Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

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Monday Morning Links

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* There’s always money in the banana stand: After closing 50 schools, Chicago Public Schools has proposals for 31 new Charter Schools. This is how much your kid’s school’s budget has been cut (state-by-state averages). “The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students.”

* Fiduciary duty: Shareholder sues IBM for spying on China, wiping $12.9B off its market cap.

* Can Science Fiction Survive in Saudi Arabia?

Incarceration rate per 100,000 Black males in South Africa under apartheid (1993) 610: 851. Incarceration rate per 100,000 African-American males in the United States under George W. Bush (2001) 611: 4,848. The Bush tag is such a redding herring there. This is a bipartisan consensus.

What crimes did prisoners commit?

Almost two-thirds of court admissions to state prison are for property and drug offenses, including drug possession (16 percent), drug sales (15 percent), burglary (9 percent), and auto theft (6 percent).

Christmas in Prison.

Then, she says, the prosecutor began rattling off names and showing photographs of people, asking about their social contacts and political opinions. Olejnik guesses he asked “at least 50 questions” in that vein, compared to the four about May Day. That’s when she shut down, refused to answer, was found in contempt of court, and was sent to SeaTac FDC.

Texas Judge Who Resigned After Allegedly Colluding With Prosecutor Now Running For Prosecutor.

* If a Drone Strike Hit an American Wedding, We’d Ground Our Fleet. How NY Times Covers Yemen Drone Strikes.

A Tale of Two Cities: America’s Bipolar Climate Future. New York City and New Bern, North Carolina both face the same projected rise in sea levels, but while one is preparing for the worst, the other is doing nothing on principle.

Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes.

* Iowa Republican’s 2-year investigation finds no statistically significant evidence of voter fraud.

* There’s always money in the banana stand, part two: Highest paid college presidents.

Two House Democrats Lead Effort to Protect For-Profit Colleges, Betraying Students and Vets.

* Son of a: A New Study Suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young.

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder.

* Postscript on the Societies of Control, life insurance edition.

* I’ve been saying this for years: Online advertising has a fraud problem. Millions of ad impressions are being served to bots and non-human traffic, and ad tech companies are doing little to stop it.

The Kellers are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title. Six years in, thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn’t know they still owned after banks decided it wasn’t worth their while to complete foreclosures on them.

* True crime: 100 cited in Wisconsin probe of illegal ginseng harvesting.

* The Walker miracle: The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 4,420 people in Wisconsin filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of November. That is more claims than the next two highest states combined: Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538.

* Israel, BDS, and delegitimization. ASA Members Vote To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel.

* The Pope: Not a Marxist!

What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.

Public Influence: The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death.

* And how Arthur C. Clarke responded to crackpots.

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Wednesday Links!

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Your Face and Name Will Appear in Google Ads Starting Today. Instructions on how to opt out at the link.

* The state of work in the age of anxiety.

* A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses. Such a category plainly shouldn’t exist.

* Studies in the Fermi Paradox: How Self-Replicating Spacecraft Could Take Over the Galaxy.

After 30 Years of Silence, the Original NSA Whistleblower Looks Back.

Rutgers University has introduced a new theology course—with Bruce Springsteen as God. At least the facts check out.

* Afrofuturism exhibit in Harlem.

* The early Obamacare enrollment numbers are a disaster. So are the Democrats’ poorly thought-out quick fixes.

* The one thing obscuring the abject awfulness of US democracy is the fact that barely any races are competitive in the first place.

Climate Change Is Messing With Rainfall Across The Entire Planet.

Priscilla Wald on the Slow Future of Scholarly Publishing.

Hawaii legalizes gay marriage.

Craig Cobb, a white supremacist trying to establish a ‘whites-only’ enclave in North Dakota, appeared on NCBU’s The Trisha Show and agreed to take a test to determine his genetic ancestry. The test results were aired at the taping. Cobb’s genetic makeup is 86% European, and 14% sub-Saharan African.

* How to win every game on The Price is Right.

* Poll watch: PPP is the worst.

* An update from Rolling Jubilee.

* Inside the Unification Church.

And Prada presents “Castello Cavalcanti,” by Wes Anderson.

Wednesday! Night! Links!

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* Jonathan Senchyne on Breaking Bad, cancer, and Indian Country. I like the way he teased this on Facebook: “Walter White has lung cancer, but doesn’t smoke…”

You know that newfound Van Gogh painting has the TARDIS in it, right?

