Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

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Wednesday Links: Part 2: The Return

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* Someone needs to check their Save the Cat: Video shows CEO kicking puppy in elevator.

Elites spent months arguing we should attack Syria to dislodge Assad. Now these same elites want to intervene in the war on his behalf. “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”

* Poverty Capitalism. Campus Safety Capitalism.

* The 14 Best National Universities According To Washington Monthly has Case at #9 and UC Riverside at #2. Arbitrary college ranking systems forever!

* How to Game the College Rankings.

* Brian Leiter on the Salaita case: 1, 2, 3.

In addition to his constitutional claims, Salaita has an almost textbook version of a contract law claim under the doctrine of “promissory estoppel” (the classic case on the subject is Red Owl).  The basic idea is simple:  even if there is no formal contract between two parties (my expectation, as noted, is the court will find no contract between Salaita and Illinois), if one party reasonably relies on the promises and representations of the other, and then the other reneges, the injured party is entitled to compensation to the extent of his reasonable reliance.  It was clearly reasonable for Salaita to rely on an offer letter from the Dean–an offer letter that specifically mentioned the academic freedom protections the University of Illinois affords faculty!–even with a clause saying the appointment was subject to approval by the Board of Trustees (after all, there does not appear to be a case in the last half-century in which the Board failed to approve a tenured appointment that went through the normal university channels, as Salaita’s did).  Indeed, the reasonableness of Salaita’s reliance is enhanced by the fact that the University scheduled his classes this fall and even referred to him in public as a faculty member.

The harder question will be Salaita’s damages.  At a minimum, he should recover for the costs of relocation, his housing costs this year (since he rented his prior home), the cost of insurance and related expenses, and his salary for this academic year; but he has a strong claim for asking for compensation for having relinquished tenure and his job and salary at Virginia Tech, i.e., for several decades worth of salary and benefits.  In other words, I would expect Salaita’s lawyers to ask for several million dollars in lost wages and benefits extending over a career.  Now there is always a duty in contract cases to “mitigate” damages–to take steps to prevent the unnecessary growth of damages–which here would mean seeking other academic employment.  If Salaita can not secure such appointment–and given the smear campaign against him, aided and abetted now by the University of Illinois, it is hard to see a public university, vulnerable to the same political pressures, being able to hire him–then he has a claim for his lost wages and benefits as a professor for the next (roughly) thirty-plus years.

* I was on the front lines of the violence in Ferguson. Militarized police caused the chaos.

* The Parable of the Unjust Judge.

That respectability politics is the narrative of the oppressor digested and regurgitated by the oppressed is obvious. But we shouldn’t dismiss it without understanding its allure and durability: it reframes the terms of power, restoring agency into black hands. For the black upper class, it is the parable that allows them to rationalize their privilege as a sign of their own worthiness, while simultaneously giving them cover to righteously withdraw concern from the plight of the less fortunate of their race. It’s no coincidence that the black people advocating for blacks to somehow be cleansed of their blackness by bathing in the waters of post-racial healing are many of the same complaining that “we” don’t pay attention to “black on black crime”. For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction. Respectability politics is a false narrative, but it maintains its power because, like so many powerful lies, it sits adjacent to the truth and set slightly askew: they are looking for a way to turn you into a nigger, and if necessary, they will find one. You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction.

MA Police Apologize After Accusing Man Of Faking Photo Of Trooper’s Racist Bumper Sticker. Police trampled the makeshift memorial built by Michael Brown’s mom. That is to say: Police Drove Over Michael Brown Memorial, Let Dog Piss on It.

* Meanwhile: Ben Stein has awful opinions and should be ashamed.

* Bring down Big Sugar.

* There is no way this is true: Milwaukee, Madison drivers among the nation’s safest. Real talk: Milwaukee drivers are some of the absolute worst drivers I have ever encountered.

* More scenes from the struggle between Uber and Lyft.

* Obscure Words and Phrases Everyone Suddenly Becomes Very Familiar With, 1995-2040.

* Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Yes, and David Chase knows it.

* Elsewhere on the front lines of culture: Is Hello Kitty a cat? How dare you. How dare you.

* LEGO really, really letting down its fans. I knew I should have loaded up on the female scientist sets when I had the chance.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Americans strongly agree: You shouldn’t stop people from reclining on planes.

* New Discovery Cuts Brainwashing Time in Half.

Ohio lawmakers want to limit the teaching of the scientific process.

* When J.J. Abrams set out to make the absolute worst Superman movie possible. It would have been amazing.

* And/but/so Warner Brothers simply does not understand the superhero business at all.

Weekend Links!

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* Malcolm Harris reviews Ivory Tower.

Speaking for the elite private liberal arts school is Wesleyan President Michael Roth, who argues for small classes, a balanced education and a lot of contact with professors. “Ivory Tower” gives Roth a fair hearing, but he can’t avoid coming off like a huckster of humanities when pitching the $60,000-plus annual price tag to the parents of potential students. (Hell, for 60 grand you could rent an apartment in Brooklyn and your own post-grad fellow.) The cost of this kind of education makes it both a model of learning for learning’s sake — yes, a high cost but a priceless reward — and totally inaccessible to most young people.

* Euclid: The Game!

* Massive data dump on academic employment.

* Vladimir Nabokov’s Unpublished Screenplay Notes For Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita.’

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Ian Bogost, when the walls fell.

Let’s pretend that we want to start an organization to defend the rights of people across the globe that has no affiliation to any government or corporate interest. No More Imperial Crusades.

* Prosecutors closing in on Chris Christie and Scott Walker. How the State of Wisconsin alleges Scott Walker aides violated the law, in 1 chart.

* Aren’t You A Little Short To Be A Stormtrooper? The Passing of the Armor to A Bullied Little Girl. Fighting bullies with stormtroopers.

* The golden age of girls’ running.

Higher Ed Pays a High Price for Mediocrity.

* James Madison University Punished Sexual Assault With ‘Expulsion After Graduation.’ Department of Education Offers Proposed Campus Sexual Assault Regulations. Rape Victims At Fundamentalist Christian College Say They Were Told To Repent For Their Sins.

* “Turn Detroit into Drone Valley.” Sigh.

* “The death of a great American city: why does anyone still live in Detroit?”

* “By denying water service to thousands, Detroit is violating the human right to water.”

* The death of the mall.

* What we Yo about when we Yo about Yo.

* In celebration of Juneteenth.

* I’m losing hope for Episode 7, but Episodes 8 and 9 have promise.

* One more on LouieThis isn’t a model for romance. It’s a blueprint for abuse.

Labor and the Locavore shows that our society’s tendency to idealize local food allows small farmers to pay workers substandard wages, house them in shoddy labor camps, and quash their ability to unionize to demand better working conditions.

* “It’s a much bigger, more powerful question to ask, If today we are using management techniques that were also used on slave plantations,” she says, “how much more careful do we need to be? How much more do we need to think about our responsibility to people?”

* The secret history of Chief Wahoo.

* When drones crash.

Pennsylvania Instructed Its Employees To Ignore Residents Sickened By Drilling. Duke Energy Was Warned About Potential For Dan River Spill Decades Ago, Documents Show.

* The Lost Generation.

* Marriage, kids, college, and class.

* Great moments in governance.

In Kansas, 9-year-old Spencer Collins has been told by authorities that he must stop sharing books with his neighbors, and close the little free library–honestly, it’s just a bookshelf–in his yard.

* The “good” Anthropocene?

* The sixth season of The Twilight Zone we almost had.

* And Better Call Saul already has a second season. We just have to wait to see if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

Wednesday Links!

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* CFP: World Science Fiction Studies.

* We apply because it is absurd: The academic job market: A Kierkegaardian perspective. Also good from Adam: Some reservations about non-violent resistance. To what are “contrarians” contrary?

* 100 Years of Sun Ra.

