Posts Tagged ‘the rich are different from you and me’
* Man tragically unable to remember saying Barack Obama would make a great president says Hillary Clinton will make a great president. Meanwhile, the rest of us are reduced to talking about Obama’s secret achievements.
* Has humanity produced enough paint to cover the entire land area of the Earth? The dream remains alive.
“We do not agree with her assertions that she suffered retaliation or was otherwise treated unfairly,” URS said, adding Busche was fired for reasons unrelated to the safety concerns. “Ms. Busche’s allegations will not withstand scrutiny.”
Busche is the second Hanford whistle-blower to be fired by URS in recent months. Walter Tamosaitis, who also raised safety concerns about the plant, was fired in October after 44 years of employment.
* A world of horrors: There is no such thing as a child prostitute.
* In the same way that certain styles of dance simulate sex, the Winter Olympics simulates scraping one’s February-chapped nostrils against the surface of a Kleenex whose aloe content is useless and reaching out for the warm escape of death. It’s an art of failed suicide attempts.
* A preliminary sketch of the data reveals, of course, that by 2050 films will be reviewing us.
* Grace Kerr sometimes jokes with her family that “Amanda was not that great. Zach is awesome.” What she means is that her son is finally happy, and is helping others.
* News You Can Use: Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo.
* And our long national nightmare is over: Obama apologizes for disparaging art historians.
* All years are terrible years; the predicament of being human tends towards the negative. We read the news and are left feeling nothing more noble than “only I have escaped to tell thee.” A given year can be pronounced good only in a solipsistic sense.
* This headline seems like it was generated by some dystopian headline generator: Yakuza Gangsters Recruit Homeless Men for Fukushima Nuclear Clean Up.
* And then there’s this one: Climate Change Vastly Worse Than Previously Thought.
* If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet’s biggest oil producer and Russia as the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we’ve begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine.
* And then there’s this: Drone Testing Sites Announced In Six States.
* “Diversity is something that’s being marketed,” Pippert says. “They’re trying to sell a campus climate, they’re trying to sell a future. Campuses are trying to say, ‘If you come here, you’ll have a good time, and you’ll fit in.’ “
The drop follows two years of modest gains, but even those gains hadn’t come close to returning to the level of openings before the economic downturn hit in the fall of 2008. This year, the AHA posted 686 jobs, and the pre-recession total was 1,064.
* Handed up by an Orange County, N.C., grand jury, the indictment charged Nyang’oro with “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously” accepting payment “with the intent to cheat and defraud” the university in connection with the AFAM course — a virtually unheard-of legal accusation against a professor. It’s simply incomprehensible to me how the alleged behavior could have been accomplished by just one person acting alone.
* “In 1969 the median salary for a male worker was $35,567 (in 2012 dollars). Today it is $33,904. So for 44 years, while wages for the top 10 percent have continued to climb, most Americans have been caught in a ”Great Stagnation,” bringing into question the whole purpose of the American capitalist economy. The notion that what benefited the establishment would benefit everyone, had been thoroughly discredited.”
* Spied On from My iPhone: NSA has “backdoor access” to iPhones.
* And now an annual tradition: What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2014?
* This gentleman violently inserted his finger into dozens of victims’ anuses. Sometimes his friends held guns to the victims’ heads to force them to comply. Why was he sentenced to just two years in prison? Because he was an officer with the Milwaukee police department! Officer who forced dozens of anal cavity searches for fun gets only 2 years in prison.
* I wonder if it worked: The Soviet Union spent $1 billion on mind-control program.
* Once you insist that lives that are worth respecting are the lives that are most devoted to pecuniary gain, you have reached a road that has no ending, and a particularly strange one for humanists to walk.
* The humanities are saved! Brain function ‘boosted for days after reading a novel.’
* Using detailed publication and citation data for over 50,000 articles from 30 major economics and finance journals, we investigate whether network proximity to an editor influences research productivity. During an editor’s tenure, his current university colleagues publish about 100% more papers in the editor’s journal, compared to years when he is not editor. In contrast to editorial nepotism, such “inside” articles have significantly higher ex post citation counts, even when same-journal and self-cites are excluded. Our results thus suggest that despite potential conflicts of interest faced by editors, personal associations are used to improve selection decisions.
* Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions are the still the only ones you need. More links below!
* But it’s a lie. Winning does not scale. We may be free beings, but we are constrained by an economic system rigged against us. What ladders we have are being yanked away. Some of us will succeed. The possibility of success is used to call the majority of people failures.
