Posts Tagged ‘We’re screwed’
* I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career…
* The first episode of Kumail Nanjani, Jonah Ray, and Emily Gordon’s new show The Meltdown is available for free on Amazon. Watch it for the last comic alone.
* BREAKING: There aren’t actually any moderates. In no small part this is because the band of acceptable political opinions in the US is already extremely narrow to begin with.
* It’s a glimpse of what Britain’s chief medical officer Sally Davies calls the “apocalyptic scenario” of a post-antibiotic era, which the World Health Organisation says will be upon us this century unless something drastic is done.
* Kirkus has a long writeup on the life and career of Octavia Butler. I get a namecheck in the final paragraph as the premier scholarly authority on the size of the finding aid.
* Marvel Comics: The Secret History. Oh, what might have been!
17. Michael Jackson looked into buying Marvel Comics in the late ’90s because he wanted to play Spider-Man in a movie.
* And if you want to drive to South America, here are your options for crossing the Darien Gap. Good luck! You will not be ransomed.
* Meanwhile, my new best friend Levar Burton says Octavia Butler is the writer he most wishes he’d met.
* An itinerary is by no means the only thing required for setting out on a trip. And the itinerary will change along the way. But for a deliberate departure from capitalism, rather than a blind flight, a preliminary itinerary will be necessary. Whatever we think of the term communism, the crossroads Marx and Engels glimpsed in the Manifesto is coming more clearly into view: either a left alternative to capitalism or “the common ruin of the contending classes”.
* As horrific as recent mass killings have been, the idea of a slide into ongoing domestic terrorism is just nightmarish.
* Meanwhile: War Gear Flows to Police Departments.
* Temple University is investigating an ethics complaint that two of its professors did not properly disclose funding from the private prison industry for their research on the cost of incarceration.
* Grad Students Could Win Big as Obama Slashes Debt Payments. Understanding the CBO’s bullshitting about how the government doesn’t make money on student loans. Lawsuits and the end of the NCAA. College’s inequality disgrace: Millionaire university presidents and indebted students. In the Near Future, Only Very Wealthy Colleges Will Have English Departments. Yes, the Humanities Are Struggling, but They Will Endure. And Now We Know I’ll Never Be MLA President.
* Emily Bazelon covers the Title IX crisis in American colleges. Taekwondo Is Great but Not the Solution to Campus Rape. U. of Oregon Student Who Alleged Rape by Athletes Writes Open Letter. And then there’s George.
* Jezebel covers Wikipedia’s internal fighting over #YesAllWomen.
* I thought this was genuinely stunning even by Fox’s already low standards: Fox News Guest Launches Race-Based Attack On Neil deGrasse Tyson.
* The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different. I know this because I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done with trafficking victims.
breaking news kids your parents and grandparents are monsters gleefully destroying your future for slight increases in quarterly profits—
Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) May 12, 2014
The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday.
The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis.
“This is really happening,” said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s programs on polar ice and helped oversee some of the research. “There’s nothing to stop it now. But you are still limited by the physics of how fast the ice can flow.”
My daughter just turned two. My son will be born next month. We are leaving them a broken world. And the final obscenity is the people responsible for this disaster will make the innocent pay for their crimes, while they slink off safely into death, fat, old, and happy. There’s no hell for the people who destroyed the planet, just the hell they’re leaving for our kids.
* Deadline getting very close: CFP: Foundation, special issue on Science Fiction and Videogames (30 Apr 2014).
* Chris Newfield goes inside Georgia Tech’s financials to figure out if MOOCs really save any money. You’ll never believe what happened next!
* In what English departments is Baldwin falling out of favor? They should lose their accreditation!
*Amateur sports is a relation that has existed for so long, with the general public’s acquiescence if not outright approval, that it’s hard to imagine an alternative. Even the most rational commentators struggle for another way to do business, not just cartoonish right-wingers like Alexander — a man who’s clearly happy to keep making less than the football coach, but not so enamored with the idea of a Tennessee running back being able to feed himself.
* …Tuesday, five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed suit against their own team, alleging that the Buffalo Jills were required to perform unpaid work for the team for about 20 hours a week. Unpaid activities included: submitting to a weekly “jiggle test” (where cheer coaches “scrutinized the women’s stomach, arms, legs, hips, and butt while she does jumping jacks”); parading around casinos in bikinis “for the gratification of the predominantly male crowd”; and offering themselves up as prizes at a golf tournament, where they were required to sit on men’s laps on the golf carts, submerge themselves in a dunk tank, and perform backflips for tips (which they did not receive). The Buffalo Jills cheerleaders take home just $105 to $1,800 for an entire season on the job.
