Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘nuclearity

Sunday Morning

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* Scientific American majorly blows it after one of their writers is called an “urban whore” for declining to write for Biology Online for free. Unreal. When Does an Academic Become a Whore?

* Al-Jeddi: the BBC profiles Arab science fiction.

* The commission is expected to note that for the first time, a grandmother in her 80s can expect to enjoy higher living standards than someone in their 20s even if they are working, due to housing costs and poor wages.

The Air Force on Friday fired the general in charge of all land-based nuclear missiles, the second time in a week that a senior commander of the country’s nuclear arsenal has been let go for allegations of personal misconduct.

Markets are in the end man-made devices for utilitarian purposes, not a force of nature that we should not try to resist.

* Let Them Eat MOOCs.

Seen from this perspective, the techno-democratization of education looks like a cover story for its aristocratization. MOOCs aren’t digital keys to great classrooms’ doors. At best, they are infomercials for those classrooms. At worst, they are digital postcards from gated communities.

Thomas Friedman Writes for the International House of Pancakes Menu.

The Latest Voter Suppression Fad.

* Werner Herzog and Cormac McCarthy talk science and art with Lawrence Krauss. The only way this could be more perfect is if it were all Paul F. Tompkins impersonations.

* And the biggest comics news in years: Marvel To Republish Miracleman From January 2014, To Its Never-Before-Seen Conclusion.

Weekend Links (Now with More Twitter Nazel-Gazing!)

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* How to Survive a Graduate Career. Draws in part from Audrey Waters’s “The Real Reason I Dropped Out of a PhD Program.” I’ve just been talking a bit on Twitter this afternoon about my own experiences with a very particular kind of health scare near the end of graduate school (no symptoms, only the potential for very serious symptoms in the future) and the extent to which it completely opened my eyes about how unforgiving academic labor can be with respect to human frailty.

* I also had a long, possibly extremely tedious conversation on Twitter this afternoon with @adamkotsko, @ibogost, and @pannapacker about whether the focus of efforts to reform graduate education in the humanities should be focused on individuals or on systems. Way down at the end of it I monologue a bit both about the self-defeating nature of market-driven, consumerist approaches and about my own experience making “good” and “bad” choices with respect to the academy.

* From earlier today: Don’t miss Kotsko hulking out.

* Meanwhile in humanities education: Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate, Survey Finds.

* Ask Sven Lindqvist: Who is responsible if a drone kills my child?

* While earlier studies have argued that redshirted children do better both socially and academically—citing data on school evaluations, leadership positions, and test scores—more recent analyses suggest that the opposite may well be the case: the youngest kids, who barely make the age cutoff but are enrolled anyway, ultimately end up on top—not their older classmates. When a group of economists followed Norwegian children born between 1962 and 1988, until the youngest turned eighteen, in 2006, they found that, at age eighteen, children who started school a year later had I.Q. scores that were significantly lower than their younger counterparts. Their earnings also suffered: through age thirty, men who started school later earned less. A separate study, of the entire Swedish population born between 1935 and 1984, came to a similar conclusion: in the course of the life of a typical Swede, starting school later translated to reduced over-all earnings. In a 2008 study at Harvard University, researchers found that, within the U.S., increased rates of redshirting were leading to equally worrisome patterns. The delayed age of entry, the authors argued, resulted in academic stagnation: it decreased completion rates for both high-school and college students, increased the gender gap in graduation rates (men fell behind women), and intensified socioeconomic differences.

* “I get enraged when I see people hating on the kids today. You try graduating into this mess.”

* Ted Cruz Turns Obamacare Defunding Plan From Disaster to Utter Fiasco.

Step one of this far-fetched scheme was the passage of a “continuing resolution,” which keeps the government open, attached to abolishing Obamacare. Now it goes to the Senate. Once that bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, the majority can vote to strip away the provision defunding Obamacare. That vote can’t be filibustered. It’s a simple majority vote, and Democrats have the majority.What Senate Republicans can do is filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote at all. That’s the only recourse the Senate defunders have. And Ted Cruz is promising to do just that: “ I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together,” he says, “and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.” A “committed defunder” in the Senate likewise tells David Drucker, “Reid must not be allowed to fund Obamacare with only 51 votes.”

In other words, the new stop-Obamacare plan now entails filibustering the defunders’ own bill.

The GOP’s Suicide Squeeze.

* BREAKING: Online courses don’t live up to hype. Inside the Coursera Hype Machine.

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* Some new reporting on the hydrogen bomb that the US government dropped on North Carolina in 1961 reveals just how close it came to detonating.

Over 22,000 gallons of oil spilled so far in Colorado’s floods.

