Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘David Foster Wallace

Thursday Forever

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* Thursday at C21: Christopher Newfield, “The Humanities in the Post-Capitalist University.” Then, this weekend, elsewhere at UWM: After Capitalism.

* I have a short piece on “WALL-E and Utopia,” pulled from the Green Planets intro, up today for In Media Res’s Pixar week. I also owe SF Signal a post that should go up … eventually that’s also in conversation with the Green Planets stuff (though not cribbed quite so directly).

* The humanities and citation.

* White House petition: abolish the capitalist mode of production.

More acutely, when you consider the math that McKibben, the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) all lay out, you must confront the fact that the climate justice movement is demanding that an existing set of political and economic interests be forced to say goodbye to trillions of dollars of wealth. It is impossible to point to any precedent other than abolition. Great piece from Chris Hayes.

* College towns and income inequality.

* But, clearly, if we can afford such a massive increase in professional staff, as well as such an increase in executives whose salaries have been escalating very dramatically, the sharp decrease in the percentage of all instructional faculty who are tenured or on tenure tracks is a matter of a dramatic shift in priorities—in the conception of the university.

* Gasp! At Elite Colleges, Legacy Status May Count More Than Was Previously Thought.

* On the disinvestment/reinvestment cycle. Returns to university endowments 1980-2010. The Soul of Student Debt. Against anonymous student evaluation.

* Vice interviews Matt Taibbi on his new book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.

* Understanding Wonder Woman, at LARoB.

* When Spider-Man fought misleading sex education.

* Could Mystery Science Theater return?

* The public pension scam.

* How the Super-Rich Really Make Their Money.

* Companies used to borrow in the markets as a last resort finance investment in their business. Now it’s a front for shareholder giveaways.

* Capitalism and Nazism: Now It Can Be Told.

* The school, called Explore + Discover, will be available to children between the ages of 3 months and 2 years. Tuition is $2,791/month for kids who attend five days a week. You can also pay $1,990 for three days a week or $1,399 for two days but don’t you love your child?

In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.

For men, having children is a career advantage. For women, it’s a career killer. University managers believe women themselves are primarily responsible for the gender imbalance in higher education, according to research published today.

There’s Even A Gender Gap In Children’s Allowances.

“Faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from White males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions.” Reviewers will find more spelling errors in your writing if they think you’re black.

David Foster Wallace Estate Comes Out Against the Jason Segel Biopic. Meanwhile, this insane Lifehacker piece suggests we bracket the whole “suicide” bummer and take David Foster Wallace as our lifecoach.

* Atheist lawsuit claims ‘under God’ in NJ school’s daily pledge recital harms children. I guess I’m just another survivor.

* Wired goes inside Captain Marvel fandom.

* Woman writes about something traditionally regarded as a male-orientated industry or area of interest; if she’s conveying love, she’s doing it “for attention” (so what?) or “fake” (whatever that means); if she criticizes, she’s insulting, whining, moaning, on her period; if she says anything at all, her argument or point is made invisible because her damn biology is getting in the way.

What’s it like for the first living ex-pope in 600 years to watch from up close as the successor he enabled dismantles his legacy? 

* What That Game of Thrones Scene Says About Rape Culture. George R.R. Martin doesn’t want to talk about it.

* Aaron Sorkin Wants To Apologize To Everyone About The Newsroom.

* Does world government have a future?

* Mars or die.

Texas Prisons Are Hot Enough to Kill You.

* #MyNYPD.

* The great Colbert rebranding begins.

Netflix and Mitch Hurwitz Joining Forces Again.

Nichelle Nichols Talks with Janelle Monae.

* Game of the night: solar system simulator Super Planet Crash.

* Joss Whedon’s New Film Isn’t in Theaters, But You Can Watch It Online for $5.

Gabriel García Márquez on Fidel Castro, the Soviet Union, and creating “a government which would make the poor happy.”