* Alyssa Rosenberg continues her exploration of how the Game of Thrones show differ from the novels, including reference to the improved script for last week’s Jaime-Cersei scene.
* 21 Things You Didn’t Know About Rushmore. I must confess I knew nearly all of these.
* The special exemption preventing unionization at religious universities appears to be a thing of the past. The Fight To Unionize College Athletes Could Also Expand Union Rights For Graduate Students. A specter is haunting precarity. End College Legacy Preferences. We Refuse to Accept That Violence Against Us Is Necessary to the Sustenance of Our Education. Give the Customers What They Want.
* EXPLAINER: Is China a communist country?
* It’s official: Justice League will be a terrible film. Elsewhere in nerd mourning: the Star Wars Expanded Universe is officially dead.
* “Life: It’s literally all we have. But is it any good?” Spring’s best new comedy is free on YouTube.
* And the Internet is doomed. Enjoy your BUFFERING BUFFERING BUFFERING HAVE YOU TRIED THE NEW KFC DOUBLE DOWN? DOUBLE DOWN ON FUN! BUFFERING week.
* The schedule for the final third of my Cultural Preservation course. This has been one of the best teaching experiences I’ve ever had; I’m hoping things go as well next spring when I do it all again.
* Starting out with two strikes with this guy and he hasn’t even found out where I work yet.
* Nietzsche was right: it turns out without forgetting it is quite impossible to live at all.
* Elsewhere in the American nihilism files: NASA study concludes it’s not just you, we really are doomed.
* Meanwhile, we can’t even agree on the incredible, undeniable, world-historical usefulness of vaccines. One map sums up the damage caused by the anti-vaccination movement.
* Surely we’ll start the school day later, when every bit of science backs this up… Oh.
* Don’t be evil: Google’s anti-copyright stance is just a way to devalue content.
* No one could have predicted a completely unregulated peer-to-peer hotel network would lead to bad outcomes. Next up: Hey, Uber, your unregulated taxi was just some random creep’s unsafe car!
* For the true believers: A Brief History of the Quidditch World Cup.
* If we make the world a paradise where everyone is immortal, will we still be able to have all these awesome jails? Aeon Magazine reports.
* As of 2010-2011, the most recent year with available data, recent humanities and liberal arts majors had 9 percent unemployment. That’s right about on par with students in computer and math fields (9.1 percent), psychology and social work (8.8 percent), and the social sciences (10.3 percent). And it’s just a bit above the average across all majors of 7.9 percent. The larger problem, as always, is that there’s still not enough work for young people post-recession.
* Promisingly specific: Projecting ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ in Theaters Requires Special Instructions.
* Game of the Weekend: 2048, an addictive simplification of Threes!, in your browser.
* CFPs for MLA 2015 from the discussion group for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and utopian literature: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Concept of Culture (guaranteed session) and From Siberia to the Planet Mars (fingers crossed).
* America’s fraternities, and the lawyers who serve them. Great piece.
When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.
The first wagon train of the Oregon Trail heads out the same year the fax machine is invented.
Nintendo was founded in 1888. Jack the Ripper was on the loose in 1888.
1971: The year in which America drove a lunar buggy on the moon and Switzerland gave women the vote.
NASA’s Gemini program was winding down at the same time as plate tectonics, as we know it today, was becoming refined and accepted by the scientific community.
When the pyramids were being built, there were still woolly mammoths.
The last use of the guillotine was in France the same year Star Wars came out.
Oxford University was over 300 years old when the Aztec Empire was founded.
* President Obama Pens Personal Apology to an Art Historian. Spoiler: it’s a pretty lousy apology!
* The film ‘Back to the Future’ provides the OED’s earliest recorded example of a colloquial sense of ‘hello’, used to imply (sometimes disbelievingly or sarcastically) that the person addressed is not paying attention, has not understood something, or has said something nonsensical or foolish. – See more at: http://oupacademic.tumblr.com/post/52859022183/the-film-back-to-the-future-provides-the-oeds#sthash.3jb8w2Nr.EuYbel9A.dpuf
* Making the rounds again: Kurt Vonnegut Diagrams the Shape of All Stories in a Master’s Thesis Rejected by U. Chicago.