* From the archives, just in time for application season: Should I Go to Grad School in the Humanities? I wrote that a year ago. If I wrote it today I think I’d write basically the same thing, just be more emphatic about every part. In particular — with all the necessary caveats about the falseness of meritocracy fantasy — going to a highly ranked program with strong recent placement rate is absolutely crucial. If you don’t hit that, and you want to go, work on your writing sample for a year and apply again. Your grad school’s reputation becomes instant proxy for your reputation. It’s not something you should plan to make up for by working hard.

* Also with all the usual anti-meritocracy caveats: On selling yourself on the academic job market.

* From the Washington Post archives: This amazing George Will there-are-too-many-states-nowdays rant against denim crossed my stream today.

The Inside Story Of How A Fake PhD Hijacked The Syria Debate.

Go Play This 8-Bit Version of Game of Thrones Immediately.

* Thinking through The World’s End: Part One, Part Two.

* Rich people are freaked out about Bill de Blasio. Sounds like a good start.

Nate Silver vs. Public Policy Polling. I’m amazed anyone is taking PPP’s side on this. If you don’t like a poll, run it again and release both; otherwise you’re introducing a massive bias into your process and destroying the credibility of your brand.

Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial Sues For $100M, Claims Prosecution Threw Case.

Long Lives Made Humans Human.

* An oral history of The Shield.

The New Yorker on Truman Show Delusion. Subscription required, alas.

* Years later, everyone remembered the Cheese Winter: The city’s Department of Public Works will go ahead this winter with a pilot program to determine whether cheese brine — a liquid waste product left over from cheesemaking — can be added to rock salt and applied directly to the street.

* Life imitates the Onion, as always in the worst possible way.

* And Salon interviews the great Margaret Atwood.

Monday Night Links

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* Really good looking TT job in American Popular Culture at the University of Minnesota.

* 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.

* Meanwhile: Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come.

Johns Hopkins and the Case of the Missing NSA Blog Post.

Judge rules Indiana right-to-work law violates constitutional provision on forced services.

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.

Meet The Trans Scholar Fighting Against The Campaign For Out Trans Military Service.

* Did Obama and Kerry just draw an inside straight on Syria? I hope to God they did.

* George Zimmerman in the news again.

* History’s greatest monster: How Joss Whedon may have accidentally got Angel cancelled.

* 105 years in jail for posting a link.

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.

Man Changes Address, Tricks Demo Crew Into Destroying Neighbor’s House.

* 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.

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Monday Morning Links

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* Local police deploying SWAT teams against friendly poker games and barbering without a license. Insanity.

Over the past year and a half, in the wake of Thomas Philippon and Ariel Resheff’s estimate that 2% of U.S. GDP was wasted in the pointless hypertrophy of the financial sector, evidence that our modern financial system is less a device for efficiently sharing risk and more a device for separating rich people from their money–a Las Vegas without the glitz–has mounted.

Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business.

* How the University Works, 1965: Football Game Continues as School Burns. More links below the picture.

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Russian Billionaire Dmitry Itskov Plans on Becoming Immortal by 2045.

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Human Evolution.

I’m nursing a pet theory. Which is that there are actually four main political parties in Westminster: the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Ruling Party.

The Ruling Party doesn’t represent the general electorate, but a special electorate: the Alien Invaders and their symbiotes, the consultants and contractors and think-tank intellectuals who smooth the path to acquisition of government contracts or outsourcing arrangements — the government being the consumer of last resort in late phase consumer capitalism — arrangements which are supported and made profitable by government subsidies extracted from taxpayer revenue and long-term bonds. The Ruling Party is under no pressure to conform to the expectations of the general electorate because whoever the electors vote for, representatives of the Ruling Party will win; the only question is which representatives, which is why they are at such pains to triangulate on a common core of policies that don’t risk differentiating them in a manner which might render them repugnant to some of the electorate.

To make matters even worse for restaurant workers and diners, a spate of “preemption bills”—which bar localities from makings laws requiring paid sick leave—has been surging through state legislatures with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Restaurant Association, one of ALEC’s members. The first of these bills was passed in May 2011 in Wisconsin. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed Florida’s version into law, making it the eighth state to preemptively block paid sick leave for its workers (and the 13th to try) in just two years.

