Posts Tagged ‘Vermont’
* Sunday map-reading: an index of maps from fantasy novels.
The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself.
* Relatedly: MOOCs and university management troubles.
* Proponents of the current craze ought to think carefully about the human costs of technology before enthusiastically proclaiming the end of a system that could leave hundreds of thousands of people without work, students cheated out of a quality education, and that would further contribute to the creation of a world where virtualization is always and everywhere, without qualification or questioning, heralded as an unequivocal good.
* Ban double majors! That’ll solve it.
* Obama administration vs. fair use? My god, why?
* Film and television news! Is Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood the greatest television show ever made? Imagining Sisyphus Happy: A Groundhog Day Retrospective. The “gentleman’s F” and the scourge of deliberate mediocrity.
The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.”
There follows a program of renewed inquiry, often involuntary, into the nature and effects of mortality, entropy, heartbreak, violence, failure, cowardice, duplicity, cruelty, and grief; the researcher learns their histories, and their bitter lessons, by heart. Along the way, he or she discovers that the world has been broken for as long as anyone can remember, and struggles to reconcile this fact with the ache of cosmic nostalgia that arises, from time to time, in the researcher’s heart: an intimation of vanished glory, of lost wholeness, a memory of the world unbroken. We call the moment at which this ache first arises “adolescence.” The feeling haunts people all their lives.
* Great animated short from Disney: Paperman.
* Some iPad and iPhone puzzle game recommendations. I’ve been obsessed with Flow and Hundreds lately myself.
* And tempered glass can just randomly explode for no reason. The more you know!
* Doctor Who: 100% true. Fact.
* On the set of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I would be very excited about this show if the protagonist weren’t yet another fantasyland Sorkin Republican.
* The end of the world and the impossibility of an alternative to financial capitalism are not just defining features of contemporary global imagination: they sustain one another. After all, if we might all be radioactive smudges on the tarmac come Tuesday, why not be out for as much as we can grab today? Why build a sustainable growth model if it might be underwater in thirty years? Unrestrained free-market capitalism requires that its vassals live in the moment, borrowing against their own futures, and for the past two generations of neoliberal policymaking, there have been logical reasons for us to do so.
* And some sad news: Rest in peace, Ernest Callenbach, father of Ecotopia.
* We had a fine time at the South End Art Hop in Burlington this afternoon and bought some tiny pieces from Moe O’Hara, John Brickels, and Nicholas Heilig (the last of whom was making this great anti-Christmas print as we passed through his studio). I bought a couple of Heilig’s Live Art prints for my office at school, but alas—the Swedish Chef was all sold out.
* Scenes from the class struggle in Iowa: Mitt Romney offers Rick Perry a $10,000 bet. Now #What10KBuys is trending on Twitter, and the best is all anyone is talking about. I’m closer than I’ve ever been to being the smartest man in politics. I almost can taste it.
* Scenes from the class struggle everywhere: The Walmart Heirs Have The Same Net Worth As The Bottom 30 Percent Of Americans.
* The Occupy Oakland general strike seems to have been really pretty amazingly successful. The view from Twitter. Another. And here’s Matt’s picture again, having gone viral through me by way of @zunguzungu and @rortybomb. Half those pageviews are rightfully mine, Matt!
* Arguments not taken seriously that should be: A federal court is being asked to grant constitutional rights to five killer whales who perform at marine parks — an unprecedented and perhaps quixotic legal action that is nonetheless likely to stoke an ongoing, intense debate at America’s law schools over expansion of animal rights.
* When advertising works too well: the strange case of Axe Body Spray.
* Women hold slightly more than half (52.3 percent) of creative class jobs and their average level of education is almost the same as men. But the pay they receive is anything but equal. Creative class men earn an average of $82,009 versus $48,077 for creative class women. This $33,932 gap is a staggering 70 percent of the average female creative class salary. Even when we control for hours worked and education in a regression analysis, creative class men out-earn creative class women by a sizable $23,700, or 49.2 percent.
* In a victory for the 99 Percent last night, the voters in Boulder, Colorado voted by a three-to-one margin to support Question 2H, which calls for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood.
* Jon Corzine’s new firm likely to soon be charged with fraud. My father reminded me today that one universe over Jon Corzine never got in a horrific car accident as a result of his state police driver texting on the highway—which means he’s still the governor of New Jersey, which means he’s cruising towards a run for the presidency in 2016. In this universe he’s probably going to go to jail. It’s hard to think of another public figure whose life has hinged so completely on such a fluke event.
* The worst part of the catastrophic implosion of the Hermain Cain candidacy is that he was the only one with a chance of stopping China from getting the bomb. None of the other candidates are even talking about this issue.
* And J.K. reveals she wanted to kill off Hagrid, too. You fiend!
The year is 2313. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.
I know just a little bit about this and I’m really looking forward to it.
* Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in a drone attack. Is the war over yet?
* The headline reads, “Canadian Arctic nearly loses entire ice shelf.”
* The plan is working! First Vermont, now Montana: Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) announced yesterday that he will be seeking a waiver to set up his own universal health care system in his state modeled after the single payer Canadian health care system that began in the province of Saskatchewan.
Just to reiterate a point I’ve made before, none of this reflects actual economic theory. Throughout this crisis, people like Adam Posen and yours truly have been basing our arguments on standard textbook macroeconomics, whereas the Very Serious People have been making up stories on the fly to justify their calls for pain. As Wolf, who really seems to have eaten his Wheetabix, puts it,
The waste is more than unnecessary; it is cruel. Sadists seem to revel in that cruelty. Sane people should reject it. It is wrong, intellectually and morally.
And this cruelty rules our world.
* And the New York Times games Obama 2012, saying the new threshold states are not Ohio and Florida but Colorado and Virginia.
* Ralph Nader has found an awesome new way to troll the nation: he will campaign to kill athletic scholarships.
* Fox has renewed Fringe. This is great news—but I still haven’t forgive them for Firefly.
* Vermont’s not green, it’s red: Vermot House passes single-payer health care bill. It’s also expected to pass the state senate, too, which means things are about to get very interesting.
* I haven’t put up anything about Fukushima in a while, but suffice it to say things still sound very bad. (UPDATE: More here.) Nuclear power advocates—who I seem to recall assuring me that nothing bad could possibly happen at Fukushima because of updated, failsafe reactor designs—have now begun assuring me that what happened at Fukushima could never happen again because of updated, failsafe reactor designs. Okay, that ship turned out to be sinkable. But this one…
* Great moments in abuse of power: A deputy prosector in Johnson County, Indiana, has resigned his job after it was revealed that in February, during the large protests in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union bill, he e-mailed Walker’s office and recommended that they conduct a “false flag operation” — to fake an assault or assassination attempt on Walker in order to discredit the unions and protesters. Josh Marshall catches the most interesting angle: “the fact that he lists his 18 years of experience working in GOP politics as his experience for doing this sort of stuff.”
* Incomprehensible Shouting Named Official U.S. Language. It drives me crazy when people don’t speak it.
* And from Inside Higher Ed: Who’s in your fantasy research institute this season?
* New Orleans is 29% smaller than 2000. Heckuva job.
* Census estimates show big gains for U.S. minorities. The word “minority” really starts to lose its meaning in this context.
* Liberal media ignores another legal victory for Obama administration on health reform. I am shocked, shocked…
* Making email rounds in the Vermont contingent of my family: “Federal Government Continues To Sub-Contract All Functions of Conscience and Testicularity To Great State of Vermont.”