Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Sheep Look Up

Thursday Links!

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Bin4w6fCAAEB3Ju-1* Marquette makes Slate’s vaunted “ridiculous phrases universities have trademarked” list. Meanwhile, Danny Pudi’s Marquette-flavored entry in the 30 for 30 series is up at Grantland. Jesuit author featured on ‘The Colbert Report’ to speak at Marquette University commencement.

* The academic outrage of the year is Nazareth College rescinding an offer following a request for more salary, research accommodation, and “official” maternity leave. I’ve been ranting about this on Twitter (1, 2, etc) (and now MetaFilter) all day but I can’t see how people can see this as anything but naked gender discrimination. I hope she sues.

* I know there’s a whole secondary argument on Twitter about the propriety of Buzzfeed’s appropriation here, but I found @steenfox‘s thread incredibly powerful last night. What Were You Wearing When You Were Assaulted?

* This is one of my favorite endlessly recurring Internet images: “Do colleges have to hire RED professors?” asks The American Legion Magazine in Nov. 1951.

The Humanities Crisis Industry.

Workers Sue McDonald’s For Wage Theft Violations In Three States.

Chicago Police Cannot Keep Complaints Of Brutality Secret Anymore, Court Rules. Why could they ever?

Louisiana’s longest-serving death row prisoner walks free after 30 years.

My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and Poor.

Study: Women Who Can Do Math Still Don’t Get Hired.

“Is it time to rethink the 40 hour week?” Yes, it’s time to think about bringing it back.

University of California Credit Is Downgraded by Moody’s.

I’ll give it to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this regard. I had, up until last night, found Ward to be one of the blandest characters on the show. But now he has my sympathies. Because that character is stuck in a world where terrible things happen and, when they happen to him, no one cares.

* Free markets! Disruption! Innovation!

Journalism startups aren’t a revolution if they’re filled with all these white men. How To Make A Pundit. And I can’t wait to see how they voxplain this.

* I want to return to a thread I introduced in that earlier piece with much greater force: That those who write for free or very little simply because they can afford to are scabs. I don’t endorse this piece, honestly, because I think it significantly misunderstands the terms under which TT academics are employed — but I found it an interesting provocation nonetheless.

WI school officials seize control over student paper after ‘rape culture’ article appears.

* Paul Ryan: Just The Worst.

* I have never seen anything as utterly nihilistic as the position Andrew Napolitano proudly puts his name on here. It’s unreal.

* The Sheep Look Up: Radioactive ‘Oil Socks’ Found Illegally Stockpiled In Abandoned North Dakota Gas Station. North Carolina Environmental Agency Removes Climate Change Links From Website. Panasonic First Multinational Company To Pay Air Pollution Hardship For Overseas Workers In China. NASA Study: Climate Sensitivity Is High So ‘Long-Term Warming Likely To Be Significant.’

* The economics of prostitution.

* Seinfeld After People.

* The best TV show you may not be watching: Review from Andy Daly. Also starring another Comedy Bang Bang stalwart, Jessica “Marissa Wompler” St. Clair.

Hands Off My Kid’s iPad.

* Abolish letter grades.

* Reuters auctioning off unpaid internships. My god.

The only thing Americans care about less than climate change is race relations.

“They cry because they are not allowed to be children at all.”

* Scott Aukerman explains BetweenTwoFernsGhazi.

* Teju Cole: @apieceofthewall.

* And the future is terrible.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 13, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Sunday MLA Hangover Links

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* Horrors and horrors: Missouri prosecutors say they are unable to bring rape charges in the brutal Maryville case, though one of the boys involved will be charged for abandoning the 14-year-old to die in the snow afterwards. The victim in the case attempted suicide last week.

For centuries, a little town in Belgium has been treating the mentally ill. Why are its medieval methods so successful?

* For the 20th century since the Depression, we find a strong correlation between a ‘literary misery index’ derived from English language books and a moving average of the previous decade of the annual U.S. economic misery index, which is the sum of inflation and unemployment rates.

