Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Berkeley

Weekend Links

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* By allying us with its protagonist, Gravity universalizes its image of exploited female labor, sells it back to its entire audience, men and women alike. Gravity shows a contemporary ideal of femininity still more sinister than the pinup. It presents woman as an intricate machine, strapped to dozens of wires, working her ass off with the goal of appearing weightless.

* We were born too late: …in the early universe, as Loeb speculates in a paper published in Astrobiology late last year, everything would have been a habitable zone.

* Terry Gilliam thinks he could have screwed up Watchmen waaaaaaay worse than Zack Snyder.

* Another day, another Title IX class action against a major university.

Students Joke About Raping Student Union President, Then Threaten to Sue Her.

Objectification, Humiliation and the Liberal Arts.

* Surprising minimum wage jobs.

Wisconsin income gap widening faster than nation as a whole.

* New Study Confirms It: Breast-Feeding Benefits Have Been Drastically Overstated.

* Man Wakes Up In Body Bag At Funeral Home. Wow.

* Chomsky on academic labor. Life off the tenure track at Boise State.

Polynesian seafarers discovered America long before Europeans, says DNA study.

* Watch Six Colorado Senate Candidates Deny Climate Change Exists In 18 Seconds.

* Inception: The Board Game.

* Man, the rich are different.

“While the entire U.S. population has increased about one-third over the last 30 years, the Federal prison population has increased at a staggering rate of 800 percent, currently totaling nearly 216,000 inmates and currently operates at a 33 percent overcapacity. One-half of those Federal prison populations are drug offenses. While some of them are truly dangerous persons, as Deputy Attorney General Cole said, many of them are first-timers, and by possession only, wound up under Federal laws, the crack cocaine laws, in the Federal system”, she said.

Researchers Find CTE In A Soccer Player For The First Time.

This Is What Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers Looks Like.

When May I Shoot a Student?

Twelve Fixed, Eternal Commandments for Academic Job Candidates.

* The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from: Wachowskis prepping new Matrix prequel trilogy.

* And I think we should all just agree this is the true ending to Harry Potter now.

Some Weekend Links

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In this future, if MOOCs are the route to a credential, they may initially retain some of the popularity that traditional higher education currently holds. But as people realize that the real opportunities continue to accrue to those who are able to attend whatever traditional colleges and universities that remain, they will go to even greater lengths than today to secure those spots. Meanwhile, those for whom access to this opportunity is impossible will be left even further behind.

* Tampering with powers mankind was never meant to know: The U.S. military has developed a pizza that stays edible for years.

Socialism is not a flight from the human condition; it’s a direct and unsentimental confrontation with that condition.

* Anyway, the point is this: maybe the exhaust port wasn’t the problem.

Faculty on Strike.

* Reclamations Special Issue: Securitization and the University.

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? Comcast must be stopped. Preach.

A Florida town is attempting to repeal its ban on homeless people using blankets and other means of shelter and comfort. That’s good, I gue–wait, you banned what?

* Not only does the state’s proposed law allow private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples; it permits state employees to deny them basic services. WHAT?

* Another NFL cheerleader files suit against her team. This one details the copious amounts of clothing and body discipling for a job that pays $90 a game.

* Noam Chomsky, stealing my bit.

* Now playable! Sesame Street Fighter.

* Ellen Page comes out.

Is the AA system of addiction recovery too unscientific to work?

The Blum Center Takeover Manifesto.

Why not cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as Doctor Strange? I’m on board.

* Because somebody had to: Debunking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld.

The problem with the thesis is that in setting out their claim, the authors ignore the more obvious explanation for differences in group success: history. To be specific, in their quest to make it all about culture, the authors either ignore or strongly discount the particular circumstances of a group’s first arrival, and the advantages enjoyed by that first wave.

Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]

But Truman’s famously crisp sentence did encapsulate a recurrent American attitude toward the fearsome weapons the United States developed: they came to us almost accidentally, inadvertently, “found” in that cornucopia which modern science and technology provided.

Leaks benefit the government, the author argues, in many ways. They are a safety valve, a covert messaging system, a perception management tool, and more.  Even when a particular disclosure is unwelcome or damaging, it serves to validate the system as a whole.

The Word You Are Searching for Is Rape.

Wendy Davis Is Pretty Much Fine With the Abortion Ban She Filibustered.

