Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘NASA

gerrycanavan.com Is Pleased to Offer This Sunday Reading Experience

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* The schedule for the final third of my Cultural Preservation course. This has been one of the best teaching experiences I’ve ever had; I’m hoping things go as well next spring when I do it all again.

* Starting out with two strikes with this guy and he hasn’t even found out where I work yet.

The institution of the faculty wife is alive and well in academic culture. She’s an adjunct.

* Nietzsche was right: it turns out without forgetting it is quite impossible to live at all.

* “It seems to me that St. Patrick’s Day expresses the fundamental nihilism at the heart of American life.”

* Elsewhere in the American nihilism files: NASA study concludes it’s not just you, we really are doomed.

* Meanwhile, we can’t even agree on the incredible, undeniable, world-historical usefulness of vaccines. One map sums up the damage caused by the anti-vaccination movement.

* Surely we’ll start the school day later, when every bit of science backs this up… Oh.

* Unreal: Malaysian investigators conclude missing airliner hijacked. Could the Passengers Still Be Alive?

* Don’t be evil: Google’s anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content.

* There’s no escape from the corporate-NSA surveillance network.

* Five Cops Beat Innocent, Unarmed Father to Death Outside Cinema.

* No one could have predicted a completely unregulated peer-to-peer hotel network would lead to bad outcomes. Next up: Hey, Uber, your unregulated taxi was just some random creep’s unsafe car!

* Being Terry Gilliam.

* For the true believers: A Brief History of the Quidditch World Cup.

It’s not Mortal Kombat we should fear; it’s Candy Crush Saga and FarmVille.

50,000 Activists Demand Sexual Assault Reform At Dartmouth After Student Publishes A ‘Rape Guide.’

* On the spell-binding catastrophic collapse of the Juan Pablo season of The Bachelor.

* Thinking big: “I very well may be president of the United States in 2020, but for right now I am supporting some pro-White candidates from the American Freedom Party,” he said.

* If we make the world a paradise where everyone is immortal, will we still be able to have all these awesome jails? Aeon Magazine reports.

Car Dealers Are Terrified of Tesla’s Plan to Eliminate Oil Changes.

* Kim Stanley Robinson is all over the ASU “Thoughtful Optimism” project.

As of 2010-2011, the most recent year with available data, recent humanities and liberal arts majors had 9 percent unemployment. That’s right about on par with students in computer and math fields (9.1 percent), psychology and social work (8.8 percent), and the social sciences (10.3 percent). And it’s just a bit above the average across all majors of 7.9 percent. The larger problem, as always, is that there’s still not enough work for young people post-recession.

Pussy Riot launches a prisoners rights center in Russia, demands freedom in Wisconsin.

* Promisingly specific: Projecting ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ in Theaters Requires Special Instructions.

* Game of the Weekend: 2048, an addictive simplification of Threes!, in your browser.

* And good news for fans of medieval maps.

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Thursday Links!

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Bin4w6fCAAEB3Ju-1* Marquette makes Slate’s vaunted “ridiculous phrases universities have trademarked” list. Meanwhile, Danny Pudi’s Marquette-flavored entry in the 30 for 30 series is up at Grantland. Jesuit author featured on ‘The Colbert Report’ to speak at Marquette University commencement.

* The academic outrage of the year is Nazareth College rescinding an offer following a request for more salary, research accommodation, and “official” maternity leave. I’ve been ranting about this on Twitter (1, 2, etc) (and now MetaFilter) all day but I can’t see how people can see this as anything but naked gender discrimination. I hope she sues.

* I know there’s a whole secondary argument on Twitter about the propriety of Buzzfeed’s appropriation here, but I found @steenfox‘s thread incredibly powerful last night. What Were You Wearing When You Were Assaulted?

* This is one of my favorite endlessly recurring Internet images: “Do colleges have to hire RED professors?” asks The American Legion Magazine in Nov. 1951.

The Humanities Crisis Industry.

