Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
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.
* 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.
* And a new study claims the Iraq war claimed half a million lives. Down the memory hole, you!
* 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.
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.
* And the news just gets worse: Legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki announces his retirement.
* 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).”
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.
* 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.
* 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.
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.
* 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.
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.
Academics who interview graduate school applicants systematically favor thinner candidates, according to a study.
* 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.
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?
* And another great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Definitely don’t miss the red button bonus panel this time.
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.
* 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.
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.
* Interactive infographic at the New York Times shows long-term Democratic hegemony (at least at the presidential level) given most demographic assumptions.
* “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.
* 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.
* Marvel Comics presents The Life of John Paul II.
* And Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing will close out the Wisconsin Film Festival. I’d really, really like to make this.
* Merit and the academy. Challenging, thoughtful post from Timothy Burke.
* 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.”
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.
* 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.
* A sea change for mass culture: Nielsen Ratings Will Add Streaming Data For Fall 2013.
* Tumblr of the day: Shit Rough Drafts.
* Slavoj Žižek vs. capitalism, round 200. This is almost literally a full rerun.
* 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.
* And we’re going to burn every drop of oil and destroy the future. Gleefully. Enjoy your weekend!
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
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.
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.
* 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.
* Thomas Frank blames academia for Occupy’s failures. Now the lead editorial of the next Jacobin is devoted to denouncing Frank.
* FBI Considered It’s A Wonderful Life Communist Propaganda. Don’t ever change, you lovable scamps!
* Could a captive tornado power an entire city? What could possibly go wrong?
* 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.
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.
* The New Yorker will let you go inside the mind of a condom and a failed superhero, but it won’t let you read an article about my “Plan B” as a forensic linguist or the Junot Díaz story that tricked me into reading New Yorker fiction for the first time in years without a subscription.
* A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths. In part by forbidding almost all forms of firearm ownership, Japan has as few as two gun-related homicides a year.