Posts Tagged ‘nuclearity’
* The fact that animals were for a long period of European history tried and punished as criminals is, to the extent that this is known at all, generally bracketed or dismissed as amere curiosity, a cultural quirk.
* The future is bright at Monsters University. I agree wholeheartedly with my Marquette colleague who hopes there’s a ton of confusion about MU in the future.
* The Penn State shitshow continues: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce a federal lawsuit against the NCAA tied to the historic sanctions levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Corbett will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning in State College, Pa., to announce the suit, which will be filed by the state.
* “I don’t think I would do a terrible job at a Han Solo backstory. I could do that pretty well. But maybe that would be better as a short.” An interview with Wes Anderson.
A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.“Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”
Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.
“Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.
Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.
According to recently declassified documents made available by the U.S. National Security Archive, the United States had a contingency plan in effect where, in the event that the President went missing or was killed during an attack on the country, the military was instructed to launch an automatic and simultaneous “full nuclear response” against both the Soviet Union and China. And it wasn’t until 1968 that the government under Lyndon Johnson repealed the directive.
I’ve said it before: every generation before mine was completely insane.
* Confirmed: US planned to nuke the moon. Not a Mr. Show link, not an imaginary story…
Questions like “how did things get the way they are?” or “how far back do we have to go to find the roots of this problem?” are usually more interesting—and more recognizable as historical problems—than questions like “what happened next?”
* This guide provides an introduction to a handful of the strange spatial typologies found within the “cold chain,” that linked network of atmospheric regulation on which our entire way of life depends.
* In “North by Northwest” and other movies, Grant — for all his good looks — represented the triumph of the sexual meritocracy — a sex appeal won by experience and savoir-faire, not delts and pecs and other such things that any kid can have. Oh man. How did this ever see print?
* Last Year’s Debt Ceiling Debacle Cost Taxpayers $18.9 Billion. We can beat that.
* We’ve all been there: Ann Arbor man punched during literary argument. But this story buries the lede: what book were they arguing about?
* And You Are Most Likely to Die at 11 a.m. If you’re in the Midwest, that’s about forty-five minutes from now, so you’d better get moving…
* Kotsko: We hear over and over again that our modern economy requires flexible workers who can easily move among different tasks and settings. Yet instead of taking advantage of the natural ability of colleges and universities to cultivate these kinds of competencies, we are continually told that we need to retool our programs to do just the opposite.
In this case as in so many others, a relentless focus on practicality is the most impractical thing at all. And by the same token, the most “impractical” education — one that provides students with an opportunity to develop as fully as possible as thinkers and citizens — may also provide students the chance to develop the most valuable job skills more or less as a matter of course.
* Something’s fishy when a purportedly non-ideological movement shows up on the scene promising revolutionary change that looks suspiciously like the non-academic status quo. Why, exactly, should the ‘next big thing’ in the humanities come from the whitest, malest subfield this side of diplomatic history? Why does the New York Times cover the new field’s projects so much more enthusiastically than it does traditional work? Why has digital humanities attracted more enthusiasm from state funders, across agencies and nation, than the humanities have seen since the Cold War ended? I often think: one of the things digital humanities is potentially very, very good at is naturalizing the world as it is. And our reflexive ways of thinking about the world are just what theory has always sought to get us away from; the nightmare from which it tries to jolt us awake.
* Playboy (NSFW, obviously) interviews Stephen Colbert about science fiction, cynicism, appearing in character, and more.
PLAYBOY: Is it true you met Stewart for the first time while asking him a question at a press conference?
COLBERT: Yeah, that was it. I’d been doing The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn was hosting. I heard they were doing a press conference to announce that Jon was the new host, and I said, “Isn’t that the sort of thing we should be covering?” So I went, sat down in the audience and raised my hand when they opened it up to questions. I was like, “Stephen Colbert, Daily Show.” Oh God, how did I phrase it? “Does this announcement have any effect on the prospects of me getting the hosting job?” Jon looked at Doug Herzog, who was the network president at the time and is again, and said, “You said he wasn’t funny.”
* Twilight of the geniuses: life with an abnormally high IQ.
* And some free advice for the GOP: stop doing this.
* As I discuss in my presentation for SLSA next week, Octavia Butler predicted it: Huntington’s mutation can improve learning before symptoms arrive.
* How to fight a nuclear war: Jimmy Carter had a plan.
* Stuyvesant, Harvard, people are alike all over: the psychology of cheating.
* “In Plain View”: How molesters get away with it.
* Meta poll-of-polls analysis shows the Romney campaign is in serious trouble.
What Erikson and Wlezien did is rather remarkable: They collected pretty much every publicly available poll conducted during the last 200 days of the past 15 presidential elections and then ran test after test on the data to see what we could say about the trajectory of presidential elections. Their results make Romney’s situation look very dire.
