Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Japan

Almost Too Many Thursday Links, Really, If You Ask Me

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* Extrapolation is seeking essays for a special issue on Indigenous Futurism, edited by Grace L. Dillon, Michael Levy and John Rieder.

* Designing for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

* No state worse than Wisconsin for black children, says new national study. The Fight for Wisconsin’s Soul. Other People’s Pathologies.

* Why UWM Matters.

* Life and debt.

* Coffee pods and ecology.

* University of California graduate students explain why they’re striking. Students Occupy Dartmouth President’s Office. Coaches Make $358,000 In Bonuses For Reaching NCAA Tournament Final Four. Emory University Eradicates its Visual Arts Department. Dear Harvard: You Win.

* A Brief Report from the University of Southern Maine. Armed guards at faculty meetings.

Major attack on academic freedom in Michigan.

* Academia Under the Influence.

* Surveillance, Dissent, and Imperialism. NSA Surveillance and the Male Gaze.

* The secret history of Cuban Twitter. If this tweet gets 1000 favorites Castro’s beard falls out.

Kingdom Prep is one of dozens of basketball academies that have popped up in recent years to cater to “postgrad” players—recent high-school graduates who need to improve their standardized-test scores to meet the NCAA’s academic requirements.

* Just when I thought I was out: Marquette hires Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski.

* The really rich are different from the rich, who are different from you and me.

* An heir to the du Pont fortune has been given probation for raping his three-year-old daughter because you know damn well why.

* What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway?

* Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

* Libertarian Police Department. Koch Brothers Quietly Seek To Ban New Mass Transit In Tennessee.

* Detroit: Then and Now.

* A new study shows how Lake Tahoe might serve as a mammoth reservoir that could significantly mitigate California’s chronic water shortages without tarnishing the lake’s world-renowned beauty. What could possibly go wrong?

* The geographic sublime, from the Rural Assistance Center.

* How to Think About the Risk of Autism.

* Sepinwall vs. How I Met Your Mother.

* How To Negotiate With People Around The World.

* Gasp! CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says.

* Gasp! Torture Didn’t Lead to Bin Laden.

* New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States.

* Who’s afraid of Suey Park?

* You once said: “I’m part-android.” Has that revelation haunted you?

* The kids are all right: Talking With 13-Year-Old Leggings Activist Sophie Hasty.

* Bourbon and Girl Scout Cookie Pairings.

* How to Improve Aquaman.

* The Definitive Ranking Of Robin’s 359 Exclamations From ‘Batman.’ 25 Weird Batman Comic-Book Covers.

* Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom’s gift economy.

* Norman Lear, Archie Bunker, and the rRise of the BBbad Fan.

Original Star Trek II: Wrath Of Khan VFX Storyboards Are A Visual Feast.

* The greatest, richest, freest country in the history of the world.

* The wisdom of markets: Walmart Realizes It’s Losing Billions Of Dollars By Denying Workers More Hours.

* Classic good news / bad news situation: Television Without Pity Archives Will Stay Online. Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come.

* Weird science: Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death.

* On Moretti-ism: Knowing is not reading.

* The New Inquiry’s “Money” issue is out with some great pieces, including one on China that really highlights a key contradiction in American ideology, which simultaneously holds that capitalism is the only possible economic system and that the future belongs to China. And Rortybomb’s piece on human capital is super chilling: basically dystopian literature, and it’s pretty much already real. And then the freedom piece! And the egg donation one! Great issue all around.

A person may be free because she can choose among a broad range of possibilities, or she may be free while she undertakes some action about which she has no choice at all, but whose compulsion she deems legitimate. Or she may be free when she faces a range of options, one of which is clearly superior to the alternatives, so that her behavior is perfectly predictable despite a formal freedom to choose. Freedom is not, at bottom, about the range of possibilities one faces but about the degree of consent one offers for the action to be taken or the circumstance to be endured.

Japan Ordered To Stop Killing Antarctic Whales For “Science.”

* Teen Wins $70,000 Settlement After School Demanded Her Facebook Password.

* Is being thin more deadly than being obese? Take that, skinnies!

*  I’ve had this dream: Student claims college instructor spent months teaching class the ‘wrong’ course.

* I dream of the day that Seattle and Portland can get along.

* And please don’t make me say it again.

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April 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

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First Day of the Semester Links!

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* CFP for this year’s meeting of the Science Fiction Research Association, which will be meeting at feminist science fiction convention WisCon in Madison this year.

MLA Delegates Narrowly Approve Controversial Resolution on Israel. Can all-out war be far behind?

