Posts Tagged ‘Florida’
* Scientists explain why people want to eat babies. The more you know!
This week, an F.A.A. advisory panel will meet to complete its recommendations to relax most of the restrictions. The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity because they could not comment on the recommendations. The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place, as is the prohibition on making phone calls throughout the flight, the panel members said.
* Original LOST writer’s bible. It’s worse than you thought!
* The Star Wars Minute. A podcast devoted to overanalyzing Star Wars, minute by minute by minute. It’s up to minute 81, during the trash compactor scene.
* Despite having more freedom over curriculum, budgets and staffing than traditional public schools, the majority of Milwaukee’s independent charter schools are not meeting performance expectations, according to statewide report card results for 2012-’13. Of the 17 independent charters in Milwaukee that received a rating through the state’s new school report card accountability system, 53% fell below expectations, with two schools authorized by the City of Milwaukee receiving a failing grade. Traditional MPS school rankings are even worse, as the article makes clear, for many reasons including charter selectivity.
* First we must understand that though the humanities in general and literary studies in particular are poor and struggling, we are not naturally poor and struggling. We are not on a permanent austerity budget because we don’t have the intrinsic earning power of the science and engineering fields and aren’t fit enough to survive in the modern university. I suggest, on the basis of a case study, that the humanities fields are poor and struggling because they are being milked like cash cows by their university administrations. The money that departments generate through teaching enrollments that the humanists do not spend on their almost completely unfunded research is routinely skimmed and sent elsewhere in the university. As the current university funding model continues to unravel, the humanities’ survival as national fields will depend on changing it. Via MLA.
* No one could have predicted: Citing disappointing student outcomes, San Jose State pauses work with Udacity.
* Tomrorow’s outrageous acquittals today: Here’s Florida’s Next Trayvon Martin Case.
* Possible Homeland Security pick tainted by racial profiling accusations. It would be terrible if racial politics were somehow allowed to corrupt the mission of Homeland Security.
* As western water leaders converged on Las Vegas in December 2001, Southern California’s inability to contain its voracious appetite seemed finally to be bumping up against reality – there is only so much water in the Colorado River.
* My friend Fran McDonald has a piece in the Atlantic about laughter without humor.
The glitch aesthetic of the GIF emphasizes the uncanny quality of laughter. At each moment of re-looping, Portman performs a miniature convulsion that registers as an inhuman twitch. If humor makes us human — an assumed correlation that is so deeply written into our culture that the two share a basic etymological root — then laughter without humor appears to render us mechanical, terrifying, monstrous. It is not a coincidence that laughter without humor has become the great cinematic signifier of madness: think of Colin Clive’s maniacal “it’s alive!” hysterics in the famous 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the crazed cackle of The Joker in the Batman comics.
* Today, surrogacies in the U.S. are managed by profitable “voluntary” clinic-agencies speaking the language of the “gift.” The labor (no pun intended) that commercial surrogates perform in the U.S. is not legally recognized as work but as volunteerism, though surrogacies cost at least four times the 1986 sum—whether they be traditional, in which the surrogate is impregnated with a client’s sperm, or, as is increasingly the case, gestational, in which an in-vitro-fertilized embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. Strict means-testing is used to assess a surrogate’s independent wealth, purporting to check for authentic “voluntariness.” This effectively bars working-class American women from entering surrogacy agreements. The U.S. surrogacy industry prefers to cast surrogacy as akin to basket-weaving or amateur pottery, not assembly-line factory work.
In India, the reverse is true. There are upwards of 3,500 so-called womb farms in the country, in which conscripted women offer the vital force of black flesh considered untouchable at home to incubate white children destined to be shipped back to Denmark, Israel, or the U.S. It’s a “purely economic arrangement” with a “mere vessel,” explains Dominic and Octavia Orchard of Oxfordshire, UK, a commissioning couple featured in the Daily Mail in 2012. To couples like these, surrogates are presented as transnational reproductive-service workers, their job description posted online and accompanied by detailed terms of service.
