Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood

Sunday Links!

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* With the newborn and the consequent sleep deprivation I’ve been in sort of a weird place mentally, but if you find yourself in a similar state of consciousness I can recommend Andy Weir’s The Martian, April Richardson’s Go Bayside! podcast, and Rachel and Miles X-plain the X-Men as just the thing. I’ve also been going through the Comedy Bang! Bang! DVD Season 1 and 2 extras, which are truly prodigious — essentially a few bonus weeks of the podcast hidden as episode commentaries.  The Martian will be a movie in 2016 and I suspect it’ll be a good one.

* Marquette team heads to RoboCup — the World Cup for robots.

* Kacy Catanzaro winning American Ninja Warrior is the best thing I’ve seen in weeks.

* For years, Ukrainian science fiction writers have been producing novels about a Russian takeover of Ukraine.

* The Sawyer Seminar at UCR: “Alternative Futurisms,” which will launch in September 2015, will bring together African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American scholars, artists and writers to examine the colonial roots and legacies of science fiction and the power of speculative fiction as a tool for social change.

* Cli-Fi watch: Mother Jones reviews Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway’s The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future.

* Superpower as disability: Fantastic Four could be either really great or really, really awful.

* …a black superhero who just does the superhero thing of fighting criminals or anti-American spies or traditional bad guys can seem like a capitulation. Fighting against crime in the U.S. means, way too often, putting black men behind bars. Will a black Captain America serve as a kind of “post-racial” justification for that law-and-order logic? Or will he, instead, open up a space to question whether law, order, and superheroics are always, and for everyone, a good?

Black Internationalism as a Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy.

* Today in police brutality: Man Dies After Being Put In Choke-Hold By NYPD.

* Federal Judge Blasts ATF For Luring Man With No Criminal Record Into Trafficking Cocaine.

The United States Sentencing Commission just voted to let 46,290 federal prisoners apply to get out of prison sooner.

* The tanks, which serve as the heart of the assault force, received an order to open fire at anything that moved.  “Self-genocide” is not a thing. Unanimous consent. What if Iron Dome is a bluff?

* Twenty-five years ago today, a plane went down in Sioux City. Nobody was expected to survive. Somehow, 184 people did.

Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. 

“People need to understand,” he says, “that there’s tons of money in nonprofits, first of all. Second, nonprofits can kind of become containers for for-profit organizations . . . and a lot of that is tax money going into rich people’s pockets.” Pushed into the marketplace, higher education managers pay themselves vast sums for wrecking one of the UK’s few globally respected sectors.

* Hollywood Will Not Stop Being Ludicrously Sexist Even If It Means the Entire Film Industry Is Destroyed.

* Terminator: An Oral History.

* Dystopia is here.

* Yes. We. Ugh.

* Presenting Cthulhubucks.

Results from a study published in the latest issue of Cognitive Science suggest that 5- and 6-year-old kids from religious backgrounds judge fact from fiction differently than those with non-religious upbringings.

* And is it possible that man was not meant to ingest infinite quantities of mozzarella sticks? Of course, Andy Daly was there first.

All Your Weekend Links at No Cost to You

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* 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.

Sunday Links

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* CFP: Far Eastern Worlds: Racial Representations of Asia in Science Fiction.

* Great research opportunity for people working in SF studies: 2014-15 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* Teachers refuse to administer standardized tests.

* The despair of solitary confinement.

* The Afterlife of the Humanities.

* Transgender Children in Antebellum America.

* The Impossible Dream of Jodorowsky’s Dune.

* The Impossible Dream of a Second Season of The Comeback.

* Erotica Written By An Alien Pretending Not To Be Horrified By The Human Body.

* On the un-witness.

* Great moments in Big Data: Math proves Hollywood shouldn’t be sexist.

* ESPN profiles the cheerleader at the heart of the Raiders wage theft case.

* Scenes from the heroin crisis in Vermont.

* The end of journalism in New Jersey.

Anadarko Agrees To Record $5 Billion Fine For ’85 Years Of Poisoning The Earth.’ Anadarko’s revenues are 14 billion annually, with assets of 52 billion, so it seems clear the fine doesn’t go nearly far enough.

