Posts Tagged ‘water’
* Outrageous even by the bargain basement standards of the war on the terror: the United Kingdom held Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow (and seized all his electronics) purely for the purposes of harassment. More from Greenwald himself.
* Speaking of which, ugh.
* “Since 1998, 92% of white males who were considered for tenure got it. During the same period of time only 55% percent of women and minority candidates were granted tenure. Looking at ethnicity alone, USC granted tenure to 81% of its white candidates but only to 48% of its minority candidates.”
* The New York Times runs what amounts to an unpaid* ad for Georgia Tech’s new all-MOOC master’s degree. * At least I assume it’s unpaid.
* As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK’s diplomatic and economic hopes.
* Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.
In general, the right seems committed to some mixture of denying the atrocities in Vietnam, claiming that everyone did it or the misdeeds were somehow justified by what the North Vietnamese did, and blaming the hippies. Latterday liberals acknowledge that bad things happened, but mostly don’t want to open up the can of worms, for fear that they’d be accused of being unpatriotic and hating the troops or something. The result is a strange form of historical forgetting, where there’s a general sense that bad things happened, but no understanding of how general these bad things were, nor desire to hold people accountable for them.
By comparison: can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall? Suppose you could walk down the street and step on a reminder that this building was constructed with slave labour, or that the site was the home of a Native American tribe before it was ethnically cleansed? What we have, instead, are national museums of Native American and African American culture, the latter scheduled to open in 2015. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian boasts exhibits showing superbly crafted Pueblo dolls, the influence of the horse in Native American culture, and Native American athletes who made it to the Olympics. The website of the Smithsonian’s anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture does show a shackle that was presumably used on a slave ship, but it is far more interested in collecting hats worn by Pullman porters or pews from the African Methodist Episcopal church. A fashion collection is in the making, as well as a collection of artefacts belonging to the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; 39 objects, including her lace shawl and her prayer book, are already available.
* Two from Buzzfeed (sorry): 25 Facts And Tidbits About The Muppets That Might Blow Your Mind. 21 “Breaking Bad” Easter Eggs That Will Blow Your Mind.
* And a damn good science fiction pitch from Tumblr. I’d love to see this optioned as a film.
* Law school in America moves toward an open admissions policy. Where are the accreditors? This is insane.
* In short: because of what the U.S. government assumed it could do with information it had the technological ability to intercept, American companies and American interests are sure to suffer in their efforts to shape and benefit from the Internet’s continued growth.
* In other words, gold pays off when there is an outbreak of goldbug-ism. Gold is a bet that there will be more goldbugs in the future than there are now. And since the “gold will be money again” story is very deep and powerful, based as it is on thousands of years of (no longer applicable) historical experience, it is highly likely that goldbug-ism will break out again someday. So if you’re the gambling type, or if you plan to start the next Zero Hedge, or if your income for some reason goes down when goldbug-ism breaks out, well, go ahead and place a one-way bet on gold.
* First we must understand that though the humanities in general and literary studies in particular are poor and struggling, we are not naturally poor and struggling. We are not on a permanent austerity budget because we don’t have the intrinsic earning power of the science and engineering fields and aren’t fit enough to survive in the modern university. I suggest, on the basis of a case study, that the humanities fields are poor and struggling because they are being milked like cash cows by their university administrations. The money that departments generate through teaching enrollments that the humanists do not spend on their almost completely unfunded research is routinely skimmed and sent elsewhere in the university. As the current university funding model continues to unravel, the humanities’ survival as national fields will depend on changing it. Via MLA.
* No one could have predicted: Citing disappointing student outcomes, San Jose State pauses work with Udacity.
* Tomrorow’s outrageous acquittals today: Here’s Florida’s Next Trayvon Martin Case.
* Possible Homeland Security pick tainted by racial profiling accusations. It would be terrible if racial politics were somehow allowed to corrupt the mission of Homeland Security.
* As western water leaders converged on Las Vegas in December 2001, Southern California’s inability to contain its voracious appetite seemed finally to be bumping up against reality – there is only so much water in the Colorado River.
* My friend Fran McDonald has a piece in the Atlantic about laughter without humor.
The glitch aesthetic of the GIF emphasizes the uncanny quality of laughter. At each moment of re-looping, Portman performs a miniature convulsion that registers as an inhuman twitch. If humor makes us human — an assumed correlation that is so deeply written into our culture that the two share a basic etymological root — then laughter without humor appears to render us mechanical, terrifying, monstrous. It is not a coincidence that laughter without humor has become the great cinematic signifier of madness: think of Colin Clive’s maniacal “it’s alive!” hysterics in the famous 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the crazed cackle of The Joker in the Batman comics.