* And a Dan Harmon profile with more information on his firing and rehiring and plans for season five, for anyone who still hasn’t lost patience with either the series or him personally…
* Features, not bugs: America Is Raising A Generation Of Kids Who Can’t Think Or Write Clearly.
* Onondaga Public Library in Syracuse, New York, has an enormous collection of roughly 1,100 vintage books in science fiction, mystery and “other genres.” But apparently, there isn’t enough interest to keep them in circulation. So they’re asking people to propose what should be done with them.
* None of this means that the GOP couldn’t win Florida in 2016. But there should be serious doubts about whether there’s room for another round of big, additional gains among Florida whites. And once those doubts are raised, the GOP route to victory in Florida looks tough. They’d need a lot to break right in order to squeak out a victory in 2016, let alone afterward. There’s the scary possibility that Florida goes the way of Nevada: the next Democrat would win Florida by 9 points if they merely did as well as Kerry among Florida’s white voters.
* Remaking the University v. Napolitano: Meritocracies define “being qualified” for the biggest job in a field as requiring prior experience in other jobs in the field.
* Just for the Comedy Bing Bong fans: When Reddit asked Scott Aukerman anything.
* And Gawker presents some hard-hitting reporting on The Pizza Belt. I’m a native. This is all 100% accurate.
RIVERA: I see those six ladies in the jury putting themselves on that rainy night, in that housing complex that has just been burglarized by three or four different groups of black youngsters from the adjacent community. So it’s a dark night, a 6-foot-2-inch hoodie-wearing stranger is in the immediate housing complex. How would the ladies of that jury have reacted? I submit that if they were armed, they would have shot and killed Trayvon Martin a lot sooner than George Zimmerman did. This is self-defense.
A human being said this on purpose, on TV, in 2013: Black men are by definition such a grave threat that they are subject to summary execution by any one at any time.
* In a world where basic services are being cut, an emerging policing apparatus in the borderlands is flourishing. As Mattea Kramer and Chris Hellman reported at TomDispatch in February, since September 11, 2001, the United States has spent $791 billion on “homeland security” alone, an inflation-adjusted $300 billion more than the cost of the entire New Deal.
* A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest.
* David Petraeus’s CUNY course description, Are We On the Threshold of the North American Decade:
In this interdisciplinary seminar, students will examine in depth and then synthesize the history and trends in diverse public policy topics with a view towards recommendations for America’s leadership role in the emerging global economy.
Because you definitely hire a disgraced former general for his opinions on the global economy. It seems to me like CUNY is paying Petraeus $150K to prepare to run for president; the point of the course is to give Petraeus the ability to speak about the economy with credibility.
* But there’s one tiny flicker of light in all this darkness: Netflix and Arrested Development officially enter the “conversation” phase about a fifth season.
* The headline reads, “37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario.”
* Also in that’s-the-whole-point news: Undocumented Worker Alleges Wage Theft, Ends Up In Deportation Proceedings.
* Living nightmares: I Got Raped, Then My Problems Started.
* Insurers Refuse To Cover Kansas Schools Where Teachers Carry Guns Because It’s Too Risky. Maybe my plan to force gun owners to carry liability insurance would have worked after all.
* The cause of the crash landing of a Boeing 777 in San Francisco is still unclear. But pilots say they had been worried about conditions at the West Coast airport for a while. An important flight control system had been out of service for weeks. No One’s Talking About the Flight Attendant Heroes in the SFO Crash.
* Great moments in neoliberalism: Chris Christie’s Boondoggle.
1. It is not pragmatic. The two most difficult challenges it raises are how to fund its initiation and how to collect on the money loaned. Nowhere do its proponents explain where Oregon will get the estimated $9 billion needed to start the program, or how the state will ensure that graduates repay.
Meeting first in their dreams, Laura and Carmilla are bound together in the original female vampire romance. What can Laura make of an ancestral portrait that resembles her mysterious new friend or the strange dreams she experiences as she is drawn ever closer to this beauty of the night?
* Holy @#$%, Michael Jackson almost starred in a Doctor Who movie. Second choice (the legend goes) was a little-known stand-up you may have heard of, Bill Cosby.
