Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘George Lucas

Weekend Links!

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610temp.new_7.gif.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge.new_7* Nice treat: my LARoB piece got namechecked in an Unexpected Stories review at NPR.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine the polar vortex making it unseasonably cold, forever.

New Data Says Huge West Virginia Chemical Spill May Have Been More Toxic Than Reported. But don’t worry: Freedom Industries has been fined a whopping $11,000.

* The OECD says the party’s over.

These are that growth will slow to around two-thirds its current rate; that inequality will increase massively; and that there is a big risk that climate change will make things worse.

* Here’s what the world would look like if we took global warming seriously.

A Brief History of the Humanities Postdoc.

* On the huge screwed-uppedness of “studies show.”

* An oral history of LucasArts.

* A feature of oligarchy is the dynastic ascension of new leaders, children who rise to positions of power and wealth simply by the luck of birth. We welcome Chelsea Clinton to the club.

* What disapproving friends don’t understand about cesarean births.

If A Man Takes Paternity Leave, His Coworkers Will Probably Take It Too.

* For years we’ve been telling kids to sit still and pay attention. That’s all wrong.

Analysis: Over Half of All Statements Made on Fox News Are False. I sincerely hope they included statements like “I’m Bill O’Reilly” and “You’re watching Fox.”

* Five Thirty Eight and screwing up predictions.

The measurement error in the World Cup case was simple: FiveThirtyEight and other sites had marked Brazil as having a strong defense, and a solid offense anchored by its star, Neymar, as measured by a statistical amalgamation called Soccer Power Index. In reality, Brazil had been aggressively fouling its way as a means of defense, elbowing and kicking its way, and not getting called for it by referees. I’m not just making this up as a day-after-big-loss armchair analysis: pretty much most punditry on soccer had been clear on this before the game.

In other words, the statistics were overestimating how good a team Brazil really was, and the expert punditry was fairly unified on this point.

In other words, this time, the hedgehogs knew something the fox didn’t. But this fox is often too committed to methodological singularity and fighting pundits, sometimes for the sake of fighting them, so it often doesn’t like to listen to non-statistical data. In reality, methodological triangulation is almost always stronger, though harder to pull-offs.

* What happened to the super-rich of yesteryear?

If today’s corporate kvetchers are more concerned with the state of their egos than with the state of the nation, it’s in part because their own fortunes aren’t tied to those of the nation the way they once were. In the postwar years, American companies depended largely on American consumers. Globalization has changed that—foreign sales account for almost half the revenue of the S&P 500—as has the rise of financial services (where the most important clients are the wealthy and other corporations). The well-being of the American middle class just doesn’t matter as much to companies’ bottom lines. And there’s another change. Early in the past century, there was a true socialist movement in the United States, and in the postwar years the Soviet Union seemed to offer the possibility of a meaningful alternative to capitalism. Small wonder that the tycoons of those days were so eager to channel populist agitation into reform. Today, by contrast, corporate chieftains have little to fear, other than mildly higher taxes and the complaints of people who have read Thomas Piketty. Moguls complain about their feelings because that’s all anyone can really threaten.

Let this AskMe post from an academic spouse ruin your morning!

* College Graduates and the Great Recession by The Numbers.

* Over Duke U.’s Protests, Estate of ‘the Duke’ Asks Court to Approve Use of ‘Duke.’

* The next-generation F-35, the most expensive plane ever built, may be too dangerous to fly. Why is Congress keeping it alive? What could possibly explain it!

* “Superhero stories are really about immigrants.”

* Who Does Your College Think Its Peers Are?

* Change.org petition inviting Department of Labor investigation into adjunct labor. I’m very skeptical there’s anything actionable here, unfortunately.

* Having Your Sleep Interrupted May Be As Bad As Not Getting Any at All.

Losing to Germany Wasn’t Actually the Worst Thing to Happen to Brazil This World Cup.

* Colorado’s legal pot market is bigger than anyone anticipated. First person to legally purchase pot in WA fired after being seen on local news buying it.

* DEA Officials Responsible For Nearly Killing College Student, DOJ Watchdog Finds. Daniel Chong is the entirely predictable result of dehumanizing drug offenders.

In ‘sexting’ case Manassas City police want to photograph teen in sexually explicit manner, lawyers say. You’ll be glad to know police have withdrawn the request.

Two hundred years into the social experiment of modern imprisonment, and 40 years into the expansion of what is frequently called “mass incarceration,” America’s system of jails and prisons arguably constitutes the most prodigious system of torture the world has ever seen.

