Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘magic

Wednesday Night Links!

leave a comment »

* How Bad Was It? Mitch McConnell Triumphant. Losers, not unlucky. And they probably managed to pre-lose the Senate in 2016 in the bargain. If you want a vision of the future. Decision 2014: The Higher-Ed Outlook. The biggest loser in this election is climate (as always). President Obama Has Earned Our Disapproval.

* Amazon wants to give you ten dollars: Spend $45 or More on Select Amazon Gift Cards, Get a $10 Promotional Credit for Yourself.

* I’ve seen some really polarizing opinions on this piece today: Confessions of a Young, Prolific Academic. I understand why people aren’t on board, but all the same I’m attracted to pieces that present the joyful side of academic work.

* Ecotopia today: Esteemed evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson believes the only way we can avoid a catastrophic mass extinction is to set aside half of the planet in permanently protected areas for the 10 million other species who live on Earth.

* 21 Photos Of Nature Winning The Battle Against Civilization.

nature-reclaiming-abandoned-places-11

Writing the future: A timeline of science fiction literature.

It seems like every 30-something couple has an embarrassing financial secret: their boomer parents are covering their mortgages, child-care costs and other expenses. The Bank of Mom and Dad: confessions of a propped up generation.

New Bill Watterson Comic Is A Simple But Perfect Celebration Of Comics.

sve81petlsrtkly6rgy8

* Alone as a queer, young, black sci-fi nerd: then I discovered Samuel Delany.

* Why Banksy Is (Probably) a Woman.

* Uber defends price surge that charged Durham man $455 on Halloween.

* Prequelism infects David Chase. There is still no cure. Won’t you give what you can today?

* Why Isn’t Hogwarts Using All That Magic To Explore Space? It’s a Kind of Magic. Like Methods of Rationality minus the cult (and one page instead of ten thousand).

And Dartmouth Professors Vote to Abolish Greek System. Nonbinding, purely symbolic, but points for trying…

En-Potter02

Thursday Links!

leave a comment »

* Marquette English Spring 2015 courses! I’m teaching a section of 3000 (our new intro to major — mine is themed around magic) and the second round of my NEH “Cultural Preservation” course. I’m also doing a honors seminar on “video game culture” that I’m really excited about, GamerGate notwithstanding.

* A rare spot of optimism: Lockheed announces breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy.

* But don’t hang on to it: It’s time to push the panic button on the global economy. Markets are panicking again. What’s going on?

Sea Level Rising Faster Than Anytime In 6,000 Years, Study Finds.

* WHO: 10,000 new Ebola cases per week could be seen. The CDC is apparently taking the over. One thing is certain: it’s time to panic.

* Another Obama triumph for the left: let a thousand wage thefts bloom.

The Assassination of Detroit.

* Charter School Power Broker Turns Public Education Into Private Profits. Neoliberalism, Higher Education, and the Rise of Contingent Faculty Labor.

* Identifying The Worst Colleges In America.

* Could Oculus Rift be the next great higher education boondoggle?

* In Taste of Autonomy, Sports Programs Now Battle for Athletes’ Bellies.

The most alarming thing I’ve heard from friends who’ve had miscarriages is their surprise (only upon miscarrying) at hearing about how many of their friends, aunts, cousins, sisters, mothers and grandmothers have had them, too. If miscarriages are so common, why do we hide them behind a wall of shame and silence?

* What It’s Really Like to Have an Abortion.

* The radical teamsters of Minneapolis showed what democratic unionism looks like.

* “Most schools’ internal judicial systems are the worst of both worlds,” Berkowitz said. “They don’t give the accused the protections of the criminal justice system, and they mistreat the victims, too.”

For example, even into the 1980s, some doctors didn’t believe that babies felt pain and so routinely did surgery on them using just muscle relaxants to keep them still. Pain and medicine.

* Guy Debord’s The Muppets. More links below Gonzo.

5

* “You had one job” screwup of the week.

* South Carolina governor levels outrageous accusation against the nation’s CEOs, says they’re all white supremacists. Huge if true.

* Study claims that whales and dolphins can speak to one another.

* DC has a bit hit on its hands with The Flash, so of course the smart move here is to recast for the film.

* Father, there’s a gateway to Narnia in the closet!

The Absolute Weirdest Thing Ever To Happen At A Political Debate.

How A California Man Was Forced To Spend 100 Days In Prison For Being An Atheist.

* Next week: Civilization: Beyond Earth.

* Behold! The Counter-Intuitivist!

* And we are all Bartleby now.

20141015

Thursday Links!

leave a comment »

* 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.

