Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘war

Sunday Morning Links

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* Call for applications: The 2015-16 postdoc seminar at Rice, “After Biopolitics.”

In the absence of sparrows: the front page story says you’ve been missing since / November 22, 2012. Everything else it doesn’t say. / In the absence of sparrows: you simply wandered off, past the Sunoco, pockets stuffed. / The door to your apartment is open still—

Together, these forums, initiatives, and spy teams constitute a sustained effort to suppress meaningful resistance to the university’s privatization program by placing strict boundaries on dissent. Policing Civility.

* Elsewhere in campus civility: The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police.

Hence I propose that, roughly speaking, one’s privilege level correlates with the likelihood that expressing anger will make people take your concerns more seriously rather than less — or at the very least, that it will prompt a reaction to you as an individual rather than triggering an immediate generalization about your demographic profile. This is one of the most intimate and insidious things about privilege dynamics: even the right to express perfectly natural and justified human emotions can’t be taken for granted.

* The Paris Review interviews Ray Bradbury.

If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.

* …and translates Umberto Eco.

They affect us because we realize that if they are monsters it is because we, the adults, have made them so. In them we find everything: Freud, mass culture, digest culture, frustrated struggle for success, craving for affection, loneliness, passive acquiescence, and neurotic protest. But all these elements do not blossom directly, as we know them, from the mouths of a group of children: they are conceived and spoken after passing through the filter of innocence. Schulz’s children are not a sly instrument to handle our adult problems: they experience these problems according to a childish psychology, and for this very reason they seem to us touching and hopeless, as if we were suddenly aware that our ills have polluted everything, at the root.

* God, I wish these J.G. Ballard books for children were real.

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* Previously unknown final chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Detroit’s Under-Funded Fire Departments Use a Soda Can For a Fire Alarm.

* Gape in amazement as The New Yorker‘s famous fact-checkers seriously drop the ball.

* Vox gets nostalgic for the 1994 AT&T “You Will” ad campaign.

As fast-food workers demonstrate nationwide for a $15 hourly wage, and congressional Republicans fight off a $10 federal minimum, little SeaTac has something to offer the debate. Its neighbor, Seattle, was the first big city to approve a $15 wage, this spring, but that doesn’t start phasing in until next year. SeaTac did it all at once. And, though there’s nothing definitive, this much is clear: The sky did not fall.

i.chzbgr* The way we live now.

* Profiles in courage: Obama to delay his big move on immigration until after election.

* Saving some time before the next invasion.

* Not really how it’s supposed to work: An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied re-enlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.

* Peace activism vs. environmental activism.

* Geographers prove no one likes the Jets.

* “I’ve decided to ignore economic data and assume the challenges facing your generation are the same as those mine faced.”

* A marathon for Milwaukee?

* The gig economy won.

Apple Wants You To Pay For Things With An iPhone — But There’s One Nagging Problem, It’s an Obviously Terrible Idea That No One Would Ever Want.

* Female privilege is real: Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says.

* The eight white identities. I’m not 100% clear on the daylight between White Traitor and White Abolitionist, but otherwise it seems to taxonomize approaches to white supremacy I see on the Internet all the time.

* Could it be possible that police departments are lying when they say suspects handcuffed behind their backs are shooting themselves in the chest with hidden weapons that were somehow not found when they were searched? Truly, a bold provocation. Perhaps it will always be a mystery.

* Exhausted Noam Chomsky Just Going To Try And Enjoy The Day For Once.

* And: you fools: every day is Bill Murray Day.

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Wednesday Links: Part 2: The Return

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* Someone needs to check their Save the Cat: Video shows CEO kicking puppy in elevator.

Elites spent months arguing we should attack Syria to dislodge Assad. Now these same elites want to intervene in the war on his behalf. “What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?”

* Poverty Capitalism. Campus Safety Capitalism.

* The 14 Best National Universities According To Washington Monthly has Case at #9 and UC Riverside at #2. Arbitrary college ranking systems forever!

* How to Game the College Rankings.

* Brian Leiter on the Salaita case: 1, 2, 3.

