Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘philosophy

These Are Monday Links; There Are Many Like Them, But These Are Mine

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* If you’ve been following Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, there’s a new chapter out.

* A One-Item List For Tenure-Track Faculty: Do the job you were hired to do.

* The next wave of Afrofuturism.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: Science Fiction and the Realism of Our Time.

* Bring on the Snowpiercer thinkpieces! 1, 2, 3, 4.

* When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

* Even the liberal George Will: “We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,’” Will implored. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these eight-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”

* Identifying the bodies of those who tried to cross the border illegally.

* Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.

* There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control. UPDATE: Russia Regains Control of Gecko Zero-G Sex Satellite.

* If you want to know how I do it. More links below the image!

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* Iron Man Should Move to Cleveland, Not San Francisco.

* A friend said it best: Ricky Gervais is scripting Congress now.

* Star Fleet uniforms: not OSHA-compliant.

* The mask slips: Tax agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity.

* Slave Leia is a bummer.

* “Our bad!” It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All.

* Cupcake fascism.

* This is horrible: First case of ebola reported in Africa’s most populous city Lagos.

* When Tonga Was a Vast Empire.

* The Five Most Overrated Weapons of War.

* On “Bad Feminism.”

* Community colleges and the art of the hustle.

* A lawsuit may determine whether “Happy Birthday” is really still under copyright, which is a bananas notion to begin with.

* Scientists: Rich People, Poor People May Have Shared Common Ancestor.

* BuzzFeed Writer Resigns In Disgrace After Plagiarizing ‘10 Llamas Who Wish They Were Models.’

* Blastr teases Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.

* Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, says expert.

* If I major in philosophy, what are the career prospects?

* Ascension sounds… pretty good?

The deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history is happening right now. And now the Liberian government has confirmed that a senior doctor working to fight the disease, Samuel Brisbane, has died, the Associated Press reports. That makes him the first Liberian doctor to die of Ebola in the current outbreak.

In addition, an American doctor has been infected. Keith Brantly, a 33-year-old working for American aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, has been treated and is in stable condition, according to USA Today.

This news comes just days after an announcement that the top Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, had been infected.

* And before there was The State, there was You Wrote It, You Watch It.

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All the July 4th Links You Wanted — And More!

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* The Declaration of Independence has a typo; America is abolished. Happy Fourth of July.

* America at 238, by the numbers.

* Hobby Lobby as Pandora’s Box. The icing on the cake.

* Like the Founders intended, an investigation into Blackwater was squashed after a top manager threatened to murder a State department official. Checks and balances. The system works.

Remarks of Thurgood Marshall at the Annual Seminar of the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association in Maui, Hawaii, May 6, 1987.

I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

As a Canadian I rather like the idea of the American Revolution being aborted and our Yankee cousins staying within the Empire. Among other things it would have meant that slavery would have ended in America a generation earlier and without violence (the British outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and abolished slavery in 1834).

* Meanwhile, a great moment in American democracy.

* Great new web comic from Jason Shiga, whose Fleep and Meanwhile I’ve praised here before.

* Some Dawn of the Planet of the Apes prequels.

* A new China Miéville short story.

* Zoo Animals Are Depressed.

* Gynofuturism: Zoe Saldana says the best roles for women are in space.

* Here’s a List of What Junot Díaz Wants You to Read.

* Judy Clarke defends the indefensible.

* Maria Bamford’s new web series wants to put you in The Program.

* Philosophy Job Placement 2011-2014: Departments with Relatively High Placement Rates.

* “Neuroeconomics.”

* “The Princess Effect: How women’s magazines demean powerful women—even when they’re trying to celebrate them.”

Lionel Messi Is Impossible. More.

* How Belgium built one of the top contenders for the 2014 World Cup, and what the team means to this fractious nation. How Tourette’s-afflicted Tim Howard went from international ridicule to World Cup history. Really, All Hail Tim Howard. How Spain Succumbed to the Innovator’s Dilemma. Why the last group stage game is played simultaneously. Who Won the World Cup of Arm-Folding?

* Zwarte Piets were once openly characterized as Santa’s slaves. Man, Santa’s legacy is complicated.

Cop Keeps Job After Violently Shoving Paraplegic Man From Wheelchair. The search continues for something a cop can do that will actually cost them their job.

* At time of austerity, 8 universities spent top dollar on Hillary Rodham Clinton speeches.

* The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the basic human right we all know about to see other people’s faces in public.

