Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy theories

Monday Links!

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* “It’s an active shooter drill. We do this every now and then. If you warn too many people, then the simulation is not effective.”

* From Sherryl Vint, in LARoB: “Men Behaving Badly: White Masculinity in Science Fiction Television.”

The report reveals a sense of ideological, demographic and cultural siege, on the American right, from which there is no obvious escape. Unable to comprehend or process last year’s election defeat, they feel the nation has become unmoored from its founding principles and is on a full-scale, unrelenting descent into chaos.

* That’ll solve it! White House Orders “Tech Surge” to Fix Obamacare Website. Weeks to fix, just in time for the insurance to not take effect on January 1.

* Nothing beside remains: With U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, American military gear sold as scrap.

* Degrees of Debt: Student Borrowing and Loan Repayment of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients 1 Year After Graduating: 1994, 2001, and 2009.

* George Washington University “admitted publicly for the first time Friday that it puts hundreds of undergraduate applicants on its waitlist each year because they cannot pay GW’s tuition.” Many Colleges Bend Rules To Admit Rich Applicants. Harvard’s Committee on University Resources.

* Science isn’t exactly an exact science.

With this in mind, consider 1,000 hypotheses being tested of which just 100 are true (see chart). Studies with a power of 0.8 will find 80 of them, missing 20 because of false negatives. Of the 900 hypotheses that are wrong, 5%—that is, 45 of them—will look right because of type I errors. Add the false positives to the 80 true positives and you have 125 positive results, fully a third of which are specious. If you dropped the statistical power from 0.8 to 0.4, which would seem realistic for many fields, you would still have 45 false positives but only 40 true positives. More than half your positive results would be wrong.

* Fur­ther­more, even to its most prac­ti­cal and well-meaning crit­ics, the actual rela­tion­ship between gen­der and cap­i­tal­ist social rela­tions remains an enigma. This is not sim­ply because, as Marx­ists, we are reluc­tant to reproach the old man, but rather as a con­se­quence of the fact that repro­duc­tive work – still per­formed pri­mar­ily by those assigned the fate “woman” – is extremely dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend in the terms pro­vided by the cri­tique of polit­i­cal econ­omy. Of course, gen­der is fun­da­men­tally defined by cap­i­tal­ism, and it should not be con­cluded that Marx’s cri­tique was “wrong”; buthe left women out of the story, and we need to find where he is hid­ing them. The Gendered Circuit: Reading The Arcane of Reproduction.

* The conspiracy goes deeper than you ever imagined: Author claims Robert Kennedy stole John F. Kennedy’s brain from National Archives.

* Meanwhile, another longstanding conspiracy theory gets validation: Fox really was using paid shills to manipulate comment threads.

* Seven Things You Might Not Know about Calvin & Hobbes.

* The homeless population of New York City is higher than it’s been in decades. Nobody seems to notice.

Traumatic Life Events, Not Genetics or Chemical Imbalance Cause Depression and Anxiety.

To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth.

How I Teach Game Design.

* City College closed the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Community and Student Center, an educational and organizing space founded on 1989 by leftist student groups, on Sunday morning without alerting the students and activists who work inside.

* Gasp! Jeb Bush ed reform group accused of abusing non-profit status to help corporations.

* American Horror Story and Abjection.

* Thus it has happened that, in the name of preventing invaders, the NSA has itself invaded.

* It begins: 870,000 Toyotas Recalled Due to “Spider-Related Problem.”

* And five points for Slytherin: Christie withdraws challenge to same-sex marriage ruling in New Jersey, which means it’s the law for good.

Friday Night Links

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* I’ve been so busy with the move I haven’t even had time to put up a James Gandolfini RIP post. I was really surprised, and bummed out, by this news. Goddamnit, I loved that show.

I know a lot of die hard fans of the original are pissed off, but JJ’s managed to make a totally cool, totally new movie that’s totally true to the spirit of the original: J.J. Abrams reboots The Godfather (2019).

* I have to admit I was somewhat pleased to see myself quoted in this end-of-the-world piece in Jacobin. And as an optimist, no less!

By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city.

Is Obama About to Get Serious on Climate Change? Oh, honey.

* Now China, on the other hand…

China has introduced “harsher punishments” for breaking the nation’s environmental protection laws: reckless violators of pollution standards in the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economy now face execution.

“With regard to the student-athlete,” wrote a senior NCAA executive in an email, “I think the focus on exploitation may be misplaced, and maybe it is not our duty to protect the student-athlete.” Preach! What have student-athletes ever done for the NCAA?

All 185 Choose Your Own Adventure Books Ranked From Most to Least Awesome-Sounding. All-Time Gerry Canavan Maximum Nightmare Fodder Space Vampire clocks in at #4.

