Posts Tagged ‘cars’
* In case you missed it from the weekend: a CFP for a Science Fiction Film and Television special issue on “Star Trek at 50.”
* Call for submissions: Accessing the Future.
* Today’s twenty-first-century political weirdness is the Scotland referendum on independence. The Guardian. MetaFilter. The economic case. Schroedinger’s Kingdom. John Oliver. Why Scotland thinks it can survive as an independent country. I’m Guardian editor Matt Wells. Got questions on Scottish independence? Ask away!
* Postdoc of the year: “The Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University invites applications for its 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The successful candidates will couple their own research and publishing agenda with their contributions to the Center’s Collective Memory Project, a wide ranging oral history of the George W. Bush Presidency.” Friend, do I have a story for you.
* Chris Ware is serializing a novella in the Guardian: “The Last Saturday.”
* Unpopular opinions watch: Carceral progressivism.
Roddenberry believed there was no chest hair in the future.
The dream never dies.
* Cruel optimism watch: Are More MLA Faculty Jobs on the Way?
* The madness of crowds: Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s.
* Calvinball in Wisconsin: the rules on voting just changed again.
* What Are the Real Odds That Your Birth Control Will Fail? Pretty frightening.
* A King Kong prequel, because we haven’t even come close to hitting bottom yet.
* In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. The price is too high!
* BREAKING: Immigrants aren’t stealing your jobs.
* Because you demanded it: “Play It Again, Dick,” the weird quasi-Veronica-Mars nega-sequel, is finally here.
* Why we can’t have nice things: Thievery marring Little Free Libraries.
* And no one could have predicted: Apple releases U2 album removal tool.
* Call for applications: The 2015-16 postdoc seminar at Rice, “After Biopolitics.”
* In the absence of sparrows: the front page story says you’ve been missing since / November 22, 2012. Everything else it doesn’t say. / In the absence of sparrows: you simply wandered off, past the Sunoco, pockets stuffed. / The door to your apartment is open still—
* Together, these forums, initiatives, and spy teams constitute a sustained effort to suppress meaningful resistance to the university’s privatization program by placing strict boundaries on dissent. Policing Civility.
* Elsewhere in campus civility: The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police.
* Hence I propose that, roughly speaking, one’s privilege level correlates with the likelihood that expressing anger will make people take your concerns more seriously rather than less — or at the very least, that it will prompt a reaction to you as an individual rather than triggering an immediate generalization about your demographic profile. This is one of the most intimate and insidious things about privilege dynamics: even the right to express perfectly natural and justified human emotions can’t be taken for granted.
* The Paris Review interviews Ray Bradbury.
If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.
They affect us because we realize that if they are monsters it is because we, the adults, have made them so. In them we find everything: Freud, mass culture, digest culture, frustrated struggle for success, craving for affection, loneliness, passive acquiescence, and neurotic protest. But all these elements do not blossom directly, as we know them, from the mouths of a group of children: they are conceived and spoken after passing through the filter of innocence. Schulz’s children are not a sly instrument to handle our adult problems: they experience these problems according to a childish psychology, and for this very reason they seem to us touching and hopeless, as if we were suddenly aware that our ills have polluted everything, at the root.
* As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.
* Profiles in courage: Obama to delay his big move on immigration until after election.
* Not really how it’s supposed to work: An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.
* Female privilege is real: Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says.
* The eight white identities. I’m not 100% clear on the daylight between White Traitor and White Abolitionist, but otherwise it seems to taxonomize approaches to white supremacy I see on the Internet all the time.
* Could it be possible that police departments are lying when they say suspects handcuffed behind their backs are shooting themselves in the chest with hidden weapons that were somehow not found when they were searched? Truly, a bold provocation. Perhaps it will always be a mystery.
* And: you fools: every day is Bill Murray Day.
* Someone needs to check their Save the Cat: Video shows CEO kicking puppy in elevator.
* Elites spent months arguing we should attack Syria to dislodge Assad. Now these same elites want to intervene in the war on his behalf. “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”
* The 14 Best National Universities According To Washington Monthly has Case at #9 and UC Riverside at #2. Arbitrary college ranking systems forever!
In addition to his constitutional claims, Salaita has an almost textbook version of a contract law claim under the doctrine of “promissory estoppel” (the classic case on the subject is Red Owl). The basic idea is simple: even if there is no formal contract between two parties (my expectation, as noted, is the court will find no contract between Salaita and Illinois), if one party reasonably relies on the promises and representations of the other, and then the other reneges, the injured party is entitled to compensation to the extent of his reasonable reliance. It was clearly reasonable for Salaita to rely on an offer letter from the Dean–an offer letter that specifically mentioned the academic freedom protections the University of Illinois affords faculty!–even with a clause saying the appointment was subject to approval by the Board of Trustees (after all, there does not appear to be a case in the last half-century in which the Board failed to approve a tenured appointment that went through the normal university channels, as Salaita’s did). Indeed, the reasonableness of Salaita’s reliance is enhanced by the fact that the University scheduled his classes this fall and even referred to him in public as a faculty member.
