Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘theory

These Are Monday Links; There Are Many Like Them, But These Are Mine

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* If you’ve been following Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, there’s a new chapter out.

* A One-Item List For Tenure-Track Faculty: Do the job you were hired to do.

* The next wave of Afrofuturism.

* Kim Stanley Robinson: Science Fiction and the Realism of Our Time.

* Bring on the Snowpiercer thinkpieces! 1, 2, 3, 4.

* When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

* Even the liberal George Will: “We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,’” Will implored. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these eight-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”

* Identifying the bodies of those who tried to cross the border illegally.

* Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.

* There is a lizard sex satellite floating in space and Russia no longer has it under control. UPDATE: Russia Regains Control of Gecko Zero-G Sex Satellite.

* If you want to know how I do it. More links below the image!

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* Iron Man Should Move to Cleveland, Not San Francisco.

* A friend said it best: Ricky Gervais is scripting Congress now.

* Star Fleet uniforms: not OSHA-compliant.

* The mask slips: Tax agency says ‘preventing poverty’ not allowed as goal for charity.

* Slave Leia is a bummer.

* “Our bad!” It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the 3 Israeli Teens After All.

* Cupcake fascism.

* This is horrible: First case of ebola reported in Africa’s most populous city Lagos.

* When Tonga Was a Vast Empire.

* The Five Most Overrated Weapons of War.

* On “Bad Feminism.”

* Community colleges and the art of the hustle.

* A lawsuit may determine whether “Happy Birthday” is really still under copyright, which is a bananas notion to begin with.

* Scientists: Rich People, Poor People May Have Shared Common Ancestor.

* BuzzFeed Writer Resigns In Disgrace After Plagiarizing ‘10 Llamas Who Wish They Were Models.’

* Blastr teases Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.

* Giving up beef will reduce carbon footprint more than cars, says expert.

* If I major in philosophy, what are the career prospects?

* Ascension sounds… pretty good?

The deadliest Ebola outbreak in recorded history is happening right now. And now the Liberian government has confirmed that a senior doctor working to fight the disease, Samuel Brisbane, has died, the Associated Press reports. That makes him the first Liberian doctor to die of Ebola in the current outbreak.

In addition, an American doctor has been infected. Keith Brantly, a 33-year-old working for American aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, has been treated and is in stable condition, according to USA Today.

This news comes just days after an announcement that the top Ebola doctor in Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, had been infected.

* And before there was The State, there was You Wrote It, You Watch It.

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All the July 4th Links You Wanted — And More!

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* The Declaration of Independence has a typo; America is abolished. Happy Fourth of July.

* America at 238, by the numbers.

* Hobby Lobby as Pandora’s Box. The icing on the cake.

* Like the Founders intended, an investigation into Blackwater was squashed after a top manager threatened to murder a State department official. Checks and balances. The system works.

Remarks of Thurgood Marshall at the Annual Seminar of the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association in Maui, Hawaii, May 6, 1987.

I cannot accept this invitation, for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite “The Constitution,” they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

As a Canadian I rather like the idea of the American Revolution being aborted and our Yankee cousins staying within the Empire. Among other things it would have meant that slavery would have ended in America a generation earlier and without violence (the British outlawed the slave trade in 1807 and abolished slavery in 1834).

* Meanwhile, a great moment in American democracy.

* Great new web comic from Jason Shiga, whose Fleep and Meanwhile I’ve praised here before.

* Some Dawn of the Planet of the Apes prequels.

* A new China Miéville short story.

* Zoo Animals Are Depressed.

* Gynofuturism: Zoe Saldana says the best roles for women are in space.

* Here’s a List of What Junot Díaz Wants You to Read.

* Judy Clarke defends the indefensible.

* Maria Bamford’s new web series wants to put you in The Program.

* Philosophy Job Placement 2011-2014: Departments with Relatively High Placement Rates.

* “Neuroeconomics.”

* “The Princess Effect: How women’s magazines demean powerful women—even when they’re trying to celebrate them.”

Lionel Messi Is Impossible. More.

* How Belgium built one of the top contenders for the 2014 World Cup, and what the team means to this fractious nation. How Tourette’s-afflicted Tim Howard went from international ridicule to World Cup history. Really, All Hail Tim Howard. How Spain Succumbed to the Innovator’s Dilemma. Why the last group stage game is played simultaneously. Who Won the World Cup of Arm-Folding?