The question is: Is such a life and such a career available now? In the Age of Adjuncts? When graduate students refer to themselves as ‘the pre-unemployed’?

*A reason FT and PT should organize together: Part-time professors at UNB are obliged by contract to continue teaching even if full-time faculty strike unless UNB administration decides otherwise. UNB professors on strike starting Monday. Some relevant video.

* David Gordon on discovering he’s huge in Japan.

* Wages for Facebook.

Beginning in January, approximately 1,600 all-electric vehicles registered in North Carolina and newly-registered all-electrics are required to pay a $100 annual fee in addition to other required registration fees because Republicans literally just straight-out hate the planet that’s why.

All December Job Gains Went to Women.

7-Year-Old Girl Asks Scientists To Breed Her a Dragon.

NBA to Pay $500 Million to ABA’s Spirits of St. Louis to Get Out of 38-Year-Old Deal.

UNC Professor Receiving Death Threats For Revealing Athletes’ Low Reading Levels.

* Disney totally screwing up Star Wars watch.

* I missed this profile of Mia Farrow depicting her daughters’ allegations of child molestation against Woody Allen in November, but how utterly horrifying. Was there not time for the Golden Globes to rethink that “lifetime achievement” award?

* And paging Louis Althusser: school uses drone surveillance to stop students from cheating in exams.

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!

Wednesday Links

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* College Men: Stop Getting Drunk. In response to this.

* How Young Is Too Young for Multiple-Choice Tests? (A) 5 (B) Never.

The image of 4- and 5-year-olds struggling to figure out how to take a multiple-choice test is heartbreaking enough, but the image that stuck with me was that of the children trying to help one another with the test and being told that they’re not allowed to do so.

* Paul Campos and Matt Leichter crunch some numbers on the law school bubble.

Graduate Students Urge Changes in Comprehensive Exams.

* Sold Out: Privatizing the university in the UK.

North Carolina Suspends Welfare Program Thanks To The Shutdown.

The Handmaid’s Tale debuts as ballet in Winnipeg. Judging from the picture attached to the article I have some questions about the accuracy of this adaptation.

* How can anyone say this is anything but an utter debacle? Delaware health officials celebrate first health exchange enrollee.

 

* Once-A-Decade Typhoon Threatens Already-Leaking Fukushima Nuclear Plant.

* And a new study claims the Iraq war claimed half a million lives. Down the memory hole, you!

Clean, Safe, and Too Cheap to Meter

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Scattered Labor Day Links

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A Functional Form Has Its Own Beauty: An Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson. I liked Redshirts and all, but 2312 really should have won the Hugo.

* Florida International extracted more than $18 million of its $25 million in 2011-12 revenues in the form of student fees. College Football’s Grid of Shame.

Radiation levels spike at Fukushima nuclear plant. But the lede is buried a bit here:

TEPCO had originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was around 100 millisieverts an hour. However, the company said the equipment used to make that recording could read only measurements of up to 100 millisieverts.

* Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible?

* The only memory of the bee is painting by a dying flower.

* This Labor Day, Thank a Teacher.

How many times must we witness the collapse of good intentions into horror and failure before we no longer allow the “Decent Left” to wear those good intentions like a mark of courage?

Better even than a real conflict, though, is a hypothetical conflict. Why bother with the effort of forgetting, when you can merely invent? Those are the very best wars, the ones that are dreamt of in the American imagination. No conflict has ever been as noble, no war as good, as our hypothetical war for Rwanda.

* Bedbug reports skyrocket in Milwaukee area, nationally. Ugh.

Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s. Ugh.

* And the news just gets worse: Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement.

Friday Quick Links!

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In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor’s guidelines for when a private sector internship can be unpaid and still legal can hinge upon whether the intern is a student. The guidelines, which are not technically law but are a subset of rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act, say that “the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the internship program and provides educational credit).”

Yale Officially Declares ‘Nonconsensual Sex’ Not That Big of a Deal.

* Nation interns embarrass the magazine re: its exploitative practices, get results immediately. 

MOOC Bill Dead for Now.

The bill, unveiled in March by a powerful California lawmaker, initially would have required the state’s 145 public colleges and universities to grant credit for low-cost online courses offered by outside groups, including for-profits companies, among them the providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The legislation was the subject of massive media coverage, with many citing it as evidence that traditional higher ed models were doomed.

* Death by zip code.

* And years later Fukushima remains a nightmare.

Friday!

