Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘the cosmos

Meanwhile, Some Links

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* Marquette has a new president, the first lay president in its history. His farewell message to UWM.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.

* Dia/lectics of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse.

Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling. US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams. Escape the Devastation of Future Earth on a Luxurious Space Mayflower.

Roughly .02 Percent of Published Researchers Reject Global Warming.

An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz. This is the army-as-utopia piece I was going on about last week, if you were curious about it.

* What Life Will Be Like for Girls’ Hannah at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission.

Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. Come now, only three? Don’t be coy, Harvard…

* Amy Acker joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of course she is.

Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.

Inside UFO 54-40, the Unwinnable “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

* In sum, this so-called “data-driven” website is significantly less data-driven (and less sophisticated) than Business Insider or Bloomberg View or The Atlantic. It consists nearly entirely of hedgehoggy posts supporting simplistic theories with sparse data and zero statistical analysis, making no quantitative predictions whatsoever. It has no relationship whatsoever to the sophisticated analysis of rich data sets for which Nate Silver himself has become famous. The problem with the new FiveThirtyEight is not one of data vs. theory. It is one of “data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing. Nate Silver is a hero of mine, but this site is not living up to its billing at all.

* Why was Charlotte’s absurdly corrupt mayor doing the bag drops himself? Amateur hour. He’s going to be so mad when he finally gets around to seeing American Hustle.

* Clickbait publication says stop talking so much about clickbait.

Garfield Minus Garfield Minus Jon Plus Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan.

* And nothing gold can stay: Bradley Cooper is rumored to take over Indiana Jones.

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Weekend Links

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* By allying us with its protagonist, Gravity universalizes its image of exploited female labor, sells it back to its entire audience, men and women alike. Gravity shows a contemporary ideal of femininity still more sinister than the pinup. It presents woman as an intricate machine, strapped to dozens of wires, working her ass off with the goal of appearing weightless.

* We were born too late: …in the early universe, as Loeb speculates in a paper published in Astrobiology late last year, everything would have been a habitable zone.

* Terry Gilliam thinks he could have screwed up Watchmen waaaaaaay worse than Zack Snyder.

* Another day, another Title IX class action against a major university.

Students Joke About Raping Student Union President, Then Threaten to Sue Her.

Objectification, Humiliation and the Liberal Arts.

* Surprising minimum wage jobs.

Wisconsin income gap widening faster than nation as a whole.

* New Study Confirms It: Breast-Feeding Benefits Have Been Drastically Overstated.

* Man Wakes Up In Body Bag At Funeral Home. Wow.

* Chomsky on academic labor. Life off the tenure track at Boise State.

Polynesian seafarers discovered America long before Europeans, says DNA study.

* Watch Six Colorado Senate Candidates Deny Climate Change Exists In 18 Seconds.

* Inception: The Board Game.

* Man, the rich are different.

“While the entire U.S. population has increased about one-third over the last 30 years, the Federal prison population has increased at a staggering rate of 800 percent, currently totaling nearly 216,000 inmates and currently operates at a 33 percent overcapacity. One-half of those Federal prison populations are drug offenses. While some of them are truly dangerous persons, as Deputy Attorney General Cole said, many of them are first-timers, and by possession only, wound up under Federal laws, the crack cocaine laws, in the Federal system”, she said.

Researchers Find CTE In A Soccer Player For The First Time.

This Is What Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers Looks Like.

When May I Shoot a Student?

Twelve Fixed, Eternal Commandments for Academic Job Candidates.

* The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from: Wachowskis prepping new Matrix prequel trilogy.

* And I think we should all just agree this is the true ending to Harry Potter now.

Monday Morning Links

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* The cosmic sublime: Here Is Today.

Self-Sabotage in the Academic Career. I love @ncecire‘s alternative headline for this: “Here are fifteen ways it’s probably your fault.”

Adjuncts’ Advocates Call for Fair Treatment on Work-Hour Calculations.

Why Some Colleges Are Saying No to MOOC Deals, at Least for Now.

One of the most important conclusions I’ve drawn from the experience is this: If you are an untenured faculty member, you really shouldn’t attempt a MOOC. The planning process alone is overwhelming. Because I have a grant and because research about writing instruction is part of my accepted research portfolio, I will submit all MOOC-related work as part of my future tenure case. I am very fortunate that Georgia Tech values this kind of inquiry. However, for faculty members in many other disciplines, I doubt that a MOOC would count as anything more than a line item in a teaching portfolio.

