Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘anarchism

Another Sad Monday

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enhanced-buzz-7300-1379098881-2* Alarm sounds as humanity breaks quarantine.

* Bargaining unit faculty members have no expectation of privacy in emails, files, documents, or other information created or stored on university information assets. The university may monitor the use of, and review documents and other information stored on university information assets. Emails sent on a bargaining unit faculty member’s non-university email account and information created or stored on non-university computer systems belong to the bargaining unit member except to the extent that they address work-related subjects.

A Catholic Case Against MOOCs.

* White flight goes to college.

* Sorry, it’s Buzzfeed, but: 19 Fascinating Examples Of Soviet Space Propaganda Posters.

Was Plato an executive producer on Deep Space 9?

* Police Shoot into Crowd at Time Square. Charlotte police kill unarmed man who may have been running to them for help.

De-colonising anarchism.

60 Wisconsin bridges in danger categories, review finds. Compare that number to 10% of bridges nationally.

* A brief history of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Where Have All the Digital Humanities Jobs Gone?

AMC is developing a Walking Dead spinoff for 2015. Working title The Walking Money Grab.

This Time There Really Will Be a Government Shutdown.

* The ‘Breaking Bad’ Spinoff ‘Better Call Saul’ With an 80s Style Intro.

And a new study of twins shows that kids who acquire language early may tend to become heavier drinkers who start drinking earlier. Don’t talk to your kids! For their own good! For their own good!

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.

Late Night Monday

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* In a post-employment economy, many are working simply to earn the prospect of making money.

John Scalzi: 

So when a publisher comes to you and says “We like your book, can we buy it?” do not treat them like they are magnanimously offering you a lifetime boon, which if you refuse will never pass your way again. Treat them like what they are: A company who wants to do business with you regarding one specific project. Their job is to try to get that project on the best terms that they can. Your job is to sell it on terms that are most advantageous to you.

When People Write for Free, Who Pays?

* Kafka wept:

Oakland Police kept a man on its Most Wanted list for six months though he was not wanted for anything, the man claims in court.

And the most amazing part:

After “nearly a week of hiding in fear,” Van turned himself in on Feb. 13, “to resolve this devastating mistake,” the complaint states.

He was held for 72 hours, never charged with anything, then released, according to the complaint.

Yet on Feb. 14, the Oakland Police Department released a statement, “Most Wanted Turns Himself In,” which began: “One of Oakland’s four most wanted suspects has been taken off the streets. Last week, Oakland’s Police Chief Howard Jordan named Van Chau as one of the City’s four most wanted criminals. Today, the Oakland Police Department reports that Van Chau is off the streets of Oakland and is safely behind bars after turning himself in due to media pressure. Chief Howard Jordan said, ‘A week ago I stood with community members and asked the community to stand with me to fight crime and today we have one less criminal on our streets. Today a victim is one step closer to justice.’”

Via @zunguzungu.

The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem. Good conscience! Good conscience! Hilarious.

The Inevitable 2014 Headline: ‘Global CO2 Level Reaches 400 PPM For First Time In Human Existence.’ The melting of Canada’s glaciers is irreversible.

Arizona’s Law Banning Mexican-American Studies Curriculum Is Constitutional, Judge Rules.

*  “It’s not for everyone”: working as a slavery re-enactor at Colonial Williamsburg.

Where banks really make money on IPOs. Via MeFi, which has more.

* Nation’s Millionaires Agree: We Must All Do More With Less.

* The world’s most useless governmental agency, the FEC, is still trying to figure out fines for crimes committed three elections ago.

* Anarchism: illegal in Oklahoma since 1919!

* Also from the Teens: Dateline 1912: The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about “vast thinking vegetable” on Mars.

Teacher Accidentally Emails Students Secret School Document Revealing What Faculty Members Really Thought About Them.

* Marvel declares war on the local comic shop, offers unlimited access to their comics for $10.

* Charlotte Perkins Gilman was right: New Experiment Suggests Mammals Could Reproduce Entirely By Cloning.

* Does the loneliest whale really exist?

* The Senate is the worst, and the New York Times is ON IT. Meanwhile, really, the Senate is the absolute worst.

* Neil Gaiman remembers Douglas Adams.

11 More Weird & Wonderful Wikipedia Lists. Don’t miss the list of fictional ducks and the list of films considered the worst.

CLEAR Project Issues Report on Impact of NYPD Surveillance on American Muslims.

* And let freedom ring: Judge strikes down NYC ban on supersized sodas.

‘You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.’

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Author Ursula K. Le Guin says she is in full sympathy with Occupy Oakland protesters who reportedly safeguarded themselves behind shields made to look like The Dispossessed, her 1974 sci-fi novel about anarchism on an alien world.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm

a tradition that they have hitherto mostly dismissed

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Thursday Links

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* Today is our last day discussing John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up, and conveniently the headline at io9 right now reads “Gonorrhea is becoming untreatable.” The prophecy was true!