For instance: The least-stable period of the campaign isn’t early in the year or in the fall. It’s the summer. That’s because the conventions have a real and lasting effect on a campaign.
But the most surprising of Erikson and Wlezien’s results, and the most dispiriting for the Romney campaign, is that unlike the conventions, the debates don’t tend to matter. There’s “a fairly strong degree of continuity from before to after the debates,” they write. That’s true even when the trailing candidate is judged to have “won” the debates. “Voters seem to have little difficulty proclaiming one candidate the ‘winner’ of a debate and then voting for the opponent,” Erikson and Wlezien say.
* Underselling it a bit: “Potentially unsafe” rat meat is being sold illegally in London marketplaces. Remember, it’s only potentially unsafe. Who among us can really know anything for sure?
* Also at io9: George Dvorsky takes the recent rheseus monkey brain-implant study as a hook for another ride on the what-could-possibly-go-wrong merry-go-round about uplifting animals.
* And just because it’s Monday: Ben Folds vs. the Fraggles.
* Those communists at the ACLU are at it again; they say the president can’t just have people murdered any time he wants. Check your Constitution, hippie!
* Only the cameraman didn’t volunteer: Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb.
* Some refreshing honesty: Cheney, 71, said defense spending is “not a spigot you can turn on and turn off, that you need to keep money flowing in a predictable way so you can plan for the next war,” Graham said after the Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon.
* Okay, points there: Director Christopher Nolan says he has a simple explanation for why he refused to shoot The Dark Knight Rises in 3D: He doesn’t know anyone who actually enjoys it.
* It’s just as good as real learning! Even as traditional universities have embraced massive free courses, those institutions have drawn a line on the matter of offering credit. Some professors send a letter of recognition to students who succeed in the free, online versions of their courses, but the universities have refrained from offering those students course credits that count toward the completion of a traditional degree. So far the only way students might redeem their success in MOOCs for formal college credit is by seeking validation through prior-learning assessment apparatuses.
* And will UNESCO protect Tranquility Base from nonexistent space tourists? Tune in tomorrow, Moon Rangers, for the exciting conclusion!
* I definitely picked the wrong week to stay off the Internet: SCOTUS plays the best and biggest game of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional” of all time. It is! “The decision was 4-1-4.” Why Did Roberts Do It? How and Why Did Justice Roberts Do It? The right goes bonkers, claims Roberts is mentally ill. Did Roberts change his vote at the last minute? Did he? Did he? The long, sad twilight of Anthony Kennedy. Antonin Scalia, ranting old man. Did Scalia Scare Off Roberts? Ilya Shapiro: We Won Everything but the Case. And Ginsberg kills it. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, hero. More (oh, so much more) from SCOTUSblog.
* Should we be surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate and most of the Affordable Care Act? From the perspective of constitutional doctrine, the Supreme Court’s decision follows from 75 years of unbroken precedents.
* The important questions: Two-Thirds of Americans Think Barack Obama Is Better Suited to Handle an Alien Invasion Than Mitt Romney.
* The important questions: Did Nick Fury break the law when he refused to nuke New York?
* Jimmy Carter: The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights. Abandoning? Champion? Human rights? Let’s start over.
* College students are facing a roughly $20 billion increase in the cost of their federal loans, despite a much-heralded deal in Washington to contain the expense of higher education.
Starting Sunday, students hoping to earn the graduate degrees that have become mandatory for many white-collar jobs will become responsible for paying the interest on their federal loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate. That means they’ll have to pay an extra $18 billion out of pocket over the next decade.
Meanwhile, the government will no longer cover the interest on undergraduate loans during the six months after students finish school. That’s expected to cost them more than $2 billion.
* Watch out: here comes the Big Rip.
* Jesus wept: “We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive,” the platform says, adding that it supports teaching “common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups.” In Arizona, where Republicans banned multicultural programs, students in those programs actually out-performed their peers. Texas Republicans also believe “controversial theories” such evolution and climate change — which aren’t controversial at all — “should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.” There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” because they “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
* On Thursday, 80 lawsuits against the NFL related to brain injuries and concussions were combined into one complaint and filed in Philadelphia. The suit also names helmet maker Ridell, and if I’m reading the article correctly, 2100 former players are involved in the case.
* This pamphlet, written in four hours, Xeroxed, and distributed on the coach up to the 1972 Women’s Liberation conference, contains six demands, beginning with “We demand the right to work less,” and including, for the first time, “We demand wages for housework.” The Guardian profiles Selma James.
* This Detroit News Archivist Tumblr is really something.
* And this summer, LARoB will #OccupyGaddis.
Rare photos from an A-Bomb test. Thanks, Lindsey!