Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘David Graeber

Meanwhile, Some Links

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* Marquette has a new president, the first lay president in its history. His farewell message to UWM.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.

* Dia/lectics of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse.

Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling. US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams. Escape the Devastation of Future Earth on a Luxurious Space Mayflower.

Roughly .02 Percent of Published Researchers Reject Global Warming.

An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz. This is the army-as-utopia piece I was going on about last week, if you were curious about it.

* What Life Will Be Like for Girls’ Hannah at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission.

Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. Come now, only three? Don’t be coy, Harvard…

* Amy Acker joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of course she is.

Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.

Inside UFO 54-40, the Unwinnable “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

* In sum, this so-called “data-driven” website is significantly less data-driven (and less sophisticated) than Business Insider or Bloomberg View or The Atlantic. It consists nearly entirely of hedgehoggy posts supporting simplistic theories with sparse data and zero statistical analysis, making no quantitative predictions whatsoever. It has no relationship whatsoever to the sophisticated analysis of rich data sets for which Nate Silver himself has become famous. The problem with the new FiveThirtyEight is not one of data vs. theory. It is one of “data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing. Nate Silver is a hero of mine, but this site is not living up to its billing at all.

* Why was Charlotte’s absurdly corrupt mayor doing the bag drops himself? Amateur hour. He’s going to be so mad when he finally gets around to seeing American Hustle.

* Clickbait publication says stop talking so much about clickbait.

Garfield Minus Garfield Minus Jon Plus Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan.

* And nothing gold can stay: Bradley Cooper is rumored to take over Indiana Jones.

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Tuesday Night!

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* In the 1960s, while the United States and the Soviet Union were playing out their battle of who would make it to the moon first and so dominate the galactic skies, a former high school teacher in Zambia decided his country needed a space program. Edward Festus Makuka Nkoloso founded the unofficial Zambia National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy in 1960, and over the course of the next few years, attempted to launch the first Afronaut — his term —into space.

* Here are Marquette English’s course offerings for the fall. Tell your friends!

The final victory over the Soviet Union did not lead to the domination of the market, but, in fact, cemented the dominance of conservative managerial elites, corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implications of any kind.”

* Teacher punishes students with Game of Thrones spoilers.

* Grad school as debt machine.

* Announcing the Milwaukee Record.

* BP confirms oil spill into Lake Michigan from Whiting refinery. Ohio Pipeline Spill Twice As Large As Original Estimate. Ship Traffic Reopens For The Oil Industry Three Days After Texas’ 170,000 Gallon Oil Spill.

* Report: 95% Of Grandfathers Got Job By Walking Right Up And Just Asking.

* Paying journalists by the click: what could possibly go wrong?

Alexander Bogdanov and the struggle for immortality.

* Department of can’t-win: Christian School Tells Eight-Year-Old Girl She Looks Too Much Like A Boy. Middle School Girls Protest Sexist Dress Code: ‘Are My Pants Lowering Your Test Scores?’ School Bans 9-year-old Who Shaved Her Head for a Friend With Cancer.

* A brief history of abortion, contraception, and the evangelical right. Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby Is An Abortion Case — That’s Bad News For Birth Control.

* Meanwhile: Are Obamacare subsidies now in jeopardy?

History Suggests It Might Not Get Better For Democrats.

* That’s why I’m preparing for the worst: The Walking Disney.

Sunday Links!

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* The science fictional sublime: the art of Penguin science fiction.

* From the syllabus of my wonderful Cultural Preservation class: “Can Auschwitz Be Saved?” and “The Myth of the Vanquished: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.”

* Great moments in the law school scam. Wow.

Fraternity expels 3 linked to statue noose, suspends Ole Miss chapter.

* Where the money goes: what $60,000 tuition at Duke buys you.

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* The Definitive Guide to Never Watching Woody Allen Again.

Pedophiles Are Still Tearing Reddit Apart.

The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks’ Most Devious Scam Yet.

* The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy will launch in 2015.

* Always worth relinking: StrikeDebt’s Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.

