Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘World War II

Monday Morning Links

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InstructionsForRidingAnIntegratedBus.jpg.CROP.original-originalAn Illustrated Account of the Great Maple Syrup Heist.

The 85 richest people on the planet are as wealthy as poorest half of the world.

* Slate has a memo from MLK following the desegregation of Montgomery’s bus lines.

* The problem, Berger concluded, was that “the Cubists imagined the world transformed but not the process of transformation.” It is that larger question – the process of actually getting to another world — that takes us beyond the artist and challenges the Left as a whole to cope with what can be done in this current moment of widespread disillusionment. Art in the Age of Fatalism.

If we don’t greatly reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, or completely eliminate them, a major city is going to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon. It’s remarkable—it’s incredible!—that a major city hasn’t been destroyed since Nagasaki. We can confront this problem or we can accept that hundreds of thousands or more will be killed.

* 14 Things We Learned from Bill Murray’s Reddit AMA. Bill Murray says he tried mightily to save Garfield.

About 100 demonstrators rallied Friday outside the Safety Building to denounce Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for his decision not to issue charges in the death of Corey Stingley.

Dropouts with heavy debt litter for-profit college landscape in Wisconsin, new report says.

“The world does not understand the settlements,” Livni said in a Channel 2 TV news interview. “The peace negotiations are the wall stopping the wave [of international boycott pressure]. If there is a crisis [in the talks, that wave] will crash through.”

Planet Likely to Warm by 4C by 2100.

* The Myth of the Deserving Rich.

Responses to Grantland’s Trans Outing.

* Famous movie quotes recreated as pictograms.

* Book reimagines ‘Pride and Prejudice’ from a cat’s point of view.

* DC vs Lois Lane.

* Debating executive salaries at MLA.

Melville and the Language of Denial.

The president is quoted today saying some things I never excepted a president to say.

* Even cough medicine is a lie.

What if saving could be like a lottery?

Thinking about the future here and its bleak prospects is not much fun at all, so instead of too much black-minded introspection you have the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas-station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death: Life expectancies are short — the typical man here dies well over a decade earlier than does a man in Fairfax County, Va. — and they are getting shorter, women’s life expectancy having declined by nearly 1.1 percent from 1987 to 2007. If the people here weren’t 98.5 percent white, we’d call it a reservation. The National Review visits Appalachia, and somehow manages to blame welfare.

* Meanwhile: Heroin gains a deadly foothold in Vermont.

* The headline reads, “Thief drops urn containing Sigmund Freud’s ashes during break-in attempt.”

* Ultimate Slate Pitch? I Would Rather Lick a Toilet Seat Than a Cellphone.

* What’s Inside This Mystery House In North Carolina?

* Isn’t it pretty to think so? As Presently Constructed, GOP Cannot Win White House. More here. They say the Democrats can’t lose. I say give them a chance.

The Average Human Wastes 22 Years Of Their Life… Sleeping.

* Why Expanded Universes Matter.

* What could go wrong?

* I saw this movie: Starting next week, all Indianapolis-area hospitals will ban visitors with flu-like symptoms.

* Happy birthday, Buffy.

* Adjuncts exist, and the New York Times is ON IT.

During World War Two, conscientious objectors in the US and the UK were asked to volunteer for medical research. In one project in the US, young men were starved for six months to help experts decide how to treat victims of mass starvation in Europe.

* Judge Dredd now enforcing jaywalking laws in New York, apparently.

* And someone left a laptop on a park bench.

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Weekend! Links!

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*  Program for the 2014 MLA Subconference, January 8-9 at Columbia College Chicago.

* CFP for “Joss Whedon: A Celebration” at DePaul University this May.

* The New Yorker considers Kim Stanley Robinson: Our Greatest Political Novelist?

Depending on your own politics, this may sound like millennia-overdue common sense or a bong-fuelled 3 A.M. wish list, but there’s no arguing that to implement it in the real world circa 2013 would be, literally, revolutionary. My own bet would be that either your grandchildren are going to be living by some of these precepts, or else they won’t be living at all.