* A radical reply to Hobby Lobby: Take Away the Entire Welfare State From Employers. And another: Hobby Lobby, Student Loans, and Sincere Belief.

* The rules underpinning Porky Pig’s stutter.

* Shirley Jackson reads “The Lottery.”

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

* Lies Your Doctor Told You.

* Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the country, thanks to tracking.

* Membership has its privileges: African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes.

* A Brief History of the Smithsonian.

* A People’s History of the Peeing Calvin Decal.

* In 1990 this nation faced a horrifying outbreak of Richard Nixon rap parodies. This is that story. (via @sarahkendzior)

Facebook Could Decide an Election Without Anyone Ever Finding Out.

* The arc of history is long &c: Oakland Raiders Will Pay Cheerleaders Minimum Wage This Season.

* American Gods is alive! It’s on Starz, but it’s alive!

* “Exclamation points have played a distinguished role in the history of Marxism.” Why We’re Marxists.

* SMBC on fire: If God is omniscient and omnipotent, how could he let this happen? Telepathy machines were created. Check Your Bat-Privilege. I’m the superfluous female protagonist.

* Scenes from the next Paolo Bacigalupi novel: An abandoned mall in Bangkok has been overtaken by fish.

* The UNC fake-classes scandal has gotten so outrageous even the NCAA has been forced to pay attention.

* Should “free college” be framed as a right or a privilege?

When two good guys with guns confront one another.

* The Hard Data on UFO Sightings: It’s Mostly Drunk People in the West.

* Let’s colonize ourselves by 3D printing ourselves on other planets.

* Catfish and American Loneliness.

* The Hooded Utilitarian has been running an Octavia Butler Roundtable.

* Another Pixar conspiracy theory: the truth about Andy’s Dad.

* All about the miraculous Community revival. And more. Yay!

* Introducing the Critical Inquiry Review of Books.

* And some more good news! Bear rescued after head gets stuck in cookie jar. Happy Fourth of July!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Upcoming Events I’m Involved With to Varying Degrees, All in the Midwest

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* Today at Marquette: Today (Tuesday the 8th) from 5-6 PM in Lalumiere 208 we’ll be having our last Pop Culture Lunch Dinner of the semester, on music’s British Invasions. There will be pizza! Come out!

* Tomorrow at Marquette: Tomorrow (Wednesday the 9th) is Marquette English’s annual celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday, which this year takes the form of a “Sonnet Slam.”

* This Weekend in Milwaukee: All weekend the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is hosting a very exciting conference on “Anthropocene Feminism.”

* 4/22 in Cleveland: On April 22 I’ll be giving a talk at my beloved alma mater, Case Western, titled “Science Fiction and/as Philosophy.” More details to come!

* 4/26 at Marquette: The weekend of April 26th Marquette graduate students are hosting a conference on “Representing the Natural,” which also promises to be excellent.

* 5/2 in Chicago: I’ll also be giving a brief talk and participating in a roundtable at the Joss Whedon celebration at DePaul, reprising my role as snake-in-the-garden perfected at last year’s Doctor Who celebration.

* And, finally, 5/23 in Madison: I’ll be giving a paper at SFRA/WisCon on the great stuff I found in the Octavia Butler archives, especially the various unfinished drafts of Parable of the Trickster.

See you at all of these!

Monday Night Links!

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Dr. Nancy E. Snow, professor of philosophy in Marquette University’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a $2.6 million grant that will fund interdisciplinary research on virtue, character and the development of the moral self.

* How do professors spend their time? Additional facts.

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* The American Association of University Professors is out with its latest annual report on the economic health of its members’ profession. Executive summary: It’s pretty weak. But this year, the AAUP has added a fun little wrinkle by comparing the growth of academic and sports spending. Fun! The AAUP report. The Chronicle’s interactive graph. Meanwhile, associate professors see their earning power drop compared with their colleagues above and below.

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UConn Star: College Athletes ‘Have Hungry Nights That We Don’t Have Enough Money To Get Food.’ UConn basketball’s dirty secret.

Community colleges rely on part-time, “contingent” instructors to teach 58 percent of their courses, according to a new report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement. Part-time faculty teach more than half (53 percent) of students at two-year institutions.

* Mass expulsions from jobs, houses, farms, pensions, health care, citizenship, the welfare state, large-scale disappearances of species, arable land, clean water, open ocean—it’s a shrinking world. On the brighter side, as Sassen also documents, corporate profits in the last few decades have soared.

* Only 15% of US firms offer paid paternity leave to their employees.