* Zwarte Piets were once openly characterized as Santa’s slaves. Man, Santa’s legacy is complicated.

Cop Keeps Job After Violently Shoving Paraplegic Man From Wheelchair. The search continues for something a cop can do that will actually cost them their job.

* At time of austerity, 8 universities spent top dollar on Hillary Rodham Clinton speeches.

* The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the basic human right we all know about to see other people’s faces in public.

* A radical reply to Hobby Lobby: Take Away the Entire Welfare State From Employers. And another: Hobby Lobby, Student Loans, and Sincere Belief.

* The rules underpinning Porky Pig’s stutter.

* Shirley Jackson reads “The Lottery.”

Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?

* Lies Your Doctor Told You.

* Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the country, thanks to tracking.

* Membership has its privileges: African leaders vote to give themselves immunity from war crimes.

* A Brief History of the Smithsonian.

* A People’s History of the Peeing Calvin Decal.

* In 1990 this nation faced a horrifying outbreak of Richard Nixon rap parodies. This is that story. (via @sarahkendzior)

Facebook Could Decide an Election Without Anyone Ever Finding Out.

* The arc of history is long &c: Oakland Raiders Will Pay Cheerleaders Minimum Wage This Season.

* American Gods is alive! It’s on Starz, but it’s alive!

* “Exclamation points have played a distinguished role in the history of Marxism.” Why We’re Marxists.

* SMBC on fire: If God is omniscient and omnipotent, how could he let this happen? Telepathy machines were created. Check Your Bat-Privilege. I’m the superfluous female protagonist.

* Scenes from the next Paolo Bacigalupi novel: An abandoned mall in Bangkok has been overtaken by fish.

* The UNC fake-classes scandal has gotten so outrageous even the NCAA has been forced to pay attention.

* Should “free college” be framed as a right or a privilege?

When two good guys with guns confront one another.

* The Hard Data on UFO Sightings: It’s Mostly Drunk People in the West.

* Let’s colonize ourselves by 3D printing ourselves on other planets.

* Catfish and American Loneliness.

* The Hooded Utilitarian has been running an Octavia Butler Roundtable.

* Another Pixar conspiracy theory: the truth about Andy’s Dad.

* All about the miraculous Community revival. And more. Yay!

* Introducing the Critical Inquiry Review of Books.

* And some more good news! Bear rescued after head gets stuck in cookie jar. Happy Fourth of July!

Written by gerrycanavan

July 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Tuesday Links

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* My favorite website is having big financial problems. The New Internet Gods Have No Mercy.

The museum as classroom: Marquette professors use art for pilot project.

* Insuring the apocalypse.

* Commencement speakers, reaction, and the hatred of students. In Defense of Protesting Commencement Speakers. Remember: writing a letter to a public figure is wildly inappropriate, but personally attacking students from the podium at their own graduation is just fine.

* A Commencement Address from Jonathan Edwards.

* Online Education and The Erosion of Faculty Rights.

* Whole Foods Realism: US-China Relations, futurity, and On Such a Full Sea.

It makes a canny kind of sense, then, that a 2014 incarnation of the film that bears his name would reprise visual scenes of global environmental catastrophes and dare us to think of them in tragic terms.   is a film for the anthropocene — the age when human actions have caused irreversible ecological damage.  Tragedies, like feelings, happen at a human scale.  But ours is a time when human actions work off the human scale, causing events in our world that require much more strenuous interventions than sympathy and tears.  It’s hard to know what to feel, in the face of the catastrophe we have made, or what difference our feelings would make.

* Silicon Valley Dreams of Fascism.

* NYU Issues Apology for Mistreatment of Workers on Abu Dhabi Campus. Well, that settles that!

* Executive Compensation at Public Colleges, 2013 Fiscal Year. Former University Presidents and Their Pensions. A new report finds that student debt and low-wage faculty labor are rising faster at state universities with the highest-paid presidents.

* NLRB May Reconsider Unionization Rights For Graduate Students In College Football Case.

What are the humanities good for? The negative magisterium of the humanities.

* …or what’s an MLA for?

* Disruptive Innovation! The original theory comes from Clayton Christensen’s study of things like the hard drive and steel industries where he realized that disruptive products tend to combine new technologies, cheaper production, and — crucially — worse products.

* Pamela Anderson, survivor.

* Torture of a mentally ill prisoner in a Miami jail.

