Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

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Wednesday Links!

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* Today at Marquette! Dr. Robin Reid, “Conflicting Audience Receptions of Tauriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

* Tomorrow at Marquette! The English Department pop culture group geeks out over The Hunger Games.

* Solving prostitution the Swedish way.

“In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 13: Engagement.

The point of engagement in this sense is not to involve the public in making decisions, but make them feel involved in decisions that others will make. That this may be done with the best of intentions is important, of course, but ultimately besides the point. Like “stakeholder,” “engagement” thrives in a moment of political alienation and offers a vocabulary of collaboration in response. So if civic engagement is in decline, one thing that is not is the ritualistic performance of civic participation. The annual election-cycle ritual in American politics is a case in point here. In one populist breath, we routinely condemn the corruption of politicians who, it is said, never listen to the average voter. And in the next, we harangue the average voter for failing to participate in a process we routinely describe as corrupted. So it’s not the “apathy” or “disengagement” of the public that we should lament or criticize—it’s the institutions that give them so many reasons to be disengaged in the first place.

* A Few Questions About the Culture: An Interview with Iain Banks.

JR: In the past you have said that you are a short-term pessimist and a long-term optimist. Could you expand on this a bit: why are you pessimistic about the short term? What changes do you anticipate taking place between the near and far futures that change your pessimism to optimism?

IB: On a personal level, it’s damage limitation; a sanity-keeping measure. Expect the worst and anything even only half-decent seems like something to celebrate. The pessimism comes from a feeling that as a species we seem unable to pass up any opportunity to behave stupidly, self-harmfully (the Copenhagen climate talks being but the latest example). The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we’ve got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren’t terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we’ll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.

* “Gamechanging” climate deal that seems radically insufficient to the scale of the crisis. What could go wrong?

* Think Progress has a good rundown on King v. Burwell, the case that could kill Obamacare. Eight Reasons to Stop Freaking Out About the Supreme Court’s Next Obamacare Case.

* The growth of auxiliary activities was the primary driver in spending increases by the schools, the report concludes. From 2005 to 2012, $3.4 billion was spent on instructional and research facilities. The cost for nonacademic auxiliary facilities was $3.5 billion from 2002 to 2012. Limit athletic fees, check construction to control college costs, study says.

* The State Funding Sleight-Of-Hand: Some Thoughts on UC’s Proposed Tuition Hike.

* The Vitae Adjunct Retirement Survey.

* ProQuest says it won’t sell dissertations through Amazon anymore.

* Why Wall Street Loves Hillary

* It’s a start: Massachusetts Town Proposes First Complete Ban On All Tobacco.

* Inside America’s inept nuclear corps.

* The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is under attack by critics who say academe is colluding with the mainstream media to push a feminist agenda in video games. How deep does this conspiracy go?

When we think about the collapse of communism, we should emphasize and celebrate the attractiveness of a social market economy — not free enterprise.

Can You Gentrify America’s Poorest, Most Dangerous City?

Today, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced through the New York Times that it may stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession, opting instead to issue tickets without detaining the suspect. This would feel like an important step toward reasonable weed policy if New York state hadn’t already mandated it 37 years ago.

The seminars offered police officers some useful tips on seizing property from suspected criminals. Don’t bother with jewelry (too hard to dispose of) and computers (“everybody’s got one already”), the experts counseled. Do go after flat screen TVs, cash and cars. Especially nice cars. Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize.

* One in every 8 arrests was for a drug offense last year.

* Milwaukee Public Museum’s Sci-Fi Film Fest gathers large audience.

Running a school on $160 a year.

* Is Pre-K academically rigorous enough? That’s a real question this real article is asking.

Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry.

Grace Dunham is now an adult and she read this book before it was published. She is managing her sister’s book tour and they are best friends. Are we really going to overlook this?

* Also on the subject of Lena Dunham: this is an extremely clickbaity headline, but the testimony from a juvenile sex offender is fascinating and horrible.

* Sorry I Murdered Everyone, But I’m An Introvert.

* “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes.”

In America, today’s parents have inherited expectations they can no longer afford. The vigilant standards of the helicopter parents from the baby boomer generation have become defined as mainstream practice, but they require money that the average household earning $53,891 per year— and struggling to survive in an economy in its seventh year of illusory “recovery”— does not have. The result is a fearful society in which poorer parents are cast as threats to their own children.