The harder question will be Salaita’s damages. At a minimum, he should recover for the costs of relocation, his housing costs this year (since he rented his prior home), the cost of insurance and related expenses, and his salary for this academic year; but he has a strong claim for asking for compensation for having relinquished tenure and his job and salary at Virginia Tech, i.e., for several decades worth of salary and benefits. In other words, I would expect Salaita’s lawyers to ask for several million dollars in lost wages and benefits extending over a career. Now there is always a duty in contract cases to “mitigate” damages–to take steps to prevent the unnecessary growth of damages–which here would mean seeking other academic employment. If Salaita can not secure such appointment–and given the smear campaign against him, aided and abetted now by the University of Illinois, it is hard to see a public university, vulnerable to the same political pressures, being able to hire him–then he has a claim for his lost wages and benefits as a professor for the next (roughly) thirty-plus years.
That respectability politics is the narrative of the oppressor digested and regurgitated by the oppressed is obvious. But we shouldn’t dismiss it without understanding its allure and durability: it reframes the terms of power, restoring agency into black hands. For the black upper class, it is the parable that allows them to rationalize their privilege as a sign of their own worthiness, while simultaneously giving them cover to righteously withdraw concern from the plight of the less fortunate of their race. It’s no coincidence that the black people advocating for blacks to somehow be cleansed of their blackness by bathing in the waters of post-racial healing are many of the same complaining that “we” don’t pay attention to “black on black crime”. For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction. Respectability politics is a false narrative, but it maintains its power because, like so many powerful lies, it sits adjacent to the truth and set slightly askew: they are looking for a way to turn you into a nigger, and if necessary, they will find one. You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction.
* MA Police Apologize After Accusing Man Of Faking Photo Of Trooper’s Racist Bumper Sticker. Police trampled the makeshift memorial built by Michael Brown’s mom. That is to say: Police Drove Over Michael Brown Memorial, Let Dog Piss on It.
* Meanwhile: Ben Stein has awful opinions and should be ashamed.
* There is no way this is true: Milwaukee, Madison drivers among the nation’s safest. Real talk: Milwaukee drivers are some of the absolute worst drivers I have ever encountered.
* Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Yes, and David Chase knows it.
* Elsewhere on the front lines of culture: Is Hello Kitty a cat? How dare you. How dare you.
* LEGO really, really letting down its fans. I knew I should have loaded up on the female scientist sets when I had the chance.
* Why we can’t have nice things: Americans strongly agree: You shouldn’t stop people from reclining on planes.
* When J.J. Abrams set out to make the absolute worst Superman movie possible. It would have been amazing.
* Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him. But cops agree: cops haven’t used excessive force in Ferguson. 40 FBI agents are in Ferguson to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown, and they already know who did it. ‘Let’s Be Cops,’ cop movies, and the shooting in Ferguson. Reparations for Ferguson. John Oliver: Let’s take their fucking toys back. A movement grows in Ferguson. Ferguson and white unflight. Michael Brown’s autopsy suggests he had his hands up. An upside flag indicates distress. More links from Crooked Timber.
* Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit: The Neoconservative Origins of Our Police Problem. The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson. For blacks, the “war on terror” hasn’t come home. It’s always been here. Mapping the Spread of the Military’s Surplus Gear. A Militarized Police, a Less Violent Public. Even the liberal Kevin Drum agrees: We Created a Policing Monster By Mistake. “By mistake.” So close.
* Meanwhile: Detroit police chief James Craig – nicknamed “Hollywood” for his years spent in the LAPD and his seeming love of being in front of the camera – has repeatedly called on “good” and “law-abiding” Detroiters to arm themselves against criminals in the city.
* Law professor Robert A. Ferguson’s critique of the U.S. prison system misses the point that its purpose is not rehabilitation but civic death.
* A quarter century later, the median white wealth had jumped to $265,000, while median black wealth was just $28,500. The racial wealth gap among working-age families, in other words, is a stunning $236,500, and there is every reason to believe that figure has widened in the five years since
* Change we can believe in? CBS, Produce a new Star Trek Series Featuring Wil Wheaton as the Lead role/Captain of a federation Vessel. Any true fan would know that Wesley quit Starfleet to pursue his destiny with the Traveler, but perhaps I’ve said too much.
* Coming soon to the Smithsonian Galleries: Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910.
* Yahoo really wants you to think Donald Glover is in the next season of Community. That “I am serious. I am Yahoo Serious.” tag is pretty gold, though.
