Posts Tagged ‘many worlds and alternate universes’
* 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.
* 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.
* “A higher education system worth defending or reclaiming has never existed”: Education’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” Moment.
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.
* 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.
* 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.
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.
* “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.
“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.”
* 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?
* 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!
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* And J.K. reveals she wanted to kill off Hagrid, too. You fiend!
* 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.
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.”
* Self-parody watch: Fox goes after Spongebob.
* 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.
* 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.
* And not available online, but still interesting: The New Yorker has a piece this week on cruelty-free meat grown in test tubes.
* 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,
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
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.
* 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).
* And mission (creep) accomplished: Unmanned drones now flying missions in Libya.
* Understatement of the day: Japan crisis revives global nuclear debate.
* Chris Newfield recaps the UC Regents Committee on Finance.
* 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.
* 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.
* Fringe was right! Our cosmos was “bruised” in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background. We must destroy the other universe at once.
* “The strategic mistake of the decade”: Democrats should have let the filibuster die back in 2005.
* How the Bush administration destroyed the planet: honeybee edition.
* 13 awesome and awful pilots for sci-fi series we never got to see, including longtime sentimental favorite Heat Vision & Jack.
* The picture above is from Emily’s great and prolific Tumblr blog, which posts something awesome every five minutes.
* And the New Yorker profiles the architect of all my dreams and nightmares, Shigeru Miyamoto. They had a really solid piece on fundamental flaws in the scientific method recently, too, but unfortunately it’s subscription-only.