Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’
* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.
MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval. The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.
MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.
MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.
* It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.
* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.
* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.
* The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.
* What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!
* Aaron’s latest Sunday Reading has a special section devoted to what’s going on in Turkey, if like me you haven’t been following as closely as you’d like. There’s lots of other good links too, of course.
* It also reminds me that I never got around to linking to this massive map of Arrested Development running gags.
* It really seems to me that Detroit will declare bankruptcy either way. The role of the emergency manager is to facilitate bankers’ looting the city first.
* Ten Year Chicago Hotel Strike Ends in ‘Unconditional’ Defeat. Orbitz booked me at this hotel a few years ago and I was furious. I’d had no idea about the strike.
* Netflix Is Open to More Arrested Development. Yes, please.
* According to a recent Reuters article, since corporate bankruptcies have declined, investors specializing in “distressed” hedge funds have begun circling troubled municipalities, with no city “attracting more attention than Detroit.”
* The Chicago Sun-Times has laid off its entire photography staff, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Sun-Times plans to use freelance photographers and reporters to shoot photos and video going forward.
* Tarheel Summer? Roughly 600 people gathered outside the Legislative Building in Raleigh on Monday as part of a growing wave of protests called Moral Mondays, which have now led to 153 arrests over four weeks.
* Immigration-related offenses are now the leading type of federal prosecution, constituting more than 40% of cases compared with 22% for drug crimes, according to federal crime data.
* #AltAc megapost: Humanities Unbound: Careers & Scholarship Beyond the Tenure Track.
* Decadence watch: Flights Delayed Across Country Amid Budget-Cut Furloughs of Air Controllers.
* Reddit wants you to know it is sorry. Time to focus on its core competencies of creepshots and porn.
France legalized gay marriage on Tuesday after a wrenching national debate and protests that flooded the streets of Paris. Legions of officers and water cannon stood ready near France’s National Assembly ahead of the final vote, bracing for possible violence on an issue that galvanized the country’s faltering conservative movement.
The measure passed easily in the Socialist-majority Assembly, 331-225, just minutes after the president of the legislative body expelled a disruptive protester in pink, the color adopted by French opponents of gay marriage.
I have a lot of questions.
* Tumblr of the day: http://100percentmen.tumblr.com.
* Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr stated in letters to the Michigan Employee Relations Commission (MERC) that it is within his power to end collective bargaining in the city. Specifically, Orr claimed he is under no legal obligation to participate in bargaining or compulsory arbitration with public safety employees, including police, firefighters and emergency medical responders.
* I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality.
* If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.
Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”
* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.
* California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.
* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.
* But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.
* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.
* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.
* “Too few questions were asked, too many assumptions were allowed to go unchallenged, too many voices of doubt were muffled or rejected in a toxic atmosphere of patriotism, ignorance and political fear.” No, he’s not talking about the Obama administration’s current policy of ubiquitous drone-backed assassination! He’s talking about Iraq.
* Slaughter critically reviews the history of the AAUP, and finds that since its inception in 1915, it has failed either to claim in theory, or to defend in practice, a concept of academic freedom sufficiently robust to ensure even the basic civil liberties of faculty in the “danger zone” of politically sensitive scholarship in the social sciences, let alone their ability to develop research in these fields without fear of politically motivated reprisals. Even one AAUP president, William Van Alstyne, has stated that the AAUP’s standards of professional accountability for public statements restrict faculty utterances in ways that would be unacceptable in the context of the constitutional law of civil liberties. Slaughter also argues that the AAUP has placed excessive emphasis on tenure, bargaining away other aspects of academic freedom to obtain job security, and that the tenure-review process itself is the principal mechanism by which conservative biases in the faculty are perpetuated, particularly in times of financial exigency when the refusal to grant tenure to young radical faculty can be rationalized as non-political.
“I think about it,” Westbrook said Friday. “I think everybody has their own personal battles, own personal demons. So I think Junior was not only dealing with concussions but he was also dealing with other things. But I often wonder the long-term effects of everything — playing with the bad knee, playing with the ankle, and of course the concussion situation. I think about it all the time, every time I wake up and can’t remember the name of someone I once knew. I always think about it.”