A depiction of the logical (and historical) tendency of the capitalist system to collapse.

* Everything old is new again: Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval.

Meet Rachel Law, a 25-year-old graduate student from Singapore, who has created a game that could literally wreak havoc on the online ad industry if released into the wild.

* A visual history of Bruce Springsteen.

NSA Rejecting Every FOIA Request Made by U.S. Citizens. The innocent have nothing to fear…

The Southwest’s Forests May Never Recover from Megafires.

* And another great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. I could post one of these every day.

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A Few More Morning Links

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* J.G. Ballard’s reading list, from age 6 to age 25.

* Germans are stealing our precious words; their current favorite is shitschturm.

We should be wary of declaring “the end of the English major” when what has really happened is that, in terms of humanities enrollments, schools like Yale have gone from exceptional to merely above average.

* Dystopia now: “Sky has developed technology to transfer adverts from train windows directly and silently into commuters’ heads.”

* And what could go wrong? Ginsberg says she won’t retire before 2016.

Another Tuesday Night Linkdump

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Cooper Union’s shameless trustees.

How to Tell if College Presidents Are Overpaid. They’re breathing. Their lips are moving.

Unknown mathematician makes historical breakthrough in prime theory.

* Are you a liberal imperialist? Top ten warning signs.

*  Pages currently appearing on Facebook include Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, Raping your Girlfriend and many, many more.  Images appearing on Facebook include photographs of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged, and bleeding, with captions such as “This bitch didn’t know when to shut up” and “Next time don’t get pregnant.”

There Was a Time When Ending Hunger Was a National Goal for Republicans and Democrats.

* This Michael Kinsley column on marriage equality is probably the single worst thing I’ve ever read on any of the subjects it attempts to discuss. Just totally incoherent on every level. Bonus points for the part at the end where he claims to have personally invented the very idea of gay marriage in the first place.

* Iain Banks says he wrote mainstream fiction to subsidize his science fiction habit.

And this DVD looks and smells like pizza when it’s finished playing. But don’t get too excited; it smells like Domino’s.

Just a Few Wednesday Links

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Monday Night Links!

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* The American University and the Establishment of Neoliberal Hegemony.

* Urban farming in Milwaukee.

* 10 Horrifying Stats About Display Advertising.

1. You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.
2. Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren’t even humans!).
3. You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad.
4. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any?
5. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.
6. The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%.
7. You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad.
8. About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
9. You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad.
10. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

* How the CIA script-doctored Zero Dark Thirty.

* The New Yorker profiles David Graeber.

And linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words.’

Pagel and his collaborators have come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words.” It contains both predictable and surprising members. The most conserved word is “thou,” which is the singular form of “you.” “I,” “not,” “what,” “mother” and “man” are also on the list. So are the verbs “to hear,” “to flow” and “to spit,” and the nouns “bark,” “ashes” and “worm.” Together, they hint at what has been important to people over the past 15 millennia.

Sunday Afternoon Links: Marx at 193, The Kids Aren’t All Right, The Sixth Season of the Wire, and More

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* ‘Employers have feasted on despair’: The War Against Youth.

In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one. Multiple internships are common. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 75 percent of employers prefer students who have interned or had a similar working experience.

There’s some boilerplate tenure bashing in there too, but one can’t have everything.

Marx at 193.

It’s hard not to conclude from these selected sentences that Marx was extraordinarily prescient. He really did have the most astonishing insight into the nature and trajectory and direction of capitalism. Three aspects which particularly stand out here are the tribute he pays to the productive capacity of capitalism, which far exceeds that of any other political-economic system we’ve ever seen; the remaking of social order which accompanies that; and capitalism’s inherent tendency for crisis, for cycles of boom and bust.

* The bomb in the garden: Matthew Butterick on the slow death of the Web.

Someone’s already tweeting—“Butterick is an idiot. He doesn’t know that information wants to be free.” You know, I have heard that. But I also know that 99.99% of people who mention this line forget to talk about the first and last parts of it.

“What? There’s a first and last part?” Yeah, yeah. The whole line goes like this:

“Information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable … On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower … So you have these two fighting against each other.”

* Seconding @BCApplebaum: Washington Post publishes sixth season of The Wire. There really should have been a season devoted to the prison-industrial complex. There’s still time, Simon!

