Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

All Your Tuesday Morning Links

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If You Leave Open A Million Tabs, ‘The Great Suspender’ Chrome Extension Is For You. Gamechanger.

* When Birds Squak, Other Species Seem to Listen.

Two-Thirds of Risk Managers Say Frats Are Major Liability. The other third are on vacation, check back next week.

This sort of thing is a problem in academia too. If a male prof refuses to mentor female students, that’s also bad.

* “Neoliberalism is the real affront to higher education — not Kanye West’s honorary doctorate.”

The idea of using “drive-up advising” to reach these students started as a joke, Murray said, but it quickly turned into a reality.

Low cost college isn’t enough. I’ve tried to argue that plans like #FreeCommunityCollege will actually be a strong accelerant to some of the other problems David is talking about, but it hasn’t exactly set the world on fire.

* The humane and the anti-humane.

What matters more is the loose agglomeration of practices, institutions and perspectives that view human experience and human subjectivity as a managerial problem, a cost burden and an intellectual disruption. I would not call such views inhumane: more anti-humane: they do not believe that a humane approach to the problems of a technologically advanced global society is effective or fair, that we need rules and instrumments and systems of knowing that overrule intersubjective, experiential perspectives and slippery rhetorical and cultural ways of communicating what we know about the world.

Academic Freedom versus Academic Legitimacy.

Vote No on Every Fee.

Public universities are using non-need-based aid to recruit out-of-state students, at the expense of low-income and in-state students.

Three New Jersey colleges are appearing to be more competitive than they are in admissions by counting incomplete applications, NorthJersey.com reported.

* Race and Duke redux.

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* Hamburger U: As more firms have set up their own “corporate universities”, they have become less willing to pay for their managers to go to business school.

The best historical model for the transition from the WWIII-devastated Earth to the post-First Contact regime may be the rise of the Soviet Union.

* Strange result, what could explain it? Students Who Attend Class Outperform Those Online, Study Says.

* Like Dylan plugging in, Simon Pegg Worries The Love Of Science Fiction Is Making Us “Childish.”

* “Keep Foreskin and State Separate”: Battle Over Florida Boy’s Circumcision Heads To Federal Court.

N.C. Senate bill would criminalize, fire teachers for having political views.

* Why Did NY Ban Fracking? The Official Report Is Now Public.

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF.

Canada Approves Nuclear Waste Site on Great Lakes Shore.

Texas Elementary School Accused of Locking Boy up in a “Focus Room.” Why did we turn all our schools into torture chambers?

Homework is a Social Justice Issue.

Obama to Limit Military-Style Equipment for Police Forces.

Washington State Is In A Drought ‘Unlike Any We’ve Ever Experienced.’

Sure it looks as if things are getting more peaceful. But, looking at the mathematics, that’s exactly what we should expect to see, even if we’re most likely due for a much more violent future.

* Spies, they’re just like us.

* In fan fiction, even the Dursleys can potentially be redeemed.

* Counterpoint: Republicans Are Not on the Edge of Extinction.

The White House Is Archiving Every Tweet Begging @POTUS for Sex.

The truth about poo: we’re doing it wrong.

Scientists examine why men even exist.

* Like Uber, but for stopping this from happening all the time.

* Great moments in spin: “New Jersey voters say they don’t think I would be a good president because they want me to stay.” It might just be because they’re jealous.

* “That’s an extraordinarily high number of medications in a state with less than 2 million people.”

* Generation gibberish. I think a version of this sort of thinking organized around the penetration of consumer technology is probably viable, but a lot harder to wrangle than assigning arbitrary birth years.

Mad Men and the Coke Jingle Theory. Mad Men and the Movement.

* And from the archives: As good as it gets: Mad Men and neoliberalism. And today’s followup: The commodity is the better Jesus: On the Mad Men finale.