* Delaware Art Museum’s Deaccession Debacle. Scenes from Mississippi’s new state-run civil rights museum (the first state-run civil rights museum in the country).

* Archaeology, Human Dignity, and the Fascination of Death.

Death used to be a spiritual ordeal; now it’s a technological flailing.

 

* For years, the state had greeted visitors with billboards that said “Wild Wonderful West Virginia.” In 2006, it adopted a new slogan: “Open for Business.”

* By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD. Millions of those boys will be prescribed a powerful stimulant to “normalize” them. A great many of those boys will suffer serious side effects from those drugs. The shocking truth is that many of those diagnoses are wrong, and that most of those boys are being drugged for no good reason—simply for being boys. It’s time we recognize this as a crisis. The Drugging of the American Boy.

The Game I Played When I Was Scared To Death of Being Deported. White House defends soaring number of deportations for minor crimes.

“When You Meet a Lesbian: Hints for the Heterosexual Women.” Struck again by way white supremacy is willing, even eager, to argue white people are inferior — just as long as African Americans are worse.

* Affirmative-Action Foe Plans Campaigns Against 3 Universities.

State Department Not Totally Sure Where it Spent Six Billion Dollars. I’m sure it’ll turn up.

* Linking to this sickening story, someone on Twitter reminded me that they would sell postcards of lynchings.

* Chicago decriminalized marijuana possession—but not for everyone.

* This is weird: Al Sharpton Was Previously FBI Informant.

* Vox is SEO as journalism. When Ezra Klein left the Washington Post.

* Better than straight-up bald-faced lies as journalism I guess.

* Has Any President Done More to Damage HBCUs Than Barack Obama?

* The High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance.

* TNI has put up the egg donation story I was touting a few linkdumps back.

* Recession Spurred Enrollments in STEM Fields, Study Finds.

* Could Westeros build a car?

* I worry sometimes my classes are the literature version of this comic.

* And the Milwaukee Art Museum, as it was always meant to be seen: in LEGOs.

Weekend Links

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An Open Letter From Dylan Farrow. Please know that this link is very painful to read and will likely be especially so for survivors. What a horror.

* I’m pretty sure I read this interview with Woody Allen when it was published in 2001, as I’ve been using that exact phrase “the heart wants what it wants” as sarcastic shorthand for destructive, deluded narcissism ever since. But Farrow’s accusations, which are in there, never stuck with me, either from their initial airing in 1993 or from this article in 2001. I don’t know if I concluded from the reporters’s framing and the lack of a conviction that they’d been proven false, or what. I had no memory of any of this before what happened during the Globes. And I feel terrible about that. It’s not about me, but reading her letter and hearing her story broke my heart. “You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton.”

*  “Of course, his dark side was always hiding in plain sight.”

CU-Boulder reports pervasive sexual harassment within philosophy department. Women fleeing U of Colorado philosophy department’s rampant sex harassment. Summary of Report by the American Philosophical Association to the University of Colorado Boulder. Colorado: What We Do And Don’t Know.

* Adam Kotsko thinks this from Timothy Burke might be the best thing he’s read about academic labor, but I still think this from Timothy Burke is.

* Scenes from my Cultural Preservation class: consumerism and abandoned malls at the Haggerty Museum of Art. The American Black Holocaust Museum, once the only museum in the country to be dedicated to the memory of slavery. The Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear.

Use the fields below to search for an institution and view the numbers and percentages of tenure-track, full-time non-tenure-track, and part-time faculty members at that institution in 1995 and in 2009.

Neighbors said to fear ‘transient academics.’

* Educational pessimism and socialism.

U.S. map showing amount of snow needed to cancel school by county.

* Scarlett Johansson’s separation from Oxfam seems to have caused Netanyahu to call a meeting to discuss BDS.

Lunches seized from kids in debt at Salt Lake City elementary.

* Snow, premeditation, and The Walking Dead.

* A short Seinfeld reunion of some kind seems to be in the offing. A Super Bowl ad, surely, no matter what they’re claiming otherwise?

* How to hack Jeopardy.

Time-Travelling Amazon Reviews Of The Next Series Of Doctor Who.

* Will Michael Mann end the National Review?

‘Out-Of-Control’ Rig In The Gulf Gushing Methane Freely Into The Atmosphere. The Water Levels Of The Middle East’s Biggest Lake Have Dropped 95 Percent In Two Decades. Fracking Under Houses Could Be New Norm As U.K. Puts Environmental Concerns On Backburner.