Workers Sue McDonald’s For Wage Theft Violations In Three States.

Chicago Police Cannot Keep Complaints Of Brutality Secret Anymore, Court Rules. Why could they ever?

Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner walks free after 30 years.

My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and Poor.

Study: Women Who Can Do Math Still Don’t Get Hired.

“Is it time to rethink the 40 hour week?” Yes, it’s time to think about bringing it back.

University of California Credit Is Downgraded by Moody’s.

I’ll give it to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this regard. I had, up until last night, found Ward to be one of the blandest characters on the show. But now he has my sympathies. Because that character is stuck in a world where terrible things happen and, when they happen to him, no one cares.

* Free markets! Disruption! Innovation!

Journalism startups aren’t a revolution if they’re filled with all these white men. How To Make A Pundit. And I can’t wait to see how they voxplain this.

* I want to return to a thread I introduced in that earlier piece with much greater force: That those who write for free or very little simply because they can afford to are scabs. I don’t endorse this piece, honestly, because I think it significantly misunderstands the terms under which TT academics are employed — but I found it an interesting provocation nonetheless.

WI school officials seize control over student paper after ‘rape culture’ article appears.

* Paul Ryan: Just The Worst.

* I have never seen anything as utterly nihilistic as the position Andrew Napolitano proudly puts his name on here. It’s unreal.

* The Sheep Look Up: Radioactive ‘Oil Socks’ Found Illegally Stockpiled In Abandoned North Dakota Gas Station. North Carolina Environmental Agency Removes Climate Change Links From Website. Panasonic First Multinational Company To Pay Air Pollution Hardship For Overseas Workers In China. NASA Study: Climate Sensitivity Is High So ‘Long-Term Warming Likely To Be Significant.’

* The economics of prostitution.

* Seinfeld After People.

* The best TV show you may not be watching: Review from Andy Daly. Also starring another Comedy Bang Bang stalwart, Jessica “Marissa Wompler” St. Clair.

Hands Off My Kid’s iPad.

* Abolish letter grades.

* Reuters auctioning off unpaid internships. My god.

The only thing Americans care about less than climate change is race relations.

“They cry because they are not allowed to be children at all.”

* Scott Aukerman explains BetweenTwoFernsGhazi.

* Teju Cole: @apieceofthewall.

* And the future is terrible.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Wednesday Links!

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* Great moments in CFPs: The Journal of Dracula Studies.

There is nothing wrong with thinking concretely and practically about how we can free ourselves from social institutions that place such confining limits on the kind of society we are able to have. Because of one thing we can be certain: the present system will either be replaced or it will go on forever.

CNN’s Van Jones says Keystone pipeline only creates 35 permanent jobs.

How Colleges Flunk Mental Health.

* Tracking PhD outcomes at Penn State.

IRS Suggests ‘Reasonable’ Ways of Calculating Adjuncts’ Hours.

Marvel Body Mass Index Study Reveals Nearly 1/3 of Female Characters Are Underweight.

* College graduates are less likely to lose their jobs than workers with less education, but once they do they are actually a bit more likely than others to join the ranks of the long-term unemployed. And workers over 45 are especially likely to spend a long time unemployed.

* 80,000 March in North Carolina.

* NBC single-handedly pays for a fifth of all Olympic Games.

* When the CIA came to Iowa City.

* 3,863,484: The LEGO sublime.

* You don’t understand hipster post-irony, dad! But it’s true: I don’t understand what Fred Armisen is doing.

* Contact with the market can be hazardous to usability; nationalize Twitter.

* Adam Kotsko vs. the difference principle.

* Boromir death simulator.

* NASA now accepting applications to mine the moon.

* Globalization, man.

“Americans are apparently less skeptical of astrology than they have been at any time since 1983,” proclaims the most depressing lede of all time.

* The sheep look up: The Sixth Mass Extinction Event. The Sixth Mass Extinction Event. 105 Winter Olympians Call for Climate Action. Another water disaster in West Virginia. The Fossil Fuel Industry Just Had a Really, Really Bad Day.