* In this article, we develop and empirically test the theoretical argument that when an organizational culture promotes meritocracy (compared with when it does not), managers in that organization may ironically show greater bias in favor of men over equally performing women in translating employee performance evaluations into rewards and other key career outcomes; we call this the “paradox of meritocracy.”
* Huffington Post blogger argues just straight-up ripping off your babysitter because, I don’t know, freedom or something.
* And then we robbed all the pensions also because freedom I guess.
* If you thought Southern California mansions could hardly get more outlandish, consider the latest must-have feature: A moat encircling the property.
* One Weird Old Trick to Undermine the Patriarchy: My five-year-old insists that Bilbo Baggins is a girl..
* Worst people in the world watch: But over the past decade, the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying, a Washington Post investigation has found. Healthier patients are more profitable because they require fewer visits and stay enrolled longer.
* Just kidding, the worst person in the world is Andrea Peyser.
* Are dolphins intelligent? Well, they get high.
* Previewing World Cup 2022: The Qatar Chronicles.
* Having already inaugurated full communism, radical De Blasio turns his pitiless mayoral gaze to horse-drawn carriages.
* Looking for a New Year’s Read? Magical realism/surreal books by women.
* A New Gallup Survey Will Measure the Value of a Degree, Beyond Salary. What possible value could exist “beyond salary”?
* The New Yorker profiles Pope Francis.
* Great moments in oversight: It Took The FDA Four Decades To Request Proof That Antibacterial Soap Is Safe.
* Charity is a game the rich play with themselves: Study Shows the Top 1% Mostly Gives to the Other 1% and Calls it Charity.
* Obamacare debacle-watch: Only the super-rich can save us now!
* The ACLU is accusing the lawyers defending Pennsylvania’s law banning same-sex marriage of stalling and making undue requests for information about the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. …according to the ACLU’s Witold Walczak, the lawyers Gov. Tom Corbett (R) hired at taxpayer expense want to know whether any of the plaintiffs previously had opposite-sex relationships or ever sought counseling.
* On March 17, 2012 – the six month anniversary of the beginning of OWS – the police savagely cleared the park and arrested 75 people peacefully occupying Liberty Square. In the process of my arrest, a cop grabbed my thumb and snapped it in place, not once, but twice. I used to have a full scholarship to NYU to study classical piano. My life was shattered forever. I’ll never play Beethoven again.
* The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted? Perhaps it will always be a mystery.
Demand that the Department of Labor crack down on illegal internships and other forms of wage theft. Demand that the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act get a fair vote on the Senate floor. Demand that Congress cap tuition-increase rates at universities receiving Pell Grant money. Demand a jobs program, legal marijuana, a guaranteed minimum income. Hell, demand a trillion dollars; it worked out great for the banks. Don’t sign up for “Obamacare” until they meet these demands and then some.
The only way to get our way in American politics is threaten to burn the whole house down. And when older adults inevitably chide us for taking irresponsible and selfish risks with the country’s future, we can always remind them who taught us how.
* vakarangi.blogspot.co.uk is blogging Star Trek: The Animated Series.
* The worst human beings alive: Paul Dini explains why execs don’t want girls watching their superhero shows.
DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’ — this is the network talking — ‘one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’
I guess I just always thought the patriarchy operated with a little more subtlety. Where’s the craft, fellas?
* And the future is weird: Severed hand kept alive on man’s ankle.
* Program for the 2014 MLA Subconference, January 8-9 at Columbia College Chicago.
* CFP for “Joss Whedon: A Celebration” at DePaul University this May.
* The New Yorker considers Kim Stanley Robinson: Our Greatest Political Novelist?
Depending on your own politics, this may sound like millennia-overdue common sense or a bong-fuelled 3 A.M. wish list, but there’s no arguing that to implement it in the real world circa 2013 would be, literally, revolutionary. My own bet would be that either your grandchildren are going to be living by some of these precepts, or else they won’t be living at all.
* It is an open question as to whether academics today, in their heart of hearts, still realize that the choice between the employability agenda or the death of universities actually means the death of universities through the employability agenda.
* Our football team here at Purdue went 1-11, losing the final ten games in a row by an average of almost 25 points and going 0-8 in Big Ten play, including a 20 point blowout to arch-rival Indiana. The lone victory on the season came through a nail-biting 20-14 performance against Indiana State… an FCS school… who themselves went 1-11. If beating the doormat team of the Missouri Valley Conference is the highlight of your season, it’s perhaps time for a reevaluation of priorities. After ranking 122nd in points scored a game and 114th in points against a game, making a legitimate case for being the worst team in FBS football, the campus is buzzing about how long a rebuild will require and whether first-year coach Darrell Hazzell is the man to lead it. With the season’s “One Brick Higher” slogan now seeming like a sad joke, my message to the Purdue community is simple: don’t rebuild. Retreat. The best path forward for Purdue University is to dismantle its football program altogether.