In addition to his constitutional claims, Salaita has an almost textbook version of a contract law claim under the doctrine of “promissory estoppel” (the classic case on the subject is Red Owl).  The basic idea is simple:  even if there is no formal contract between two parties (my expectation, as noted, is the court will find no contract between Salaita and Illinois), if one party reasonably relies on the promises and representations of the other, and then the other reneges, the injured party is entitled to compensation to the extent of his reasonable reliance.  It was clearly reasonable for Salaita to rely on an offer letter from the Dean–an offer letter that specifically mentioned the academic freedom protections the University of Illinois affords faculty!–even with a clause saying the appointment was subject to approval by the Board of Trustees (after all, there does not appear to be a case in the last half-century in which the Board failed to approve a tenured appointment that went through the normal university channels, as Salaita’s did).  Indeed, the reasonableness of Salaita’s reliance is enhanced by the fact that the University scheduled his classes this fall and even referred to him in public as a faculty member.

The harder question will be Salaita’s damages.  At a minimum, he should recover for the costs of relocation, his housing costs this year (since he rented his prior home), the cost of insurance and related expenses, and his salary for this academic year; but he has a strong claim for asking for compensation for having relinquished tenure and his job and salary at Virginia Tech, i.e., for several decades worth of salary and benefits.  In other words, I would expect Salaita’s lawyers to ask for several million dollars in lost wages and benefits extending over a career.  Now there is always a duty in contract cases to “mitigate” damages–to take steps to prevent the unnecessary growth of damages–which here would mean seeking other academic employment.  If Salaita can not secure such appointment–and given the smear campaign against him, aided and abetted now by the University of Illinois, it is hard to see a public university, vulnerable to the same political pressures, being able to hire him–then he has a claim for his lost wages and benefits as a professor for the next (roughly) thirty-plus years.

* I was on the front lines of the violence in Ferguson. Militarized police caused the chaos.

* The Parable of the Unjust Judge.

That respectability politics is the narrative of the oppressor digested and regurgitated by the oppressed is obvious. But we shouldn’t dismiss it without understanding its allure and durability: it reframes the terms of power, restoring agency into black hands. For the black upper class, it is the parable that allows them to rationalize their privilege as a sign of their own worthiness, while simultaneously giving them cover to righteously withdraw concern from the plight of the less fortunate of their race. It’s no coincidence that the black people advocating for blacks to somehow be cleansed of their blackness by bathing in the waters of post-racial healing are many of the same complaining that “we” don’t pay attention to “black on black crime”. For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction. Respectability politics is a false narrative, but it maintains its power because, like so many powerful lies, it sits adjacent to the truth and set slightly askew: they are looking for a way to turn you into a nigger, and if necessary, they will find one. You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction.

MA Police Apologize After Accusing Man Of Faking Photo Of Trooper’s Racist Bumper Sticker. Police trampled the makeshift memorial built by Michael Brown’s mom. That is to say: Police Drove Over Michael Brown Memorial, Let Dog Piss on It.

* Meanwhile: Ben Stein has awful opinions and should be ashamed.

* Bring down Big Sugar.

* There is no way this is true: Milwaukee, Madison drivers among the nation’s safest. Real talk: Milwaukee drivers are some of the absolute worst drivers I have ever encountered.

* More scenes from the struggle between Uber and Lyft.

* Obscure Words and Phrases Everyone Suddenly Becomes Very Familiar With, 1995-2040.

* Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Yes, and David Chase knows it.

* Elsewhere on the front lines of culture: Is Hello Kitty a cat? How dare you. How dare you.

* LEGO really, really letting down its fans. I knew I should have loaded up on the female scientist sets when I had the chance.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Americans strongly agree: You shouldn’t stop people from reclining on planes.

* New Discovery Cuts Brainwashing Time in Half.

Ohio lawmakers want to limit the teaching of the scientific process.

* When J.J. Abrams set out to make the absolute worst Superman movie possible. It would have been amazing.

* And/but/so Warner Brothers simply does not understand the superhero business at all.

Thursday Links

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* Call for Applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* American SF and the Other. Ursula K. Le Guin, 1975.

