Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘mad science

Saturday Roundup – 2!

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* How Dan Harmon breaks a story – 2!

* ‘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?

* Architects for this 47-story building in Spain forgot to put in an elevator.

* Academic freedom and tenure: the case of National Louis University. Just awful.

This Is How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine.

* And via @reclaimUC, a blast from 2011: Delegitimate UC.

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…

Thursday Night Links

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* Thank a Boomer: the North Pole is now a lake.

Three-Quarters Of Young, Independent Voters Describe Deniers As ‘Ignorant, Out Of Touch Or Crazy.’

* Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought.

* MOOCs enter the “Sure, they’re a complete disaster, but what if they weren’t?” phase of the hype cycle.

* 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?

* What’s the Matter With North Carolina? Meanwhile, Eric Holder tries to reignite the preclearance provision of the VRA under Section 3.

* Scientists believe they have successfully implanted a false memory into a mouse.

* Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism.

* There’s no such thing as black-on-black crime.

* Ally-phobia: On the Trayvon Martin Ruling, White Feminism, and the Worst of Best Intentions. White People Fatigue Syndrome.

* “Summer Vacation Is Evil”: the ultimate #slatepitch.

* Today in coffee-is-good-for-you news: Coffee drinking tied to lower risk of suicide.

* A unique defense: Lance Armstrong says it doesn’t count if everyone should have known you were lying.

* And tonight’s poem: “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood.

Fourth of July America Links USA USA

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milwaukee 2010How 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.”

* Today in NCAA insanity.

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. 

An Open Letter to New Teach for America Recruits.

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.

* “This is text from an actual email from an actual coursera professor to actual coursera students.”

* 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. 

“Now, it seems that senior (well-paid) managers are giving explicit orders to senior editorial staff to deliberately take advantage of young job-seekers in order to cut costs.” Gasp!

* And the headline reads: Human head transplants? Neurosurgeon says ‘we have the technology.’ All right, damnit, I’m in.

Thursday Links!

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Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day.

Is it too late? The long view offers reason to hope. From Kim Stanley Robinson.

Mourning and Melancholia in the Anthropocene.

U.S. to Retire Most Chimps From Research.

The long road to marriage equality. Adam Kotsko: Marriage and Meritocracy.

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? 

* The latest update on Capturing the Friedmans.

* …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!

19-late-game1-1

Thursday Night Links

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* I saw this movie: Brains of rats connected allowing them to share information via internet.

It bears repeating: The candidate’s adviser sent us a letter on which both “department of history” and “faculty of arts and sciences” were misspelled.

Advice From Tenure-Track Faculty To Those Entering The Profession.

* 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.

Boots on Campus: Yale Flap Highlights Militarization of Academia.

Student Debt Nearly Tripled In 8 Years, New York Federal Reserve Reports.

* The Dan Harmon backlash, at the AV Club and TNR (of all things).

* 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.

* What is happening with Bob Woodward? Seriously, WTF Is Up With Bob Woodward?

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.

AFL-CIO Executive Council Endorses Comprehensive Doomsday Policy for Working Families.

“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.

How Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the EmpireTurned Star Wars into Science Fiction.

Women Work Harder Than Men, Study Says.

* The Turn against Nabokov.

* When the White House was completely gutted.

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.

* When Martin Luther King played pool.

“Preserved” plushies in jars.

* Help wanted: must be infallible.

* They’re making a movie out of The Drowned World.

Shale Gas Fracking Will Be Around For a Long, Long Time.

* 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!

Monday!

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* I may have done this one before, but what the hell: the RAW rejection letter.

* RIP, Sally Ride. And here’s the politicized postscript.

* The NCAA drops the hammer on Penn State.

* Justice Department Investigates Pennsylvania Voter ID Law.

* The New Yorker profiles the Boss.

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.

* Six facts about guns, violence, and gun control.

* 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.

* The headline reads, “Neurosurgeons banned from human research for giving infectious bacteria to brain tumor patients.”

* Radiolab says the Greeks didn’t know about blue.

John Scalzi, self-made man.

* Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld go get coffee.

* And Fred Willard is keeping his head up.

Sunday Night

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Unit 731

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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.

Tuesday Night

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* Post-Apocalyptic Book List. Awesome.

* Slavoj Žižek: The Wire, or, the Clash of Civilisations in One Country.

* Back From Yet Another Globetrotting Adventure, Indiana Jones Checks His Mail And Discovers That His Bid For Tenure Has Been Denied.

* Final Polls Say Michigan Primary as Close as Possible. Rush Limbaugh says Romney stinks, Santorum’s dirty tricks are just fine. Romney says no brokered convention. Exit polls show Romney winning the rich. McCain on the GOP primary: “This is like watching a Greek tragedy.” How they did it to themselves.