* Can a Pope Help Sustain Humanity and Ecology?

* How The “Trigger Warning” Took Over The Internet.

There’s an old joke about economists: A mathematician, a statistician and an economist apply for a job. The interviewer asks, “What’s two plus two?” The mathematician says, “Four.” The statistician thinks for a second and says, “On average, four.” And the economist gets up, closes the door, turns to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to be?”

* BREAKING: The U.S. Constitution Is Impossible to Amend. This is why we need to start over.

* BREAKING: New Report Finds Climate Change Already Having Broad Impact. This is why we need to start over.

* The end of Florida.

* “Check your privilege!” is a speech-act that intends the maintenance of anti-racist, anti-misogynist, anti-capitalist groups against the persistent threat of auto-corruption. One only says “Check your privilege!” to comrades, to those with whom you co-incline. It’s a locution that keeps political lines of communication clear from all of the fucked-up shit we bring, and can’t not bring, to our collectivities. … A simple way of putting this: One checks the privileges of one’s friends. One destroys those of one’s enemies. One does the former in the service of the latter.

Charter Schools Gone Wild: Study Finds Widespread Fraud, Mismanagement and Waste.

Los Angeles now spending more on Wall Street fees than on maintaining roads.

The Silencing Of Cecily McMillan.

Advocates Respond to White House Report on College Sexual Assault.

Universities and researchers all over the world have a problem with Microsoft. It’s not just that the company forces expensive and dated software on customers. Using products like Microsoft’s email service Outlook is potentially in breach of the ethical contracts researchers sign when they promise to safeguard the privacy of their subjects.

The nursery and the sitting room are part of a Mehrgenerationenhaus, literally a “multigeneration house”, which is a kindergarten, a social centre for the elderly and somewhere young families can drop in for coffee and advice. In theory, the sitting room is reserved for the over-60s, but in the practice the door to the kids’ area rarely stays closed for long.

* “With Porn Studies, there is no such ambiguity about the sheer world-making power of pornography.”

* Re-headlining the news.

* I just can’t accept that a movie starring a 72-year-old Harrison Ford is going to be called “The Ancient Fear.”

If the Center for Teaching and Learning were supported by a Center for Teaching and Learning, then all stakeholders could join the circle of excellence.

* Obama’s pretending he cares about climate again. Vox is straight-up advocating that America invade Iran I guess.

* W. Kamau Bell and Tressie McMillan Cottom discuss Leslie Jones, blackness, and Saturday Night Live.

* Great moments in poorly thought-out pedagogy.

* Amherst College Officially Bans All Fraternities And Sororities — though friends of Facebook familiar with the place tell me that it’s not as big a deal as it sounds.

* Gasp! Conservative Money Front Is Behind Princeton’s “White Privilege” Guy.

Teen Pregnancies Are Plunging Because Young People Are Making Responsible Sexual Decisions.

* Science reporting is abysmal, sexual difference edition.

* Disruptive innovation, Soylent Green edition.

* Abolish prom.

A college degree is worth $831,000.

* And the future is finally here: Grilled Cheese Delivered By Parachute, Coming Soon to NYC.

Some Weekend Links

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In this future, if MOOCs are the route to a credential, they may initially retain some of the popularity that traditional higher education currently holds. But as people realize that the real opportunities continue to accrue to those who are able to attend whatever traditional colleges and universities that remain, they will go to even greater lengths than today to secure those spots. Meanwhile, those for whom access to this opportunity is impossible will be left even further behind.

* Tampering with powers mankind was never meant to know: The U.S. military has developed a pizza that stays edible for years.

Socialism is not a flight from the human condition; it’s a direct and unsentimental confrontation with that condition.

* Anyway, the point is this: maybe the exhaust port wasn’t the problem.

Faculty on Strike.

* Reclamations Special Issue: Securitization and the University.

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? Comcast must be stopped. Preach.

A Florida town is attempting to repeal its ban on homeless people using blankets and other means of shelter and comfort. That’s good, I gue–wait, you banned what?

