Posts Tagged ‘Tolkien’
* The grotesque corruptions of big-time intercollegiate athletics have become so glaringly obvious that there is simply no longer a question of whether the college sports-industrial complex is a cancer consuming the academy’s soul. With each new, familiar, and utterly predictable revelation of rampant greed, sexual violence, academic malfeasance, and player exploitation, the only real question is whom to blame.
* Is Lawrence Lessig really “the greatest radical at work in America today”? I like some of what Lessig does, but radicals need to step it up a notch.
* GOP cuts school lunches for urban schools, retains them for rural schools, because freedom I guess.
* Second Grader Handcuffed at School for Misbehaving. “The boy says he began yelling after some kids decided to taunt him, but he never got physical.”
Here in the US, we don’t need to force people to confess to crimes they didn’t commit (though we certainly do that, too). No, to truly validate our system, we conscript the defendant’s soul in a different way.
* A while back I wrote that Django Unchained is laudable for making us unable to watch Gone With the Wind uncritically; I believe that Thrones is working similarly to make us unable to watch The Lord of the Rings uncritically.
* And the Los Angeles Review of Books celebrates George Perec.
* Commencement speech bingo. More links below!
* Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries. Well, yes, I’m definitely worried. That’s madness.
* “Hood disease.” My God, don’t call it that.
* It places the United States in the top spot, ahead of Sweden and Canada, which come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Yet when the scores are adjusted for national levels of income, the United States drops to 15th place, behind such developing countries as China and Serbia.
* If you want to help low-income students succeed, it’s not enough to deal with their academic and financial obstacles. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears.
* The proposed rule would cut off student aid to career-focused programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges if the program’s student-loan default rate reached 30 percent or if half of its graduates failed two student-loan debt standards.
* MRA city councilman files Title IX complaint on behalf of U Oregon players arbitrarily kicked off team after DA slow-walks the process to protect their eligibility for March Madness and then declines to bring charges, thereby completing the circle of shitshow.
* According to faculty accounts, deans received an email from the administration on the evening of May 5, alerting them to a meeting the next day about staffing issues. At that meeting, deans in certain colleges were told they needed to cut a prescribed number of full-time faculty positions. Of 16 total cuts, 11 were to come from the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty members said. Deans were given two days – until Thursday – to consult with their department chairs about which faculty members to terminate. Affected instructors were notified that day.
* The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.
The voluntariat performs skilled work that might still command a wage without compensation, allegedly for the sake of the public good, regardless of the fact that it also contributes directly and unambiguously to the profitability of a corporation. Like the proletariat, then, the voluntariat permits the extraction of surplus value through its labor.
But unlike the proletariat’s labor, the voluntariat’s has become untethered from wages. The voluntariat’s labor is every bit as alienable as the proletariat’s — Coursera’s Translator Contract leaves no doubt about that — but it must be experienced by the voluntariat as a spontaneous, non-alienated gift.
* Medical nightmare of the week: Morgellons disease.
* Speculative genetic explanations for social phenomena have an old and undistinguished history, some of which Wade reviews superficially, presumably to demonstrate his skill at reviewing topics superficially. The common thread, though, is that such explanations have always been (1) put forward to establish a bio-political point, to draw imaginary limits around the social progress of certain human groups; (2) accompanied by the dissimulation that they are not political statements, but merely value-neutral science; and (3) false.
* The Bay Area author of an upcoming book shatters the image of California’s historic missions as idyllic sites where Franciscan friars and Indians lived in harmony. Speaking before about 100 people Saturday at the American Indian Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, Elias Castillo, author of “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” said in reality the missions were “death camps.”
* He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. What could possibly go wrong?
* 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.
* Reminded today of a recent Facebook post from Jonathan Senchyne: …teaching students to be critical of the institutional logics and power structures which many of them aspire to belong to requires you to open space and time for them to mourn these institutions as anchors and meaning-givers in their lives. Only after that can they begin to think about how best to live in the ruins and to think otherwise. See also: David Palumbo-Liu, on sadness.
* “The university hasn’t laid out long-term goals for the MOOCs, and the numbers don’t bode particularly well for the courses’ overall success,” the editorial reads. “We’re confused as to why an unproven and unused educational experiment that isn’t even aimed at UT students is something the system feels they should continue funding.”
