Posts Tagged ‘they say time is the fire in which we burn’
* The cosmic sublime: Here Is Today.
* 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?
101 Early American Euphemisms for Death. From the blog of the day, Vast Public Indifference.
* An unnamed English teacher at Albany High School who wanted to “challenge” his/her students to “formulate a persuasive argument” tasked them with writing an essay about why “Jews are evil,” as if they were trying to convince a Nazi official of their loyalty.
* I’m afraid you’ll find the Daleks are already here.
* The actual rendezvous and lassoing of an asteroid, which NASA characterizes as the “most technically challenging aspect of the mission,” could begin as soon as 2019 and result in the asteroid arriving in the vicinity of the moon in 2021.
* Actually existing media bias: Al Gore is fat edition.
* The New Yorker remembers radical feminist Shulamith Firestone.
* I’ve said this before: let’s have an academic decathlon. You choose a team based on whatever pedagogical criteria you want. You can choose students from public school or private, unionized teachers or not, parochial or secular, from charter or magnet, from Montessori or KIPP or whatever else you want. However, I choose the demographics of the students on your team. For my team, the situation is reversed: you choose the pedagogical factors for my students, but I choose the demographics. You stock your team kids from whatever educational backgrounds you think work, and mine with whatever educational systems you think don’t work. Meanwhile, I give you all children from the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner city and impoverished rural districts where we see the most failure. I stock mine with upper-class children of privilege. I would bet the house on my team, and I bet if you’re being honest, you would too. Yet to accept that is to deny the basic assumption of the education reform movement, which is that student outcomes are a direct result of teacher quality.
* If you are a low-income prospective college student hoping a degree will help you move up in the world, you probably should not attend a moderately selective four-year research institution. The cards are stacked against you.
Who among us can forget Malia’s first words to a rapidly-growing crowd in this historical meeting between present and future, “People of 2009, we come from–” words that were immediately interrupted by her younger self, surrounded by Secret Service, saying, “It’s 2013,” which led future Malia to punch future Sasha, saying, “I told you not to mess with the controls.” Malia then continued, “2013, seriously? What’s the friggin’ point?”
* Academic jobs watch: Specialist Professor, Homeland Security.
* California isn’t a state in which liberals have run wild; it’s a state where a liberal majority has been effectively hamstrung by a fanatical conservative minority that, thanks to supermajority rules, has been able to block effective policy-making. Krugman is optimistic that the Republicans’ stranglehold on the state seems to be abating; I’d note that in the arena of public education at least all the worst ideas are coming from the Democrats.
* That’s because these workers represent what’s happening to U.S. work in three critical ways. First, precarity: Workers lack job security, formal contracts, or guaranteed hours. Second, legal exclusion: Labeled as “independent contractors,” “domestic workers” or otherwise, they’re thrust beyond the reach of this country’s creaky, craven labor laws. And third, the mystification of employment: While a no-name contracted company signs your paycheck, your conditions are set by a major corporation with far away headquarters and legal impunity. Guest Workers as Bellweather.
* But if Emanuel brought Byrd-Bennett in to work the same kind of charter magic in Chicago that she did in Detroit, he may be dismayed to encounter one important difference: Chicago is now in a good position to fight back. The school closings hearings were packed with engaged, motivated citizens, and the teachers union is more organized than it’s been in three decades. During its popular and successful strike, the union’s approval rating climbed while the mayor’s fell—public opinion polls showed that taxpayers blamed Emanuel for the ugliness that took place during negotiations. The CTU’s current leadership has built relationships with community leaders and organizations, forming a coalition to fight the slash-and-burn privatization pushed by the Board of Education and its corporate sponsors, and has even hosted civil disobedience trainings open to the public. This afternoon’s protest will serve as further evidence that Emanuel is indeed up against a new opponent, one strong enough that not even the best “cleaner” may be able to defeat it.
* Nate Silver makes your Final Four book: Louisville Favored in Final Four, but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion.
* Zero Dark Thirty is supposedly a film about freedom. A “freedom so threatening that there are those around the world willing to kill themselves and others to prevent us from enjoying it,” as the TV sound-bite in the background puts it. The odd thing is that this freedom is never once glimpsed within the film itself. Obviously, we are constantly reminded of the imprisonment and torture of the al Qaeda suspects, but it is never their freedom we are meant to be concerned with. More tellingly, it is the American spaces within the film that leave this freedom unseen. A strange becoming-prisoner takes hold of the spaces, and of the American body itself: not unfolding, in the end, either defeat or victory, but pulling together in a constricted space the impossibility of both.