* Which persona is real? Neither. Romney’s soul isn’t in the five minutes he spent as a pro-lifer in that interview, or in the two seconds he spent as a pro-choicer. It’s in the flux, the transition between the two roles. It’s in the editing of his record, the application of his makeup, the shuffling of his rationales. Romney will always be what he needs to be. Count on it.

* Wisconsin working hard to make us feel just a little bit more welcome when we arrive this summer.

* Meanwhile, Olympia Snowe has unexpectedly retired, dealing a serious blow to Republican hopes of retaking the Senate.

* Dow Jones Closes Above 13,000 For The First Time Since May 2008; Obama-Style Communism Responsible.

* NPR says it’s going to try to be “fair to the truth” rather than report the lies of both sides equally. Blasphemy!

* Colorado looks to legalize it. Vermont’s on board.

* I was very disappointed to have actually read none of the 10 Weird Science Fiction Novels That You’ve Never Read.

* “In 1994, the Air Force proposed a magic bomb designed to turn foes into gay vampires with bad breath.”

* The New Yorker has your secret history of Mormonism.

* Ze Frank has your insanely successful Kickstarter project. Almost $100,000 in 24 hours!

* Netflix takes another big hit.

One big difference between patents and other kinds of intellectual property, like copyrights and trademarks, is that patent-holders who want to sue someone for infringement don’t have to show that their patents or their products were actually copied by the defendant.

* This conspiracy theory is pretty byzantine, but I bet it could be more byzantine: Rep. Issa Says President Obama Wants To ‘Convert’ The Constitution ‘To Some South African Constitution.’

* And your ecology minute: Will the EPA’s new climate rules get killed in court? Scientists: Global Warming Played ‘Critical Role’ In Snowpocalypse Winters. NYRoB: Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong.

Ebb Cade, Albert Stevens, Simeon Shaw, Elmer Allen

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm

‘This Was an American Experiment to See If It Caused Harm to Human Beings’

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Some Sunday Links

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* Decadence watch: Please be advised we are between five and nine years away from President Tebow.

* 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.”

* Death, Debt and Climate Change.

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.

* Ben Valentine considers statue porn. This and the last two via zunguuzungu’s always essential Sunday Reading.

* The strange case of Michael Swango, serial killing doctor. Via Neil.

* Then Republican governors saved the economy.

* SNL takes a visit to President Gingrinch’s Moon Utopia.

* And just for the Hunger Games fans: a speculative map of Panem. Via io9.

Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable from Magic

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The headline reads, “Breakthrough: The First Sound Recordings Based on Reading People’s Minds.” You may remember they’ve already done sight.

Thursday

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* 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.

Report: Scientific research on chimpanzees “unjustified,” should be limited.

* DOJ Uncovers Rampant Lawbreaking By Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

* Rest in peace, Joe Simon.

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.

And the Newtpocalypse has begun.

Sunday Night Links

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* As I mentioned on Twitter earlier: If it weren’t for this, I’d say Mitt Romney had a better-than-even chance of being elected president next year. The Obama administration just seems hopelessly lost; every failure of their triangulation strategy is only proof they need to triangulate harder.

* The Obama for America fundraiser I spoke with tonight seemed totally unsurprised by my “I’m not giving you any money. I’ll vote for the guy but that’s it” stance. Judging from her response, as well as what people are saying to me on Twitter and Facebook, it’s a line she’s heard before.

* Guestbloggers doing great work during Glenn Greenwald’s vacation: Income inequality is bad for rich people too. Austerity and the roots of Britain’s turmoil. Why “business needs certainty” is destructive.

* Nouriel ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini: ‘Karl Marx Was Right.’

* Who mourns for Tim Pawlenty?

* Is Verizon the next Wisconsin? Maybe, but I’m hoping Wisconsin is still Wisconsin for a while. Via LGM.

* Looks like the shine is off “Twitter revolutions.”

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media,” Cameron said in an emergency session of Parliament on Thursday, during which he announced that officials were working with the intelligence services and police to look at how and whether to “stop people communicating via these Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Cameron said: “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.”

* “You can’t reach for the stars at this point”: Generation Vexed. Via MeFi.

Since mid-2008, unemployment in the 16-to-24 age group has been 13% and higher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last month, it stood at 17.4%.

Dim job prospects have taken some of the sheen off advanced degrees.

The job situation could haunt young people for years, said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston.

More than half of earnings growth over a lifetime happens in the first decade of a career, meaning that early unemployment can depress future wages for life, he said.

But older workers are staying longer in their jobs, forcing twentysomethings to fill up retail, fast-food and other part-time spaces that traditionally give teens their first paycheck. Without work experience, young job seekers will need to scramble for options, he said.

* Seven Creepy Experiments That Could Teach Us So Much (If They Weren’t So Wrong)—and the forbidden experiment doesn’t even make the list.

* And “urban renewal,” c. 1850: 19th-c. African-American village unearthed in what is now NYC’s Central Park.

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