* Forrest Gump, as directed by Wes Anderson.

“The only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”

* Horrific, tragic story out of Rutgers.

Risk of New York City coastal flooding has surged by factor of 20, says study.

* The latest on the big animal personhood case in New York. Dolphins as alien intelligence.

That Time Cleveland Released 1.5 Million Balloons and Chaos Ensued.

* CIA torture architect breaks silence to defend ‘enhanced interrogation.’ Facial recognition and the end of freedom. The end of net neutrality and the end of the Internet. Late capitalist subjectivity and the sharing economy.

Bullied Kids at Risk for Mental Health Problems 40 Years Later.

* And/but/so the kids are all right.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 24, 2014 at 7:20 am

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Great Moments in Cover Letters

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The deal is this. You’re welcome to this for READINGS if you wish. What I’d ask is that you (or Ms. Rosenbush, whom I respect but fear) not copyedit this like a freshman essay. Idiosyncracies of ital, punctuation, and syntax (“stuff,” “lightbulb” as one word, “i.e.”/”e.g.” without commas after, the colon 4 words after ellipses at the end, etc.) need to be stetted. (A big reason for this is that I want to preserve an oralish, out-loud feel to the remarks so as to protect me from people’s ire at stuff that isn’t expanded on more; for you, the big reason is that I’m not especially psyched to have this run at all, much less to take a blue-skyed 75-degree afternoon futzing with it to bring it into line with your specs, and you should feel obliged and borderline guilty, and I will find a way to harm you or cause you suffering* if you fuck with the mechanics of this piece.

Let Me Know,

Dave Wallace

Written by gerrycanavan

February 12, 2014 at 7:57 am

Thursday Links!

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Apocalypse, New Jersey: Matt Taibbi reports from Camden. Camden has been like this for decades — while the discourse in the state is always about whether Newark and Jersey City can be “saved,” Camden is simply and permanently written off.

“The countervailing voices of this notion that student-athletes are being taken advantage of has been the dominant theme and had played out pretty loudly in a variety of outlets,” Emmert said. “The reality is schools are spending in between $100,000 and $250,000 on each student-athlete.” Good news, everyone, I just figured out a really painless way to solve university budget crises!

* The academy as pyramid scheme.

* NYU re-unionizes. And Cooper Union blinks?

* Jason Segal to play David Foster Wallace in you know what I give up.

* Hopkins has a plan to recalibrate graduate school with larger stipends and summer funding with new faculty cohorts that will “lean junior” and “lean adjunct.”

New Data Show Articles by Women Are Cited Less Frequently.

A privileged childhood as tragic disability.

Prosecutors were hoping to send Couch to jail for up to 20 years, but the defense made the case for why Couch should be let go with just an ankle bracelet and a court order to go to rehab for a while. Their main line of argument was that Couch was actually a victim too. His parents enjoyed a life of wealth and privilege and due to that never bothered to teach Couch that actions had consequences, an expert brought in to defend Couch dubbed the condition “affluenza.”

* BREAKING: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State.

* That reality TV show that wants to send a group of people to go die on Mars is really making of go of acting like they’re serious about it.

UW-Madison ranks as eighth ‘best value’ among public colleges.

* Dark horse apocalypses: Yellowstone supervolcano ‘even more colossal’ that previously thought.

* The Desolation of Smaug is basically Tolkien fan fiction, and Salon says that’s just fine.

* Meanwhile, The New York Post publishes some spicy Obama/Thorning-Schmidt slash fic.

* Draw feminist inspiration from this Pantene ad. No, really!

Megyn Kelly Wants Kids At Home To Know That Jesus And Santa Were White.

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram.

* And science proves Mitochondrial Eve was killed by a really scary spider: Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors. And not to mention: Fear of Snakes Drove Pre-Human Evolution.

Monday Morning Links

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* Of course you had me at “Sun Myung Moon’s lost ecotopia.”

