Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘don't tell me the odds

Thursday Links!

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* In case you missed it from the weekend: a CFP for a Science Fiction Film and Television special issue on “Star Trek at 50.”

* Call for submissions: Accessing the Future.

* Today’s twenty-first-century political weirdness is the Scotland referendum on independence. The Guardian. MetaFilter. The economic case. Schroedinger’s Kingdom. John Oliver. Why Scotland thinks it can survive as an independent country. I’m Guardian editor Matt Wells. Got questions on Scottish independence? Ask away!

* Alison Bechdel, certified genius. Some professors won too.

* Postdoc of the year: “The Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University invites applications for its 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The successful candidates will couple their own research and publishing agenda with their contributions to the Center’s Collective Memory Project, a wide ranging oral history of the George W. Bush Presidency.” Friend, do I have a story for you.

* “Debates about the future of the humanities frequently revolve around the suspicion that the humanities might not have one.”

* Chris Ware is serializing a novella in the Guardian: “The Last Saturday.”

* Unpopular opinions watch: Carceral progressivism.

More Weird Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Original Star Trek.

Roddenberry believed there was no chest hair in the future.

The dream never dies.

* A day in the life of a data mined kid.

This Is What Happens To Transgender Kids Who Delay Puberty.

The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World.

* World War II and the creation of the paperback industry.

* Cruel optimism watch: Are More MLA Faculty Jobs on the Way?

* Reporting rape at UNC.

* The madness of crowds: Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s.

* Despite all evidence to the contrary, blaming black culture for racial inequality remains politically dominant. And not only on the Right.

* Hamburg wants to be the best city in the world in 20 years.

* Burlington nipping on its heels.

* Calvinball in Wisconsin: the rules on voting just changed again.

* Lone Wolf returns!

* Study: 30 percent of former NFL players will get dementia or Alzheimer’s.

* Don’t look now, but the US prison population is growing again.

* The University of California is just literally a hedge fund now.

What Are the Real Odds That Your Birth Control Will Fail? Pretty frightening.

* A King Kong prequel, because we haven’t even come close to hitting bottom yet.

* Do Animals Cry?

* BREAKING: Naomi Klein Is Right, Unchecked Capitalism Will Destroy Civilization.

In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. The price is too high!

* BREAKING: Immigrants aren’t stealing your jobs.

* A feminist history of Wonder Woman.

Every panel of Watchmen, sorted by average lightness, ascending.

* Understanding the Tortoise and the Hare.

* Because you demanded it: “Play It Again, Dick,” the weird quasi-Veronica-Mars nega-sequel, is finally here.

* Necrocapitalism in the Anthropocene: Govt may do away with tribal consent for cutting forests.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Thievery marring Little Free Libraries.

Anti-monuments in Milwaukee and beyond.

* May 2015 can’t come fast enough.

* And no one could have predicted: Apple releases U2 album removal tool.

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Friday Links!

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I’ve pointed out before that even as academic institutions are more and more distrusted, professors oddly retain a good deal of public respect. We have it because we’re free: free to say the unpopular thing, free to teach the passionate course, free to study what we think needs studying. To be free means we have to occupy the whole possibility space that waits for our explorations, and take not just our students but our publics along for the ride. We have to keep a trust as well as walk the paths we see before us.

Researcher loses job at NSF after government questions her role as 1980s activist.

* On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles.

At least 60 institutions have acquired M-16s through the program. Arizona State University holds the most, with 70 in its arsenal, followed by Florida International University and the University of Maryland with 50 M-16s each. Central Florida received its grenade launcher in 2008; Hinds acquired its in 2006.

* In a never-before-released thesis, Reagan’s FEMA director discussed the potential internment of millions of blacks in concentration camps.

The Islamic Roots Of Science Fiction.

Here’s How Global Warming Is Already Worsening Extreme Deluges In The U.S. Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says. A Major Accounting Firm Just Ran the Numbers on Climate Change.