In any case, I regard the genre of television as completed now. The most critically acclaimed, culturally prestigious, artistically ambitious television show of all time — and judging by current trends, I include the future here too — has culminated in a tacky commercial. By doing so, it made us experience its moving utopian qualities and its sinister cult-like qualities. There’s nowhere else to go at this point. That’s “the real thing.” That’s “it.”

Written by gerrycanavan

May 19, 2015 at 8:34 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday! Morning! Links!

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* With respect to the Mad Men finale, kudos to Eileen Sutton and Todd VanDerWerff. And to this guy too.

Davis stayed with the agency for 19 years as a music director, creative concept writer, composer and producer, rising to senior vice president. He would popularize and create new “song-form” advertising that won every award the industry offers. He wrote Coca-Cola songs which are some of the most popular advertisements in existence today, including, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” “It’s the Real Thing,” “Have a Coke and a Smile,” “Mean Joe Green,” “Coke Is It” and “Country Sunshine.” He also wrote songs for Miller Brewing Company (“If You’ve Got the Time”), Campbell’s Soup and Sony.

* Meanwhile last night’s Game of Thrones was prurient and horrible.

* Nnedi Okorafor on magical futurism.

A Duke University professor has reportedly been placed on leave after posting racist comments online that included talk of “the blacks” and “the Asians.”

Why Salaita Was “Un-Hired”: The Missing Facts in the AAUP and CAFT Reports.

* Marquette in the ne…. oh come on. (UPDATE: Actual Journal-Sentinel story here.)

* Early men and women were equal, say scientists. Stealing the illustration directly from the Guardian:

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* “But Game Of Thrones goes to absurd lengths to present full-frontal female nudity.”

“People would look at us and say, ‘Oh, so you’re gay Amish?’ ” Johannes said.

Sweden is not a member of NATO and spends a relatively small amount on its military. How could it hope to deter the Russian navy on its own? The answer, according to one Swedish group, is simple: The Swedes must send out gay propaganda via Morse code.

“It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals,” write two New York Times reporters. “Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.” In Washington, this weekly meeting has been labeled “Terror Tuesday.” Once established, the list of nominees is sent to the White House, where the president orally gives his approval to each name. With the “kill list” validated, the drones do the rest.

The Forgotten Female Shell-Shock Victims of World War I.

* Can there be a feminist world?

* Death of a Yuppie Dream: The Rise and Fall of the Professional-Managerial Class.

Columbia Examines Its Long-Ago Links to Slavery.

Seattle’s unbelievable transportation megaproject fustercluck.

* Reviving the female canon of philosophy.

* Meet the Glam SAHMs.

* Special issue of Contexts on the sharing economy. Via (as always!) Sunday Reading.

How Many Americans Are Married To Their Cousins?

* I can’t help it: I just love reading about EVE Online.

Dramatic photos from around the globe record mankind’s destruction of the planet from wasteland forests to slaughtered wild animals and oceans overflowing with garbage.

* And stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally.

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Sunday Morning Links!

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As Marquette’s faculty gathers in the basement of the Bradley Center for commencement, some links…

* I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because of my disability. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child instead. I’ve even been told that it would’ve been better, had she known, for my mother to have an abortion and try again in hopes of conceiving a non-disabled child. I have been told that it is obvious that my life is less valuable when compared to the lives of arbitrary non-disabled people. And these things weren’t said as the conclusions of careful, extended argument. They were casual assertions. They were the kind of thing you skip over without pause because it’s the uncontroversial part of your talk.

* There’s tons of great stuff in issue 17 of Jacobin, from the Peter Frase editorial on automation to a call to democratize the universe to ruminations on edutopia and the smartphone society.

Mad Max: Fury Road Is the Feminist Action Flick You’ve Been Waiting For. 3 Brief Points on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Alastair Reynolds Says What It’ll Take To Colonize Other Planets.

University of Wisconsin flunks the financial transparency test.

* Juxtaposition watch: Maryland governor vetoes $11 million for schools, approves $30 million for jails.

The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit.

Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her. The next couple years are going to be a bottomless exercise in humiliation for Democrats.