It is an open question as to whether academics today, in their heart of hearts, still realize that the choice between the employability agenda or the death of universities actually means the death of universities through the employability agenda.

Our football team here at Purdue went 1-11, losing the final ten games in a row by an average of almost 25 points and going 0-8 in Big Ten play, including a 20 point blowout to arch-rival Indiana. The lone victory on the season came through a nail-biting 20-14 performance against Indiana State… an FCS school… who themselves went 1-11. If beating the doormat team of the Missouri Valley Conference is the highlight of your season, it’s perhaps time for a reevaluation of priorities. After ranking 122nd in points scored a game and 114th in points against a game, making a legitimate case for being the worst team in FBS football, the campus is buzzing about how long a rebuild will require and whether first-year coach Darrell Hazzell is the man to lead it. With the season’s “One Brick Higher” slogan now seeming like a sad joke, my message to the Purdue community is simple: don’t rebuild. Retreat. The best path forward for Purdue University is to dismantle its football program altogether. 

* I also liked Freddie’s piece on how the permanent squabble between tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty plays directly into the hands of administrators.

* This Thousand-Year Institution Could Really Learn Something from These Fly-By-Night Scams: Forget Academia. Startups Are the Future of Knowledge.

Invisible Rituals: Pre-Graduate School Programs and Developing Diversity.

Rise of the Lady Adjuncts.

* “If you haven’t been in a hen plant, you don’t know what hell is”: Animal rights activists vs. the agribusiness industry in Rolling Stone.

Liberalism is a game the rich play with themselves. They Pretend to Think, We Pretend to Listen: Liberalism in the tank.

Aaron Bady considers Mandela, all of him.

If you’re a president, it probably feels good to think about this, about how a revolutionary came to defend the stability of the society he once threatened to overturn. It probably also feels good to think of him as historical, as past: like Nkrumah or Lumumba, he is no longer our problem, no longer our responsibility. Instead of a defiant refusal to stop short of victory and a refusal to compromise or negotiate on principles, he can represent the passing away of that very thing.

Want the best person for the job? Don’t interview.

Why Don’t Supreme Court Justices Ever Change Their Minds in Favor of the Death Penalty?

Jackson’s Hobbit II so little resembles the book, it may as well be called Some Further Adventures in Middle-earth. The Hobbit 2 Is Bad Fan Fiction.

Here’s Every Time Paul Rudd Has Shown the Same Movie Clip on Conan.

* Jaws retold as Peanuts comic.

* Everything in the oceans is dying.

The Economy Looks Good Because The Data Has Been So Bad For So Long.

No Civilian Leadership for NSA After All.

Ph.D.s With and Without Jobs.

* Please excuse Davontaye, he suffers from povertenza.

Belgium took a big step on Thursday to becoming the first country to allow euthanasia for incurably ill children, after the upper house of Parliament voted by a large majority to extend to minors a 2002 law legalizing the practice for adults.

A national study being released today in book form found that those who are attractive in high school are more likely than those with just average or below average looks to go on to earn a four-year college degree.

* Take that, conventional wisdom! Study: Long Distance Relationships Can Work.

* Whether you agree with the ASA’s boycott of Israeli state institutions or not, I think we can all agree that to boycott Larry Summers.

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.

* America, 2013: No charges after man pulls gun on ‘b*tch’ with disabled kid over Walmart parking delay.

Your odds of winning the jackpot used to be 1 in 176 million. As of Oct. 22, those odds changed to 1 in 259 million. The Lottery Is a Predator and You Are Its Math-Illiterate Prey.

* Space Race back on! China lands on the Moon!

* Hollywood finally goes too far.

* And Physicists To Test If Universe Is A Computer Simulation. Overflow Error: Abort, Retry, Fail….