This tendency has been remarkably strong in American SF. The only social change presented by most SF has been towards authoritarianism, the domination of ignorant masses by a powerful elite—sometimes presented as a warning, but often quite complacently. Socialism is never considered as an alternative, and democracy is quite forgotten. Military virtues are taken as ethical ones. Wealth is assumed to be a righteous goal and a personal virtue. Competitive free-enterprise capitalism is the economic destiny of the entire Galaxy. In general, American SF has assumed a permanent hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with rich, ambitious, aggressive males at the top, then a great gap, and then at the bottom the poor, the uneducated, the faceless masses, and all the women. The whole picture is, if I may say so, curiously “un-American.” It is a perfect baboon patriarchy, with the Alpha Male on top, being respectfully groomed, from time to time, by his inferiors.

* Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Gee, you don’t say.

* Who rules America? The answer may surprise you!

* Abolishing the Broken US Juvenile Justice System.

Pentagon weaponry in St. Louis County. Those sound cannons were supposed to be for speeders. The Militarization of the Police. These Photos Prove Just How Chaotic The Situation In Ferguson Has Become. Ferguson, Missouri, August 13, 2014. There’s a police coup going on right now in Ferguson, Mo. Even the liberal Matt Yglesias. Even CNN’s pro-police witness describes an execution. They even arrested an alderman. “The Obamas danced nearly every song. A good time was had by all.” In Defense of the Ferguson Riots“Hands up, don’t shoot” spreads beyond Missouri. The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America. You have a right to record the police.

* Editorial: Governor must let Ferguson be where better begins.

Step One: St. Louis County Police To Be Withdrawn From Duty After Ferguson Protests.

* 4 Unarmed Black Men Have Been Killed By Police in the Last Month. LAPD shooting of mentally ill man stirs criticism, questions.

5 Issues (Among Many) on Which Libertarians Are On Your Side.

America Is Not For Black People.

* Climate change is here: Cataclysmic flooding in Detroit and Baltimore. Meanwhile: Democrats are attacking Mitch McConnell for not liking coal enough.

* How discounting tuition drives college admissions. Really eye-opening.

When Noel-Levitz takes on a client, it takes the school’s admissions and retention data, scrubs it clean and uses the results to tell the school who’s coming, who’s going and who might be enticed to stay with a few more aid dollars or certain enhancements to student life. Their formulas might show the benefits of giving four well-heeled applicants with high SAT scores a 10% discount from its $50,000 tuition–rather than give one high-achieving, lower-income applicant the $20,000 scholarship she needs. The award of an extra $5,000 to rich kids might provide an ego boost that moves the needle–and bring in four students sure to pay the remaining $45,000 each year. That same $20,000 generated an additional $150,000 in relatively stable net tuition revenue. “One of the things that’s a hallmark of this company is we don’t fly around and give our opinion,” Crockett notes. “We always will back that opinion with data points.”

* Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson. Nearly 300 Scholars Declare They Will Not Engage With the University of Illinois.

In fact, gender was one of the best predictors of whether an article would be cited or not. Walter writes that women authors received “0.7 cites for every 1 cite that a male author would receive.” Untenured women were the least likely to be cited.

* Classified as neither workers nor students, many graduate students have inadequate protections against sexual violence.

* IHE blog post argues that basically all academic hiring is illegal on age discrimination grounds. Talking about this on Twitter yesterday I was directed to this brief indicating such claims would be unlikely to prevail in court, though in each of the named cases the college settled rather than let it go that far.

* Another great post in Adam’s continuing exegesis of Star Trek: Why a Star Trek film would never work.

The deepest irony here, of course, is that the “messianic” blockbuster plot is ultimately a story about white privilege, a fantasy set up to present it as deserved. No matter how hard anyone else works, the white hero always has that “special something” everyone else lacks — and his close friendship with the meritocratic rival always turns crucially on that rival’s acknowledgment of the white messiah’s right to be in charge and save the day. In contrast to this overtly white-centered paradigm, the Star Trek franchise has always been marked by diversity in casting, and over the years, it showed a profound interest in imagining alien cultures, sometimes in great depth (Klingons above all, but also Ferengi, Vulcans, Trill, and even the Borg). To start the reboot by actually destroying the alien culture most important to Star Trek, and in the process making Spock more human, is a profound betrayal on this level.

* Also from Adam: Genocide vs. War.