* And it is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails: 22-Year-Old Inmate Says She Is Going Blind Because Prison Won’t Treat Her Diabetes.

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.

Wednesday! Night! Links!

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* Jonathan Senchyne on Breaking Bad, cancer, and Indian Country. I like the way he teased this on Facebook: “Walter White has lung cancer, but doesn’t smoke…”

You know that newfound Van Gogh painting has the TARDIS in it, right?

* From the archives, just in time for application season: Should I Go to Grad School in the Humanities? I wrote that a year ago. If I wrote it today I think I’d write basically the same thing, just be more emphatic about every part. In particular — with all the necessary caveats about the falseness of meritocracy fantasy — going to a highly ranked program with strong recent placement rate is absolutely crucial. If you don’t hit that, and you want to go, work on your writing sample for a year and apply again. Your grad school’s reputation becomes instant proxy for your reputation. It’s not something you should plan to make up for by working hard.

* Also with all the usual anti-meritocracy caveats: On selling yourself on the academic job market.

* From the Washington Post archives: This amazing George Will there-are-too-many-states-nowdays rant against denim crossed my stream today.

The Inside Story Of How A Fake PhD Hijacked The Syria Debate.

Go Play This 8-Bit Version of Game of Thrones Immediately.

* Thinking through The World’s End: Part One, Part Two.

* Rich people are freaked out about Bill de Blasio. Sounds like a good start.

Nate Silver vs. Public Policy Polling. I’m amazed anyone is taking PPP’s side on this. If you don’t like a poll, run it again and release both; otherwise you’re introducing a massive bias into your process and destroying the credibility of your brand.

Medical Examiner In Zimmerman Trial Sues For $100M, Claims Prosecution Threw Case.

Long Lives Made Humans Human.

* An oral history of The Shield.

The New Yorker on Truman Show Delusion. Subscription required, alas.

* Years later, everyone remembered the Cheese Winter: The city’s Department of Public Works will go ahead this winter with a pilot program to determine whether cheese brine — a liquid waste product left over from cheesemaking — can be added to rock salt and applied directly to the street.

* Life imitates the Onion, as always in the worst possible way.

* And Salon interviews the great Margaret Atwood.

Wednesday Night Links!

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* Their conclusion is that while both effects are at work, Bowen effects dominate in public research universities, with $2 in increases due to administrators seizing on increased revenue for every $1 in increases due to upward pressures on faculty and staff salaries from other industries. Same for private research institutions. What’s more, they find a plausible culprit within universities. They notice that cost increases are likelier when the ratio of staff to faculty is higher. That suggests that when administrators within the university accumulate bargaining power, they’re better able to force increases in costs. The administrative staff, they suggest, is what’s really driving this. From the latest entry in Dylan Matthews’s “The Tuition Is Too Damn High” series, with some pushback from Dean Dad.

* On, Wisconsin: No one in Wisconsin delegation supporting strike on Syria yet. But it’ll be practically free!

Pope Francis To Lead Vatican In Vigil Against Syria Strikes.

* How dangerous is the radioactive water around Fukushima?

* An awesome assignment from Mark Sample’s graphic novel class. Must-steal!

* And the Up-Goer Five Text Editor: Can you explain a hard idea using only the ten hundred most-used words? It’s not very easy.

Friday! Night! Links!

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Obama’s new education policy neatly showcases the spectrum of choice we now have in our political system: to be ground down a bit at a time by technocrats who either won’t admit to or do not understand the ultimate consequences of the policy infrastructures they so busily construct or to be demolished by fundamentalists who want to dissolve the modern nation-state into a panoptic enforcer of their privileged morality, a massive security and military colossus and an enfeebled social actor that occasionally says nice things about how it would be nice if no one died from tainted food and everyone had a chance to get an education but hey, that’s why you have lawyers and businesses.

These 11 Colleges Just Hit The Jackpot In Obama’s New Education Plan.

To take a plan that is not working in K-12 and apply it to 12-16 is asinine.

* One weird trick to lose 15 pounds in 15 minutes.

In May, Duke University announced plans to adopt one of the most extreme college sexual assault policies in history, changing the recommended sanction for perpetrators from suspension to expulsion. That means that whenever a student is found guilty of committing a sexual assault, expulsion is the first punishment the Duke disciplinary committee will consider.

UConn Considering Ban On Student-Faculty Sexual Relationships. Again: Considering?

* Towards a new understanding of the Amish: Amish Hackers.

A Long List of What We Know Thanks to Private Manning.

* The tax subsidy to religion is about 83 billion dollars a year.

* Joss Whedon attacks both Twilight and Empire. He doesn’t care who he hurts.

