Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Skynet

Exactly 100% of the Sunday Links

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Hundreds of children have been killed by American drones. These were some of their names, written down and erased.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike. Give Skynet a Chance. Forever War Turns Its Hungry Gaze to Africa.

The Counterreformation in Higher Education.

* Another review of Ebony & Ivy, on the connection between slavery and the university. Study faults UCLA’s handling of faculty’s racial bias complaints.

* 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.

* The story of Phone Story.

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.

The Insidious Power of Not-Quite-Harassment.

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners And Modern Management.

A Field Guide to the North American Responsibility Troll.

LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers.

* Breathing ruled more dangerous than passive smoking, with risk highest in places like China.

Cheney Had Heart Device Disabled To Prevent Terrorists From Sending Fatal Shock.

* A brief history of the Washington Racial Slurs.

* Masculinity, patriarchy, violence.

Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids. Female DUI Suspects in Washington Were Made to Strip for Their Jailers.

* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.

* Why Teachers Quit.

* 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 1979 conclusion by the House Select Committee on Assassinations is wrong,” Sabato said.

* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?

* Two Rich People Hate Health Care for the Normals, Won’t Ever Drop It.

* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!

Some Sunday Reading

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A warning to college profs from a high school teacher.

* The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools.

Pulp Science Fiction in Spain, Before And During Totalitarianism.

* Sweating Obama Admits Drone Strikes Have Been Happening On Their Own.

* On “So-Called Americans.”

* SF Gate review of Kill Anything That Moves The Real American War in Vietnam.

The problem, as described in Turse’s “Kill Anything That Moves,” is the tension between the “bad apples” argument – which sees atrocities in Vietnam as the exception – and the reality of the broader, official “American way of war.” Turse came to understand the latter after he stumbled onto documents of the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group. The military created the group after the My Lai massacre to avoid again being caught flat-footed.

The point, Turse found, was not to prevent war crimes but to contain the damage and stay, as the euphemism might go today, ahead of the PR problem. Finding the cache of internal documents, Turse halted his academic thesis work, and lit out in his car to spend the next several days photocopying these documents. He rounded this out with interviews with more than 100 veterans, alongside those of eyewitnesses and survivors of American atrocities in Vietnam. His verdict – more than a decade later – is damning and masterful.

* In the new New RepublicOriginal Sin: Why the GOP is and will continue to be the party of white people.

* There is no intrinsic value in the prescribed motion. But this needn’t necessarily make up weep.

* It’s One Of The Craziest Internet Rumors About Guns. And As It Turns Out, It’s True.

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Big Monday Links

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(some links stolen from the great zunguzungu)

* It’s bad enough that I’ll never be asked to reboot Back to the Future—but it’d be utterly intolerable if the gig goes to two guys I went to high school with. Jon says it’s all a big misunderstanding but you know he’s just trying to throw me off the scent.

* There is no fresh start: The Return of Mad Men and the End of TV’s Golden Age. A metafictional reading of the series. And for fun: The Foreign Language of Mad Men: Do the characters really talk like people from the ’60s?

Let us start with the obvious: in the entire decade or so of airport security since the attacks on America on September 11th 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not foiled a single terrorist plot or caught a single terrorist.

* Arundhati Roy: “Capitalism: A Ghost Story.”

* In his novel “2066: Red Star Over America,” Han, China’s premier science-fiction writer, depicts a disturbing future. It is the year 2066. China rules the world while the U.S. festers in financial decline and civil war. A team has been sent to America to disseminate civilization through the traditional Chinese board game Go. But during the critical Go match held at the World Trade Center, terrorists strike. The seas around New York rise, the Twin Towers crumble and the U.S. is plunged into pandemonium. You had me at “Go.” Via io9.

* Do professors get paid too much for too little work? Obviously. More here.

* Related: “College Professors Demand Right to Be Mean.”

* Facebook asserts trademark on word “Book.” Can’t see that being controversial.

* It must be an election year, because suddenly the Obama administration is talking about the environment.

Extreme weather events over the past decade have increased and were “very likely” caused by manmade global warming, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said on Sunday. “Scientists at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Research used physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations to link extreme rainfall and heat waves to global warming,” Reuters reports. “It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming,” said the study. Why didn’t anybody warn us!

Government spending is good in a recession? Why didn’t anyone tell us!

* Why is horseracing even allowed? Via MeFi.

Rules: This is a very specific contest. Don’t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.

* If They Directed It: The Hunger Games. I don’t think anything I’ve written on Twitter has gotten as many retweets as my brief reading of series as a utopia.

* Imagining The Wire Season Six.

* On not calling Rich Santorum “crazy.”

* Jeffrey Jerome Cohen writes up his visit to the wonderful conference I was at last weekend, ICFA 2012.