On most policy questions of any importance, there are enough academics doing work to generate far more policy ideas than can seriously considered by our political system. When it comes to systemic risk, we have all the ideas we need–size caps or higher capital requirements–and we have academics behind both of those. The rest is politics. What we really need is for the people with the big megaphones to be smarter about the ideas that they cover.

Milwaukee’s childhood lead poisoning prevention program running out of money. Income inequality grew rapidly in Milwaukee, study finds.

Actually, climate trolls, January ended up being the fourth-warmest on record.

EPA moves to toughen pesticide safety standards for the first time in 20 years.

Scientists are appalled at Nicaragua’s plan to build a massive canal.

South Carolina Legislators To Punish College For Assigning Gay-Themed Fun Home Comic To Freshmen.

* David Graeber explains fun.

A sequel film for Farscape is in the early phases of development.

* NBC officially giving up, bringing back Heroes.

How wrong is your time zone?

Presenting the lowest possible score in Super Mario Brothers.

* The Donkey Knight Returns.

* The Legographer.

* The Amtrak Writers Fellowship.

* And now they’re saying the Voynich Manuscript might not be a hoax after all. Oh, I hope so.

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Monday Morning Links Are Visible from Space

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* The schedule for the next four weeks of my Cultural Preservation course is up at the course blog. Benjamin! Fight Club! Ani DiFranco! Oh my!

Half of Sexual Abuse Claims in American Prisons Involve Guards, Study Says. Nearly 10 percent of inmates suffer sexual abuse.

* Black Chicago Residents Are 10 Times More Likely To Be Shot By Police Than White Residents. What could explain it?

* The comeback of guaranteed basic income. Alive in the Sunshine.

* David Graeber: What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?

* After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.

* On Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies.

* ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it.

That “distressed baby” who Tim Armstrong blamed for benefit cuts? She’s my daughter. Armstrong could have paid for the full “cost” of both the babies directly out of his own salary and still made ten million dollars that year (in base salary).

* Dylan Farrow Responds to Woody Allen: “I Have Never Wavered.” 10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation. Just the Facts
. Brainwashing Woody.

What would Middle Earth look like from space?

South Bronx Students May Have Found Site of Slave Burial Ground.

* Duke’s Own Julia Gaffield describes her finding the first known copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence.

* I think about the ways to address people who think computers are magic, and there’s lots of them, the ways I mean although there are also lots of people sufficiently baffled by their own phones to presume that physical laws SHIT LIKE TIME AND SPACE don’t apply to digitization projects…

“The legislation is almost certainly unconstitutional, it’s a bad law, and it reinforces stereotypes about Jewish influence,” said one pro-Israel Democratic strategist familiar with the groups’ thinking. “It’s so bad that AIPAC and ADL oppose it.”

* At long last, the purges begin at Occupy Wall Street.

* No one likes Obama’s terrible college rankings.

Concerned with growing class sizes, teaching assistant union files complaint against UC.

Renowned science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning “Mars Trilogy,” will select the winners of a national flash-science fiction contest co-organized by Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” and the Center for the Humanities and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gates “Beverly Crusher” McFadden will produce the scripts for radio.

* The Truman Show as eldercare: ‘Dementia Village’ – as it has become known — is a place where residents can live a seemingly normal life, but in reality are being watched all the time. Caretakers staff the restaurant, grocery store, hair salon and theater — although the residents don’t always realize they are carers — and are also watching in the residents’ living quarters.

* The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird.

* The prohibition and attempted eradication of drugs can be a nightmare for the climate and environment. Particularly in Latin America, the fight against drug production has led to deforestation, widespread contamination with toxic chemicals, and contributed to a warming climate. Meanwhile: Climate Change Comes for Your Cup of Tea.

* I used to be a good teacher.

* Ideology at its purest: Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched.

Scientists Think They Have Found The Mythical ‘Sunstone’ Vikings Used To Navigate Warships.

11 Alarming Weather Flukes That Happen When it Gets Really Cold.

The Way We Live Now, by David Brooks.