Will you be able to publicly express your concerns if something about your MOOC seems pedagogically unsound? If your university doesn’t have the technological capacity to support you, will you have to solve the problems yourself? Who will pay your video-production costs? (Our MOOC has spent $32,000 on production so far.) Will you be able to challenge administrators who want to control your content? Will you be forced to submit to evaluation schemes that would allow your course to carry credit?

* Long Hours Are Pushing Mothers Out Of Male-Dominated Jobs.

* The most dangerous selfie.

are we just going to ignore the fact that the king of sweden is fucking hilarious

Today in the Apocalypse

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Remember that Higgs-like particle that scientists finally managed to pin down last year at the Large Hadron Collider? Well, it’s proving to be a harbinger of bad news. According to Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the mass of the Higgs boson indicates that “the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out.”

Written by gerrycanavan

February 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

A Whole Lot of Sunday Night Links

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20130217* SNL wins a game: Djesus Uncrossed.

* Batman should never have revealed his secret identity.

* Dan Harmon explains his Joseph-Campbell-influenced theory of the “story circle,” in a few posts: 1 2 3 4 5 6

For the first time in its 120 year history the board of the Sierra Club has authorized the use of civil disobedience, to protest the proposed construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The politics of the Papal Conclave are fascinating.

Pope Benedict XVI’s leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries. Pope blesses thousands at Vatican as details of ailments emerge.

* Speechless:

As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.

The center’s primary goal would be to coach U.S. Special Forces on interviewing tactics designed to detect lies. Charles Morgan III, a professor of psychiatry who will head the project, calls these tactics “people skills.” These techniques would be honed using New Haven’s immigrant community as subjects.

* Cooper Union will probably not be free anymore.

Roopika Risam on breaking the silence of the job search.

* Freddie deBoer: I’ve been making the case (again and again and again) that the constantly-expressed notion that we’ll have full employment if people are just smart and go into STEM fields is empirically indefensible. Adam Kotsko: What is education actually for?

* Margaret Atwood teases Maddaddam:

“Maddaddam begins where The Year of the Flood finishes and goes on from there,” she says. “It explores what happens when the conventional humans and the new creations find themselves in the same space. You can see that there might be some cultural misunderstandings.”

* Comics explained: the backstory of Rachel Summers. It couldn’t be simpler!

* Aaron Bady on Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s In the House of the Interpreter.

* The New York Times profiles flood management technology in the Netherlands.

Could our universe be located within the interior of a wormhole which itself is part of a black hole that lies within a much larger universe? And that universe is on the back of an even larger turtle…

Forest Whitaker Accused of Shoplifting, Frisked at Upper West Side Deli.

* Obama says kill the penny. He would say that. He hates capitalism.

* Senator Warren, not bad.

Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth.

* Kidding on the square: another National Review blogger calls for the repeal of the 19th Amendment.

* Gasp! Deregulation May Not Have Lowered Air Fares After All.

* The phenomenology of solitary confinement.

* Surveying self-confessed rapists.

How to be a Person in the Age of Autoimmunity.

* Data-crunching the Internet Adult Film Database.

* Data-crunching the Lord of the Rings.

* The Internet has finally developed impermanence technology.

* And Iceland might ban Internet porn.

Halla Gunnarsdóttir, an adviser to the interior minister, explains the country’s anti-smut rationale to The Guardian:

“We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti-violence. This is about children and gender equality, not about limiting free speech…”

This is Iceland, after all. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is the first openly lesbian government head in the world. It’s already illegal to print and distribute porn within the country, and since 2010, strip clubs have been prohibited as well…

Monday 2

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* Kenyan anti-colonial behavior: On Oct. 5, a British high court ruled that three elderly Kenyans who were tortured and abused by colonial authorities in Kenya in the 1950s can proceed with their case against the British government.

* Early voting starts today in Wisconsin.

* Longitudinal study of 1,000 Wisconsin high school graduates from the class of 1957 proves that the popular kids really were just better.