* Atomic Tests Were a Tourist Draw in 1950s Las Vegas.

* 10 Of The Most Bizarre Books Ever Written.

* A woman has won the Fields medal for the first time. Meanwhile: “Local Mom Decides Important Sports Case.”

* BPA-Free Plastics are probably poison too.

First Nation Will Evict Mining Company After Massive Spill Contaminated Area Water.

* The Martian, but on Earth: Antarctic Halley Station lost power and heat at -32C.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Columbia University.

* Can the state legitimately force you to give your children food? Opinions differ!

* NYCABC has a list of Amazon wish lists for American political prisoners, which includes a name that might be familiar to you if you went to Randolph High School in the late 1990s.

The 1979 “Rockford Files” Episode that Inspired “The Sopranos.”

* Some people just see further and farther: Comcast put customer on hold until they closed.

* Dueling Aquamen.

* RNC Condemns AP Exam’s ‘Radically Revisionist View’ Of U.S. History.

“Instead of striving to build a ‘City upon a Hill,’ as generations of students have been taught, the colonists are portrayed as bigots who developed ‘a rigid racial hierarchy’ that was in turn derived from ‘a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority,’” the letter reads. “The new Framework continues its theme of oppression and conflict by reinterpreting Manifest Destiny from a belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technologies across the continent to something that ‘was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority.’”

* BREAKING: 2016 is going to be a real bummer. But don’t worry: there’s definitely no hope.

* Evolution proves there’s no such thing as ghosts. QED.

* Ice-T’s Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook is Out, and it’s Free!

* Are the kids all right? Are Millennials Compatible With U.S. Military Culture?

* Twitter vows to “improve our policies” after Robin Williams’ daughter is bullied off the network.

* Speaking my language: Multiversity Turns the DC Universe Into a Quantum-Theory Freakfest.

* And everything you want, in the worst way possible: Veronica Mars will return as an in-universe, Ryan-Hansen-scriped sequel for The-Comeback-style web series Play It Again, Dick.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thank God It’s Thanksgiving Week Links

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While the Nazi totalitarianism strove to give the masses a sense of collective power and strength, Kraft durch Freude (“Strength through joy”), inverted totalitarianism promotes a sense of weakness, of collective futility. While the Nazis wanted a continuously mobilized society that would not only support the regime without complaint and enthusiastically vote “yes” at the periodic plebiscites, inverted totalitarianism wants a politically demobilized society that hardly votes at all.

* In a book coming out this spring, Goffman, now a 31-year-old assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, documents how the expansion of America’s penal system is reshaping life for the poor black families who exist under the watch of its police, prison guards, and parole officers.

* Durham police defend lack of public information in teen’s death. I am continually amazed and horrified by the police stonewalling on this story. How can they not be required to admit how the teenager died?

For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.

Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sand Projects Planned for Alberta.

The Insanity of Our Food Policy.

India Confronts the Politics of the Toilet.

Federal Student Loan Profits Help Duncan Cut Education Spending To Lowest Level Since 2001. What a sickening spectacle.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. So we’ll only have to sue 90 companies into oblivion? That seems pretty manageable.

Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User. Via this piece on the culture of overwork in academia.

* Creatin’ a legal marijuana economy ain’t easy.

* No war in Iran? Unhappy warmongers, just pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and try again next decade.

The Long Shadow of Chinese Blacklists on American Academe.

* MetaFilter post on the only musical I ever need to see: Fun Home: The Musical.

Bill de Blasio gives cold shoulder to education reformers as he prepares to choose a chancellor.

* And did I do this one already? An Upworthy Generator. Now you can be inspired by heartwarming stories on your own timetable…

Even More Wednesday Links!

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* Humanities instrumentalism we can believe in: Why do we need the liberal arts? Because it gives us sci-fi.

If the criterion for funding areas of study must be that they add to American wealth and competitiveness, then I’d like to offer my own only half-unserious case for the liberal arts. I propose that they should survive, and thrive, because they give us science fiction, and science fiction creates jobs and makes us rich.

The summit, billed as “Organizing Resistance Against Teach for America and its Role in Privatization,” is being organized by a committee of scholars, parents, activists, and current corps members. Its mission is to challenge the organization’s centrality in the corporate-backed, market-driven, testing-oriented movement in urban education. 