* Run the university like a sandwich: The University of East London paid a total of £589,000 in settlement to three senior managers, including its former vice-chancellor, who resigned before news emerged that two overseas ventures had collapsed.

A student’s request to be excused from course work on religious grounds so he would not have to interact with female peers has opened a fractious debate over how institutions navigate between competing human rights.

A Bang, and Then a Whimper: Some Thoughts On the Death of Cooper Union.

The Poverty Line Was Designed Assuming Every Family Had a Housewife Who Was a ‘Skillful Cook.’

As many as 300,000 West Virginians have been warned not to use their water for drinking, cooking, or bathing following a massive chemical spill. The 6 Most Terrifying Facts About The Chemical Spill Contaminating West Virginia’s Drinking Water. Radio Disney’s pro-fracking elementary school tour sparks outrage. Freedom Industry.

Freedom means this happens constantly, a little bit. Freedom means sometimes it happens a great deal.

With the implementation of tighter carbon emissions caps and more responsible household energy use, it is not too late to reverse the dire course of global warming, a panel of scientists who know full well that it is far too late and we are all doomed told reporters today.

* Towards Cyborg Socialism.

A Side Benefit of Legal Weed Is the Cops Go Broke.

* Public service announcement: These Twenty Cities Are Allowed to Complain About the Cold.

canadas-in-US* I think I did this one before, but Google can’t find it: Population distribution of the US, as measured in Canadas.

* Poverty rates soar in US suburbs.

Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500.

* Neat tech demo for a puzzle game premised on manipulating forced perspective.

* Horace Lamb said he’d have two questions for God. I’d have just one.

* Baby monkey reacts to the touch of cold metal.

* America gains yet another weird marriage status on its endless road to marriage quality: Obama Administration To Recognize Utah Same-Sex Couples’ Marriages.

* A series of unrelated events: College football and rape culture.

Let’s Be Real: Online Harassment Isn’t ‘Virtual’ For Women.

No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States.

* Everybody knows it isn’t sweet and right to die for one’s country. But what this column presupposes is…

* Signs of the times: Tens of Thousands of Dead Bats Are Falling From the Sky in Australia.

* RIP, Amiri Baraka.

* How the blind are socialized to understand race.

Why having a woman’s body under patriarchy is a job in itself.

* Understanding white privilege.

* Norway is ludicrously wealthy. 

So is Congress.

* Krugman vs. North Carolina.

* Antinomies of Ultimate Spider-Man. Does anyone know if the described theory of Miles Morales as at least partially anti-Sony flack has any evidentiary basis?

Chewbacca Actor Peter Mayhew Unloads Stockpile of Star Wars Set Photos.

Disney appoints a group to determine a new, official Star Wars canon. I hope to develop the first official heresy.

* Grantland rates every aspect of Bruce Springsteen’s career on an UNDERRATED, OVERRATED, PROPERLY RATED scale. See also a seven-part interview with the Boss from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

* Poetry Magazine has your Game of Thrones fanficpoetry of the week.

* And Steven Moffat says he never bothered to plot out Sherlock season three because he’s been too busy plotting out seasons four and five. Yay?

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Honestly, Meat Is Gross

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Gerald Zirnstein grinds his own hamburger these days. Why? Because this former United States Department of Agriculture scientist and, now, whistleblower, knows that 70 percent of the ground beef we buy at the supermarket contains something he calls “pink slime.”

Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thursday Night

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* Maryland votes in gay marriage! 42 to go.

* A new study finds academic dads abusing paternity league.

* How to predict a student’s SAT score: Look at the parents’ tax return.

* Map of the night: U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II.

* Regarding The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence.

* Two terrible tastes that taste bad together: Rick Santorum and for-profit colleges.

* Mittpocalypse: Romney Drops Below 40 Percent Against Obama in Rasmussen Tracking Poll. Not that Obama’s doing so great either.

* Taibbi is loving it.

* Ron Paul, Peter Theil, and Palantir.

* USPSocalypse.

* Furious backpedaling in Virginia.

