Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Seuss’
* In the light of such an absolute and irretrievable failure, I think we need to revise the slogan about it being easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. It’s as though we collectively were given a choice of which we would choose, and we chose to end the world. See, you know, also.
* More Wes Andersony than Wes Anderson: Cosmonaut survival kit.
* Crazy story: Princeton weighs whether to offer meningitis vaccines.
* Wheeeeeee: Wisconsin GOP pushes new voting restrictions.
Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: His alcoholism was different, because someday he was going to die.
* Like Reinharz, many other college presidents across the country are negotiating huge exit packages when they step down, which critics say is emblematic of schools’ unrestrained spending on everything from administrative salaries to elaborate new buildings that drive up the cost of higher education.
* MOOCs were supposed to be the device that would bring higher education to the masses. However, the masses at San Jose State don’t appear to be ready for the commodified, impersonal higher education that MOOCs offer without the guidance that living, breathing professors provide to people negotiating its rocky shores for the first time. People need people.
* Game Play Has No Negative Impact on Kids, UK Study Finds. 11,000-kid, decade-long study.
* Well they closed down the video store in Philly last night… Requiem for Blockbuster in the key of Springsteen.
* Laugh and cry in a single sound: San Francisco turns into Gotham City for Batkid.
* And communists seize Seattle! Could Portland be next?
* It seems likely to me that at some point in the postwar era, the world had actually collectively created something like “the material conditions for full communism” — but powerful people made choices that led to a voluntary continuation of the logic of scarcity even when we were no longer physically constrained by actual-existing scarcity. The result has been a squandering of those resources in such a way as to set up environmental catastrophes that will almost certainly return us to a condition of real scarcity.
* What’s going on in Colorado is an outstanding case study in what happens when a black market becomes a legal one, and it’s something we probably won’t see again in any of our lifetimes.
* America’s three biggest jail systems, with more than 11,000 prisoners under treatment on any given day, represent by far the largest mental-health treatment facilities in the country.
* At the University of Toronto, students have created their own exchanges where they can pay students who are enrolled in a class which is full to drop out, thus opening space for themselves. In other words, a secondary market in class spaces has spontaneously emerged (as markets do).
* “‘The best way to interview is nonpregnant and ringless,’” that respondent said, adding she was only able to land a job after she kept her family secret during the interview process.
* Cheating on a quiz I can understand, but cheating in a quiz bowl? Oh, Harvard.
As I pointed out in “Anderson Fails at Arithmetic,” this allegation misleads the reader in two ways. Inequality has been reduced enormously under Chávez, using its standard measure, the Gini coefficient. So one can hardly say that in this aspect, Venezuela remains the “same as ever.” Making Anderson’s contention even worse is the fact that Venezuela is the most equal country in Latin America, according to the United Nations. Anderson’s readers come away with exactly the opposite impression.
* The Jobs Crisis at Our Best Law Schools Is Much, Much Worse Than You Think: At some top tier schools, more than a fifth of students are underemployed.
* Investigators say Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning on Saturday was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his Lebanon home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed. Sheriff Robert Bryan says the weapon discharged, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
* High school students in Newark will walk out of classes today at noon, marching to Rutgers Law School to attend a State Assembly budget hearing on education funding.
* My media empire: I have a piece on climate change and science fiction in the new New Inquiry issue on weather, which has gone out to subscribers but isn’t online yet. I’ll let you know when you can read it, though for a mere $2 you could read it this very minute.
* “It’s one of those situations where everybody says it’s an issue but the people who have the most influence and the most ability to do something about it are not acting on it,” said Gary Rhoades, professor of higher education at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education, a virtual think tank supported by faculty and labor groups. He called the adjunct issue a “widely acknowledged challenge” with deep, interwoven roots – many of which pit administrative prerogatives against labor concerns and educational outcomes.
* Game of the day: run from Michel Foucault. Do not become enamored of power.
* zunguzungu is gathering notes towards a canon of post-9/11 literature. I contributed Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” as well as the inevitable science fictional treatments: Battlestar Galactica, District 9, Nolan’s Batman…
* Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage. It’s so hot in Australia they’ve had to add a new color to the weather map.
* This paper uses annual variation in temperature and precipitation over the past 50 years to examine the impact of climatic changes on economic activity throughout the world. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries but have little effect in rich countries. Second, higher temperatures appear to reduce growth rates in poor countries, rather than just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects in poor nations, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and aggregate investment, and increasing political instability. Analysis of decade or longer climate shifts also shows substantial negative effects on growth in poor countries. Should future impacts of climate change mirror these historical effects, the negative impact on poor countries may be substantial.
* The American Prospect considers the legal hyperformalism the GOP has embraced in the face of longterm demographic crisis and declining real power.