* Another Day, Another Train Derails In Pennsylvania, Spilling Up To 4,000 Gallons Of Oil.

A recent analysis found that rail cars spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of oil in 2013, more than was spilled in the previous four decades combined. Still, some companies are looking to expand their oil-by-rail transport: expansion plans for oil-by-rail projects on the West Coast could mean that as many as 11 fully loaded oil trains would travel each day through Spokane, Washington. A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on rail safety, but it had to be rescheduled due to bad weather that forced the closure of the federal government.

* STAMOS! Remembering The LEGO Movie Directors’ Wonderful TV Show, Clone High.

The (almost) entire run of Gargoyles is streaming legally on YouTube.

* Say I’m the Only Bee in Your Bonnet: A People’s History of “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

* Facebook has added fifty alternative gender options.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage.

* And in breaking news: Internet trolls are seriously bad news. The more you know…

Tuesday Night Links!

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* 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.

* Want to teach your students about structural racism? Prepare for a formal reprimand. Lessons from the Collection IV: Teaching While Black (Part I). Part II.

Free as in speech. Free as in beer. Free as in Huey. Free as in lunch. Free as in bird. Free as in love. Free education for all.

* At Some Other Berkeley: Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley mistakes the enemies of public higher education for its defenders.

Has UC Berkeley mortgaged itself to football?

* “‘Too good to check’ used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories. Now it’s a business model.”

* American Students Fall Behind International Peers In Math, Science, And Reading. Countries With Higher Math Scores Have Unhappier Kids.

* Point: Superheroes are a bunch of fascists. Counterpoint: Stop Calling Superheroes ‘Fascist.’

* Democracy watch: Gov. Snyder has effectively absolute authority dismantling Detroit despite losing in the city 20-1. What’s next for Detroit?

* I Am Sitting in a Room, 2013.

Europe Could Be 9 Degrees Warmer By The End Of The Century.

Uruguayan President Asks for World to Support His Marijuana Legalization Plan.

British Think Tank Revives 40-year-old Plan to Build Space Colonies. How NASA might build its very first warp drive.

* And What’s Wrong With America’s Newspaper Opinion Columnists in One Chart.

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Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Links Mori

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Tuesday Links

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* Essential for faculty with student loans: How to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Act. See also: The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.

The most insidious feature of kludgeocracy is the hidden, indirect, and frequently corrupt distribution of its costs. Those costs can be put into three categories — costs borne by individual citizens, costs borne by the government that must implement the complex policies, and costs to the character of our democracy. Kludgeocracy in America.

* Gasp! UW administrators received largest share of raises in 2012-13.

Cal spent more on facility upgrades ($474 million) than any school in the history of collegiate athletics.

In black communities and black families, like the one where I’m from, kids are chosen. Knowing that the odds are against us, kids that show promise (not always academic, but athletic, musical, etc.) at an early age carry the hopes of their families and communities. They are supposed to defy the statistics to go out and become doctors and lawyers and send for mom, dad, and grandma. I was one of those kids: never got into any real trouble, maintained good grades, somehow managed to perform well on the ACT despite my school’s terrible preparatory program, and fell into a full scholarship at my state’s flagship university despite zero knowledge of how to apply to college. I was on track, but somehow along the line something happened, and I feel as if I failed to meet my end of the bargain.

I didn’t lose my way in some extravagant fashion by being kicked out of school or falling into a drug conviction. My deviation was much more subtle. Rather than going to school to be an engineer or a pharmacist, I chose to be a sociologist.

There is a paradox in the workings of higher education so insidious that, even while it is destroying one’s life, the victim still rejects the possibility it exists. The seemingly impossible contradiction is that even though one is well educated, hardworking, and employed at a prestigious institution the recompense granted is a salary below the national poverty level.

Museum of Science Fiction May Become Reality In D.C.

Median wage falls to lowest level since 1998. Forty Percent Of Workers Made Less Than $20,000 Last Year.

* Childcare is crazy expensive.

Beowulf opening line misinterpreted for 200 years?

Man Buys 10.000 Undeveloped Negatives At a Local Auction and Discovers One of The Most Important Street Photographers of the Mid 20th Century.

This isn’t because The Walking Dead is especially complicated, or even because, compared to its contemporaries, its cast is unmanageably large. It’s simply because The Walking Dead doesn’t care — not about internal logic, not about emotional or psychological coherence, not about its own ongoing history. And not at all about consequences.

