Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘evolution

Thursday Links

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* Call for Applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* American SF and the Other. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1975.

This tendency has been remarkably strong in American SF. The only social change presented by most SF has been towards authoritarianism, the domination of ignorant masses by a powerful elite—sometimes presented as a warning, but often quite complacently. Socialism is never considered as an alternative, and democracy is quite forgotten. Military virtues are taken as ethical ones. Wealth is assumed to be a righteous goal and a personal virtue. Competitive free-enterprise capitalism is the economic destiny of the entire Galaxy. In general, American SF has assumed a permanent hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with rich, ambitious, aggressive males at the top, then a great gap, and then at the bottom the poor, the uneducated, the faceless masses, and all the women. The whole picture is, if I may say so, curiously “un-American.” It is a perfect baboon patriarchy, with the Alpha Male on top, being respectfully groomed, from time to time, by his inferiors.

* Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Gee, you don’t say.

* Who rules America? The answer may surprise you!

* Abolishing the Broken US Juvenile Justice System.

Pentagon weaponry in St. Louis County. Those sound cannons were supposed to be for speeders. The Militarization of the Police. These Photos Prove Just How Chaotic The Situation In Ferguson Has Become. Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014. There’s a police coup going on right now in Ferguson, Mo. Even the liberal Matt Yglesias. Even CNN’s pro-police witness describes an execution. They even arrested an alderman. “The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.” In Defense of the Ferguson Riots“Hands up, don’t shoot” spreads beyond Missouri. The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America. You have a right to record the police.

* Editorial: Governor must let Ferguson be where better begins.

Step One: St. Louis County Police To Be Withdrawn From Duty After Ferguson Protests.

* 4 Unarmed Black Men Have Been Killed By Police in the Last Month. LAPD shooting of mentally ill man stirs criticism, questions.

5 Issues (Among Many) on Which Libertarians Are On Your Side.

America Is Not For Black People.

* Climate change is here: Cataclysmic flooding in Detroit and Baltimore. Meanwhile: Democrats are attacking Mitch McConnell for not liking coal enough.

* How discounting tuition drives college admissions. Really eye-opening.

When Noel-Levitz takes on a client, it takes the school’s admissions and retention data, scrubs it clean and uses the results to tell the school who’s coming, who’s going and who might be enticed to stay with a few more aid dollars or certain enhancements to student life. Their formulas might show the benefits of giving four well-heeled applicants with high SAT scores a 10% discount from its $50,000 tuition–rather than give one high-achieving, lower-income applicant the $20,000 scholarship she needs. The award of an extra $5,000 to rich kids might provide an ego boost that moves the needle–and bring in four students sure to pay the remaining $45,000 each year. That same $20,000 generated an additional $150,000 in relatively stable net tuition revenue. “One of the things that’s a hallmark of this company is we don’t fly around and give our opinion,” Crockett notes. “We always will back that opinion with data points.”

* Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson. Nearly 300 Scholars Declare They Will Not Engage With the University of Illinois.

In fact, gender was one of the best predictors of whether an article would be cited or not. Walter writes that women authors received “0.7 cites for every 1 cite that a male author would receive.” Untenured women were the least likely to be cited.

* Classified as neither workers nor students, many graduate students have inadequate protections against sexual violence.

* IHE blog post argues that basically all academic hiring is illegal on age discrimination grounds. Talking about this on Twitter yesterday I was directed to this brief indicating such claims would be unlikely to prevail in court, though in each of the named cases the college settled rather than let it go that far.

* Another great post in Adam’s continuing exegesis of Star Trek: Why a Star Trek film would never work.

The deepest irony here, of course, is that the “messianic” blockbuster plot is ultimately a story about white privilege, a fantasy set up to present it as deserved. No matter how hard anyone else works, the white hero always has that “special something” everyone else lacks — and his close friendship with the meritocratic rival always turns crucially on that rival’s acknowledgment of the white messiah’s right to be in charge and save the day. In contrast to this overtly white-centered paradigm, the Star Trek franchise has always been marked by diversity in casting, and over the years, it showed a profound interest in imagining alien cultures, sometimes in great depth (Klingons above all, but also Ferengi, Vulcans, Trill, and even the Borg). To start the reboot by actually destroying the alien culture most important to Star Trek, and in the process making Spock more human, is a profound betrayal on this level.

* Also from Adam: Genocide vs. War.

* Atomic Tests Were a Tourist Draw in 1950s Las Vegas.

* 10 Of The Most Bizarre Books Ever Written.

* A woman has won the Fields medal for the first time. Meanwhile: “Local Mom Decides Important Sports Case.”

* BPA-Free Plastics are probably poison too.

First Nation Will Evict Mining Company After Massive Spill Contaminated Area Water.

* The Martian, but on Earth: Antarctic Halley Station lost power and heat at -32C.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Columbia University.