Earnings and Job Satisfaction of Humanities Majors.

N.F.L. Pressure Said to Lead ESPN to Quit Film Project.

* Prince George enters the Veldt.

* What went wrong on Enterprise? The cast and crew fess up.

* And Fukushima continues to be a nightmare. That things were as bad as they were in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake is one thing — but it’s been years and the news only gets worse.

Tuesday Night Links!

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Saturday Roundup – 2!

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* How Dan Harmon breaks a story – 2!

* ‘Fallen’ Disney Princesses. The Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine ones are the best, I think.

* Scientific Paper of the Night: Could we blow up the sun?

* Architects for this 47-story building in Spain forgot to put in an elevator.

* Academic freedom and tenure: the case of National Louis University. Just awful.

This Is How Your Brain Becomes Addicted to Caffeine.

* And via @reclaimUC, a blast from 2011: Delegitimate UC.

I’d like to suggest that given the significance of bureaucracy as an administrative stronghold, the arena of bureaucracy is worth intervening in if and only if the legitimacy of governance by upper administration is negated by the intervention. A professor who agrees to be on a committee thinking that from that position she’ll be able to limit damage and fearing that if she is not on it things will be even worse is not negating the legitimacy of the administration, so that should not be done.

But a resolution introduced in the Academic Senate, or issued by an individual department, stating that the Regents should not be allowed to set the salaries of upper administrators would reject their legitimacy and would be worth doing, not least because it would be news…

Thursday Links!

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* Gasp! The MOOC ‘Revolution’ May Not Be as Disruptive as Some Had Imagined.

* Scenes from the class struggle in New York: CUNY and SUNY bigs get chauffeurs as tuition soars.

The job skills employers crave!!!

In other words, it may be that cheating rates are so high because too many university curriculums and courses are designed for cheating. Indeed, I’ve often felt that one of the principal skills—and it is a skill—imparted by the American educational system is the ability to bullshit your way through assessment with minimal effort.

Dolphins can recognize whistles from old tank mates from over 20 years ago, study finds.

* Man charged with stealing “entire road.”

* The faces of Manhattan Project.

Being Unemployed For Over Nine Months Is The Same As Losing Four Years Of Experience.

Most 2013 job growth is in part-time work, survey suggests.

NIH Reaches Pact With Family of Henrietta Lacks.

* Brutal review of DC’s missteps since the Nu52 debacle.

* “You think this is gonna be for kids? Stop, stop. We don’t publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year olds. If you want to do comics for kids, you can do Scooby-Doo.”

* Just about the only thing that could get me excited about Man of Steel 2Bryan Cranston Tapped to Play Lex Luthor?

* Monsters are real: Louisiana parish claims incarcerated 14-year-old consented to be raped by a corrections officer.

* And I am just completely horrified every time I come across statistics on Greece’s economy. Jesus.

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The Clan of the One-Breasted Women

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I believe the first time I found my voice was when I crossed the line at the Nevada Test Site in 1988. It was one year after my mother died. It was one year before my grandmother would die, and I found myself the matriarch of my family at thirty. With the death of my mother, grandmothers, and aunts—nine women in my family have all had mastectomies, seven are dead—you reach a point when you think, “What do I have to lose?” and you become fearless. When I crossed that line at the Nevada Test Site as an act of protest because the United States government was still testing nuclear bombs in the desert—it was a gesture on behalf of the Clan of the One-Breasted Women—my mother, my grandmothers, my aunts. And I didn’t do it alone. I was with hundreds of other women who had suffered losses in Utah as a result of atomic testing, as a result of our nuclear legacy in the West. I crossed that line with Jesuit priests, with Shoshone elders, with native people who had also lost lives because of the radiation fallout in the Shivwits’ lands.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Friday Quick Links!

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In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor’s guidelines for when a private sector internship can be unpaid and still legal can hinge upon whether the intern is a student. The guidelines, which are not technically law but are a subset of rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act, say that “the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the internship program and provides educational credit).”

Yale Officially Declares ‘Nonconsensual Sex’ Not That Big of a Deal.

* Nation interns embarrass the magazine re: its exploitative practices, get results immediately. 

MOOC Bill Dead for Now.

The bill, unveiled in March by a powerful California lawmaker, initially would have required the state’s 145 public colleges and universities to grant credit for low-cost online courses offered by outside groups, including for-profits companies, among them the providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The legislation was the subject of massive media coverage, with many citing it as evidence that traditional higher ed models were doomed.

* Death by zip code.

* And years later Fukushima remains a nightmare.

Thursday Links

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Wednesday Links: Cold War Modern Art, The Cutest Kitties, and More

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* Modern art as weapon in the Cold War. And they say the humanities are worthless!