* On ISIS: Where Is Obama’s Exit Strategy?

Once again our country is invited to support the “long war” described by key Pentagon officials as lasting as long as 50 to 80 years. It’s probably both unwinnable and unaffordable, but no president and few politicians have the political ability to acknowledge failure and end it.

So they escalate enough to pass it along to their successor. War on an installment plan.

Every American President in the past quarter century has now gone on television during prime time to tell the nation and the world that he has decided to bomb Iraq. Last night was Barack Obama’s turn, and it was a vexing performance.

* What Do We Save When We Save the Internet? We cannot champion Network Neutrality without admitting that the Internet is no Utopia.

* Reddit made over $100,000 off stolen celebrity nudes.

* U2, Apple and rock-and-roll as dystopian junk mail. There’s really only one cure.

Update: All Clear. The suspect has been located and the reported weapon has been identified as an umbrella.

A Brief History of Typographic Snark and the Failed Crusade for an Irony Mark.

* The kids are all right: Millennials Are Reading More Books Than You Think They Are. Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again.

Congressional Hearing Slams Feasibility Of Commercial Asteroid Mining. “The American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space Act.” You dicks.

Everyone Knows Hedge Funds Are a Ripoff.

* Scientists warn of faulty Wisconsin wolf estimates. Learn to count, wolves!

* “Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires.”

* What Is Hope? Alex Trebek Is Bringing Back His Mustache.

* Dutch Girl Fakes a Trip to South East Asia.

Archaeologists Have Made An Incredible Discovery At Stonehenge.

* The Cold War University is back! The Real Story Behind Canada’s Sudden Interest In Arctic Archaeology.

* The Soviets sent stray dogs to conquer space. This is what happened next.

China Is Mass-Producing Islands To Extend Its Strategic Borders.

What Happens to “Holdouts” Who Refuse to Sell Their Homes to Developers?

* Here’s What’s Becoming Of America’s Dead Shopping Malls.

* Wearable tech as triumph for bosses.

* Interview With a Time Traveler.

So, ironically, if we had done absolutely nothing in response to 9/11 aside from hold funerals and shake our heads in disbelief, we would have been no less safe than we are now after two useless wars, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, and a decade of taking off our shoes for domestic flights.

* Another roundup of all the many things that are more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

* And Comedian Joe Mande remembers brands remembering 9/11. Never forget.

Weekend Link Flood!

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* Average Salaries of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty at 4-Year Colleges, 2013-14.

How Endowment Hoarding Hurts Universities.

* On anxieties in the humanities.

* The bad old days in academia. University is No Place For Women, or, ‘What About the MEN?’

* Should I write for free? No. Maybe? No.

‘I got into sex work to afford to be a writer.’

Against “doing something” or Love Your Sadness.

* What we talk about when we talk about low-wage workers. On (not) getting by in the gig economy.

* Her and twee fascism.

* Neobracketology at Slate. Walk off the court. The NCAA-Killing Lawsuit Might Finally Be Here. There simply never has been a compelling moral or ethical argument that the NCAA and the university had an inalienable right to every last nickel they could squeeze out of the work done by their student-athletes. Don’t tell me the odds.

* U. of Wisconsin Is Fined $35,000 in Settlement of Animal-Welfare Inquiry.

* The Apartheid of Children’s Literature.

US foreign policy’s gender gap.

* Silver will either have to keep his project modest in its topical scope, rendering it boring, or expand it into normative subject areas, rendering it incompetent. Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight is getting some high-profile bad reviews. By claiming the mantle of pure analysis, Silver is falling into a familiar journalistic trap. Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science.

* From way back in the archives: Gay Trek.

JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait.

* The West’s Coming Tragedy of the Commons. More at the New York Times.

A Forgotten Scandal in Baltimore’s High Society.

* BOSS: The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies is now soliciting submissions for its second issues.

* Wes Anderson symmetry supercut.

