Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’
* The point is truth and beauty, without which our lives will lack grace and meaning and our civilization will be spiritually hollowed out and the historical bottom line will be that future epochs will remember us as a coarse and philistine people who squandered our bottomlessly rich cultural inheritance for short-term and meaningless financial advantage. And that is why you should major in English.
* Wisconsin ranks #1 in the country for our rate of incarcerating African Americans. The state’s incarceration rate is 12.8%, meaning that one in eight black men are currently in state prison. In Milwaukee, the numbers are even more stark. More than half of the black men in Milwaukee have been incarcerated at one point or another, leaving them virtually unemployable as more and more employers run routine background checks. 2/3s of them are in the cities 6 poorest zip codes.
* Remember Black Mountain SOLE, the big MOOC U experiment? No one could have predicted it would turn out to be a complete sham.
* Our research confirms that there is a direct correlation between institutional prestige and candidate placement. If we consider the highest ranked programs, the three tied at #1, we find that Harvard University has successfully placed 239 political scientists at 75 institutions—including twelve at Harvard. Princeton has successfully placed 108 political scientists at 62 institutions—including five at Princeton. Stanford has successfully placed 128 political scientists at 51 institutions—including three at Stanford. The highest ranked public university, The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (ranked number four overall), has successfully placed 141 political scientists in 61 institutions—including seven at Michigan. These four schools contribute 616 political scientists; roughly twenty percent of the total tenure-track lines in the discipline at research-intensive programs. The median institutional ranking for the 116 institutions covered is eleven, which implies that eleven schools contribute 50 percent of the political science academics to research-intensive universities in the United States. Over 100 political science PhD programs are graduating students that will contest the remaining 50 percent of openings. More links below the chart.
* Interactive graphic: median income across the US.
* The bedroom tax was designed not just to reduce the welfare bill, but to make an example of those whose benefits were cut. Britain has a housing shortage and a costly welfare state, due to high unemployment, chronic low wages, and an unresolved global economic crisis for which British banks are partly to blame. The bedroom tax sharpens a structural economic problem into a attack on the poor and sick, who are now to be considered lazy, luxuriating in more space than they need in some of the most crowded cities on earth. It’s not just about the money. It’s about making sure people with disabilities and mental health problems no longer get the basic space to live.
* Across the country, public schools employ about 250,000 fewer people than before the recession, according to figures from the Labor Department. Enrollment in public schools, meanwhile, has increased by more than 800,000 students. To maintain prerecession staffing ratios, public school employment should have actually grown by about 132,000 jobs in the past four years, in addition to replacing those that were lost, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
* Elf advocates are successfully delaying Icelandic road projects due to concerns over the possibility of elf nesting habitats in rural lava fields. Concerns over the “hidden folk” are central to Icelandic culture — according to a 2007 poll, 62 percent of Icelandic residents think it’s at least possible that elves exist.
* More simply, as they say in the article, “the Republican Party has engaged in strategic demobilization efforts in response to changing demographics, shifting electoral fortunes, and an internal rightward ideological drift among the party faithful.” Those demobilization efforts are targeted towards black voters in particular, minority voters in general, as well as the poor, all of whom tend to vote Democratic, while they seek to avoid impacting elderly (white) voters who tend to vote Republican. It’s also worth noting that both the efforts and the research is not limited to voter ID laws, but includes proof of citizenship requirements, registration restrictions, and absentee and early voting restrictions. There is a tendency, even among liberals, to dismiss such efforts as simply a legitimate effort to ensure that people have ids. Leaving aside that this still can be a barrier to exercising a fundamental right, such arguments obviously don’t apply to all these restrictions. While they found a small influence for accusations of “voter fraud” this is dwarfed by these other considerations. Targeting the Right To Vote.
* Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal runs an op-ed just straight out calling for a return to white male rule. Merry Christmas, everyone!
* In the light of such an absolute and irretrievable failure, I think we need to revise the slogan about it being easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. It’s as though we collectively were given a choice of which we would choose, and we chose to end the world. See, you know, also.
* More Wes Andersony than Wes Anderson: Cosmonaut survival kit.
* Crazy story: Princeton weighs whether to offer meningitis vaccines.
* Wheeeeeee: Wisconsin GOP pushes new voting restrictions.
Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: His alcoholism was different, because someday he was going to die.
* Like Reinharz, many other college presidents across the country are negotiating huge exit packages when they step down, which critics say is emblematic of schools’ unrestrained spending on everything from administrative salaries to elaborate new buildings that drive up the cost of higher education.
* MOOCs were supposed to be the device that would bring higher education to the masses. However, the masses at San Jose State don’t appear to be ready for the commodified, impersonal higher education that MOOCs offer without the guidance that living, breathing professors provide to people negotiating its rocky shores for the first time. People need people.
* Game Play Has No Negative Impact on Kids, UK Study Finds. 11,000-kid, decade-long study.