* Women in tech.

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space.

We’ve Found A Hidden Ocean On Enceladus That May Harbor Life.

* Radically unnecessary TV adaptation of perfect film goes to series.

If the first wave provided a machine for fighting misery, and the second wave a machine for fighting boredom, what we now need is a machine for fighting anxiety – and this is something we do not yet have.

* Never say die: Goonies Director Teases Sequel Featuring Original Cast.​

* Kazuo Ishiguro Readies First Novel in 10 Years.

* The world is now largely a population of scared confused people ruled by atavistic sociopaths with no sense of history, ethics, science, beauty, or truth. But then you already knew that.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine being vaguely disappointed by one Marvel Cinematic Universe film a year, forever.

* And Marquette will send a team to the only sporting event that really matters, the Robot World Cup.

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Weekend Link Flood!

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* Average Salaries of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty at 4-Year Colleges, 2013-14.

How Endowment Hoarding Hurts Universities.

* On anxieties in the humanities.

* The bad old days in academia. University is No Place For Women, or, ‘What About the MEN?’

* Should I write for free? No. Maybe? No.

‘I got into sex work to afford to be a writer.’

Against “doing something” or Love Your Sadness.

* What we talk about when we talk about low-wage workers. On (not) getting by in the gig economy.

* Her and twee fascism.

* Neobracketology at Slate. Walk off the court. The NCAA-Killing Lawsuit Might Finally Be Here. There simply never has been a compelling moral or ethical argument that the NCAA and the university had an inalienable right to every last nickel they could squeeze out of the work done by their student-athletes. Don’t tell me the odds.

* U. of Wisconsin Is Fined $35,000 in Settlement of Animal-Welfare Inquiry.

* The Apartheid of Children’s Literature.

US foreign policy’s gender gap.

* Silver will either have to keep his project modest in its topical scope, rendering it boring, or expand it into normative subject areas, rendering it incompetent. Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight is getting some high-profile bad reviews. By claiming the mantle of pure analysis, Silver is falling into a familiar journalistic trap. Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science.

* From way back in the archives: Gay Trek.

JRR Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90-year wait.

* The West’s Coming Tragedy of the Commons. More at the New York Times.

A Forgotten Scandal in Baltimore’s High Society.

* BOSS: The Biannual Online-Journal of Springsteen Studies is now soliciting submissions for its second issues.

* Wes Anderson symmetry supercut.

* Blame-the-victim gender-police watch: School Bans Boy From Wearing ‘My Little Pony’ Backpack, Claims It’s A ‘Trigger For Bullying.’

* Former Coach Is Awarded $360,000 in Bias Case Against U. of Minnesota.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine George R.R. Martin writing Game of Thrones tie-in films, forever. Is Game of Thrones unfinishable? Followup.

Martin surely was writing a conventional fantasy novel about an ancient evil and an exiled princess but somehow got distracted by what probably was summed up in some original one page outline in about one sentence (“Westeros monarchy weakened by infighting and succession problems”). Having fallen in love with what was supposed to be a bit of window dressing, he has continually expanded its role within the series even though it threatens to completely drown out what the series was supposed to be about in the first place. Is it any wonder that he has suffered from the contemporary genre’s most famous case of writer’s block? I’m sure that long ago he planned what would happen to Daenerys and the Night’s Watch, but now he feels obligated to give equal time to characters like Brienne who are likable yet serve little purpose to the central narrative and are instead dragged through increasingly arbitrary make-work scenes to keep them available for some later bit of relevance.

* Pixar sequels forever.

* Guys: Twitter says you’re using Twitter wrong.

Darwin’s Children Drew All Over the On The Origin of Species Manuscript.

* CNN teaches the controversy.

* Why do we let 80,000 Americans suffer a ‘slow-motion torture of burying alive’?

* BREAKING: The last decade was a historically awful time to enter the job market.

* BREAKING: The United States Needs to Guarantee Paid Maternity Leave.

