Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘J.G. Ballard

Thursday Links

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* Research shows that if a child discloses sexual abuse, chances are very, very good that no matter how young he or she is, how angry his or her parent is at the accused, how numb or stiff he or she seems discussing it, how willing she or he is to back off from the claim at any one point, how little physical evidence there is, that child is probably telling the truth. Six Reasons Why Dylan Farrow Is Highly Credible.

* A Brief History of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee at NYU.

Wildly popular accounts like @HistoryInPics are bad for history, bad for Twitter, and bad for you.

* On Saying the Same Thing a Thousand Times.

* We have not in modern high-income, public-education, open-access societies actually managed to increase the rate of social mobility above what it was in preindustrial society.

Male, Mad and Muddleheaded: Academics in Children’s Picture Books.

* “Oppressed Majority”: Life as a Woman.

* Also at Buzzfeed (sorry): What Arbitrary Thing Are You?

* The latest in terrible education reform ideas: the “parent trigger.”

* The latest in weird weather: “frost quakes.”

* Train Spills 12,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota, No Major Cleanup Effort Planned.

* Jerry Seinfeld, philosopher.

“You’re funny, I’m interested. You’re not funny, I’m not interested. I have no interest in gender or race or anything like that.”

* True facts that sound false.

* Stolen Stradivarius violin recovered, sources say.

* Marbles Anne Frank gave a playmate when her family went into hiding from World War II Nazis are on exhibit in the Netherlands after 70 years in a cupboard.

* Marriage equality in Scotland.

* The tactical brilliance of BDS becomes clearer with every passing month.

* Iran Is Apparently Adopting Universal Health Care.

* ‘Shy’ male sues Women’s Studies teacher for failing him after he refused to attend class.

* What happens when two chatbots try to seduce each other.

* Finally, a Bachelor Contestant Exposes the Show’s Weird Sex Issues.

At some point we jumped the tracks and wound up in a really polemic 1980s dystopia.

Latinos overwhelmingly want action on climate change.

* Bill Watterson wins the Nobel Prize of Comics.

* So much for my doomsday prepping: The Great Lakes May Be Drying Up.

Single Mother Fired For Staying Home With Her Son When Schools Closed For Subzero Weather.

XStat Rapid Hemostasis System for Gunshot Wounds Works in 15 Seconds.

Wisconsin’s law on police accountability in custody deaths goes unused.

“That is as bad as anything I’ve ever heard,” he said of the decision to let Weston work with cleaning products. “Not only did they know he was suicidal, they know how he did it, and they gave him the very agent that he’s used to try to commit suicide. That sounds criminal.”

Your iPhone Has a Secret Undo Button.

* There’s a new TNI out, on H8.

* They’re making a movie out of High Rise, which is great news.

* The first fear is always the fear of the doppelgänger.

* And LifeHack has some important Beard Facts.

Mashable-Beard-Facts-Comic

Wednesday Links

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original* Apocalypse now: Nearly One In 10 U.S. Watersheds Is ‘Stressed.’

* Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa explains why the show is just going to get worse and worse and worse.

The protest took the form of three words, or three letters, scribbled onto equipment tape or actual equipment last Saturday during college football games. All Players United, or A.P.U., it read.

* Sensationalized bullshit gets around the world before nuance even has the chance to get its shoes on: Are Tenured Professors Really Worse Teachers? A Lit Review.

In 2006, however, Eric Bettinger and Bridget Terry Long published a book chapter that did address the graduation rate question by looking at student data. Analyzing the records of 43,000 undergraduates at public, four-year colleges in Ohio, they reached the “straightforward and unambiguous” result that freshman taught by adjuncts were more likely to drop out….

Of note here: The big divide wasn’t between tenured and non-tenured professors, but part-time vs. full-time.

Four years later, Bettinger and Long published a second study that added some interesting nuances to their findings. Ohio freshmen, they found, were actually more likely to take additional classes in a career-oriented field (think business, journalism, or computer science) if their first course was taught by an adjunct. In more academic departments (think English or History) students taught by adjuncts were less likely to come back for more. Once they looked beyond freshmen year, the authors found that adjuncts had a positive effect on student interest in every field, though it was still strongest in pre-professional areas of study.

Digital Craft and Humanistic Perspectives Beyond Academia.