This Student Is On His Death Bed, But His Family Still Has To Prove He Can’t Take A Standardized Test.

* The worst people in the world: Four Long Island workers arrested for running ‘developmentally disabled fight club.’

* Sports Corner! How will news that Michael Sam is gay affect his NFL draft stock? 10 Points About College Hoops All-American Marcus Smart’s Pushing a ‘Fan.’ Why Superfan Jeff Orr Is A Much Bigger Problem For College Basketball Than Marcus Smart. More details on the Raiders’ cheerleaders wage theft suit. Olympic Committee Supports Russia’s Arrest of LGBT Activists. Why the Olympics Are a Lot Like ‘The Hunger Games.’ Detroit’s Unrealized Olympic Dreams. Only six of the previous 19 Winter Olympics host cities would be suitable to host the Games again by the end of this century due to warming temperatures, according to a new analysis. And The George Zimmerman-DMX Fight Has Been Cancelled, So At Least There’s That.

* How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine.

New York State has roughly 15,000 zombie homes and leads the nation in the time required to foreclose on a home, at almost three years, according to data from RealtyTrac, a company that tracks troubled properties.

* If you’ve been wondering how Mockingjay will handle Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death, here’s your answer.

Nabokov’s immigration card. (Nationality: “without.”)

* If You Thought You Couldn’t Go To Jail For Debt Anymore, You’re Wrong.

* And standardized testing? Just opt out.

* Werner Herzog casts Mike Tyson, Pamela Anderson, and Russell Brand in his next movie, because life is chaos.

* Justice Department to give married same-sex couples equal protection.

* Good news: FX will make Redshirts a limited series.

* And can The LEGO Movie really be that good? MetaFilter is on the scene.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

Friday Links!

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* On the docket in Cultural Preservation today: David Graeber, “The Sadness of Post-Workerism, or, ‘Art and Immaterial Labour’ Conference: A Sort of Review” (main reading); Michael Bérubé, “American Studies without Exceptions” and Graeber, “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” (optional).

* A great postdoc, if you’re looking: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for 21st Century Studies Provost Postdoc Fellow, “Humanities Futures.”

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

* To reform higher ed, we need a federal job guarantee.

* 2013 Is the Fourth Hottest Year on Record. 37 years straight of above-average temperatures. Soon, Sochi Won’t Be Cold Enough To Reliably Host The Winter Olympics.

* BREAKING: Rich people are ludicrously rich, everyone else totally broke. It’s fantastic.

* I had no idea cheerleaders were so radically underpaid. I’d always thought it was waged, full-time work — like being a mascot is.

There Has Been An Average Of One School Shooting Every Other School Day So Far This Year.

* Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show. Nation Back On Board With SeaWorld Following Awesome Orca Trick.

* Officials looking for info on second chemical in WV spill. Behind West Virginia’s Massive Chemical Spill, A History Of Poverty And Pollution. ‘We live in a human sacrifice zone.’

The FBI Just Busted the King of Revenge Porn.

Obama Promises Governmentwide Scrutiny of Campus Rape.

Booz Allen Hamilton Looking To Hire Snowden Catchers. I bet Edward Snowden would be great at this job.

* The allure of the map.

* Durham police practices under microscope by Human Relations Commission.

* Low-Wage Federal Workers Walk Off Job.

The Academic Job Cover Letter I Wanted to Write.

* These 11 Popular Sodas Tested Positive for a Potential Carcinogen. Pepsi One Won’t Give You Cancer as Long as You Don’t Drink a Whole Can.

* CNN is now officially the worst.

* New Hampshire is considering institutionalizing jury nullification. I’m strongly in favor of all good uses of jury nullification and strongly opposed to all bad uses of it, so I’m pretty torn here.

* Obummer Watch: Southern leg of Keystone XL opens in U.S.

* My friend Jennifer Whitaker reviews my friend Allison Seay’s poetry collection, To See the Queen.

Bob Dylan is either the most public private man in the world or the most private public one.

* The duties of professors at college and universities.

Adjunct Unionization.