* Can the state legitimately force you to give your children food? Opinions differ!

* NYCABC has a list of Amazon wish lists for American political prisoners, which includes a name that might be familiar to you if you went to Randolph High School in the late 1990s.

The 1979 “Rockford Files” Episode that Inspired “The Sopranos.”

* Some people just see further and farther: Comcast put customer on hold until they closed.

* Dueling Aquamen.

* RNC Condemns AP Exam’s ‘Radically Revisionist View’ Of U.S. History.

“Instead of striving to build a ‘City upon a Hill,’ as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy’ that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority,’” the letter reads. “The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that ‘was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.’”

* BREAKING: 2016 is going to be a real bummer. But don’t worry: there’s definitely no hope.

* Evolution proves there’s no such thing as ghosts. QED.

* Ice-T’s Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook is Out, and it’s Free!

* Are the kids all right? Are Millennials Compatible With U.S. Military Culture?

* Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network.

* Speaking my language: Multiversity Turns the DC Universe Into a Quantum-Theory Freakfest.

* And everything you want, in the worst way possible: Veronica Mars will return as an in-universe, Ryan-Hansen-scriped sequel for The-Comeback-style web series Play It Again, Dick.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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Apocalypse, New Jersey: Matt Taibbi reports from Camden. Camden has been like this for decades — while the discourse in the state is always about whether Newark and Jersey City can be “saved,” Camden is simply and permanently written off.

“The countervailing voices of this notion that student-athletes are being taken advantage of has been the dominant theme and had played out pretty loudly in a variety of outlets,” Emmert said. “The reality is schools are spending in between $100,000 and $250,000 on each student-athlete.” Good news, everyone, I just figured out a really painless way to solve university budget crises!

* The academy as pyramid scheme.

* NYU re-unionizes. And Cooper Union blinks?

* Jason Segal to play David Foster Wallace in you know what I give up.

* Hopkins has a plan to recalibrate graduate school with larger stipends and summer funding with new faculty cohorts that will “lean junior” and “lean adjunct.”

New Data Show Articles by Women Are Cited Less Frequently.

A privileged childhood as tragic disability.

Prosecutors were hoping to send Couch to jail for up to 20 years, but the defense made the case for why Couch should be let go with just an ankle bracelet and a court order to go to rehab for a while. Their main line of argument was that Couch was actually a victim too. His parents enjoyed a life of wealth and privilege and due to that never bothered to teach Couch that actions had consequences, an expert brought in to defend Couch dubbed the condition “affluenza.”

* BREAKING: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State.

* That reality TV show that wants to send a group of people to go die on Mars is really making of go of acting like they’re serious about it.

UW-Madison ranks as eighth ‘best value’ among public colleges.

* Dark horse apocalypses: Yellowstone supervolcano ‘even more colossal’ that previously thought.

* The Desolation of Smaug is basically Tolkien fan fiction, and Salon says that’s just fine.

* Meanwhile, The New York Post publishes some spicy Obama/Thorning-Schmidt slash fic.

* Draw feminist inspiration from this Pantene ad. No, really!

Megyn Kelly Wants Kids At Home To Know That Jesus And Santa Were White.

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram.

* And science proves Mitochondrial Eve was killed by a really scary spider: Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors. And not to mention: Fear of Snakes Drove Pre-Human Evolution.

I’ve Already Optioned Three Paranormal Romance Screenplays Based on this Premise

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 19, 2013 at 8:54 am

Weekend Links

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* Annals of so totally completely missing the point: Hunger Games’ producers working on ‘potential theme park opportunities.”

The Public Option for Higher Education.

Instructed at 4 p.m. Thursday to cut $55,000 — or 20 classes — by 5 p.m.

* How to Write a Lifeboater Manifesto.

‘You Can Sleep Here All Night’: Video Games and Labor.

* Socialize Social Media! A Manifesto.

* Postal Service Insolvent Since 2006 Law Requiring It to Be Insolvent. Better privatize it!

Humanities degrees at Marquette remain steady despite national statistics.

* Colorized historical photos. Secluded Cultures on the Brink of Extinction. Michael Galinsky’s Retro Photos of 1980s Shopping Malls Are, Like, Totally Rad.

* Senate passes ENDA 64-32, now the House will completely ignore it. Obama Backs $10 Minimum Wage Secure in the Knowledge It Will Never Be Passed.

* The Chris Christie Hegemony. I Can’t Believe Terry McAuliffe Is Going to Be Governor of Virginia. Here comes 2016.

No, Crime Is Not Going to Start Soaring Under Bill de Blasio.

Terrible Columnist Richard Cohen Shocked To Learn That Slavery Was Really, Really Bad.

upinarms-map* “A Very Dangerous Boy”: the ten-year-old boy who killed his neo-Nazi father.

Secret ‘Bay Bridge Troll’ Guarded the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge for 24 Years.