* Buzzfeed and Schizophrenia. And they said theory is useless!

Economics in Fantasy Literature, Or, Why Nerds Really Like Stuff.

* Clickbait dissertations.

* We’ve hit Peak Should I Go to Grad School.

* Exit Through the Gift Shop: 9/11 Museum Edition.

* Three months in jail for Cecily McMillan.

The United States has 710 prisoners per 100,000 people. Iceland has 150. Total.

White House Promises To Never Again Let The CIA Undermine Vaccinations. Oh, okay, then all is forgiven!

‘There Will Be No World Cup': Brazil on the Brink.

* Add “DUI” to the list of crimes rich people don’t have to worry about anymore.

* Duke Libraries is still running its Mad Men series of period advertising. Here’s the link for the latest episode.

* Presenting the Netflix Summary Glitch.

Washington Archdiocese takes to the heavens, with a drone. Can autonomous robot baptism be far behind?

* The water main breaks will continue until morale improves.

The actress who helped Lincoln defeat the Confederacy.

* Corey Robin: The Republican War on Workers’ Rights.

* David Harvey reviews Piketty.

* Law and Order: Westeros.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on your fond memories of Star Wars, forever. At least the maximally unnecessary Harry Potter prequels suddenly have a chance of being good.

* And the 90s are literally turning to dust.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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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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Spring Break So Close You Can Taste It Links

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* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.

* CFP for the 2014 Marxist Literary Group at the Banff Centre: Energy, Environment, Culture.”

* CFP: Bruce Springsteen Studies.

* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.

* Meanwhile. My god. And my god. And my god. And my god. The US courts are just a bottomless nightmare.

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims. Yes we can!

* Freddie deBoer on the unbearable lightness of always voting Democrat.

* The unbearable whiteness of Project X.

* 25 Years of Declining State Support for Public Colleges. Many Colleges ‘Hoard’ Endowments During Rough Economic Times. The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.

* Service, Sex Work, and the Profession.

* The SATs have been provably racist and classist for decades with no improvements; Canavan’s Razor would suggest that’s the entire point. But this time…

The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.

An Elegy for Academic Freedom.

* 10 Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People.

* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.

“Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.

* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.

* Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher’s car.

* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?

The Fetishization of Lupita Nyong’o.

* Who owns the Oscar selfie?

* Zombie Studies in the WSJ.

Why Sweden has so few road deaths.

* Durham school board joins teacher tenure lawsuit.

According to a New Study, Nothing Can Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

Activists Erect A Monument To Rape Survivors On The National Mall.

How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation.

* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!

Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ‘em.

Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!

* How do you remember a massacre?

* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.

* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed.

* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Wednesday Night!

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alkebu-lan-1260* Kinsey gaffe from the Times re: CUNY: Mr. Milliken, 56, the president of the University of Nebraska since 2004, will take over a school system that has undergone a spate of recent expansion but is still troubled by large pockets of impoverished and academically lagging students, the overwhelming majority of whom come from the city’s public schools. Still troubled by existence of the students the school was established to serve. Must be a real nightmare over there.

* Women Destroy Science Fiction!

* First as tragedy… Žižek’s Jokes contains every joke cited, paraphrased, or narrated in Žižek’s work in English (including some in unpublished manuscripts), including different versions of the same joke that make different points in different contexts.

* Oliva Pope fixes Chris Christie.

Stutzer and Frey found that a person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40% more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office. On the other hand, for a single person, exchanging a long commute for a short walk to work has the same effect on happiness as finding a new love.

* Disband West Virginia. I’m From West Virginia and I’ve Got Something to Say About the Chemical Spill. Why So Many West Virginians Relied on Water from the Elk River: Industry Already Polluted the Others.

Do You Really Want to Use a Commercial Learning-Management System?

The colonization counterfactual. “What if Africa had never been colonized but was still re-formed into the kinds of political bodies which colonialism sought to create.”

The university is dead. The question to ask now is not, how do we bring it back. That’s impossible and quite undesirable. The question is what new forms of genuinely democratic self-organization might rise from its ashes? To even begin to ask this question we must first of all get rid of the police.

* Cultural Preservation: Preserving Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. This is where Dylan hitchhiked to see Woody Guthrie, right at the border of my hometown.

* BREAKING: Fox Only Talks About Climate Change When It’s Cold.

* RT @wewatchwatchers: In whiteness news: Man found with pipe bomb at Edmonton airport allowed to fly.