* …while Swartz’s death was a mistake, destroying him as a lesson to all of us wasn’t a mistake. It was policy.

* Tough Louisiana Catholic Church case goes to the heart of mandatory reporting law.

* The Atlantic has a challenging piece on helping intersex children, albeit with an absolutely terrible headline.

* What the Potato Salad Kickstarter Campaign Says About Tech, Silicon Valley, and Modern Life.

* On giving Title IX teeth. It does surprise me that no school has ever received a Title IX sanction for its approach sexual violence.

* SMBC on kind aliens. XKCD on a wraith called Timeghost. The adventures of Process Man.

* Predicting the end of Game of Thrones from George R. R. Martin’s repeated requests for a big-budget epic finale.

* Ideology at its purest is ripe for disruption: “Inside tech’s latest management craze.” Meanwhile: Silicon Valley wage fixing: Disney, Lucas, Dreamworks and Pixar implicated.

* Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it.

16-Year-Old’s Rape Goes Viral Because Human Beings Are Terrible. Awful story.

* Close magnet schools?

* Syfy orders a pilot for its adaptation of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

* The wisdom of markets: Social Network With No Revenue or Assets Somehow Worth $4.75 Billion.

When asked whether it was possible to think too much upon the Holocaust, Sebald said, “No serious person thinks of anything else.” On still trying to come to terms with the Holocaust.

* Trigger warning: breakfast. A confessional comic about the night after the artist’s rape.

A Webcomic About A Time Traveler Trying To Comprehend Terminal Illness.

A Field Guide To Unusual (And Hilarious) Harry Potter Patronuses.

The Emmys Don’t Matter But Hypothetically If They Mattered They Should Not Have Snubbed Orphan Black.

* Mail-Order Mysteries: Exploring the Outlandish Gizmos Advertised in the Back of Comic Books During the 1960s-1970s.

* And Ian McKellan just won’t leave any franchise un-awesomed. He simply won’t!

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July 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

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It’s Always Mischief Night Somewhere Links

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* You can now order the special Paradoxa issue on “Africa SF.” The testimonials indicate that Samuel Delany has at least heard of something I’ve written, so there’s that…

* Those who do not study history will have their wise decision ratified by bean-counting administrators: One of the 17 University of North Carolina campuses could stop offering degrees in physics, history and political science. If you read that sentence and thought to yourself, “gee, I bet that’s a historically black college,” give yourself a prize!

MLA Reports Modest Decline in Job Ads Posted in 2012-13. The State of the Academic Job Market, by Discipline.

‘I Wish I Were Black,’ and Other Tales of Privilege.

* The Logic of Stupid Poor People.

What The U.S. Would Look Like If It Mirrored The Main Characters On Prime-Time Network Television.

-Half the population would be white men.
-Five percent of the population would be black men.
-Just 1.9 percent of the world would be Asian or Latino men.
-Overall, 57 percent of the population would be men.
-34 percent of the world would be white women
-3.8 percent would be African-American women
-And 3.8 percent would be Latino or Asian women
-31.8 percent of the population would work for the police or some sort of federal law enforcement agency.
-9.7 percent of us would be doctors.
-2.6 percent of us would be criminals.
-1.9 percent would be supernatural creatures or robots.

What they are defending is a system in which wealth is passed off as merit, in which credentials are not earned but bought. Aptitude is a quality measured by how much money you can spend on its continual reassessment.

Students whose parents pay tens of thousands for SAT tutors to help their child take the test over and over compete against students who struggle to pay the fee to take the test once. Students who spend afternoons on “enrichment” activities compete against students working service jobs to pay bills – jobs which don’t “count” in the admissions process. Students who shell out for exotic volunteer trips abroad compete with students of what C Z Nnaemeka termed “the un-exotic underclass” - the poor who have “the misfortune of being insufficiently interesting”, the poor who make up most of the US today.

* …a recent Twitter thread started by a popular feminist blogger examines a dark side of that cliché in real-life academe, one in which professors’ advances – intellectual and otherwise – feed a need for validation and flattery, and at times cross the line into sexual harassment.

By the numbers: Sex crimes on campus.

Get Ready for Big Ed.

* The New York Times spends 36 hours in Milwaukee.

A collective narrative of trying to make it on $17,000 a year: bargaining testimony from a UCSC student-worker.

Colorado Counties Ban Sale of Marijuana, Want Share of Proposed State Sales Tax Anyway.

* Obama’s going to be super-mad when he finds out about the nonsensical security state procedures his administration has been using in lieu of actual oversight. And breaking into Yahoo! and Google? Why didn’t anyone tell him!