The data show that over the entire 345 years, 22 percent of all authors were female. (Even though few papers in the JSTOR archive originated in the first 100 years, the researchers still felt that examining the entire data set was worthwhile.) The data also show that women were slightly less likely than that to be first author: About 19 percent of first authors in the study were female. Women were more likely to appear as third, fourth, or fifth authors.

According to the data in just the most recent time period, it is clear that the proportion of female authors over all is rising. From 1990 to 2010, the percentage of female authors went up to 27 percent. In 2010 alone, the last year for which full figures are available, the proportion had inched up to 30 percent. “The results show us what a lot of people have been saying and many of my female colleagues have been feeling,” says Ms. Jacquet. “Things are getting better for women in academia.”

Women still are not publishing, though, in the same proportion as they are present in academe as professors. The same year that the share of female authors in the study reached 30 percent, women made up 42 percent of all full-time professors in academe and about 34 percent of all those at the most senior levels of associate and full professor, according to the American Association of University Professors.

The Left must not only defeat austerity and preserve the social safety net; it must do so in such a way that assembles the forces necessary for more fundamental transformations in the future.

* Why your uncles believe crazy things: this guy.

Mainstream election experts say that Spakovsky has had an improbably large impact. Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, and the author of a recent book, “The Voting Wars,” says, “Before 2000, there were some rumblings about Democratic voter fraud, but it really wasn’t part of the main discourse. But thanks to von Spakovsky and the flame-fanning of a few others, the myth that Democratic voter fraud is common, and that it helps Democrats win elections, has become part of the Republican orthodoxy.” In December, Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, wrote, “Election fraud is a real and persistent threat to our electoral system.” He accused Democrats of “standing up for potential fraud—presumably because ending it would disenfranchise at least two of its core constituencies: the deceased and double-voters.” Hasen believes that Democrats, for their part, have made exaggerated claims about the number of voters who may be disenfranchised by Republican election-security measures. But he regards the conservative alarmists as more successful. “Their job is really done,” Hasen says. “It’s common now to assert that there is a need for voter I.D.s, even without any evidence.”

World’s Oldest Known Auschwitz Survivor Dies at 108.

* This year is the first year the presidential debates have ignored climate change since 1984. That’s right, friends, we’re doomed!

* And scientists are on the hunt for the Forest Moon of Endor. God, I hope they find it.

Wednesday Night’s All Right for Procrastinating

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* How to Be an Academic Failure: An Introduction for Beginners.

* Rape culture: In 31 states, rapists have paternal rights, and can even sue for custody.

* Laurie Penny: Rapists are evil people. They’re not nice blokes who everybody respects who simply happen to think it’s ok to stick your dick in a teenager who’s sleeping in the same bed as you, without a condom. This guy seemed, if anything, confused as to why I was scrabbling for my things and bolting out the door. He even sent me an email a few days later, chiding me for being rude.

* A new scientific theory suggests that Big Bang was actually a phase shift: a Big Freeze.

* Terrors of a True Believer: MOOCs and the Precarity Problem.

Despite our gut-level hunch about the direction of the language; despite the fact that 70-cent, three-minute, off-peak, coast-to-coast long-distance calls that cost four inflation-adjusted dollars in 1970 are now free; despite cheap travel, YouTube, and the globalization of film and television, American dialects are actually diverging.

There are multiple examples of such divergence. But none is as dramatic, as baffling to linguists, and as mysteriously under the collective radar as what’s happening in the cities that ring the Great Lakes. From Syracuse, N.Y., in the east to Milwaukee in the west, 34 million Americans are revolutionizing the sound of English.

Now, as the “Freedom Tower” reaches its full height, the inside story of boondoggles, self-dealing, common corruption, and why it’s all taken so long.

“I know that we have members of the media here right now, so I’m not going to go through that in great detail.” Not to make a whole thing out of it, but it’s amazing he’s able to get away with this.

* And David Cross teases even more Arrested Development than you’d dared to hope.

Monday!

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* I may have done this one before, but what the hell: the RAW rejection letter.

* RIP, Sally Ride. And here’s the politicized postscript.

* The NCAA drops the hammer on Penn State.

* Justice Department Investigates Pennsylvania Voter ID Law.

* The New Yorker profiles the Boss.