* Advanced Readings in D&D.

* The eleven nations of North America.

School Named For Former KKK Leader Reconsiders Its Legacy. Christ, Florida, why the rush? Let’s be sure we really think this thing through.

* Declaring a war on warrior culture in the wake of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. “The NFL’s Bully Problem”: Sports Columnist Dave Zirin Connects Violence in Sports to Rape Culture. Tony Dorsett Has CTE. More Living Football Players Show Signs Of CTE. Why It Matters That Tony Dorsett Is Showing Signs Of CTE. Why a Denver Broncos player suddenly walked away from the NFL and more than $1M.

* You can tell the human body was poorly designed by evolution. I mean, who puts sanitation next to recreation?

* Happens all the time: Super typhoon Haiyan just broke all scientific intensity scales.

Since 1890 every Wisconsin officer who took a life was cleared of any wrongdoing. Every single one.

Black students scored lower this year in every category of the nation’s benchmark reading and math test, which also showed that for all the dynamism in Wisconsin’s education scene, student achievement remains stagnant.

* Sweden formalizes the Bechdel Test.

* Pablo Neruda: Not Poisoned.

* The new normal: Black woman shot in head seeking help in white neighborhood.

This Is How Much Money Twitter Owes You.

* And at last some good news: That Saul Goodman Breaking Bad spinoff may be both prequel and sequel.

Wednesday! Night! Links!

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* Jonathan Senchyne on Breaking Bad, cancer, and Indian Country. I like the way he teased this on Facebook: “Walter White has lung cancer, but doesn’t smoke…”

You know that newfound Van Gogh painting has the TARDIS in it, right?

* From the archives, just in time for application season: Should I Go to Grad School in the Humanities? I wrote that a year ago. If I wrote it today I think I’d write basically the same thing, just be more emphatic about every part. In particular — with all the necessary caveats about the falseness of meritocracy fantasy — going to a highly ranked program with strong recent placement rate is absolutely crucial. If you don’t hit that, and you want to go, work on your writing sample for a year and apply again. Your grad school’s reputation becomes instant proxy for your reputation. It’s not something you should plan to make up for by working hard.

* Also with all the usual anti-meritocracy caveats: On selling yourself on the academic job market.

* From the Washington Post archives: This amazing George Will there-are-too-many-states-nowdays rant against denim crossed my stream today.

The Inside Story Of How A Fake PhD Hijacked The Syria Debate.

Go Play This 8-Bit Version of Game of Thrones Immediately.

* Thinking through The World’s End: Part One, Part Two.

* Rich people are freaked out about Bill de Blasio. Sounds like a good start.

Nate Silver vs. Public Policy Polling. I’m amazed anyone is taking PPP’s side on this. If you don’t like a poll, run it again and release both; otherwise you’re introducing a massive bias into your process and destroying the credibility of your brand.

Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial Sues For $100M, Claims Prosecution Threw Case.

Long Lives Made Humans Human.

* An oral history of The Shield.

The New Yorker on Truman Show Delusion. Subscription required, alas.

* Years later, everyone remembered the Cheese Winter: The city’s Department of Public Works will go ahead this winter with a pilot program to determine whether cheese brine — a liquid waste product left over from cheesemaking — can be added to rock salt and applied directly to the street.

* Life imitates the Onion, as always in the worst possible way.

* And Salon interviews the great Margaret Atwood.

Membership Has Its Privileges

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Tuesday

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* Did Blowing into Nintendo Cartridges Really Help? Hogwash! It was the only thing that ever worked.

* The number of open faculty positions in English and foreign languages rose by about 3.8 percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2011-12, according to figures released by the Modern Language Association.

* The Presumption of Literacy. Nice post from Angus.

* I think I linked to this before, but it’s still pretty great: romcom2012. Romney losing Ohio. Romney getting creamed. Romney’s nightmare scenario.

Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found.

Study shows gender bias in science is real. Here’s why it matters.

* Dystopia now: news from Honduras.

Honduras is set to host one of the world’s most radical neo-liberal economic experiments under a plan to build from scratch the rules, roads and rafters of a “charter city” for foreign investors.

The Central American nation hopes the plan for model development zones, which will have their own laws, tax system, judiciary and police, will emulate the economic success of city states such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

* Analysis: 93 Percent Of Fox News Climate Coverage Is ‘Misleading.’ Honestly, I’m amazed they hit 7% accuracy.

* But at least climate change has an upside: global bacon shortage predicted.

* The cult of the entrepreneur.

* Chevy Chase Hates Everyone.

* Miniature Virgin Mary Statues Transformed Into Pop Culture Characters.

* How Humans Lost Our Chance at a Third Eye. So close.

* Animals are conscious and should be treated as such.

* Know your enemy! Economists walk among us.

* And a detailed plan for getting human beings off the Earth. Just don’t tell the plebes.

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