  • We need to avoid the mentality of academic self-propagation – graduate studies should not focus on producing more academics, we should assume the norm is to form students for non-academic jobs (much as we do at the undergraduate level).
  • We need to better valorize the masters as a terminal degree – these aren’t the academic dropouts, they are super-graduates who have chosen not to further specialize.
  • We should explore an enhanced masters (or other designation) that fills an enormous gap between the short masters and the long doctorate.
  • We should, through example, encourage students to think of the value of their humanities knowledge, to be able to express it to others, and in some cases to imagine entrepreneurial opportunities for their expertise (have students feel empowered to create a job rather than searching for one).
  • We need to set a higher standard of digital literacy for humanities programs in simple recognition that graduates will be searching for employment in an information age (and more generally participating in a digital society).
  • We need to provide far more opportunities for humanities graduate students to become creators of contentbeyond text-based academic scholarship – producing such tangible works (digital or otherwise) can be valuable in a portfolio and lead to the development of differentiating skillsets on the job market.
  • We need to disrupt the dominance of the classroom-centric, multi-course per term format which seems to persist far more out of bureaucratic habit and convenience than pedagogical soundness. An alternative model is the “block plan” at Quest University, where students take intensive three-week courses. Graduate students might be expected to spend several consecutive days absorbing the more relevant and thought-provoking materials available, from published articles and monographs to blog posts and online videos. There may even be room for a MOOC-like component to provide some core concepts in highly produced and polished form (yes, as heretical as it may sound, I do believe that some aspects of knowledge in the humanities can be fairly neatly packaged, especially in a hybrid model where there are also more intensive small-scale interactions).

* Doin’ it wrong: Usually at the beginning of the semester a hand shoots up and someone asks why there aren’t any women writers in the course. I say I don’t love women writers enough to teach them, if you want women writers go down the hall. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth. UPDATE: An apology (kind of). UPDATE UPDATE: Hazlit has now published the full interview.

* Reforming campus rape culture and sexual assault unreporting.

* Public service announcement: Harvard is ridiculously rich. Please do not donate money to Harvard.

* Ballard, Miéville, Seinfeld, and the pornography of infinity.

Real-world Civilization game shows impact of war.

* It’s the utterly pointless prequel you’ve been dying to see, almost the ultimate crystallization of what’s wrong with this trend: Commissioner Gordon.

* 18 Products You’ve Been Using Wrong. At least one or two of these is actually helpful!

* Gawker announces plan to solve the privilege hierarchy once and for all.

* And a diver has finally captured our first photographic evidence of the creature scientists call “the Cookie Monster of the Sea.”

Stove Pipe Sponge, Aplysina archeri

A Few More Morning Links

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* J.G. Ballard’s reading list, from age 6 to age 25.

* Germans are stealing our precious words; their current favorite is shitschturm.

We should be wary of declaring “the end of the English major” when what has really happened is that, in terms of humanities enrollments, schools like Yale have gone from exceptional to merely above average.

* Dystopia now: “Sky has developed technology to transfer adverts from train windows directly and silently into commuters’ heads.”

* And what could go wrong? Ginsberg says she won’t retire before 2016.

Thursday Night Links

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* I saw this movie: Brains of rats connected allowing them to share information via internet.

It bears repeating: The candidate’s adviser sent us a letter on which both “department of history” and “faculty of arts and sciences” were misspelled.

Advice From Tenure-Track Faculty To Those Entering The Profession.

* Beyond the MOOC: While other universities move quickly to offer courses online for free, Carnegie Mellon University is instead starting for-profit efforts designed to capture segments of the education market. I’ll promote this a bit more as the date gets closer, but I’ll be speaking at a “What’s the Matter with MOOCs?” event at UWM in mid-March.

Boots on Campus: Yale Flap Highlights Militarization of Academia.

Student Debt Nearly Tripled In 8 Years, New York Federal Reserve Reports.

* The Dan Harmon backlash, at the AV Club and TNR (of all things).

* Justice, American style: The city’s complaint in federal court claims that if Ms. Truong is entitled to damages for the nearly three years she spent in jail awaiting trial, then Mr. Ryan is as much to blame as the city because he took too long to get the coerced confession tossed out of court by the judge.

* What is happening with Bob Woodward? Seriously, WTF Is Up With Bob Woodward?

Will a Republican friend-of-the-court brief tip the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage? I’m pretty sure it’ll have more luck than Obama’s.

These numbers are unprecedented: by 2014 President Obama will have deported over 2 million people – more in six years than all people deported before 1997. That “before 1997″ actually means since 1892.

AFL-CIO Executive Council Endorses Comprehensive Doomsday Policy for Working Families.

“We need union jobs today, not tomorrow,” said Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO.  “The resolution balances our desire to protect the fragile ecosystem of the earth, while acknowledging the economic benefits of a high-road strategy to develop the doomsday technologies of the future.”

* Never forget: The entire staff of the West Wing died on Voyager.

How Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the EmpireTurned Star Wars into Science Fiction.

Women Work Harder Than Men, Study Says.