Thursday Night Links: Liars, Scoundrels, Star Trek, and More

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* Transcript from the September 19 meeting of the Cooper Union Board of Trustees. Even putting aside that their short-sighted and obviously bad decisions caused the problem in the first place, the enthusiasm with which these supposed trustees speak about the possibility of closing the school is just unreal.

* All of which brings you back to one central point: if you care about the integrity of elections and people actually being able to vote, the supposed cures for vote fraud are vastly more destructive than the problem. All evidence suggests that vote fraud is a minuscule, minuscule problem. Voter ID and most of the other nostrums are solutions looking for a problem. The people who support these policies are either ignorant of the facts or actually want to cull a certain subsection of the population from democratic participation. There are simply no two ways about it.

* “Since it won’t reform itself, Starfleet needs to be destroyed.” Star Trek into Darkness Hostile to Star Trek, Intelligence.

Remember how Kirk was going to nobly take Khan to Earth to stand trial? Did this actually happen? Is it possible to imagine such a trial ending with a court imposing the punishment of cryogenic stasis? How could a court not demand the other 72 be brought back to life? Wouldn’t such a trial inevitably entail Marcus’s cimes — leading to the exposure of his massive corruption and a public outcry to structurally reform Starfleet?

* Bridge collapse in Washington State, sending vehicles and people into the water. 

* Scenes from the fight over Obama’s judicial appointments. Obama won one battle today.

* The Wisconsin State Legislature is trying to defund United Council, the oldest state student association in the country.

* The best headline ever? The FBI Investigated the Song ‘Louie Louie’ for Two Years.

* Wikipedia’s emergency.

* Diane Kendig’s letter of resignation from her adjunct position at Kent State.

* Senate Accepts Deal to Kick Formerly Incarcerated Off Food Benefits.

* The kids are all right: Teens hate Facebook.

* Historian Helen Fry, who has written a book called The M Room: Secret Listeners who bugged the Nazis, says the information gleaned by the eavesdropping of the German generals was vitally important to the war effort – so much so that it was given an unlimited budget by the government. She believes what was learned by the M room operations was as significant as the code-breaking work being done at Bletchley Park.

* The Boy Scouts inch forward.

* And This Incredible Full Scale Lego X-Wing Is the Largest Model In History. I’ll allow it.

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May Day Links, Not All of Them about May Day Exactly

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Is today the day Marty McFly arrives when he travels to the future?

* Jacob Remes on May Day from a year ago.

AndalusiaUnemployment2-thumb-570x404-120178* Lost generation: on unemployment in Spain.

* A May Day Manifesto: Seven Principles for Adjuncts.

1. Increase the starting salary for a three-credit semester course to a minimum of $5,000 for all instructors in higher education.
2. Ensure academic freedom by providing progressively longer contracts for all contingent instructors who have proven themselves during an initial probationary period.
3. Provide health insurance for all instructors, either through their college’s health insurance system or through the Affordable Care Act.
4. Support the quality education of our students by providing their instructors with necessary office space, individual development support, telephones, email accounts and mail boxes.
5. Guarantee fair and equitable access to unemployment benefits when college instructors are not working.
6. Guarantee eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all college instructors who have taught for ten years, during which they were repaying their student loans.
7. With or without a time-in service requirement, allow all college teachers to vote and hold office in institutional governance, including faculty senates and academic departments.

* A very strange thing happened to the California single payer health care bill this year. It disappeared.

There were a few radical writers like Tom Paine who did use the word “democracy” from early on, but the first official use was by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the “Democratic Republican” party — which is clearly just some sort of PR trick, since Jefferson himself never uses the word “democracy” at all in his own writings. But the person who really transformed the language was Andrew Jackson. He ran as a “democrat” and it was so effective that over the course of the 1830s, everyone started calling themselves that. So basically the Republican system that was set up to contain democracy itself got renamed “Democracy.” Interview with David Graeber on Democracy in America.

After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto.

* Washington Post editorial urges the closing of Guantánamo.

For the prison to close, lawmakers would have to lift a ban on transferring prisoners to the United States. But it was good that Mr. Obama also pledged to “examine every option that we have administratively” — because there are steps he could take without Congress.