* Change we can believe in: Why Dragonlance should be the next fantasy film franchise.

* Duke’s Own™ Mitch Fraas in the New York Times, tracking libraries looted by Nazis.

* And rest in peace, Shirley Temple and Stuart Hall.

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Monday Morning Links Are Visible from Space

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* The schedule for the next four weeks of my Cultural Preservation course is up at the course blog. Benjamin! Fight Club! Ani DiFranco! Oh my!

Half of Sexual Abuse Claims in American Prisons Involve Guards, Study Says. Nearly 10 percent of inmates suffer sexual abuse.

* Black Chicago Residents Are 10 Times More Likely To Be Shot By Police Than White Residents. What could explain it?

* The comeback of guaranteed basic income. Alive in the Sunshine.

* David Graeber: What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?

* After Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.

* On Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies.

* ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it.

That “distressed baby” who Tim Armstrong blamed for benefit cuts? She’s my daughter. Armstrong could have paid for the full “cost” of both the babies directly out of his own salary and still made ten million dollars that year (in base salary).

* Dylan Farrow Responds to Woody Allen: “I Have Never Wavered.” 10 Undeniable Facts About the Woody Allen Sexual-Abuse Allegation. Just the Facts
. Brainwashing Woody.

What would Middle Earth look like from space?

South Bronx Students May Have Found Site of Slave Burial Ground.

* Duke’s Own Julia Gaffield describes her finding the first known copy of the Haitian Declaration of Independence.

* I think about the ways to address people who think computers are magic, and there’s lots of them, the ways I mean although there are also lots of people sufficiently baffled by their own phones to presume that physical laws SHIT LIKE TIME AND SPACE don’t apply to digitization projects…

“The legislation is almost certainly unconstitutional, it’s a bad law, and it reinforces stereotypes about Jewish influence,” said one pro-Israel Democratic strategist familiar with the groups’ thinking. “It’s so bad that AIPAC and ADL oppose it.”

* At long last, the purges begin at Occupy Wall Street.

* No one likes Obama’s terrible college rankings.

Concerned with growing class sizes, teaching assistant union files complaint against UC.

Renowned science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning “Mars Trilogy,” will select the winners of a national flash-science fiction contest co-organized by Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” and the Center for the Humanities and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gates “Beverly Crusher” McFadden will produce the scripts for radio.

* The Truman Show as eldercare: ‘Dementia Village’ – as it has become known — is a place where residents can live a seemingly normal life, but in reality are being watched all the time. Caretakers staff the restaurant, grocery store, hair salon and theater — although the residents don’t always realize they are carers — and are also watching in the residents’ living quarters.

* The Squalid Grace of Flappy Bird.

* The prohibition and attempted eradication of drugs can be a nightmare for the climate and environment. Particularly in Latin America, the fight against drug production has led to deforestation, widespread contamination with toxic chemicals, and contributed to a warming climate. Meanwhile: Climate Change Comes for Your Cup of Tea.

* I used to be a good teacher.

* Ideology at its purest: Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched.

Scientists Think They Have Found The Mythical ‘Sunstone’ Vikings Used To Navigate Warships.

11 Alarming Weather Flukes That Happen When it Gets Really Cold.

The Way We Live Now, by David Brooks.

This Student Is On His Death Bed, But His Family Still Has To Prove He Can’t Take A Standardized Test.

* The worst people in the world: Four Long Island workers arrested for running ‘developmentally disabled fight club.’

* Sports Corner! How will news that Michael Sam is gay affect his NFL draft stock? 10 Points About College Hoops All-American Marcus Smart’s Pushing a ‘Fan.’ Why Superfan Jeff Orr Is A Much Bigger Problem For College Basketball Than Marcus Smart. More details on the Raiders’ cheerleaders wage theft suit. Olympic Committee Supports Russia’s Arrest of LGBT Activists. Why the Olympics Are a Lot Like ‘The Hunger Games.’ Detroit’s Unrealized Olympic Dreams. Only six of the previous 19 Winter Olympics host cities would be suitable to host the Games again by the end of this century due to warming temperatures, according to a new analysis. And The George Zimmerman-DMX Fight Has Been Cancelled, So At Least There’s That.