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* When writer AD Harvey invented an 1862 meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky, it was for years accepted as fact. So why did he do it – and why did he also create a series of fake academic identities? Following up on this classic from the Times Literary Supplement.

* Academia’s Pink-Collar Workforce.

Accreditor Approves Competency-Based Degree at U. of Wisconsin.

* Aaron Carroll draws our attention today to a new study in JAMA that compares American health outcomes with those in other rich countries. Overall, we’re now in 28th place, sandwiched in between Chile and Poland. The massive chart below shows how we do on treating specific diseases. We’re 31st on diabetes, 16th on breast cancer, 32nd on COPD, and (in our best showing) 8th on colon cancer.

The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change. Finland vs. the U.S., in the Atlantic.

* Fracking: basically comically evil.

* Google: basically comically evil.

Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment,” is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.

* Unpopular opinion: I’m a sex-negative feminist.

T_GenreBar* Visualizing the Bechdel test.

* Drones in Niger. Prison hunger-strikers in California. Food stamps in New Jersey. Violent crime in Milwaukee this year is highest since ’08. Unemployment Rate For Black Women Higher Now Than Four Years Ago.

* If jobs mean maturity, not everyone gets to grow up.

Saitō ventured a count: There were 1 million people in a state of withdrawal or hikikomori, about one percent of the Japanese population. Eighty percent of them were men; 90 percent were over 18. “Social withdrawal is not some sort of ‘fad’ that will just fade away,” Saitō wrote. It is “a symptom, not the name of an illness,” and “there has been no sign that the number of cases will decrease.” His book became a best seller in weeks. Hikikomori joined otaku (a person with obsessive interests) and karoshi (death from overwork) as a loan word in English to describe a new social phenomenon that at first appeared uniquely Japanese.

* North Colorado, Whitetopia?

* And the thin get everything.

Academics who interview graduate school applicants systematically favor thinner candidates, according to a study.

Poor bastards.

All the Saturday Links

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* CCSF is the Chicago of the war on higher ed.

* Oregon will pilot a delayed-tuition scheme that will tax students in the university system a flat rate of 3% for the next 24 years of their earnings. From the details provided, this appears absolutely unworkable on every level.

The report, however, also provides clear evidence that the the nation is splitting into two; only 47% of Americans have a full-time job and those who don’t are finding it increasingly out of reach. 

Krugman gives up.

I guess what I’m saying is that I worry that a more or less permanent depression could end up simply becoming accepted as the way things are, that we could suffer endless, gratuitous suffering, yet the political and policy elite would feel no need to change its ways.

* Wisconssippi: Scott Walker Quietly Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Into Law.

In Japan, hikikomori, a term that’s also used to describe the young people who withdraw, is a word that everyone knows. Why are so many Japanese men refusing to leave their rooms?

* Of course you had me at “How a high-stakes poker game that started at Tobey Maguire’s house became part of a $100 million gambling and money-laundering operation orchestrated by the Russian mob.”

One Civil War Veteran’s Pension Remains on Government’s Payroll.

* Seattle may name a park after Octavia Butler.

* PSA: Don’t shoot off a gun unless you want to kill someone.

* Bookforum has a massive transhumanism linkdump. Breaking the 120-year barrier in human aging.

* And another great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Definitely don’t miss the red button bonus panel this time.

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May Day Links, Not All of Them about May Day Exactly

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Is today the day Marty McFly arrives when he travels to the future?

* Jacob Remes on May Day from a year ago.

AndalusiaUnemployment2-thumb-570x404-120178* Lost generation: on unemployment in Spain.

* A May Day Manifesto: Seven Principles for Adjuncts.

1. Increase the starting salary for a three-credit semester course to a minimum of $5,000 for all instructors in higher education.
2. Ensure academic freedom by providing progressively longer contracts for all contingent instructors who have proven themselves during an initial probationary period.
3. Provide health insurance for all instructors, either through their college’s health insurance system or through the Affordable Care Act.
4. Support the quality education of our students by providing their instructors with necessary office space, individual development support, telephones, email accounts and mail boxes.
5. Guarantee fair and equitable access to unemployment benefits when college instructors are not working.
6. Guarantee eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all college instructors who have taught for ten years, during which they were repaying their student loans.
7. With or without a time-in service requirement, allow all college teachers to vote and hold office in institutional governance, including faculty senates and academic departments.

* A very strange thing happened to the California single payer health care bill this year. It disappeared.