* No one could have predicted: Google Under Fire for Data-Mining Student Email Messages.

2ºC Warming Is Enough To Seriously Hurt Crop Yields.

Florida Has Never Executed A White Person For Killing A Black Person.

* Mother Jones tries to argue marijuana is ecologically unsound for some reason.

The Third Narrative Advisory Council says it wants to counter the notion — in an era when the idea of academic boycotts of Israel has gained some momentum — “that one has to be either pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian.” The truth is probably somewhere win the middle, I always say. LARoB roundtable on academic activism and BDS.

* The coming Democratic majority: Democrats don’t manage to run anyone for Nevada governor.

* Gamification in The Baffler.

* Maps of the day: how Hollywood destroys America. No, literally, how it does it. No, you’re not understanding.

* Science we can use: Why Dark Chocolate Is So Damn Good For You.

* You had me at 600-Pound “Chicken From Hell.”

* And the Very Best Tumblr of All Time: Skeletor Is Love.

All The Links

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* CFP reminder: “SF/F Now” and “Irradiating the Object” at the University of Warwick, August 2014. Proposals due March 31.

* Legendary science fiction editor Gardner Dozois once said that the job of a science fiction writer was to notice the car and the movie theater and anticipate the drive-in – and then go on to predict the sexual revolution. I love that quote, because it highlights the key role of SF in examining the social consequences of technology – and because it shows how limited our social imaginations are.

Median Salaries of Senior College Administrators, 2013-14.

Where and When You Can See The Grand Budapest Hotel.

* The New Yorker covers fusion power.

* We need to update our nightmares: Zeynep Tufekci on the Internet.

* Unreal: Dartmouth Student Says She Was Sexually Assaulted After Website ‘Rape Guide’ Named Her. Campus Rape and the Rise of the Academic Industrial Complex.

800-year-old castle torn down in Ireland.

* $60 million high school football stadium, built in 2012, torn down.

* Curators at the new art museum at Kennesaw State University had some last-minute work to do before its grand opening Saturday night. They had to quickly pack up an installation — one the art museum had commissioned — after university administrators ordered it killed for being insufficiently “celebratory” for the event.

* The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics. Man.

* Amazon and super-Taylorism.

* #fullcommunism.

* …one of the gravest threats the FBI saw in the Black Panther movement was their Free Children’s Breakfast Program.

* Agamben, horror, and the 90s.

* The Cold War never ended.

* A 2008 research study found that each additional $100 per capita in FEMA relief was correlated with a 102 percent increase in corruption in a state.

Universities being used as proxy border police, say UK academics.

*  But at least one university says it has already begun denying admission to “risky” applicants — those who don’t meet the institution’s typical minimum standards for SAT scores and GPA — over fears of how it would be rated under the Obama ratings proposal.

How the global banana industry is killing the world’s favorite fruit.

* “That hurt.” On being Chevy Chase.

* Hitting rock bottom: they’re rebooting Santa Claus.

* And just one Oscar link is all you need: Lupita Nyong’o.

These Sunday Links Are Rated to Temperatures of -30 Below

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ku-xlarge* Baby, it’s cold outside. Behold the power of this fully operational polar vortex.

Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For. #3 and #4 seem to imply an unstated ecological agenda that is really the zeroeth reform, the precondition for all the others.

“We thought we were doing God’s work” — chasing down student debtors.

* Towards an open-ended commitment to our grad students.

* “The “Teachgreat.org” initiative would limit teacher contracts to no more than three years. It also requires “teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted, and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system,” according to the summary on the group’s website.

* When Modernism Met Science Fiction: Three New Wave Classics.

* In the midst of a truly terrible piece calling for every bad higher ed reform ever proposed, Instapundit makes one suggestion we can all get behind: adjunct administration.

* Solve Hollywood sexism the Geena Davis way.

Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.

* American exceptionalism: The US has been voted as the most significant threat to world peace in a survey across 68 different countries.

* Is Frozen letting young girls in on the secret that men are scum too early?