* How Crowdworkers Became the Ghosts in the Digital Machine.

New York State has roughly 15,000 zombie homes and leads the nation in the time required to foreclose on a home, at almost three years, according to data from RealtyTrac, a company that tracks troubled properties.

* If you’ve been wondering how Mockingjay will handle Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death, here’s your answer.

Nabokov’s immigration card. (Nationality: “without.”)

* If You Thought You Couldn’t Go To Jail For Debt Anymore, You’re Wrong.

* And standardized testing? Just opt out.

* Werner Herzog casts Mike Tyson, Pamela Anderson, and Russell Brand in his next movie, because life is chaos.

* Justice Department to give married same-sex couples equal protection.

* Good news: FX will make Redshirts a limited series.

* And can The LEGO Movie really be that good? MetaFilter is on the scene.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

Tuesday Night Links!

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* This won’t be the last time you hear about it, but Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction finally has a pre-order page.

* In a post-employment economy ridden with arbitrary credentialism, a résumé is often not a reflection of achievement but a document sanctioning its erasure. One is not judged on what one has accomplished, but on one’s ability to walk a path untouched by the incongruities of market forces.

* Want to teach your students about structural racism? Prepare for a formal reprimand. Lessons from the Collection IV: Teaching While Black (Part I). Part II.

Free as in speech. Free as in beer. Free as in Huey. Free as in lunch. Free as in bird. Free as in love. Free education for all.

* At Some Other Berkeley: Frederick Wiseman’s At Berkeley mistakes the enemies of public higher education for its defenders.

Has UC Berkeley mortgaged itself to football?

* “‘Too good to check’ used to be a warning to newspaper editors not to jump on bullshit stories. Now it’s a business model.”

* American Students Fall Behind International Peers In Math, Science, And Reading. Countries With Higher Math Scores Have Unhappier Kids.

* Point: Superheroes are a bunch of fascists. Counterpoint: Stop Calling Superheroes ‘Fascist.’

* Democracy watch: Gov. Snyder has effectively absolute authority dismantling Detroit despite losing in the city 20-1. What’s next for Detroit?

* I Am Sitting in a Room, 2013.

Europe Could Be 9 Degrees Warmer By The End Of The Century.

Uruguayan President Asks for World to Support His Marijuana Legalization Plan.

British Think Tank Revives 40-year-old Plan to Build Space Colonies. How NASA might build its very first warp drive.

* And What’s Wrong With America’s Newspaper Opinion Columnists in One Chart.

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Late Night Monday Links

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* Government shutting down because everything is terrible that’s why. Federal workers who check their e-mail during a shutdown will be breaking the law.

* Shock at Berkeley: Campus officials declare emergency following explosion around California Hall.

What kind of society emerges when it is governed by the market-driven assumption that the only value that matters is exchange value, when the common good is denigrated to the status of a mall, and the social order is composed only of individuals free to pursue their own interests?

Instead place of high-stakes testing, Bard is letting its students hand in a high-stakes homework assignment. The system sounds like it’s just begging to be gamed by wealthy students. 

Towards a History of the Professional: On the Class Composition of the Research University.

* Vince Gilligan talks Breaking Bad alternate endings. This Is What Everyone Is Writing About Breaking Bad Today. And even more links.

Adjuncts Should Do As Little Work As Possible.

Memo: CUNY is Moving David Petraeus Seminar to Avoid Protestors.

“Warning! The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.”

Before the Muppets, Jim Henson Tried to Build a Futuristic Nightclub.

* Color, Chromophobia, and Colonialism: Some Historical Thoughts.