* Bruce v. Christie: I’ll allow it.

* Schweitzer tacks against Obama: The inside story of how Obamacare became an insurance-industry bailout.

* NLRB finds that Wal-Mart illegally intimidated and retaliated against organizers. I assume that means the corporation is dissolved and becomes a worker’s collective.

Studies Confirm: Kids Ruin Your Life. Now they tell me?

* And three years ago it cost me $1000 to sequence one gene. Now that’s what it costs to sequence an entire genome.

Tuesday Night!

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* Reviews of Disability in Science Fiction at Tor and wordgathering focus on my chapter in particular, each taking up a different half of it; read them together and you get a pretty good sense of what I was on about.

* Confirm your suspicions about who the worst people at Gawker are: What Should Be Done About Detroit? A Gawker Internal Debate.

* The corporate university and permanent crisis.

Radicalizing Fantasy and the Power of Disidentification.

UConn Is Under Federal Investigation For Allegedly Mishandling Rape Cases.

American Companies Made No Progress In Gender Diversity On Boards For 8 Straight Years.

Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels.

* The good-looking are different from you and me.

Remembering Nelson Mandela and His Fight for Climate Justice.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.’

Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler. “Zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers.”

That’s not what the Left wants. We want to give people the chance to do something else with their lives, something besides merely tending to it, without having to take a 30-year detour on Wall Street to get there. The way to do that is not to immerse people even more in the ways and means of the market, but to give them time and space to get out of it. That’s what a good welfare state, real social democracy, does: rather than being consumed by life, it allows you to make your life. Freely. One less bell to answer, not one more.

‘Revenge porn’ site creator charged with extorting victims to have nude photos removed.

* And Obamacare is still a huge, huge bummer, forever and ever amen.

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!

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* The newest Ted Chiang story details the struggle of forgetting against memory.

* CFP for ICFA 2014, always my favorite conference experience of the year. This year’s theme is “Fantastic Empires.” If history is any guide, I’d wager Ted Chiang will be there!

* Am I Yanomami or am I nabuh? The child of a Yanomami woman and a male American anthropologist goes to the Amazon to look for his mother.

* The Internet Explained By Prisoners Who Have Never Seen It.

* Covert action. Surveillance. Counterintelligence. The U.S. “black budget” spans over a dozen agencies that make up the National Intelligence Program.

* The five (and a half) stages of humanitarian military intervention. Great moments in op-eds: Bomb Syria, Even if It Is Illegal. Adam Kotsko: If the U.S. government lacks either the will or the ability to take care of those very serious problems in a country where it enjoys largely unquestioned legitimacy, stable institutions, and a docile population, exactly why the fuck is it remotely plausible that it can solve problems in a foreign country embroiled in a civil war?

* Hometown news! A Morris County court has determined that knowingly texting a driver could leave you on the hook for their crash.

* Football’s Concussion Crisis, Explained. The NFL has just settled with the players for $765 million in the latest round of concussion-related lawsuits.

* Johnny Manziel’s suspension exposes ridiculousness of NCAA’s double standards.

* Even if he wins, will Bill de Blasio actually be able to accomplish anything?

* Do Republicans really have better-than-even odds to take the presidency in 2016?

* Northeastern just has its adjuncts’ best interests at heart. If anything, maybe it loves too much.

* Meet Dr. Donna Nelson, science advisor for Breaking Bad.

* Eric Holder Says DOJ Will Let Washington, Colorado Marijuana Laws Go Into Effect.

* Science proves men are just the worst.

* The New York Times has a feminist history of Monopoly.

* Definitely, 100% accurate: Scientists say they’ve found key to actual warp drive.

* Teju Cole’s Dictionary of Received Ideas.

SCANDAL. If governmental, express surprise that people are surprised. If sexual, declare it a distraction, but seek out the details.

SEMINAL. Be sure to use in a review of a woman’s work. Proclaim your innocence after.

SMART. Any essay that confirms your prejudices.

STRIKE. Always “surgical.” (See EGGS.)

* Mitch Hurwitz keeps making promises that he better by God deliver.

* And SEK’s Internet Film School is officially open for business. Go read up!

Tuesday Links!

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* In case you missed it / in case you’re interested: syllabi for my courses for this fall, Postmodern American Fiction and 21st Century Science Fiction.

* Stylish bulletproof whiteboards for today’s academic-on-the-go. Available in pink, blue, and green!