* 70+ USS Ronald Reagan Crew Members, Half Suffering From Cancer, to Sue TEPCO For Fukushima Radiation Poisoning.

* Buzzkill! There’s not enough legal weed in Colorado.

* Daily Caller BANNED from MLA. Literal wailing about communofascism at the link.

In addition to The Daily Caller, all audio-taping and videotaping will also be outlawed at the 2013 MLA convention. The completely Orwellian-sounding Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession further demands that no one wear any scented products of any kind.

And I said nothing, because I did not wear perfume!

* Testimony of Langston Hughes before the McCarthy Committee.

* A local politician heroically overrode the concerns of his constituents to advance the cause of global capitalism, and the New York Times is ON IT.

Brooks’ rumination on his stoner days is kind of funny. It’s certainly elitist. But it is also an example of the two Americas we’ve fomented through legislative, cultural, and organizational boundaries that disrupt every single path for opportunity available for those not born to wealth and privilege.

* “Why Obamacare isn’t implementing beheading.”

* Thank you for your letter inviting me to join the committee of the Arts and Sciences for Eisenhower. I must decline, for secret reasons.

* Finally, Yale law professors reveal exactly which ethnicities are innately superior. A bit churlish to give themselves two of the top slots, but I guess the completely made-up facts speak for themselves.

* FREEDOM! U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson plans to file a lawsuit on Monday challenging a federal rule that allows members of Congress and their staffs to continue to receive health benefits similar to other federal employees.

Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns.

* Good news, everyone! You’ll work until you’re dead.

* The bad news is you’re going to hell. The good news is the decision was made before you were born!

* Heaven on Earth: A History of American Utopias.

Like a piece of equipment, the black athlete is used. The old cliché ‘You give us your athletic ability, we give you a free education’ is a bare-faced lie, concocted by the white sports establishment to hoodwink athletes, white as well as black. First of all, there is no such thing as a ‘free’ ride. A black athlete pays dearly with his blood, sweat, tears, and ultimately with some portion of his manhood, for the questionable right to represent his school on the athletic field. Second the white athletic establishments on the various college campuses frequently fail to live up to even the most rudimentary responsibilities implied in their half of the agreement.

* First dogs had magnetic poop powers; now foxes are magnetic too.

* And the Adventures of Fallacy Man!

All the Wednesday Links!

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“Universities do not seem to care if staff and faculty are parents unless legally obligated to do so,” said my colleague Richard King, a professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University. “Do the work. Have kids on your own time. Any conflict is your responsibility to manage so long as you prioritize us over them.”

What Do 2,358 College Administrators Do? More at reclaimUC.

The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself. While budget cuts at the state level are an important piece of the crisis of higher education, the administrative bureaucracy at both campus and system level is by no means an innocent actor. It is the UC administration that must be held responsible for expanding, intensifying, and accelerating the processes of privatization.

* Misogyny nightmare at USC.

  • [USC student Tucker] Reed, the lead complainant, said USC dismissed her claim that her ex-boyfriend had raped her, despite her providing audio recordings of him admitting to it. At one point, Reed said, a USC official told her the goal was to offer an “educative” process, not to “punish” the assailant.
  • When a student went to the DPS to report a sexual assault at a frat, an officer told her and a friend, also a sexual assault survivor who had accompanied her, that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”
  • A DPS detective told one student that the campus police determined that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm.

Why I Didn’t Go to Dubai.

A university is not a bubble to which you invite the best faculty members and the best students from all over the world and expect to share and produce cutting-edge knowledge. A university that is cut off from its immediate environment, that has no links with neighboring institutions of higher learning, that does not engage with the social, economic and political problems of the society in which it is embedded does not deserve the title of  “university.” Sadly, I believe that most U.S. universities working in the Gulf suffer from these fatal problems: They are hermetically sealed establishments that have little or no contact with the societies they are in. The latest episode of censorship belies this philosophy. It is as if the UAE government is saying “You can have the most impressive campuses, with cutting edge scientific labs, libraries and sports facilities, but you have no right to discuss the pressing political and cultural issues of the society just beyond the campus gates.”