* The Fantastic Four (1961-88) was  The Great American Novel. (via)

NASA’s abandoned plan for a re-usable, nuclear powered moon shuttle. (also via)

* And it turns out 2-to-1 of the people in this city are totally insane. Oh man.

Friday Night Links

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Adjuncts from more than 20 Boston-area colleges announce plans to unionize. More at the Chronicle. Adjunctaction.org.

An unnamed English teacher at Albany High School who wanted to “challenge” his/her students to “formulate a persuasive argument” tasked them with writing an essay about why “Jews are evil,” as if they were trying to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty.

SN_DALEK_IN_POND_1.jpg* So you want tenure at Harvard.

* I’m afraid you’ll find the Daleks are already here.

The actual rendezvous and lassoing of an asteroid, which NASA characterizes as the “most technically challenging aspect of the mission,” could begin as soon as 2019 and result in the asteroid arriving in the vicinity of the moon in 2021.

* Actually existing media bias: Al Gore is fat edition.

* For-profit education industry attracts bottom-feeding scammer. No!

* The New Yorker remembers radical feminist Shulamith Firestone.

* And Google rolls out Google Death.

Plan B

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 11, 2013 at 8:42 am

Monday Night

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* An intense literary debate followed the reading aloud of the story and this first question. In fact, we never got beyond it. Three tenured professors and a university administrator take a third-grade English Language Arts practice test.

James E. Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

Study: College athletes denied $6.2 billion over four years.

Titled “The University Beyond Crisis,” this symposium is part of a larger project designed to occasion collaborative critical discussion that attempts to think beyond the rhetoric of crisis that is so much a part of the current diagnoses of the state of higher education.

With Friends Like This . . . ? Digital Humanities and the Right.

* Prison company withdraws offer to name FAU stadium.

Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Tuesday Mo(u)rning Links

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* Utopian for Beginners: An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented.

* Uncomfortable metaphor watch:

The two spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, have been orbiting the Moon since their launch in September 2011 to create a gravity field map of its surface.

But, with not enough fuel to carry out further experiments, the American space agency opted for a “controlled descent” to avoid the risk of obliterating astronaut Neil Armstrong’s footsteps on the Moon.

Questions They Might Ask You at Your MLA Interview.

* Great moments in attendance policies.

* Fill-in-the-Blank Generic Gun Massacre Cartoon. Joe Scarborough, communist. Obama speaks at Sandy Hook Vigil. The formula is simple: The more batshit malevolent the gun cult gets, the more power they exert. Our Moloch. On politicizing tragedy:

What that means in practice is that in the aftermath of contemporary gun tragedies, we don’t see new gun legislation. What we do see is a spike in gun sales. After the shooting last summer in Aurora, Colorado, gun sales went up. After the Giffords shooting, there was a surge in purchases of the very Glock semiautomatic that wounded her. Certainly, the firearm industry and lobby will confront some bad P.R. in the coming weeks, but they can likely find succor in an uptick in business. Following the Newtown shooting, Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners for America, suggested that these massacres might be avoided in the future, if only more teachers were armed.

As Pratt’s sentiment should make clear, the United States has slipped its moorings and drifted into a realm of profound national lunacy. Ponder, for a second, the fact that I cannot walk into a C.V.S. today and purchase half-a-dozen packages of Sudafed, but I can walk into a gun dealership and purchase a .50 caliber rifle of the sort that U.S. snipers use in Afghanistan. In fact, I can buy six or ten—there is no limit imposed by law. Should the gun dealer think it fishy that I might want to acquire a weapon capable of downing a small aircraft (much less six of those weapons) he may report the purchase to the A.T.F. But in most states, he’s not required to.

You are terrible: The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., is a price that is paid for protection of the Second Amendment. You are terrible: Huckabee Blames ‘Tax-Funded Abortion Pills’ For Newtown Massacre. You are terrible: Can you imagine being in the shoes of the one who feels his power slipping away? You are terrible: If we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.