* Other Doctor Who ideas that seemingly make no sense at all: We almost got a live Doctor Who episode.
* A Detroit area school district has erupted in protest over the discarding of a historic book collection that is said to contain more than 10,000 black history volumes, included films, videos, and other artifacts. The blame, according to residents of Highland Park, a small city surrounded on nearly all sides by Detroit, belongs to Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon, who claims the collection was thrown out by mistake but that the district cannot afford to preserve it.
* And an important link for my particular demographic: Twelve Colorful Words That Start with Z.
* Take the Impossible “Literacy” Test Louisiana Gave Black Voters in the 1960s. My friend @ch3chia‘s characterization is the best I’ve seen: “weaponized nonsense.”
* During a five-year period when the state cut the University of Florida’s funding by $230 million, the university cut full-time tenure and tenure track faculty by 9.4 percent and increased part-time and non-tenure faculty by 9.8 percent.
At the same time, the number of executive and administrative positions grew by almost 57 percent, a statistic Tigert Hall said is distorted by a reclassification of people already in existing positions.
Statewide, the university system saw a 20.8 percent growth in administration and a 5.7 percent drop in full-time faculty during that period.
* An old story, but new to me: When the CIA helped jail Nelson Mandela.
* And the best Pixar movies (as chosen by children). Who asked them, anyway?
* We’re all to blame for MOOCs. (Hey! Speak for yourself. I just got here.) A second chance to do the right thing. Online college course experiment reveals hidden costs.
“I get this call from San Jose State: ‘Uh, we have a problem,’” recalled Mark Ryan, superintendent of the Oakland Military Institute, a public school set up on a military model.
It turned out some of the low-income teens didn’t have computers and high-speed Internet connections at home that the online course required. Many needed personal attention to make it through. The final results aren’t in yet, but the experiment exposed some challenges to the promise of a low-cost online education. And it showed there is still a divide between technology-driven educators and the low-income, first-generation college hopefuls they are trying to reach.
To make it work, the institute had to issue laptops to students, set aside class time for them to focus on the online course, and assign teachers to make sure they stayed on task.
* In disaster after disaster, the fear returns that people — under stress, freed by circumstance from the bonds of authority — will turn on one another. The clear consensus is that this has no basis in reality.
* Where do greenhouse gases come from? Links continue below the graph.
* Facts as ideology: women’s fertility edition.
* …this wealthiest of all wealthy nations has been steadily falling behind many other nations of the world. Consider just a few wake-up-call facts from a long and dreary list: The United States now ranks lowest or close to lowest among advanced “affluent” nations in connection with inequality (21st out of 21), poverty (21st out of 21), life expectancy (21st out of 21), infant mortality (21st out of 21), mental health (18th out of 20), obesity (18th out of 18), public spending on social programs as a percentage of GDP (19th out of 21), maternity leave (21st out of 21), paid annual leave (20th out of 20), the “material well-being of children” (19th out of 21), and overall environmental performance (21st out of 21).
Perhaps the most intriguing news: “Sony said they’re very interested in recording me watching it as a commentary track” for the Season 4 DVD set, he said. His co-host for the evening, Rob Schrab, asked if the DVD commentary could also include a visual in the corner of the screen of Harmon’s facial expressions as he watches the season he was aced out of.
* The Today Show has confirmed that the “disabled guide” Disneyland thing is actually happening.
* And a headline that seems like it must have been generated by a fake headline generator, and yet: Update: Was Pablo Neruda Murdered By a CIA Double Agent Working for Pinochet?
“We want to be a leading university, and we wanted to attract faculty who think out of the box, and who are ambitious and creative,” said Ghazi Darkazalli, vice president of academic affairs. “We don’t want them to be worrying within the first five or six years whether they’re going to be tenured or not.”
Far better for them to spend those five or six years trying to get a TT job at another school.