* In Louisiana, which offers some of the most lucrative tax giveaways to Hollywood, the Legislative Auditor’s Office reported that the subsidies cost the state $170 million in lost tax revenue in a single year. By one estimate, the state is handing $70,000 per episode to the cast of Duck Dynasty – all while pleading poverty to justify deep cuts to public health care programs and to retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters and teachers.
* About a dozen faculty members and 30 students at St. Mary’s College, a public school in Maryland, have proposed a plan to limit the salary of the highest-paid employee to 10 times that of the lowest-paid employee.
* [grabs popcorn] Emails Suggest Scott Walker Knew Of Illegal Campaign Coordination.
* Wednesday’s proposed reforms efforts — reached in negotiations between the civil liberties group and the state DOCCS — entail an end to the solitary confinement of prisoners under 18-years-old, pregnant women and prisoners with developmental disabilities. You mean to tell me they were using solitary confinement on — what? What?
* Missouri Likely To Drop Its Lifetime Food Stamps Ban For Drug Convicts. You mean to tell me they were — really?
* Cop Allegedly Shot And Killed Teenage Boy After Mistaking His Wii Controller For A Gun. “Allegedly” doing a whole lot of work in that sentence given that plain facts of the matter on which everyone agrees.
* Twitter lost $645 million last year, almost as much as its total revenue.
* The Pentagon’s whitewashed history of the Vietnam War provokes troubling questions about how the invasion of Iraq will one day be remembered.
* What would Lovelock do now, I ask, if he were me? He smiles and says: “Enjoy life while you can. Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” Have a good weekend, everyone!
* Link of the year: Teju Cole Wrote a Short Story on Twitter by Retweeting Others.
* The state of exception: Court Upholds Willy-Nilly Gadget Searches Along U.S. Border.
* Can J.P. Morgan really go 2 years without breaking the law? I’ll take the under.
* Notre Dame’s Moral Dilemma Over Birth Control. John Dear, Jesuit known for peace witness, dismissed from order. And from the archives: An Oklahoma high school suspended a 15-year-old student after accusing her of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick, lawyers for the student said on Friday.
* Dallas shock: It turns out a cop can get fired for something.
* Bad for the brand: Ex-Gitmo Detainee, Released by Bush, Is Suspected in Benghazi Attack.
* The New Inquiry’s issue on “Bloodsport” is unusually great.
* Nature Bombshell: Observations Point To 10°F Warming by 2100. This is why I think geoengineering is inevitable, for better or for worse.
* And congratulations Milwaukee, the 10th worst-run city in the US.
But what was truly fascinating about that phone call was that if it was trolling the Bad Fan, it was also trolling me: the sort of feminist-minded sucker who took the speech at face value, for nearly an hour, until I suddenly realized, in a flash of clarity, that it was a fake-out for the police. (Skyler realized long before I did.) Once my analytical skills flared back into being, I was stunned by the moment’s effectiveness. I mean, on one level, that speech was just what it looked like: Walt venting every toxic feeling he’d ever had about his wife. On another level, it was the opposite: it was Walt pretending to be an abusive husband, as a gift to Skyler. It was an apology to her, as well as an attempt to get her off the hook legally, to honor Holly saying “Mama.” Walt’s language was pretty much a PowerPoint presentation of abuser behavior, designed to make Skyler’s case in court proceedings. And yet it still had the sting of catharsis, letting Walt say what he felt: that Skyler is a whiner, a nag, a drag, responsible for anything that happened to her…
* Blattman, who is known for his frank approach to decoding college and graduate school for students on his blog (he once wrote a “how-to” post on e-mailing professors), outlines protocol for would-be advisees in a new post called “If you want to be my student.” Described as “advice on how to manage [me],” it links to a page on Blattman’s website for Ph.D. students.
* David Souter: Fund the humanities or face national extinction.
* And the CDC officially wants you to be terrified: “We Will Soon Be in a Post-Antibiotic Era.”
* “It’s like somebody opened a drain on most of the economic progress made by black families in the last 30 years,” said Mishel. “That’s three decades down the drain.”
* This is what the worship of death looks like. bell hooks (from 2001) explains George Zimmerman.
* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.
MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval. The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.
MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.
MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.
* It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.
* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.
* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.
* The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.
* What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!