There were a few radical writers like Tom Paine who did use the word “democracy” from early on, but the first official use was by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the “Democratic Republican” party — which is clearly just some sort of PR trick, since Jefferson himself never uses the word “democracy” at all in his own writings. But the person who really transformed the language was Andrew Jackson. He ran as a “democrat” and it was so effective that over the course of the 1830s, everyone started calling themselves that. So basically the Republican system that was set up to contain democracy itself got renamed “Democracy.” Interview with David Graeber on Democracy in America.

After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto.

* Washington Post editorial urges the closing of Guantánamo.

For the prison to close, lawmakers would have to lift a ban on transferring prisoners to the United States. But it was good that Mr. Obama also pledged to “examine every option that we have administratively” — because there are steps he could take without Congress.

US soldier not found alive after 44 years in Vietnam. Via the comments.

Japan and Russia want to finally end World War II.

* Interesting interactive chart from the Guardian about violence in recent best-selling video games.

* Interactive infographic at the New York Times shows long-term Democratic hegemony (at least at the presidential level) given most demographic assumptions.

Coursera Eyes Teacher Training With New MOOC Partners.

* And so you want to win a Pulitzer.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

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* “We need to hire a 22-22-22,” one new-media manager was overheard saying recently, meaning a 22-year-old willing to work 22-hour days for $22,000 a year. Perhaps the middle figure is an exaggeration, but its bookends certainly aren’t. According to a 2011 Pew report, the median net worth for householders under 35 dropped by 68 percent from 1984 to 2009, to $3,662. Lest you think that’s a mere side effect of the economic downturn, for those over 65, it rose 42 percent to $170,494 (largely because of an overall gain in property values). Hence 1.2 million more 25-to-34-year-olds lived with their parents in 2011 than did four years earlier. “Willing” is certainly doing an awful lot of work in that first sentence. Welcome to the age of the permanent intern.

* The Singularity Already Happened; We Got Corporations: Capitalism as Evil AI.

“Have prisons and jails become the mass housing of our time?”

* New York Times shuts down its Green blog. In other news, every spectator sport has its own blog at NYT.

* The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has isolated twelve criteria for determining if individuals qualify as legally “hopeless.” The following pamphlet is a brainstorm: it considers what steps a debtor might take in order to persuasively claim the mantle of hopelessness. Rather than examine softcore options, we explore the potential of self-inflicted tragedy.

* Massively Open Online Test Proctoring. MOOC as “mass psychosis.”

* Shockingly, saving the world usually involves using Silicon Valley’s own services.

* Federal education spending accounts for just 3 percent of the $3.5 trillion the government spent in 2012.

pope-500x800* Algorithmic Rape Jokes in the Library of Babel. Wow.

* How a bizarre email from BachelorsDegreeOnline.com exposed the sleazy side of for-profit college recruitment.

* UCLA medical school and Herbalife.

On Argo and bullshit.

* Marvel Comics presents The Life of John Paul II.

New Study Finds ‘The Onion’ Has Never Been More Popular, More Beloved, Or More Respected.

* “On the development of companion robots in Japan.”

And Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing will close out the Wisconsin Film Festival. I’d really, really like to make this.

Thursday Night Links

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* Merit and the academy. Challenging, thoughtful post from Timothy Burke.

* My beloved alma mater found out about MOOCs. Meanwhile, the New York Times kind of buries the lede: “So far, most MOOCs have had dropout rates exceeding 90 percent.”

* The Atlantic argues the student loan crisis ain’t no thang. I suspect they’re quite literally cribbing from Adam.

* What could possibly go wrong? Utah considering bill to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

According to the Times, the ACLU compiled a 5,000 page report on the SAO, a group of former Minutemen and other right-wingers and violent home-grown fascists, for the benefit of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “alleging the Federal Bureau of Intelligence recruited a band of right-wing terrorists and supplied them with money and weapons to attack young antiwar demonstrators.”

Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set.

Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey results suggested that people who rejected climate science were more likely than other respondents to reject other scientific or official findings and buy into assorted fringe theories: that NASA faked the moon landing, that the Central Intelligence Agency killed Martin Luther King Jr., that the AIDS virus was unleashed by the government, and so forth.

This piece of research appeared in a specialized journal in psychological science, but it did not take long to find its way onto climate skeptics’ blogs, setting off howls of derision.

A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs.

* Forget it, Jake, it’s Pretoria: The South African police replaced the lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius homicide case on Thursday after embarrassing revelations that he was facing seven charges of attempted murder himself.

* Zombies and the bomb.

Why Gender Equality Stalled. This country hates rational health care distribution, too. America!