Marquette, meanwhile, is almost certainly the weakest No. 3 seed this year, and has about a 35 percent chance of being upset by No. 14-seeded Davidson in its opening game. Instead, a Round of 16 game against No. 4 Syracuse in Washington could be Indiana’s toughest test.
* Sometimes the most radical ideas are those which at first sound most banal. For example, when Detroit Emergency Manager (EM) Kevyn Orr and Michigan governor Rick Snyder describe the citizens of Detroit as “customers,” it barely registers as a platitude. At first glance, it’s just another example of how marketing-speak has encroached on the language of politics; similar to how a candidate for higher office might say that government ought to be run like a business, or compare the president to a CEO.
But the description of citizens as customers—an analogy repeatedly invoked by Snyder to justify suspending the powers of Detroit’s local government and putting the city under Emergency Management—is different. It refers not only to citizens, but to the fundamental character of the government’s relationship with its citizens.
* Steubenville, actually existing media bias, and the view from nowhere. The Egregious, Awful and Downright Wrong Reactions to the Steubenville Rape Trial Verdict. Steubenville and the misplaced sympathy for Jane Doe’s rapists. Steubenville Shows the Bond Between Jock Culture and Rape Culture. On Rape, Cages, and the Steubenville Verdict. Why Does Steubenville’s Football Coach Still Have His Job? What the hell is wrong with CNN?
* Gates McFadden’s Beverly Crusher Action Figure Tumblr. I can’t even begin. Via MetaFilter.
The United States government totally collapsed during season 4. At least, that’s what a prop newspaper created for use during “Hush” claims — apparently the United States House and Senate both dissolved as governing bodies, replaced by a shadowy group known only as “The Surviving Members of Queen.” Even though Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon and “digitally enhanced voice samples of Freddie Mercury” might not actually have U.S. citizenship. Meanwhile, then-President Clinton faced another scandal after he tested positive for presidency-enhancing drug Crovan.
* And the RNC autopsies what went wrong.
There is no possibility that UC faculty will shirk its responsibility to our students by ceding authority over courses to any outside agency.
* ”Education,” said Mr. Chambers. ”The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage look like a rounding error” in terms of the Internet capacity it will consume.
What will drive it will be the demands on companies, in an intensely competitive global economy, to keep improving productivity. E-learning, insists Mr. Chambers, if done right, can provide faster learning, at lower costs, with more accountability, thereby enabling both companies and schools to keep up with changes in the global economy that now occur at Net speed. Schools and countries that ignore this, he says, will suffer the same fate as big department stores that thought e-commerce was overrated. Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, November 17, 1999.
A very common mistake entrepreneurs make is to assume that a feature is not necessary because it doesn’t have a lot of usage, thus it can be safely removed from the product. Sometimes that’s the case, but sometimes, not so much.
Google made a big mistake cancelling Google Reader that will have severe ripple effects to its empire. I know a lot has been written about it, but let me give you a different angle on it.
* America in Decline: Young People Are Much Worse Off Than Their Parents Were At That Age.
* Disenfranchisement, 2000s style: 49% of Michigan’s African American Population Is Under an Emergency Manager.
* Why is Google killing Google Reader? Google’s Lost Social Network: How Google accidentally built a truly beloved social network, only to steamroll it with Google+.
* California’s Move Toward MOOCs Sends Shock Waves, but Key Questions Remain Unanswered.
* “An emergency manager is like a man coming into your house,” said Donald Watkins, a city councilman. “He takes your checkbook, he takes your credit cards, he lives in your house and he sleeps in your bed with your wife.” Mr. Watkins added, “He tells you it’s still your house, but he doesn’t clean up, sells off everything and then he packs his bag and leaves.” Lessons for Detroit in a City’s Takeover.
* And How to Put On a Show: The Unwritten WWE Rulebook.
* I used to say of apartheid that it dehumanized its perpetrators as much as, if not more than, its victims. Your response as a society to Osama bin Laden and his followers threatens to undermine your moral standards and your humanity.
* Ambivalent campus benchmarks watch: Today is “Tuition Runs Out Day” at Marquette.
