Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘UFOs

Friday Friday

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This is the fourth installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries: America’s Annual Pilgrimage Begins.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea. The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn’t enough to save them.

The National Security Agency has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of those whom the agency believes are radicalizing others through incendiary speeches, according to a top-secret NSA document.

SeaTac $15 Minimum Wage Barely Passes In Final Vote Tally, Recount May Follow.

* Marissa Alexander has been released from jail.

* Self-censorship and repressive regimes.

* The horror of scale: What scared H. P. Lovecraft.

* And okay, I’ll check it out: As presidents leave office, they also leave a letter for their successors. In Oni Press’ new comic Letter 44, the newest president is taken aback when he reads the letter from the man who preceded him — a man who seemed to tank the economy and embroil the nation in needless wars — but was actually secretly preparing America for an imminent alien invasion.

A British Teacher’s Archive of Confiscated Toys.

* K Punk watches Catching Fire.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about  the Hunger Games is the way it simply presupposes that revolution is necessary. The problems are logistical, not ethical, and the issue is simply how and when revolution can be made to happen, not if it should happen at all. Remember who the enemy is - a message, a hailing, an ethical demand that calls out through the screen to us …. that calls out to a collectivity that can only be built through class consciousness ….

* Judith Butler defends the humanities.

* And the New Yorker profiles David Graeber, “Robin Hood for the Debt Crisis.”

Wednesday Night Links

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* Obama Makes It Clear He Isn’t Willing To Fight for Action on Climate Change. Boy, I’m really looking forward to liberals holding Obama’s feet to the fire on climate now that he won the election! Poll results show “the dramatic impact 2012′s extreme weather has had across party lines, with half of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats saying they’re worried about the growing cost and risks of extreme weather disasters fueled by climate change.” How Would We Implement A Carbon Tax? (Almost) Everything You Need To Know. Doing The Climate Math: Action Obama Can Take Now. Germany Has Built Clean Energy Economy U.S. Rejected in 80s.

* Horrible: A miscarrying woman has died in Ireland after being denied a medically necessary abortion.

* Normally differential tuition proposals are based on the different costs of running different programs (if your major is more expensive to run you should pay more etc) or, when there is some sort of relationship to future earnings that those entering more lucrative fields can afford more (part of the rationale for higher professional school fees). But the Florida Task Force operates on the opposite assumption: that costs of programs should not matter and that those who allegedly have worse job options should pay more for their programs than those who will move into fields that make them immediately employable. Or to put it more bluntly, that philosophy students should pay more for their education than STEM students because there are more jobs available in STEM fields than jobs as philosophers. Of course, as Elizabeth Propp Berman recently pointed out this job driven logic doesn’t even make economic sense: economic opportunities for most STEM fields are not higher than for many humanities or liberal arts fields, and the sorts of skills provided in the humanities and social sciences are in great demand in the economy.

* Right-wing operatives have decided that prisons are a lot like schools: hugely expensive, inefficient, and in need of root-and-branch reform privatization.

* But the kids are all right. A majority of Americans support sanity on immigration policy, too.

* Doug Henwood is unimpressed with Rolling Jubilee.

Wisconsin GOPers back bill to arrest officials who implement Obamacare. It was your party’s own idea, you lunatics.

* The VCE exam body has been left red faced after a doctored artwork depicting a huge robot helping socialist revolutionaries during the Russian Revolution was accidentally included in this year’s year 12 history exam taken by 5700 students. Teach the controversy!

* The no-stars New York Observer restaurant review everyone’s talking about.

* Gerrymandering was probably less of a factor in the election than systematic underrepresentation of urban populations more generally. But it’s still ridiculous.

* Someone just lit $10,000 on fire for no reason.

* Even the absolutely minimal filing requirements for PACs was too much for Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal nails it, as always.

* And this time for real: Local News Crew Confirms Denver Man’s UFO Claims While Attempting to Debunk Them.

All the Tuesday Links

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* Mars. 

* “For Unpaid College Loans,Feds Dock Social Security.”

Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism Advisory Board member and University of Nebraska at Omaha Criminology professor Pete Simi had extensive long term contact with alleged Wisconsin mass killer Wade Michael Page when he was conducting a multi-year study of the hate rock music scene in Southern California.