 In an 8-1 vote, the City Council of Greensboro, North Carolina approved a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Greensboro joins Raleigh and Chapel Hill all in opposition to Amendment 1, which comes to a vote on May 8. The Durham City Council opposes the measure too.

* 16 Things Super Bowl Ads Would Like You to Know About Women in 2012.

* Steve Jobs’s FBI file. Academic pro-tip: when beginning research on anyone who is deceased you should immediately request their FBI file.

* Bad news folks: Obama Has Put America On ‘The Path’ Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation.

* In an interesting piece at An und für sich, Adam Kotsko tries to dive beneath the politics and explain just why it is the Catholic hierarchy is so interested in birth control.

I propose that the answer can be found in a historic compromise set forth by one of the most influential thinkers you’ve never heard of: namely, Clement of Alexandria, a second-century Christian philosopher.

* From David Graeber—Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges.

Surely you must recognize, when it’s laid out in this fashion, that this is precisely the sort of language and argument that, historically, has been invoked by those encouraging one group of people to physically attack, ethnically cleanse, or exterminate another—in fact, the sort of language and argument that is almost never invoked in any other circumstance. After all, if a group is made up exclusively of violent fanatics who cannot be reasoned with, intent on our destruction, what else can we really do? This is the language of violence in its purest form. Far more than “fuck the police.” To see this kind of language employed by someone who claims to be speaking in the name of non-violence is genuinely extraordinary.

Facebook has found a way to make money from its new Timeline feature less than five months after launching it, repackaging what people “listen” to, “watch,” and “read” into ads and delivering them to their friends.

* Tomorrow’s TV Tropes today: my friend @drbluman finds another example of Sitcom Entropy, the inexorable law of nature that shows how sitcoms degrade in quality over time.

* Arizona Law SB 1467 Would Make It Illegal to Teach Law, History, or Literature, or for Teachers to Have Sex, or Pee.

* And James Fallows attempts to explain Obama.

This is the central mystery of his performance as a candidate and a president. Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?

‘Nothing Terrifies Those Running the U.S. More than the Danger of Democracy Breaking Out’

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When it comes to their most basic political sensibilities, most Americans are deeply conflicted. Most combine a deep reverence for individual freedom with a near-worshipful identification with institutions like the army and police. Most combine an enthusiasm for markets with a hatred of capitalists. Most are simultaneously profoundly egalitarian, and deeply racist. Few are actual anarchists; few even know what “anarchism” means; it’s not clear how many, if they did learn, would ultimately wish to discard the state and capitalism entirely. Anarchism is much more than simply grassroots democracy: It ultimately aims to eliminate all social relations, from wage labour to patriarchy, that can only be maintained by the systematic threat of force.

But one thing overwhelming numbers of Americans do feel is that something is terribly wrong with their country, that its key institutions are controlled by an arrogant elite, that radical change of some kind is long since overdue. They’re right. It’s hard to imagine a political system so systematically corrupt – one where bribery, on every level, has not only been made legal, but soliciting and dispensing bribes has become the full-time occupation of every American politician. The outrage is appropriate. The problem is that up until September 17, the only side of the spectrum willing to propose radical solutions of any sort was the Right.

As the history of the past movements all make clear, nothing terrifies those running the US more than the danger of democracy breaking out. The immediate response to even a modest spark of democratically organised civil disobedience is a panicked combination of concessions and brutality. How else can one explain the recent national mobilisation of thousands of riot cops, the beatings, chemical attacks, and mass arrests, of citizens engaged in precisely the kind of democratic assemblies the Bill of Rights was designed to protect, and whose only crime – if any – was the violation of local camping regulations?

David Graeber on anarchism, politics, and Occupy Wall Street. There’s more highly quotable words at the link.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Thursday Night

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Links from the Week

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* As you may have seen on Twitter, the National Council of the American Studies Association endorsed Occupy Wall Street this weekend. Political Dissent in a Time of (Economic) Crisis.

* 147 Companies Control 40 Percent Of Global Transnational Corporate Wealth.

* Lenin’s Tomb challenges Occupy Wall Street on the subjects of consensus and demands.

In order for that clique to create full consensus on a decision, minority dissenters were often subtly urged or psychologically coerced to decline to vote on a troubling issue, inasmuch as their dissent would essentially amount to a one-person veto. This practice, called “standing aside” in American consensus processes, all too often involved intimidation of the dissenters, to the point that they completely withdrew from the decision-making process, rather than make an honorable and continuing expression of their dissent by voting, even as a minority, in accordance with their views. Having withdrawn, they ceased to be political beings — so that a “decision” could be made. More than one “decision” in the Clamshell Alliance was made by pressuring dissenters into silence and, through a chain of such intimidations, “consensus” was ultimately achieved only after dissenting members nullified themselves as participants in the process.