* And a trailer for the indie film version of Mario Brothers. I think I might have linked to this before, but either way I’d watch the hell out of this.

‘A History of Like’

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So what is new about Facebook and the Like button? Oddly enough, it reveals too much. The great sin of Facebook is that it made “like” far too important and too obvious. Marketing is in part the practice of eliding the underlying complexity, messiness, and wastefulness of capitalist production with neat abstractions. Every ad, every customer service interaction, every display, and every package contributes to the commodity fetish, covering up the conditions of production with desire and fantasy. As such, Facebook may reveal too much of the underlying architecture of emotional capitalism. The Like button tears aside this veil to reveal the cloying, pathetic, Willy Lomanesque need of marketers to have their brands be well-liked. Keep liking, keep buying. Like us! Like us! Like us!

Written by gerrycanavan

March 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Monday

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* Today in my classroom: Freida Hughes’s poem “My Mother.” I used this at the tail end of our discussion of Sylvia Plath today and found it really useful as a way of interrogating just what it is we do as critics.

This American Life Features Error-Riddled Story On Disability And Children. Of course, it was a Planet Money piece.

Think about it: MOOAs are the perfect solution to the rising cost of higher education. We take superstar administrators and let them administer tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of faculty at a time. The Ivy League and Nescac colleges could pool their upper management as could, say, Midwestern state colleges that start with “I” or “O.”

If the administrators cannot compete and be effective online, then it’s time to get out of the way for the people who can. After all, no student ever thought it was worth $55,000 a year for time in a room with a particular dean or vice president, but we might be able to convince them, at least for a while longer, that the educational experience of the classroom is worth it.

Median Salaries of Higher-Education Professionals, 2012-13.

Committee tasked with creating standards for for-profit colleges folds under industry pressure.

* “It is difficult to identify a single instance where an emergency manager has succeeded in turning around the financial fortunes of a city or jurisdiction.”

* And thus began the great Georgia-Tennessee War.

The Great Melting: Polar Ice Across The Arctic And Antarctic.

* Today in dystopia: White Student Union at Towson University will conduct nighttime campus patrols. What could possibly go wrong?

5 Products That Should Fear Google’s Next Killing Spree.

The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

* Today in fanboy supercuts: Watch all six Star Wars movies at once. It actually is sort of revealing.

There’s a dark cloud hanging over the science of climate change, quite literally. Scientists today have access to supercomputers capable of running advanced simulations of Earth’s climate hundreds of years into the future, accounting for millions of tiny variables. But even with all that equipment and training, they still can’t quite figure out how clouds work.

Matternet Founder Paola Santana Wants To Replace The Postal System With Drones.

* Out of sight, out of mind: the story of every known victim of drone bombings in Pakistan.

* The University of Maryland at College Park doesn’t have a copy of the contract it signed to join the Big 10, The Washington Post reported. The Post filed an open records request for the contract, and was told that the university didn’t have a copy. The Big 10, which is not subject to open records requests, keeps all such copies. Maryland officials said that not keeping a copy was in line with Big 10 policies, which are designed to reflect that most of its members are public universities, subject to open records requests.

A growing body of evidence shows, however, that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence. Can an octopus use tools? Do chimpanzees have a sense of fairness? Can birds guess what others know? Do rats feel empathy for their friends? Just a few decades ago we would have answered “no” to all such questions. Now we’re not so sure. Experiments with animals have long been handicapped by our anthropocentric attitude: We often test them in ways that work fine with humans but not so well with other species. Scientists are now finally meeting animals on their own terms instead of treating them like furry (or feathery) humans, and this shift is fundamentally reshaping our understanding. See also: Clever Hans the Math Horse.

* Presenting the invisible bike helmet.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued a major grocery workers union and others who have protested at its Florida stores, the latest salvo in its legal fight to stop “disruptive” rallies in and around its stores by groups seeking better pay and working conditions.

* “Do you know that unless you’re willing to use the R rating, you can only say the ‘F’ word once? You know what I say? F*ck that. I’m done.” And it’s new to me: Jimmy Kimmel’s unnecessary censorship.

Thursday Night Links

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* Merit and the academy. Challenging, thoughtful post from Timothy Burke.