* Is Ivan adjuncting on your campus? Be vigilant, administrators! Meanwhile the Brookings Institution proposes we just let the markets eat adjuncts. Sure, people can choose to pay more for cruelty-free adjuncts if they want, but in these tough times…
* What chairs can do for adjuncts, today. Informed and realistic, striking precisely because the suggestions are so small.
* When I first saw it on Twitter I couldn’t believe the New York Times *actually* headlined their Wendy Davis profile “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?”
* The headline reads, “USFWS proposes dropping 1.3 tons of rat poison into National Wildlife Refuge.”
* In fact, none of this is true. UNC Chapel Hill is not a coherent undergraduate institution. It’s a holding company that provides shared marketing, finance, and physical plant services for a group of autonomous departments, which are in turn holding companies for autonomous scholars who teach as they please. This is the only possible explanation for the years-long, wholly undetected operation of the African and Afro-American Studies Department credit fraud scam. Or, rather, it’s the only possible explanation other than a huge, organization-wide conspiracy in which the university administration, department, and football team colluded to hand out fake grades to hundreds of athletes.
* Monsanto fails prey to billion-dollar “climate change” hoax. Don’t they know it’s COLD in New York and DC today?
* One they missed? Workers at Closing Goodyear Tire Plant Take Their Bosses Hostage.
* So on a night nearly 43 years ago, while Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier bludgeoned each other over 15 rounds in a televised title bout viewed by millions around the world, burglars took a lock pick and a crowbar and broke into a Federal Bureau of Investigation office in a suburb of Philadelphia, making off with nearly every document inside.
* “All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak,” he said. “If you’re under 40 (years old), you’ve not seen this stuff before.” The Polar Vortex Is Coming.
* Like Sendak and Gaiman, Tolkien insists that fairy tales aren’t inherently “for” children but that we, as adults, simply decide that they are, based on a series of misconceptions about both the nature of this literature and the nature of children.
* Our brains don’t work: Lavishing Kids With Praise Can Make Them Feel Worse About Themselves.
* And the Internet is a massive time-travel killjoy. Why didn’t someone come back and warn us this would happen?
- Attack the tenured and those on the tenure track.
* The tyranny of data: Neflix’s 76,897 genres. No more, no less!
Given this it makes the most sense, and would in some sense be most accurate, to understand both Aragorn and Arwen as half-Elvish who chose the fate of Men, though even then few citizens of Gondor would think of Aragorn as anything but a Man. (Indeed Aragorn, descended from Elros, who chose mortality, is not even given the choice of identifying as an Elf, in the sense that his bloodline does not give him access to Aman.) What none would do is think of Arwen as “3/16 human.” Attempting to force this kind of “scientific” racialism, obsessed with fractional bloodline, on to Middle-earth and Arda is a sort of cultural imperialism: It’s just not how Elves or Men (or Valar) understand race.
* What could possibly go wrong? The United States Is Now the Most Unequal of All Advanced Economies.
* But there’s good news too! Lightning strikes killed fewer Americans than ever in 2013.
* It’s not just your imagination: mass shootings are increasing.
* 10 Films That Passed the Bechdel Test in 2013. There were ten?
* And Walmart Recalls Tainted Donkey Meat from Chinese Stores. “It’s actually fox meat, regulators say.”
* 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.
* The point is truth and beauty, without which our lives will lack grace and meaning and our civilization will be spiritually hollowed out and the historical bottom line will be that future epochs will remember us as a coarse and philistine people who squandered our bottomlessly rich cultural inheritance for short-term and meaningless financial advantage. And that is why you should major in English.
* Wisconsin ranks #1 in the country for our rate of incarcerating African Americans. The state’s incarceration rate is 12.8%, meaning that one in eight black men are currently in state prison. In Milwaukee, the numbers are even more stark. More than half of the black men in Milwaukee have been incarcerated at one point or another, leaving them virtually unemployable as more and more employers run routine background checks. 2/3s of them are in the cities 6 poorest zip codes.
* Remember Black Mountain SOLE, the big MOOC U experiment? No one could have predicted it would turn out to be a complete sham.