* Well they closed down the video store in Philly last night… Requiem for Blockbuster in the key of Springsteen.
* Laugh and cry in a single sound: San Francisco turns into Gotham City for Batkid.
* And communists seize Seattle! Could Portland be next?
* On September 27, TNI co-sponsored the one-day conference “Said is dead. Long live Said!” at City College that marked a decade since Edward Said’s passing. Collected here are some of the talks, graciously provided by the speakers and organizers.
* “Invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood”: contemplating the sacred mysteries of Amazon.com.
* Mr. Horton was only named CEO on November 29, 2011, the same day AMR Corp. entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. So for a mere sixteen months of toil, the entirety of which have been spent in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the board wants to pay him $20 million.
* Support For Marijuana Legalization Reaches Historic High Of 58 Percent. Since we live in a responsive representative democracy, we’ll obviously see marijuana legalization any day now.
* Were Brutalist Buildings Really Designed to Thwart Student Riots? I’ve been to UWM; you’ll never convince me otherwise.
* The New York Times says it will slowly, laboriously, exhaustively roll out a simple and obvious change to dramatically improve their reporting.
Apple’s email to Molleindustria apparently claimed that four such lines were crossed: two lines related to “charities and contributions,” and two further “crossed lines” that suggested the game had depicted “violence or abuse of children” and “excessively objectionable or crude content.” With a curious bit of irony, the letter from Apple focuses on the very trendy discourse of protecting children from the moral hazards of the Web — a trend also picked up by the current Tory government in the UK, which promotes various protective methods to ensure kids are safe from/in the online world. Indeed, one is tempted to connect such a moral panic discourse to a wider neglect of other types of surely more direct abuse of children, as well as other vulnerable groups of workers worldwide. Protect the kids, if they get online — but not if their labor helps you get online and support the digital economy slightly further away from the actual cognitive work.
* Scenes from the BART strike: two workers killed by management-driven train.
* I think one of the most damaging effects America’s omnipresent racism has on a person’s psyche isn’t the brief pang of hurt that comes from being called a slur, or seeing a picture of Barack Obama portrayed by a chimpanzee. Those things are common and old-fashioned, and when they happen I tend to feel sadder than angry, because I’m seeing someone who engages with the world like a wall instead of a human being. Rather, I think what’s far more corrosive and insidious, the thing that lingers in the back of my mind the most, is the framework of plausible deniability built up around racism, and how insane that plausible deniability can make a person feel when wielded. How unsure of oneself. How worried that you might be overreacting, oversensitive, irrational.
* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.
* In retrospect, even though I have no reason to doubt Yanomamo ferocity, at least under certain circumstances, I seriously question the penchant of observers (scientific and lay alike) to generalize from small samples of our unquestionably diverse species, especially about something as complex as war. On just-so stories and evolutionary explanations of history.
* The ne plus ultra of Americans’ irrational free speech absolutism: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse.
* At the rate things are going, tens of millions of us could end up as temps, contract employees, call-center operators, and the like: The Task Rabbit Economy.
* Moral panics we can believe in: Salsa Overtakes Ketchup as Most Popular Condiment. I don’t think this is even the first time this happened.
* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?
* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!
* The absolute craziest thing I’ve ever seen: Berkeley Researchers Turn Brain Waves Into YouTube Videos.
* Paul Campos: “The law’s absurd formalism was part of its strength as ideology.” Precisely. This insight applies to many more aspects of the legal system than the revolting spectacle of our contemporary system of capital punishment, which in a case such as Davis’s — which is not in this respect was not unusual — psychologically tortures the defendant, the defendant’s family, the victim’s family, and others connected to the case for literally decades before producing what the system then has the temerity to call “justice.” (The climax of this spectacle last night involved Davis being strapped to a gurney with a needle in his arm for nearly four hours, waiting for various legal personages to respond to the question of whether, all things considered, it was finally time to stop his heart with state-administered poison).
That we tolerate this kind of thing so readily helps explain, in its own way, why it sometimes seems impossible to do much of anything about the absurdities and dysfunctions of the system of legal education that legitimates it in the first instance. Or perhaps it’s the other way around: perhaps we tolerate the absurdity of something like the 22-year “process” that resulted in the horror of Davis’s final hours because we ‘re socialized from the beginning of our careers in this system to accept all kinds of absurdity and injustice as natural, inevitable, and therefore legitimate.
Reading this I was reminded of Duncan Kennedy’s excellent article “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy,” which Corinne linked the other day on Twitter.
* Ground Zero Mosque opens without controversy. It’s almost as if the objections to this were complete bullshit.
* I’m steadfastly not paying attention to the GOP primary, but this is pretty astounding, even by Republican standards.
* How long—how long must we sing this song? Forty years, give or take.