Chicken Soup for the Neoliberal Soul.

* Why breaking is funny, and when it isn’t.

Researchers predict Facebook will die out “like a disease.”

* Breaking the Facts of Life.

* Canavan’s Razor comes to Superman comics.

* Revolution: A Guide.

“Yale College seeks smart students from poor families. They’re out there—but hard to find.” More here.

As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church’s efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.

* If there must be a surveillance state, at least let it be steampunk.

* Chessmate-in-one puzzles on the iPad.

* And the last place on Earth without human noise.

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Friday Friday

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This is the fourth installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries: America’s Annual Pilgrimage Begins.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea. The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn’t enough to save them.

The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document.

SeaTac $15 Minimum Wage Barely Passes In Final Vote Tally, Recount May Follow.

* Marissa Alexander has been released from jail.

* Self-censorship and repressive regimes.

* The horror of scale: What scared H. P. Lovecraft.

* And okay, I’ll check it out: As presidents leave office, they also leave a letter for their successors. In Oni Press’ new comic Letter 44, the newest president is taken aback when he reads the letter from the man who preceded him — a man who seemed to tank the economy and embroil the nation in needless wars — but was actually secretly preparing America for an imminent alien invasion.

A British Teacher’s Archive of Confiscated Toys.

* K Punk watches Catching Fire.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about  the Hunger Games is the way it simply presupposes that revolution is necessary. The problems are logistical, not ethical, and the issue is simply how and when revolution can be made to happen, not if it should happen at all. Remember who the enemy is - a message, a hailing, an ethical demand that calls out through the screen to us …. that calls out to a collectivity that can only be built through class consciousness ….

* Judith Butler defends the humanities.

* And the New Yorker profiles David Graeber, “Robin Hood for the Debt Crisis.”

Sunday™ Reading™ Accept No Substitutes®

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* Put the Student Union of Michigan in charge! In the end, the university’s rationale for the campaign relies heavily on a narrative of state defunding. For example, as a Detroit News article relates, “President Mary Sue Coleman called the campaign ‘audacious’ and said no gift is too small since universities need philanthropy with states no longer able to support them to the degree they must for schools to be globally competitive.” This narrative seems difficult to square with the actual role of the endowment in funding university operations. The endowment contributes only 4.5% (of its total holdings) to the general operation funds of university each year. The principal stays invested. Thus, if we look at the breakdown of revenue sources at the university in 2010 the endowment contributed only $253 million. Student tuition however generated over $1 billion, while state funding totaled $315 million. The endowment clearly has very little to do with making up for lost state funding. Its purpose lies elsewhere. And that elsewhere is in the university’s move to behave more and more like a hedge fund, mobilizing donated capital to secure new revenue streams. It does this by taking advantage of its tax-exempt status to build up a hoard of money that it then invests around the world in shady funds and places it would rather the university community did not know about. In so doing, the university is slowly becoming an important player on Wall Street but to play with the “big boys” it needs more and more capital, which requires constant fundraising campaigns. This money is destined for investment not students. Little of it will ever reach students in the form of scholarships or be used to offset increases in tuition. (via)

* Meanwhile: The University of California Invests in Prisons.

* Yanis Varoufakis on ponzi austerity.

Whereas in standard Ponzi (growth) schemes the lure is the promise of a growing fund, in the case of Ponzi austerity the attraction to bankrupted participants is the promise of reducing their debt, so as to liberate them from insolvency, through a combination of ‘belt tightening’, austerity measures and new loans that provide the bankrupt with necessary funds for repaying maturing debts (e.g. bonds). As it is impossible to escape insolvency in this manner, Ponzi austerity schemes, just like Ponzi growth schemes, necessitate a constant influx of new capital to support the illusion that bankruptcy has been averted. But to attract this capital, the Ponzi austerity’s operators must do their utmost to maintain the façade of genuine debt reduction.

* “I am as American as April in Arizona”: Nabokov interviews at The Paris Review.

Student Debt is Crushing the Economic Future of the Young.