* Two bad tastes that taste good together: Rand Paul filibusters drones.
* Apocalypse now: The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.
* The entrapment defense rarely succeeds, both in terrorism cases and more quotidian (usually drug-related) prosecutions, largely because “entrapment” means something very different in a courtroom than it does in ordinary usage. For nearly a century, the federal courts have allowed a criminal defendant to dodge criminal liability by showing that the governmentinduced her to commit an unlawful act. Once the accused makes such a showing, however, the government still has the opportunity to prove that she was predisposed to commit the crime, even before government agents entered the picture. If a jury accepts the government’s characterization, other factors—the nature or size of the “bait,” the complexity of the government artifice, or the independent wherewithal of the defendant to commit the crime—basically don’t matter: the defendant is still guilty. This means that when entrapment is at issue, the personality, reputation, criminal history, and political or religious beliefs of the accused become the centerpiece of the trial. Post-9/11 juries have had little trouble concluding that the disaffected Muslims (and occasional anarchists) ensnared by the FBI have been sufficiently “predisposed” to engage in terrorism.
* #slatepitches: What SimCity Teaches Us About Real Cities of the Future.
* Ephemeral third ring of radiation makes appearance around Earth. If we lived in a comic book, I bet this story would be fifteen times as awesome.
* And the latest issue of The New Inquiry posits time is the fire in which we burn.
The price of a brick. This only bolsters my push for a LEGO-backed currency.
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!
* My media empire: I have a piece on climate change and science fiction in the new New Inquiry issue on weather, which has gone out to subscribers but isn’t online yet. I’ll let you know when you can read it, though for a mere $2 you could read it this very minute.
* “It’s one of those situations where everybody says it’s an issue but the people who have the most influence and the most ability to do something about it are not acting on it,” said Gary Rhoades, professor of higher education at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education, a virtual think tank supported by faculty and labor groups. He called the adjunct issue a “widely acknowledged challenge” with deep, interwoven roots – many of which pit administrative prerogatives against labor concerns and educational outcomes.
* Game of the day: run from Michel Foucault. Do not become enamored of power.
* zunguzungu is gathering notes towards a canon of post-9/11 literature. I contributed Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” as well as the inevitable science fictional treatments: Battlestar Galactica, District 9, Nolan’s Batman…
* Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage. It’s so hot in Australia they’ve had to add a new color to the weather map.
* This paper uses annual variation in temperature and precipitation over the past 50 years to examine the impact of climatic changes on economic activity throughout the world. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries but have little effect in rich countries. Second, higher temperatures appear to reduce growth rates in poor countries, rather than just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects in poor nations, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and aggregate investment, and increasing political instability. Analysis of decade or longer climate shifts also shows substantial negative effects on growth in poor countries. Should future impacts of climate change mirror these historical effects, the negative impact on poor countries may be substantial.
* The American Prospect considers the legal hyperformalism the GOP has embraced in the face of longterm demographic crisis and declining real power.
What all these efforts have in common is that they are all perfectly legal, and yet they all violate the norms of how American politics had been practiced for decades or even for centuries. All of them exploit some loophole in the law or the Constitution to give Republicans some immediate advantage in the basic ground rules of how political issues are contested.
* The great moral question of our time: On heckling.
* The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America.
* Science catches up to what the poets always knew: Our perception of time changes with age, but it also depends on our emotional state. Research is steadily improving our understanding of the brain circuits that control this sense, opening the way for new forms of treatment, particularly for Parkinson’s disease.
* Great moments in advertising: the UC spends $4.3 million to attract a single student.
* The forever war on women: Under Obama, a Skew Toward Male Appointees.
* And Mitch Hurwitz teases the new Arrested Development. I am…optimistic?
* DAVID BROOKS: Okay, so our act starts with us inflating a giant internet bubble. Then that collapses, taking the country’s economy with it, just as we massively cut taxes on millionaires because, we say, if we don’t the government will have too much money. Right after that we blow off warnings about terrorism and let 3,000 Americans get slaughtered. We use that as a chance to lie the U.S. into invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions into refugees. In the middle of all that we borrow torture techniques from the Inquisition and use them on people in secret sites around the planet. Then we make billions off another financial bubble, the biggest in human history, and do nothing as it collapses, plunging the world into the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. To fix that we open up the national bank vault and shovel out money as fast as possible to all the criminals who made it happen in the first place. Then—as the amazing finale—we refuse to prosecute anyone for that, for the war, or for torture, and we start killing U.S. citizens with flying death robots.