US soldier not found alive after 44 years in Vietnam. Via the comments.

Japan and Russia want to finally end World War II.

* Interesting interactive chart from the Guardian about violence in recent best-selling video games.

* Interactive infographic at the New York Times shows long-term Democratic hegemony (at least at the presidential level) given most demographic assumptions.

Coursera Eyes Teacher Training With New MOOC Partners.

* And so you want to win a Pulitzer.

Literally Every Weekend Link There Is

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* It’s official: J.J. Abrams will ruin Star Wars (more).

* More drone fiction, please. Tweets not bombs. Lip-syncing the poetry of empire.

Žižek vs. Zero Dark Thirty.

Imagine a documentary that depicted the Holocaust in a cool, disinterested way as a big industrial-logistic operation, focusing on the technical problems involved (transport, disposal of the bodies, preventing panic among the prisoners to be gassed). Such a film would either embody a deeply immoral fascination with its topic, or it would count on the obscene neutrality of its style to engender dismay and horror in spectators. Where is Bigelow here?

* Anti-war activism at the University of Wisconsin, c. 1940.

* Stunning read on living as a victim of child abuse from the New York TimesThe Price of a Stolen Childhood.

* David Foster Wallace and depression, in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

* Steve Benen and Maddowblog has been all over the Republican vote-rigging scheme, even going so low as to cite one of my tweets. What The 2012 Election Would Look Like Under The Republicans’ Vote-Rigging Plan. Scott Walker, of course, is rigging-curious. And a delicious little bit of schadenfreude.

It is a sin against the new world of mediocrity to be distinct or distinguished.  We are in the chain-store, neon-lighted era.  Almost every city looks the same.  The same people all dress the same – kids as Hopalong Cassidy, men with loud sportshirts and Truman suits, women in slacks.  Sometimes you can tell whether a trousered individual is a man or a woman only by the width of the buttocks.  Only a few cities have individuality.  They are the seaports, New York, New Orleans and San Francisco.  Boston reeks of decay, and is not genteel.  The rest are all Cleveland.

* Today in legal hyperformalism.

Would you believe me if I told you that President Obama is in constitutional trouble—with hundreds of decisions of the National Labor Relations Board from the last year now potentially invalid—over the meaning of the word the?

* When The Shining had an optimistic ending.

* So we’re going to destroy the world: Australian shale oil discovery could be larger than Canada’s oilsands.

* The trouble with English.

None of these past challenges compares with the one under way now. While other humanities disciplines—philosophy, linguistics, and modern languages, for example—have relied upon a range of foundational practices at the modern mass university, many English professors have depended on literature (narrowly defined), written discourse, and the printed book as the primary elements in teaching and scholarship. But hidebound faculty members who continue to assign and study only pre-computer-based media will quickly be on their way toward becoming themselves a “historical” presence at the university.

That’s why I specialized in iPad-2-era Twitter-based fan-fiction, and frankly I’ve never looked back.

* Mainstreaming MOOCs.

* Open, New, Experimental, Aspirational: Ian Bogost vs. “The Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age.”

* New research indicates tuition has little correlation with educational outcomes.

If markets are efficient and if markets make things better, then there is no explanation for why we have the worst media in the world rather than the best. The problem is that markets don’t really make things better or more efficient. They make things cheaper and they’re responsive. That’s why we get the news we want rather than the news we need.

Child labour uncovered in Apple’s supply chain.

* n+1 visits MLA.

* Defending freedom: A St. Paul man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

For The Sixth Time In One Week, Man Shot At Gun Show.

* Adam Mansbach: My fake college college syllabus.

* Copy Of The Scarlet Letter Can’t Believe The Notes High Schooler Writing In Margins.

* Debunkng the “the Soviets used a pencil” gag. The more you know!

* Occam’s Razor suggests it must be Cory Booker who is putting these people and animals in danger in the first place.

* More on the Arizona “loyalty oaths” issue, with a religious freedom focus.

