Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’
* At last we have it in English. Summa Technologiae, originally published in Polish in 1964, is the cornerstone of Stanislaw Lem’s oeuvre, his consummate work of speculative nonfiction. Trained in medicine and biology, Lem synthesizes the current science of the day in ways far ahead of most science fiction of the time.
According to one observer, “the ones who fell asleep (or at least appeared to be asleep) [were] Tranel, Marklein, Pridemore, Tittl, Hutton, Bies, Nass, Tiffany, and Knodl. It was hard to tell with some of them, but Tranel was definitely asleep. Nerison, who sits next to him, shook him awake at one point.”
I think we have to accept that traditional colleges like ours have benefited from inequality. That’s biting us in the ass now because it’s being used to say we’re elitist as if we weren’t designed to do precisely what we’re doing. I mean c’mon. So let’s accept that part of our own story and say yeah we’ve got other stories too.
* Yale fined $165,000 for underreporting sex offenses. Is that a lot of money? You might very well think so.
* The Freud Museum announced earlier this week that it needed £5000 to restore Freud’s couch, the centerpiece of a study crammed with other relics, a cluttered cabinet of antique curiosities that Freud called his ‘old and dirty gods’.
* And the headline reads, “Venezuela Has Run Out of Toilet Paper.”
The University of Wisconsin proves again that austerity is a no-win game: Successfully making budget cuts only shows you were wasting money in the first place, proving still more cuts are necessary.
Then, when you turn the corner and look at what hulks across the street from the main Cooper Union building, you can see where a huge amount of the money went: into a gratuitously glamorous and expensive New Academic Building, built at vast expense, with the aid of a $175 million mortgage which Cooper Union has no ability to repay.
The bland name for the building is a symptom of the fact that Cooper’s capital campaign, designed to raise the money for its construction, was a massive flop: no one gave remotely enough money to justify putting their name on the building. It’s also a symptom of the fact that no one on the board had any appetite for naming it after George Campbell, the main architect of the scheme which involved going massively into debt in order to construct this white elephant.
Campbell, pictured grinning widely in a now-notorious 2009 WSJ article, claimed that Cooper was a financial success story when in fact it was on the verge of collapse. He’s the single biggest individual villain in the Cooper story, and it’s a vicious irony that Cooper’s latest Form 990 shows him being paid $1,307,483 in 2011 — after he left Cooper’s presidency. (Cooper Union explainsthat the amount represents six years of “deferred compensation/retention payments”, but the timing couldn’t be worse.)
Campbell’s enablers and cheering squad were a small group of trustees, many of them Cooper-trained engineers gone Wall Street, who had so internalized the ethos of the financial world that it never occurred to them that they shouldn’t be constantly trying to get bigger and better and shinier. Campbell was paid $668,473 in his last year at Cooper — he was one of the highest-paid college presidents in the country, despite running a naturally small institution with serious space and money constraints. Board-member financiers enabled his dreams of growth and glory, hoping that some of the glamor from the newly-revitalized institution would reflect back on themselves. Naturally, when the whole project turned out to be a disaster, they scurried ignobly off the board as fast as they could.
* Duke University faculty members, frustrated with their administration and skeptical of the degrees to be awarded, have forced the institution to back out of a deal with nine other universities and 2U to create a pool of for-credit online classes for undergraduates.
* At this point, both parties really just represent different fractions of the 1%; Wall Street funds both, but where the Republicans are supported largely by business, especially the extractive industries, the Democratic Party has become that of the upper echelons of the professional and managerial classes: of university administrators, museum board directors, doctors, lawyers, designers and marketing consultants.
* The debt debate is reminiscent of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In a grand inversion, minor characters have usurped center stage, while the more important ones are out of sight. The Debt We Shouldn’t Pay.
* Also at NYRoB: Wikipedia’s Women Problem.
* The right to work less: Not only does the U.S. economy tend to produce lots of bad jobs, U.S. workers tend to spend far too much of their time doing them. In 2009, the average U.S. worker worked 1,681 hours compared to 1,390 in Germany. Germany’s experiments withkurzarbeit, a government program that provides income support to workers who accept reduced hours, has helped it avoid the problems of high and long-term unemployment that confront us here in the U.S. Instead of fighting for more work, much of which is likely to be bad, how about fighting for less work for everybody? This could be a very effective way to make sure that there are enough jobs to go around for everyone while limiting the amount of time workers spend in deadening, alienating labor.
* Science! “Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring,” the researchers wrote.
* What is the legal justification for signature strikes? What qualifies as a “signature” that would prompt a deadly strike? Do those being targeted have to pose a threat to the United States? And how many civilians have been killed in such strikes? The administration has rebuffed repeated requests from Congress to provide answers – even in secret.
* And just in from the local tourism board: 100 things to do in Wisconsin this summer.
* AMC passed on Red Mars, but then greenlights this? Those idiots.
The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money.
* What started out as a case about whether corporations could be held accountable in U.S. courts for human rights violations abroad now turned into a case about whether anyone can be held accountable. And on Wednesday, a five-justice majority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that the answer is, mostly, no.
* Mellon Foundation awards grant to develop new careers for humanities Ph.D.s. At the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
* Disney Says New ‘Star Wars’ Films Will Open Every Summer Starting in 2015. The internet has spoken: put Patton Oswalt in charge.
* After writing all of this I realize that I am not leaving my profession, in truth, it has left me. It no longer exists. I feel as though I have played some game halfway through its fourth quarter, a timeout has been called, my teammates’ hands have all been tied, the goal posts moved, all previously scored points and honors expunged and all of the rules altered. A teacher resigns.
* Academics have finally “started” to talk about capitalism? Inconceivable!