A highlight of ICFA was China Miéville’s talk “On Monsters.” I am a fan of Miéville’s work; The City and the City is one of my favorite books. His narratives are always beautifully written as well as philosophically challenging. Besides possessing an astonishing vocabulary (he sends me to the dictionary, and makes me wonder how they ever gave me a PhD), he is a writer widely read in theory — though his books never turn into allegories for lit crit. They always trace problems, and stay away from anything easy. Miéville brought up Quentin Meillassoux and speculative realism, for example, during his paper (dismissively: he is not a fan of SR or object oriented philosophy, which surprised me). China’s presentation started off as straightforward account of how the uncanny might be broken into various subcategories: the ab-canny, the sur-canny, the sub-canny, the post-canny, the para-canny, and onwards. His account began seriously but spiralled into a proliferative joke. His point was that classification is not analysis, and that such a “taxonomic frenzy” (as he called it) mortifies: “the drive to translate useful constructs into foundations for analysis is deadly,” because it violently takes away the potency and possibility of the terms it organizes. What was interesting to me, though, is that China’s talk performed something, um, para-canny (right beside itself, there but unseen) that I’ve also learned from studying medieval encyclopedists: taxonomic frenzy might produce a desiccated system of emplacement in which everything gets filed into a cabinet and drained of its vitality. Or it might actually be so creative in its proliferative energy and so limned by the necessity of its own failure that it undermines its own rigidity in the very process of articulation, becoming an envitalizing and innovative act — an act of writing — rather than a system of deadening inscription. China’s multiplication of canniness had a power that he walked away from, I think: why abandon your monster like that?

* Honoring the 20th anniversary of Apollo 18 the only possible way: interactive fiction.

* This American Life: What kind of ideology?

* “He Was a Crook”: Longform.org remembers Hunter S. Thompson’s obituary for Richard Nixon.

* Haiti: Where did the money go?

* Support for Afghan War falls. Support for NC anti-gay amendment rises.

A recent Elon University poll found that 58 percent of North Carolinians oppose the amendment, with 38 in favor of it. That poll surveys adults statewide, while the WRAL News poll includes the results only of likely voters.

Despite the broad amendment support in the WRAL News poll, only 37 percent of voters said same-sex couples deserve no legal recognition in North Carolina, according to the poll.

So you have no idea what you’re voting for and won’t bother to find out. Got it.

* Because the 2012 campaign hasn’t been tedious enough: 2016.

* Trayvon Martin and the history of lynching. The Corporations Behind the Law That May Let Trayvon Martin’s Killer Go Free. On Trayvon Martin as innocent victim.

Why Obama’s Healthcare Law Is Constitutional. Absolutely everything you need to know about health reform’s Supreme Court debut. What the Supreme Court Could Do About Obamacare, Explained. Legal experts: Court won’t strike down ‘Obamacare.’

* If I didn’t know better I’d say this little video has some sort of message.

* MLA Job Information List data back to 1965.

* Infographic of the night: Doomsday Predictions Debunked.

* The headline reads, “UC review backs use of pepper spray on protesters.” Huh! I really thought they’d give themselves hell.

Referring to pepper spray, he wrote: “A few focused applications on the crowd that blocked the officers near the row of bushes would likely have cleared that area very quickly, with few additional baton strikes.”

You’re a university, for Christ’s sake. My god.

* What could possibly go wrong? Has Obama put us on a permanent war footing, even in peacetime?

* And what could possibly go wrong? Tacocopter could be the unmanned future of food delivery. Some should have read more Jenny Rhee.

Wednesday Is the Day I Historically Post Links

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Wednesday is the day I historically post links.

* It all finally makes sense; Michele Bachmann says the crazy things she says because she comes from an alternate universe where Jimmy Carter was president in 1976.

* Also in alternate-universe news: South Korean scientists claim to have cloned glowing dogs.

* Tough times in the mother country.

* They’re turning Margaret Atwood’s (very good) Payback into a full-length documentary about debt.

* “Crazy” Joe Biden was a key figure in the Arlen Specter party switch. Now who’s laughing?

* The headline reads: “Student, 11, steps up to lead school band when budget constraints leave PS 37 without band teacher.” Get this kid a scholarship anywhere he wants to go, and pour some real money into public schools already.

* The eleven most endangered historic places.

* Classic science fiction film on the Internet.

* The Bush-Obama position on state secrets takes a much-needed hit.

* The Fight Club Theory of Ferris Bueller.

* An entity passes the Hofstadter-Turing Test if it first creates a virtual reality, then creates a computer program within that reality which must finally recognise itself as an entity within this virtual environment by passing the Hofstadter-Turing Test. So now we just need to get Skynet self-aware.

Robot on the Moon

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A laboratory robot called Adam has been hailed as the first machine in history to have discovered new scientific knowledge independently of its human creators. And it gets worse: the robots are already eying the Moon.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 3, 2009 at 6:26 pm

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