Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Kim Stanley Robinson

Sunday Links!

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* Did you notice my post last night? Isiah Lavender’s Black and Brown Planets is out! My essay in the book is on Samuel Delany.

* Sketching out a table of contents for Pink Planets: highlights from the history of feminist SF.

The US has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the name of fighting terrorism. The war is all too real. But it’s also fake. There is no clash of civilizations, no ideological battle, no grand effort on the part of the United States to defeat terrorism. As long as terrorism doesn’t threaten core US interests, American elites are content to allow it — and help it — flourish. They don’t want to win this war. It will go on forever, unless we make them end it.

* The United States and the “moderate Muslim.”

In each of these, I merely concede the Maher and Harris definition of moderation as a rhetorical act. That definition is of course loaded with assumptions and petty prejudice, and bends always in the direction of American interests. But I accept their definition here merely to demonstrate: even according to their own definition, American actions have undermined “moderation” at every turn.

* Fox News, asking the real questions. “What are the chances that illegal immigrants are going to come over our porous southern border with Ebola or that terrorists will purposely send someone here using Ebola as a bioterror weapon?”

* The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever.

* “Social Justice Warriors” and the New Culture War.

As selective colleges try to increase economic diversity among their undergraduates, the University of Chicago announced Wednesday that it’s embarking on an unusual effort to enroll more low-income students, including the elimination of loans in its aid packages.

* In search of an academic wife.

* Alt-ac jobs at the MLA.

* “Yes Means Yes” at campuses in California and New York.

* A model state law for banning revenge porn.

* Let the children play: Homework isn’t linked to education outcomes before age 12, and not really after age 12, either.

* Enslaved Ants Regularly Rise In Rebellion, Kill Their Slavers’ Children.

Ebola Vaccine Delay May Be Due To An Intellectual Property Dispute. This was a bit in Kim Stanle Robinson’s Science in the Capitol series: one company has the cure for cancer and the other company has the delivery mechanism, so both go out of business.

* Elsewhere in the famous efficiency of markets: Marvel will apparently cancel one of its longest-running series out of spite for Fox Studios.

This Is The First High-Frequency Trader To Be Criminally Charged With Rigging The Market.

* Prison bankers cash in on captive customers.

* The time Larry Niven suggested spreading rumors within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs in order to lower health care costs.

* Suicide, Unemployment Increasingly Linked, Paper Suggests.

* Perfectionism: Could There Be a Downside?

* I’d be really interested to see if this use of eminent domain would survive a legal challenge.

Data centers are wasting electricity so excessively that only “critical action” can prevent the pollution and rate hikes that some U.S. regions could eventually suffer as a result of power plant construction intended to ensure that the ravenous facilities are well-fed, a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Anthesis warns.

* From the archives: Lili Loofbourow on the incredible misogyny of The Social Network.

* Moral panic watch: ‘Back-up husbands,’ ‘emotional affairs’ and the rise of digital infidelity.

* Look, a shooting star! Make a wish! Also at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Superman, why are you lying about your X-ray vision?

* Fantasy sports and the coming gambling boom.

* And this looks great for parents and kids: B.J. Novak’s The Book with No Pictures.

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Weekend Links! Some Especially Really Good Ones This Time I Promise

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* ICYMI, some single-serving posts from the last few days: How to Grad School and KSR’s The Lucky Strike. You may have also noticed that I’ve put a link to The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction pre-order page. Please alert all interested parties and institutional book-orderers!

* Hyping a project I have nothing to do with: you should also check out the Science Fiction BFI Film Classics series at Palgrave Macmillan, with monographs on Alien, Brazil, Solaris, Dr. Strangelove, and more.

* The final frontier of Star Trek fan canons: what if the Abramsverse universe is the Prime timeline? Read all the way to the end for some nice metacommentary on the project.

* According to a financial plan obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business, UChicago faces operating deficits of $5 to $30 million a year through 2018, and “ratings agencies could downgrade the university’s credit by as many as two notches.” In comparison, the pay increases detailed above would constitute 8 to 50 percent of the projected deficits, and the eight administrators’ overall pay would constitute 20 percent to 120 percent of the deficits.