* Mothers are not ‘opting out’ – they are out of options.

* What would happen if, at long last, women and especially mothers were paid the market rate for their services? To begin with, it might buoy the baseline value of such work above zero, so that rank-and-file nurses, cleaners, and child care workers moiling in the waged economy wouldn’t get such lousy pay. Rosler and Federici belong to a generation of leftists largely suspicious of economic rationality, but to extend it, rather than battle to incrementally reduce its influence, could do women good. Put a price on women’s work, they say. If that work suddenly seems too expensive, it should. Perhaps men — increasingly the sex without work — might just do “women’s work” at lower pay, as women have done men’s since the Industrial Revolution. And perhaps women, as studies have shown they do, will use their wealth to improve the quality of life of entire households, entire societies.

tumblr_lzhczqOOaQ1qz9zmqo1_500* Coffee bad for you again. Stay safe, academics!

* Patriarchy by the numbers.

Big Smart Objects: Drone Culture and Elysium.

* Springsteen noir film series in Asbury Park.

* Simon Pegg, Marxist theorist.

Is it true that you wrote your undergraduate thesis on a Marxist overview of popular 1970s cinema and hegemonic discourses?

I did. The piece was actually called Base and Super Sucker which was a play on the phrase “Basic Super Structure”, which is a Marxist proposition, hegemony and consent in Star Wars and related works. Basically I was using Marxist modes of critical theory to address Star Wars. And the main thrust of it was that if you watch any kind of television or theatre or film that has certain kind of themes or opinions and you don’t critically recognize them, then you consent with them. So very simply put, if you watch a racist comedian and you laugh, then you are a racist. And there are various preoccupations and concerns that flow through popular cinema that reflect things that are going on in society, certain ideas and certain fears. The thesis suggested that by watching films like those you are participating in those fears and preoccupations.

He talked a little bit about this on WTF the other week.

* “In previous papers, ‘Financing the University – Parts 12-14’, I have demonstrated that there is a much larger constellation of management bureaucracy throughout UC, which has grown enormously over the past decade and is now estimated to waste some $600 million per year. The Senior Management Group, which you talk about here, is just the tip of that iceberg.”

Five or Six for Friday

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* Games that combine both compelling narrative and dissonance are a rare find, and to our great fortune, one of the most respected publishers in the field is about to release a new, revised edition of interactive literature’s lost masterpiece. A game that offers profound storytelling, and a tension of opposing narrative and gameplay that threatens to tear the entire game asunder. It shows us greed, fear and familial neglect, and studies the horror of capitalism taken to logical extreme. I speak, of course, of Capcom’s tour-de-force: DuckTales. A footnote, perhaps, to Dorfman and Mattelart’s classic How to Read Donald Duck.

Chimes of Freedom: How Springsteen Helped Tear Down the Wall.

* IRS scandal, still bogus.

* We Coke drinkers have known it for years: Pepsi causes cancer.

* Jet stream sure acting funning. Eh, it’s probably nothing.

* And TPM has your Sainthood Update.

Thursday Night Bummerwatch

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* With all the bad news today, this is the one that really breaks my brain: Texas Says It’s OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won’t Have Sex With You. That’s completely lunatic. I just can’t believe it’s a real event that happened.

* My friend Brent Bellamy has a working bibliography of U.S. post-apocalyptic fiction.

Inequality, MOOCs and The Predator Elite.

Think about the writing-for-free model that has taken over journalism.  His point can be supported by the millions made by Arianna Huffington, while many of her writers worked for little or nothing.  Yes, writing is one of what Lanier is calling the “pleasant” jobs — as is teaching (I didn’t say easy.  But dedicated writers and educators alike see what they do as rewarding and important work.)  Why should journalists or educators be working for little to no money, living at the edge of poverty, while the people at the top of this sort of economic structure are reaping enormous fortune?  According to Lanier, this is a conscious breach of the all-important social contract that not only provides what he calls the “hump” of middle class citizens — that middle area surge on the economic chart where the majority of people fall — but that large, sustained middle class keeps the rest of the system going.  Without it, the economy fails, as does democracy itself.

A Dangerous Supplement: Speculative Realism, Academic Blogging, and the Future of Philosophy.

Silicon Valley’s Awful Race and Gender Problem in 3 Mind-Blowing Charts.

* And MetaFilter goes inside World War Z, a film “already being called the biggest flop in film history.” So at least there’s that.

