Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘many worlds and alternate universes

Thursday Links!

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* Working Mom Arrested for Letting Her 9-Year-Old Play Alone at Park. Dad Charged With Child Endangerment After Son Skips Church To Go Play. This Widow’s 4 Kids Were Taken After She Left Them Home Alone. The 90s weren’t THAT long ago, people.

* Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future.

* The NEH lives! The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday reversed a Republican proposal to cut funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities by more than 5 percent in the coming fiscal year.

* The Darker Side of University Endowments.

* Towards the slow university.

* What Happened at City College of San Francisco?

* University of Miami: Let the planet eat Walmarts.

“An unfinished degree barely increases your earnings while costing money and time,” economist Allison Schrager found in a review of the 2013 Current Population Survey. “Dropping out of college,” she said, is “the biggest risk of going to college.”

* The new American exceptionalism: An imperial state unable to impose its will.

* How many people alive today have ever lived part of their conscious lives in a United States of America at peace with the rest of the world? Would someone even older than I am have any meaningful memory of what such a state of peace was like? How many Americans are even capable of imagining such a state? I can remember only two periods, bracketing World War II, when I believed I lived in a nation at peace. And even these were arguably just childish illusions.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, could challenge Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this fall. Lewis is reportedly looking into an exploratory committee and plans to put a campaign staffer in each of the city’s 77 community areas. A poll has Lewis leading the mayor, 45 percent to 36 percent, with 18 percent of voters undecided. The Democratic Party education wars continue to heat up. The Coming Democratic Schism.

* Sweden’s School Choice Disaster.

* Meanwhile: How long can the GOP last as the cranky oldster party?

* More Americans are aging in place. Can towns and cities adapt?

Why I’m Not a Liberal.

* As Google’s top hacker, Parisa Tabriz thinks like a criminal—and manages the brilliant, wonky guys on her team with the courage and calm of a hostage negotiator.

No, LeBron James Won’t Bring $500 Million A Year To Cleveland’s Economy.

* How To Talk To Babies About Marxist Theory.

* Pulitzer prize-winner, immigrant advocate detained at McAllen airport.

* Rhode Island accidentally decriminalized prostitution, and good things happened.

* Market Research Says 46.67% of Comic Fans are Female. That’s amazing given how misogynistic so much of the product is. Maybe scratch and sniff comics can drive just a few more away.

* Marvel trolls freaked-out white dudes, day two.

Bsh-pwDIcAEdpST* Firefly: The New Lame Drawing.

* The curious grammar of police shootings.

Federal judge rules California death penalty is unconstitutional.

* Bananalands, transparently doomed proposal to split California into six states can’t even be bothered to come up with names for most of them.

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is taking Activision to court over his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

* One Hundred Years of the Refrigerator.

* Fixing peer review: 1, 2.

* Will the Supreme Court buy an argument that a corporation holds a sincere religious opposition to unionization? Is PopeCo Catholic?

* Voxsplaining we can believe in: Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

* Then they blew it.

* Original Slip ‘N Slide patent, 1961. Even the kids in the photo have broken bones.

Could We Drink The Water On Mars?

* Swedish man and his prolific bot are responsible for 8.5% of all Wikipedia articles.

A Woman Meets 30 Alternate Versions Of Herself. And They’re All Better. Trailer for indie SF flick You, Me & Her, which looks great.

* And a YouTube quality 12 Monkeys reboot is really going to air on SyFy for some reason. Ripping off Continuum for good measure…

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Meanwhile, Some Links

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* Marquette has a new president, the first lay president in its history. His farewell message to UWM.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.

* Dia/lectics of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse.

Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling. US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams. Escape the Devastation of Future Earth on a Luxurious Space Mayflower.

Roughly .02 Percent of Published Researchers Reject Global Warming.

An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz. This is the army-as-utopia piece I was going on about last week, if you were curious about it.

* What Life Will Be Like for Girls’ Hannah at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission.

Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. Come now, only three? Don’t be coy, Harvard…

* Amy Acker joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of course she is.

Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.