* The wisdom of markets: ‘Crude-oil futures bounced up over $1 at one point Monday after a false Twitter rumor exposed the oil market’s knee-jerk fear of Mideast turmoil.’

* Romney v. Reid, part 1000: “I don’t really believe that he’s got any kind of a credible source.” They’re his tax returns; if it’s within the realm of possibility that Reid has “any kind of a credible source,” isn’t that logically a concession the claim is true? TPM explains how it could be, though I still think it probably isn’t.

Louisiana School Forces Students to Take Pregnancy Tests, Kicks Out Girls Who Refuse Or Test Positive. Naturally, the school also forces any young man suspecting of fathering a child to let’s not ruin a young man’s life over one mistake.

* The brightest timeline: New Arrested Development Season Starts Shooting Today.

* The darkest timeline: Papa John Warns: Pizza Prices Will Rise Under Obamacare.

Ohio man brings bag full of knives, guns and ammo to ‘Dark Knight’ screening – tells police it’s for self-defense.

Residents in Richmond. North Richmond and San Pablo. Are advised to shelter in place. Go inside. Close All windows and doors. Turn off all heaters. Air conditioners and fans…

* Joss Whedon will write and direct both Avengers Reaveng’d and help develop the Marvel TV series. This is reasonably promising, and yet I can’t help but agree with @HitFixDaniel: “I’d rather have Joss Whedon direct *literally* anything original than do an “Avengers” sequel. *ducks*”

* Save the arcade industry the barcade way.

* For my SF academics: UC Riverside’s Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize Ursula Le Guin, Ray Harryhausen and Stan Lee. As if you need another reason to go!

* The last alignment chart you’ll ever need: all Gary Oldman edition.

* The last missing piece of the puzzle: Witness claims there were actually two UFO crashes at Roswell in 1947.

Science Proves Luke Skywalker Should Have Died In The Tauntaun’s Belly.

* And don’t say it unless you mean it: speaking on Attack of the Show about Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, David Tennant says he’s still got the costume.

Friday Night!

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* So Mark Zuckerberg made $20 billion dollars today. On Twitter I’ve proposed taxing this windfall at 99%, leaving him with a cool $200 million, more money than he or his children or grandchildren could ever need—but like any good liberal I’m open to negotiation. UPDATE: Man alive, the U.S. tax code is screwed up.

* Behold the glories of the free market: New Mexico gave Marvel Studios $22 million to make a movie that’s now grossed over a billion.

* Meanwhile, Curt Schilling rips off Rhode Island for a few million dollars. More.

What We Don’t Know About Student Debt. More from Slate. Why the Right Hates English. And today’s postacademic rant: The American Corp-University Complex.

* Vulture Magazine tells Wes Anderson that they made a movie out of Battleship. He is… nonplussed.

* Obama basically confirms to Jaden Pinkett Smith the aliens are real.

* Arizona Secretary of State is threatening to leave Obama’s name off the ballot on birther grounds. Meanwhile, Breitbart.com has invented afterbirthism. Six months till November.

* Where are the campaigns spending money? #1 with a bullet: Greensboro, NC.

* Engineer: Star Trek’s Enterprise ship could be built in 20 years at a cost of $1 trillion. Well, if that’s all it costs we definitely should.

Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men.

How, then, does any of this relate to the frankly incendiary notion that teaching equality hurts men?

Because of everyone, straight, white men are the least likely people to experience exclusion and inequality first-hand during their youth, and are therefore the most likely to disbelieve its existence later in life. Unless they seek out ‘feminine’ pastimes as children – and why would they, when so much of boy-culture tells them not to? – they will never be rebuked or excluded on the basis of gender. Unless someone actively takes the time to convince them otherwise, they will learn as teens that the world is an equal place – an assertion that gels absolutely with their personal experiences, such that even if women, LGBTQ individuals and/or POC  are rarely or never visible in their world, they are nonetheless unlikely to stop and question it. They will likely study white-male-dominated curricula, laugh ironically at sexist, racist and homophobic jokes, and participate actively in a popular culture saturated with successful, varied, complex and interesting versions of themselves – and this will feel right and arouse no suspicion whatever, because this is what equality should feel like. They will experience no sexual or racial discrimination when it comes to getting a job and will, on average, earn more money than the women and POC around them – and if they stop to reflect on either of these things, they’ll do so in the knowledge that, as the world is equal, any perceived hierarchical differences are simply reflective of the meritocracy at work.