The tune, thick with horns and vocal harmonies, elides into “My City of Ruins,” one of the elegiac, gospel-tinged songs on the 9/11 album, “The Rising.” The voices sing “Rise up! Rise up!” and there comes a string of horn solos: trombone, trumpet, sax. Then back to the voices. Springsteen quickly introduces the E Street horns and the singing collective. Then he says, “Roll call!” And, with the music rising bit by churchly bit, he introduces the core of the band: “Professor Roy Bittan is in the house. . . . Charlie Giordano is in the house. . . .”

When he finishes the roll call, there is a long ellipsis. The band keeps vamping.

“Are we missing anybody?”

Two spotlights are now trained on the organ, where Federici once sat, and at the mike where Clemons once stood.

“Are we missing anybody?”

Then again: “Are we missing anybody? . . . That’s right. That’s right. We’re missing some. But the only thing I can guarantee tonight is that if you’re here and we’re here, then they’re here!” He repeats this over and over, the volume of the piano and the bass rising, the drums hastening, the voices rising, until finally the song overwhelms him, and, if Springsteen has calculated correctly, there will not be an unmoved soul in the house.

* Six facts about guns, violence, and gun control.

* Dibs on the novelization: Zhang and Li write that the the Milky Way will be torn apart 32.9 million years before the big rip. The Earth will be ripped away from the Sun two months before the end, and we’ll lose our moon with five days left. The Sun itself will be destroyed 28 minutes before the end of time, and the Earth will explode a mere 12 minutes later.

* The headline reads, “Neurosurgeons banned from human research for giving infectious bacteria to brain tumor patients.”

* Radiolab says the Greeks didn’t know about blue.

John Scalzi, self-made man.

* Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld go get coffee.

* And Fred Willard is keeping his head up.

22 Million Years of Continuous Scrolling

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

Out There

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The Hubble has discovered a planet comprised primarily of steam.

But because the planet is also in a much closer orbit to its star than Earth is to the Sun (Just over a million miles away compared to Earth’s 93 million miles, with a year of just 38 hours), its surface temperature is way hotter: an average 446 degrees fahrenheit, according to estimates from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center.

That means that the water on the surface of GJ 1214b is doing weird things besides turning into steam.

“The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like ‘hot ice’ or ‘superfluid water’, substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience,” Berta explained.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm

‘The Trouble Is, Any Revelatory Messages Are Embedded in More than 900 Pages of Impulsive Theorizing, Much of Which Is Self-Referential’

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The New York Times reviews Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis. I worked on this book as a researcher, so my feelings about it, unsurprisingly, are much more positive than the reviewer’s—but I think this may also have something to do with my position as an academic as well as a fan. The book is emphatically not some new, undiscovered PKD novel; it’s something very different, and as Platt warns, that something may just not be for everyone. But for the people that it’s for the Exegesis is a treasure.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

Sunday Links

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* Why they occupy: University of California edition.

* The recession comes home to Morris County.

Morris County has experienced a sharp increase in motor vehicle burglaries throughout 2011, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, who said the increase can be attributed to independent trends that have emerged in small geographic areas in the county at different times and committed by different individuals.

* MetaFilter has your Neil deGrasse Tyson Overdrive.

* Get me Val Kilmer: Christian Bale says he’s done playing Batman.

* Alan Moore on Occupy.

“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.”

cf. Frank Miller.

* Also on the Occupy beat: “Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street.” And also at the New Yorker: Was anti-Keystone activism the real political movement of 2011?

* Something Is Happening: Notes on the First Two Months of Occupy.

* Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Orgasm.

* Aaron Bady: “When everything that can be recorded is recorded, our means of protecting privacy must fundamentally change.”

* Robotic prison wardens to patrol South Korean prison. But the prototype looks so friendly!

Thursday Night

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Adventures in Time and Space

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Werner Herzog Quote of the Night

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Our place in the universe: well, it is here. That’s the place we have and nothing else. Everything else is unfriendly. We cannot flee from our planet, I mean, go to any other planet in the solar system. It’s just not inviting. And the next planet from there, the next star out there, is only four and a half light years away—but with the fastest speed we can ever reach, so far, it would take 110,000 years, just to go there. Hundreds and hundreds of generations. They wouldn’t even know where they were going. There would be incest, and madness, and murder, and whatever, en route. So it’s not pleasant to move. … We cannot dissolve into particles of light, like in Star Trek, and beam ourselves somewhere. This is our place. This is our place, and we’d better take care of it.

—Werner Herzog (right here)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

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