An Open Letter to the White Woman Who Felt Bad for Me at Yoga.

J.K. Rowling regrets Ron and Hermione’s relationship. She also almost killed Ron altogether, so.

* And the Batman vs. Superman news just gets worse and worse. Perhaps it’s time I just lost hope.

Wednesday Links!

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* What we’re talking about in my cultural preservation class today: Jyotsna Kapur’s “Capital limits on creativity: neoliberalism and its uses of art.” I’d actually suggest the adjunct herself functions as “the model worker of the new economy” alongside the freelancer.

The results of the Creative Culture Industry policy have already started to come in. Kate Oakley, among others, has shown that in the case of Britain these policies have exacerbated rather than eliminated inequality. They have led to gentrification and pockets of wealth in the midst of disintegrating social infrastructure. At the same time, work in the creative industries has become increasingly precarious — that is, temporary, project-based, and competitive, putting artists and media people in a constant in search of work (2006). As Richard Shearmur has indicated, calling upon local governments to modify their policies, planning, and budgets in order to respond to the preferences of the creative class boils down to reinforcing and subsidizing elites to a kind of ‘talent welfare’ that is reminiscent of ‘corporate welfare’ (2006-7, 37). In the process, art’s entire social role is undergoing a profound transformation. From being considered an imaginative and critical outsider or a participant in social transformation, the artist is now presented as the model worker of the new economy.

New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid.

* The bad conscience of empire: Historic papers about the slave trade are among the enormous cache of public documents that the Foreign Office has unlawfully hoarded in a secret archive, the Guardian has learned.

* Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it.

* Pollution from Chinese factories is harming air quality on U.S. West Coast!

* The chemical spill that contaminated water for hundreds of thousands in West Virginia was only the latest and most high-profile case of coal sullying the nation’s waters.

* Only You Can Discover Oil Pipeline Spills, Since 80 Percent Of The Time The Companies Miss Them.

* Train Derailment In Philadelphia Leaves Crude Oil Car Dangling Over Schuylkill River.

* UWM sued over dissolution of student government.

New York’s Mayor Is Snow Plowing the City Along Class Lines Again.

* Campus shootings have become so common they barely make the news anymore.

* Good Guy with a Gun shoots self with gun, for second time.

Connersville, Indiana police chief David Counceller’s most recent self-inflicted wound occurred when his sweatshirt jammed against his 40-caliber Glock’s trigger as he attempted to holster the weapon. He was examining a new Glock at a gun shop at the time.

* ‘Pregnant Sims Can No Longer Brawl’ And Other Amazing Sims Patch Notes.

* Good Jersey / Bad Jersey: New Jersey Will Protect Pregnant Workers From Discrimination And Unsafe Conditions. Christie declines to sign bill requiring public notice of raw sewage overflows.

* Former Virginia Governor Indicted on Corruption Charges.

* The Racially Fraught History of the American Beard.

* “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence,” he wrote to Ó Méalóid. “It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”

* Once we had the Sideways House, now we have the Upside-Down House.

* Legalizing murder still working out great.

* What Grantland Got Wrong. When mainstream media is the lunatic fringe.

* How to Use Public-Private Partnerships to Screw the Poor.

* The headline reads, “Pubic Hair Grooming Injuries Have Quintupled.”

* If A then B: How the World Discovered Logic. The golden age of female philosophy.

* Back to the Future fan wants to make sequel accurate by releasing tons of Jaws movies.

* Don’t ever spoil Homeland for Jennifer Lawrence.

* If you eat the yellow pill, you will know all things. If you eat the green pill, you will know nothing but happiness.

* How to win a Best Actress Oscar.

* And never let them say our civilization never accomplished anything.

Saturday Morning Links

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1/2 Links

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tumblr_mypo84vnXR1qz6f9yo1_500* Preach it.

All years are terrible years; the predicament of being human tends towards the negative. We read the news and are left feeling nothing more noble than “only I have escaped to tell thee.” A given year can be pronounced good only in a solipsistic sense.

* This headline seems like it was generated by some dystopian headline generator: Yakuza Gangsters Recruit Homeless Men for Fukushima Nuclear Clean Up.

* And then there’s this one: Climate Change Vastly Worse Than Previously Thought.

If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet’s biggest oil producer and Russia as the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we’ve begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine.

* And then there’s this: Drone Testing Sites Announced In Six States.