They will not see how the system supports their success above that of others, because they have been told that equality stripped them of their privileges long ago. Many will therefore react with bafflement and displeasure to the idea of positive discrimination, hiring quotas or any other such deliberate attempts at encouraging diversity – because not only will it seem to genuinely disadvantage them, but it will look like an effort to undermine equality by granting new privileges to specific groups. Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right.

* Department of Actual Justice? DoJ has issued guidelines asserting the right of citizens to film police and for preventing prison rape.

* Theorizing bathrooms. Thanks, Melody!

* Today in science: The DNA of 10-year-olds who experienced violence in their young lives has been found to show wear and tear normally associated with aging, a Duke University study has found.

Today in unintentional metaphors.

Ultimately, all we can say at this point is that Capital One appears to be flagging donations to Friends of Scott Walker as potentially fraudulent.

* A Crackdown in Crayon: Bahrain’s Children Draw Their Country’s Crisis.

* A little bit cheerier: Scenes from Brazil.

* And a primer they’ll be using in Brazil very soon: How to rig a soccer match.

Tuesday Links

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* After he had obtained the signature page from his committee, Plaintiff inserted an additional, two-page section into his thesis without the knowledge or consent of his committee members. That section, entitled “Disacknowledgements,” began: “I would like to offer special Fuck You’s to the following degenerates for of being an ever-present hindrance during my graduate career….” It then identified the Dean and staff of the UCSB graduate school, the managers of Davidson Library, former California Governor Wilson, the Regents of the University of California, and “Science” as having been particularly obstructive to Plaintiff’s progress toward his graduate degree. Plaintiff later explained that he had not revealed the section to the members of his committee because he feared that they would not approve it. Today in Landmark First Amendment Cases.

At right, your chart of the day.

* Alan Moore v. Before Watchmen: “If DC want to soil themselves in public and kill the reputations of a number of otherwise possibly halfway-decent writers and artists, then I’m certainly not going to stop them. And I shall take my fun and my pleasure however it comes.”

* Great moments in spin: Any credit for today’s stock market gains should go to the Republican President we may or may not elect several months from now.

* Fast Food Nation, ten years later.

* I don’t even need to click a link labeled “Is this a picture of UFOs shooting laser beams at an airplane?” to know that yes, that’s absolutely what it is.

* A few weeks ago, Mitt Romney stuffed his foot in his mouth after proving to the common folk at a NASCAR race that he was a fan of the sport because he has “some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.” This week, he somehow crammed the other foot in there by repeating almost literally the exact same thing about the NFL.

After 244 years, Encyclopedia Britannica will cease production of its iconic multi-volume book sets.

* And it’s that time again.

‘Is a Giant, Cloaked Spaceship Orbiting around Mercury?’

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm

High Strangeness

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November 9, 2011 at 11:24 am

Aliens Rescue Animals from Central Park Zoo (1981)

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From Anton van Dalen, via Tumblr.

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May 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

A Few Sunday Links

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No Reply

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March 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Links for the Day after Christmas

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* I consider myself extremely skeptical about the overall theoretical usefulness of object-oriented ontology (see Vu’s excellent Polygraph review for a primer)—frankly I consider claims like these to be so preposterous as to be self-refuting—but nonetheless I’ve downloaded the PDF for new anthology The Speculative Turn at the terrible risk of someday having to writing a conversion essay.

* Hippeism: pray for a cure.

* They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They? Informative, almost-SFW essay via this AskMe thread about the violence and ugliness of contemporary pornography.

* Biden says gay marriage is inevitable, and Obama is teasing that he may even soon stop pretending that he opposes it. Progress!

* Where Obama failed: Nearly One In Nine Federal Judgeships Are Now Vacant.