* Ripped from the pages of Philip K. Dick! Pentagon weighs future of its inscrutable nonagenarian futurist.

Pennsylvania law protects pregnant women from unwanted belly rubbing.

* The Chronicle follows up on last year’s PhD-on-food-stamps, who is now in a TT position at Martin Methodist College.

How Not To Take The GRE With a Non-Standard-English Name.

* The richest country in history: The Number Of Homeless Students In The United States Hits A Record.

“Riots always begin typically the same way”: Food stamp shutdown looms Friday.

* Perry Anderson accidentally writes a whole issue of New Left Review.

* 20th Century Headlines, Rewritten to Get More Clicks.

How the Koch Brothers laundered illegal campaign contributions.

* They’re marketing the Veronica Mars movie as a love triangle. This is my skeptical face.

* Sesame Street parodies Homeland.

* The chart that explains the world.

Change-in-real-income-between-1988-and-2008-at-various-percentiles-of-global-income-distribution-calculated-in-2005-international-dollars-Branko-Milanovic

* What’s W.R.O.N.G. with ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’? A.L.M.O.S.T. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

* No accidents, comrade: The New Inquiry considers Cold War nostalgia and Twilight Struggle.

People Who Live Downwind Of Alberta’s Oil And Tar Sands Operations Are Getting Blood Cancer.

* BREAKING: Student Debt Is Making All Your Life Choices Worse.

Matt Zoller Seitz completes his series on video essays on Wes Anderson films. Bring on The Grand Budapest Hotel!

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 27: Princeton’s freshmen again have chosen Adolf Hitler as “the greatest living person” in the annual poll of their class conducted by The Daily Princetonian.

* Pope Francis, PR Wizard.

* The coming Terry McAuliffe landslide as proof the GOP brand is in serious disrepair.

* And it looks like they’ve finally (almost) proved that Darth Vader wasn’t always going to be Luke Skywalker’s father. Gotcha Lucas! You can run but you can’t hide.

Thursday Links

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Thursday Morning Link Transmission!

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* American says no to MOOCs. So does SFSU.

* Meanwhile, Florida Polytechnic University says no to tenure.

“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.

* The Impact of Gender on the Review of the Curricula Vitae of Job Applicants and Tenure Candidates: A National Empirical Study.

* Scenes from the Fitness Palace at Purdue.

* 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.

* The Troubling Viral Trend of the “Hilarious” Black Neighbor. And its equally unhappy, equally exploitative shadow.

* Elizabeth Warren wants to cut student interest rates to near zero.

* 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.

* Why Cops Bust Down Doors of Medical Pot Growers, But Ignore Men Who Keep Naked Girls on Leashes.

* NYC Considering Allowing Non-Citizens To Vote. Good!

* “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.

* Scientists also say that guns are bad, glass is not a liquid, and the Toba catastrophe may not have happened.

* This 17-Year-Old Coder Is Saving Twitter From TV Spoilers (Spoiler: She’s a Girl).

* 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.

* Is Limbaugh finished?

* 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.

Spitballing Indiana Jones

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Spielberg fires off ideas with an adolescent’s stamina—and not all of them are bad, either. In fact, among his spontaneous interjections are some of the most iconic episodes in the film. “I have a great idea!” he exclaims. “There is a sixty-five-foot boulder, that’s form-fitted to only roll down the corridor, coming right at him. And it’s a race. He gets to outrun the boulder!”

Spitballing Indiana Jones, at the New Yorker.

LUCAS: In the essence it’s just bullshit stuff where he wanders around Cairo trying to uncover the mystery of his puzzle. At the same time, you meet all these interesting characters and every once in a while somebody throws a knife at him, or he beats somebody up, or somebody beats him up. Typical Middle Eastern stuff.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

The Holocron Can Be a Little Overwhelming

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2013 at 8:33 am

‘Spaghetti Westerns Questioned the Underpinnings of Civilization’

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Django Unchained is not so much the evil twin of the saintly Lincoln as its nasty, more clever kid brother, fighting for recognition against the favorite, acting out. If I prefer it to Lincoln it’s because I prefer the Tarantinian project, flaws and all, to Steven Spielberg’s entire career. Lincoln may be the culmination of the Spielberg-Lucas reimagining of the American cinema as family entertainment, a transcendent work beyond the blockbuster form that reimagines the official national myth of an official national father for current and future generations.