“Diversity is something that’s being marketed,” Pippert says. “They’re trying to sell a campus climate, they’re trying to sell a future. Campuses are trying to say, ‘If you come here, you’ll have a good time, and you’ll fit in.’ “

How the Tenured are to the Job Market as White People are to Racism. Waving The White Flag On Tenured Vs. Adjunct.

At the Ivies, It’s Still White at the Top.

History Jobs Down 7.3%.

The drop follows two years of modest gains, but even those gains hadn’t come close to returning to the level of openings before the economic downturn hit in the fall of 2008. This year, the AHA posted 686 jobs, and the pre-recession total was 1,064.

Handed up by an Orange County, N.C., grand jury, the indictment charged Nyang’oro with “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously” accepting payment “with the intent to cheat and defraud” the university in connection with the AFAM course — a virtually unheard-of legal accusation against a professor. It’s simply incomprehensible to me how the alleged behavior could have been accomplished by just one person acting alone.

* The philosopher posited chains and a key.

* Asimov predicts 2014 in 1964 (and 1997 in 1977).

“In 1969 the median salary for a male worker was $35,567 (in 2012 dollars). Today it is $33,904. So for 44 years, while wages for the top 10 percent have continued to climb, most Americans have been caught in a ”Great Stagnation,” bringing into question the whole purpose of the American capitalist economy. The notion that what benefited the establishment would benefit everyone, had been thoroughly discredited.”

Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke.

* 10 Separatist Movements to Watch in 2014.

The 124 states of America: What would the U.S. look like if all of the secession movements in U.S. history had succeeded?

* Spied On from My iPhone: NSA has “backdoor access” to iPhones.

* RIP, James “Uncle Phil” Avery.

* Ernesto: A Quick RPG.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower.

* And now an annual tradition: What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?

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Consider the Following Case

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On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley. There are only two options that the brain can take: the right side of the fork in the track or the left side of the fork. There is no way in sight of derailing or stopping the trolley and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows trolleys. The brain is causally hooked up to the trolley such that the brain can determine the course which the trolley will take.

On the right side of the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If the railman on the right lives, he will go on to kill five men for the sake of killing them, but in doing so will inadvertently save the lives of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning to destroy a bridge that the orphans’ bus will be crossing later that night). One of the orphans that will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant who would make good utilitarian men do bad things… (yes, there’s more)

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm

And a Few Wednesday Links

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Law school in America moves toward an open admissions policy. Where are the accreditors? This is insane.

* Russia really wants everyone to boycott its Olympics.

* Darrell Issa more or less proposes naming all water after Ronald Reagan.

In short: because of what the U.S. government assumed it could do with information it had the technological ability to intercept, American companies and American interests are sure to suffer in their efforts to shape and benefit from the Internet’s continued growth.

In other words, gold pays off when there is an outbreak of goldbug-ism. Gold is a bet that there will be more goldbugs in the future than there are now. And since the “gold will be money again” story is very deep and powerful, based as it is on thousands of years of (no longer applicable) historical experience, it is highly likely that goldbug-ism will break out again someday. So if you’re the gambling type, or if you plan to start the next Zero Hedge, or if your income for some reason goes down when goldbug-ism breaks out, well, go ahead and place a one-way bet on gold.

And the History of Philosophy, from 600 B.C.E. to 1935, Visualized in Two Massive, 44-Foot High Diagrams.

Thursday Night Bummerwatch

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* With all the bad news today, this is the one that really breaks my brain: Texas Says It’s OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won’t Have Sex With You. That’s completely lunatic. I just can’t believe it’s a real event that happened.

* My friend Brent Bellamy has a working bibliography of U.S. post-apocalyptic fiction.

Inequality, MOOCs and The Predator Elite.

Think about the writing-for-free model that has taken over journalism.  His point can be supported by the millions made by Arianna Huffington, while many of her writers worked for little or nothing.  Yes, writing is one of what Lanier is calling the “pleasant” jobs — as is teaching (I didn’t say easy.  But dedicated writers and educators alike see what they do as rewarding and important work.)  Why should journalists or educators be working for little to no money, living at the edge of poverty, while the people at the top of this sort of economic structure are reaping enormous fortune?  According to Lanier, this is a conscious breach of the all-important social contract that not only provides what he calls the “hump” of middle class citizens — that middle area surge on the economic chart where the majority of people fall — but that large, sustained middle class keeps the rest of the system going.  Without it, the economy fails, as does democracy itself.

A Dangerous Supplement: Speculative Realism, Academic Blogging, and the Future of Philosophy.