* Take the example of online education, for which excitement is rapidly building in California. Morozov notes in the book that it might very well produce more graduates per dollar spent, but it also might miss the very point of education.
* An outrage of the week right in my own backyard: Botched ATF sting in Milwaukee ensnares brain-damaged man.
“I have never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life,” said Greg Thiele, who spent 30 years working for the Milwaukee Police Department including on undercover stings with federal agents, including those with the ATF. “Something is very wrong here.”
* And when continuity collides: The new Doctor Who companion’s ten-second appearance in Captain America.
* Wisconsin, unfortunately, has become a case study in the failure of austerity economics at the state level.
As Maisto puts it: “The most vulnerable students tend to get taught by the least supported faculty. And if that doesn’t bother people, it should.”
Stick around for some eye-popping rationalizations from senior administrators.
* Of those students who place into remedial math at CUNY, 20 percent have progressed to a for-credit course two years later. After six years, just one in four have managed to earn any degree. A national research report published last year called remediation a “bridge to nowhere.” System Failure: The Collapse of Public Education.
“If you start in remediation,” says Tom Sugar of Complete College America, the think tank that published the “bridge to nowhere” report, “there’s virtually no chance you’re going to end up with a college degree.”
“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”
* Tough times in the U.K.: the Queen got a mere $5 million dollar raise this year.
* New journal: The Journal of Popular Television, Volume 1, Number 1.
* And your Tumblr of the minute: Mean Girls + Mad Men = Mean Mad Men. So good I don’t even care if I’ve done this one before.
* 15 Geeky College Courses You Won’t Believe Actually Exist. The Tolkien class I’m inheriting is #8. Fall 2014!
* “The rich get education and the poor get training,” Carnevale said. “It’s a way of reproducing class. The higher education system is now in cahoots with the economy to reproduce class.” Already, he added, “there are a lot of kids who are not getting a real education any more. They’re getting training.”
* Double Majors Produce Dynamic Thinkers, Study Finds. That’s why I majored in both English and Philosophy.
* When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago this month, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss—all 400,000 of them.
* More in NYPD-related travesties: Women who report domestic violence are exposing themselves to arrest under a new NYPD directive that orders cops to run criminal checks on the accused and the accuser, The Post has learned.
* The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to find money driving decisions in the NCAA.
* Well, there you have it: The Vatican lashed out at what it called a “defamatory” and “anti-clerical left-wing” campaign to discredit Pope Francis over his actions during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military junta, saying no credible accusation had ever stuck against the new pope.
* Rob Thomas: I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for “Pushing Daisies.”
* And in local news: A Wisconsin court has banned a local man from all the libraries on the planet after he was caught openly masturbating inside the Racine Public Library.
* The U.S. Army announced Friday that it will freeze all new applications for service members’ tuition assistance, temporarily eliminating a much relied-on program for soldiers and sending universities scrambling to identify alternative sources of funding for their students.
* How much does it cost to do an academic job search? This one seems to be behind a paywall, alas.
Ms. Finn first went on the market in 2009, a year before defending her dissertation, which she published as a book with Palgrave Macmillan last year. She has now been looking for a tenure-track job for four years. In that time she has applied for a total of 75 academic positions and spent more than $2,000. She has paid for postage, transcripts, several years of graduate-student membership in the Modern Language Association, and costs associated with attending the group’s conferences four times. Her tab also includes $39.90 to set up a three-year account with Interfolio, a popular online dossier-management service. To date, she has spent $365 for the service to transmit her application materials to scores of institutions.
There has been no payoff in terms of offers of a tenure-track job, visiting-professor position, or postdoctoral fellowship. Instead, Ms. Finn, who has taught as an adjunct at three universities, is unemployed, still on the job market, and trying to keep up with her research.
“I feel exhausted,” she says, “and as though I am throwing money into a gigantic hole.” She doesn’t regret graduate school, she adds, but “my wallet and credit score regret it.”
Yet the mavens of outcomes assessment do exactly the wrong thing—they pretend to have some other method that is the royal road to truth when, prey to the same doubts, it is no more than the path to ignorance.
* By sophomore year Evan was sleeping on a blowup mattress in an empty house off campus. He had no bed. No furniture. No posters or mini-fridge or shelf fraught with textbooks. He had no friends. He had sold the former, severed ties with latter, and now spent his hours curled up on an Aerobed until his dealer came through. The Existential Pain of Being Young, White, and Affluent.
* Harvard Search of E-Mail Stuns Its Faculty Members. Every aspect of this Harvard cheating scandal is so bizarre. Is there any reason to think such a high percentage of students—much less high-achieving Ivy Leaguers—would have cheated on a well-designed assignment with clear rules? Just call it even and be done with it.
* And UW admits by the numbers. Interesting to see how much has changed since 2000.
* Syllabus minute: I have W.H. Auden envy.
Some projections showed Athletics might not be able to make payments starting in the 2030s when the debt service balloons. The debt is structured so that for the next 20 years, Cal only needs to make interest payments on the debt. The principal kicks in in the early 2030s, resulting in payments between $24 million and $37 million per year.
Look, if it’s good enough for an idea man who settled out of court on securities fraud, it’s good enough for me.
* What If? on The Twitter Archive of Babel. The Twitter Archive of Babel contains the true story of your life, as well as all the stories of all the lives you didn’t lead….
* You and I are gonna live forever: 72 is the new 30.
* Settling nerd fights of the 1990s today: Is This the Smoking Gun Proving Deep Space Nine Ripped Off Babylon 5?
* The Star Wars Heresies: Star Wars and William Blake. Tim Morton’s essay in Green Planets has a similar impulse with respect to Avatar.
* And in even more insane mashup news: WWE Keeps Pressure On Glenn Beck.