Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Jeopardy

Friday Links!

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I’ve pointed out before that even as academic institutions are more and more distrusted, professors oddly retain a good deal of public respect. We have it because we’re free: free to say the unpopular thing, free to teach the passionate course, free to study what we think needs studying. To be free means we have to occupy the whole possibility space that waits for our explorations, and take not just our students but our publics along for the ride. We have to keep a trust as well as walk the paths we see before us.

Researcher loses job at NSF after government questions her role as 1980s activist.

* On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles.

At least 60 institutions have acquired M-16s through the program. Arizona State University holds the most, with 70 in its arsenal, followed by Florida International University and the University of Maryland with 50 M-16s each. Central Florida received its grenade launcher in 2008; Hinds acquired its in 2006.

* In a never-before-released thesis, Reagan’s FEMA director discussed the potential internment of millions of blacks in concentration camps.

The Islamic Roots Of Science Fiction.

Here’s How Global Warming Is Already Worsening Extreme Deluges In The U.S. Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says. A Major Accounting Firm Just Ran the Numbers on Climate Change.

* On ISIS: Where Is Obama’s Exit Strategy?

Once again our country is invited to support the “long war” described by key Pentagon officials as lasting as long as 50 to 80 years. It’s probably both unwinnable and unaffordable, but no president and few politicians have the political ability to acknowledge failure and end it.

So they escalate enough to pass it along to their successor. War on an installment plan.

Every American President in the past quarter century has now gone on television during prime time to tell the nation and the world that he has decided to bomb Iraq. Last night was Barack Obama’s turn, and it was a vexing performance.

* What Do We Save When We Save the Internet? We cannot champion Network Neutrality without admitting that the Internet is no Utopia.

* Reddit made over $100,000 off stolen celebrity nudes.

* U2, Apple and rock-and-roll as dystopian junk mail. There’s really only one cure.

Update: All Clear. The suspect has been located and the reported weapon has been identified as an umbrella.

A Brief History of Typographic Snark and the Failed Crusade for an Irony Mark.

* The kids are all right: Millennials Are Reading More Books Than You Think They Are. Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again.

Congressional Hearing Slams Feasibility Of Commercial Asteroid Mining. “The American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space Act.” You dicks.

Everyone Knows Hedge Funds Are a Ripoff.

* Scientists warn of faulty Wisconsin wolf estimates. Learn to count, wolves!

* “Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires.”

* What Is Hope? Alex Trebek Is Bringing Back His Mustache.

* Dutch Girl Fakes a Trip to South East Asia.

Archaeologists Have Made An Incredible Discovery At Stonehenge.

* The Cold War University is back! The Real Story Behind Canada’s Sudden Interest In Arctic Archaeology.

* The Soviets sent stray dogs to conquer space. This is what happened next.

China Is Mass-Producing Islands To Extend Its Strategic Borders.

What Happens to “Holdouts” Who Refuse to Sell Their Homes to Developers?

* Here’s What’s Becoming Of America’s Dead Shopping Malls.

* Wearable tech as triumph for bosses.

* Interview With a Time Traveler.

So, ironically, if we had done absolutely nothing in response to 9/11 aside from hold funerals and shake our heads in disbelief, we would have been no less safe than we are now after two useless wars, trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, and a decade of taking off our shoes for domestic flights.

* Another roundup of all the many things that are more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

* And Comedian Joe Mande remembers brands remembering 9/11. Never forget.

Wednesday Morning!

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021814-nu-union-150* Man tragically unable to remember saying Barack Obama would make a great president says Hillary Clinton will make a great president. Meanwhile, the rest of us are reduced to talking about Obama’s secret achievements.

* Faculty on Strike at UIC.

Solitary Confinement May Dramatically Alter Brain Shape In Just Days, Neuroscientist Says.

* Last Night on Jeopardy No One Wanted to Answer Qs About Black History.

Noose Found Around The Neck Of Statue Honoring Civil Rights Icon At Ole Miss.

* On Teaching While Black.

What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys?

The J.R.R. Tolkien Manuscripts: Public Showings in 2014.

* Here are the hoops a college football team has to jump through to be allowed to form a union.

* 84-Year Old Nun Sentenced To Prison For Weapons Plant Break-In.

Academic freedom with violence.

Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth? The dream remains alive.

* Whistle-blower fired from Hanford nuclear site.

“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”

Busche is the second Hanford whistle-blower to be fired by URS in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.

* A new China Miéville short story collection, scheduled for November 2014.

* A world of horrors: There is no such thing as a child prostitute.

In the same way that certain styles of dance simulate sex, the Winter Olympics simulates scraping one’s February-chapped nostrils against the surface of a Kleenex whose aloe content is useless and reaching out for the warm escape of death. It’s an art of failed suicide attempts.

* A preliminary sketch of the data reveals, of course, that by 2050 films will be reviewing us.

* “First, why would we even think about letting it go through?”

“This whole thing is totally and completely bonkers.”

Grace Kerr sometimes jokes with her family that “Amanda was not that great. Zach is awesome.” What she means is that her son is finally happy, and is helping others.

* Diseased and unsound meat: Hot Pockets®!

In Act Of Protest, Ai Weiwei Vase Is Destroyed At Miami Museum.

* News You Can Use: Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo.

A portrait of Steve Jobs made entirely out of e-waste.

* The Ice Caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Candy Crush: Addictive Game, Incredible Business, Horrible Investment.

How the north ended up on top of the map.

* Inside Kappa Beta Phi, the Wall Street Fraternity.

* And our long national nightmare is over: Obama apologizes for disparaging art historians.

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Weekend Links

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An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow. Please know that this link is very painful to read and will likely be especially so for survivors. What a horror.

* I’m pretty sure I read this interview with Woody Allen when it was published in 2001, as I’ve been using that exact phrase “the heart wants what it wants” as sarcastic shorthand for destructive, deluded narcissism ever since. But Farrow’s accusations, which are in there, never stuck with me, either from their initial airing in 1993 or from this article in 2001. I don’t know if I concluded from the reporters’s framing and the lack of a conviction that they’d been proven false, or what. I had no memory of any of this before what happened during the Globes. And I feel terrible about that. It’s not about me, but reading her letter and hearing her story broke my heart. “You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton.”

*  “Of course, his dark side was always hiding in plain sight.”

CU-Boulder reports pervasive sexual harassment within philosophy department. Women fleeing U of Colorado philosophy department’s rampant sex harassment. Summary of Report by the American Philosophical Association to the University of Colorado Boulder. Colorado: What We Do And Don’t Know.

* Adam Kotsko thinks this from Timothy Burke might be the best thing he’s read about academic labor, but I still think this from Timothy Burke is.

* Scenes from my Cultural Preservation class: consumerism and abandoned malls at the Haggerty Museum of Art. The American Black Holocaust Museum, once the only museum in the country to be dedicated to the memory of slavery. The Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear.

Use the fields below to search for an institution and view the numbers and percentages of tenure-track, full-time non-tenure-track, and part-time faculty members at that institution in 1995 and in 2009.

Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics.’

* Educational pessimism and socialism.

U.S. map showing amount of snow needed to cancel school by county.

* Scarlett Johansson’s separation from Oxfam seems to have caused Netanyahu to call a meeting to discuss BDS.

Lunches seized from kids in debt at Salt Lake City elementary.

* Snow, premeditation, and The Walking Dead.

* A short Seinfeld reunion of some kind seems to be in the offing. A Super Bowl ad, surely, no matter what they’re claiming otherwise?

* How to hack Jeopardy.

Time-Travelling Amazon Reviews Of The Next Series Of Doctor Who.

* Will Michael Mann end the National Review?

‘Out-Of-Control’ Rig In The Gulf Gushing Methane Freely Into The Atmosphere. The Water Levels Of The Middle East’s Biggest Lake Have Dropped 95 Percent In Two Decades. Fracking Under Houses Could Be New Norm As U.K. Puts Environmental Concerns On Backburner.

An Open Letter to the White Woman Who Felt Bad for Me at Yoga.

J.K. Rowling regrets Ron and Hermione’s relationship. She also almost killed Ron altogether, so.

* And the Batman vs. Superman news just gets worse and worse. Perhaps it’s time I just lost hope.

Tuesday MOOCs, and More!