* And while I’m on the subject: I know it’s not for everyone, but if you ask me this may have been the most quintessential Harmontown of all time: melancholy, silly, ranty, with some great improv D&D. Give it a listen if you like Dan Harmon.
* The twenty-first century gold rush: debt collection.
* No Child Left Behind achieves its destiny: virtually every school in the state of Washington is a “failing school.”
* The problem with self-driving cars: they’re still cars.
* Students who graduated in 2008 earned more credits in the humanities than in STEM, the study found. Humanities credits accounted for 17 percent of total credits earned by the typical graduate. In contrast, STEM credits accounted for 13 percent.
* Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity. In English men are slightly (but not in a statistically significant way) more likely than women to earn tenure.
* Huge asteroid set to wipe out life on Earth – in 2880. 865 years, that’s all we’ve got…
* Mining Spill Near U.S. Border Closes 88 Schools, Leaves Thousands Of Mexicans Without Water. Meet The First Pacific Island Town To Relocate Thanks To Climate Change. The Longest River In The U.S. Is Being Altered By Climate Change.
* The venture capitalist are now weaponizing kids. Of course, when you find out how much raising a kid costs, child labor starts to make a lot of sense. Plainly parenting is a market ripe for disruption.
* Primary 2016 watch: Only Al Gore can save us now.
* And they’ve finally gone too far: Edible LEGO. Some lines man was just never meant to cross.
* The big story in academia yesterday was the eleventh-hour preemptive firing of Steven Salaita from UIUC (which according to reports may have cost him his tenure at Virginia Tech as well). Especially disturbing in all this is the participation of former AAUP president Cary Nelson, on the side of the firing. Some commentary from Corey Robin, Claire Potter, Philip Weiss, and Electronic Intifada. A statement for the Illinois AAUP. A petition.
* Delayed gratification watch: This week I finally cracked and read Chris Ware’s Building Stories after nearly two years of anticipation. So great. I can’t wait to teach it. I may write more about this later, but for now I can tell you that my arbitrary path through the book told a beautiful story that began with the couple’s fateful move to Englewood and drifted backwards in time, Ulysses-like, to the day the couple met, before culminating in a quietly nostalgic trip to the eponymous building as it stood about to be torn down. So great. My friend Jacob’s review. “I Hoped That the Book Would Just Be Fun”: A Brief Interview with Chris Ware.
* Call for applications: Wisconsin Poet Laureate.
* I was born too early: N.Y.U. to Add a Bachelor’s Degree in Video Game Design.
* I was born too late: MIT looking into paying professors by the word.
* College rankings, 1911. Class III! How dare they. #impeachTaft
* State’s rights we can believe in: New Jersey drivers may be able to ignore other states’ speed cameras.
* The Lost Projects of Dan Harmon. In addition to Building Stories, I also cracked this week and finally started watching Rick and Morty. Now, granted, it’s no Building Stories — but it’s pretty good!
* The New Inquiry‘s “Mourning” issue is out today and has some really nice essays I think I’ll be using in the second go of my Cultural Preservation course next spring.
* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Insurance Company Pays Elderly Man’s Workman’s Comp Settlement With $21,000 in Coins.
* Department of diminishing returns: The British Office: The Movie.
* And the kind of headline where I really don’t want any details: NASA: New “impossible” engine works, could change space travel forever. Second star to the right, and straight on till morning…
* In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team. So the Redskins will be forced by lost revenue and unrestrained anti-Redskins bootlegs to change their name — at which time bitter Redskins dead-enders will be able to sell each other Redskins-branded merchandise in protest…
* That plan goes something like this: maximize constrained educational choices that are a function of labor market changes; commodify inequality by organizing for the highest need students; extract guaranteed funds from public coffers; call it access; wash and repeat.
* BREAKING: The U.S. Has the Most Expensive, Least Effective Health Care System. BREAKING: Guns kill children. BREAKING: The American prison system is a nightmare. BREAKING: Capitalism is insanely corrupt. BREAKING: Uber is a scam.
* When innocent people are exonerated after wrongfully spending time in prison, some states pay money to the accused for their trouble. As data from NPR and the Innocence Project show, those payouts are often despicably low.
* The logic on display here shows the toxic self-justifying nature of American military adventures. If a war accomplishes its stated objectives, that goes to show that war is great. If a war fails to accomplish its stated objectives — as the Bush-era surge miserably failed to produce a durable political settlement in Iraq — then that simply proves that more war was called for.
* It seems that when you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.
* Walker said it was important to have a smooth-running highway system to avoid gridlock “that would choke off the ability of businesses to come in and out of Milwaukee.” “I think the last thing you want to do is have employers look to go bypass the city of Milwaukee when they’re talking about jobs and commerce here,” he said. “So you’ve got to make sure there’s a good transportation system.” And just wait until he finds out human beings use roads too!