Inside UFO 54-40, the Unwinnable “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

* In sum, this so-called “data-driven” website is significantly less data-driven (and less sophisticated) than Business Insider or Bloomberg View or The Atlantic. It consists nearly entirely of hedgehoggy posts supporting simplistic theories with sparse data and zero statistical analysis, making no quantitative predictions whatsoever. It has no relationship whatsoever to the sophisticated analysis of rich data sets for which Nate Silver himself has become famous. The problem with the new FiveThirtyEight is not one of data vs. theory. It is one of “data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing. Nate Silver is a hero of mine, but this site is not living up to its billing at all.

* Why was Charlotte’s absurdly corrupt mayor doing the bag drops himself? Amateur hour. He’s going to be so mad when he finally gets around to seeing American Hustle.

* Clickbait publication says stop talking so much about clickbait.

Garfield Minus Garfield Minus Jon Plus Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan.

* And nothing gold can stay: Bradley Cooper is rumored to take over Indiana Jones.

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Just a Few Monday Night Links

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* Sometimes the other universe bleeds into this one: Satanists Unveil Design For Okla. Capitol Monument.

* Science has announced today is the worst day of the year. Don’t worry, it’s almost over…

The Ph.D.’s Guide to a Nonfaculty Job Search.

* Luntz shrugged.

* Roscoe Bartlett spent 20 years on Capitol Hill. Now he lives in a remote cabin in the woods, prepping for doomsday.

* Dialectics of copyright: Copyright laws force Apple to release 59 tracks. Sting gets $2000/day because Puff Daddy sampled “Every Breath You Take” without permission.

* You can judge a society by the quality of its &c: Here Are Some of the Creepiest Abandoned Prisons We’ve Ever Seen.

How To Help The Homeless When It Gets This Cold.

Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.

She also took aim at the assessment’s definition of fluency — which emphasizes reading with speed — and its use of what are known as “nonsense words.” Those call on students to identify the phonetics and sounds of words not found in the dictionary. Speering says employing them is a poor way to evaluate how well a child is understanding what he or she reads.

* Officer shoots restrained disabled teen dead on “we don’t have time for this” basis.

* And somebody seems to have maybe solved the Goldblach Conjecture. If true, amazing!

Saturday!

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* Two from JacobinGendered conceptions of credit and reward are written into the structures of intellectual property law. Don’t Mention the (Class) War.

* Malcolm Harris and Nathan Schneider talks Occupy Wall Street.

* Rhetmap.org maps rhet-comp jobs from the MLA Job Information List.

* How academia reproduces privilege: the case of Harvard Business School.

* Cutting through the nonsense of college ranking structures to what really matters: 2013-2014 PayScale College Salary Report.

* What rape culture? Iowa pastor and youth counselor Brent Girouex, who claimed with a straight face that he was trying to “cure” teenage boys of their “homosexual urges” by having sex with them, has had his sentence reduced from 17 years in prison to sex offender treatment and probation.

* Special Report on Oklahoma State Football: Part 4 — The Sex.

The Strangest and Most Tragic Ghost Towns from Around the World.

* And The New York Times reviews Eric Schlosser’s Command and Control, all about atomic near-misses. I don’t know how we made it through the Cold War, except that one of the universes had to.

Tuesday Links

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* “A higher education system worth defending or reclaiming has never existed”: Education’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” Moment.

* This piece is admirably forthright about what’s at stake with MOOCs.

How can this lead to cost reductions? The savings can accrue rapidly if the course is massively enrolled and subsections are taught by less well-paid individuals; or if the course lasts several years and the designers and lead professor may be paid over time.

* For the love of the game: The other day, Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz decried the spreading influence of money in college athletics. This is funny for several reasons, but you don’t really need to go past the fact that Ferentz is paid $3.8 million a year to coach Iowa’s football team, and does so while providing a comically small return on investment. In situations like this, schools would normally cut bait and fire the coach, but Ferentz is protected by a buyout that makes his contract look downright reasonable. … If Iowa were to fire Ferentz today, the school would have to pay a buyout of $17,531,360.

‘Achievement gap’ between older, younger kindergarten students persists into high school.

Wisconsin City Fines Parents If Their Kids Are Bullies.

I’m sure that academics will have ­objections, although Whedon has stood up to far worse than the Shakespeare (or Earl of Oxford) mob. He has been to Comic-Con. When Shakespeare’s done right, you can’t ­imagine him ever being done wrong. The clarity is blinding.

Hedge fund manager suggests just firing all the teachers and just buying kids iPads. That’ll solve it.

Third graders will now officially assess NYC teachers. Foolproof! What could go wrong?

Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests. No! It can’t be! That’s impossible!

Marijuana usage rates are comparable among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are over 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

If Comedy Has No Lady Problem, Why Am I Getting So Many Rape Threats?

And Astronomers Find First Evidence Of Other Universes. Let’s go.

Awake

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The only show that ever looked halfway good this season was NBC’s Awake, which finally starts up in the next few weeks. You can watch the pilot here. Having watched the episode I think the show still looks decently promising, but the he-was-the-one-who-was-hurt-in-the-car-crash-all-along! twist seems so completely telegraphed it’s hard to imagine what other “surprising” direction they could even go.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 17, 2012 at 10:52 pm

So Good I Had to Break Radio Silence

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Wednesday Night

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* “Locked up in the bowels of the medical faculty building here and accessible to only a handful of scientists lies a man-made flu virus that could change world history if it were ever set free.” Via MeFi.

io9 has your alternate-universe Lincoln Memorial.

* Daniel Ellsberg on what it’s like to receive top-secret security clearance.

“First, you’ll be exhilarated by some of this new information, and by having it all — so much! incredible! — suddenly available to you. But second, almost as fast, you will feel like a fool for having studied, written, talked about these subjects, criticized and analyzed decisions made by presidents for years without having known of the existence of all this information, which presidents and others had and you didn’t, and which must have influenced their decisions in ways you couldn’t even guess. In particular, you’ll feel foolish for having literally rubbed shoulders for over a decade with some officials and consultants who did have access to all this information you didn’t know about and didn’t know they had, and you’ll be stunned that they kept that secret from you so well.

“You will feel like a fool, and that will last for about two weeks. Then, after you’ve started reading all this daily intelligence input and become used to using what amounts to whole libraries of hidden information, which is much more closely held than mere top secret data, you will forget there ever was a time when you didn’t have it, and you’ll be aware only of the fact that you have it now and most others don’t….and that all those other people are fools.

“Over a longer period of time — not too long, but a matter of two or three years — you’ll eventually become aware of the limitations of this information. There is a great deal that it doesn’t tell you, it’s often inaccurate, and it can lead you astray just as much as the New York Times can. But that takes a while to learn.

“In the meantime it will have become very hard for you to learn from anybody who doesn’t have these clearances. Because you’ll be thinking as you listen to them: ‘What would this man be telling me if he knew what I know? Would he be giving me the same advice, or would it totally change his predictions and recommendations?’ And that mental exercise is so torturous that after a while you give it up and just stop listening. I’ve seen this with my superiors, my colleagues….and with myself.

“You will deal with a person who doesn’t have those clearances only from the point of view of what you want him to believe and what impression you want him to go away with, since you’ll have to lie carefully to him about what you know. In effect, you will have to manipulate him. You’ll give up trying to assess what he has to say. The danger is, you’ll become something like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they may have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours.”

* More on Romnarok from Ezra Klein.

* And Mayor Bloomberg says the NYPD is his “own private army.” I think one of us probably ought to go back to 8th grade civics class. But which one?

Occupy Wednesday

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* The Occupy Oakland general strike seems to have been really pretty amazingly successful.  The view from Twitter. Another. And here’s Matt’s picture again, having gone viral through me by way of @zunguzungu and @rortybomb. Half those pageviews are rightfully mine, Matt!

* General strikes in U.S. history.

* Arguments not taken seriously that should be: A federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales who perform at marine parks — an unprecedented and perhaps quixotic legal action that is nonetheless likely to stoke an ongoing, intense debate at America’s law schools over expansion of animal rights.

* When advertising works too well: the strange case of Axe Body Spray.

Women hold slightly more than half (52.3 percent) of creative class jobs and their average level of education is almost the same as men. But the pay they receive is anything but equal. Creative class men earn an average of $82,009 versus $48,077 for creative class women. This $33,932 gap is a staggering 70 percent of the average female creative class salary. Even when we control for hours worked and education in a regression analysis, creative class men out-earn creative class women by a sizable $23,700, or 49.2 percent.

In a victory for the 99 Percent last night, the voters in Boulder, Colorado voted by a three-to-one margin to support Question 2H, which calls for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.

* Legal Pain Killers Killed 15,000 People In 2008, Marijuana Likely Killed Zero.

* New Report Finds Vermont Could Save As Much As $1.8 Billion By 2020 From Shifting To Single Payer.