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* Professor Leaves a MOOC in Mid-Course in Dispute Over Teaching. The details on this are fascinating:

Gary Matkin, the dean for distance education at Irvine, said the problem had stemmed from Mr. McKenzie’s reluctance to loosen his grip on students who he thought were not learning well in the course.“

In Professor McKenzie’s view, for instance, uninformed or superfluous responses to the questions posed in the discussion forums hobbled the serious students in their learning,” said Mr. Matkin in an e-mail.

Irvine officials, however, “felt that the course was very strong and well designed,” he said, “and that it would, indeed, meet the learning objectives of the large audience, including both those interested only in dipping into the subject and those who were seriously committed” to completing the course.

Twitter user @cjprender has a slightly different take.

* MOOCs: What if the cure is worse than the disease?

Perhaps I’m overly cynical, but I think the real root of MOOC-mania is an edifice complex on the part of university presidents and trustees.  The last time I checked, the average university president in this country served for about four years before moving on to greener pastures.  It used to be that the easiest way to leave a legacy on campus would be to build something.  With bond financing nearly impossible to come by these days, the easiest (but not necessarily least expensive) way to build something is to create a virtual campus.

* ‘8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment.’ Stupid vital careers necessary for the smooth operation and reproduction of social goods! Why don’t you get paid, son?

* Bérubé: The Humanities, Unraveled.

large_4ca6295c0ca1b_1These serene Chinese landscapes are actually photographs of landfills.

* Don’t Panic, But Thousands of Dolphins Were Spotted Swimming Away Off the Coast of San Diego.

* Don’t hate the player; hate the game.

Alligator OK to eat on Lenten Fridays, archbishop clarifies.

* Being Ken Jennings.

Forthcoming Film Is Defense of For-Profit Colleges, Critics Say.

The narration for one of the film’s early promotional trailers includes references to the “attack” on the proprietary sector by policy makers, politicians, unions, and other critics who “protect the flawed status quo.”

“Many politicians continue to manipulate the truth and serve the interests of the unions in order to keep the private sector from serving adult learners, creating a virtual, permanent underclass,” says the narrator in one clip that was on the Web site of Fractured Atlas but was replaced afterThe Chronicle inquired about it.

Unions! I hate those guys.

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.

Wednesday Night

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Roger Craig had never been on Jeopardy! before, but by the end of his first day of taping, he’d won five games in a row, the most lucrative day for any contestant in the show’s history, including the most lucrative game in the show’s history. His secret? A web app that modeled the show’s all too predictable question sequences.

* From Think Progress: According to a new study conducted by Stanford University, “the portion of American families living in middle-income neighborhoods has declined significantly since 1970” due to rising income inequality. While 65 percent of families used to live in middle-income neighborhoods, now just 44 percent do, while one-third of families live in either upper- or low-income areas (up from 15 percent). The data used in the study only goes through 2007, so didn’t even take into account the effects of the Great Recession.

* A worrying sign: Public Opinion Turning Against Occupy Wall Street.

* A better one: Poll shows most favor recall of Wisconsin governor.

* Quentin Tarantino’s The Inglorious Mr. Fox.

* And Oregon tries out voting by iPad. Which Angry Bird is the right choice—for the children?

What Day Is It? Tuesday?

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* 10,000 protestors gather in Madison to protest Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union vendetta.

* Update: Computers really stink at Jeopardy. Or so I keep telling myself.

* In Yeskov’s retelling, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science “destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men!” He’s in cahoots with the elves, who aim to become “masters of the world,” and turn Middle-earth into a “bad copy” of their magical homeland across the sea. Barad-dur, also known as the Dark Tower and Sauron’s citadel, is, by contrast, described as “that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic.”

* Matt Yglesias is making sense:

Right now we have conservatives simultaneously calling for huge spending cuts and also getting the line’s share of old people’s votes even while the vast majority of non-security spending is on old people. In essence, by first separating the domestic budget into “discretionary” and “entitlement” portions and then dividing the entitlement programs up into “what today’s old people get” versus “what tomorrow’s old people will get” the political class has created a large and vociferously right-wing class of people who are completely immune from the impact of their own calls for fiscal austerity.

* Statistic of the day: 51% of Republicans claim they don’t believe Obama was born in the U.S.

* Curveball: How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam.

* But the only story anyone seems to care about is whether This American Life really has Coca-Cola’s secret formula.

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