Unless I am missing a very subtle parody of libertarianism,  McArdle’s plan to teach children to launch banzai charges against mass murderers is the single worst solution to any problem I have ever seen offered in a major publication.

I mean really.

Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for volunteers to protect our children. It will require security checks, but isn’t that worth it? This dovetails with the union problem; the unions will fight this measure tooth-and-nail.

No, Really, Regulate the Bullets. Race, Class, Violence and Denial: Mass Murder and the Pathologies of Privilege. What makes America’s gun culture totally unique in the world, in four charts. But maybe this chart is the only one you need.

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Dreams in Infrared: The Woes of an American Drone Operator.

Leaked IPCC Draft Report: Recent Warming Is Manmade, Cloud Feedback Is Positive, Inaction Is Suicidal.

* I’m sorry to say I’ve followed Ricky Gervais pretty far down the “obnoxious asshat” rabbit hole, and even I can’t imagine how his staring in The Muppets 2 could possibly turn out good.

* When Stoker wrote Whitman.

Popular Mechanics makes 110 predictions for the next 110 years.

2012 to 2022

Drones will protect endangered species. Guarding at-risk animals from poachers with foot patrols is expensive and dangerous. This summer rangers in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park previewed a savvy solution: Hand-launched drones armed with cameras and GPS provided aerial surveillance of threatened Indian rhinos.

Digital “ants” will protect the U.S. power grid from cyber attacks.Programmed to wander networks in search of threats, the high-tech sleuths in this software, developed by Wake Forest University security expert Errin Fulp, leave behind a digital trail modeled after the scent streams of their real-life cousins. When a digital ant designed to perform a task spots a problem, others rush to the location to do their own analysis. If operators see a swarm, they know there’s trouble.

Vegetarians and carnivores will dine together on synthetic meats. We’re not talking about tofu. We’re talking about nutritious, low-cost substitutes that look and taste just like the real thing. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has already invested in Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based chicken strips so convincing they almost fooled New York Times food writer Mark Bittman.

Bridges will repair themselves with self-healing concrete. Invented by University of Michigan engineer Victor Li, the new composite is laced with microfibers that bend without breaking. Hairline fractures mend themselves within days when calcium ions in the mix react with rainwater and carbon dioxide to create a calcium carbonate patch.

* The east coast of 2057.

* Catfood forever! Catfood for everyone!

* And Republicans are still planning on rigging the Electoral College. Or you could just try being popular. You could, just once, try that…

Is There Life on Mercury?

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Wednesday Night

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* Vu has an update on yesterday’s most important story: it was Tolkien vs. Lewis.

* Seems fair: Pennsylvania State University’s ousted president Graham B. Spanier received $3.25 million in taxable compensation for 2011 – including a $1.2 million severance payment given in the wake of his forced resignation that year, the university announced on Wednesday.

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. Miracles and wonders: Shane “Primer” Carruth is working on a new film.

* Only immortal jellyfish can save us now.

* Warren Buffet proposes a minimum tax for the rich.

new report from international NGO Global Witness suggests that, in the past decade, 711 individuals have been killed while defending land and forest rights. 106 of these deaths allegedly came in 2011, with the number killed almost doubling over the past three years.

* Crazy-good anamorphic optical illusion.

* Retiring Minnesota grocery store owner gives his stores to his employees.

* Back to the moon!

* And a map of life expectancy by country. The US doesn’t crack the top 25…

Links for the Weekend

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* Obama makes an unexpected post-election bid for the Canavan bump: NASA May Unveil New Manned Moon Missions Soon.

* Charlie Stross visits 2512.

* China Miéville offers a brief history of the recent filmic ideology of the necessity of walls against zombie hordes.

* ORCA shrugged. More here, here, here, here. This is still, essentially, poll denialism, but it’s fascinating that the Romney campaign put so much stock in a system whose basic assumptions they’d never bothered to test.

* MetaFilter tries to hash out America’s new marijuana laws. Mexico says legalization “changes the rules of the game.”