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

We can’t buy this kind of motivation from the market. No tool or program can spark it. And the elites at the top of the current educational heap—who advanced their careers while the educational culture declined—have no clue.

* Judge rules that Fox Searchlight should have paid its interns. Fox today, literally every other media and publishing outfit in the country tomorrow…

* A judge responded to an assault victim by demanding sex in exchange for ‘legal favors’ in her divorce. She filed a complaint, and he sent cops to plant meth in her car. It’s the most atrocious abuse of power since this other story that was also published today.

400248_549785844060_145900243_31161285_715128554_n-1* Imagining a Balkanized US.

* Former White House Chief of Staff mulling run for Illinois governor on bleed-the-teachers platform. You know, for the children.

* Meanwhile, from our governor: Scott Walker Endorses Mandating Transvaginal Ultrasounds And Shutting Down Abortion Clinics.

* Chinese century watch: Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal.

Massive ‘derecho’ storm poised to strike southern Wisconsin.

Pipe break at Oak Ridge nuclear weapons plant kills 8,000 small fish.

* Man of Steel sounds pretty middling, alas. And no after-credits sequence? Outrageous.

* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal simplifies the Voight-Kampff test.

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We Must Not Allow a Mineshaft Gap

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Today at Realtor.com: Deep beneath the rolling foothills of the Adirondack Mountains is this converted Atlas missile silo, which comes, as the listing notes, with “all tools and toys included.” We’re guessing that does not include the nuclear missile that once lurked beneath the silo’s gigantic, steel blast doors, but it definitely does include some truly awesome Cold War-era tech, such as Strangelove-ian clocks that show the time in cities around the world and gun-metal gray consoles covered with analog switches and dials for you to flip and turn while making blastoff noises with your mouth. Via Boing Boing and the great @wientzen.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Weekend Links

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My proposed Coursera course will ask students to discover for themselves how and why John Doerr, and your other Venture Capitalists, are willing to provide an even greater abundance of knowledge in the service of greater economic and social equality than is the State of California, which clearly has the means to spend much more than it has cost your company to reach a worldwide enrollment in the millions. As the course progresses, my more diligent students will come to see, however, that reducing income gaps through education is not the main problem that Coursera and other Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers are trying to solve in their pitch to investors. That problem is, rather, how and when to price the content that you are now giving away in your current (pre-public offering) phase of development.

* Mike Konczal on a universal basic income.

“We are the people who live in the rivers where you want to build dams. We are the Munduruku, Juruna, Kayapó, Xipaya, Kuruaya, Asurini, Parakanã, Arara, fishermen and peoples who live in riverine communities. We are Amazonian peoples and we want the forest to stand. We are Brazilians. The river and the forest are our supermarket. Our ancestors are older than Jesus Christ.”

Former Leader of Guatemala Is Guilty of Genocide Against Mayan Group.

Brezhnev-style capitalism.

Neoliberalism was a political system in which the world was put to the test in some way, it was simply that the tests employed were those which privileged price and entrepreneurial energy. I don’t want to defend this form of testing, which is often cynical, bullying and depressingly unsympathetic to other valuation systems. But there was often some consistency about it and the capacity for an unexpected outcome (for instance, that local economic diversity might be revealed to be more fiscally efficient). Look at Westfield today, however, and you see an economic culture being repeated, without any sincere sense that this represents ‘choice’, ‘efficiency’ or ‘regeneration’, nor any sense that things might have turned out differently even if this had been known. The point becomes to name this as ‘efficient’ and that (e.g. Peckham Rye Lane) as ‘inefficient’, and try and avoid or suppress evidence to the contrary. The fear arises that provable efficiency might involve abandoning one set of power structures in favour of another. And so economics becomes a naming ceremony, not a test.

“Why do we have all this money to go after man-made terrorist attacks, and then we let our bridges fall down?” Flynn wonders.

* The New York Times covers the catastrophic failure of leadership at Cooper Union.

* Everything you want in the worst possible way: Not-Quite-Community renewed for a fifth season.

* Aaron Swartz Was Right.

The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.” This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.

Law would stop Tesla electric car sales in NC.

* Morale crisis in Americans nuclear forces?

Flying car crashes near school in Vernon, B.C.

* Julian Assange explains the coming super-surveillance state.

* Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.

* The New York Times profiles Dr. David A. Patterson.

His American name is David A. Patterson, his Cherokee name Adelv unegv Waya, or Silver Wolf. He is a tenure-track assistant professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. His groundbreaking research on the pitfalls facing Native Americans is both informed and inspired by his own story of deliverance.

* And the L.A. Times profiles Elizabeth Warren.

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