* Unpacking the Myths of Financial Aid.

Why would the university award aid in this way? Couldn’t it just adjust the ratio of merit aid to need-based aid? Unfortunately, the “high tuition/high aid” model only “works” when it’s organized like this. That’s because, for many university administrators, financial aid is not so much a form of charity as it is an instrument for maximizing tuition revenue.

* The liberal discourse on gentrification has absolutely nothing to say about finance or prison, the two most salient institutions in urban life. Instead, it does what liberal discourse so often does: it buries the structural forces at work and choreographs a dance about individual choice to perform on the grave. We get tiny dramas over church parking lots and bike lanes and whether 7-11 will be able to serve chicken wings. Gentrification becomes a culture war, a battle over consumer choices: gourmet cupcake shop or fried chicken joint? Can we all live side by side, eating gourmet pickles with our fried fish sandwiches? Will blacks and whites hang out in the same bars? wonders Racialicious. Liberalism and Gentrification.

In Philadelphia, education reformers got everything they wanted. Look where the city’s schools are now. How to Destroy a Public-School System.

Democracy is not, to begin with, a form of State. It is, in the first place, the reality of the power of the people that can never coincide with the form of a State. There will always be tension between democracy as the exercise of a shared power of thinking and acting, and the State, whose very principle is to appropriate this power.

* Once more unto humanitarian intervention.

* …disaster relief and the “disaster narrative” is central to the development of the American welfare state.

* This is a very provocative critique of framing consent as a legal category: You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense.

If you accept the premise that someone’s experience of sexual violation “counts” as rape, regardless of whether they granted verbal permission beforehand, then in order to avoid being accused of rape you’ll have to shift your mindset from, “I’d better make sure I was told it was okay to do this first,” to “I’d better make damn sure this person isn’t going to wake up tomorrow and feel like I raped them.” The latter is a standard requiring much more communication, understanding, and compassion from the people involved than the former, especially in situations with near-strangers like one-night stands, hook-ups, or play partners you might meet at a club.

I don’t know anything about the author, and I think from an argumentative perspective the writing of the piece could definitely be stronger, but all the same it’s an idea I’ll be thinking about a while. There’s a thought experiment in a later post that is illuminative: trying to identify the precise last moment that one can “withdraw” consent.

* “Presenteeism afflicts all business sectors, but some more than others.” The Case for Staying Home from Work.

* An evaluation of course evaluations. This is an above average meta-evaluation for sure; you could really tell how much he cared about the material.

* The women I pretend to be: on working in a male-dominated industry. #4, the Victim, is especially disheartening:

I remember one particularly bad day at a games conference. The event was, as is typical, about 10 percent female. At the start of the day, one of those “I’m just really touchy-feely” men put his hands where I had not invited them when we were crushed together in a crowded corridor. Then, in a talk, one dude took it upon himself to give a very detailed and enthusiastic account of a “rape game” he’d invented—where you had to stare deeply into the eyes of the “other player” while describing to them how you’re going to rape them, until they tell you to stop. It was genuinely traumatizing to hear the glee in his voice as he talked about it. Shaken, I went to sit in a quiet, empty room to regain my composure. A well-built man at least a foot taller than me came in, sat between me and the door and said: “You know, I messaged you on OKCupid but you never messaged me back.” By this point I genuinely felt too afraid to tell him to just fuck off. So I played nice and smiled and apologized.

* New Media watch: the rise of the podcast network.

* The case against the Supreme Court.

* Those benefitting most from the secure property rights might be forgiven for conceptual ignorance – introspection being a scarce commodity amongst the wealthy – but the vociferous and cynical denial of the asymmetric benefits of securing property rights, both intra- or inter-generationally, whether due to some combination of attribution bias, feigned religious belief, or simple greed is less excusable. In a new gilded age, the idea that the rule of law is vastly underpriced by those who benefit most should be anything but contentious.