* Speaking at a Climate Week NYC event hosted by the Maldives, the TckTckTck campaign, and the U.N., Greenpeace International President Kumi Naidoo argued that the path to a sustainable future will involve peaceful, popular civil disobedience. “The struggle for climate justice is not a popularity contest,” he argued. He said the lesson of the Arab Spring, and the history of struggles from suffrage to civil rights to the end of apartheid, is that change only comes when decent men and women are willing to risk their lives and go to jail in peaceful protest.
* And Chris Ware on your iPad. Have a good weekend.
* Lots of talk today about Arizona and its new “papers, please” immigration law, which James Doty, Andrew Napolitano, Erwin Chemerinsky and Karl Manheim all agree is almost certainly unconstitutional. Even Tom Tancredo and Joe Scarborough thinks this goes too far—though douchebag of liberty Bill Kristol thinks it’s fine. The city of San Francisco will join a national boycott. Perhaps Major League Baseball will too. There’s more commentary on this from Eugene Robinson, Rachel Maddow, Seth Meyer, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.
* Colbert’s segment on Sue Lowden’s chickens-for-medical-care scheme was pretty great too.
* Alas, poor Durham: not one of America’s highest cities.
* You can stop laughing, lawyers—now your degree is worthless too.
* There’s rioting in Oakland following the shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police last week.
* Sean P. Murphy at Inside Higher Ed says teaching at a community college isn’t as bad as it is sometimes made out to be.
* At right, via grinding.be, your image of the day.
* A person’s Erdős–Bacon number is the sum of one’s Erdős number—which measures the “collaborative distance” in authoring mathematical papers between that individual and Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős—and one’s Bacon number—which represents the number of links, through roles in films, by which the individual is separated from American actor Kevin Bacon. The lower the number, the closer an individual is to Erdős and Bacon.
* And just for kicks: Scrabulous is back.
Slouching towards Ecotopia: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has proposed fines of up to $1000 for failure to properly sort one’s trash.
The proposal, which city officials said the mayor could bring to the Board of Supervisors in about a month, calls for every residence and business in the city to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash.
Food vendors would have to supply them for customers. Managers of multifamily or commercial properties would be required to provide them for tenants or employees.
Trash collectors would be required to check the bins for proper sorting, which Blumenfeld said would require only a cursory visual inspection, not combing through the contents.
If they found a bin with the wrong material in it, collectors would leave a tag on the container identifying the problem. A second time would result in another tag and a written notice to the service subscriber.
On a third offense, the collector could refuse to empty the container, although this would not apply to multifamily properties like apartment buildings or to commercial properties with multiple tenants and joint collection.
The city could also levy a fine of up to $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second in one year and $1,000 for the third in a year.
The New York Times has an article on the under-recognized (even by many prevention experts) impulse component to suicide, already well-known to everyone who’s read the fascinating New Yorker article on Golden Gate Bridge jumpers I link to every time this issue comes up. The problem, in a nutshell, is this:
But part of this sense of futility may stem from a peculiar element of myopia in the way we as a society have traditionally viewed and attempted to combat suicide. Just as with homicide, researchers have long recognized a premeditation-versus-passion dichotomy in suicide. There are those who display the classic symptoms of so-called suicidal behavior, who build up to their act over time or who choose methods that require careful planning. And then there are those whose act appears born of an immediate crisis, with little or no forethought involved. Just as with homicide, those in the “passion” category of suicide are much more likely to turn to whatever means are immediately available, those that are easy and quick.
Yet even mental-health experts have tended to regard these very different types of suicide in much the same way. I was struck by this upon meeting with two doctors who are among the most often-cited experts on suicide — and specifically on suicide by jumping. Both readily acknowledged the high degree of impulsivity associated with that method, but also considered that impulsivity as simply another symptom of mental illness. “Of all the hundreds of jumping suicides I’ve looked at,” one told me, “I’ve yet to come across a case where a mentally healthy person was walking across a bridge one day and just went over the side. It just doesn’t happen. There’s almost always the presence of mental illness somewhere.” It seemed to me there was an element of circular logic here: that the act proved the intent that proved the illness.
New analysis: New analysis: California in for a devastating quake within 30 years. More here. I still want to move there anyway.
I put up some photos from our trip to San Francisco at Flickr. I got a little bit obsessive about taking pictures of signs, and after seeing the (excellent) Lee Friedlander exhibit at SFMOMA I got a little bit obsessed with taking Friedlanderesque pictures as well. (The Annie Liebowitz show at the Legion of Honor is also incredible, if you happen to pass through SF in the near future.)
From about the moment we landed I was in love with the town, and now I feel as though I’ll never be allowed to live in a place so awesome. (San Franciscans are my people.)
One of my favorite Friedlander shots:
And one of the more striking Liebowitz shots:
That one’s called “Fallen bicycle of teenage boy just killed by a sniper, 1994.” That’s sort of a down note to end a post about such a great trip on, so here are a few pictures that are little more fun, starting with Alcatraz.
Ah, that’s better.