Welcome to the Ph.D. Placement Project.

A map showing the original meanings of place names in North America. More links below the image.

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The Government Files Espionage Charges Against Edward Snowden. Naomi Wolf has the conspiracy behind the conspiracy. And that’s exactly what they WANT us to think!

* TNI on Total Information Awareness.

* Jedediah Purdy: Seven Ways of Looking at a Charge Sheet: or, My First Arrest.

Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.

It’s long been suspected that ratings agencies lie Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it.

* Science fiction studies CFP: A group of scholars from Deakin University, Melbourne is setting up the forum entitled Deletion and is calling for both papers and creative pieces.

Official casting call reveals the characters in Star Wars: Episode VII.

* How to Use Math to Dominate at Monopoly. I’m somewhat pleased with how much of this my brother and I generated on our own as kids.

Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman’s 30s has been oversold. Here’s what the statistics really tell us—and what they don’t.

* Man of Steel easter egg setting up the sequel? This reminds me a bit of the script flub that launched a thousand Deckard-is-a-replicant fan theories. And it would be — gasp — a new story.

* And io9 says the general mediocrity and total obvious superfluousness of Monsters University marks the end of the Golden Age of Pixar. We mourn.

Friday Links! Tons of Them! Not All of Them Depressing!

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* The kids are all right: the editorial in the Marquette Tribune today is anti-edX, anti-robo-graders.

* MOOC as intellectual neocolonialism. Why online education is mostly a fantasy. The MOOC monster will never be satisfied.

* “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am,” said State Sen. Alberta Darling at Tuesday’s hearing. “Here we have accounts of tuition being squirreled away at the same time you raised tuition. What was your intent?” Scenes from the war on higher education in Wisconsin.

* Depression and graduate school.

* On “disruption.”

Perhaps it is the self-aggrandizement the authors seem to share with the ballooning employer-fix-it crowd, but when I encountered this perennial theory in The Innovator’s Prescription, I finally realized that everything I learned as a bartender at HBS was true: things do work out perfectly when we all nod in agreement, sketch it out on cocktail napkins, and congratulate each other for being in each other’s presence.

Hundreds of Chicago Students Walk Out of Standardized Test. Chicago Public Schools cancels district-mandated standardized test for kindergartens and first graders.

What does the ubiquitous cheating in reform-era education mean? It means that reformers are so dumb they can’t even set up arbitrary benchmarks for success; they literally fail their own tests despite having written the questions and answers themselves. Imagine a panel of fish oil salesmen riddled with arthritis and clearly suffering from memory loss and you get some idea. What the cheating proves is that these people are liars and cheats, but more than that, it proves that the systems of accountancy and auditing promoted by the liars and cheaters are themselves a lie. The reform is doubly fraudulent.

US schools weigh bulletproof uniforms: ‘It’s no different than a seatbelt in a car.’ Well, maybe it’s a little different. Can we agree it’s a little different?

In short, it’s time to cash out of capitalism. Here at http://stocktips.gerrycanavan.com we’ve been rating capitalism as a DON’T BUY for years.

Workplace Safety and the Gilded Age Theory of Risk. Hundreds of thousands of Bangladesh’s garment workers walk out in protest over factory deaths. Yglesias shrugs.

* Surprise! The Hostess bankruptcy was union-busting.

A 2010 report produced by a Dallas investment house found that aside from the richest of the rich, among the remaining 90 percent of NFL players, nine in ten of them would be insolvent within ten years of retirement.

* UCLA professor let his students “cheat” on a game theory midterm. I can’t decide if he should have flunked the Lone Wolves or given them A+s.

* Matt Weiner says Mad Men season six is structured by the Wikipedia entry for Dante’s Inferno.

The spectacle has to be shaped carefully so that suffering takes on the qualities of an elevating narrative the audience can feel part of, an affirmative allegory of capitalism in which hard work and energetic competition show us the most worthy, the winners. Jacobin vs. the Oscars.

* Rachel Maddow vs. Alex Jones.

May the curse of labor be cursed, may the ineluctability of production become its sorrow.

Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever.

* And I hate it when politicians break kayfabe. As my friend @mikemccaffrey put it: “Can you please identify the president who assaulted your democracy in this lineup?”

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Wednesday, Oh, Wednesday

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* There’s nothing inherently fascist in Žižek’s call for an elite cadre of benevolent dictators to rule us like kings. Why, it says so right there in black and white:

There is absolutely nothing inherently ”Fascist” in these lines – the supreme paradox of the political dynamics is that a Master is needed to pull individuals out of the quagmire of their inertia and motivate them towards self-transcending emancipatory struggle for freedom.