What all these efforts have in common is that they are all perfectly legal, and yet they all violate the norms of how American politics had been practiced for decades or even for centuries. All of them exploit some loophole in the law or the Constitution to give Republicans some immediate advantage in the basic ground rules of how political issues are contested.
* The great moral question of our time: On heckling.
* The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America.
* Science catches up to what the poets always knew: Our perception of time changes with age, but it also depends on our emotional state. Research is steadily improving our understanding of the brain circuits that control this sense, opening the way for new forms of treatment, particularly for Parkinson’s disease.
* Great moments in advertising: the UC spends $4.3 million to attract a single student.
* The forever war on women: Under Obama, a Skew Toward Male Appointees.
* And Mitch Hurwitz teases the new Arrested Development. I am…optimistic?
* Muppet Fairy Tales. Why isn’t this a book or long-running television series yet?
* The Ministry of Defence is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics.
* To explain the behavior of “the left,” Bergen offers this theory: “From both the right and left, there has been a continuing, dramatic cognitive disconnect between Mr. Obama’s record and the public perception of his leadership: despite his demonstrated willingness to use force, neither side regards him as the warrior president he is.” In other words, progressives are slavishly supportive of “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades” because they have deluded themselves into denying this reality and continue to pretend he’s some sort of anti-war figure.
* And the truth is out there: Seattle Attorney Andrew Basiago Claims U.S. Sent Him On Time Travels. I want to believe!
* We’re running out of visions of the future except dystopias,” Morrison says. “The superhero is Western culture’s last-gasp attempt to say there’s a future for us.” The interview’s at Playboy, if you’re at work.
* Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vetoed a City Council bill that would have raised the minimum wage in New York City to $11.50, calling the measure “a throwback to the era when government viewed the private sector as a cash cow to be milked.” I mean really.
* The headline reads, “Watch an Icelandic glacier disintegrate.”
* Scandal in Whoville! The National Post reports that a first-grade teacher at British Columbia’s Prince Rupert elementary school could face disciplinary action for displaying the following Dr. Seuss quote from Yertle the Turtle on school grounds — “I know, up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”
* And in local news: they’ve finally figured out how to ruin 9th Street.
* Of course they say the same thing about us. Judge Strikes Down Key Parts Of Walker’s Anti-Public Employee Union Law.
* Don’t check the date, just believe it: Google Maps QuestView for the NES.
* This collection of more-accurate Dr. Seuss titles is one of my favorite things on the entire Internet.
* James Cameron teases the Avatar sequels.
“The best inspiration I got for ‘Avatar’ 2 and 3 was dealing with the master navigator culture in Micronesia,” Cameron said by phone from Tokyo on Friday, where he attended the Japanese premiere of “Titanic 3D.”
The Micronesians, a seafaring culture who navigated the Pacific for centuries without the aid of compasses or charts, already have a lot in common with the blue Na’vi residents of Pandora — they’re an indigenous, matrilineal culture, colonized by outsiders. And the cerulean and aquamarine tones of “Avatar” and its inhabitants seem drawn from postcards from the watery Micronesian region.
* The New York Times has some fun with towards a quantum theory of Mitt Romney.
* In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.
* The lottery lie: The educational “bonus” appears to be nonexistent. Miller and Pierce (1997) studied the short- and long-term effect of education lotteries. They found that lottery states did indeed increase per-capita spending on education during the lottery’s early years. However, after some time these states actually decreased their overall spending on education. In contrast, states without lotteries increased education spending over time. In fact, nonlottery states spend, on average, 10 percent more of their budgets on education than lottery states (Gearey 1997).
* Hunger Games commentary watch: Understanding Katniss.
* If you and your board are now determined to show that you in fact have wisdom and maturity when you exercise your powers over the eduction of your young, then you should acknowledge that it was a rotten lesson you taught young people in a free society when you denounced and then burned books–books you hadn’t even read. You should also resolve to expose your children to all sorts of opinions and information, in order that they will be better equipped to make decisions and to survive. Yours sincerely, Kurt Vonnegut.
But the problem goes far beyond politics. We have become a society that can’t self-correct, that can’t address its obvious problems, that can’t pull out of its nosedive. And so to our list of disasters let us add this fourth entry: we have entered an age of folly that—for all our Facebooking and the twittling tweedle-dee-tweets of the twitterati—we can’t wake up from.
* Slate continues to pioneer bold new horizons in fantasy capitalism.
* 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide. No one could have predicted the widespread implementation of insecticides would kill so many insects!
* The government has put the chances of a magnitude 7.3 quake centered in the north of Tokyo Bay at 70 percent over the next three decades, and has estimated there would be about 11,000 casualties and 850,000 buildings destroyed.
* Cancer research: it’s worse than you think.
* And Canada will stop issuing pennies. Honestly, they’re decades ahead of us. Could be centuries.