* Corey Robin on the emerging “right to be forgotten.”

Mentally Ill Inmate In Solitary Confinement Died Of Thirst, Autopsy Finds.

* With Red Mars finally actually happening, Y: The Last Man is my new I-can’t-believe-they-haven’t-made-a-series-of-this-yet text.

* That’s they’re actually making The ExpendaBelles is the actual literal end of culture. Mark it down.

* Provocation: It’s not crazy for Mitt Romney to run for president again.

* Peace in our time: Marvel and the Kirby estate have settled.

* SMBC on proof by induction.

* The only link from this list you really need: There’s A Life-Size Game of Mouse Trap in Milwaukee.

* And has any social media network gone from hype to big backlash as quickly as (Vermont’s own!) Ello? Any faster and the entire social network would be goodbye-cruel-world manifestos…

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‘The Lucky Strike’ at Strange Horizons

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This week Strange Horizons reprints my favorite Kim Stanley Robinson story, “The Lucky Strike” (podcast), though for my money it’s really worth getting the PM Press edition that pairs it with his great “A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions” essay.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Thursday Links!

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* Some seriously great news for my particular demographic: Kim Stanley Robinson’s acclaimed Mars Trilogy is colonizing TV.

* Flooding risk from climate change, country by country. Meanwhile: World’s Cities All Becoming Teeming Hellscapes.

* A brief history of mana: How an Austronesian Concept Became a Video Game Mechanic.

* A History of The Lord of the Rings in Video Games.

* LARoB considers the criminally underrated Chronicles of Pyrdain and the night genre was born.

* Age discrimination and adjuncts. I still think this is a seriously underreported story considering how dramatically it would change the landscape of hiring in higher education if it were to prevail.

While surely a simple economic determinism would be distorting, it should still be clear that the epistemic and cultural divide between the “hard” sciences and the humanities cannot be easily disentangled from a noticeable financial divide.

* How For-Profit Universities Make a Killing By Exploiting College Dreams.

* Udacity has moved on to a new scam: nanodegrees.

* Angry Letters to the One Member of Congress Who Voted Against the War on Terror.

* “Reluctant Warrior Bombs Yet Another Country.”

* FSU chooses a politician as its new president despite major opposition from faculty and students. From the archives: FSU to phase out academic operations.

* Head’s up, math geeks: big discovery about prime numbers.

* Chimpanzees Raised by Humans Have Social Difficulties With Other Chimps.

* Listen, it’s about yardage: FiveThirtyEight provides the cheat sheet necessary for me to interact with other Wisconsinites.

* ESPN suspends Bill Simmons for repeating ESPN’s own reporting about the NFL and drawing the only possible conclusion.

* 15.4% growth of Harvard’s endowment brings the total to a cool $36 billion, assuring Harvard’s continued existence for another year. And thank goodness.

* I think I’ve discovered a way to precrastinate my procrastination, which means I’m always so late I never bother to get off the couch.

* Science proves no one is allowed to have any fun: Researcher shows that black holes do not exist.

* Fraternities finally look in the mirror and confront the enemy within: drunk female guests. Should we ban frats?

* What it’s like to be struck by lightning. What it’s like to lose your memory at 22.

* Please don’t ever drive and text.

* And if you want a vision of the future, imagine Mitt Romney running for president, forever.

Thursday Links!

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* In case you missed it from the weekend: a CFP for a Science Fiction Film and Television special issue on “Star Trek at 50.”

* Call for submissions: Accessing the Future.

* Today’s twenty-first-century political weirdness is the Scotland referendum on independence. The Guardian. MetaFilter. The economic case. Schroedinger’s Kingdom. John Oliver. Why Scotland thinks it can survive as an independent country. I’m Guardian editor Matt Wells. Got questions on Scottish independence? Ask away!

* Alison Bechdel, certified genius. Some professors won too.