* Joyless Nihilism: Adam Kotsko on the Abramsverse Star Trek, Family Guy, and zombie postmodernism.

The Life and Times of an Aging Superhero Captured in Oil Paintings by Andreas Englund.

* In education, the problem is still poverty.

* America is a country made possible by hucksterism and carnival buncombe.

* Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt.

The environmental scandal that’s happening right beneath your feet.

* And the Philippines estimates at least 10,000 died from super typhoon. No words.

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Wednesday Links Have Been Deemed an Essential Service

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* MetaFilter has your shutdown megapost, including the list of all the “nonessential” government services that will be closed during the shutdown, including WIC, NIH, the CDC, and the EPA. Here (via Twitter) is the memo from 1995 by which OMB makes its determinations. But don’t worry; progress wealth transfer to rich people continues even in the face of this disaster. zunguzungu: “Essentially Vicious.”

* “Where the GOP Suicide Caucus Lives.” They will rule or ruin in all events. Blame the Constitution for this mess.

* Meanwhile, liberals have already been rolled on spending cuts with respect to the shutdown and it’s likely to only get worse.

* Recentering Science Fiction and the Fantastic: What would a non-Anglocentric understanding of science fiction and fantasy look like?

* Peter Frase takes up Graeber’s “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.”

* One in ten [student] borrowers across the country, 475,000 people, who entered repayment during the fiscal year ending in September 2011 had defaulted by the following September, the data showed. That’s up from 9.1 percent of a similar cohort of borrowers last year.

* Louisiana refuses to release former Black Panther despite court order.

Herman Wallace, who was held for more than 40 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana jails, is still being confined inside the prison although Judge Brian Jackson ordered on Tuesday that he be immediately released. Wallace, 71, is suffering from lung cancer and is believed to have just days to live.

* The charter school mistake.

We should do what works to strengthen our schools: Provide universal early childhood education (the U.S. ranks 24th among 45 nations, according to the Economist); make sure poor women get good prenatal care so their babies are healthy (we are 131st among 185 nations surveyed, according to the March of Dimes and the United Nations); reduce class size (to fewer than 20 students) in schools where students are struggling; insist that all schools have an excellent curriculum that includes the arts and daily physical education, as well as history, civics, science, mathematics and foreign languages; ensure that the schools attended by poor children have guidance counselors, libraries and librarians, social workers, psychologists, after-school programs and summer programs.

Schools should abandon the use of annual standardized tests; we are the only nation that spends billions testing every child every year. We need high standards for those who enter teaching, and we need to trust them as professionals and let them teach and write their own tests to determine what their students have learned and what extra help they need.

* The words men and women use on Facebook.

* American wages have declined 7% since 2007.

* DDoS attack on the health care exchanges? Or just a whole lot of people wanting to buy insurance?

* What The Monopoly Properties Look Like In Real Life.

* The Occupy Visa.

Friday! Night! Links!

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Obama’s new education policy neatly showcases the spectrum of choice we now have in our political system: to be ground down a bit at a time by technocrats who either won’t admit to or do not understand the ultimate consequences of the policy infrastructures they so busily construct or to be demolished by fundamentalists who want to dissolve the modern nation-state into a panoptic enforcer of their privileged morality, a massive security and military colossus and an enfeebled social actor that occasionally says nice things about how it would be nice if no one died from tainted food and everyone had a chance to get an education but hey, that’s why you have lawyers and businesses.

These 11 Colleges Just Hit The Jackpot In Obama’s New Education Plan.

To take a plan that is not working in K-12 and apply it to 12-16 is asinine.

* One weird trick to lose 15 pounds in 15 minutes.

In May, Duke University announced plans to adopt one of the most extreme college sexual assault policies in history, changing the recommended sanction for perpetrators from suspension to expulsion. That means that whenever a student is found guilty of committing a sexual assault, expulsion is the first punishment the Duke disciplinary committee will consider.

UConn Considering Ban On Student-Faculty Sexual Relationships. Again: Considering?

* Towards a new understanding of the Amish: Amish Hackers.