Monday Night Links!

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* Northrop Frye by way of Adam Roberts: The basis of critical knowledge is the direct experience of literature, certainly, but experience as such is never adequate. We are always reading Paradise Lostwith a hangover or seeing King Lear with an incompetent Cordelia or disliking a novel because some scene in it connects with something suppressed in our memories, and our most deeply satisfying responses are often made in childhood, to be seen later as immature over-reacting… As a structure of knowledge, then, criticism, like other structures of knowledge, is in one sense a monument to a failure of experience, a tower of Babel or one of the “ruins of time” which, in Blake’s phrase, “build mansions in eternity.” Adam makes the same connection to SF I make:

I think this resonates so strongly with me partly because science fiction was something I fell in love with as a child-reader. I still love it; still write it and write about it. But I’m increasingly conscious of the ways in which the exercise is based upon a kind of structural hermeneutic inadequacy. ‘Our most deeply satisfying responses are often made in childhood, to be seen later as immature over-reacting’ is almost a too perfect thumbnail of the adult apprehension of SF; and SF criticism always a kind of running-to-catch-up uttering various post-facto justifications. What’s neat about this Frye quotation is the sense it conveys that, actually, all criticism is in the business of doing this.

“Industrial-era education” as rhetorical whipping boy.

* Lukewarm Obama scandals coming day-by-day now. Hello, second term!

“Of the 41 percent of Republicans who consider Benghazi to be the worst political scandal in American history…

* Lili Loofbourow covers the struggle against privatization of higher ed in Chile for Boston Review.

* NPR profiles Duke’s Own Fred Moten.

So This Is How It Begins: Guy Refuses to Stop Drone-Spying on Seattle Woman.

* Peter Frase has more on Universal Basic Income as utopia.

* Why all babies say “mama.”

* Kurt Vonnegut’s final exam prank.

And let this be our culture’s epitaph. We could do worse.

Wednesday, Oh, Wednesday

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* There’s nothing inherently fascist in Žižek’s call for an elite cadre of benevolent dictators to rule us like kings. Why, it says so right there in black and white:

There is absolutely nothing inherently ”Fascist” in these lines – the supreme paradox of the political dynamics is that a Master is needed to pull individuals out of the quagmire of their inertia and motivate them towards self-transcending emancipatory struggle for freedom.

* Peter Frase on the perils of wonkery. And then there’s Kotsko’s take:

The NCAA’s Perfectly Fair Rules.

* Despite three generation of survivalist horror in mass media, “Sociologists have shown that people tend to behave very admirably under the pressure of a disaster; panic and anti-social behavior are fairly rare.”

* How student debt (and of course the larger economic collapse) is messing with the larger consumer economy.

“Public higher education, which educates 70 percent of students in the United States, is about to cross a historic threshold,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “For the first time ever, students will pay a higher percentage of the operating costs… than state governments.”

But the system of federal financial aid is constructed in such a way that putting together strict “maintenance of effort” requirements — requiring states to keep funding public higher education in order to receive federal dollars — is difficult because states receive relatively little money for higher education from the federal government. As a result, previous maintenance of effort requirements have been “nibbling at the edges,” Madzelan said.

* Who is promoting Alex Jones?

The Gold Collapse Is Personally Costing Ron Paul A Fortune.

* And the headline reads, “New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls All Women ‘Vaginas.’” I mean really.

Wednesday Is Friday and the Living’s Easy

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Half the professoriate will kill the other half for free.

In other words, while a few already well-paid superprofessors get their egos stroked conducting experiments that are doomed to fail, “second- and third-tier universities and colleges, and community colleges” risk closing because Coursera and its ilk have sent higher education price expectations through the floor and systematically devalued everybody else’s work. And they get to do all this while dispensing a produuct that they know is inferior! Jay Gould would be proud.

The irony, of course, is that “business” logic can kill its own host, like any parasite. When taken as an end in itself, it destroys everything — and then there’s nowhere else to invest, no more areas producing real values that can be syphoned off into the giant pool of money. The imaginary values that finance has racked up then become the object of a game of hot potato, furiously churning through the system until the point when they simply disappear (i.e., lose all their value). That’s what running everything “like a business” does — it trades real value for imaginary value that is then destroyed.

* Just because it’s totally ineffective doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it: A study by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2011, which looked at school closures in six US cities, found that school districts end up saving less than had been predicted. But think of all the other advantages school closings offer!

