Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia

Just a Few Wednesday Links

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…And More

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I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality. 

Stunning front-page from UNC’s Daily Tar Heel today.

If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.

Elderly Obama And Boehner Daughters Arrive In Time Machine To Demand Climate Action.

Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”

* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.

California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.

* When (and how) Brad DeLong trolled David Graeber for months. Jesus.

* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.

How to Get a Black Woman Fired.

Overwhelming Student Debt Has Parents Getting Life Insurance Policies on Their Kids.

But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.

Detroit Schools Emergency Manager Gets Accolades as Children Fall Further Behind.

* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.

* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.

* Gen X hits the nostalgia capitalism threshold.

* And dollar tracking site WheresGeorge suggests discrete commerce zones in the U.S.

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Friday Links! Soviet Choose Your Own Adventure, World Tetris Competition, Gödel vs. the Constitution, and More

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In 1987, an anonymous team of computer scientists from the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic wrote a series of children’s books based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series. The books were hastily translated into English and a small number were exported to America, but the CIA, fearing a possible Soviet mind control scheme, confiscated them all before they could be sold. Now declassified, the books have been lovingly converted to a digital hypertext format and put online for the English-speaking world to enjoy. Via MeFi, which has some highlights from You Will Select a Decision:

“If you follow the bear immediately, turn to page 35.
If you follow the bear after some hesitation, wait for ten seconds and then turn to page 35.”

“If you say yes, turn to page 18
I will not permit you to say no. Turn to page 18.”

Gödel, in his usual manner, had read extensively in preparing for the hearing. In the course of his studies, Gödel decided that he had discovered a flaw in the U.S. Constitution — a contradiction which would allow the U.S. to be turned into a dictatorship. Gödel, usually quite reticent, seemed to feel a need to make this known. Morgenstern and Einstein warned Gödel that it would be a disaster to confront his citizenship examiner with visions of a Constitutional flaw leading to an American dictatorship.

Scenes from the World Tetris Championship.

This week, Europol, the European Union’s criminal-intelligence division, announced that its investigation into match-fixing, codenamed “Operation Veto,” had uncovered 680 suspicious games from 2008 to 2011. It’s huge news, not because the results are particularly surprising — there’s plenty of other evidence, even recent evidence, that match-fixing is rampant in global soccer — but because the sheer extent of the allegations means that we can no longer delude ourselves about what’s happening. This is what’s happening: Soccer is fucked. Match-fixing is corroding the integrity of the game at every level.

* Ted Underwood on text-mining and distant reading: We don’t already know the broad outlines of literary history.

* Hitchcock intended Psycho as a comedy.

* The end of NBC?

* Are Republican elites finally purging the hucksters?

* Does every life form get a billion heartbeats?

Could the Next Doctor Who Showrunner Already Be Chosen?

Should Students Be Encouraged to Pursue Graduate Education in the Humanities?

Historic Blizzard Poised to Strike New England: What Role Is Climate Change Playing?

Fund snidely concludes: “But, of course, as you know there is no voter fraud. Pay no attention to that lightning coming out of Ohio.” While voter fraud does rarely exist, fighting these sorts of “lightning” with strict photo ID laws that disenfranchise legitimate voters is like banning orange juice to prevent jaywalking.

The main point here: Germany doesn’t get all that much sunlight. In fact, it gets about as much direct solar-energy as Alaska does each year. Just about every single region in the continental United States has vastly more solar resources than Germany.

* Top college football prospect Alex Collins spent Wednesday trying to track down his mother, who had intercepted his letter of intent to attend the University of Arkansas. (Apparently she did not want him to attend college far from home.) Colleges cannot accept commitments from players under 21 without the signature of a parent or guardian. Eventually Collins’ father signed the form, but aren’t 18-year-olds legally entitled to make their own decisions?

* And TNI is giving out its weather issue (the one I was in) for free in honor of the blizzard. Enjoy!

Wednesday Links

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* The Hobbit trailer is out. I think they actually may have gotten the tone just about right.

* My theory that contemporary superhero comics are primarily motivated by a reactionary desire for a return to absolute authority takes a great leap forward today: they elected Captain America president.

* Sci-fi acid-trip of the day: Grounded.