* Republicans say they just won’t bend on the DREAM ACT. Obama’s eleven-dimensional strategy of aggressive deportation hasn’t brought them around at all; maybe it’s time to give it up.

* UNC plans to take the fight to grade inflation. There’s a pretty dramatic collective action problem here; more informative transcripts would disadvantage UNC’s own students while doing little or nothing to combat any larger nationwide trends.

The Scott Pilgrim Alternate Ending That Was Never Shot. The DVD also has the surprising original ending in which Scott goes back to Knives after all. I’m shocked this was really considered, much less lasted long enough to actually be shot.

* You had me at “Michelangelo painted a UFO.”

* And, at long last, the death panels are real.

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs

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Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you. It was obviously a tough night for Democrats but on some level it was always going to be—with unemployment at 9.6% and millions of people underwater on their mortgages the Democrats were doomed to lose and lose big. On this the stimulus really was the original sin—if it had been bigger and better-targeted the economic situation could have been better, but it wasn’t and here we are. Unlike 2000 and 2004 I think this election stings, but it doesn’t hurt; a big loss like this has been baked in the cake for a while.

Remember that as the pundits play bad political commentary bingo all month.

As I mentioned last night, overs beat the unders, which means my more optimistic predictions were 2/3 wrong: Republicans overshot the House predictions and Sestak and Giannoulias both lost their close races in PA and IL. But I was right that young people can’t be trusted to vote even when marijuana legalization is on the ballot. Cynicism wins again! I’ll remember that for next time.

I was on Twitter for most of the night last night and most of my observations about last night have already been made there. A few highlights from the night:

* Who could have predicted: Democrats are already playing down the notion that they’ll get much done in a lame duck session. They’d rather punt to January particularly the big issues, like tax cuts. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Don’t even bother. On taxes, the outline of a compromise is there, having been floated by Vice President Biden: the rates might stay in place for a larger number of wealthier Americans. The Estate Tax, which jumps up to 55% in January, will probably be restored at a lower rate. Capital gains taxes will also be higher, but not as high as they’re slated to be. Supporters of the START treaty are very worried. Gee, maybe Obama shouldn’t have appealed DADT after all.

* Last night’s big Dem winner: implausibly, Harry Reid. Second place (of a sort): Howard Dean, whose entire happy legacy as DNC chair was wiped out in one fell swoop last night—and then some. Fire Kaine, bring Dean back.

* Last night’s big Republican losers: the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin specifically. The crazies cost them the Senate.

* An upside: most of the losses last night were from bad Democrats, especially the Blue Dog caucus, which was nearly decimated. The progressive caucus only lost three seats and now constitutes 40% of the Democratic House caucus.

* Most of the progressive online left is saddest to see Feingold lose, I think.

* Personally happiest to see Tancredo lose in Colorado. That guy’s completely nuts.

* At least losing the House means we don’t have to deal with individual Senate egomaniacs anymore.

* Weird proposition watch: Denver votes down UFO commission. Missouri prevents a feared pupocalypse. Oklahoma bans Sharia law, thereby saving freedom forever.

* The most important proposition, and the most important victory for the left, was probably California’s Proposition 23 on climate change, which went down. Quoting the HuffPo article: “California is the world’s 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its global warming law, passed in 2006, mandates the largest legislated reductions in greenhouse gases in the world.” This was a big win.

* Sad statistic of the night: “Meg Whitman’s personal spending on her campaign: $163 mil. Natl Endowment for the Arts 2010 budget: $161.4 mil.”

* And Republican gains are bad news for higher education. This is probably especially true for state universities in North Carolina, where Republicans now control the state legislature for the first time in a century.

Anything I missed?

Wonders in the Sky

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 27, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Keep Watching the Skies

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A newly-published 352-page book by a retired Air Force officer, Stanley A. Fulham, tentatively predicts October 13, 2010 as the date for a massive UFO display over the world’s principal cities. According to the author, the aliens will neither land nor communicate on that date; they are aware from eons of experience with other planets in similar conditions their sudden intervention would cause fear and panic.

So today is finally the day we make contact with the UFOs. Via MeFi. Relatedly:

Written by gerrycanavan

October 13, 2010 at 10:05 am

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