* The Turn against Nabokov.

* When the White House was completely gutted.

The social events of the 1948 holiday season had to be canceled. And with good reason: Experts called the third floor of the White House “an outstanding example of a firetrap.” The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion’s plumbing “makeshift and unsanitary,” while “the structural deterioration [was] in ‘appalling degree,’ and threatening complete collapse.” The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.

* When Martin Luther King played pool.

“Preserved” plushies in jars.

* Help wanted: must be infallible.

* They’re making a movie out of The Drowned World.

Shale Gas Fracking Will Be Around For a Long, Long Time.

* And American history, Breitbart style: Journalists on the campaign trail saw Johnson drunkenly board a plane armed with nuclear weapons and then accidentally drop them on the United States. We all saw it!

A Few More for Friday While I Procrastinate

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* A week ago, no-olds was a novelty; today it is one of the profession’s most cherished traditions. I’ll just recycle my jokes from Twitter: “Anyone who’s been on market longer than that knows how quickly Harvard and Yale turn asst profs over. They want it to be a surprise.”

* When ideologies collide: Man Accused of Threatening Woman with Handgun for Smoking While Pregnant.

* Chait: Mitt Romney created his most recent campaign shitstorm by launching an attack that was, simultaneously, an absurdly disingenuous argument built upon a series of demonstrable lies. After an initial period of recrimination andlashing out at the media, Romney and his allies are insisting that he was absolutely correct all along. It is a remarkable testament to the party’s ability not just to engage in spin but create and sustain an alternate reality. Meanwhile, SEK is having too much fun with his smirking-Mitt meme.

* Nate Cohn and Ed Kilgore have your polling roundups. The short version is that while it’s not over, it’s definitely slipping away from Romney.

Should We Stop Referring to Student Loans as “Financial Aid”? Researching 2000s college aid admissions on behalf of my brilliant cousin, it’s struck me how decisively “no-loan aid” has become a new marker of elite status in recent years for Ivy and Ivy-Plus schools.

William Gibson on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong.  J.G. Ballard vs. the fans.

* Lost and Found: NPR has all your vintage photographs.

* And of course you had me at “New Monkey Discovered.”

Occupy Oakland Attacked and Other Tuesday Morning Links

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* I woke this morning to news that police were attacking the Occupy Oakland encampment. @zunguzungu and @studentactivism are trying to make sense of what’s happening.

* Decline watch: US’s Most Powerful Nuclear Bomb Being Dismantled.

* J.G. Ballard watch: Giant Lego Man Washes Ashore in Florida.

* Apparently the Obama administration has given up on even pretending it can make an unbiased decision on Keystone XL. After hiring a TransCanada-affiliated firm to do the environmental assessment for the pipeline — a move so corrupt that even Congresspeople noticed — the administration has now taken on a former TransCanada lobbyist as a senior advisor.

* Presenting the “app gap.”

The report also documents for the first time an emerging “app gap” in which affluent children are likely to use mobile educational games while those in low-income families are the most likely to have televisions in their bedrooms.

While the industrial-chic American Tobacco Campus seems like a natural magnet for entrepreneurs, the newest and scrappiest companies in town make their home a few blocks away on the second floor of the Durham Chamber of Commerce. The Bull City Startup Stampede program provides sixty days of support for a select group of entrepreneurs, with the goal of establishing and retaining new businesses in the city center. Alas, there’s no indication in the article (or the Stampede’s website, or elsewhere in the press) that any of this money has gone to any part of the community that already exists in Durham.

* The Atlantic also says you should invest in taxi medallion futures. Via MeFi.

* And Paul Krugman catches Paul Ryan warning that unless Obama agrees to cuts, we could be forced into austerity! Oh no!

Geocoding Ballard

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

The Atrocity Exhibition

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For sale: J.G. Ballard’s home. Warning: structure may be haunted by modernity’s ghosts. (Thanks Lindsey!)

Written by gerrycanavan

July 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

Rocking Thursday Night

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Still OoT But With Unexpected Hotel Wifi Links

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* Ripped from the pages of Infinite Jest, a playable version of Eschaton. (via)

* Via Pete Lit, federal government to use its immense buying power to benefit society.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

This looks to me like perhaps a first case of the end-runs Obama will have to make around our broken legislative institutions if he hopes to avoid a failed presidency. Another good sign: the final embrace of sidecar reconciliation to finish the job on health care.

* Of course, that headline in the New York Times gets it wrong, as Steve Benen has been desperately trying to explain to anyone who will listen: Democrats don’t need to pass health care via reconciliation because health care already passed through the regular order. Regardless, the Republicans are promising a full-on freakout if reconciliation is used; what might they do?