* Postdoc of the year: “The Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University invites applications for its 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The successful candidates will couple their own research and publishing agenda with their contributions to the Center’s Collective Memory Project, a wide ranging oral history of the George W. Bush Presidency.” Friend, do I have a story for you.

* “Debates about the future of the humanities frequently revolve around the suspicion that the humanities might not have one.”

* Chris Ware is serializing a novella in the Guardian: “The Last Saturday.”

* Unpopular opinions watch: Carceral progressivism.

More Weird Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The Original Star Trek.

Roddenberry believed there was no chest hair in the future.

The dream never dies.

* A day in the life of a data mined kid.

This Is What Happens To Transgender Kids Who Delay Puberty.

The Time I Spent On A Commercial Whaling Ship Totally Changed My Perspective On The World.

* World War II and the creation of the paperback industry.

* Cruel optimism watch: Are More MLA Faculty Jobs on the Way?

* Reporting rape at UNC.

* The madness of crowds: Wealthy L.A. Schools’ Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan’s.

* Despite all evidence to the contrary, blaming black culture for racial inequality remains politically dominant. And not only on the Right.

* Hamburg wants to be the best city in the world in 20 years.

* Burlington nipping on its heels.

* Calvinball in Wisconsin: the rules on voting just changed again.

* Lone Wolf returns!

* Study: 30 percent of former NFL players will get dementia or Alzheimer’s.

* Don’t look now, but the US prison population is growing again.

* The University of California is just literally a hedge fund now.

What Are the Real Odds That Your Birth Control Will Fail? Pretty frightening.

* A King Kong prequel, because we haven’t even come close to hitting bottom yet.

* Do Animals Cry?

* BREAKING: Naomi Klein Is Right, Unchecked Capitalism Will Destroy Civilization.

In decades of public debate about global warming, one assumption has been accepted by virtually all factions: that tackling it would necessarily be costly. But a new report casts doubt on that idea, declaring that the necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. The price is too high!

* BREAKING: Immigrants aren’t stealing your jobs.

* A feminist history of Wonder Woman.

Every panel of Watchmen, sorted by average lightness, ascending.

* Understanding the Tortoise and the Hare.

* Because you demanded it: “Play It Again, Dick,” the weird quasi-Veronica-Mars nega-sequel, is finally here.

* Necrocapitalism in the Anthropocene: Govt may do away with tribal consent for cutting forests.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Thievery marring Little Free Libraries.

Anti-monuments in Milwaukee and beyond.

* May 2015 can’t come fast enough.

* And no one could have predicted: Apple releases U2 album removal tool.

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Green Planets in Hardcover, Only $12 Today

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I can’t imagine that it’s all that great news for sales, but the hardcover of Green Planets is only $12 today. Buy it! Paul Di Fillippo says it’s good!

UPDATE: As of early Sunday morning the hardcover is back to its usual price. Unannounced sale? Algorithm glitch? Perhaps it will always be a mystery.

In any event the huge Sales Rank swing tells me we sold a bunch of copies yesterday, so big thanks to everyone who bought one! The Kindle version is still $13 and the paperback still $20, if you missed it…

Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2014 at 9:13 am

If You Want a Vision of the Future: Weekend Links

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* CFP: Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference.

* Dan Harmon’s advice for career happiness — imagine a job you could stand doing and then invent it — is more or less exactly how I describe what I do. I’m definitely getting away with something.

* Explains a lot: Long-Term Couples Develop Interconnected Memory Systems.

* Deafness and Hawkeye #19. How Hawkeye #19 Portrays The World Of A Deaf Superhero To A Hearing Audience, For Next Year’s Eisner Awards. I’m pretty sure this seals the deal on me using Fraction’s Hawkeye run the next time I do my comics class.

* An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

KSR: I think we can make it through this current, calamitous time period. I envision a two-part process. First, we need to learn what to do in ecological terms. That sounds tricky, but the biosphere is robust and we know a lot about it, so really it’s a matter of refining our parameters; i.e. deciding how many of us constitutes a carrying capacity given our consumption, and then figuring out the technologies and lifestyles that would allow for that carrying capacity while also allowing ecosystems to thrive. We have a rough sense of these parameters now.