Spring 2015 Course Description (Already): “Magic and Literature”

leave a comment »

ENGLISH 3000: Critical Practices and Processes in Literary Studies

Thematic Title: Magic and Literature

Description: This course serves as an introduction to the English major, using literary depictions of magic from William Shakespeare to J.K. Rowling as its organizing principle. We will consider the ways a wide range of authors have taken up magic from a variety of critical perspectives, from feminist and Marxist analysis to genre criticism to postcolonial theory and beyond, as well as consider the possibilities and limits of reading “magic” allegorically. What is the relationship between magic and religion on the one hand, and magic and science on the other? How do stories about magic suggest powerful critiques of Western technologies of power and ways of thinking? Conversely, how do they reinforce our positions as good subjects of democratic capitalism? Why are stories about magic, and fantasy more generally, still largely understood as belonging to children’s literature, even as related speculative genres like science fiction and superheroes have enjoyed a renaissance of “serious” critical attention? For that matter, why does our society persist in raising its children in such magical worlds, only to finally spit them out as adults into this one? This course will help students develop fluency with academic discourses and habits of literary criticism that will serve them in their upper-division courses as Marquette, as well as develop their skills as writers and thinkers in their own right.

Readings will include The Tempest, Doctor Faustus, Arabian Nights, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, The Turn of the Screw, “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” Franz Kafka, Gabriel García Márquez, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, J.R.R. Tolkien, Junot Díaz, Nalo Hopkinson, Disney’s Brave and Frozen, Marvel’s Dr. Strange, The Chronicles of Narnia, TV’s Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Assignments: two shorter papers, one final paper, weekly forum posts, class participation

Weekend Links!

leave a comment »

* Call for applications: 2014—15 Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* So Paul Di Filippo really liked Green Planets.

* Receive this petition in nomination of three candidates for MLA Executive Council and one for 2nd Vice President.

* Explaining Tuition Hikes at the University of Michigan. Construction Not Instruction: Bonds and Buildings at the Public University. 5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry.

And this is the pattern with austerity. The measures introduced under the rubric of an emergency, the supposed need to consolidate debt and appease “the market,” ultimately do little for the debt, and only consolidate the market’s tyrannical reach.

* On trigger warnings and who gets to count.

Journey to the Centre of Google Earth.

* I was born too early.

The Lion King: A short history of Disney-fascism.

But the emotional trauma that Disney tries its damnedest to induce in young children is only the spadework for the ugly principles it feels it must implant in each new generation. Although the film takes place in an imaginary jungle, THE LION KING really expounds the Law of the Schoolyard: only the strong and the beautiful triumph, and the powerless survive only by serving the strong. As Disney sees it, children must not only acknowledge the supremacy of those born privileged and violent, the children must love them. The young must gaze in hushed veneration at the princely predators who stand ready to harvest the labor and flesh of their subjects. They must learn to giggle at the hopeless scampering of weak and stubby creatures as they dodge the jaws of their overlords. They must accept that true friendship means flattering those who would otherwise feast on their entrails.

DaysOver95-MJ* Climate denialism and the Outer Banks. These time-lapse maps show how much hotter the USA will be when you’re old.

Why Did Borges Hate Soccer?

Was the U.S. Robbed Against Portugal? It Depends on What Time Means.

* You got your class-based analysis in my intersectionality NO you got your intersectionality in my class-based analysis

* Another exciting week of Good SCOTUS, Bad SCOTUS.

* Kunkel reviews Piketty. The circle is complete.

* Title Now Everybody Sue Everybody: expulsion and sexual assault at IHE.

Democrats are the worst, Daily Show edition.

Hillary Clinton 2016 and the Folly of the Left-Flank Push.

If you or any other speculator on my body and rights, wish to know how I regard my rights, they need but come here and lay their hands on me to enslave me. Did you think to terrify me by presenting the alternative to give my money to you, or give my body to Slavery? Then let me say to you, that I meet the proposition with unutterable scorn and contempt.

* The Star Wars museum is coming to Chicago.

* Konczal v. student debt.

* Obamaism v. teacher tenure.

* People aren’t worried about robots, they’re worried about who owns the robots.

* A New Bike Lane That Could Save Lives and Make Cycling More Popular.

*  “You express amazement at my statement that ‘civilized’ men try to justify their looting, butchering and plundering by claiming that these things are done in the interests of art, progress and culture. That this simple statement of fact should cause surprise, amazes me in return.”

* What could go wrong? Missouri School Districts Start Training Teachers To Carry Concealed Weapons In Classroom.

Former College Basketball Player Sues NCAA Over Concussions.

* ‘Think They Got Killed?’ 1964, L.B.J. and Three Civil Rights Icons.

* When Rambo was going to fight werewolves.

* In praise of Janelle Monáe.