* My beloved alma mater found out about MOOCs. Meanwhile, the New York Times kind of buries the lede: “So far, most MOOCs have had dropout rates exceeding 90 percent.”

* The Atlantic argues the student loan crisis ain’t no thang. I suspect they’re quite literally cribbing from Adam.

* What could possibly go wrong? Utah considering bill to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

According to the Times, the ACLU compiled a 5,000 page report on the SAO, a group of former Minutemen and other right-wingers and violent home-grown fascists, for the benefit of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “alleging the Federal Bureau of Intelligence recruited a band of right-wing terrorists and supplied them with money and weapons to attack young antiwar demonstrators.”

Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set.

Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey results suggested that people who rejected climate science were more likely than other respondents to reject other scientific or official findings and buy into assorted fringe theories: that NASA faked the moon landing, that the Central Intelligence Agency killed Martin Luther King Jr., that the AIDS virus was unleashed by the government, and so forth.

This piece of research appeared in a specialized journal in psychological science, but it did not take long to find its way onto climate skeptics’ blogs, setting off howls of derision.

A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs.

* Forget it, Jake, it’s Pretoria: The South African police replaced the lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius homicide case on Thursday after embarrassing revelations that he was facing seven charges of attempted murder himself.

* Zombies and the bomb.

Why Gender Equality Stalled. This country hates rational health care distribution, too. America!

Prison and the Poverty Trap.

* Doctors are the next career to be deskilled and deprofessionalized. Ah, progress!

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

It Wouldn’t Surprise You If This Headline Was About 318 People Being Shot In 12 Different Public Places.

* A sea change for mass culture: Nielsen Ratings Will Add Streaming Data For Fall 2013.

* Tumblr of the day: Shit Rough Drafts.

Emory President Censured.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

Slavoj Žižek vs. capitalism, round 200. This is almost literally a full rerun.

* Florida, after two years of Tea Party Rule. But even he isn’t a real conservative…

* Ezra Klein: Obamacare is winning.

The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced on average to 15 years, despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-defense.

* World’s greatest Venn diagram: Chemical Elements vs. US States.

The NCAA, an organization with such open-decision making practices and clear accountability as to provide lessons to the mafia, is forcing a University of Minnesota wrestler to give up his music career or be declared ineligible for profiting off his own image.

* From the too-good-t0-check files: Young Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space.

The New York State Thruway Project, Social Issue Signage Disguised as Historical Markers.

And we’re going to burn every drop of oil and destroy the future. Gleefully. Enjoy your weekend!

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Evening Links

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* World saved from Zack Snyder Star Wars movie.

But it was too late for the Atlantic, powerless before Tom Cruise’s superpowers.

* 2013 in franchise science fiction, from io9. Only Brad Bird’s 1952 can save us now.

* New York Times already hyping Ender’s Game.

* The best companion says she won’t be back for Who‘s 50th.

* The Disneyland of paranoia. See also McSweeney’s:

First, they came for unregulated handguns in the possession of citizens with violent criminal records, and I said, “You know, that sounds reasonable. Someone with a violent criminal record has probably lost his or her right to possess a handgun. So, yeah, sounds good.”

Then they came to require background checks, gun licenses, and regular gun safety courses, and I said, “All of this sounds fine to me. Guns are dangerous, and we regulate every other dangerous product. So, really, whatever you want to do on this is also fine.”

Then they came for my assault rifle, and I said, “Assault rifles? You should have started with assault rifles. You’re doing this backwards. But OK, of course you can have my assault rifle. Why do I need an assault rifle?”

Then they came to guarantee mental health care to everyone, because our treatment of our most vulnerable citizens is a measure of our dignity as a society, and I said, “This one is obvious. In fact, I can’t believe we HAVEN’T been guaranteeing mental health care for everyone who needs it. Let’s get going on this.”

* And just one political link: The high price of being single in America.

A Few More

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Divestment from guns. Go after guns like tobacco; start with the advertising.

Why do these young white male people whom we routinely characterize as crazy—as exceptions to the rules of civilized comportment and moral choice—always rehearse and recite the same script?  If each killer is so deviant, so inexplicable, so exceptional, why does the apocalyptic ending never vary?

* Cory Booker dumps his oppo research on the New York Times.

Why there’s a “b” in the word “doubt.”

Which Wes Anderson Character Are You?

* And coming soon: the fabulous LEGOLand Hotel.

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