In 2000, Moon paid an undisclosed amount for roughly 1.5 million acres of land fronting the Paraguay River. Most of that property was in a town called Puerto Casado, about 100 miles downriver from Puerto Leda. Moon’s subsidiaries wanted the land to open commercial enterprises ranging from logging to fish farming. But a group of Puerto Casado residents launched a bitter legal battle to nullify the deal. While that controversy continued to divide Paraguayans, the Puerto Leda project proceeded under the radar. Moon turned the land over to 14 Japanese men—“national messiahs,” according to church documents, who were instructed to build an “ideal city” where people could live in harmony with nature, as God intended it. Moon declared that the territory represented “the least developed place on earth, and, hence, closest to original creation.”

* Right now I am sitting at my computer, writing a post that I will receive no money for and which is not part of any career plan. It’s a little thing, obviously. But why do I do it? Because human beings aren’t little efficiency machines. Human life is what you experience when you aren’t busily accruing material resources.

* 1994 literature syllabus from David Foster Wallace, featuring Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Harris, and Mary Higgins Clark.

* For six years during my twenties, I worked as one of the principal ghostwriters for a mass-market series for teenaged girls called Sweet Valley High.

* Student Persistence in Bioelectricity, Fall 2012 (Duke University MOOC).

DukeMooc

New data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College suggest that some of the students most often targeted in online learning’s access mission are less likely than their peers to benefit from — and may in fact be hurt by — digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction.

* Five Experts Give College Scorecard a Barely Passing Grade.

* Accepting the Oscar for Marlon Brando, 1973.

* 9 Sexist Things That Happened At The Oscars.

* The Debt Everyone Is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist.

* “When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists,'” said Gibbs, now an MSNBC contributor.

* And an Angela Davis biopic comes out April 15.

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Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Weekend Links – 3

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Previous links from the weekend here and here.

* Stephen Colbert will have a camero in The Hobbit. My guess is “random person in Lake-Town,” but who knows?

* Democrats giving up hope in my beloved North Carolina.

* John Clute reviews the latest Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata.

* Scenes from the future: scientists successfully predict content of dreams from EEG recordings. I think we should probably just pull the plug on this line of investigation right now.

* October Surprise! U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks.

* October Anti-Surprise! How Mitt Romney’s Latest Attack On Libya Is Falling Apart. See also and also.

* If you haven’t gotten enough Looper after Adam and I explained the whole thing, there’s a director’s commentary you can take with you into the theater.

* My friend Dan is teaching the course on David Foster Wallace I’ve been dying to teach.

* And remember, Community fans: October 19th is just a state of mind. (Though, alas, only Dan Harmon can save us from Chevy Chase now.)

Weekend Links

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* All in the game: 16-bit The Wire.

* Star Trek: Settlers of Catan? Oh, all right. Meanwhile: Michael Dorn Developing Wildly Ill-Conceived Captain Worf TV series.

19th century British slang for “sex.” Via Bitter Laughter.

* Captain Jack Harness is coming to Milwaukee.

* Polls are reporting signs of a big DNC “bounce” for Obama. Meanwhile, Romney’s ad buys suggest he thinks he needs to run the table.

The fresh crop of post-secondary students filing into the classroom this week could be in for a shock when they realize they could be paying for their education an average of 14 years after they graduate.

* Actually existing media bias: Why won’t CNN air its own award-winning documentary on Bahrain?

* Can You Die from a Nightmare?: Life with Night Terrors.

* Cory Doctorow, against science fiction film.

Teletubbies as Radical Utopian Fiction.

* You demanded it, now here it is! A Christmas Story 2. This film looks so terrible it hardly even seems real.

* Secrets of the Avengers!

3. The Hulk has no penis.
They modeled every part of the Hulk, except for one. “When the maquette came in, it’s just a Barbie doll,” said Jason Smith.

* David Foster Wallace in Recovery. Via MeFi. And for all your Infinite Jest needs: Infinite Atlas.