People Who Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning Are The Best Americans.

* History is a nightmare for which I’m trying to hit the snooze: NJ Republican Introduces Resolution Condemning ‘Negative’ AP History Exam.

City leaders approve plan for National Slave Ship Museum.

“Do something that will force reviewers compare this movie favorably to the ending of Man of Steelwhether they want to or not.”

Let the Kids Learn Through Play.

Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves?

There is no f*cking way that you can hack a plane’s engines from the in-flight TVs. I won’t accept it.

* “He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.”

* I also won’t accept that Someone Did a Shit So Bad On a British Airways Plane That It Had to Turn Around and Come Back Again.

* “DesJarlais, a former physician, voted for the ban despite allegedly pressuring his mistress and ex-wife to get abortions.”

When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?

If Catch-22 appeared a few years before Americans were ready to read it, Something Happened jumped the gun by decades, and the novel was already forgotten when its comically bleak take on upper-middle-class life became a staple of fiction.

Jurors In The Boston Bombing Case Had To Agree To Consider The Death Penalty Before Being Selected. This is a very strange requirement of the law that seems to strongly interfere with the “jury of your peers” ideal.

How a police department tried to save a failing Rust Belt town by luring all the local drug dealers to one party.

* Deleted scene from Infinite Jest. So bizarre.

* Dibs on the young-adult dystopia: Teenagers who show too much leg face being sent into an “isolation room” for breaching the new uniform code.

New Zealand Legally Recognises Animals as ‘Sentient’ Beings.

Schools are failing boys because lessons have become “feminised”, says a leading academic who wants to see outdoor adventure given greater emphasis in the curriculum. That’ll solve it!

What Even Can You Even Say About The Princess-Man of North Sudan?

What Would You Do If You Could Censor Your Past? A Visit to the UK’s Secret Archives.

The Ecotourism Industry Is Saving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People.

* “On the occasion of David Letterman’s retirement after 33 years of hosting a late-night talk show, Jason Snell presents his take on Letterman’s significance, told with the help of a few friends.”

* Friends, they may call it a movement.

* And I’ll see you again in twenty-five days.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

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BAMFAs: ‘Entire USC MFA 1st Year Class is Dropping Out’

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See here. I suspect MFA programs will generally be more prone to these sorts of work actions than PhD programs: they’re often require more debt, are paid worse, have an even more ephemeral link to future job prospects, and are shorter, so easier to walk away from…

I’m just glad to see a higher ed administration finally pay a concrete, immediate price for behaving abusively.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

Friday Links!

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* CFP: In More’s Footsteps: Utopia and Science Fiction.

* CFP: The Comics of Art Spiegelman.

* In case you missed it: the syllabus for my summer science fiction course.

* Your official Mad Men finale odds sheet.

Stop sanitizing the history of the run-up to Iraq War.

In this small suburb outside Milwaukee, no one in the Menomonee Falls School District escapes the rigorous demands of data.

What Makes a University Public?: Privatization, Environmental Racism, and UC Berkeley’s Real Estate Office.

Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of Southern Maine.

* Bérubé and Ruth (and Bousquet) on their plan to convert adjunct positions to teaching tenure.

Everything But The Burden: Publics, Public Scholarship, And Institutions.

Obama’s Catastrophic Climate-Change Denial.

Honeybees (still) dying, situation ‘unheard of.’

* A brief history of the freeway.

Britain is too tolerant and should interfere more in people’s lives, says David Cameron.

* Free market watch: Having everyone’s account at a single, central institution allows the authorities to either encourage or discourage people to spend. To boost spending, the bank imposes a negative interest rate on the money in everyone’s account – in effect, a tax on saving.

In the last academic year, Rutgers athletics generated $40.3 million in revenue, but spent $76.7 million, leaving a deficit of more than $36 million. In other words, revenue barely covered half the department’s expenses.

