it to the Olympics. The website of the Smithsonian’s anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture does show a shackle that was presumably used on a slave ship, but it is far more interested in collecting hats worn by Pullman porters or pews from the African Methodist Episcopal church. A fashion collection is in the making, as well as a collection of artefacts belonging to the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; 39 objects, including her lace shawl and her prayer book, are already available.
* Two from Buzzfeed (sorry): 25 Facts And Tidbits About The Muppets That Might Blow Your Mind. 21 “Breaking Bad” Easter Eggs That Will Blow Your Mind.
* And a damn good science fiction pitch from Tumblr. I’d love to see this optioned as a film.
* Tor has an excerpt from the introduction to Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure.
* In their complaints to federal authorities, students and alumni have faulted campus officials for missteps at nearly every juncture: Telling students who report rape to take time off until their assailants graduate. Treating judicial cases like educational exercises. Slapping perpetrators with penalties less severe than those for stealing a laptop.
* The costs of raising a child from birth to age 17, including housing, food, clothing, health care, education, and other expenses, will come to $241,080 for a child born in 2012, up 2.6 percent from the year before, according to new data released by the Department of Agriculture. The annual cost for a child in a middle-income, two-parent family ranges from $12,600 to $14,700.
* A quality product in the digital age: Cleveland.com’s Review of the Cheesecake Factory Reveals the Sorry State of American Newspapers.