The second step is the political question: It’s a matter of self-governance. We’d need to act globally, and that’s obviously problematic. But the challenge is not really one of intellect. It’s the ability to enforce a set of laws that the majority would have to agree on and live by, and those who don’t agree would have to follow.

So this isn’t a question of reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics, or perceiving the strings of string theory. Instead it involves other aspects of intelligence, like sociability, long-range planning, law, and politics. Maybe these kinds of intelligence are even more difficult to develop, but in any case, they are well within our adaptive powers.

* Everyone knows the mass extinction of Earth’s animal life is an almost unfathomable evil. What this blog post presupposes is… maybe it isn’t?

* Fiction and climate change.

* The Pre-History of Firefly.

* The Pre-History of Halbig. Senate documents and interviews undercut ‘bombshell’ lawsuit against Obamacare. Wheeeeeee!

* Same-sex marriage in the 19th century.

In 1807, Charity and Sylvia moved in together in Vermont. A historian uncovers their story.

* Show your support! Agamben and empty political gestures.

* Wisconsin Supreme Court bumming everyone out today.

* Adjuncts Would Qualify for Loan Forgiveness Under Proposed Bill.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation, whose exact language has not been made public, colleges that don’t comply with its rules could face fines of up to 1 percent of their operating budgets.

* Postdocs as glass ceiling.

The open data movement might address some of these challenges but its greatest success to date has been getting governments to release data that is mostly of economic and social utility. The thorny political data is still closely guarded. There’s no “social physics” for the likes of Goldman Sachs or HSBC: we don’t know the connections between their subsidiaries and shell companies registered in tax havens. Nobody is running RCTs to see what would happen if we had fewer lobbyists. Who will nudge the US military to spend less money on drones and donate the savings to the poor?

* God, Democrats can’t even make Republicans eat their own shit right.

The researchers concluded that there was a great advantage to having a white-sounding name, so much so that having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience.

* The Kids Who Beat Autism.

* The Long, Sad Fall of Richard Dawkins.

* John Oliver vs. America’s Nuclear Command.

* The Catholic Church Makes A Fortune In The German Porn Business.

* US’s Oldest Private Black University Is in Trouble.

* One Year of Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton.

* Prisoners are getting paid $2 a day to fight California wildfires.

* The youngest prisoner at Guantánamo.

* Why Bad New York Cops Can Get Away With Abuse.

* Green groups too white and too male compared to other sectors – report.

* Death threats for MedievalPOC at Tumblr because Reddit is a cesspool.

David Frum’s Apology for His Nutty Theory Links to More Nutty Theories. Of course his credibility is now shot forever and we’ll never hear anything from him again…

* CIA Pisses on Rule of Law, Separation of Powers, No One Cares.

* The Case Against Cards Against Humanity.

Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves In The Arctic Ocean.

* The world risks an “insurmountable” water crisis by 2040 without an immediate and significant overhaul of energy consumption and demand, a research team reported on Wednesday.

How Much Energy Would You Need To Replicate Elsa’s Powers In Frozen?

* Marvel might be doing something with Squirrel Girl.

* South Korean Robots Stand In For Real Baseball Fans.

A Map Of The U.S., If There Had Never Been A Mexican-American War.

The six-hour miniseries just greenlit by HBO is based on the book by Lisa Belkin and will be co-scripted by writer-producer David Simon okay I’ll watch.

* Abolish the MPAA.

* Postmodernism is the only explanation for black licorice.

* Tumblr of the minute: Michelle Foucault.

* A rare bit of good news: researchers whose last names begin with A, B, or C who are listed first as authors in articles in a variety of science journals receive, on average, one to two more citations than their peers whose names start with X, Y, or Z.

Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia.”

* When parachutes fail.

* This kid gets it.

* And I don’t care how this goes down: I will always consider it Marnie starring as Peter Pan.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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