On a more theoretical level, consensus silenced that most vital aspect of all dialogue, dissensus. The ongoing dissent, the passionate dialogue that still persists even after a minority accedes temporarily to a majority decision, was replaced in the Clamshell by dull monologues — and the uncontroverted and deadening tone of consensus. In majority decision-making, the defeated minority can resolve to overturn a decision on which they have been defeated — they are free to openly and persistently articulate reasoned and potentially persuasive disagreements. Consensus, for its part, honors no minorities, but mutes them in favor of the metaphysical “one” of the “consensus” group.

* Still more critique of Occupy Baltimore and Occupy LA.

* Peak Oil and the Great Recession.

* How the Austerity Class Rules Washington.

* Exotic animal nightmare in Zanesville, OH.

* Two from Rolling Stone: The Keystone Pipeline Revolt: Why Mass Arrests are Just the Beginning and Climate Change and the End of Australia.

* Another climate skeptic bites the dust after finally bothering to look at the evidence.

* “Nearly 400 acres of land set aside to house veterans and thousands of veterans who need a place to call home” has been leased out to business instead since the 1970s.

“In fact, according to Rosenbaum the Justice Department attorney said, ‘We don’t believe that the VA has any authority or any responsibility to provide housing.”

* David Foster Wallace, “Attempted Fax Cover Sheet.”

* “Junot Diaz To Create The Dominican Superman.”

* The “Do cell phones cause cancer?” pendulum has swung back around again. This week they don’t.

* The Guardian reviews Murakami’s 1Q84.

* Steve Jobs reviews Barack Obama: Steve Jobs Told Obama He’d Be a One Term President.

* Jon Bon Jovi opens pay-what-you-can ‘soul kitchen.’

* And Boing Boing celebrates the expired patent for LEGO.

‘Intellectual Roots of Wall St. Protest Lie in Academe’

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

Links from the Weekend

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What I Did Instead Of What I Was Supposed To Do Today

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Caught up on some of David Graeber’s writings on anarchism, via this AskMe. Does anyone know the answer to this question? I just can’t get past my sense that ecological rationality requires a global superstate, not autonomous, self-organizing collectives.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 7, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Thurs.

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* If you were offered a true statistic about an alien civilization, but only one, what would it be? MR, true to form, wants information about “the real rate of return on capital.” I’d want a measure of the class inequality in their society; “infant mortality rate” is suggested in the comments, but of course we don’t know what their lifecycle is like so that answer might not tell us anything. “How many other civilizations have you exterminated?”, also from the MR comments, seems a good choice too…

* David Foster Wallace, Viking Poet.

* All six hours of The Staircase, a true-crime documentary set right here in Durham, is now available on Google Video. Jaimee and I watched this a few years ago and quite enjoyed it. The discussion in the MetaFilter thread is preoccupied with the documentary’s veracity, but this aspect doesn’t really trouble me; I don’t think the film presents itself as an objective or dispassionate approach to “the facts,” which is not something I think documentaries are really capable of achieving in the first place. The film is very engaging and not deceptive, which is good enough for me.

* This Indexed fantasy league is incredibly flawed. There’s no way a single zombie could defeat a werewolf, a vampire, an elf, and a ghost to win the championship; I believe the word you’re looking for is zombies.

* Anarchism and science fiction: a reading list. Via MeFi.

* Two more Civ V previews from Gamespot and IGN.

* And please be advised your doomsday seed vault is functioning perfectly.

Morning Links

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Morning links.

* The protests in St. Paul turned violent yesterday, with police tear-gassing the crowd.

They had come in their thousands – grandmothers, veterans, young families and even disgruntled Republicans bearing banners and peace flags, to demand an end to the five-year conflict. And for the most part, the demonstrations passed off peacefully.

But once the main antiwar march had finished, splinter groups embarked on a violent rampage, smashing windows, slashing car tyres, throwing bottles and even attacking Republican delegates attending the nearby Xcel Centre.

Many of those involved identified themselves to reporters as anarchists. These protesters, some clad in black, wreaked havoc by damaging property and starting at least one fire.

* Washington Monthly has a nice pair of posts detailing the entire Sarah Palin fiasco so far, if you haven’t been following the coverage closely here and elsewhere. And for a good articulation of the gambling frame I’ve been pushing as the best way to understand John McCain, see Josh Marshall.

* Barack Obama loves science and science funding.

* Google releases its long-awaited browser, Chrome, tomorrow. MetaFilter’s talking about it.

* Neal Stephenson and the 10,000-Year Clock. There’s more Stephenson links at MeFi.

* “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”: The End of Innocence and the Birth of the Bronze Age.

Derrick Jensen’s ‘Endgame’

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Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

The premises and other excerpts from Derrick Jensen’s anarcho-primitivst tract Endgame are online, a polemic that quickly leapfrogs past the ecotage tactics of groups like ELF to essentially call for open, final warfare against capitalism.

I think we all know that goes.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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