* Not only does the state’s proposed law allow private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples; it permits state employees to deny them basic services. WHAT?

* Another NFL cheerleader files suit against her team. This one details the copious amounts of clothing and body discipling for a job that pays $90 a game.

* Noam Chomsky, stealing my bit.

* Now playable! Sesame Street Fighter.

* Ellen Page comes out.

Is the AA system of addiction recovery too unscientific to work?

The Blum Center Takeover Manifesto.

Why not cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as Doctor Strange? I’m on board.

* Because somebody had to: Debunking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld.

The problem with the thesis is that in setting out their claim, the authors ignore the more obvious explanation for differences in group success: history. To be specific, in their quest to make it all about culture, the authors either ignore or strongly discount the particular circumstances of a group’s first arrival, and the advantages enjoyed by that first wave.

Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]

But Truman’s famously crisp sentence did encapsulate a recurrent American attitude toward the fearsome weapons the United States developed: they came to us almost accidentally, inadvertently, “found” in that cornucopia which modern science and technology provided.

Leaks benefit the government, the author argues, in many ways. They are a safety valve, a covert messaging system, a perception management tool, and more.  Even when a particular disclosure is unwelcome or damaging, it serves to validate the system as a whole.

The Word You Are Searching for Is Rape.

Wendy Davis Is Pretty Much Fine With the Abortion Ban She Filibustered.

* Another Day, Another Train Derails In Pennsylvania, Spilling Up To 4,000 Gallons Of Oil.

A recent analysis found that rail cars spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of oil in 2013, more than was spilled in the previous four decades combined. Still, some companies are looking to expand their oil-by-rail transport: expansion plans for oil-by-rail projects on the West Coast could mean that as many as 11 fully loaded oil trains would travel each day through Spokane, Washington. A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on rail safety, but it had to be rescheduled due to bad weather that forced the closure of the federal government.

* STAMOS! Remembering The LEGO Movie Directors’ Wonderful TV Show, Clone High.

The (almost) entire run of Gargoyles is streaming legally on YouTube.

* Say I’m the Only Bee in Your Bonnet: A People’s History of “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

* Facebook has added fifty alternative gender options.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage.

* And in breaking news: Internet trolls are seriously bad news. The more you know…

All the Links of the Week in One Convenient Location

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* Ending the World the Human Way: Why can no one talk about climate change?

* You’ve seen it linked everywhere, but not here! Woody Allen’s Good Name. Don’t Listen to Woody Allen’s Biggest Defender. ​The Internet Digs Up Woody Allen’s Creepy Child-Loving Past. Woody Allen, My Pen Pal.

Basically nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator. It was too much to handle.

* Last days of a model.

* The Boston Globe: The Invisible Professor. Part-Time Professors Demand Higher Pay; Will Colleges Listen? 111 Colleges Are Accused of Violating Law by Requiring Student-Aid Forms.

Another university makes the queen sacrifice.

* Privilege and the Ph.D. The Tenure Code. 1,600 letters of recommendation.

* Fifty-Five Bodies, and Zero Trials, at the Florida School for Boys.

* Even the liberal Kevin Drum thinks former senator, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton has no accomplishments to run of president on, unlike (say) Obama when he ran for president, or George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, or Mitt Romney, or….

“The entire system is a joke. There is absolutely no living, breathing person with any kind of intellect who believes that a grand jury could consider and vote on 10 complex issues in the period of time that they use to deliberate on hundreds,” Joe Cheshire, a Raleigh attorney who handles criminal cases across North Carolina, told The Charlotte Observer.

* And all perfectly legal: Missouri Executes Man While His Appeal Was Still Pending Before Supreme Court.

Cop Who Allegedly Said ‘We Don’t Have Time For This’ Before Shooting Schizophrenic Teen Dead Has Been Indicted.

Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?

* Broken clock watch: Antonin Scalia is… making sense?

Wisconsin Teacher Fired for… Receiving Emails from His Sister.

