Posts Tagged ‘mad science’
* Real-life trolley problem: programming a self-driving car to decide what to aim at in the event of a crash.
* As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.
* The digital humanities bubble has popped. Climb on board the science fiction studies bubble before it’s too late!
* March Madness: The University of Oregon and the local district attorney’s office appear to have colluded to prevent a rape accusation from interfering with basketball. What a mess. “I thought, maybe this is just what happens in college,” she told police, “… just college fun.”
* Go ahead, make your jokes: Harvard Faculty Members Approve College’s First Honor Code.
* “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth”: A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.
* The CPB also usefully charts the changing funding fortunes of higher education and corrections. As they remind us (4), there has been an effective reversal in the priorities placed on higher education and corrections since the early 1980s. In 1980-81 2.9% of the General Fund was spent on corrections; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 9%. In 1980-81, 9.6% of the General Fund was spent on higher education; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 5.1%. Actually the reversal is worse than the CPB indicates since Brown’s General Fund budget does not include the spending being sent to counties for realignment. This has allowed him to appear as if he is cutting back on correctional spending when he is not.
* Portland Committee Reviews Arrest of Nine-Year-Old Girl. Give them time! They really need to think through if arresting kids is really a good idea!
* Atrocious: The Globe and Mail wants its management to the have the right to assign editorial employees to write and edit advertorial copy as part of their regular duties, according to this union bulletin.
* RIP, Community. For now!
* I’m a little surprised we don’t already have a few trillionaires lying around. Get to work, capital! You’re slacking.
* Iowa Secretary of State makes voter fraud his signature issue, pours a ton of money into finding it, comes up with 117 illegally cast votes and gets six convictions. Typical voter turnout in Iowa is around one million people.
* Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal. Well, that about solves all the big questions forever.
* And bell hooks vs. Beyoncé: whoever wins, we… Well, look, Beyoncé’s going to win. Let me start over.
* ‘Fallen’ Disney Princesses. The Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine ones are the best, I think.
* Scientific Paper of the Night: Could we blow up the sun?
I’d like to suggest that given the significance of bureaucracy as an administrative stronghold, the arena of bureaucracy is worth intervening in if and only if the legitimacy of governance by upper administration is negated by the intervention. A professor who agrees to be on a committee thinking that from that position she’ll be able to limit damage and fearing that if she is not on it things will be even worse is not negating the legitimacy of the administration, so that should not be done.
But a resolution introduced in the Academic Senate, or issued by an individual department, stating that the Regents should not be allowed to set the salaries of upper administrators would reject their legitimacy and would be worth doing, not least because it would be news…
* Thank a Boomer: the North Pole is now a lake.
* College enrollment fell 2 percent in 2012-13, the first significant decline since the 1990s, but nearly all of that drop hit for-profit and community colleges; now, signs point to 2013-14 being the year when traditional four-year, nonprofit colleges begin a contraction that will last for several years. Better hire some new assistant under-deans to tackle this problem.
* Why would CPS throw more money into recruiting recent college graduates with five weeks of training and no teaching certificates into the district when it lets go of highly-qualified, certified, veteran teachers? What’s the Difference Between Teach For America, and a Scab Temp Agency?
* “Summer Vacation Is Evil”: the ultimate #slatepitch.
* Today in coffee-is-good-for-you news: Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide.
* And tonight’s poem: “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood.
* How to Spot a Communist Using Literary Criticism: A 1955 Manual from the U.S. Military. And they say literary criticism is useless.
* DHS immediately begins implementing green cards to gay couples, without stalling or dragging its feet or needing to be sued. Amazing. I’d have never predicted it.
* Heat maps of poverty in US cities, 1980-2010. At right: Milwaukee in 2010. “Whites are in blue; blacks yellow; Hispanics green; and Asians red.”
So far this offseason, around 450 Division I basketball players have announced they’re changing schools. This turnover has imperiled the sport, says Marshall University basketball coach Tom Herrion, who calls it a “transfer epidemic.” Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski says that “[k]ids don’t stick to the school that they pick and they want instant gratification.” South Carolina’s Frank Martin agrees: “Kids are not being taught to stay the course, be patient, to learn how to work and improve.” Adds Alabama’s Anthony Grant, “I don’t think it’s something any coach will tell you is good for the game.”
GREEDY NCAA PLAYERS DEMANDING RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHICH GROUP OF MILLIONAIRES WON’T PAY THEM FOR THEIR LABOR PLEASE CALL POLICE
* India has officially recognized dolphins as non-human persons, whose rights to life and liberty must be respected. Dolphin parks that were being built across the country will instead be shut down.