* New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape As ‘Tampering With Evidence.’ Republicans, honestly, we have to talk.

* Seriously, though, I could fix the whole damn system if they’d listen to me.

* Even the Pentagon doesn’t know what the the point of the draft is supposed to be.

* Xavier and Magneto Heading to Broadway for Waiting For Godot.

* And a little something just for the Harmenians: “I wanted a memorable Harmontown show in Kansas City, and for my sins they gave me one.” Dan Harmon predicts pain.

Fact of the Day

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A short piece in the September/October 2012 issue of Archaeology magazine highlights the presence of spherical magnetic shards—remnants of the D-Day operations of World War II—found hidden amongst natural sand grains on the beaches of Normandy. “Up to 4 percent of the sand is made up of this shrapnel,” incredibly, but, the article continues, “waves, storms, and rust will probably wipe this microscopic archaeology from the coast in another hundred years.”

Written by gerrycanavan

August 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Unit 731

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Led by the enigmatic Dr. Shiro Ishii, Unit 731 committed thousands of macabre experiments and infected hundreds of thousands with the plague in China. Most of the scientists involved with Unit 731 escaped trial and entered mainstream society at the end of the war due to an agreement with Allied commanders, but a few are speaking of the horrors they committed in their old age.

I’m seeing at least a three-picture deal.

Tuesday Night Links

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* Community is back March 15, but NBC still hates you; they’re putting Parks & Rec on hiatus instead.

46 Things to Read and See for David Foster Wallace’s 50th Birthday. Via MeFi.

* Weirdest Unsolved Mysteries of World War II. I feel certain Indiana Jones was involved in each of these.

* “How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries.”

* A literary history of erasure.

* When Jon Hamm met Miss Piggy.

* Cory Doctorow reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Constitutional-conventionalist One Way Forward.

* ‘I exist wholly for you. I will never reject you. You cannot disappoint me.’ A brief history of the money shot.

* Canadians: They’re Just as Bad as Us!

* And of course you had me at 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue. Via Kottke.

FLOGGING CULLY. A debilitated lecher, commonly an old one.

COLD PIG. To give cold pig is a punishment inflicted on sluggards who lie too long in bed: it consists in pulling off all the bed clothes from them, and throwing cold water upon them.

TWIDDLE-DIDDLES. Testicles.

TWIDDLE POOP. An effeminate looking fellow.

The Hitler of Ice Cream

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A Player Whose Stroke Is Affected by the Simultaneous Explosion of a Bomb May Play Another Ball under Penalty of One Stroke

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 2, 2012 at 12:06 am

‘The Only Thing That Any One Wants Now Is to Be Free, to Be Let Alone, to Live Their Life as They Can, but Not to be Watched, Controlled and Scared, No No, Not’

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2011 at 9:43 am

The Past Is Never Dead

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About 45,000 residents of the German city of Koblenz, nearly half of the city’s population, are under evacuation orders Sunday following the discovery of what local officials said was one of the largest unexploded bombs ever found, believed to have been dropped by the British Royal Air Force during World War II.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Monday Night: Scooby-Doo, Stalin’s Daughter, and More

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* “You can’t regret your fate,” Ms. Peters once said, “although I do regret my mother didn’t marry a carpenter.” Josef Stalin’s daughter has died. More at MeFi.

* Occupy the Mystery Machine: The very first rule of Scooby-Doo, the single premise that sits at the heart of their adventures, is that the world is full of grown-ups who lie to kids, and that it’s up to those kids to figure out what those lies are and call them on it, even if there are other adults who believe those lies with every fiber of their being. (via)

* Behind the scenes of Planet of the Apes.

* No second acts in America: The life and times of Chris Hardwick. (also via)

* Terry Gilliam, the heir of Fellini and the enemy of God. (you know what I’m gonna say)

On his flight to Los Angeles, Gilliam tried to watch the $1-billion hit “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and he felt battered and sullen by the time the landing gear came down. The old wizard says it’s the stage magicians who rule Hollywood now.