The promoters of MOOCs claim to see universities as dinosaurs, but their business model is parasitic upon the very institutions they claim to be rendering obsolete. Udacity designs its own curricula rather than aggregating pre-existing university courses like Coursera and EdX, but without the Stanford credentials and backgrounds of its founders it is highly unlikely it would have gone anywhere. The affiliation provides startup companies with a highly desirable brand: the “top tier” of higher education, according to the U.S. News and World Report (which always rates the wealthiest and most selective schools as the best). A similar motive drives the colleges themselves: much like encouraging over-application to enhance their selectivity and thereby their U.S. News ranking, or establishing campuses in Abu Dhabi, China, and Singapore, the promotion of MOOCs is a way for highly competitive university administrators to enhance global brand visibility and give themselves an aura of cutting-edge innovation. The media’s celebratory response confirms the initial success of the strategy.
* From Cal’s student regent: “Online education: proceed with caution.”
* It’s a curiosity of literary history that Corelli’s fantasy virgin, unwrinkled and slim waisted, would give rise to one of its most grotesque, tragically despoiled characters. But without Corelli’s Thelma, there would be no Gollum.
No law directly regulates the sale of zero-days in the United States or elsewhere, so some traders pursue it quite openly. A Bangkok-based security researcher who goes by the name The Grugq tweets about acting as a middleman and has spoken to the press about negotiating deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with government buyers from the United States and western Europe. In an argument on Twitter last month, he denied that his business is equivalent to arms dealing, as critics within and outside the computer security community have charged. “An exploit is a component of a toolchain,” he tweeted. “The team that produces & maintains the toolchain is the weapon.”
* The rich are different from you and me: they’ve captured 121% of income gains during the recovery. You read that right, more than 100%.
* “You could safely say that Iceland holds the world record in household debt relief,” said Lars Christensen, chief emerging markets economist at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “Iceland followed the textbook example of what is required in a crisis. Any economist would agree with that.”
* Zounds! Credit agencies ripping everybody off. I’m shocked, shocked…
* In the largest false memory study to date, 5,269 participants were asked about their memories for three true and one of five fabricated political events. Each fabricated event was accompanied by a photographic image purportedly depicting that event. Approximately half the participants falsely remembered that the false event happened, with 27% remembering that they saw the events happen on the news.
* Defense Nerds Strike Back: A Symposium on the Battle of Hoth. gerrycanavan.wordpress.com will be tracking this important story as far as it goes.
Lecerf, frantic, called the police from his car — and they sent an escort that The Guardian describes as “a platoon of police cars” to help him navigate a highway full of fellow cars and get them to swerve out of the way of the speeding car. (Lecerf stayed, appropriately, in the fast lane.) What resulted was a small miracle of technological coordination: Responding to emergency services’ advance warnings, three different toll booths raised their barriers as Lecerf approached. A police convoy ensured that roads were kept clear for the speeding car. Fellow drivers, obligingly, got out of the way. Emergency services patched Lecerf through to a Renault engineer who tried — though failed — to help Lecerf get the speeding car to slow down.
* And the reason for the season: Wes Anderson valentines.
* The Chinese website Tencent reports that a father got so upset with his son’s nonstop MMO playing that he hired an in-game hit-squad to kill his son’s character whenever it spawned, in the hopes of discouraging the young man from playing.
* For some in the burgeoning stop-hitting movement, the goal is nothing less than a total legal ban on spanking in all settings, as has been passed by 33 nations in Europe, Latin America and Africa (soon to be 34 when Brazil becomes the largest country to outlaw spanking in final action expected this year).
* The Obama administration said Friday it will begin charging $465 this month for temporary work permits for many young illegal immigrants, as it laid out details of one its signature new policies on immigration.
* Depressingly, Detroit is now stealing plotlines from The Wire.
* And the New Republic proves once again it is the absolute worst magazine in the world. When you are tired of Springsteen, you are tired of life…
* New from the Library of America: classic 1950s SF.
* Academic shock doctrine watch: Wayne State administrators propose the elimination of tenure.
* The new normal: Confirmed heat deaths rise to 10 in Wisconsin.
* In the time it took me to write this post, Mitt Romney made $2,163.40.