Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘extrasolar planets

All Your Weekend Links at No Cost to You

with 2 comments

* The great Gabriel García Márquez has died. The Paris Review interview. Autumn of the Patriarch, Forgetting to Live.

In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.

* Earthseed as New-Age transreligion.

* I asked William Pannapacker how to responsibly advise students who want to go to graduate school in the humanities. He said you can’t.

UNC’s New Grading System Could Show What That ‘A’ Is Really Worth. Tentatively, this seems like a good improvement on the existing system, though I’m not in love with the administration’s “now we can finally catch unscrupulous faculty!” line.

* Supposedly we’re supposed to be outraged by Snowden not infiltrating the Putin government and leaking details about his massive surveillance state apparatus. Or something. I can’t make heads or tails of it to be honest.

* In defense of edited collections.

Harvard Accused Of Retaliating Against Professor Who Defended Sexual Assault Survivors.

* Rape culture and athletics at FSU.

The #AskEmmert Q&A Is Going Poorly.

* The theology of ethical consumerism.

After comparing the average achievement of children whose parents regularly engage in each form of parental involvement to that of their counterparts whose parents do not, we found that most forms of parental involvement yielded no benefit to children’s test scores or grades, regardless of racial or ethnic background or socioeconomic standing. The zero point of most liberal (as opposed to leftist) interventions in poverty is that “merit” broadly defined is structured (a little) by genetic lottery and (a lot) by class position, which means that strategies for equality that are filtered through education and achievement will always just wind up replicating existing structures of power and existing privileges rather than disrupting them. I don’t see any answer for this problem beyond deliberate redistribution of wealth.

* The failure of desegregation.

Study: People of color breathe air that is 38 percent more polluted than white people’s.

* The Nation reviews The Years of Living Dangerously.

New York Times Admits It Agreed to ‘Gag Orders’ in Israel.

* A huge part of the function of Western media is producing and distributing state propaganda. Freddie has just a short recent list.

* American politics is a cesspool, New Jersey politics doubly so.

* Q will visit the Abramsverse.

Here’s How Long That Teen Would Have to Pee in the Portland Reservoir to Make It Unsafe to Drink. But what’s 38 million gallons between friends?

* On writing disabilities in SF and fantasy. Doctor Who and the Women.

In the moments that follow, both the Doctor and his companion ask River why she didn’t just say her wrist was broken, and she explains – in this horrible, horrible moment – that the Doctor must be protected from knowing how much it hurts people to be around him; that humans must hide their weakness from him so that he will not feel upset.

* China and postcapitalism.

* Third child as status symbol.

* Grad students unionize at UConn.

* Monsters walk among us: People who think they’re attractive tend to be more comfortable with economic inequality.

The Last Golden Days of Marijuana Smuggling.

* They have come to the conclusion that God, / Requiring a heaven and a hell, didn’t need to / Plan two establishments: ‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer Accused of Sexually Assaulting Underage Boy. More details on the case at Boing Boing.

* I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.

* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards grandfather clauses that allow obscenities to continue for decades after they are banned.

Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire.”

* The New York Times profiles the great Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black.

* Actors laughing between takes.

* And let’s go ahead and put Krypton at the top of the list of places to invade next.

Wednesday Links

with one comment

* There’s an Earthlike planet in Alpha Centauri. This is the best news I’ve ever heard and I’m halfway to my space victory already I just have to research Fusion and Ecology.

* Compared to this the discovery of a planet with four suns and another all-diamond planet just seems boring.

* The other day they drove the Space Shuttle through Los Angeles.

* University of Phoenix to close 115 locations.

* Like Lee Bessette I’m pretty skeptical of this move towards a “teaching track.” Has establishing multiple tiers like this ever improved labor conditions?

* World’s biggest geoengineering experiment ‘violates’ UN rules. I’ve been fascinated for years that large-scale geoengineering projects are now within the reach not just of nations, but of individuals. Things are going to get interesting, in the “ancient Chinese curse” sense.

* Title suggestions for Future Die Hard Movies.

* The Problem with Presidential Precedent.

* Will California end the death penalty this year? They should.

* Firefly animated spinoff? I really think at this point I’d rather just be happy with what we got than ride a bad version of the thing I love into the ground. #geekheresy

* The Strange Death of Alfalfa.

* Debt Collector Illegally Seizes Disabled Vet’s Savings, Tells Him ‘You Should Have Died.’