* I also liked Freddie’s piece on how the permanent squabble between tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty plays directly into the hands of administrators.
* This Thousand-Year Institution Could Really Learn Something from These Fly-By-Night Scams: Forget Academia. Startups Are the Future of Knowledge.
* “If you haven’t been in a hen plant, you don’t know what hell is”: Animal rights activists vs. the agribusiness industry in Rolling Stone.
If you’re a president, it probably feels good to think about this, about how a revolutionary came to defend the stability of the society he once threatened to overturn. It probably also feels good to think of him as historical, as past: like Nkrumah or Lumumba, he is no longer our problem, no longer our responsibility. Instead of a defiant refusal to stop short of victory and a refusal to compromise or negotiate on principles, he can represent the passing away of that very thing.
* Belgium took a big step on Thursday to becoming the first country to allow euthanasia for incurably ill children, after the upper house of Parliament voted by a large majority to extend to minors a 2002 law legalizing the practice for adults.
* A national study being released today in book form found that those who are attractive in high school are more likely than those with just average or below average looks to go on to earn a four-year college degree.
* Take that, conventional wisdom! Study: Long Distance Relationships Can Work.
* Whether you agree with the ASA’s boycott of Israeli state institutions or not, I think we can all agree that to boycott Larry Summers.
* The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.
* Your odds of winning the jackpot used to be 1 in 176 million. As of Oct. 22, those odds changed to 1 in 259 million. The Lottery Is a Predator and You Are Its Math-Illiterate Prey.
* Space Race back on! China lands on the Moon!
* And Physicists To Test If Universe Is A Computer Simulation. Overflow Error: Abort, Retry, Fail….
* New drugs could extend cancer patients’ lives—by days. At a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars. Prompting some doctors to refuse to use them.
* The rich are different: Filthy Lucre.
* The wisdom of markets: Pinterest is now valued at $3.8 billion after its most recent round of fundraising generated $225 million. It’s an impressive feat for a company without any revenue. Note: that’s not no profit. That’s no revenue whatsoever.
* With a $100 million endowment and annual revenues approaching $300 million, TFA is flush with cash and ambition. Its clout on Capitol Hill was demonstrated last week when a bipartisan group of lawmakers made time during the frenzied budget negotiations to secure the nonprofit its top legislative priority — the renewal of a controversial provision defining teachers still in training, including TFA recruits, as “highly qualified” to take charge of classrooms.
* Abolition never happened: There could be slaves in the supply chain of your chocolate, smartphone and sushi.
* Decadence watch: Mixed Martial Arts for kids.
* When Compared to Other Military Cases, How Long is Bradley Manning Likely to Be Sentenced to Prison? Just two examples of people who received lighter sentences:
US Army Specialist Albert Sombolay, in 1991, was sentenced to thirty-four years in prison for agreeing to spy for Iraq during the Gulf War for $1,300. Sombolay served 12 years of a 34-year sentence for “selling military information to foreign agents.” He was “convicted of aiding the enemy” (a charge which Manning faced but was acquitted) and committing espionage.As the Cold War was winding down, in 1989, Army Specialist 4 Michael Peri was sentenced to thirty years in prison for “passing sophisticated defense secrets to communist East Germany.” He served as an “electronic signal interceptor in the S-2 intelligence section of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fulda” and “crossed the border into East Germany with a small computer and discs containing classified information.” He pled guilty to espionage charges and could have been sentenced to life in prison.
John Walker Lindh, of course, received only twenty years for fighting alongside the Taliban.
* When I saw the headline “Isolated Peruvian tribe attempts to make contact, asks for food,” I knew only one man could help me.
* Breaking: Incomes haven’t risen since 2000.
* Today in psychology: Adults still suffer the effects of childhood bullying. How Being Rich Increases Narcissism.
* And today’s headlines are yesterday’s dumb science fictions: A dentist wants to clone John Lennon from his rotten tooth.
* The rich are different: Fremont police to offer pay-to-stay jail program.
“It’s still a jail; there’s no special treatment,” Devine said. “They get the same cot, blanket and food as anybody in the county jail, except that our jail is smaller, quieter and away from the county jail population.”