* “Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages’ worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood.” Hey, thanks for admitting it! Of course we won’t prosecute you; you were just protecting the homeland!

* Eliza Dushku to ruin another Joss Whedon production.

* The pornography of infinity: China Miéville on J.G. Ballard.

* J.D. Salinger v. Raiders of the Lost Ark.

* Wikipedia’s list of landings on other planets. Did the Soviets think there was life on Venus? They certainly seem to have thought there was something there. Via Boing Boing.

* Secret origins of the cellar door line from Donnie Darko.

* FantasySCOTUS.

* Really good reading of the U.K. version of The Office that focuses on Gervais’s critique of celebrity culture to explain, among other things, how David Brent could possibly have won a promotion on a 5-2 vote of the company board or been hired by a consulting firm—as well as why the U.S. version, in dropping this thematic angle, will always be intrinsically inferior.

* If I were a Brigham Young student, here’s the process I would have to undertake to grow my beloved beard.

* Students at the University of Mississippi want Admiral Akbar as their new mascot. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort.

* Also Via MeFi: Personal pop-culture rules. “No Robin Williams” and “anything involving dinosaurs” are two I think I follow.

* And Matt Yglesias selfishly takes a stand against one of our most-beloved cultural institutions. No special rights for late-in-the-alphabet people!

J.G. Ballard, "Poet of Desolate Landscapes"

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Not to take away from his verdict on the 20th century: Ballard’s a bard of techno-anomie, of late-capitalist disaffection, and his writings are just the tonic if your local cloverleaf traffic jam or gated community or global warming harbinger has got you feeling out of sorts. But it’s precisely his grounding in deeper undercurrents of cosmic-existentialist wonder that give that tonic its fizz. His is the voice reminding you not to take the postmodern hangover too personally: it was always going to happen this way.

Jonathan Lethem eulogizes J.G. Ballard in The New York Times Book Review.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 12, 2009 at 1:46 am

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Good Morning, World

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Good morning, world.

* Michael Steele wants you to know that Republicans are done apologizing for the ruinous policies of the last eight years. Love it or lump it, chumps, they’ve turned the page.

* “Calling Utopia a Utopia,” by Ursula K. Le Guin.

To define science fiction as a purely commercial category of fiction, inherently trashy, having nothing to do with literature, is a tall order. It involves both denying that any work of science fiction can have literary merit, and maintaining that any book of literary merit that uses the tropes of science fiction (such as Brave New World, or 1984, or The Handmaid’s Tale, or most of the works of J.G. Ballard) is not science fiction. This definition-by-negation leads to remarkable mental gymnastics. For instance, one must insist that certain works of dubious literary merit that use familiar science-fictional devices such as alternate history, or wellworn science-fiction plots such as Men-Crossing-the-Continent-After-the Holocaust, and are in every way definable as science fiction, are not science fiction — because their authors are known to be literary authors, and literary authors are incapable by definition of committing science fiction.

Now that takes some fancy thinking.

* And Sarah Conner‘s showrunner says goodbye.

Good shows are cancelled every year; smart shows, worthy shows, shows which move their viewers to write blogs and have viewing parties and create action figures and bury executives’ email accounts under thousands of messages. I miss Deadwood and The Wire and Arrested Development but thank God that I still have Rescue Me and The Office and a recently renewed Party Down written by ex-T:SCC writer John Enbom.

Bad shows are cancelled, too. And certainly there are those who did not like what we did and had their own vision for what a Terminator TV show should be. It’s easy to look at low ratings or cancellation as “failure” and for those who believe we’ve gone about this all wrong I’m sure today’s news will only serve to confirm a world view that I would never try to change. We’ve written the show as best we can, executed it to the best of our abilities, and sent it out in the world knowing that we worked out asses off to do something that wouldn’t be a waste of anybody’s forty-three minutes.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 19, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Sunday (?)

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Mostly non-apocalyptic Sunday links. (UPDATE: Yes, I know it’s Saturday.)

* J.G. Ballard’s last story, in the Guardian.

* The governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela have issued a statement in response to the 5th Summit of the Americas that declares, in part, that capitalism is destroying the planet. Why do the governments of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela hate America / Jesus / puppies?

* See also: An anti-environmentalist lobbying coalition for industry has been caught, cigarette-lobby-like, ignoring its own experts.

* See also: this cartoon.

* Myths about the National Popular Vote Bill. This page actually answered a few of my objections, mostly about the likelihood of post-election pact-breakage.

* Crimes committed by Ferris Bueller during his day off.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 25, 2009 at 7:27 pm

MFA Programs vs. the Still-Warm Body of J.G. Ballard

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

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Crash

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

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