* Blame-the-victim gender-police watch: School Bans Boy From Wearing ‘My Little Pony’ Backpack, Claims It’s A ‘Trigger For Bullying.’

* Former Coach Is Awarded $360,000 in Bias Case Against U. of Minnesota.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine George R.R. Martin writing Game of Thrones tie-in films, forever. Is Game of Thrones unfinishable? Followup.

Martin surely was writing a conventional fantasy novel about an ancient evil and an exiled princess but somehow got distracted by what probably was summed up in some original one page outline in about one sentence (“Westeros monarchy weakened by infighting and succession problems”). Having fallen in love with what was supposed to be a bit of window dressing, he has continually expanded its role within the series even though it threatens to completely drown out what the series was supposed to be about in the first place. Is it any wonder that he has suffered from the contemporary genre’s most famous case of writer’s block? I’m sure that long ago he planned what would happen to Daenerys and the Night’s Watch, but now he feels obligated to give equal time to characters like Brienne who are likable yet serve little purpose to the central narrative and are instead dragged through increasingly arbitrary make-work scenes to keep them available for some later bit of relevance.

* Pixar sequels forever.

* Guys: Twitter says you’re using Twitter wrong.

Darwin’s Children Drew All Over the On The Origin of Species Manuscript.

* CNN teaches the controversy.

* Why do we let 80,000 Americans suffer a ‘slow-motion torture of burying alive’?

* BREAKING: The last decade was a historically awful time to enter the job market.

* BREAKING: The United States Needs to Guarantee Paid Maternity Leave.

* No one could have predicted: Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages.

2ºC Warming Is Enough To Seriously Hurt Crop Yields.

Florida Has Never Executed A White Person For Killing A Black Person.

* Mother Jones tries to argue marijuana is ecologically unsound for some reason.

The Third Narrative Advisory Council says it wants to counter the notion — in an era when the idea of academic boycotts of Israel has gained some momentum — “that one has to be either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian.” The truth is probably somewhere win the middle, I always say. LARoB roundtable on academic activism and BDS.

* The coming Democratic majority: Democrats don’t manage to run anyone for Nevada governor.

* Gamification in The Baffler.

* Maps of the day: how Hollywood destroys America. No, literally, how it does it. No, you’re not understanding.

* Science we can use: Why Dark Chocolate Is So Damn Good For You.

* You had me at 600-Pound “Chicken From Hell.”

* And the Very Best Tumblr of All Time: Skeletor Is Love.

…And More

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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. 

Stunning front-page from UNC’s Daily Tar Heel today.

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.

Elderly Obama And Boehner Daughters Arrive In Time Machine To Demand Climate Action.

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.

* When (and how) Brad DeLong trolled David Graeber for months. Jesus.

* 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.

How to Get a Black Woman Fired.

Overwhelming Student Debt Has Parents Getting Life Insurance Policies on Their Kids.

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.

Detroit Schools Emergency Manager Gets Accolades as Children Fall Further Behind.

* 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.

* Gen X hits the nostalgia capitalism threshold.

* And dollar tracking site WheresGeorge suggests discrete commerce zones in the U.S.

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Ex Cathedra – 2

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There is no established protocol whatsoever for the titles, status or prerogatives of a retired Pope.

The prophecy of the popes. Another pope betting site. The political science of papal elections. And then about a dozen posts from Andrew Sullivan: Benedict’s Radical End. Why Now? What Now For Benedict? Who Would Benedict Pick? A Black Pope? Resignation And The Papacy.

“It is not good for a Pope to live 20 years. It is anomaly and bears no good fruit; he becomes a god, has no one to contradict him, does not know facts, does cruel things without meaning it.”

Ex Cathedra

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For the first time since 1415 (!) — and the first time voluntarily since 1294 (!!) — the Pope has resigned. I freely confess: I’m completely fascinated by this process. Precedents for an event without precedent. For now, Reddit has your odds for making book.

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