Although it looks like a traditional typeface, Dyslexie by Christian Boer is designed specifically for people with dyslexia.

Scientists Have Finally Found The First Real Reason We Need To Sleep.

* Wes Anderson might be making another movie with puppets.

In its gentle sadness, its deceptively light tone, and its inherent contradictions, this is the perfect ending to The Next Generation.  One of these days, the crew will be dispersed.  The Enterprise will be put in mothballs.  Starfleet will complete its transformation into a body that none of them particularly want to serve in.  But for now, their voyages continue.

* Peak Prequel: Sony Rumored to Be Prepping Aunt May Spider-Man Spin-Off Movie.

* And the best news ever: HBO Will Make Asimov’s Foundation With Interstellar‘s Jonathan Nolan. I may lose my mind over this show. I may even do a podcast. And a lot of what went wrong with Interstellar wasn’t even Jonathan Nolan’s fault!

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Weekend Links!

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Marquette University invites applications for the Arnold L. Mitchem Dissertation Fellowship Program. Mitchem Fellowships seek to help increase the presence of currently underrepresented racial and cultural groups in the U.S. professoriate by supporting advanced doctoral candidates during completion of the dissertation. The fellowships provide one year of support for doctoral candidates who are well into the writing stage of their dissertation work, are U.S. citizens, and are currently enrolled in U.S. universities. In addition to library, office and clerical support privileges, Mitchem Fellows receive a $35,000 stipend plus fringe benefits, research and travel monies for the 2015-16 academic year. The teaching load is 1-0.

* UC-Riverside Call for Postdoctoral Fellow: “Alternative Futurisms.”

* NEH watch: Save the Overseas Seminars.

* When Harvard is one of the worst colleges in America: colleges ranked by social mobility index. Marquette doesn’t come out looking all that great by this standard either, though it does beat both Duke and Case Western by a good bit. (Greensboro, oddly, seems not to have been ranked at all.)

* If I can’t dance: U.C. Berkeley set to pull plug on anarchist’s archive.

* Student loan borrowers are not getting enough help avoiding default, according to a report released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Meanwhile, the Nation reports: Should You Go to College?

* Against Carceral Feminism. I agree with @DavidKaib that “carceral liberalism” is the more important frame here; there’s no reason to single out feminism when so much of liberalism across the board is carceral in its orientation.

* Then the drought ate all the sportsball.

* Youth Are on the Frontlines in Ferguson, and They Refuse to Back Down.

* The Adjunct Crisis Is Everyone’s Problem.

* A people’s history of Gamergate. The Routine Harassment of Women in Male Dominated Spaces. Brianna Wu: It Happened to Me. ‘We Have a Problem and We’re Going to Fix This.’

4 Reasons Why A Travel Ban Won’t Solve The Ebola Crisis. Why travel bans will only make the Ebola epidemic worse. Why An Ebola Flight Ban Wouldn’t Work. And yet I would guess one is only a few days off.

* Peak Meritocracy: Andrew Cuomo thinks being the son of a former governor has been a “net negative” for his political career. If only we could somehow harness the radical cluelessness of these people and use it for productive ends.

* Two reports on outcomes for humanities majors could serve to reinforce two disparate beliefs about the field: one where they are seen as a viable path to a successful career, and another where they are seen as a track to a low income and few job prospects. The gender gap is vitally important here.

* Italy Just Pulled Out of Recession Because It Began Counting Drug and Prostitution Revenue.

* John Grisham, completely full of shit.

* Report: Airbnb Is Illegal, Rapacious, & Swallowing Lower Manhattan.

* Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa.

* Podcast interview with out-of-character Stephen Colbert, as he transitions towards taking over The Late Show.

* Another great Superman deconstruction from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

* Paradise is always just five years off: 3D printed mud houses will soon be an option in impoverished countries.

* John Siracusa reviews OS Yosemite.

White House Seeks Advice On “Bootstrapping A Solar System Civilization.”

* And what has been seen cannot be unseen: Spider Burrows Into Dylan Thomas’s Appendix Scar & Up Into His Sternum.

Saturday Morning Links!

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* In case you missed it: I had a mini-reading of Snowpiercer yesterday, focusing on liberal guilt.