Silicon Valley’s Awful Race and Gender Problem in 3 Mind-Blowing Charts.

* And MetaFilter goes inside World War Z, a film “already being called the biggest flop in film history.” So at least there’s that.

Thursday Reading™

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screen-capture* It is very hard to accept this — the wealth gap is not a mistake. It is the logical outcome of policy and democratic will. From the streets of Cicero on up, the point was to imprison black people in the black belt and then exploit them. The goal was pursued through public policy, private action, and open terrorism. The goal was accomplished.

* Even college presidents don’t believe in MOOCs.

“An Open Letter to Professor Michael Sandel From the Philosophy Department at San Jose State U.” A writeup at the Chronicle.

Science Fiction in China: A Conversation with Fei Dao.

FD: Chinese sci fi has about a hundred years of history. When it started, in the late Qing dynasty around 1902, it was chiefly concerned with the problem of bringing ancient China into modernity. At that time, Liang Qichao [translated sci fi] because he thought it would be beneficial for China’s future … as something that could popularize scientific knowledge. And Lu Xun thought that if you gave ordinary people scientific literature to read, they would fall asleep. But if you blended scientific knowledge into stories with a plot, it would be more interesting. [He thought that] in this way, the people could become more modern.

Chris Beckett wins Arthur C. Clarke award for Dark Eden. Probably the first book I’ll read once the semester is over, thanks to @shaviro’s great paper on it at ICFA.

* The Pope against capitalism.

* Obama against labor.

* Obama against legal weed dispensaries, despite like a dozen promises not to do this anymore.

* See no evil, hear no evil: Republicans propose abolishing the unemployment rate.

* Previously on The Walking Dead.

* Profit Still Rare, Expenses Still Rising at Athletic Programs.

One Woman’s Crusade Against Revenge Porn.

* Administrators are maniacs: School Conducts Surprise Shooting Drill with Real Gunmen Firing Blanks.

Rumor: Koch Brothers to buy 8 major newspapers, including LA Times.

* And a staggering 44% of Republicans believe armed revolution against the government may soon be necessary.

A Graph That Proves Murray Rothbard Is the Greatest Philosopher I’d Never Heard Of

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The Philosophy Beat

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Speaking of definitive takedowns, Alex Galloway may have just posted one for speculative realism/OOO at An und für sich.

I cite this as a textbook example of the liberal bourgeois position that people from the likes of Zizek to Carl Schmitt have called “depoliticization and neutralization.” It shows Harman’s anti-political position quite clearly. Today we might even call this an anti-badiousian position (although Harman of course has no interest in being badiousian in the first place!). The reason is because he has no opposition to the state of the situation. By his own admission, he only expresses revulsion *after* the confrontation with the state has taken place, after he witnesses the excesses to which the state will go to hold on to power. That’s a classic case of liberal neutralization (“don’t rock the boat,” “we just need to go along to get along,” “this is the best of all possible worlds,” “ontology shouldn’t be political,” etc.). This is thus not a political desire of any kind, merely an affective emotional response at the sight of blood. But such palpitations of the “sensitive” bourgeois heart, no matter how reformed, do not a politics make.

By contrast, Badiou’s position is so useful today because he says that it’s all about the *first* antagonism, not the last. To be political means that you have to *start* from the position of incompatibility with the state. In other words the political is always asymmetrical to the state of the situation. The political is always “trenchant” in this sense, always a “cutting” or polarization. Hence the appeal of Badiou’s “theory of points” which forces all of the equal-footed-objects in OOO into a trenchant decision of the two: yes or no, stop or go, fight or retreat. Hardt and Negri say something similar when they show how “resistance is primary vis-a-vis power.” For his part Harman essentially argues the reverse in this interview: ontology is primary (OOO “is not the handmaid of anything else”), power is secondary (Mubarak), resistance is a tertiary afterthought (the Arab Spring). Yes we should applaud the Spring when it arrives, Harman admits, but it’s still just an afterthought that arrived from who knows where.

If you’re still skeptical just use the old categorial imperative: if everyone in Cairo were clones of Harman, the revolution would never have happened. That’s political neutralization in a nutshell. In other words there is no event for Harman. And here I agree with Mehdi Belhaj Kacem’s recent characterization of Tristan Garcia’s ontology, modeled closely after Harman’s, as essentially a treatise on “Being Without Event.”

Guerres des Étoilles Existentielles

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Goofy video making the rounds: Sartre Wars.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

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