* Today, surrogacies in the U.S. are managed by profitable “voluntary” clinic-agencies speaking the language of the “gift.” The labor (no pun intended) that commercial surrogates perform in the U.S. is not legally recognized as work but as volunteerism, though surrogacies cost at least four times the 1986 sum—whether they be traditional, in which the surrogate is impregnated with a client’s sperm, or, as is increasingly the case, gestational, in which an in-vitro-fertilized embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. Strict means-testing is used to assess a surrogate’s independent wealth, purporting to check for authentic “voluntariness.” This effectively bars working-class American women from entering surrogacy agreements. The U.S. surrogacy industry prefers to cast surrogacy as akin to basket-weaving or amateur pottery, not assembly-line factory work.
In India, the reverse is true. There are upwards of 3,500 so-called womb farms in the country, in which conscripted women offer the vital force of black flesh considered untouchable at home to incubate white children destined to be shipped back to Denmark, Israel, or the U.S. It’s a “purely economic arrangement” with a “mere vessel,” explains Dominic and Octavia Orchard of Oxfordshire, UK, a commissioning couple featured in the Daily Mail in 2012. To couples like these, surrogates are presented as transnational reproductive-service workers, their job description posted online and accompanied by detailed terms of service.
* And a Dan Harmon profile with more information on his firing and rehiring and plans for season five, for anyone who still hasn’t lost patience with either the series or him personally…
* Under the terms of an earlier decision by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the BP refinery can legally discharge an annual average of 23.1 parts per trillion of mercury — nearly 20 times the federal water quality standard for Great Lakes polluters. The proposed new permit would allow that special exemption to continue indefinitely.
* If you’re an American corporation operating over the last ten years, you’re gonna have a bad time: Gawker’s Unpaid Interns Sue After Fox Searchlight Ruling.
* Goodwill is paying some of its disabled workers just 22 cents an hour, while the charity’s executives make six figure salaries.
* “Declarations of Whiteness: The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism.” This got tweeted at me during my conversation about whiteness with @studentactivism the other night, and I found it really interesting.
* Given Marvel’s famous sliding time scale, the entirety of the Marvel Universe has now happened since 9/11.
* And on the other side of the aisle: Has DC Comics Done Something Stupid Today?
* Tomorrow’s headlines today: Massive Flooding In Alberta Canada Forces 75,000 To Flee.
* But don’t worry! And Obama Will Announce Regulation Of CO2 From Existing Power Plants On Tuesday. So next year the rate of increase of flood refugees will begin to taper off.
* I’ve seen dumber things than a mayor offering to spend $173 million in tax money on a building for a private college that already has its pick of several arenas to play in—but not much dumber…. I can’t for the life of me imagine what Emanuel thinks Chicago is likely to get out of this deal, unless he really thinks that convention planners are just waiting for a 12,000-seat arena to hold their plenary sessions in, at which point they’ll start throwing wadded-up hundred-dollar bills at any Chicagoan they can find. At the very least it’s something to think about as the mayor’s appointees say they have no choice but to close the schools. Common sense on school closings.
* Good news for Gerrys: Pope Francis says even atheists go to heaven. That’s a load off.
* Precious bodily fluids: Portland, Ore., rejects adding fluoride to drinking water.
* Best Cities for Working Women in the U.S. Congratulations, Durham!
* Just stealing it from LGM outright: ESPN is a great corporation. It is ungodly profitable. It creates a mere 43% of Disney’s total operating income. Think about that. All of Disney, including Disneyland and everything else it owns. 43%. But you see, ESPN has recently acquired some lucrative properties, like more SEC football games. In order to show us more Vanderbilt-Kentucky football and build a crazy expensive new set, ESPN has decided to lay off 300-400 employees. This a mere 2 weeks after Disney’s stock reached an all-time high.
* And Octavia Butler reminds us introspection is kind of a pain.
* Put this one on humanity’s tombstone: But where the United Nations envisioned environmental reform, some manufacturers of gases used in air-conditioning and refrigeration saw a lucrative business opportunity.
They quickly figured out that they could earn one carbon credit by eliminating one ton of carbon dioxide, but could earn more than 11,000 credits by simply destroying a ton of an obscure waste gas normally released in the manufacturing of a widely used coolant gas. That is because that byproduct has a huge global warming effect. The credits could be sold on international markets, earning tens of millions of dollars a year.
That incentive has driven plants in the developing world not only to increase production of the coolant gas but also to keep it high — a huge problem because the coolant itself contributes to global warming and depletes the ozone layer. That coolant gas is being phased out under a global treaty, but the effort has been a struggle.
* College debt and the upper middle class. Well, that’s almost everyone; can we act now?