* Republic Windows and Doors has been re-occupied. Elsewhere in Occupied America: Rebecca Solnit rhapsodizes—but maybe also eulogizes—Occupy Oakland, while a group affiliated with Occupy Wall Street will host a national convention in July.

“We feel that following the footsteps of our founding fathers is the right way to go,” an organizer told the AP.

I propose we rethink that.

* Why do people make false confessions?

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has confirmed that scientists have found errors in a physics experiment that recorded particles traveling 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light in late 2011. But now, the agency says that one of the errors means the particles could have been traveling faster than that!

* And today’s chilling vision of things to come: “Mutated Trout Raise New Concerns Near Mine Sites.” Enjoy your weekend!

Lots of Thursday Links

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* The unpredictable Republican presidential race has taken another surprising turn as recent numbers show Mongol warlord Genghis Khan seizing the lead in national polls of likely GOP primary voters.

* Santorum leading in Ohio. Obama leading everywhere.

* You had me at hello: Soviet Space Propaganda Posters.

* Part two of Boston Review‘s interview with David Graeber is up.

DJ: In my most cynical days as an academic, I thought of a professorship as the carrot that the establishment offers to make sure that smart people don’t run amok. “Give them a nice little office and a job that’s very stable, and put them in the ivory tower, and they won’t cause any trouble.”

DG: Did you ever read C.B. Macpherson’s theory of the university? It’s similar to that, and it’s actually quite clever. He makes the argument that universities have traditionally fulfilled a kind of court jester role. What is the problem you have if you’re the guy in charge, if you’re a king? It’s that you’re surrounded by yes-men. So there’s nobody there who’s going to tell you if you have a really bad idea. They’ll agree with anything you say. So you need someone who will actually point out when you’re going off the tracks. You’ll also need to make sure that person isn’t taken seriously. So you get a hunchbacked dwarf to tell you a silly rhyme, telling you why your plan is idiotic. And you get to know that your plan is idiotic and think about it, and everybody else says, “OK, hunchbacked dwarf, you talk to the king, that’s fine.” Universities are pretty much the same thing. They’re there to come up with all the reasons why current policies are misguided, why, you know, the current economic systems might not be ideal. They come up with all the alternate perspectives, but they frame it in a way that nobody takes it particularly seriously or can even understand it.

* Life Lessons from The Lion King.

2) The rest of us should be happy to be ruled over by a group of predatory overlords who will devour us whole should we become sick or weak. Someday, eventually, in a vague and symbolic manner, karma will even things up.

3) Physical strength and charm are the defining characteristics for a leader; someone smart is probably just evil anyway. Don’t listen to them.

* The Angel Problem. Via MeFi.

* Ever since I taught The Sheep Look Up last week I see something Brunner predicted in the news nearly every day. Today’s depressing entry: Air Pollution Linked to Cognitive Decline in Women. Now, the dataset was all women, so it’s probably really “air pollution linked to cognitive decline in everyone.” Enjoy your weekend!

…over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush’s record for medical-marijuana busts. “There’s no question that Obama’s the worst president on medical marijuana,” says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s gone from first to worst.”

* New Jersey expected to approve gay marriage; Christie vows veto.

* “All-male House GOP leadership gets all-male witness panel to agree that all-male Catholic hierarchy should set contraceptives policy.”  More here, here, here…

* The Wisconsin Uprising, One Year Later.

* And the Telegraph profiles the Boss.

He does, however, see cause for optimism. “The Occupy Wall Street movement has been powerful about changing the national conversation. The Tea Party set the conversation for a while but now people are talking about economic equality. That’s a conversation America hasn’t had for 20 years.”

There is also a religious dimension to Springsteen’s latest songs. The album shifts towards the spiritual uplift of gospel music in its rousing finale, evoking Jesus and the risen dead. “I got brainwashed as a child with Catholicism,” joked Springsteen, who says biblical imagery increasingly creeps into his songs almost unbidden. “Its like Al Pacino in The Godfather: I try to get out but they pull you back in! Once a Catholic, always a Catholic.”