* Chicago’s Harold Washington College refused to hire a 66-year-old woman full-time because of her age, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I’m stunned people aren’t talking more about this; irrespective of the merits, this has the potential to completely upend academic labor practices if EEOC wins. What long-term adjunct couldn’t present a similarly compelling case of being “passed over” for a younger, less experienced candidate?

* Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots.

The Historic Proof Obamacare Foes Are Dead Wrong On Subsidies. Well, they’re sure to abandon this specious line of malicious bullshit now!

* 5 media mistakes in the Halbig debate.

Capitalism and Slavery: An Interview with Greg Grandin.

California Is Now Experiencing Its Most Severe Drought Ever Recorded.

* Democracy Now tackles the question of whether the Iron Dome is real.

* For 17 years, James Doyle was a nuclear policy specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he wrote an article that made the case for getting rid of nuclear weapons. After that, his computer was seized, he was accused of releasing classified information, and then he was fired. What happened?

* The so-called “Swedish model” banning the purchase but not the sale of sex is catching on in Europe. But does it work? And for whom?

A Brief History of Shakespeare Criticism.

* The Woman Behind Guardians of the Galaxy, on Writing an Unexpected Blockbuster.

There’s An Idea For A Galaxy Quest Sequel. Sold!

* And Happy 50th Birthday, Adam Duritz.

Happening Now: Thursday Links!

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* CFP: Resistance and Dissent in America.

* Another piece on Octavia Butler’s Unexpected Stories at LARoB: Noah Berlatsky on Octavia Butler’s “Unexpected Stories” and Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.”

Like a delinquent sibling, Mars is all we’ve got.

* An oral history of Galaxy Quest.

* Comedians in Cars Getting Cocaine.

* Rutgers Athletics: Robbing Academics to Fund Big Sports.  Libraries Receive Shrinking Share of University Expenditures. Historically Black Colleges and Universities Face Uncertain Future. Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty.

The Tech Utopia Nobody Wants. The Banality of Dystopia. Soak the Rich: An exchange on capital, debt, and the future. Ancient Apocalypse films use the past to project a reactionary present into the future.

* ThinkProgress on the latest bad-faith nonsense ruling against Obamacare. Don’t worry, the ruling against heath care subsidies is going to be reversed. What the D.C. Circuit Got Wrong About Obamacare.

* BREAKING: Pay It Forward Plans Make Everything Worse.

* BREAKING: The death penalty is an obscene horror show.

Mass incarceration, perhaps the greatest social crisis in modern American history, is without parallel on a global scale.

* The way we live now: One out of every 21 New Yorkers is a millionaire.

* We turned the border into a war zone. Arizona’s Checkpoint Rebellion.

* Change we can believe in: The World Health Organization Wants to Legalize Sex Work and Drugs.

Three Out of Four Newark Police Stops Are Unconstitutional. Prosecutors Are Reading Emails From Inmates to Lawyers.

* Emotional labor and the third machine age.

* Water is a human right, but who is considered a human being?

* What could possibly go wrong? DARPA Wants Wants to Fund Research into “Predatory” Bacteria.

* Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: Women And People Of Color Get Punished For Hiring To Increase Diversity, White Men Get Rewarded.

The Borowitz Problem.

* They say time is the fire in which we burn: The Queen aging over time on bank-notes.

* The time the United States blew up a passenger plane—and tried to cover it up.

* ‘I withdraw’: A talk with climate defeatist Paul Kingsnorth. And it’s not all downside: Climate Change Could Threaten The Future Of Hockey.

* Fracking comes to Durham.

* Wrapping up all the loose ends: Aliens Will Go To Hell So Let’s Stop Looking For Them.

* And someone in Congress edited the ‘Lizard People’ Wikipedia article. I knew. I always knew.

Thursday Links!

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* Working Mom Arrested for Letting Her 9-Year-Old Play Alone at Park. Dad Charged With Child Endangerment After Son Skips Church To Go Play. This Widow’s 4 Kids Were Taken After She Left Them Home Alone. The 90s weren’t THAT long ago, people.

* Afrofuturism, Science Fiction, and the History of the Future.

* The NEH lives! The U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday reversed a Republican proposal to cut funding to the National Endowment for the Humanities by more than 5 percent in the coming fiscal year.