A Long List of What We Know Thanks to Private Manning.

* The tax subsidy to religion is about 83 billion dollars a year.

* Joss Whedon attacks both Twilight and Empire. He doesn’t care who he hurts.

Earnings and Job Satisfaction of Humanities Majors.

N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project.

* Prince George enters the Veldt.

* What went wrong on Enterprise? The cast and crew fess up.

* And Fukushima continues to be a nightmare. That things were as bad as they were in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake is one thing — but it’s been years and the news only gets worse.

Obama’s Bad Idea Soup

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Lots of reactions to Obama’s terrible higher-ed plan in the world today, including my various rants and back-and-forths from Twitter yesterday afternoon.

* Chris Newfield: The Core Problems with ObamaEd.

Since no one wants big tuition hikes, the only way to increase the graduation rate is to make a major public reinvestment, starting with poor colleges with bad rates.  But President Obama didn’t call for major restoration or rebuilding of state investment in public colleges, and there is only one minor tool in his auditing kit that would encourage it.  His charge that colleges just raise fees and pass on the costs to the taxpayer smacked of Ronald Reagan’s waste, fraud, and abuse paradigm for public services.  This can only damage the future case for the new public revenues the sector obviously needs.

* Here’s How Colleges Are Going To Game Obama’s New Plan To Make Higher Education More Affordable. The trouble with college rankings.

* Disappointed, Not Surprised.

Bady said that was the most troubling part of the plan.

Obama “is putting all his chips in the MOOC basket,” he said. “No part of the plan is grounded in the reality-based community; it’s all buzzwords and fantasies that some future technology will magically lower costs. But none of these projects have really advanced beyond the ‘maybe someday it’ll lower costs’ stage; right now, it’s all speculation.”

The president’s reference to “offering colleges regulatory flexibility to innovate” is worrisome, he added, in that Obama may intend to extend online and MOOC programs a special exception from having to prove or demonstrate their value with actual results, “forcing colleges to defund tried and tested programs in favor of flavor-of-the-month Silicon Valley start-up partnerships.”

* And while we’re on the subject! On the phenomenon of bullshit (academic) jobs.

David Graeber, ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs’

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But rather than allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning of not even so much of the “service” sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all of the people whose job it is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones.

These are what I propose to call “bullshit jobs.”

…in Strike! Magazine.

How can one even begin to speak of dignity in labour when one secretly feels one’s job should not exist? How can it not create a sense of deep rage and resentment. Yet it is the peculiar genius of our society that its rulers have figured out a way … to ensure that rage is directly precisely against those who actually do get to do meaningful work. For instance: in our society, there seems to be a general rule that, the more obviously one’s work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disappear? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A would without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It’s not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish…

Written by gerrycanavan

August 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Monday Night Links!

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* The American University and the Establishment of Neoliberal Hegemony.

* Urban farming in Milwaukee.

* 10 Horrifying Stats About Display Advertising.

1. You are more likely to complete NAVY SEAL training than click a banner ad.
2. Only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads (and some of them aren’t even humans!).
3. You are more likely to get a full house while playing poker than click on a banner ad.
4. The average person is served over 1,700 banner ads per month. Do you remember any?
5. You are more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.
6. The average clickthrough rate of display ads is 0.1%.
7. You are more likely to birth twins than click a banner ad.
8. About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.
9. You are more likely to get into MIT than click a banner ad.
10. You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

* How the CIA script-doctored Zero Dark Thirty.

* The New Yorker profiles David Graeber.

And linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words.’

Pagel and his collaborators have come up with a list of two dozen “ultraconserved words.” It contains both predictable and surprising members. The most conserved word is “thou,” which is the singular form of “you.” “I,” “not,” “what,” “mother” and “man” are also on the list. So are the verbs “to hear,” “to flow” and “to spit,” and the nouns “bark,” “ashes” and “worm.” Together, they hint at what has been important to people over the past 15 millennia.

May Day Links, Not All of Them about May Day Exactly

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Is today the day Marty McFly arrives when he travels to the future?