* Shock! Horror! Emails show Detroit’s emergency managers always intended to declare bankruptcy.

* America Has a Stadium Problem: Despite every number suggesting they shouldn’t, why do American cities keep building sports stadiums funded with public money? They’re even promising to save the stadiums even as they let the rest of Detroit go under.

The NCAA’s History With Concussions: A Timeline.

Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children (1) develop intrinsic interests and competencies; (2) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; (3) learn to regulate their emotions; (4) make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and (5) experience joy. Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health.  Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide

This is a perfect demonstration of why the entire budget battle is nothing more than an excuse to slash necessary programs for average people. There’s always money for military boondoggles whether it’s “missile defense” or border security or another already obsolete piece of expensive hardware.

They Finally Tested The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ On Actual Prisoners. The true finding of game theory is that the most sociopathic people in society become economics theorists.

* Full faith and credit: Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage.

When we say we want to critique privilege, we mean that we want to critique the privilege of ordinariness. How awkward that sounds. Even impossible. But it is what we mean. More concisely, we want to critique the experience of “ordinariness” that permits daily life, permits civic engagement, even permits civil disobedience. And it becomes difficult to critique the experience of “ordinariness” because it is a moving target: ordinariness experienced in one location is not the same as ordinariness in another. My ordinariness in Nairobi is not the same as my ordinariness in Baltimore, although both depend on the presence of majority black populations.

* SyFy is destroying America: the only thing worse than a pointless 12 Monkeys TV series would be Warriors of Oz.

* North Carolina not even bothering to pretend post-VRA-evisceration.

Hollywood Actress Has Played a 17-Year-Old for Over 17 Years.

Francis Ford Coppola’s potential cast list for The Godfather.

* I know I link to it a lot, but Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal consistently has the best SF going.

* And we’re gonna need a bigger moral panic: science demonstrates poverty is much worse for babies than crack cocaine.

Friday Night Linkdump

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* The future’s already here, it’s just not evenly distributed: “Dizzy and sick”: McDonald’s workers strike after enduring 110 degree heat.

Richest 300 Persons on Earth Have More Money Than Poorest 3 Billion.

* Neill Blomkamp hypes Elysium.

Jimmy Carter Says NSA Scandal Shows America Has No Functioning Democracy.

* Detroit declares bankruptcy. The U.S. cities that have filed for bankruptcy, in one map. Only Wall Street Wins in Detroit Crisis Reaping $474 Million Fee. Race and ethnicity 2010: Detroit.Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%. Dirty tricks from Governor Snyder.But not so fast.

After Trayvon: Will There Be Justice for Florida’s Other Stand Your Ground Victim?

On Twitter, Jim Henley suggested that we view these laws as a variation on deputization — but it’s a weirdly open-ended form, a kind of freelance self-deputization. It’s recruiting potentially every white male (along with everyone who identifies culturally with the white male power structure over against minority groups) to appoint himself a police deputy and join in the ongoing war on minorities that we euphemistically call “law enforcement” in this country.

* Obama speaks.

* More details on San Jose State’s rejection of MOOCs: University Suspends Online Classes After More Than Half the Students Fail.

* Tufts adjuncts file for union. 6 Current Players Join Antitrust Lawsuit Against The NCAA.

* Megan Erickson in Jacobin against unschooling. Gary Cohn at Firedoglake against colocation.

Sequestration Cuts To Research ‘Like A Slowly Growing Cancer.’

* Texas Monthly profiles Wendy Davis and the Democrats’ fight to flip Texas.

* Five-year-old shoots two-year-old sister dead with “My First Rifle.”

* Scientists have found the biggest viruses known, and these pandoraviruses have opened up entirely new questions in science—even suggesting a fourth domain of life, a new study says.

* Death and dying in America: 1, 2.

 * Collapse, 1200 BC.

* Save the Cat! Why Every Hollywood Movie is Exactly the Same.

Six for Friday

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* The dark side of dual enrollment. There’s some interesting stuff here on how testing practices deform learning, too:

We talked a little bit about the class, her performance, and where she should go next. The student explained that my class is not compatible with her “learning method.” She said that she prefers “that multiplying method, you know, where there are letters, A, B, C.”

