Posts Tagged ‘places to invade next’
In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
* I asked William Pannapacker how to responsibly advise students who want to go to graduate school in the humanities. He said you can’t.
* UNC’s New Grading System Could Show What That ‘A’ Is Really Worth. Tentatively, this seems like a good improvement on the existing system, though I’m not in love with the administration’s “now we can finally catch unscrupulous faculty!” line.
* Supposedly we’re supposed to be outraged by Snowden not infiltrating the Putin government and leaking details about his massive surveillance state apparatus. Or something. I can’t make heads or tails of it to be honest.
* After comparing the average achievement of children whose parents regularly engage in each form of parental involvement to that of their counterparts whose parents do not, we found that most forms of parental involvement yielded no benefit to children’s test scores or grades, regardless of racial or ethnic background or socioeconomic standing. The zero point of most liberal (as opposed to leftist) interventions in poverty is that “merit” broadly defined is structured (a little) by genetic lottery and (a lot) by class position, which means that strategies for equality that are filtered through education and achievement will always just wind up replicating existing structures of power and existing privileges rather than disrupting them. I don’t see any answer for this problem beyond deliberate redistribution of wealth.
* The Nation reviews The Years of Living Dangerously.
In the moments that follow, both the Doctor and his companion ask River why she didn’t just say her wrist was broken, and she explains – in this horrible, horrible moment – that the Doctor must be protected from knowing how much it hurts people to be around him; that humans must hide their weakness from him so that he will not feel upset.
* Monsters walk among us: People who think they’re attractive tend to be more comfortable with economic inequality.
* They have come to the conclusion that God, / Requiring a heaven and a hell, didn’t need to / Plan two establishments: ‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer Accused of Sexually Assaulting Underage Boy. More details on the case at Boing Boing.
* I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.
* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards grandfather clauses that allow obscenities to continue for decades after they are banned.
* The New York Times profiles the great Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black.
* We are ruled by fools: The amount of airtime granted to climate change on both the Sunday shows and the nightly news was up, too — to a total of 27 minutes, and an hour and 42 minutes, respectively, for the entire year.
* So long and thanks for all the fish: Freedom Industries has declared bankruptcy.
* Remember that most of the “steps” any insurance company or pharmacy makes you go through are pretty much nothing but hoops, in the purest sense of the word. These are obstacles being placed in your path in hopes that you will become discouraged and give up—and they won’t have to pay for your medication or treatment. Show them that you are not going away.
* The headline reads, “Six Years After Chemical Ban, Fewer Female Snails Are Growing Penises.”
* BREAKING MUST CREDIT CANAVAN’S RAZOR: The point of the STEM push is to lower STEM wages, not help people get jobs that don’t exist.
* BREAKING: Comedians are
psychopaths psychotics. See comments.
* Wisconsin may eliminate ban on 7-day work weeks. Workers will be allowed to “volunteer” for extra work.
From the great Teju Cole: 9 questions about Britain you were too embarrassed to ask.
Q. What is Britain?
A. Britain is a country in Europe. Its people are called the Britons. Elizabeth II is the Queen of the Britons.—
Teju Cole (@tejucole) September 03, 2013
Q. Why are the Britons selling nerve gas chemicals to Syria?
A. Money, innit.—
Teju Cole (@tejucole) September 03, 2013
…the truth is that whether we’re talking about a Republican administration filled with eager armchair warriors or a Democrat administration filled with peaceniks, every American president eventually scrambles the jets and orders the bomb bays loaded. Oh, so many peaceniks in the Obama administration! Almost too many maybe.
* Any guild with half an ounce of integrity would be marching in the streets if their employers made that kind of threat to open up their market to all comers. We professors, on the other hand, have to navel gaze about the implications of our own obsolescence before anyone chooses to lift a finger. If there really are only ten universities in twenty years and that Ph.D. of yours ends up as a really expensive wall hanging, don’t say you weren’t warned. The professoriate is the worst guild ever.
* As with discourse about climate change policy, the persistence of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other forms of argument about the value of officially sanctioned torture represents a victory for those who would justify such abuse. Zero Dark Thirty has performed no public service by enlarging the acceptability of that form of debate. Sounds like it was good enough even-the-liberal Jon Stewart.
* After complaining for weeks that the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” erroneously implies that torture yielded key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a trio of senior senators now want to know whether CIA personnel deliberately misled the filmmakers on that point.
* Wanted: Tenure-track professor of political science specializing in constitutional law to teach four courses per semester. Juris doctor degree highly desirable. Occasional weight-lifting required.
* Via my friend @DanHF: a celebration of Tarantino’s Death Proof.
* And who had Mali in the places-to-invade-next pool? You’ve won some exciting violence.
* The Obama administration apparently approached Arnold Schwarzenegger about a cabinet position in 2011. The article’s explanation of the thinking makes this only slightly less ridiculous.
* ‘There was a tornado of fire swept over the farming district’: The October 8, 1871 Peshtigo Fire in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, was a firestorm which caused the most deaths by fire in United States history, killing as many as 1,500.
* And Grenada is (so far) your per-capita Olympic winner. Congratulations!
But never mind the logistics. If we live long enough as a species, we might overcome them, or at least some of them: energy from fusion (which always seems to be about 50 years away) and so forth. Think about what life in a space colony would be like: a hermetically sealed, climate-controlled little nothing of a place. Refrigerated air, synthetic materials, and no exit. It would be like living in an airport. An airport in Antarctica. Forever. When I hear someone talking about space colonies, I think, that’s a person who has never studied the humanities. That’s a person who has never stopped to think about what it feels like to go through an average day—what life is about, what makes it worth living, what makes it endurable. A person blessed with a technological imagination and the absence of any other kind.
And yet: Mars!
* 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!