And Search Committees Are Made of People. PEOPLE!

Even More Sunday Links!

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* Unleash the unschools: How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses.

Whether intentionally or not, At Berkeley not only toes the administration’s line but faithfully brings to life the administration’s way of seeing. Students and workers are rendered (if, that is, they appear at all) as anonymous data points, the personification of tasks (e.g. mowing the lawns) and economic flows (e.g. scientific research), and occasionally inconvenient, illegible, and irrational obstructions.

* On Chronic Illness, Disclosure, and Impostor Syndrome.

In The Real World, Revenge Porn Is Far Worse Than Making It Illegal. But the abstract principle at stake…

An army of robot baristas could mean the end of Starbucks as we know it.

* The Royal Mounted Police send snipers to an anti-fracking protest.

* Stop worrying: Hungry Animals Would Take Down a Zombie Invasion.

To use Steven Teles’s preferred term, our new health care system is a kludge, meaning it is an inelegant, improvised, and complex solution to a problem that could be solved better and more simply.

* And Henry Louis Gates pitches a Django Unchained / 12 Years a Slave double feature. Sounds good to me.

Late Night Monday Links

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* Government shutting down because everything is terrible that’s why. Federal workers who check their e-mail during a shutdown will be breaking the law.

* Shock at Berkeley: Campus officials declare emergency following explosion around California Hall.

What kind of society emerges when it is governed by the market-driven assumption that the only value that matters is exchange value, when the common good is denigrated to the status of a mall, and the social order is composed only of individuals free to pursue their own interests?

Instead place of high-stakes testing, Bard is letting its students hand in a high-stakes homework assignment. The system sounds like it’s just begging to be gamed by wealthy students. 

Towards a History of the Professional: On the Class Composition of the Research University.

* Vince Gilligan talks Breaking Bad alternate endings. This Is What Everyone Is Writing About Breaking Bad Today. And even more links.

Adjuncts Should Do As Little Work As Possible.

Memo: CUNY is Moving David Petraeus Seminar to Avoid Protestors.

“Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.”

Before the Muppets, Jim Henson Tried to Build a Futuristic Nightclub.

* Color, Chromophobia, and Colonialism: Some Historical Thoughts.

* The Fantastic Four (1961-88) was  The Great American Novel. (via)

NASA’s abandoned plan for a re-usable, nuclear powered moon shuttle. (also via)

* And it turns out 2-to-1 of the people in this city are totally insane. Oh man.

Sunday Reading, Accept No Imitations

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Timeline of Science Fiction Ideas, Technology and Inventions (sorted by Publication Date).

* Ill-considered, disastrous dam project “has given biologists the opportunity to measure the speed of mammal extinctions.” Well, that’s certainly looking at the glass half-full.

* Decadence watch: Emory University Closes its Visual Arts Department.

* Decadence watch, part two: “The Price Is Right” Airs All-Plinko Episode.

‘We Felt Like We Were Above the Law’: How the NCAA Endangers Women.

Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic.

Where Is The Place Of Anger In The University?

Everyday I walk past UC Berkeley’s newly renovated football stadium on my way to drop off my daughter at the Clark Kerr facility for toddlers, and everyday – after picking her up from school – I wait at a bus stop directly across from the same stadium.  The stadium, which has put the university 445 million dollars in debt, is just down the street from my daughter’s UC preschool, which is housed in a double-wide trailer and sits on a parking lot in the northwest corner of Clark Kerr Campus.  Its interior walls have been removed, and linoleum and carpet patchwork that are no longer contiguous with the layout of the room still show marks of these former walls – in some places adhesive still clings to the floor, marking where one of these walls once stood.  This is the facility that we were not granted a tour of – a facility that houses only subsidized children.  We do not know where the unsubsidized children receive their care.

* From the Daily Californian: School first, sports second.

* Austerity measures pushes Greek universities to point of collapse.

* America drunk-dials Iran, Iran picks up.

* LOVEINT: How NSA Spies Abused Their Powers to Snoop on Girlfriends, Lovers, and First Dates.

The women of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks Department have literally spent thousands of dollars on their clothes.

* How LucasArts fell apart.

* The update of the damned: Apple’s iOS 7 Causing Motion Sickness And Even Vomiting In Users. This in a device (the iPad) that was originally marketed in part as an accessibility breakthrough.