I said, “You mean, multiple choice?”

“Yes, that’s the one,” she said. “That’s the method where I learn best. I’m good at figuring out which letters aren’t the right ones.”

She said she was good at multiple choice because she has learned to eliminate wrong answers and get the choices down to one or two and then make a good guess. She has transferred into Sam Houston State University with 65 credit hours (two years!) of “college” classes, all earned at a nearby community college. With possibly one exception (part of a math class), all her community-college classes used multiple choice. She said she didn’t learn well with my “method.”

This student spent 15 years of standardized tests learning how to discriminate between pre-presented choices — an utterly useless skill.

* Ideology vs. how random number generators work.

Hollywood misogyny is somehow getting worse.

* Via Facebook: Genocide in South Dakota?

* Perry Anderson in New Left Review with a nice history of the two-party system in America.

* And Business Week has a capitalism-with-a-human-face profile of CostCo.

Tuesday Night

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Before the Overlook Hotel, There Was… ‘YOUNG SHINING’

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Links from the Weekend!

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* Wes Anderson bingo. Meanwhile, Moonrise Kingdom is setting records.

* Great television contrarianism watch: Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock. In which I analyze my allergy to Sherlock.

* David Harvey: The financial crisis is an urban crisis.

* Utopia and dystopia in quantum superposition: New parking meters text you when time’s running out.

Facebook is not only on course to go bust, but will take the rest of the ad-supported Web with it.

* Shaviro reviews Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders. LRB reviews Embassytown. LARoB reviews Railsea. The New Yorker reviews Game of Thrones.

But there is something troubling about this sea of C.G.I.-perfect flesh, shaved and scentless and not especially medieval. It’s unsettling to recall that these are not merely pretty women; they are unknown actresses who must strip, front and back, then mimic graphic sex and sexual torture, a skill increasingly key to attaining employment on cable dramas. During the filming of the second season, an Irish actress walked off the set when her scene shifted to what she termed “soft porn.” Of course, not everyone strips: there are no truly explicit scenes of gay male sex, fewer lingering shots of male bodies, and the leading actresses stay mostly buttoned up. Artistically, “Game of Thrones” is in a different class from “House of Lies,” “Californication,” and “Entourage.” But it’s still part of another colorful patriarchal subculture, the one called Los Angeles.

* Terrible news, state by state:

Louisiana Incarcerated: How We Built the World’s Prison Capital. Via MeFi.

* The Institute for Southern Studies covers North Carolina’s answer to the Koch brothers, Art Pope.

* Detroit shuts off the lights.

* Kansas Republicans reinstitute feudalism, deliberately bankrupting the state.

* Voter purges in Florida, again.

* Contemplating these dreary statistics, one might well conclude that the United States is — to a distressing extent — a nation of violent, intolerant, ignorant, superstitious, passive, shallow, boorish, selfish, unhealthy, unhappy people, addicted to flickering screens, incurious about other societies and cultures, unwilling or unable to assert or even comprehend their nominal political sovereignty. Or, more simply, that America is a failure.

* The New Yorker‘s science fiction issue is live. If you wanted to get me to read New Yorker fiction for the first time in years, well, mission accomplished…

* And we’re still pouring college money down the for-profit drain. Because never learning from your mistakes is the most important thing we have to teach.

An Orphan Adrift in Hollywood

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Whedonmania

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Interesting news from the Whedonverse: …Whedon is shopping a digital studio proposal around Hollywood, including to the major studios, looking to raise investment in the $5 million range, according to sources. The unnamed Whedon studio will apparently look to produce four original web series a year, two of which will be directed by Whedon himself. One of those two will be the above mentioned Dr. Horrible sequel. Keeping my fingers crossed for Capt. Reynolds’s Shoot-Along Facebook Feed.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 23, 2009 at 3:08 am

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The Company You Keep

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Who’s Barack pallin’ around with now?

The attack ad just writes itself.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 7, 2009 at 8:52 pm

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