Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘dissertation

Weekend Links

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* CFP: Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 on Art & Artifice, November 7-10. Right here in Milwaukee!

* A disturbing catch from the MetaFilter thread on MOOCs: Obama has quietly decoupled Pell grants from accreditation, opening the door for full-throated neoliberal profiteering.

Last year, similar language tying federal aid to “value” was explicitly limited to a group of relatively minor aid programs. The Pell grant and loan programs that make up $140 billion in annual aid were excluded. No such restrictions appear here (although the President did refer to only “certain types” of aid in the speech itself.) But the real kicker is at the end: a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results.

The existing accreditation club has been around since the end of the 19th century. It has had an exclusive franchise on determining federal financial aid eligibility since the middle of the 20th century. Opening a new doorway to the Title IV financial aid system would be an enormouschange, particularly when coupled with the phrase “higher education models and colleges.” The clear implication is that the higher education models that would eligible for federal financial aid through the alternate accreditation system wouldn’t have to be colleges at all. They could be any providers of higher education that meet standards of “performance and results.”

MOOCiversity, ho!

Think about it: When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter? 

* Disaster capitalism, Chicago style.

There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder?

They create a crisis.

The Drone Industry Wants a Makeover. Dissent on drones.

* Malcolm Harris explains yellowism.

* The delightfully named Ben Kafka explains bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy, Kafka argues, can be everybody’s enemy, and can thus serve as the organizing principle for otherwise untenable alliances, like the one between eighteenth-century liberals and democrats, or between some contemporary working-class voters and the neoliberal elites they vote for. Sowing contempt for bureaucracy, in the form of lambasting all government efforts as inherently inefficient, full of “lazy” and “parasitical” civil servants and their “bloated” pensions, remains a potent tactic of right-wing populism, but whereas conservatives of old evoked a nostalgic class paternalism to cure paperwork’s ills, the American Right offers a myth of self-sufficiency, of everyone for themselves, with no claims to be filed and no burdens to be shared. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, comes to stand for the inevitable outcome of all types of collective power, the emblem of neutered individualism. And since paperwork is an evil that proliferates no matter what the form of government, it can seem irrelevant to mount any political fights to reform it. Politics is thus reduced to the pettiness of sorting out strictly personal grievances, which in turn worsens bureaucracy, as these sorts of selfish claims are precisely what bureaucracy exists to process.

* Duke professor proposes that students be required to produce a video summary of the dissertation. I actually think this kind of distillation can be really useful and productive — someone once told me you know you’re done with your dissertation when you can summarize its argument in one sentence — but making it an actual requirement is silly.

North Carolina is the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license coming this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all the states. History contains absolutely no examples of times when this kind of thinking has ever gone wrong, so I’m sure it’s a really good idea.

In other words, in the midst of a major national debate over America’s finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% — 6%! — are correct.

A cottage at 71/2 West End Court in Long Branch where one-time renter Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born to Run” is up for sale for $349,900, said real estate agent Susan McLaughlin of Keller Williams Realty. Anyone want to go halfsies?

World Press Photo Of The Year: Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by and Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put into intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

* Even Megan McArdle has stopped believing in meritocracy.

* And io9 on how your favorite cancelled science fiction series would have continued. Start your FlashForward fan fics now…

A Cluttered Room Is a Sign of a Cluttered Mind

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Getting very close now. I’m sure I’ve almost cracked it.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 19, 2012 at 2:28 am

Zombies, Reavers, Butchers, Actuals, and Joss Whedon

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We’re traveling back east most of day, but I wanted to throw up a link to my contribution to PopMatters’s Joss Whedon Spotlight: “Zombies, Reavers, Butchers, and Actuals in Joss Whedon’s Work.” This is a sliver from my long zombie chapter with some new stuff about Joss, Buffy, and Angel added in. I saw there was a link to the piece this morning at Whedonesque, which was really fun for me; I’ve had that site in my RSS reader for years…

Back in Durham tonight.

Leavin’ on that Midnight Train Links

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* Here comes the second act: Progressives Target GOP State Senators In WI With Recall Threat.

* Hard to think of a better encapsulation of America’s warped priorities than the chart at right. More here.

* February 21, 2009: My working assumption has been that the GOP’s biggest names—Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, god-help-us Sarah Palin—would sit out 2012 to take on the winner of the open Democratic field in 2016. (I’ve actually thought for a while that 2012′s Bob Dole would be Newt Gingrich; someone who’ll lose handily but won’t get creamed.) Ladies and gentlemen, we’re halfway there: Newt Gingrich is running for president.

* Julianna Baggott on answering the illegal question in academic job interviews.

* Ron Rosenbaum on asking the forbidden question in nuclear silo training. (Thanks, Sam!)

The study found that of those fellowship winners with white male dissertation advisers, 37 percent landed faculty jobs at research universities — jobs that many Ph.D.s want and that are very difficult these days for most to get. Of those who had all other dissertation advisers (white women, minority men or minority women), only 7 percent landed such jobs.

* New David Foster Wallace in the New Yorker.

Every whole person has ambitions, objectives, initiatives, goals. This one particular boy’s goal was to be able to press his lips to every square inch of his own body.

* Self-publishing in the age of the Kindle.

* The headline reads, “Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?” But Grist offers some good reasons to be skeptical about the Berkeley Earth project.

* PhysOrg has an article detailing dozens of unethical medical experiments on nonconsenting human subjects in the U.S.

* That’ll fix everything: the Gates Foundation wants to raise class size to “spread around [the] effectiveness.” Sounds foolproof! (Thanks, Ben!)

* Beyond parody: Ohio Senate committee schedules unborn child as witness during upcoming abortion bill hearing.

* And RaShOmoN of course you had me at German science fiction covers.

Utopia Grossband 023Utopia 417

Monday Monday

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* FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion Of Your Thesis Defense.

Q: Do I have to kill the snake?

A: University guidelines state that you have to “defeat” the snake. There are many ways to accomplish this. Lots of students choose to wrestle the snake. Some construct decoys and elaborate traps to confuse and then ensnare the snake. One student brought a flute and played a song to lull the snake to sleep. Then he threw the snake out a window.

Thanks Tim.

* You had me at “Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion incident.” Thanks Dad.

* The Jossless Buffy reboot is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. EW has Joss’s reply.

* The New York Times reviews Anne Dick’s PKD biography.

* 23 years old, $200,000 dollars of student loan debt. Related: Is Student Debt the Next Front in the Consumer Debt Crisis? Via MetaFilter.

* LOL denialists: An influential 2006 congressional report that raised questions about the validity of global warming research was partly based on material copied from textbooks, Wikipedia and the writings of one of the scientists criticized in the report, plagiarism experts say.

* And tomorrow’s news today: Obama wins! Obama wins!

The Thesis Repulsor Field

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If you want to know why I’m sometimes a poor caretaker of my beloved blog, look no further than the terrible pull of the Thesis Repulsor Field.

Writing My Dissertation So I Don’t Have To

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm

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