* The fundamental law of media graph construction.

* A brief history of the Muppets’ very brief stint on Saturday Night Live.

A Brief History of Slash.

* And a court orders same-sex marriage in my beloved home state of New Jersey. Meet me in a land of hope and dreams.

Tuesday Night!

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* Run the university like a business! Efficiency! Synergy! Dynamism!

Due to its 2010 renovation of Memorial Stadium, Cal Athletics is obligated to pay annual interest of $18.1 million until principal starts to be paid back in 2032. According to the new financial model within the report by professors from the Haas School of Business, the debt payments may rise to as high as $81.9 million in 2053.

* NCAA Reduces Penalties On Penn State For Sandusky Scandal.

* The NFL ripoff.

Taxpayers fund the stadiums, antitrust law doesn’t apply to broadcast deals, the league enjoys nonprofit status, and Commissioner Roger Goodell makes $30 million a year. It’s time to stop the public giveaways to America’s richest sports league—and to the feudal lords who own its teams.

* As I work to organize adjunct faculty in Ohio and nationally, my own biggest fear is that any successes we have will erase our collective memory of our adjunct experience and desensitize us to the reality of the least advantaged of our students. If our efforts re-gild instead of reclaim the ivory tower, then we will have failed our students and ourselves. Adjuncts, Class, and Fear. Casual Labor and the Future of the Academy. Adjunct professors are the new working poor.

* Tenure nightmare: A cautionary tale for those needing a Green Card to work in the U.S.

H. Adam Ackley, Transgender Theology Professor, Asked To Leave California’s Azusa Pacific University.

* Ninth Circuit Clarifies First Amendment Rights of Public University Professors.

* And the world’s largest tortoise found. Whoa. THE WORST NEWS SINCE @horse_ebooks.

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A Few Sunday Night Links

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* Bill Gates vs. education. Via.

“They start with the assumption that something is broken,” says Patricia A. McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, which serves low-income women in the District of Columbia. “Then they take the next step of deciding what the fix is before they really understand the problem.” Skeptics say such confidence is dangerous when dealing with complex social phenomena like education.

* Rise of the Warrior Cop. How a military contractor managed to keep alive a drone program even the Air Force thinks is a boondoggle.

You Are Being Tracked: How License Plate Readers Are Being Used To Record Americans’ Movements.

* Scalia: activist judges caused the Holocaust. Truly a dizzying intellect.

Despite calls from students, faculty, the LAT and the Sacramento Bee to allow greater public discussion and debate over the appointment of Janet Napolitano as President of UC, the Regents moved ahead and quickly named her to the position.  In so doing, they have forfeited what little moral and ethical authority they retained as leaders of the University of California.  They retain, of course, the legal power to act as they please and as they have done.  But we should be clear that they have rejected the idea of a University and have declared that they see UC as simply another bureaucracy to be managed from the top.

* And some more on MOOCs from Tenured Radical and The Edge of the American West.

1. A failure rate of 56-76% translates over 40 courses (roughly typical for a four year college) into an infinitesimally low graduation rate. 56% gives you 0.0000000084629%. That’s a bit low because students could take more than 40 courses to manage graduation, but it’s also a bit high because it doesn’t allow for the 17% who didn’t finish the courses.

Perhaps ‘Qualifications’ Is The Wrong Question

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Yudof, we have to admit, was eminently “qualified” to be UC president. His “qualifications” were what allowed him to declare a state of fiscal emergency and orchestrate the subsequent 32% tuition hike. When Yudof became UC president, in-state tuition was $7,126—now it’s $12,946 (that’s an overall increase of 81%). It was because he was “qualified” that he treated workers as obstacles to efficiency, cutting their salaries and firing them essentially at will. For Yudof, faculty had no role to play in terms of shared governance but just stood in the way—“being president of the University of California,” he famously told the New York Times, “is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening.” For the same reason, he saw students not as an integral part of the university community but as a threat, consolidating a police force that consistently surveilled, harassed, threatened, and arrested them, beat them with batons, and shot them with rubber bullets—and even, on one occasion, with live ammunition. He was so “qualified” he was paid more than $800,000 a year to do this.

Run the University Like a Notoriously Poorly Run Quasi-Military State Bureaucracy

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Janet Napolitano will be the next UC president. Flashback to 2011: Debt, Democracy, and the Public University.

Midweek Links!