* In practice, however, that doesn’t happen. The scholarships go towards “merit aid”, which is often, dismayingly enough, a polite way of saying that the college is helping to pay for wealthy kids to attend, even if they’re not particularly smart. Some 20% of students with GPAs below 2.0, for instance, receive merit aid. And at the same time, the “need aid” is carefully calibrated so that poor kids won’t take the colleges up on their offers… See also: Colleges Soak Poor U.S. Students as Aid Funneled to Rich.
* Food service workers in St. Louis have gone on strike. So might adjuncts in Chicago. Amazon workers sue over mandatory post-shift search. Cooper Union Students Occupy President’s Office To Protest Tuition.
* “Demolishing the Competition: The Longitudinal Link Between Competitive Video Games, Competitive Gambling, and Aggression,” a new study that will appear in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that aggressive behavior is tied to competition, not violence, in videogames and gambling, according to Forbes.
* Here’s another example — I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (several times) and I never noticed that Riker doesn’t know how to use a chair. When the guy sits down he pulls the chair back and dramatically slings his leg over the back of it like he’s mounting a freakin’ horse. He apparently does this all the time, regardless of the situation. It’s nuts.
* Lucas wanted Indiana Jones 2 to be a dinosaur movie. I honestly can’t decide if this is the best or the worst idea I’ve ever heard.
* The wisdom of markets: hacked @AP Twitter account sends Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 150 points in a few seconds.
* Graduate school and the peak-end heuristic. It’s a thing!
Peterson, who has a masters in linguistics from the University of California–San Diego and founded the Language Creation Society, spent twelve to fourteen hours a day, every day, for two months working on the proposal that landed him the Thrones job. When he was finished, he had more than 300 pages of vocabulary and notes detailing how the Dothraki language would sound and function. “The application process favored those of us who were unemployed at the time, which I was,” Peterson laughed.
* And a little something for the whatthefuckaricans out there: Marc Maron…IN SPACE.
* “Contingency has become permanent, a rite of passage to nowhere”: Academia’s indentured servants. Lots of people have been linking to this interview about postacademic transition with Sarah as well.
Florida lawmakers advanced a bill this week intended to upend the American college accreditation system.
The measure would allow Florida officials to accredit individual courses on their own — including classes offered by unaccredited for-profit providers.
* I watched the videos alone. I struggled. I paused, rewound, and replayed. I learned alone.
…we need to understand that the purpose and productivity of the university has come under increasing scrutiny over the past 30 years or so, as conservative political movements have gained strength, and various recessions have gouged out government coffers. We also have to understand such trends as: the constriction and stratification of the academic job market; internationalization and marketization of education; student consumerism; rapid development of new technologies and the evolving needs of an expanding student population. These developments have changed the demands made on university faculty, as has the tendency towards managerial governance in universities, which places an emphasis on accountability, efficiency, and quality control. Who ends up on the path to becoming a professor, and what kind of academic world lies at the end of it?
In other words, while a few already well-paid superprofessors get their egos stroked conducting experiments that are doomed to fail, “second- and third-tier universities and colleges, and community colleges” risk closing because Coursera and its ilk have sent higher education price expectations through the floor and systematically devalued everybody else’s work. And they get to do all this while dispensing a produuct that they know is inferior! Jay Gould would be proud.
* The irony, of course, is that “business” logic can kill its own host, like any parasite. When taken as an end in itself, it destroys everything — and then there’s nowhere else to invest, no more areas producing real values that can be syphoned off into the giant pool of money. The imaginary values that finance has racked up then become the object of a game of hot potato, furiously churning through the system until the point when they simply disappear (i.e., lose all their value). That’s what running everything “like a business” does — it trades real value for imaginary value that is then destroyed.
* Just because it’s totally ineffective doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it: A study by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2011, which looked at school closures in six US cities, found that school districts end up saving less than had been predicted. But think of all the other advantages school closings offer!
A University of Chicago study focusing on schools closed between 2001 and 2006 found that only six percent of displaced students ended up in high-performing schools.
And 42 percent of students continued to attend schools with ‘very low’ achievement levels. A year after changing schools, students’ reading and math abilities were not any better or worse.
Students who did go to better-performing schools also had to travel an average of 6km to get there – which critics say risks the safety of students who have to go through neighbourhoods containing rival gangs.