* Peter Frase on the perils of wonkery. And then there’s Kotsko’s take:

The NCAA’s Perfectly Fair Rules.

* Despite three generation of survivalist horror in mass media, “Sociologists have shown that people tend to behave very admirably under the pressure of a disaster; panic and anti-social behavior are fairly rare.”

* How student debt (and of course the larger economic collapse) is messing with the larger consumer economy.

“Public higher education, which educates 70 percent of students in the United States, is about to cross a historic threshold,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “For the first time ever, students will pay a higher percentage of the operating costs… than state governments.”

But the system of federal financial aid is constructed in such a way that putting together strict “maintenance of effort” requirements — requiring states to keep funding public higher education in order to receive federal dollars — is difficult because states receive relatively little money for higher education from the federal government. As a result, previous maintenance of effort requirements have been “nibbling at the edges,” Madzelan said.

* Who is promoting Alex Jones?

The Gold Collapse Is Personally Costing Ron Paul A Fortune.

* And the headline reads, “New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls All Women ‘Vaginas.’” I mean really.

Wednesday Morning Links

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* I’ll be at SCMS 2013 in Chicago tomorrow, talking about War and Science Fiction in Battle: Los Angeles. I have to be back in Milwaukee that evening and Friday, but I’m hoping to meet up with some people while I’m there.

How to Turn Higher Education into an Engine of Inequality.

* The Nation on the Legacy of Hugo Chávez. At FAIR. At the New Yorker (c. 2008).

Women may be overrepresented in the growing sectors of the economy, but those sectors pay poverty wages. The public sector job cuts that have been largely responsible for unemployment remaining at or near 8 percent have fallen disproportionately on women (and women of color are hit the hardest). Those good union jobs disappear, and are replaced with a minimum-wage gig at Walmart—and even in retail, women make only 90 percent of what men make. Trickle-Down Feminism.

The technocrats are akin to conspiracists in that they both claim a monopoly on the sorts of political facts that should sway policy. Both groups come equipped with their own body of experts and studies to vouch for their prescriptions. And both Jones and Klein derive their legitimacy from having, through their supposed diligence and uniquely sharp analytical minds, privileged access to some set of truths of political significance. Both assume that answers to factual questions will make the necessary political action irrefutable. All that divides the conspiracist from the technocrat is the nature of the facts they fetishize.

There’s no direct analog to statistical analysis in baseball. But where Congress and the White House are concerned, what if the press put much greater emphasis put on “the sausage” and much less on the sausage-making? What if we judged legislators on their votes, Obama on what legislation he signs and vetoes, and left it at that?

* Jeb Bush disagrees with own book released yesterday.

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Journalist—2013. The Atlantic responds. Some commentary.

* If People Talked About Seinfeld Like They Talk About Girls.

* Gawker is shitty, but Amy Poehler makes it all okay.

“Aw, I feel bad if she was upset. I am a feminist and she is a young and talented girl. That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff. “

* Civilization with a global warming focus. Climate change will open up surprising new Arctic shipping routes. Los Angeles Aims To Be Coal-Free In 12 Years.

* China experiments with arcologies.

* Ralph Macchio finally old enough for long-awaited Karate Kid sequel.

12-Year-Old Victim of Bullying Dead After Being Attacked At School.

* Breaking: men aren’t actually better at math than women. Gasp!

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* Leaked Princeton rape survey from 2008 reveals one in six women on the campus have been sexually assaulted during their time there.

Jon Stewart Is Taking the Summer Off to Make a Movie About Iran. John Oliver will guest host for 8 of the 12 weeks he’s gone; I hope Jessica Williams takes the other four.

“If she had said elephants, I would have said elephants.” How does that make it better?

This time, Judge Nina N. Wright Padilla asked all 12 to approach so she could shake their hands.

“I hope you continue your work in a law-abiding way,” said Padilla. “I must say you are the most affable group of defendants I’ve ever come across.” Jury acquits Occupy protesters.

New Elevators Segregate Rich from Poor.

* Every f*cking website.

* Another new twist on the zombie genre: zombie rehab.

* And the only news around here that people really care about.

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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Five for Tuesday

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* …of all the Empire’s failures, none is a more spectacular military fiasco than the Battle of Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.

* Democrats just come right out and admit it. Pretty stunning.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been! Community Almost Did a Nicolas Cage Episode.

* Gawker has all your top Pope conspiracy theories.

* And the Ben & Jerry’s discontinued flavors graveyard. I’m almost certain I’ve purchased Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz in a supermarket since 1999, so I really question the accuracy of this. Where are you, Gawker?

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