* Jacob Remes on May Day from a year ago.

AndalusiaUnemployment2-thumb-570x404-120178* Lost generation: on unemployment in Spain.

* A May Day Manifesto: Seven Principles for Adjuncts.

1. Increase the starting salary for a three-credit semester course to a minimum of $5,000 for all instructors in higher education.
2. Ensure academic freedom by providing progressively longer contracts for all contingent instructors who have proven themselves during an initial probationary period.
3. Provide health insurance for all instructors, either through their college’s health insurance system or through the Affordable Care Act.
4. Support the quality education of our students by providing their instructors with necessary office space, individual development support, telephones, email accounts and mail boxes.
5. Guarantee fair and equitable access to unemployment benefits when college instructors are not working.
6. Guarantee eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all college instructors who have taught for ten years, during which they were repaying their student loans.
7. With or without a time-in service requirement, allow all college teachers to vote and hold office in institutional governance, including faculty senates and academic departments.

* A very strange thing happened to the California single payer health care bill this year. It disappeared.

There were a few radical writers like Tom Paine who did use the word “democracy” from early on, but the first official use was by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the “Democratic Republican” party — which is clearly just some sort of PR trick, since Jefferson himself never uses the word “democracy” at all in his own writings. But the person who really transformed the language was Andrew Jackson. He ran as a “democrat” and it was so effective that over the course of the 1830s, everyone started calling themselves that. So basically the Republican system that was set up to contain democracy itself got renamed “Democracy.” Interview with David Graeber on Democracy in America.

After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto.

* Washington Post editorial urges the closing of Guantánamo.

For the prison to close, lawmakers would have to lift a ban on transferring prisoners to the United States. But it was good that Mr. Obama also pledged to “examine every option that we have administratively” — because there are steps he could take without Congress.

US soldier not found alive after 44 years in Vietnam. Via the comments.

Japan and Russia want to finally end World War II.

* Interesting interactive chart from the Guardian about violence in recent best-selling video games.

* Interactive infographic at the New York Times shows long-term Democratic hegemony (at least at the presidential level) given most demographic assumptions.

Coursera Eyes Teacher Training With New MOOC Partners.

* And so you want to win a Pulitzer.

All the Monday Links (A Ton)

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* You can read my review of Dan Hassler-Forest’s Capitalist Superheroes (“No Dads: Cuckolds, Dead Fathers, and Capitalist Superheroes“) as the free preview for the Los Angeles Review of Books Digital Edition on Science Fiction.

“We have been dismayed by news reports of a handful of colleges and universities that have threatened to cut the courseloads of part-time faculty members specifically in order to evade this provision of the law,” a statement from the American Association of University Professors reads. “Such actions are reprehensible, penalizing part-time faculty members both by depriving them access to affordable health care as intended by law and by reducing their income.” More at the Chronicle.

18th-Century Connecticutian or Muppet?

Film School Thesis Statement Generator. This is uncannily good.

Mad Men calls into question the post-war crisis of masculinity through its strategic use of narrative ellipses.

* The people vs. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Cathy Davidson explains why she’s teaching a MOOC. Since I know Cathy (a little) and feel bad about disagreeing so absolutely completely with her, I’ll just leave it there.

Socialism, not capitalism, will get kids out of the mines and away from the drive-through window. And we can’t create that future until we stop the present. Gavin Mueller vs. the machines, in Jacobin‘s special issue on work and automation.

It is insufficient to respond by pointing to productivity gains to justify automation — that’s a management trick. Automation’s prime function is to destroy the ability of workers to control the pace of work. The results are bloody. As Dan Georgakas and Marvin Surkin document in Detroit, I Do Mind Dying, while management attributed productivity gains in the auto industry to automation, black workers credited “niggermation”: the practice of forcing them to work at high speeds on dangerous machinery.

Such shocking terminology underscores a crucial truth. Robots weren’t responsible for those cars; rather, it was brutalized black bodies. A 1973 study estimated that sixty-five auto workers died per day from work-related injuries, a higher casualty rate than that of American soldiers in Vietnam. Those who survived often suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. This bloodbath is directly attributable to the disempowering effects of automation. Had workers retained control, they wouldn’t have worked at such a deadly pace.