Cook, an Edinburg marksman, was target shooting toward the school from about a mile away when he struck the boys Dec. 12, 2011. The gunshots left Nicholas “Nicko” Tijerina, then 13, paralyzed and Edson Amaro, then 14, with serious internal organ damage.

* From the archives: In praise of Joanne Rowling’s Hermione Granger series. Harry Potter novels renamed.

* I think I’ve done this one before, too, but what the hell: Lynda Barry’s Course Syllabus.

* If It Happened There: The Super Bowl.

Unloved Films, Part III: “The Hudsucker Proxy.”

* Daily Life in the Slave Quarters.

A Local Teen’s Documentary on Slavery Premieres Friday in Detroit.

How the Myth of the ‘Negro Cocaine Fiend’ Helped Shape American Drug Policy.

Faculty set strike date at UIC.

Closing SodaStream’s West Bank Factories Would Hurt Palestinians, but That’s Not the Point.

ACLU lawsuit challenges Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban. Lawsuit claims Apple infringing on University of Wisconsin patent. Water Levels of the Great Lakes Are Declining.

CVS Will Stop Selling Tobacco Products by October. I can’t believe it’s taken this long; it’s shocked me that pharmacies sold cigarettes ever since I worked in one way back in high school.

* Rest in peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Brooklyn chess star battles the pressure of expectations.

A Mystery Illness Is Causing Starfish to Rip Themselves Into Pieces.

What would happen if a cue ball struck a rack of 15 perfectly round, frictionless billiard balls, exactly head-on?

* Gasp! Marx Was Right!

* Gasp! Tar Sands Oil Development Is More Toxic Than Previously Thought, Study Finds.

* Gasp! Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says.

12 Post-Potter Revelations J.K. Rowling Has Shared.

* On “Imported from Detroit.”

* The Fall of East Cleveland.

California Considers Raising Its Minimum Wage To The Highest In The Country.

* CNN: The Worst.

What They’re Saying About The Grand Budapest Hotel.

* Some great beach art.

* Now hanging on the wall of my office: The Life of Thought.

* It’s very important to McDonald’s that you know McNuggets are acceptably gross.

Science Fiction as a Childhood Coping Mechanism.

* And the future truly is weird: Woman Gives Birth To Children, Discovers Her Twin Is Actually The Biological Mother, But She Is Technically Her Own Twin.

Thank God It’s Thanksgiving Week Links

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While the Nazi totalitarianism strove to give the masses a sense of collective power and strength, Kraft durch Freude (“Strength through joy”), inverted totalitarianism promotes a sense of weakness, of collective futility. While the Nazis wanted a continuously mobilized society that would not only support the regime without complaint and enthusiastically vote “yes” at the periodic plebiscites, inverted totalitarianism wants a politically demobilized society that hardly votes at all.

* In a book coming out this spring, Goffman, now a 31-year-old assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, documents how the expansion of America’s penal system is reshaping life for the poor black families who exist under the watch of its police, prison guards, and parole officers.

* Durham police defend lack of public information in teen’s death. I am continually amazed and horrified by the police stonewalling on this story. How can they not be required to admit how the teenager died?

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sand Projects Planned for Alberta.

The Insanity of Our Food Policy.

India Confronts the Politics of the Toilet.

Federal Student Loan Profits Help Duncan Cut Education Spending To Lowest Level Since 2001. What a sickening spectacle.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. So we’ll only have to sue 90 companies into oblivion? That seems pretty manageable.

Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User. Via this piece on the culture of overwork in academia.

* Creatin’ a legal marijuana economy ain’t easy.

* No war in Iran? Unhappy warmongers, just pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and try again next decade.

The Long Shadow of Chinese Blacklists on American Academe.

* MetaFilter post on the only musical I ever need to see: Fun Home: The Musical.

Bill de Blasio gives cold shoulder to education reformers as he prepares to choose a chancellor.

* And did I do this one already? An Upworthy Generator. Now you can be inspired by heartwarming stories on your own timetable…

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Links Mori

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