Prison and the Poverty Trap.

* Doctors are the next career to be deskilled and deprofessionalized. Ah, progress!

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

It Wouldn’t Surprise You If This Headline Was About 318 People Being Shot In 12 Different Public Places.

* A sea change for mass culture: Nielsen Ratings Will Add Streaming Data For Fall 2013.

* Tumblr of the day: Shit Rough Drafts.

Emory President Censured.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

Slavoj Žižek vs. capitalism, round 200. This is almost literally a full rerun.

* Florida, after two years of Tea Party Rule. But even he isn’t a real conservative…

* Ezra Klein: Obamacare is winning.

The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced on average to 15 years, despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-defense.

* World’s greatest Venn diagram: Chemical Elements vs. US States.

The NCAA, an organization with such open-decision making practices and clear accountability as to provide lessons to the mafia, is forcing a University of Minnesota wrestler to give up his music career or be declared ineligible for profiting off his own image.

* From the too-good-t0-check files: Young Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space.

The New York State Thruway Project, Social Issue Signage Disguised as Historical Markers.

And we’re going to burn every drop of oil and destroy the future. Gleefully. Enjoy your weekend!

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Finally Back in Milwaukee Links

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The fact that animals were for a long period of European history tried and punished as criminals is, to the extent that this is known at all, generally bracketed or dismissed as amere curiosity, a cultural quirk.

Arrested Development Season 4 episode titles revealed.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers.

* January 1, 1946: two Marine divisions faced off in the so-called Atom Bowl, played on a killing field in Nagasaki that had been cleared of debris.

The future is bright at Monsters University. I agree wholeheartedly with my Marquette colleague who hopes there’s a ton of confusion about MU in the future.

* Traxus and Kotsko on Django Unchained. Bonus Kotsko New Year’s Resolution! Stop paying attention to non-stories.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?

* Women’s gangs of India.

* The Death of the American Shopping Mall.

* The Penn State shitshow continues: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.

* “I don’t think I would do a terrible job at a Han Solo backstory. I could do that pretty well. But maybe that would be better as a short.” An interview with Wes Anderson.

The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth.

Could going to Mars give future astronauts Alzheimer’s disease?

Can being overweight actually make you live longer?

* A Pickpocket’s Tale.

A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

A moment of dreaming about higher education.

* And Jaimee has some new poems up (with rare audio!) at Unsplendid.

Unexpected Boxing Day Links!

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My baby’s selfish decision to start vomiting ruined my plans to finally see The Hobbit. So instead I’ll clear some tabs:

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine me and @adamkotsko arguing about revenge in Tarantino, forever.

* The End of the Community College English Profession.

* Jeopardy! is running its online contestant search again.

* Meritocracy watch, from the archives: In both data sets, Krueger and Dale, like other researchers, find that students who attended more selective colleges tend to earn higher salaries later on than those who attend less selective colleges. However, the researchers not only looked at the schools that students attended but also where they were accepted and rejected. They found that where a student applies is a more powerful predictor of future earnings success than where he or she attends.

The Heat, The Avengers, and the peculiar American love of the overdog.

Surreal Illustrations for Fairy Tales that Don’t Exist Yet.

* Eminem, master of Donkey Kong.

* Wikipedia’s timeline of the far future.

* Thomas Frank blames academia for Occupy’s failures. Now the lead editorial of the next Jacobin is devoted to denouncing Frank.

* A report from NRO’s annual cruise.

FBI Considered It’s A Wonderful Life Communist Propaganda. Don’t ever change, you lovable scamps!

12 Obvious Science Findings of 2012.

Could a captive tornado power an entire city? What could possibly go wrong?

STUDY: Antarctica Is Heating Up Even Faster Than Previously Thought.

Pulp Scifi Under Japanese Totalitarianism.

* And a few days late: Santa’s privacy policy.

Newtown – 2

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10108_459964520730062_231269014_n* The victims of the Dunblane massacre would have turned 21 this year. The United Kingdom responded to this tragedy by banning private ownership of handguns; they had 39 gun homicides this year. We are radically free; we can choose to live in any type of world we like. Tax bullets. Ban bullets. Mandate insurance for gun ownership. Institute onerous licensing requirements and registration fees. Figure out some way to stop people from being murdered in movie theaters and schools. There’s no reason this should go on.

*  In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.

* Nine kids dead from guns in 24 hours. From 2007.

Fuck Everything, Nation Reports.

* How to talk to your kids about tragedy, from St. Rogers.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.

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