* Legendary Glenn Beck sponsor Goldline charged with fraud.

* Jon Corzine’s new firm likely to soon be charged with fraud. My father reminded me today that one universe over Jon Corzine never got in a horrific car accident as a result of his state police driver texting on the highway—which means he’s still the governor of New Jersey, which means he’s cruising towards a run for the presidency in 2016. In this universe he’s probably going to go to jail. It’s hard to think of another public figure whose life has hinged so completely on such a fluke event.

* In thirty years, college tuition has tripled.

* The worst part of the catastrophic implosion of the Hermain Cain candidacy is that he was the only one with a chance of stopping China from getting the bomb. None of the other candidates are even talking about this issue.

* Run, Ron Paul, run.

* And J.K. reveals she wanted to kill off Hagrid, too. You fiend!

‘Remedial Chaos Theory’

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The writers’ white board for what was indisputably the best episode of anything ever, Community‘s “Remedial Chaos Theory.” More pictures at the link, via MetaFilter.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Thursday Night Links

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* How to defend Obama’s record, from the man himself: “I think the key is not to get too bogged down in detail.” Geez, you said it.

* Americans hate everyone in Washington, but they hate Republicans a lot more. See, I am in the mainstream.

* But next time will be different! This time for real. We promise.

* The Daily Show has heroically managed to find humor even in the monstrosity that is the Super Congress. More important superhero coverage from Colbert, as well as cutting-edge coverage of NorthDakotagate.

* The heroism that dare not speak its name: The Married Lesbian Couple Who Saved 40 Teens From The Norway Shooter.

* Tracing the connection between climate change and earthquakes.

* Wikipedia is dying.

* So is the stock market.

* So is the income of the average American.

According to newly released tax data, “U.S. incomes plummeted again in 2009, with total income down 15.2 percent in real terms since 2007.” 2009′s average income of $54,283, which is the latest available data, “was at its lowest level since 1997 when it was $54,265 in 2009 dollars, just $18 less than in 2009.”

* So is everything in Texas.

* At least Congress finally cracked a solution to funding the FAA.

* Self-parody watch: Fox goes after Spongebob.

* Welcome to Nigeria, “the World Capital of Oil Pollution.”

* Watchdogs Demand Investigation Into ‘Brazen’ $1 Million Pro-Romney Donation. Unfortunately I’ve just gotten an email from 2016 that explains how the Supreme Court will find this all perfectly legal.

* Chris Christie, liberal hero?

* And there’s always five of everything: multiple universes discovered? Plus flowing water on Mars. It’s a good day to be a nerd.

Friday Links

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* Television without Pity surveys the 10 most promising new shows of the fall, including the precrime-centered Person of Interest from J.J. Abrams starring Lost‘s Ben, the time-travel-centered Alcatraz also from J.J. Abrams starring Lost‘s Hurley, the parallel-universe-centered Awake, and the doppleganger-centered Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar playing twins. Of these only Awake and Alcatraz seem potentially promising.

* Procedural requests from the judges on the 6th Court suggest ACA opponents may not actually have standing to oppose the mandate.

* A majority of Americans now support gay marriage. This is happening faster than I thought it would.

* Jaimee has a book review in this week’s Independent Weekly.

* And not available online, but still interesting: The New Yorker has a piece this week on cruelty-free meat grown in test tubes.

Closing All My Tabs Links

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* For all my brothers and sisters: “What did you do the summer before you went on the academic job market? What do you wish you had done?” Duke Lit’s Job Market Resources page has been ramped up considerably in the last year, which helps.

* To immerse yourself in literary theory as an impressionable young person is a little like squinting at a piece of toast until the face of Jesus materializes. It’s a slight perceptual shift (all you have to do is unfocus your eyes) but risky, because there’s no going back to plain toast after Jesus. Similarly, once you have engaged in enough feminist readings of “The Iliad” or performed close textual analyses of “Alf” or written papers limning the intertextual relationship between “Videodrome” and “Madame Bovary” — once, in other words, you’ve glimpsed the social, political, historical and ideological underpinnings of every text ever constructed — you’ll never again see stories the same way again. They’ll shed their innocence and expose their dirty secrets and reveal the world as a darker, more dangerous place than it once seemed. (Thanks, Lindsey Fiona!!)