All the Midweek Links

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* Both In Focus and The Big Picture visit the 2012 Paralympics.

* Michelle Obama did great last night, but the story of a sick little girl named Zoey whose ability to live was saved by the ACA hits a bit closer to home.

* Who’s going to be the lesser evil in 2012 2008 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 1984 1980 1976 1972 1968?

* On reporting poverty. Related: Melissa Harris-Perry talks poverty on MSNBC.

Mitch Hurwitz Talks to Vulture About Reviving Arrested Development.

* The unsuccessful self-treatment of a case of “writer’s block.” These results have since been confirmed.

* The real affirmative action: Researchers with access to closely guarded college admissions data have found that, on the whole, about 15 percent of freshmen enrolled at America’s highly selective colleges are white teens who failed to meet their institutions’ minimum admissions standards.

* How many people have died because Walter White got cancer? And a Breaking Bad Fermi problem: What is a good approximation of how much money Skyler had in the storage unit when she showed Walt how she stopped counting it?

A portrait of David Foster Wallace as a midwestern author. And more. Words David Foster Wallace’s Mom Invented.

* Report: Student Debt Is Holding Back The Housing Recovery. Are you interested in student debt now, old people?

* In North Carolina, Obama’s 2008 Victory Was Ahead of Schedule.

* Getting spicy: Hacker Group Claims to Have Romney’s Tax Returns.

* BREAKING: Rachel Carson Didn’t Kill Millions of Africans.

* BREAKING: Social Security Administration to arm illegal immigrants with hollow-point bullets to murder taxpayers. Wake up, sheeple! The truth is out there.

* Erin DiMeglio is a third-string high-school quarterback.

* And for the kids: How We Got to Mars. The lives of the cosmonauts. HTML5 Map of the Firefly ‘Verse. And a lost interview with Ray Bradbury:

Impossibly Fun

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Monday Links

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* A tale that grew in the telling: The Hobbit is officially a trilogy. Oh, all right, I’ll allow it.

* 84-minute David Foster Wallace TV interview from 2003. Go ahead, I’ll be here when you’re done.

* Symbolism a bit on the nose, don’t you think? Ancestry.com is claiming Barack Obama is descended from the first slave in America—on his mother’s side.

* Postscript on the Society of Control: Twitter can predict when you’ll get sick a week before you do, with 90% accuracy.

* Just remember, the Koch brothers can buy anything, but they can’t buy science.

* What everyone is linking today: How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America: A Remembrance.

Predatory For-Profit Colleges Pay Executives Based On Corporate Profitability, Not Student Outcomes. Meanwhile, 86% of these companies’ revenue is coming from the federal government.

A proposed court-supervised agreement filed today will ease restrictions for transgender people born in Illinois to obtain new birth certificates that reflect their correct gender.

* The People of the Future have finally come to collect Chris Marker. Rest in peace.

* And today in obscenity: Sexual Assault Victims Charged Up To $1,200 In Wisconsin For Cost Of Their Rape Kits. That’s not okay at all.