Thursday Links

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* Today is our last day discussing John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up, and conveniently the headline at io9 right now reads “Gonorrhea is becoming untreatable.” The prophecy was true!

 In an 8-1 vote, the City Council of Greensboro, North Carolina approved a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Greensboro joins Raleigh and Chapel Hill all in opposition to Amendment 1, which comes to a vote on May 8. The Durham City Council opposes the measure too.

* 16 Things Super Bowl Ads Would Like You to Know About Women in 2012.

* Steve Jobs’s FBI file. Academic pro-tip: when beginning research on anyone who is deceased you should immediately request their FBI file.

* Bad news folks: Obama Has Put America On ‘The Path’ Of Executing Religious People By Decapitation.

* In an interesting piece at An und für sich, Adam Kotsko tries to dive beneath the politics and explain just why it is the Catholic hierarchy is so interested in birth control.

I propose that the answer can be found in a historic compromise set forth by one of the most influential thinkers you’ve never heard of: namely, Clement of Alexandria, a second-century Christian philosopher.

* From David Graeber—Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges.

Surely you must recognize, when it’s laid out in this fashion, that this is precisely the sort of language and argument that, historically, has been invoked by those encouraging one group of people to physically attack, ethnically cleanse, or exterminate another—in fact, the sort of language and argument that is almost never invoked in any other circumstance. After all, if a group is made up exclusively of violent fanatics who cannot be reasoned with, intent on our destruction, what else can we really do? This is the language of violence in its purest form. Far more than “fuck the police.” To see this kind of language employed by someone who claims to be speaking in the name of non-violence is genuinely extraordinary.

Facebook has found a way to make money from its new Timeline feature less than five months after launching it, repackaging what people “listen” to, “watch,” and “read” into ads and delivering them to their friends.

* Tomorrow’s TV Tropes today: my friend @drbluman finds another example of Sitcom Entropy, the inexorable law of nature that shows how sitcoms degrade in quality over time.

* Arizona Law SB 1467 Would Make It Illegal to Teach Law, History, or Literature, or for Teachers to Have Sex, or Pee.

* And James Fallows attempts to explain Obama.

This is the central mystery of his performance as a candidate and a president. Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?

My Week for Interviews: William Gibson

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It’s my week for interviews: I have another this week in Independent Weekly with William Gibson. The online version is significantly longer than the print version, if you already read that one.

This brings us back in a way to the 1980s nuclear apocalypse we were talking about earlier. Do you think contemporary ecological fears give young people a sense of what it was like to live inside that nuclear shadow?

It’s a different thing. It’s somewhat in the same ballpark, but it has a different character—in some way, I don’t know, it seems wrong somehow to compare them. [With Mutually Assured Destruction] the horror was: Just stop doing this shit, put those things down, and forget about it … Just stop it.

With anthropogenic climate change, it’s more like: Shit, we didn’t stop it, did we? And that’s kind of all there is. We should be trying to stop this now, but it may have already gone too far… I don’t have too much expectation of seeing how far it’s going to go. I’m inclined to think that our great-great-great-grandchildren will regard us with a degree of contempt perhaps unknown towards one’s ancestors in human history. And I think it’s quite likely that we will deserve it. And that’s new.

Scenes from the Apocalypse

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Thousands of dead fish have washed up on beaches in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Low oxygen levels in warm water is believed to be to blame.

Fifty Fantasy & Science Fiction Works That Socialists Should Read

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Fifty fantasy & science fiction works that socialists should read. Cool list—if a bit questionable sometimes. (Beloved? Really?) Perhaps not surprisingly, this is all very contiguous with my exam lists. A few notable omissions, off the top of my head: John Brunner’s ecopocalyptic The Sheep Look Up (1972), which I’ve been meaning to blog about for months now; the incomparable Samuel Delany’s Triton (1976), likewise; Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975); and, most unforgivably, Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker (1937), which I’ve blogged about once or twice and which I must insist again is very, very good.

See also: Portable Learner’s reading list for time travel and alternate history, in which I must say I am also surprisingly well-read.

That pun is fully intended.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 3, 2008 at 2:58 pm

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