Many of you no doubt believe you are joining a progressive education justice movement, that is the message TFA sells so well. But I want you to understand clearly, TFA is not progressive. The kind of limited data-driven pedagogy, the fast-track preparation, the union-busting, the forced exploitation of your labor, the deep-pocketed affiliation with corporate education reform are all very conservative, very anti-progressive ideas. Look no further than TFA’s list of supporters/donors. The largest donations are from groups like the Walton Foundation, of Walmart fortune, which has a vested interest in the status quo of inequality, breaking unions, and keeping wages low and workers oppressed. Or notice the many partnerships with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America, the very institutions which caused the financial collapse and threw millions of Americans-including your future students’ families-into foreclosure, bankruptcy, and deeper poverty. These organizations choose to donate to TFA because TFA supports their agendas. If TFA was truly pushing back on the status quo of educational inequality, these types of donors would not only refuse financial support, they would be attacking a group which threatens their earning potential.
* Meanwhile, making the rounds again: Gates Foundation Funding Wrist Bracelets to Monitor Teaching Effectiveness. How to Write a Conservative Article about Education.
* The Humanities, Declining? Not According to the Numbers. Well, you know, you can prove anything using facts.
* More than 260 colleges and universities in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have students who are more likely to default on their loans than full-time freshmen are to graduate, an analysis of federal data shows.
* Bummer Watch Lightning Round: Fox News adopts George Zimmerman. Kevin Clash’s (One) Day in Court. Gitmo Detainees to Be Force-Fed at Night Out of Respect for Ramadan. The street value of black market ivory in China — up to $1,300 a pound — rivals that of cocaine or gold. And, of course, North Carolina. Oh, North Carolina.
* In New York, Blasi said, his security personnel did not have the police’s powers of arrest and don’t have the power to arrest and shoot lawbreakers, and the city police did not believe they had the power to enter this private space. During the Zuccotti crisis, Blasi said he dreamed of turning on fire hydrants, letting loose German shepherds and deploying blow torches. Ralph Blasi is a director of security for a real estate company. Fire hydrants, German shepherds, blow torches.
* The marshmallow test became an important part of psychology canon. But a study in 2012 suggests that the children in the experiment did not necessarily differ in their ability to resist temptation. Instead, it was their trust in the researcher to return with the promised marshmallow that differed.
* And the headline reads: Human head transplants? Neurosurgeon says ‘we have the technology.’ All right, damnit, I’m in.
* Is it too late? The long view offers reason to hope. From Kim Stanley Robinson.
* In a previous post on this site I announced a plan for the creation of MOOA, or massive, open, online administrations that would supplant the thousands of separate administrations currently managing the affairs of America’s colleges. The MOOA idea was, of course, satire. However, I must report that two educational consultants contacted me to offer their services in bringing my MOOA to the market. Additionally, three separate reporters called to discuss the MOOA concept. When I explained that MOOA was a satire, one asked, “Are you sure?”
* What we need instead, I think, is a study of neoliberal bias in the university, particularly since the rhetoric of neoliberalism has now become ubiquitous, the lingua franca of administrators and even many faculty. In the 1990s Bill Readings observed that the new rationale of the university was the amorphous, technocratic one of “excellence,” rather than the traditional ones of disciplinary reason or national culture. The incantation of “excellence” no longer has quite the same currency; the new neoliberal mantra includes the buzzwords “disruption,” “innovation,” and “choice.” Part of their force is that they seem self-evident goods: who would be against innovation or choice? But I think that they sidestep some of the crucial problems of higher education, especially regarding equality. According to all the statistical markers, college is subject to a steeper class divide than it was 40 years ago, and academic jobs show a sharper stratification. This violates the best hope of the American university. What good is innovation if it brings us a more inequitable world?
* …given what we know from the big picture, I think it’s safe to say that ostensible reason for the long-term collapse in humanities enrollment has to do with the increasing choice of women to enter more pre-professional majors like business, communications, and social work in the aftermath of a) the opening of the workplace and b) universal coeducation suddenly making those degrees relevant. You’d have to be pretty tone-deaf to point to their ability to make that choice as a sign of cultural malaise.
* I used to maniacally play Solitaire Tic-Tac-Toe to keep myself sane in high school. If I’d known about Tic-Tac-Toe2, I might never have graduated.
* And good news everyone! The housing bubble is back!
* I saw this movie: Brains of rats connected allowing them to share information via internet.
* Beyond the MOOC: While other universities move quickly to offer courses online for free, Carnegie Mellon University is instead starting for-profit efforts designed to capture segments of the education market. I’ll promote this a bit more as the date gets closer, but I’ll be speaking at a “What’s the Matter with MOOCs?” event at UWM in mid-March.
* Justice, American style: The city’s complaint in federal court claims that if Ms. Truong is entitled to damages for the nearly three years she spent in jail awaiting trial, then Mr. Ryan is as much to blame as the city because he took too long to get the coerced confession tossed out of court by the judge.
* Will a Republican friend-of-the-court brief tip the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage? I’m pretty sure it’ll have more luck than Obama’s.
* These numbers are unprecedented: by 2014 President Obama will have deported over 2 million people – more in six years than all people deported before 1997. That “before 1997″ actually means since 1892.