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AcaMOOCia RoundMOOC

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The New Faculty Minority: Tenured professors fight to retain control as their numbers shrink.

* Behind the scenes of the NYU “no confidence” vote.

* I hereby irrevocably grant the University the absolute right and permission to use, store, host, publicly broadcast, publicly display, public[sic] perform, distribute, reproduce and digitize any Content that I upload, share or otherwise provide in connection with the Course or my use of the Platform, including the full and absolute right to use my name, voice, image or likeness (whether still, photograph or video) in connection therewith, and to edit, modify, translate or adapt any such Content. The MOOC is hungry; the MOOC must be fed.

* MOOCs have become a straight business play.

The Steinberg legislation marks the synthesis of MOOC steps (3) and (4), in which large scale trials are being insured through a state-created artifical product market revolving around Udacity and Coursera in particular. The business problem is this: Large-scale trials must be had at any cost, or the product momentum will die, investors will have doubts, money will dry up, market penetration will fail. MOOCs have shown that lots of people will sign up for a free online course–and that a tiny proportion actually persist. If students are required to pay tuition, as with UC online, they currently don’t sign up in the first place.

Thus 2013 may not be Year of the MOOC II, in that it may reveal that MOOCs may have no large natural market of tuition-paying students.  To head off this possibility, the firms have shifted focus to regulatory capture.  This is what happened when Udacity was hired by San Jose State University to run 3 remedial courses.  The formal signing ceremony put founder Sebastian Thrun on the same level as the governor of the state and the chancellor of the Cal State University system.

* The Chronicle surveys the professors behind the MOOCs.

The for-profit college sector had a difficult time building a prestigious for-profit product – at least in the way that the elite private universities are prestigious. But perhaps the lines between for-profit and public higher education is about to disappear. The latest ads from the University of Phoenix do not sound markedly different than the public relations of the University of California at Berkeley. There’s a somber assessment of the competitiveness of the marketplace, a nod to the importance of market-relevant training, and a promise to provide opportunity for willing and able students, irrespective of background or academic preparation.

Online education’s false promises.

For higher education, MOOCs have become fantasy household robots, doing the dishes, vacuuming, listening attentively. MOOCs are going to create students with job-ready skills, cater to individual learning styles, enable collaborations between students and faculty in different countries. Maybe they’ll even alleviate poverty as students in remote regions learn skills like computer programming and engineering.

* And @zunguzngu gets smashy: It is perhaps time to reconsider the problem of machine-wrecking in the early industrial history of Britain and other countries. Related: 

Professors, as much as some of us want to deny it, are working class. We have rituals that seem bizarre to the uninitiated. We have long periods of apprenticeship in which we pick up these rituals. We have bosses that want to make us work harder for less pay. We even have common styles of dress. Academia is our house of labor, and MOOC providers are deliberately trying to tear down the door so that they can rush in and trash the place.

And Yet More Friday Still

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* UC Academic Senate responds to the MOOC bill. Open letter.

There is no possibility that UC faculty will shirk its responsibility to our students by ceding authority over courses to any outside agency.

”Education,” said Mr. Chambers. ”The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error” in terms of the Internet capacity it will consume.

What will drive it will be the demands on companies, in an intensely competitive global economy, to keep improving productivity. E-learning, insists Mr. Chambers, if done right, can provide faster learning, at lower costs, with more accountability, thereby enabling both companies and schools to keep up with changes in the global economy that now occur at Net speed. Schools and countries that ignore this, he says, will suffer the same fate as big department stores that thought e-commerce was overrated. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, November 17, 1999.

* Exciting stuff from UC Riverside: The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program is currently in the process of developing programs at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Google is about to learn a tough lesson.

A very common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume that a feature is not necessary because it doesn’t have a lot of usage, thus it can be safely removed from the product. Sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes, not so much.

Google made a big mistake cancelling Google Reader that will have severe ripple effects to its empire. I know a lot has been written about it, but let me give you a different angle on it.

They have absolutely no idea what they threw away. But they’re going to make you use Google+ to get it back.

* America in Decline: Young People Are Much Worse Off Than Their Parents Were At That Age.

* Disenfranchisement, 2000s style: 49% of Michigan’s African American Population Is Under an Emergency Manager.

* Military contractor accidentally invents something that will make the world a much better place.

* And Attackerman on the court decision ruling National Security Letters unconstitutional.

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