* America as world-historical blip. Not nearly enough attention to energy here.
And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?
* The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system. Nothing, but nothing, that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.
* New $444 million hockey arena is still a go in Detroit. Detroit’s budget deficit is only $380 million.
* So why has Detroit suffered unlike any other major city? Planning, or the lack thereof for more than a century, is why Detroit stands out. While cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles (don’t laugh – Detroit and LA essentially boomed at the same time) put a premium on creating pleasant built environments for their residents, Detroit was unique in putting all its eggs in the corporate caretaker basket. Once the auto industry became established in Detroit, political and business leaders abdicated their responsibility on sound urban planning and design, and elected to let the booming economy do the work for them.
* So, to sum it all up: we have the Lords of MOOC creation, afloat for now on some misguided venture captial (and lots of sunshine blown up the skirts of university presidents), who are giving away a product that no one seems to want to pay even $89 for, probably because only 10% of users come away with much of anything. And yet, we’re assured that this is completely”disruptive” “for good or ill” and, more importantly, “inevitable.”
* To minimize the risk of collision between spacecraft and space junk, the U.S. Space Surveillance Network tracks all debris larger than 10 centimeters. These images represent all man-made objects, both functioning and useful objects and debris, currently being tracked.
* Loyalty oaths at the ACLU. I mean really.
The order of authorship was determined by a twenty-five-game croquet series held at Imperial College Field Station during summer 1973.
* And Maria Bamford has a new web series. You’re welcome.
Meeting with journalists this morning, Pope Francis laid out his vision for the Catholic church, which includes cutting spending on ornate ceremony and instead spending that money on the poor. He urged excited fellow-Argentines to skip the costly trip to Rome to visit the first non-European Pope in almost 1,300 years, and instead give that money to the poor.
“Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor,” he told the gathered journalists. He explained the reason he took the name, Francis, after St. Francis of Assissi, was because of St. Francis’s devotion to the poor and love of animal life. On climate change, the Pope remarked, “Right now, we don’t have a very good relation with creation.”
The report, authored by David Callahan and J. Mijin Cha, found that “wealthy interests are keenly focused on concerns not shared by the rest of the American public, like keeping taxes low on capital gains, and often oppose policies that would foster upward mobility among low-income citizens, such as raising the minimum wage.”
* Chicago tried to ban Persepolis? Why? Why?
Years later von Kleist remembered explaining the suicide plot to his father, who paused only briefly before telling his 22-year-old son: “Yes, you have to do this.”
“He got up from his chair,” von Kleist remembered, according to an account by The New York Times, “went to the window, looked out of the window for a moment, and then he turned and said: ‘Yes, you have to do that. A man who doesn’t take such a chance will never be happy again in his life.’”
* Also from Richard: What do asteroids, MOOCs, and medical records have in common? All are examples, currently in the news, of the way in which public policy in the US is driven not by the common good or professionals or expert knowledge, but by the generation of mediashock in the service of the entrepeneurial desire of cybercapitalism to monetize data.
All of us that use the internet are already practicing Drone Ethnography. Look at the features of drone technology: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Surveillance, Sousveillance. Networks of collected information, over land and in the sky. Now consider the “consumer” side of tech: mapping programs, location-aware pocket tech, public-sourced media databases, and the apps and algorithms by which we navigate these tools. We already study the world the way a drone sees it: from above, with a dozen unblinking eyes, recording everything with the cold indecision of algorithmic commands honed over time, affecting nothing—except, perhaps, a single, momentary touch, the momentary awareness and synchronicity of a piece of information discovered at precisely the right time. An arc connecting two points like the kiss from an air-to-surface missile. Our technological capacity for watching, recording, collecting, and archiving has never been wider, and has never been more automated. The way we look at the world—our basic ethnographic approach—is mimicking the technology of the drone.
* The ACLU on what Rand Paul achieved.
* “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.” She was unconscious at the time.
* The Herbalife war: Hedge-fund titan Bill Ackman has vowed to bring down Herbalife, the 33-year-old nutritional-supplement company, which he views as a pyramid scheme. With his massive shorting of Herbalife stock, the price plummeted, prompting two fellow billionaires—Ackman’s former friend Dan Loeb and activist investor Carl Icahn—to take the opposing bet on Herbalife. As the public brawl rivets Wall Street, William D. Cohan learns why, this time, it’s personal.
* The most influential songwriter of his time has become the first rock star voted into the elite, century-old American Academy of Arts and Letters, where artists range from Philip Roth to Jasper Johns and categories include music, literature and visual arts.