And here, at the limit of life that idling alone brings into view in a nonthreatening way, we find another kind of nested logic. Call it the two-step law of life. Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. Enjoy!
* The Essential Verso Undergraduate Reading List. Makes me think I really need to start including more theory on my syllabi.
* MOOCs we can believe in? One of the most remote outposts of Jesuit higher education is tucked away in dusty northwest Kenya, in a place whose name means “Nowhere” in Swahili. There, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, a small group of students — refugees from several neighboring African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — are enrolled in online courses taught by 28 Jesuit colleges, mostly in the United States. The course is part of the Jesuit Commons project.
* Unexpected: SCOTUSblog now thinks there’s at least five judges who will vote to strike down DOMA. Meanwhile, McCaskill seems to have triggered Hagan to announce her support of marriage equality.
* Ripped from the stuff Fox News usually just has to make up: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has stepped into the fray over an offensive classroom exercise at Florida Atlantic University in which students were asked to stomp on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it.
Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.
Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”
* xkcd considers the past as another country … with an outdated military and massive oil reserves.
* And making the rounds again: The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.
After some reflection, it’s become clear to me that there is a crucial difference in how the Internet’s remaking of higher education is qualitatively different than what we’ve seen with recorded music and newspapers. There’s a political context to the transformation. Higher education is in crisis because costs are rising at the same time that public funding support is falling. That decline in public support is no accident. Conservatives don’t like big government and they don’t like taxes, and increasingly, they don’t even like the entire way that the humanities are taught in the United States.
It’s absolutely no accident that in Texas, Florida and Wisconsin, three of the most conservative governors in the country are leading the push to incorporate MOOCs in university curricula. And it seems well worth asking whether the apostles of disruption who have been warning academics that everything is about to change have paid enough attention to how the intersection of politics and MOOCs is affecting the speed and intensity of that change. Imagine if Napster had had the backing of the Heritage Foundation and House Republicans? It’s hard enough to survive chaotic disruption when it is a pure consequence of technological change. But when technological change suits the purposes of enemies looking to put a knife in your back, it’s almost impossible.
* Merit and the academy. Challenging, thoughtful post from Timothy Burke.
* The Atlantic argues the student loan crisis ain’t no thang. I suspect they’re quite literally cribbing from Adam.
* What could possibly go wrong? Utah considering bill to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.
* According to the Times, the ACLU compiled a 5,000 page report on the SAO, a group of former Minutemen and other right-wingers and violent home-grown fascists, for the benefit of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “alleging the Federal Bureau of Intelligence recruited a band of right-wing terrorists and supplied them with money and weapons to attack young antiwar demonstrators.”
Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey results suggested that people who rejected climate science were more likely than other respondents to reject other scientific or official findings and buy into assorted fringe theories: that NASA faked the moon landing, that the Central Intelligence Agency killed Martin Luther King Jr., that the AIDS virus was unleashed by the government, and so forth.
This piece of research appeared in a specialized journal in psychological science, but it did not take long to find its way onto climate skeptics’ blogs, setting off howls of derision.
A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs.
* Forget it, Jake, it’s Pretoria: The South African police replaced the lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius homicide case on Thursday after embarrassing revelations that he was facing seven charges of attempted murder himself.
* A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.
* A sea change for mass culture: Nielsen Ratings Will Add Streaming Data For Fall 2013.
* Tumblr of the day: Shit Rough Drafts.
* Slavoj Žižek vs. capitalism, round 200. This is almost literally a full rerun.
* Ezra Klein: Obamacare is winning.
* The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced on average to 15 years, despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-defense.
* World’s greatest Venn diagram: Chemical Elements vs. US States.
* The NCAA, an organization with such open-decision making practices and clear accountability as to provide lessons to the mafia, is forcing a University of Minnesota wrestler to give up his music career or be declared ineligible for profiting off his own image.
* From the too-good-t0-check files: Young Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space.
* And we’re going to burn every drop of oil and destroy the future. Gleefully. Enjoy your weekend!