* “Over the course of fifty episodes, Breaking Bad has turned its fans into some of the worst people on the internet.” This is certainly true with respect to discussions of Skylar, as the piece notes. As my totally 100% accurate quote from fake Vince Gilligan noted last night: “Dear Internet, I literally could not have made it any clearer that Walt is a villain and Skylar one of his many victims.” How is this even up for debate? More Breaking Bad tweets from this morning at Storify.
* Returning home from work Wednesday evening, area woman Caitlin Levy suddenly realized that, quite unusually, she had not been harassed or propositioned for sex even once the entire day, the puzzled 28-year-old told reporters.
Noting that she had experienced a lingering sense of ease and safety all day long that “just felt off,” the paralegal told reporters that, strange as it may sound, she somehow could not recall one single instance from the past 10 hours in which she had been gawked at, hit on repeatedly, or otherwise leered at by a male as she conducted her daily routine.
“Huh, that’s weird,” said Levy, remarking on the fact that at no point during her day did a total stranger attempt to provoke her with suggestive language. “No unwanted sexual advances, no creepy comments, no obscene gestures, nothing.”
“Can that be right?” she asked as she ran down a checklist of emotionally scarring behaviors she has been confronted with every day of her life, in some form or another, since age 13. “No, that’s impossible. I must be forgetting something.”
* The Portal 2s that could have been. I do, I happily admit, want to play all of these.
* Drop everything! My brilliant friend and colleague Melody Jue is now blogging at Philosophy of Water.
* At right is your photo of the day: An aurora over Faskrudsfjordur, Iceland.
* Joss Whedon explains how to write a sequel.
* “I have not heard of another hug”: Janet Bell, Derrick Bell’s widow, speaks out.
* Pat Robertson gets one right: he says we ought to legalize it.
* The Seuss book no one’s bought us (yet): The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts Concerning History’s Barest Family.
* Jacob Burak crunches the odds on Russian Roulette. But he’s completely failed to account for the quantum immortality factor.
* Science quantifies the Tina Fey effect.
“When all other variables in the model are held at their mean, those who watched the SNL clip had a 45.4 percent probability of saying that Palin’s nomination made them less likely to vote for McCain,” they write. “This same probability drops to 34 percent among those who saw coverage of the debate through other media. Exposure to the clip had no significant effect on the likelihood of voting for Obama.”
* When Terry Kneiss wins a Showcase Showdown, son, he wins it.
* For more than two years, Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded every roll call at the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn and captured his superiors urging police officers to do two things in order to manipulate the “stats” that the department is under pressure to produce: Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports. I’m shocked, shocked! Followup to this This American Life story.
* The headline reads, “Breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment stops brain damage in mice.”
* And TPM has today’s sci-fi architecture porn.
* Tomorrow’s crimes today: man arrested for attempting to steal five tons of glacial ice in Chile.
* Major birth control pill recall. Bring on the lawsuits! Wow.
* Cary Nelson on fighting for the humanities.
We take it for granted that scientific knowledge must advance, that there is much we do not know and much that we will live out our lives without knowing. Knowledge of the physical universe beyond the solar system and the galaxy remains so limited that it is hard even to calculate its partiality. The nature of life elsewhere in the universe remains beyond our grasp, as does knowledge of the human body that would enable us to control diseases like cancer.
And yet we often—unreflectively, uncritically, and in a learned form of self-deception—assume that we largely know ourselves and our history. Through its institutions and the norms of social life, human culture immerses us in collective understanding that is often deceptive or false.
The task of the humanities is not only to show us the ways that artists and others have penetrated our illusions by creative acts both modest and grand but also to try to discover when human cultures as a whole have seen through a glass darkly.
* Abolish the dollar bill! For freedom!
* The headline reads, “India Factory Workers Revolt, Kill Company President.”
* Freddie deBoer on divorce rate hokum.
* And why do you have two nostrils instead of one giant hole in the middle of your face? io9 reports.
The headline reads, “World’s Dams Unprepared for Climate Change Conditions.”
This week’s episode of This American Life is a fascinating case study in regulatory and institutional capture, organized around the politics of natural gas mining in Pennsylvania. Both Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh come out looking hopelessly compromised by corporate influence, with state and local government not far behind. Give it a listen.
* The upcoming issue of Criticism is all about The Wire. Looks great.
* Making the rounds: How the bubble destroyed the middle class. The consequence of all this is that the “middle class” of the last forty years in the U.S. is essentially an accounting fiction.
* Super Mario Bros., with the lowest possible score.
* And cynical, self-defeating betrayal we can believe in: Obama proposes raising Medicare eligibility age to 67. Taibbi: Obama Doesn’t Want a Progressive Deficit Deal. See also.