A University of Chicago study focusing on schools closed between 2001 and 2006 found that only six percent of displaced students ended up in high-performing schools.

And 42 percent of students continued to attend schools with ‘very low’ achievement levels. A year after changing schools, students’ reading and math abilities were not any better or worse.

Students who did go to better-performing schools also had to travel an average of 6km to get there – which critics say risks the safety of students who have to go through neighbourhoods containing rival gangs.

Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing ‘crisis of conscience’ after death of Aaron Swartz.

* The Barbed Gift of Leisure.

And here, at the limit of life that idling alone brings into view in a nonthreatening way, we find another kind of nested logic. Call it the two-step law of life. Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. Enjoy!

Junot Diaz Talks Superman As An Undocumented Immigrant On The Colbert Report.

The Essential Verso Undergraduate Reading List. Makes me think I really need to start including more theory on my syllabi.

* MOOCs we can believe in? One of the most remote outposts of Jesuit higher education is tucked away in dusty northwest Kenya, in a place whose name means “Nowhere” in Swahili. There, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, a small group of students — refugees from several neighboring African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — are enrolled in online courses taught by 28 Jesuit colleges, mostly in the United States. The course is part of the Jesuit Commons project.

* Unexpected: SCOTUSblog now thinks there’s at least five judges who will vote to strike down DOMA. Meanwhile, McCaskill seems to have triggered Hagan to announce her support of marriage equality.

* Ripped from the stuff Fox News usually just has to make up: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has stepped into the fray over an offensive classroom exercise at Florida Atlantic University in which students were asked to stomp on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it.

Boston College threatens disciplinary action against students distributing condoms.

Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.

Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”

Mexican town finds more security by throwing out the police.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal considers the Singularity.

* xkcd considers the past as another country … with an outdated military and massive oil reserves.

* And making the rounds again: The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.

soldier-yawning-perfect-timing

So Many Sunday Night Links

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* In 1988 the Los Angeles Times predicted we’d have robots by now.

Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year. But what’s the story on the headline? “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor.”

* The struggle of adjuncts against Obamacare.

* Meanwhile, China is spending $250 billion a year on education.

Here’s a wild fact. At a Women in Science edit-a-thon at the Smithsonian led by Stierch, new articles about women scientists were nominated for deletion even as they were being posted.

Bruno Latour wins the 2013 Holberg Prize.

* What else could the British government spend £100 billion on, if not nuclear weapons?

Half of people shot by police are mentally ill, investigation finds.

On Saturday, March 9, New York City police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. After those seven bullets hit him, he lay on the ground and cried out, “Please don’t let me die.”

* Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor.

A Brief History of How We Lost the Commons.

* Graft and graffiti abatement.

Facebook finally admits to tracking non-users.

Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites. And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant. Welcome to the Internet without privacy.

* Search engines and the law.

“Yours truly, The Colored People of Concordia Parish.”

Nearly five decades later, the Justice Department has written back — not directly to the family of Mr. Morris or to the black community of Concordia Parish, but to dozens of other families who lost loved ones during this country’s tumultuous and violent civil rights era.

Several years ago, the F.B.I. began reopening cold cases from that era — 112 at last count — raising hopes among some for justice. In all but about 20, though, the families of the long dead have received letters, often hand-delivered by F.B.I. agents, that say their cases have been closed, there is nothing more to be done — and please accept our condolences.

2 Ohio football players found guilty of rape, to be jailed at least 1 year; case roiled town. CNN Reports On The ‘Promising Future’ of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are ‘Very Good Students.’ Same story at Raw Story. Reactions from all the worst people in the universe. What Steubenville’s Rape Trial Reminds Us About Consent.

* Why is the European Central Bank trying to cause a depression? I mean really. I mean really.

“We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move.”

Famous Seattle Ceramicist Exposed as Holocaust Denier. Wow.

User-Renters in SimCity.

* The headline reads, “3,000 More Dead Pigs Won’t Make the Huangpu River Any Worse.”

* I’ve seen it a few times now, but I can’t believe any headline reads “Winnie Mandela Shocked at Possible Murder Charge.”

* Catholicism without Popes? The Pope Is Not the Church. Pope Francis sets casual style. Is Pope Francis a fraud?

The Smartest Guy in the Room.

* And just because Marquette’s a three seed: March Madness raw seedings, before the bracket. And the bracket itself.

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