Life on Mars to become a reality in 2023, Dutch firm claims.

AIDS ‘Patient Zero’ was a publicity strategy, scholar writes.

* How damaged are NFL players’ brains?

* Violence, mournability, and West, Texas.

* Movies in Color, The Color Palettes of Stills from Famous Films. More links below Stevesie.

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Can slaughterhouses be humane?

* Bad news, everyone.

* Four college coeds dream of trading their rote lecture halls and cinderblock dorms—is this a for-profit university?—for the debauchery of Florida spring break. Standing between them and their escape is a shortage of ready cash. Lacking alternatives like Mastercards, they solve their liquidity crisis by knocking over a local fried chicken joint. Most jarring in these opening moments is not the violence of the robbery, but the obviously incredible possibility that four college students in the United States lack access to easy credit. After all, what is a student today without the potential for indebtedness? “High as Finance,” from The New Inquiry‘s critical supplement on Spring Breakers.

Gunfire Erupts at Denver Pro-Marijuana 4/20 Celebrations, Injuring Three. Gunman Sought After Shootout at Nuclear Power Plant in Tennessee.

* Spoiler alert: They’re going to overfish the Arctic till it dies.

* Graeber vs. austerity.

* The headline reads, “China Wants to Ban Superstition, Mandate Science.”

* Disney said no to Iron Man 3: Demon in a Bottle. The fools.

Despite allegations that he knew about a rape and tried to protect his players who committed it, despite widespread criticism that he didn’t punish his team enough and that he should be fired, and despite a grand jury that could charge him looming next week, the powerful Steubenville High football coach Reno Saccocia has been approved for a two-year administrative contract, the city superintendent confirmed to The Atlantic Wire Monday afternoon.

* Presenting the Calvin and Hobbes app.

* And “university professor” is only the 14th best job in the country. Damn you, actuaries!

Tuesday Afternoon!

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* PSA from Charlie Stross: Ignore the news.

Just a brief reminder that news is bad for you. No, seriously: publicly available news media in the 21st century exist solely to get eyeballs on advertisements. That is its only real purpose. The real news consists of dull but informative reports circulated by consultancies giving in-depth insight into what’s going on. The sort of stuff you find digested in the inside pages of The Economist. All else is comics. As there’s an arms race going on between advertising sales departments, the major news outlets are constantly trying to make their product more addictive. And like most other addictive substance, news is a depressant, one fine-tuned to make you keep coming back for more.

* As if you needed a reason: Tetris may treat PTSD.

* Inequality and the New York City subway.

* Why you can’t have nice things: pro-austerity economicists are liars or incompetents (take your pick).  How Much Unemployment Was Caused by Reinhart and Rogoff’s Arithmetic Mistake? It’s great that when challenged they retreat to the more defensible claim that their work is actually irrelevant, but many policymakers and pundits seem to feel otherwise.

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“What companies like is just-in-time learning that gives somebody a skill they need at the time they need it,” says Mark Allen, a Pepperdine University business professor and author of The Next Generation of Corporate Universities. “What traditional universities do to a large extent is just-in-case learning.”

B8i8G.AuSt.156* Our bubble-headed, zombie-creating reliance on high-stakes testing.

And contrary to the claims of test-makers, the tests aren’t getting better. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, they’re getting worse.

Universities Need to Innovate, But Put Down the Sledgehammer.

The birth of critical university studies.

* The Chronicle profiles David Graeber as academic in exile.

Software to detect student plagiarism is faced with renewed criticism from the faculty members who may confront more plagiarism than do most of their colleagues – college writing professors.

* Lost Generation: The Terrifying Reality of Long-Term Unemployment.

* Is nothing sacred? NC governor takes aim at addiction on campus.

New App Prevents Icelanders from Sleeping With their Relatives.

* And your 2012 tax receipt. Enjoy those fighter jets!

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