* Our research confirms that there is a direct correlation between institutional prestige and candidate placement. If we consider the highest ranked programs, the three tied at #1, we find that Harvard University has successfully placed 239 political scientists at 75 institutions—including twelve at Harvard. Princeton has successfully placed 108 political scientists at 62 institutions—including five at Princeton. Stanford has successfully placed 128 political scientists at 51 institutions—including three at Stanford. The highest ranked public university, The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (ranked number four overall), has successfully placed 141 political scientists in 61 institutions—including seven at Michigan. These four schools contribute 616 political scientists; roughly twenty percent of the total tenure-track lines in the discipline at research-intensive programs. The median institutional ranking for the 116 institutions covered is eleven, which implies that eleven schools contribute 50 percent of the political science academics to research-intensive universities in the United States. Over 100 political science PhD programs are graduating students that will contest the remaining 50 percent of openings. More links below the chart.
* Interactive graphic: median income across the US.
* The bedroom tax was designed not just to reduce the welfare bill, but to make an example of those whose benefits were cut. Britain has a housing shortage and a costly welfare state, due to high unemployment, chronic low wages, and an unresolved global economic crisis for which British banks are partly to blame. The bedroom tax sharpens a structural economic problem into a attack on the poor and sick, who are now to be considered lazy, luxuriating in more space than they need in some of the most crowded cities on earth. It’s not just about the money. It’s about making sure people with disabilities and mental health problems no longer get the basic space to live.
* Across the country, public schools employ about 250,000 fewer people than before the recession, according to figures from the Labor Department. Enrollment in public schools, meanwhile, has increased by more than 800,000 students. To maintain prerecession staffing ratios, public school employment should have actually grown by about 132,000 jobs in the past four years, in addition to replacing those that were lost, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
* Elf advocates are successfully delaying Icelandic road projects due to concerns over the possibility of elf nesting habitats in rural lava fields. Concerns over the “hidden folk” are central to Icelandic culture — according to a 2007 poll, 62 percent of Icelandic residents think it’s at least possible that elves exist.
* More simply, as they say in the article, “the Republican Party has engaged in strategic demobilization efforts in response to changing demographics, shifting electoral fortunes, and an internal rightward ideological drift among the party faithful.” Those demobilization efforts are targeted towards black voters in particular, minority voters in general, as well as the poor, all of whom tend to vote Democratic, while they seek to avoid impacting elderly (white) voters who tend to vote Republican. It’s also worth noting that both the efforts and the research is not limited to voter ID laws, but includes proof of citizenship requirements, registration restrictions, and absentee and early voting restrictions. There is a tendency, even among liberals, to dismiss such efforts as simply a legitimate effort to ensure that people have ids. Leaving aside that this still can be a barrier to exercising a fundamental right, such arguments obviously don’t apply to all these restrictions. While they found a small influence for accusations of “voter fraud” this is dwarfed by these other considerations. Targeting the Right To Vote.
* Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal runs an op-ed just straight out calling for a return to white male rule. Merry Christmas, everyone!
* 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….
* Apocalypse, New Jersey: Matt Taibbi reports from Camden. Camden has been like this for decades — while the discourse in the state is always about whether Newark and Jersey City can be “saved,” Camden is simply and permanently written off.
* “The countervailing voices of this notion that student-athletes are being taken advantage of has been the dominant theme and had played out pretty loudly in a variety of outlets,” Emmert said. “The reality is schools are spending in between $100,000 and $250,000 on each student-athlete.” Good news, everyone, I just figured out a really painless way to solve university budget crises!
Prosecutors were hoping to send Couch to jail for up to 20 years, but the defense made the case for why Couch should be let go with just an ankle bracelet and a court order to go to rehab for a while. Their main line of argument was that Couch was actually a victim too. His parents enjoyed a life of wealth and privilege and due to that never bothered to teach Couch that actions had consequences, an expert brought in to defend Couch dubbed the condition “affluenza.”
* BREAKING: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State.
* That reality TV show that wants to send a group of people to go die on Mars is really making of go of acting like they’re serious about it.
* Dark horse apocalypses: Yellowstone supervolcano ‘even more colossal’ that previously thought.
* The Desolation of Smaug is basically Tolkien fan fiction, and Salon says that’s just fine.
* Draw feminist inspiration from this Pantene ad. No, really!
* And science proves Mitochondrial Eve was killed by a really scary spider: Phobias may be memories passed down in genes from ancestors. And not to mention: Fear of Snakes Drove Pre-Human Evolution.