* The Decline of North Carolina.

* The New Yorker profiles Desert Bus, deliberately the worst video game ever made, and the charity that has sprung up around it, Desert Bus for Hope.

* Tenure-track professors on food stamps at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

* Gasp! For-profit education investing in Coursera.

Tourism’s real roots do not lie in pilgrimage (or even in «fair» trade), but in war. Rape and pillage were the original forms of tourism, or rather, the first tourists followed directly in the wake of war, like human vultures picking over battlefield carnage for imaginary booty—for images.

Tourism arose as a symptom of an Imperial­ism that was total—economic, political, and spiritual.

Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower. 

Obama’s ‘Insider Threat Program’: A Parody of Liberal Faith in Bureaucrats. If only this program had some historical parallel we could point to to illustrate its potential dangers!

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

* After the death of the desktop, the death of the laptop? I am quite fond of my iPad, but I can’t imagine relying on it alone…

Even More Tuesday Links

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* “More toyetic”: The cast and crew of Batman and Robin explain what went wrong.

* Preposterously bad idea watch: Breaking Bad Spin-Off With Saul Goodman In The Works. Has to be a very dry joke on Vince Gilligan’s part.

* What is the political situation in the Mario universe? It is a never-ending condition of war within and war without, fraught and constantly changing as one faction or another vies for control, riven along racial and ideological fault-lines and held together only by the intervention of foreign interlopers, propping up the dominant superpower and whose ultimate motivations are shrouded in secrecy.

* Kim Stanley Robinson on postcapitalism.

A much larger revenue stream comes from federal student loans—$108,641,000 in 2011. In 2010, NYU had $659 million in total student debt, a figure bigger than the gross domestic product of twelve countries, and it is a national leader in the debt carried by its graduates, at 40 percent more than the national average. According a recent Newsweek ranking, NYU is now the fourth “Least Affordable School” in the United States. And in the latest Princeton Review college rankings, its financial aid and administration ranked first—for being the worst. The projected $5 billion expansion plan is certain to increase the student debt burden. Most of current student loans are federal money, so we can add these on to the public inputs received by this private university at a time when public universities are being put to the sword.

For Full-Time Instructors, Work Off the Tenure Track Has Become Its Own Career.

Reframing the statement “don’t go to graduate school” to one that fully addresses the attack on tenure helps us to see and recognize each other, and our labor. I think it also helps us to identify new partners who might be able and interested in challenging or modulating some of the forces at work in educational restructuring.

* Rebecca Schuman responds to her critics, and a critic responses to the response.

* North Carolina seeks to criminalize muckraking of animal abuse while doing nothing about animal abuse. Outstanding.

Guess Who Waits Longest to Vote? You’ll never guess!

Authorities are still investigating how the younger child obtained the .22-caliber rifle: New Jersey 4-year-old shoots 6-year-old neighbor in the head.

Ringling Bros. Elephant Shot in Mississippi Drive-By.

Rehtaeh Parsons’s story.

* Taxodus: the tax avoidance game.

Why Bitcoin “millionaires” could accidentally become tax felons.

* And I think I remember this movie: Lockheed Martin Harnesses Quantum Technology.

Saturday!

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A study released last week by researchers at Harvard and Stanford quantified what everyone in my hometown already knew: even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges. The vast majority, the study found, do not even try. For deans of admissions brainstorming what they can do to remedy this, might I suggest: anything.

The cost of a four-year university degree for a child born in 2013 could rise to more than $140,000 due to tuition inflation, a new study says.

* On majoring in English.

Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.

Why You Should Be More Concerned About War With North Korea This Time.

Why Marvel’s making 2 different versions of Iron Man 3. 

What Kansas Basketball Star Ben McLemore Can Teach America About Poverty.

McLemore is months from being able to fully leave that past behind, a from-the-gutters-to-greatness success story that is so often repeated in sports.

Of course, as LGM notes, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be being paid now.

* The Big Picture visits the 70s.

You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did.

* And some more great anamorphic street art from Felice Varini.

"Dix-sept cercles oranges excentriques"

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