* The Darker Side of University Endowments.

* Towards the slow university.

* What Happened at City College of San Francisco?

* University of Miami: Let the planet eat Walmarts.

“An unfinished degree barely increases your earnings while costing money and time,” economist Allison Schrager found in a review of the 2013 Current Population Survey. “Dropping out of college,” she said, is “the biggest risk of going to college.”

* The new American exceptionalism: An imperial state unable to impose its will.

* How many people alive today have ever lived part of their conscious lives in a United States of America at peace with the rest of the world? Would someone even older than I am have any meaningful memory of what such a state of peace was like? How many Americans are even capable of imagining such a state? I can remember only two periods, bracketing World War II, when I believed I lived in a nation at peace. And even these were arguably just childish illusions.

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, could challenge Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this fall. Lewis is reportedly looking into an exploratory committee and plans to put a campaign staffer in each of the city’s 77 community areas. A poll has Lewis leading the mayor, 45 percent to 36 percent, with 18 percent of voters undecided. The Democratic Party education wars continue to heat up. The Coming Democratic Schism.

* Sweden’s School Choice Disaster.

* Meanwhile: How long can the GOP last as the cranky oldster party?

* More Americans are aging in place. Can towns and cities adapt?

Why I’m Not a Liberal.

* As Google’s top hacker, Parisa Tabriz thinks like a criminal—and manages the brilliant, wonky guys on her team with the courage and calm of a hostage negotiator.

No, LeBron James Won’t Bring $500 Million A Year To Cleveland’s Economy.

* How To Talk To Babies About Marxist Theory.

* Pulitzer prize-winner, immigrant advocate detained at McAllen airport.

* Rhode Island accidentally decriminalized prostitution, and good things happened.

* Market Research Says 46.67% of Comic Fans are Female. That’s amazing given how misogynistic so much of the product is. Maybe scratch and sniff comics can drive just a few more away.

* Marvel trolls freaked-out white dudes, day two.

Bsh-pwDIcAEdpST* Firefly: The New Lame Drawing.

* The curious grammar of police shootings.

Federal judge rules California death penalty is unconstitutional.

* Bananalands, transparently doomed proposal to split California into six states can’t even be bothered to come up with names for most of them.

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is taking Activision to court over his depiction in Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

* One Hundred Years of the Refrigerator.

* Fixing peer review: 1, 2.

* Will the Supreme Court buy an argument that a corporation holds a sincere religious opposition to unionization? Is PopeCo Catholic?

* Voxsplaining we can believe in: Why the Myers-Briggs test is totally meaningless.

* Then they blew it.

* Original Slip ‘N Slide patent, 1961. Even the kids in the photo have broken bones.

Could We Drink The Water On Mars?

* Swedish man and his prolific bot are responsible for 8.5% of all Wikipedia articles.

A Woman Meets 30 Alternate Versions Of Herself. And They’re All Better. Trailer for indie SF flick You, Me & Her, which looks great.

* And a YouTube quality 12 Monkeys reboot is really going to air on SyFy for some reason. Ripping off Continuum for good measure…

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Tuesday Morning Links

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* From the archives: The university is no longer primarily a site of production (of a national labor force or national culture) as it was in the 1970s and 80s, but has become primarily a site of capital investment and accumulation. The historical process through which this transformation was implemented is long and complicated, and we cannot give a detailed account of it here. Instead, we want to describe the general shape of this new model and the consequences it might have for political action in a university setting. We take as paradigmatic the case of the University of Michigan, where this model has been worked out in its most developed form and from which it is spreading across the United States, as university administrators across the country look to and emulate what they glowingly call the “Michigan model.” In this new university, instruction is secondary to ensuring the free flow of capital. Bodies in classrooms are important only to the extent that money continues to flow through the system. It is a university that in a global sense has ceased to be a university—its primary purpose is no longer education but circulation. This is the new logic of the university. If we want to fight it, we have to understand it.

Merit, Diversity and Grad Admissions.

* Big Data and Graduation Rates.

* Teaching the controversy in California, Holocaust edition.

* Another absolutely botched college investigation of a sexual assault.

* Violent Abuse of the Mentally Ill Is Routine, Widespread at Rikers Island.

* Bullshitting about Gaza.