* The Portal 2s that could have been. I do, I happily admit, want to play all of these.
* Drop everything! My brilliant friend and colleague Melody Jue is now blogging at Philosophy of Water.
* At right is your photo of the day: An aurora over Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland.
* Joss Whedon explains how to write a sequel.
* “I have not heard of another hug”: Janet Bell, Derrick Bell’s widow, speaks out.
* Pat Robertson gets one right: he says we ought to legalize it.
* The Seuss book no one’s bought us (yet): The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family.
* Jacob Burak crunches the odds on Russian Roulette. But he’s completely failed to account for the quantum immortality factor.
* Science quantifies the Tina Fey effect.
“When all other variables in the model are held at their mean, those who watched the SNL clip had a 45.4 percent probability of saying that Palin’s nomination made them less likely to vote for McCain,” they write. “This same probability drops to 34 percent among those who saw coverage of the debate through other media. Exposure to the clip had no significant effect on the likelihood of voting for Obama.”
* When Terry Kneiss wins a Showcase Showdown, son, he wins it.
* For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the “stats” that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports. I’m shocked, shocked! Followup to this This American Life story.
* The headline reads, “Breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment stops brain damage in mice.”
* And TPM has today’s sci-fi architecture porn.
Sneaking in a linkdump before the conference begins…
* A year into his first full-time teaching job, Newt Gingrich applied to be college president, submitting with his application a paper titled “Some Projections on West Georgia College’s Next Thirty Years.” Gingrich’s College Records Show a Professor Hatching Big Plans. I know it’s all Romney! Romney! Romney! these days, but Rick Perry and I still believe in Gingritchmentum.
* You’ve probably already seen it, but Wisconsin Democrats have collected a million signatures to recall Scott Walker. Given that’s 50% of the votes cast in the last election and 20% of the total number of the people in the state, they could make some history here.
* Another TPM piece on “the new swing states.”
* In traveling around I wasn’t able to post on the latest James O’Keefe follies. Well done sir. I wonder if this violates his probation from the last time he pulled a pointless, self-refuting stunt.
* And today’s speculative physics: What if every electron in the universe was all the same exact particle, dreaming it was a butterfly, dreaming it was a man?
A big post, catching up from most of last week:
* Science fiction on the BBC: A brief history of all-women societies.
* News from my childhood: Another new version of Dungeons & Dragons is on the way. MetaFilter agonizes.
* News from the Montana Supreme Court: “Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creatures of government…”
* News from
the future right now: Record Heat Floods America With Temperatures 40 Degrees Above Normal.
And what ends up happening there is that the candidate with the big stack of donor money always somehow manages to survive the inevitable scandals and tawdry revelations, while the one who’s depending on checks from grandma and $25 internet donations from college students always winds up mysteriously wiped out.
* While genomic research on the super-old is in its very early stages, what’s fascinating is what the researchers are not finding. These people’s genomes are fundamentally the same as other people’s. They are clearly very special, but not in ways that are obvious.
* What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2012? Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1955.
* Pepsi Says Mountain Dew Can Dissolve Mouse Carcasses. Keep in mind: that’s their defense.
* Romney: Elected office is for the rich.
People who stop paying bills earn lousy credit ratings but eventually are freed of old debt under statutes of limitations that vary by state and range from three years to 10 years from the last loan payment.
But if a debtor agrees to make even a single payment on an expired debt, the clock starts anew on some part of the old obligation, a process called “re-aging.”
So if borrowers again fall behind on their payments, debt collectors can turn to their usual tools: letters, phone calls and lawsuits. By restarting a debt’s statute of limitations, the collectors have years to retrieve payments.
* Wells Tower: In Gold We Trust.
* And you probably already saw Paypal’s latest outrage, but man, it’s a doozy.
* 12 ancient paintings containing surprising evidence of aliens. You had me at hello.
* The bodies of most of the models H&M features on its website are computer-generated and “completely virtual,” the company has admitted. H&M designs a body that can better display clothes made for humans than humans can, then “dresses” it by drawing on its clothes, and digitally pastes on the heads of real women in post-production.
* And the bastards have gone and ruined The Lorax. The fiends.
* What do you call a bunch of law schools getting sued for lying about employment data? A good start.
* MetaFilter has all your Breaking Bad finale links. We haven’t seen the last episode yet, but the buzz is good.
* The word “new” has no place in the title of this document. Nearly all of these chancellors were in office during the twenty years of UC public funding decline, and have come together to advocate the acceleration of what they have been doing all along. This consists of advocating business-as-usual non-public revenue growth on a base of doubled tuition.
* In 1979, traveling unsupervised around the neighborhood was a developmental milestone for six-year-olds. Nowadays my parent friends tell me it’s widely considered child abuse.
* And science has finally proven optimism is a mental illness. Have a good night.