This image posits that the juridical distinction between slave and free is isomorphic with today’s cartographies of parliamentary politics; it implies that today’s Northern liberals have inherited, and protect, the precious freedom(s) denied to so many in the antebellum world. It implies that the rupture of the Civil War was not much of a rupture—continuity is the name of the game here. It thus elides the discontinuous rupture of black political subjectivity: the image would have us believe that today’s political cartography retains the form adjudicated 162 years ago by the desires and compromises of (mostly) white men, all of whom in some fashion profited from the political and juridical de-subjectification of blacks throughout the Americas.

* Reddit gets ready for Puerto Rico by designing some 51-state flags.

* Is everyone on the autism spectrum?

* 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem.’ There’s a culture war and Democrats are winning. What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage. Colorado Establishment: Republicans must improve or die. I liked, and forgot to link, what Freddie said the other day:

It occurs to me: part of the problem with our political media and analysis is that they always define Republican victory in terms of political direction and Democratic victory in terms of extremity. That is, a Republican victory is seen as a repudiation of liberalism, while a Democratic victory is seen as a repudiation of extremism. One suggests a push towards the right is the mandate of an election; the other suggests a push towards the center is the mandate of an election. Just another way in which the media pursues a “heads conservatives win, tails liberals lose” narrative.

* But don’t get too excited: in times of Democratic strength their leaders just turn on them and enact the austerity measures the Republicans are too weak to enforce themselves. We saw it with Obama, and California’s about to see it with Jerry Brown.

* Senators lining up behind filibuster reform.

* Ohio seeks to just rig the vote in the face of the Republican demographic implosion. Let’s Kill the Electoral College So We Never Have to Pay Attention to Ohio and Florida Again.

* And the Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. Prediction: pain… UPDATE: Supreme Court Appears Ready to Nuke the Voting Rights Act.

Wednesday Links

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* There’s an Earthlike planet in Alpha Centauri. This is the best news I’ve ever heard and I’m halfway to my space victory already I just have to research Fusion and Ecology.

* Compared to this the discovery of a planet with four suns and another all-diamond planet just seems boring.

* The other day they drove the Space Shuttle through Los Angeles.

* University of Phoenix to close 115 locations.

* Like Lee Bessette I’m pretty skeptical of this move towards a “teaching track.” Has establishing multiple tiers like this ever improved labor conditions?

* World’s biggest geoengineering experiment ‘violates’ UN rules. I’ve been fascinated for years that large-scale geoengineering projects are now within the reach not just of nations, but of individuals. Things are going to get interesting, in the “ancient Chinese curse” sense.

* Title suggestions for Future Die Hard Movies.

* The Problem with Presidential Precedent.

* Will California end the death penalty this year? They should.

* Firefly animated spinoff? I really think at this point I’d rather just be happy with what we got than ride a bad version of the thing I love into the ground. #geekheresy

* The Strange Death of Alfalfa.

* Debt Collector Illegally Seizes Disabled Vet’s Savings, Tells Him ‘You Should Have Died.’

* How Buffy Predicted Geek Misogyny. I’m not sure predicted is really the right tense here. What an Academic Who Wrote Her Dissertation on Trolls Thinks of Violentacrez. Michael Brutsch, ViolentAcrez, and Online Pseudonyms. On Ruining Violentacrez’ Life. I’m told r/creepshots is already back, masquerading as a “fashion police” subreddit.

* Gallup and Josh Marshall teases crisis as a real divergence seems possible between the popular and the electoral vote.

* Some debate highlights: a brutal on-the-spot fact-check that will be part of presidential debate prep for years to come. How epistemic closure hurts a candidate. The binder story that launched a thousand memes wasn’t even true. Leaked Debate Agreement Shows Both Obama and Romney are Sniveling Cowards. And whoever is elected, the planet loses. What an embarrassing spectacle for the people of the future to witness. Not that it’s anything new.

* Trove of Kafka Documents Must Be Released, Israeli Judge Rules. You can pick them up at the Castle…

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