* How Buffy Predicted Geek Misogyny. I’m not sure predicted is really the right tense here. What an Academic Who Wrote Her Dissertation on Trolls Thinks of Violentacrez. Michael Brutsch, ViolentAcrez, and Online Pseudonyms. On Ruining Violentacrez’ Life. I’m told r/creepshots is already back, masquerading as a “fashion police” subreddit.

* Gallup and Josh Marshall teases crisis as a real divergence seems possible between the popular and the electoral vote.

* Some debate highlights: a brutal on-the-spot fact-check that will be part of presidential debate prep for years to come. How epistemic closure hurts a candidate. The binder story that launched a thousand memes wasn’t even true. Leaked Debate Agreement Shows Both Obama and Romney are Sniveling Cowards. And whoever is elected, the planet loses. What an embarrassing spectacle for the people of the future to witness. Not that it’s anything new.

* Trove of Kafka Documents Must Be Released, Israeli Judge Rules. You can pick them up at the Castle…

Out There

leave a comment »

The Hubble has discovered a planet comprised primarily of steam.

But because the planet is also in a much closer orbit to its star than Earth is to the Sun (Just over a million miles away compared to Earth’s 93 million miles, with a year of just 38 hours), its surface temperature is way hotter: an average 446 degrees fahrenheit, according to estimates from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center.

That means that the water on the surface of GJ 1214b is doing weird things besides turning into steam.

“The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like ‘hot ice’ or ‘superfluid water’, substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience,” Berta explained.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

‘Planet Habitability Index’

with one comment

Written by gerrycanavan

January 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Monday!

with one comment

* ‘Democrats Gleeful at Prospect of Running Against Gingrich.’ That’s the first bit of Gingrich-related news that’s made me nervous.

* io9 has the trailer for Joss Whedon’s long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods.

Duke University trustee Bruce Karsh and his wife Martha have donated $50 million to Duke for a permanent endowment to support need-based financial aid for undergraduate students from the United States and other countries, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Monday.

* Randy Balko vs. paramilitary creep.

* Aaron Bady on the Oakland Commune.

* How Doctors Die.

* Henry Aaron: So… here is my prediction. The Supreme Court will sustain the individual mandate, and it will do so not by the narrow 5 to 4 split that has become so familiar, but by a vote of 7 to 2. Or 8 to 1. Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sottamayor, and Kagan are virtually certain to find the mandate constitutional. But also voting to sustain it, I believe, will be Justices Scalia and Kennedy, based on reasoning similar to that of Silberman and Sutton. Justices Roberts and Kennedy are in play and I am assuming that either or both will vote to affirm the mandate. Justice Thomas, who has staked out a far-reaching opposition to federal regulation in many currently accepted forms, will say that the mandate exceeds Congress’s constitutional authority.

* Apocalypse now: Radioactive water from Fukushima might have found its way into the Pacific ocean and experts believe it could contain strontium.

* Apocalypse tomorrow: In fact, according to the latest science, says Anderson, “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

* “If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.”

* And today from America’s finest news source: Global Warming May Be Irreversible by 2006.

* But it’s okay that we’ve ruined this planet; after all, there’s always Keppler 22b.

Tuesday Morning

with one comment

10 Films You Should See at the Raindance Film Festival 2011. My cousin Chris’s brilliant Afghanistan documentary Where My Heart Beats clocks in at #9.

* Europocalpyse now: Greek Default Almost Assured. More here.

* And speaking of money: David Graeber vs. the Austrians.

* In these two books, we have two versions of school reform. One is devised by Wall Street financiers and politicians who believe in rigidly defined numerical goals and return on investment; they blame lazy teachers and self-interested unions when test scores are low. The other draws on the deep experience of a compassionate teacher who finds fault not with teachers, unions, or students, but with a society that refuses to take responsibility for the conditions in which its children live and learn—and who has demonstrated through her own efforts how one dedicated teacher has improved the education of poor young people.

Bringing the number of planets discovered outside our solar system to 645, the 50-planet haul includes 16 super-Earths (planets with a mass between one and ten times that of Earth), including one that orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star). Sounds like it’s time to bring freedom to the HD85512bians.

* PKD Watch: The police department in Santa Cruz, California, has begun an experiment that uses a mathematical algorithm to predict when and where certain crimes will be committed, and puts police on the scene before they happen.

* And North Carolina really is going to try to ban gay marriage. Again.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, and opponents of a constitutional amendment contend that it is unnecessary. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a provision in its constitution.

We cannot allow a discrimination gap. Rally in Raleigh this afternoon. Unfortunately I have a commitment on campus at noon or I’d go myself.

Places to Invade Next

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,982 other followers