“We need union jobs today, not tomorrow,” said Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “The resolution balances our desire to protect the fragile ecosystem of the earth, while acknowledging the economic benefits of a high-road strategy to develop the doomsday technologies of the future.”
* Never forget: The entire staff of the West Wing died on Voyager.
The social events of the 1948 holiday season had to be canceled. And with good reason: Experts called the third floor of the White House “an outstanding example of a firetrap.” The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion’s plumbing “makeshift and unsanitary,” while “the structural deterioration [was] in ‘appalling degree,’ and threatening complete collapse.” The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.
* And American history, Breitbart style: Journalists on the campaign trail saw Johnson drunkenly board a plane armed with nuclear weapons and then accidentally drop them on the United States. We all saw it!
* I may have done this one before, but what the hell: the RAW rejection letter.
* The NCAA drops the hammer on Penn State.
The tune, thick with horns and vocal harmonies, elides into “My City of Ruins,” one of the elegiac, gospel-tinged songs on the 9/11 album, “The Rising.” The voices sing “Rise up! Rise up!” and there comes a string of horn solos: trombone, trumpet, sax. Then back to the voices. Springsteen quickly introduces the E Street horns and the singing collective. Then he says, “Roll call!” And, with the music rising bit by churchly bit, he introduces the core of the band: “Professor Roy Bittan is in the house. . . . Charlie Giordano is in the house. . . .”
When he finishes the roll call, there is a long ellipsis. The band keeps vamping.
“Are we missing anybody?”
Two spotlights are now trained on the organ, where Federici once sat, and at the mike where Clemons once stood.
“Are we missing anybody?”
Then again: “Are we missing anybody? . . . That’s right. That’s right. We’re missing some. But the only thing I can guarantee tonight is that if you’re here and we’re here, then they’re here!” He repeats this over and over, the volume of the piano and the bass rising, the drums hastening, the voices rising, until finally the song overwhelms him, and, if Springsteen has calculated correctly, there will not be an unmoved soul in the house.
* Dibs on the novelization: Zhang and Li write that the the Milky Way will be torn apart 32.9 million years before the big rip. The Earth will be ripped away from the Sun two months before the end, and we’ll lose our moon with five days left. The Sun itself will be destroyed 28 minutes before the end of time, and the Earth will explode a mere 12 minutes later.
* Radiolab says the Greeks didn’t know about blue.
* New from the Library of America: classic 1950s SF.
* Academic shock doctrine watch: Wayne State administrators propose the elimination of tenure.
* The new normal: Confirmed heat deaths rise to 10 in Wisconsin.
* In the time it took me to write this post, Mitt Romney made $2,163.40.
Led by the enigmatic Dr. Shiro Ishii, Unit 731 committed thousands of macabre experiments and infected hundreds of thousands with the plague in China. Most of the scientists involved with Unit 731 escaped trial and entered mainstream society at the end of the war due to an agreement with Allied commanders, but a few are speaking of the horrors they committed in their old age.
I’m seeing at least a three-picture deal.
* The Non Sports Fan’s Guide to Maybe Enjoying the Super Bowl. A List of Things to Say to Sound as if You Understand the Super Bowl, Dummy. Go… Giants? I think I have that right.
* The set list from last night’s fantastic Mountain Goats show in Saxapahaw. And from Vu, an interesting New York Magazine read on Mountain Goats superfandom from 2009.
* The headline reads, “No kidney transplant for dying East Bay dad who is illegal immigrant.”
There were 2900 temperature records set in the United States in January. Exxon Mobil reported yesterday that its quarterly profits had increased to $9.6 billion on revenues of over $70 billion. It’s 60 degrees on February 1 in New York City. These facts are connected. I continue to think that one reason Bloomberg evicted OWS was that he lost patience with waiting for it to get cold enough to drive the Occupiers out.
I have proposed that “debt is death.” It sounds a bit melodramatic. You can in fact map connections between the debt-financed globalized industries, direct violence caused by their expansion, and the indirect but nonetheless deadly violences of climate change.
The headline reads, “Breakthrough: The First Sound Recordings Based on Reading People’s Minds.” You may remember they’ve already done sight.
* Convinced that the son they know and love is still “in there,” Chris’s parents have spent the past three years searching for a way to bring him back out. So far, their best hope has come from an unlikely source: Ambien. A growing body of case reports suggests that the popular sleep aid can have a profound — and paradoxical — effect on patients like Chris. Rather than put them to sleep, both Ambien and its generic twin, zolpidem, appear to awaken at least some of them. The early reports were so pronounced that until recently, doctors had a hard time believing them. Only now, more than a decade after the initial discovery, are they taking a closer look.
* The bill authorizing indefinite detention without trial was co-sponsored by one of the two main 2008 presidential candidates. It will soon be signed by the other main candidate from that election. No matter which of them you supported in 2008, this is what you got.