Tarantino is more interested in a pre-consolidated cinema that pre-dates Spielberg, in which national myths were put to use in tawdry, violent, and grandiloquent ways, and myth was open to interpretation by genre filmmakers outside the US. So however Tarantino has failed the actual history of slavery in the United States, the way he has opened it up for discussion strikes me as far more remarkable than the storybook of Spielberg’s Lincoln, which closes with a thump and sends us off to bed.

n+1 previews the Oscars. Via Twitter, Jesse Williams has, at length, a somewhat different take on the film.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

Wednesday Night Links

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* Bleeding Cool has a brief history of all the various stories George Lucas has told about his nine-to-twelve-film-plan for Star Wars over the years.

The Wrap have spoken to Dale Pollock, author of an unauthorized George Lucas biography. He has apparently read outlines for twelve Star Wars movies but was obliged to sign an NDA.

Still, he’s doing a little bit of disclosing. He said:

“The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.”

* Sandy is short for Cassandra, the Greek mythological figure who epitomizes tragedy. The gods gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy; depending on which version of the story one prefers, she could either see or smell the future. But with this gift also came a curse: Cassandra’s warnings about future disasters were fated to be ignored. That is the essence of this tragedy: to know that a given course of action will lead to disaster but to pursue it nevertheless.

* Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On. Also at the Onion: Report: Only Way Nation Will Pay Attention To Climate Change Is If Julia Roberts Dies In Hurricane.

* Cuomo is very, very far from an ideal Democrat, but my friend Angus Johnson is right that his climate realism makes him a very strong contender for 2016 if Hillary Clinton decides she doesn’t want it.

* Rats and the hurricane.

* Animal nature, human racism, and the future of zoos.

* The man who gets paid to jump on mattresses says you can stop laughing now. There is nothing funny about jumping on mattresses day after day. Mattress after mattress. People refuse to understand.

“It’s work,” said professional mattress jumper Reuben Reynoso. “It’s not for everybody. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it.”

* 3 0 Days without a Rape Mention.

* And Mother Jones go inside Big Sugar.

Tuesday Night

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* zunguzungu: We Cannot Afford to Protect the Anuses of the Condemned.

Yesterday, as the Washington Post put it, the Supreme Court “upholds jail strip searches, including for minor offenses”; as the New York Times wrote “Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest”; and as the AP headlines it: “People arrested on minor charges can be strip searched, Supreme Court rules.” And I’m interested in these headlines because the words “offenses,” “arrests,” and “charges” are all ways of demarcating the moment the state judges a person to be in custody without saying anything in particular about the reason why. The fact of being in custody becomes the only important fact, to which all others are subordinate. This is the logic of the decision, but its also the logic that the headlines obey, flattening all possible juridical categories into a single one: the condemned.

More on this from Glenn Greenwald, who notes (no surprise) Obama’s DOJ is completely on board.

* Elsewhere in the rule of law: Fifth Circuit Judges Now In Full Wingnut Mode.

* What is your state good at?

* What is the going rate for a cellphone wiretap?

* …we would need a $9.92-per-hour wage, more than $2 above the current federal minimum, to match the buying power of the minimum wage in 1968.

* Where are you on the global pay scale? How long would it take Mitt Romney to earn what you make in a year?

* UNC study: We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings.

George Lucas vs. the city.

* Romney Zippergate: Too juvenile, or not juvenile enough?

* 20 Services Google Thinks Are More Important Than Google Scholar.

* Alfred Hitchcock Movies as Nintendo Games. Doctor Who, now for the SNES. More Who: Will the next Doctor be a woman? Honestly, this seems like the obvious move.

* Imaginary monsters of U.S. cities.

And science proves 33 is the happiest age. Bring on 2013!

I Was a Teenage Padawan

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Yesterday it was Ahmed Best; today it’s Jake Lloyd, who says the Phantom Menace made his life a “living hell.”

The mere existence of child actors, it should be said, is strongly at odds with just about every other ideological formation we have regarding childhood; I’m pretty sure we’ve all decided to just overlook the contradiction entirely on the grounds that we like having movies to watch.

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March 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

‘The Doors I Wanted It to Open Didn’t Really Open’

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‘I Was Jar Jar Binks’: Entertainment Weekly profiles Ahmed Best.

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March 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

IV, V, II, III, VI

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The latest in the recent spate of “bargaining” approaches to the Star Wars films is a new suggested viewing order that purports to avoid the worst aspects of the prequels while actually improving Jedi in the process.

Fixing the Phantom Menace

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February 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

NOOOOOOOOOO!

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August 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Hoax Alert!

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The Wachowski Brothers are not planning on pulling a George Lucas after all. Citizens, return to your homes.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 26, 2011 at 9:54 am

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