* Recent college grads facing mal-employment, while incoming Duke students are rightly anxious about debt. Not anxious enough, frankly.

* Affirmative action for white kids: Asian-Americans and diversity today.

D.I.Y. Detroit: How the Alternative Press shaped the art of a city left for dead.

* At Mother Jones: The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science. Related: Kate Shepard explains the Climategate fraud. Also: Confessions of a Climate Change Convert.

* This CIA press release about their eco-friendly document destruction processes has got to be an Earth Day prank.

* Rule of law watch: Gov. Chris Christie Considers Defying Court Order.

* Debunking Trig Trutherism once and for all.

* A gaffe is when you accidentally say what you actually think: Minnesota state House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R), who is strongly pushing for passage of a voter ID law, has now backed away from comments he made in a radio appearance on Wednesday — when he said of the act of voting: “I think it’s a privilege, it’s not a right.”

* The great thing about neoliberalism is that it’s the answer to every question. The answer is the same regardless of whether your public institutions have too little money, or too much. More on how austerity works from Glenn Greenwald.

* Ideal and actual representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

* Inside Obama ’12. John Judis explores one area in which this will be a tough sell.

Obama has tried to carve a liberal niche within this retrograde political framework by charging that the Republican plan to cut the deficit would get rid of Medicare and would keep the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s all well and good, but Obama is still playing on Republican turf. And it might not work. The last Democratic presidential candidate who based his campaign on deficits was Walter Mondale in 1984. Mondale probably would have lost to Ronald Reagan in any case, but he would have won more than Minnesota and the District of Columbia. The other Democratic candidate who tried to make deficits an issue was Al Gore in 2000, and he lost to a candidate he should have defeated easily. And you can be sure that Bill Clinton in 1992 didn’t focus on deficits in running against George H.W. Bush.

Via digby.

* I’d never heard of either Kiki Kannibal or StickyDrama, but I read this Rolling Stone article on her weird, tragic adolescence from beginning to end (a rarity for anything they publish not written by Matt Taibbi).

* Parallel worlds are still the hottest trope in SF: Here’s a trailer for indie drama Another Earth, and a description of SyFy’s next new terrible show.

Portal 2 news! The story is much more complicated and interesting than I noticed while I was playing.

* And mission (creep) accomplished: Unmanned drones now flying missions in Libya.

Wednesday Night Links: The Sequel

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* Repeating myself from Twitter: you should know how great the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman Sherlock series from the BBC is. How we spent our evening. Great fun.

* The situation at Fukushima continues to worsen: now they’re dropping water from helicopters. The news just gets bleaker and bleaker by the day.

* Understatement of the day: Japan crisis revives global nuclear debate.

* Chris Newfield recaps the UC Regents Committee on Finance.

* Michigan Governor’s Anti-Union Power Grab Is Unconstitutional

* Attempts to recall Democratic legislators in Wisconsin aren’t coming together. I’m sure the Koch brothers will make it happen, but I’m glad it won’t be easy for them.

* Wanna Cut Wasteful Spending? Let’s Start with Abstinence-Only Education.

And once you become willing to take on the philosophical baggage of a multifoliate universe (and aren’t bothered by your countless identical twins), some of the deepest and most vexing problems about physics become easy to understand. All those nonsensical-seeming quantum-mechanical laws—that a particle can be in two places at once, that two objects can have a spooky connection that appears to transcend the laws governing space and time—instantly become explicable the moment you view our universe as one among many. And from Greene’s point of view, the 10⁵⁰⁰ different cosmoses described by string theory have ceased to be an unwanted artifact of the theory’s equations, instead becoming a factual description of universes that actually exist. Each of these universes is a bubble cosmos with its own cosmological constants, and as he says, “with some 10⁵⁰⁰ possibilities awaiting exploration, the consensus is that our universe has a home somewhere in the landscape.” Which is to say, string theory can no longer be accused of describing a landscape of fictional universes; our universe is just one in a collection of cosmoses as real as our own, even if we’re unable to see them. Charles Seife at Bookforum on Brian Greene’s multiversism. Via (where else?) 3 Quarks Daily.

* And MetaFilter remembers creepy moments from ’80s sitcoms.

Cura Te Ipsum

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Here’s a great new science fiction web comic still in the double digits: Cura Te Ipsum. The SF starts in earnest on page ten… Via io9.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm

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