* On phone horror.

* Another Fermi Paradox post.

* Here comes Pacific Rim 2. Plus a cartoon! But we still live in a vale of tears.

* Humanity Surprised It Still Hasn’t Figured Out Better Alternative To Letting Power-Hungry Assholes Decide Everything.

​The 20 Most WTF Magical Items in Dungeons & Dragons.

* Free at last: Oakland to decriminalize pinball.

* Kill Bill as an 8-bit video game.

* Episode 7 is already ruined.

* But the kids are all right.

Some Weekend Links

with 2 comments

In this future, if MOOCs are the route to a credential, they may initially retain some of the popularity that traditional higher education currently holds. But as people realize that the real opportunities continue to accrue to those who are able to attend whatever traditional colleges and universities that remain, they will go to even greater lengths than today to secure those spots. Meanwhile, those for whom access to this opportunity is impossible will be left even further behind.

* Tampering with powers mankind was never meant to know: The U.S. military has developed a pizza that stays edible for years.

Socialism is not a flight from the human condition; it’s a direct and unsentimental confrontation with that condition.

* Anyway, the point is this: maybe the exhaust port wasn’t the problem.

Faculty on Strike.

* Reclamations Special Issue: Securitization and the University.

Can The Government Stop The Comcast/TWC Monstrosity? Comcast must be stopped. Preach.

A Florida town is attempting to repeal its ban on homeless people using blankets and other means of shelter and comfort. That’s good, I gue–wait, you banned what?

* Not only does the state’s proposed law allow private businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples; it permits state employees to deny them basic services. WHAT?

* Another NFL cheerleader files suit against her team. This one details the copious amounts of clothing and body discipling for a job that pays $90 a game.

* Noam Chomsky, stealing my bit.

* Now playable! Sesame Street Fighter.

* Ellen Page comes out.

Is the AA system of addiction recovery too unscientific to work?

The Blum Center Takeover Manifesto.

Why not cast Chiwetel Ejiofor as Doctor Strange? I’m on board.

* Because somebody had to: Debunking Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld.

The problem with the thesis is that in setting out their claim, the authors ignore the more obvious explanation for differences in group success: history. To be specific, in their quest to make it all about culture, the authors either ignore or strongly discount the particular circumstances of a group’s first arrival, and the advantages enjoyed by that first wave.

Then he said I want you to develop a plan to invade Ir[aq]. Do it outside the normal channels. Do it creatively so we don’t have to take so much cover [?]

But Truman’s famously crisp sentence did encapsulate a recurrent American attitude toward the fearsome weapons the United States developed: they came to us almost accidentally, inadvertently, “found” in that cornucopia which modern science and technology provided.

Leaks benefit the government, the author argues, in many ways. They are a safety valve, a covert messaging system, a perception management tool, and more.  Even when a particular disclosure is unwelcome or damaging, it serves to validate the system as a whole.

The Word You Are Searching for Is Rape.

Wendy Davis Is Pretty Much Fine With the Abortion Ban She Filibustered.

* Another Day, Another Train Derails In Pennsylvania, Spilling Up To 4,000 Gallons Of Oil.

A recent analysis found that rail cars spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of oil in 2013, more than was spilled in the previous four decades combined. Still, some companies are looking to expand their oil-by-rail transport: expansion plans for oil-by-rail projects on the West Coast could mean that as many as 11 fully loaded oil trains would travel each day through Spokane, Washington. A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday on rail safety, but it had to be rescheduled due to bad weather that forced the closure of the federal government.

* STAMOS! Remembering The LEGO Movie Directors’ Wonderful TV Show, Clone High.

The (almost) entire run of Gargoyles is streaming legally on YouTube.

* Say I’m the Only Bee in Your Bonnet: A People’s History of “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

* Facebook has added fifty alternative gender options.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage.

* And in breaking news: Internet trolls are seriously bad news. The more you know…

Finally Back in Milwaukee Links

leave a comment »

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.

Arrested Development Season 4 episode titles revealed.

H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers.

* January 1, 1946: two Marine divisions faced off in the so-called Atom Bowl, played on a killing field in Nagasaki that had been cleared of debris.

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.

* Traxus and Kotsko on Django Unchained. Bonus Kotsko New Year’s Resolution! Stop paying attention to non-stories.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2013?

* Women’s gangs of India.

* The Death of the American Shopping Mall.

* 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.

The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth.

Could going to Mars give future astronauts Alzheimer’s disease?

Can being overweight actually make you live longer?

* A Pickpocket’s Tale.

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.

A moment of dreaming about higher education.

* And Jaimee has some new poems up (with rare audio!) at Unsplendid.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,038 other followers