* Inside Higher Ed has decided to run my job “advice” piece for ABDs in two parts. Part One ran today. Meanwhile, the MLA job report for 2011-2012 is out. Don’t look at the long-term trend.

Feds Charge Activist with 13 Felonies for Rogue Downloading of Academic Articles. Death’s too good for ‘im, I say!

* r/Scholar: clearinghouse for requesting and sharing paywalled articles.

* Chick-Fil-A is really, really sorry about that whole Hate Mor Peeple thing. It promises to be totally cool about not hating so many people quite so openly in the future.

* Politics minute:  Yes, Obama is actually winning. Really.

Ten Huge Issues Being Ignored In The Presidential Campaign. Look, if I wanted to talk about things that actually matter, I certainly wouldn’t be following the presidential campaign…

Report: It’s Not Okay To Just Start Talking To People You Don’t Know.

* And These Melting Ice Caps Could Be Great for Business. What was I so worried about!

Yesterday’s Future Today

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Friday!

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* Euro 2012 starts today! Here’s your calendar and your tournament map.

Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types. So now I have to spend the whole afternoon trying to figure out if I’m a Bert or an Ernie.

* Damon Lindelof is being brought in to rewrite World War Z after it’s already been shot. I’ll be brutally honest: That’s not a great sign…

* A brief history of the university.

* Lauren Berlant explains her new book, Cruel Optimism.

I’ll focus here on three matters.  The first is the concept of cruel optimism (what’s optimism, what’s cruel about it).  The second is on a particular scene—the end of the postwar good life fantasy and the rise of neoliberalism in the U.S. and Europe—in which the consequences of cruel optimism are lived collectively.  The third is about the need for a realism that embeds trauma and suffering in the ordinary rather than in a space of exception, given that the crises of exhaustion and knowing how to live are problems saturating ordinary life.

* So what does American politics cost, anyway?

* Pixar’s rules on how to write a story.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

* The crooks are ruining my lake! Power Plant Mercury Emissions Poisoning the Great Lakes.

Federal data released Thursday show the United States has had its warmest spring, its warmest year to date, and warmest 12-month stretch on record.

* Salon covers the class action lawsuit against student loan agency Sallie Mae.

* Expressing both public and private frustration with Pakistan, the Obama administration has unleashed the CIA to resume an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in Pakistani territory over the last few weeks, approving strikes that might have been vetoed in the past for fear of angering Islamabad.

Now, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing sensitive issues, the administration’s attitude is, “What do we have to lose?” What indeed! See also: Media, drones and rank propaganda. And also: International law and drone strikes. And also.

Conservatives never liked left-wing, government-run solutions to problems like unaffordable health care and climate change. These days they don’t seem to like right-wing, market solutions, either.

* Why Johnny Q. Public can’t learn: What’s surprising about these results is that even after we internalize a scientific concept—the vast majority of adults now acknowledge the Copernican truth that the earth is not the center of the universe—that primal belief lingers in the mind. We never fully unlearn our mistaken intuitions about the world. We just learn to ignore them.

* And Mr. Rogers Remixed. Because there’s still a good and decent kid inside you somewhere, dammit.

Tuesday Night

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* Following up on today’s diappointing Supreme Court news: Obamacare’s Supreme Court Disaster. Well, That Could Have Gone Better. Brian Beutler says it wasn’t as bad as it looked. So does Ian Millhiser. The battle over a limiting principle. Medicaid as sleeper issue. Kennedy, Roberts Likely To Determine Fate Of Mandate. Lyle Denniston says it’s all Kennedy. Klein reads Roberts. Kerr reads Kennedy. Even more at MeFi.

* Rachel Maddow: 4,000 days of war in Afghanistan?

* An interview with the creator of You Can’t Do That on Television. Via MeFi.

* The headline reads, “Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible.”

* Look on the bright side: The speaker of the North Carolina House says the state’s coming anti-gay Amendment One will probably be struck down in a mere twenty years.

* More Scott Pilgrim? Maybe someday.

* Life in the Retreat at Twin Lakes after the Trayvon Martin shooting.

* And are these the rules of Roadrunner and Coyote? I choose to believe.

1. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep.”
2. No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.
3. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic.
4. No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain.
5. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner.
6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert.
7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy.
9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
10. The audience’s sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
11. The Coyote is not allowed to catch or eat the Road Runner.

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