Today’s News Yesterday

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To appreciate these skills and some of the difficulties involved, you might wish to do an experiment. Try sitting alone in a room with a clock, turning on a tape recorder, and starting to speak into it. Speak about anything you want—with the proviso that your topic, and your opinions on it, must be of interest to some group of strangers who you imagine will be listening to the tape. Naturally, in order to be even minimally interesting, your remarks should be intelligible and their reasoning sequential—a listener will have to be able to follow the logic of what you’re saying—which means that you will have to know enough about your topic to organize your statements in a coherent way. (But you cannot do much of this organizing beforehand; it has to occur at the same time you’re speaking.) Plus, ideally, what you’re saying should be not just comprehensible and interesting but compelling, stimulating, which means that your remarks have to provoke and sustain some kind of emotional reaction in the listeners, which in turn will require you to construct some kind of identifiable persona for yourself—your comments will need to strike the listener as coming from an actual human being, someone with a real personality and real feelings about whatever it is you’re discussing. And it gets even trickier: You’re trying to communicate in real time with someone you cannot see or hear responses from; and though you’re communicating in speech, your remarks cannot have any of the fragmentary, repetitive, garbled qualities of real interhuman speech, or speech’s ticcy unconscious “umm”s or “you know”s, or false starts or stutters or long pauses while you try to think of how to phrase what you want to say next. You’re also, of course, denied the physical inflections that are so much a part of spoken English—the facial expressions, changes in posture, and symphony of little gestures that accompany and buttress real talking. Everything unspoken about you, your topic, and how you feel about it has to be conveyed through pitch, volume, tone, and pacing. The pacing is especially important: it can’t be too slow, since that’s low-energy and dull, but it can’t be too rushed or it will sound like babbling. And so you have somehow to keep all these different imperatives and structures in mind at the same time, while also filling exactly, say, eleven minutes, with no dead air and no going over, such that at 10:46 you have wound things up neatly and are in a position to say, “KFI is the station with the most frequent traffic reports. Alan LaGreen is in the KFI Traffic Center” (which, to be honest, Mr. Z. sometimes leaves himself only three or even two seconds for and has to say extremely fast, which he can always do without a flub). So then, ready: go.

David Foster Wallace, “Host.”

Written by gerrycanavan

March 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Tardive Sciolism

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 1, 2012 at 7:53 am

Tuesday Night Links

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* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.

46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday. Via MeFi.

* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.

* “How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries.”

* A literary history of erasure.

* When Jon Hamm met Miss Piggy.

* Cory Doctorow reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Constitutional-conventionalist One Way Forward.

* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.

* Canadians: They’re Just as Bad as Us!

* And of course you had me at 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue. Via Kottke.

FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.

COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.

TWIDDLE-DIDDLES. Testicles.

TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

Wednesday Night!

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* Duke Lit is now advertising for a one-year postdoc in Marxist theory.

* Jim Henson, 1969: How to Make a Muppet. Also on Muppetwatch: A 1979 profile of Henson in anticipation of The Muppet Movie.

* The secret history of “Mahna Mahna”: “How a ditty from a soft-core Italian movie became the Muppets’ catchiest tune.”

* “Ninety-Nine Weeks”: an Occupy Wall Street fairy tale from Ursula K. Le Guin. Here’s another.

* More on the extraordinary syllabi of David Foster Wallace.

* Almost literally the least they could do: Davis Will Drop Charges Against, Pay Medical Bills of Pepper Spray Students.

* I’ve seen this movie: The Air Force “has asked industry to develop a new heat and motion sensor capable of detecting enemy gunfire from 25,000 feet over the battlefield — and then swiftly directing a bomb or missile onto the shooter.” I believe Terminator suggests the name HKs…

The full congregation of Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church voted Sunday to prohibit the church pastor from legally marrying anyone until she can legally marry same-sex couples under North Carolina law.

* Michael Bailey and Forrest Maltzman say their poli-sci model shows the Affordable Care Act will be upheld. Scott Lemieux says there’s no reason to think they’ll confine themselves to precedent and that it still all comes down to what Anthony Kennedy has for breakfast.

* Mother Jones reads Newt Gingrich’s dissertation.

* Google greets Thanksgiving (outside the US) with the mother of all interactive doodles.

* Massachusetts becomes 16th state to protect transgender people from discrimination. Google benefits now include transgender employees.

* Honestly, anyone who invested a dime in Groupon should have their investing license taken away. This thing was barely ever a company.

* And speaking of obvious scams: Is a Law Degree a Good Investment Today?

I Don’t Read, I’m a Graduate Student

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David Foster Wallace and Stephen King save me from a scandalously poor showing on this year’s New York Times 100 Notable Books. (You’re next, Murakami!)

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm

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