* Malcolm Harris on redheads and playacting racist.

* Why it’s time we talked about the sex lives of humanitarians.

* Shouting About Diving, but Shrugging About Concussions. How to stop FIFA from being such a parasite. Could the World Cup Champion Beat the Best Club Team in the World? Stadiums and/as prisons. Another World Cup Is Possible.

* That’s… ominous. Parts of Yellowstone National Park closed after massive supervolcano beneath it melts roads.

* Buzzfeed has a longread about the behavior of a long-term predator in an elite California private school.

* Meanwhile, Pope Francis’s back-of-the-envelope calculation of the number of predators in the clergy is utterly horrifying.

* Demolition unearths legacy of toxic pollution at Milwaukee plant.

* Is Milwaukee the No. 1 city for tech? Not so fast.

* The July effect is real: new doctors really do make hospitals more dangerous.

* Joss Whedon has written more Buffy the Vampire Slayer. True fact!

Behind-The-Scenes Footage Of Buffy Stunts Is the Ultimate Time Suck.

On the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons.

* Against natural gas as a “transition fuel.”

* If you pretend precedent is meaningful and the rule of law is an operative concept in America, and squint real hard, here’s a way Hobby Lobby could be good news for liberals.

There is, Steve estimates, room enough on the ark for 23 people to live comfortably. And Australians are welcome. Singles, couples, families, believers. All that’s required is a $300 one way ticket from Brisbane to Luganville and a commitment that means forever.

* A bit on the nose, don’t you think? Two Fruitland Park, Fla. cops have lost their jobs after an FBI source named the two as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

* Uber and rape: Seattle Police Clear Uber Driver of Rape Charge, But Not Sexual Assault.

* When Park Middle School cheated on a high-stakes test.

* The goal of ethics is to maximize human flourishing.

* And the new Doctor Who trailer fills me with a little bit of sadness: I was really hoping the Capaldi era would be more swashbuckling than brooding. I guess I’m looking forward to Moffat moving on.

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Sunday Reading at 10,000 Feet

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* Someone put Istvan Csicsery-Ronay’s keynote from ICFA this weekend on YouTube. The “Empire” ad Istvan plays from Computer Associates is amazing.

* Highest-ranking administrator at Marquette abruptly resigns.

* No! No! I won’t believe it! It’s impossible! Bottom line shows humanities really do make money.

* The other college debt. Revenue at Any Cost: Institutional Debt and the Crisis of U.S. Higher Education. And from the archives: “The University and the Undercommons: Seven Theses.”

* The first issue of Porn Studies is available online.

* Re-Imagining the Place and Time of Communism Today: Between Hardt’s “New Love” and Jameson’s “Citizen Army.”

* Kim Stanley Robinson will be in Madison the first week in April for “Imagining Possible Worlds.”

* Hobbit hole playlet, a steal at a mere $3000.

* Marching on: marriage equality in Michigan.

* Police officers in Hawaii are lobbying lawmakers not to repeal a statute that allows them to …. wait for it … have sex with prostitutes during the course of legitimate investigations. Repeating my joke from Twitter, “legitimate” in that sentence is working so far it should be allowed to have sex with prostitutes while on duty…

* Race, cash, and the drug war in Florida.

* Black Preschoolers Face An Epidemic Of Suspensions.

* Autopsy shows Texas cop fired fatal shot from close range into sarcastic student’s back. The officer is currently on administrative leave.

* It should be no surprise that when law enforcement agencies investigate themselves, they find no wrongdoing—especially since a study of the FBI’s internal investigations found that they cleared themselves of wrongdoing in 150 out of 150 fatal shootings. With that track record, the public can’t be confident in the integrity of an investigation with this predictable outcome.

* Duke Energy Caught Intentionally Dumping 61 Million Gallons Of Coal Waste Into North Carolina Water.

* The comforts of dystopia.

* HBO In Talks with Lisa Kudrow to Bring ‘The Comeback’ Back for Season Two. I want to see that.

* I’m addicted to my job.

* CNN, still the absolute worst of all time.

* Ideology at its purest? Why not just believe the things bisexuals say about themselves?

* The Town That Turned Poverty Into a Prison Sentence.

* My dementia.

* “Plot idea: 97% of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.”

* And killjoy scientists strike again.

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