“You just sit there and watch the explosions,” Gilliam said. “I couldn’t tell you what the movie was about. The movie hammers the audience into submission. They are influenced by video games, but in video games at least you are immersed; in these movies you’re left out. In films, there’s so much overt fantasy now that I don’t watch a lot because everything is possible now. There’s no tension there. People can slide down the side of a building that’s falling and they don’t get ripped to shreds? The shots are amazing, but if there is no consequence, no gravity, what’s the point? I can’t watch Hollywood movies anymore. There’s no room for me.”

* Safe, reliable, and too cheap to meter: Japan’s science ministry says 8 per cent of the country’s surface area has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

* “For our brewery, growth depends on abundant clean water and quality barley and hops—and climate change puts those ingredients at risk. Our supply chain—including barley, hops and water—is especially vulnerable to weather in the short-term and to climate change in the long-term,” Orgolini told Forbes.

* Medicine and “never events.”

* Of islands and invaders.

* Against Gremlins.


* Nearly half (48%) of all Americans say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, and another 42% say that it is one of the greatest countries in the world. Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) Americans say that the U.S. is not one of the greatest countries in the world.

There are sharp generational differences on this question. Millennials are the least likely to say that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, with just 32% holding this view. This number rises with each successive generation, culminating in nearly two-thirds of Silents (64%) expressing the view that the U.S. stands above all other nations. Within the Silent generation, it is the oldest members who feel most strongly about America’s greatness – fully 72% of those ages 76 to 83 say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world. About half of members of Generation X (ages 31 to 46) and the Baby Boomer generation (47 to 65) believe that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

* “Berkeley Police Defend Actions by Sensationistically Claiming Protestors Could’ve Used Lethal Violence.” That’s good enough for me!

* The engineers behind Russia’s failed Mars attempt could face criminal charges.

“Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness,” explained Medvedev. “It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty.”

* Speaking of punishing the guilty: The Walker recall is already almost halfway there. @wi_defender: One signature every 3.456 seconds for 12 days. #WIRecall #RecallWalker #damn

* Corporate synergy watch: Staples is launching Dunder Mifflin brand paper.

* And in terrible local news:

The North Carolina Senate voted (27-17) Monday to repeal the Racial Justice Act, sending SB 9 off to Governor Bev Perdue. The Senate’s approval came just hours after the Judiciary Committee heard emotional testimony on both sides of the legislation.

Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle told legislators that DAs were “fearful” that the two-year-old law had the potential to parole death row inmates.

One shudders to think!

Still Wednesday!

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* Troy Davis’s former warden has signed a letter asking corrections officers not to participate in his execution. Twitter has confirmed for me that Obama cannot intervene—not that I believe he would—which makes the situation look pretty hopeless. (UPDATE: Still getting conflicting information on this; apparently DoJ could intervene on a civil rights basis.UPDATE: The Georgia Supreme Court has just rejected Davis’s request for a stay.

* Noam Chomsky: The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux.

* The headline reads, “How the US Planned to Destroy Britain Just a Few Years Before World War II.” Via Bitter Laughter.

* Ten Historic Female Scientists You Should Know.

* Making the worst day of someone’s life just a little worse: Miscarriage No Longer Considered “Emergency” For Medicaid Patients In Washington State. If you plan to miscarry, please, make an appointment.

* A news story scientifically calibrated to give you the most mixed feelings possible: Highland Park, Il.-based nonprofit software testing company Aspiritech is pioneering a new business model in the United States that champions the unique concentration and detail-oriented strengths of its 15 employees, all of whom have been diagnosed with disorders on the autism spectrum.

* AIDS Puzzle Solved By Computer Gamers.

* And an Elizabeth Warren video on class warfare has gone viral. Warren ’16?

Life During Wartime

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How many types of Jews are there? Two: optimists and pessimists. All the pessimists are in exile, and the optimists are in concentration camps.

A review of Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler’s Germany.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

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