AGENT: …That’s a hell of an act. What do you call it?
DAVID BROOKS: The Aristocrats!
* Male privilege watch: For anyone who’s unfamiliar with her plight, Sarkeesian wanted to start a project to cover a subject that’s not exactly radical: the portrayal of women in video games. Her YouTube account, in which she explains the project, was flooded with comments equating her to the KKK, calling her a “fucking hypocrite slut,” comparing the project to an act of war, and flagging the video as promoting hatred or violence. Her Wikipedia page was vandalized, her picture replaced with pornographic images, and people tried to get the Kickstarter proposal Sarkeesian was using to raise money to support the project shut down. More from MeFi.
* To whit.
“The ability to see him as a human is even more enticing to me than the more sexualized version of yesteryear,” he said. “He literally goes from zero to hero… we’re sort of building him up and just when he gets confident, we break him down again.”
In the new Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones will suffer. His best friend will be kidnapped. He’ll get taken prisoner by island scavengers. And then, Rosenberg says, those scavengers will try to rape him.
“He is literally turned into a cornered animal,” Rosenberg said. “It’s a huge step in his evolution: he’s forced to either fight back or die.”
* People say M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” is an impossible space, but nothing is impossible with LEGO.
* First as farce, then as…?: Romney Touts Presidential Salary Plan That Was Literally A Saturday Night Live Skit.
* Goodfellas‘s famously ambiguous ending finally resolves: Henry Hill has died.
* Someone in the New York Times is stealing my ideas: How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death.
* I’m already deeply nostalgic for Cavendish bananas. The Goldfingers look terrible.
* Academic freedom watch: Jammie Price, a tenured professor of sociology at Appalachian State University, was suspended last month after showing a documentary about pornography in her introductory sociology class.
Price said the film, which she checked out from the university library, was graphic at times but academically relevant to that week’s topic of gender and sexuality. A Wheelock College professor who helped make the movie said it was “ludicrous” to discipline an instructor for showing the documentary, noting that interviews with gender studies scholars figure prominently in the film, which is critical of the porn industry but also includes brief explicit scenes of porn.
* Actually existing media bias: The Liberal Media has consistently given more positive coverage to likely Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney compared to President Barack Obama, according to a new survey of media coverage from the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism Project.
* Alas, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Saw The Largest Decrease In Employment In The Last 12 Months.
* 33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer. Spoiler alert: more like five.
* mightygodking: Why the Silver Age Was Better.
* What better way to fulfill Brando’s legacy and promote Native American rights than with a $250 million Lone Ranger remake/reboot about mystical werewolves murdering people? I really can’t on any level believe this is actually being made.
* The regime for the poor and those within the criminal justice system is both policed and punitive and–in accordance with behavior that exists outside natural, market ordered society–heavily regulated and ordered by the state. Welfare and aid programs become a disciplinary mechanism for the working poor, with government monitoring and sanctioning taking an increasing role in guiding behavior. According to law professor William Stuntz, the courtroom has become a factory for processing; 95 percent of criminal convictions now come from a guilty plea, avoiding a trial. Arrests have risen almost sevenfold with only 60 percent more prosecutors needed. Meanwhile, prosecutors have been able to pull off the impressive trick of increasing the number of plea bargains while also raising the average length of imprisonment during this time period. The lived experience of prisons is also more punitive. Our current prison system is characterized by severe overcrowding, inadequate medical care, infection rates for HIV, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and staph far higher than on the outside world, the degradation of the custodial experience, high costs of keeping social ties intact, punitive long-term isolation, and the ever-present threat of violence and rape.
The extensive government regulation of behavior extends after the prison. As UCLA law professor Sharon Dolovich argues in “Creating the Permanent Prisoner,” those leaving prison enter into a dense web of government management, simultaneously punitive and neglectful. People who leave prison face “[b]ans on entry into public housing, restrictions on public-sector employment, limits on access to federal loans for higher education, and restrictions on the receipt of public assistance… The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section recently embarked on a project to catalogue all state and federal statutes and regulations that impose legal consequences on the fact of a felony conviction. As of May 2011, the project had catalogued over 38,000 such provisions, and project advisers estimate that the final number could reach or exceed 50,000.” Together, these create a new kind of subject, someone who exists permanently on the outside of our civilization, never meant or able to reintegrate back into our social spaces.
* And In Focus has your pictures of Earth from above.
Why go to grad school? Because someday we’ll all be dead.