The crazy idea was this: The United States Army would design a “deception unit”: a unit that would appear to the enemy as a large armored division with tanks, trucks, artillery, and thousands of soldiers. But this unit would actually be equipped only with fake tanks, fake trucks, fake artillery and manned by just a handful of soldiers.

The top 25 hedge fund managers earn more than all kindergarten teachers in U.S. combined.

* I honestly found this a pretty devastating brief, though not everyone on Facebook found it as useful or persuasive as I did: The Progressive Case Against Public Schools, or, What Bleeding Heart Libertarians Should Say.

Disney Spent $15 Billion To Limit Their Audience. But the news gets worse, friends: Disney under fire for fairytale film based on true story of American dad who claimed African land to make daughter a princess.

Here’s Which Humanities Major Makes the Most Money After College.

Jury Acquits Six Philly Narcotics Cops On All Corruption Charges. Wow.

The Texas Prison Rape Problem.

Honolulu Mayor Learns The Hard Way That Criminalization Isn’t The Answer To Homelessness.

* Don’t vote Carcetti.

First Supergirl Trailer Really Does Feel Like An SNL Parody.

The last of the renegade Nazis living in a self-sufficient lunar colony has died, aged 95.

* “It’s about this little girl who finds a little kitten”: Mark Z. Danielewski is back. Did Mark Z. Danielewski just reinvent the novel?

* “TV show apologises for cruel ‘prank’ on girl, 13, who thought she was about to meet her long-lost mother.”

* Russ Feingold announces rematch Senate bid against Ron Johnson in 2016. Fine, but he should have run against Walker, any of the last three times.

* The arc of history is long, but Harry Shearer is quitting The Simpsons.

* Same joke but Alex Garland confirms zombie sequel 28 Months Later is in the works.

* Not since Jewel’s A Night without Armor have we seen a poet like James Franco.

The Agony of Taking a Standardized Test on a Computer.

Bill O’Reilly: America will fall like Rome if the secular “rap industry” has its way.

Georgia Man Arrested for Trespassing After Saving Dog From Hot Car.

Group petitions White House to add Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Dean Featured in ‘Rolling Stone’ Article Sues Magazine for $7.5 Million.

* Behold, Clichéa.

* And it’s not all bad news: Telltale Promise Something ‘Major’ From The Walking Dead Franchise This Year.

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 15, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Syllabus: Science Fiction in the Summertime

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I find teaching in the summer very agreeable in some ways and very difficult in others: I really feel as though a “life during wartime” spirit of camaraderie develops in the classroom, which is nice, but at the same time it can be difficult to cover the amount of material I’d normally cover in a semester (especially since it’s so hard to assign the usual amount of either reading or writing). This summer in particular I’ve really had to accept that summer classes are just different — my class meets only two days a week, for an impossible 3 1/2 hours at a stretch.

My plan is to break each class period into roughly three one-hour chunks, with two short breaks between each. There’s a lot more in-class stuff than I usually do, and even more little clips and exercises that I have planned that won’t be the major focus of the day and so aren’t listed in the syllabus. No papers — just take-home midterm, take-home final, forum posts, and quizzes.

People who know my classes or my work can probably tell that I’ve chosen texts I know inside and out, including a bunch I’ve written on. This is not an accident.

With all those caveats, here’s the gameplan:

M June 29 INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE

in class: Ted Chiang, “Liking What You See: A Documentary”

in class: excerpts from Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica (2000s), Interstellar, Mass Effect, etc.

W July 1 in class: film, Avatar (2009)
M July 6 Avatar discussion continues: Annalee Newitz, “When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like Avatar?” [web]; Slavoj Žižek, “Return of the Natives” [web]

Kim Stanley Robinson, “The Lucky Strike”

in class: Kim Stanley Robinson, “A Sensitive Dependence on Internal Conditions”

W July 8 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (first third)
M July 13 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (second third)
W July 15 Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (whole book)
M July 20 TAKE-HOME MIDTERM DUE TO D2L BY 5:30 PM

James Tiptree, Jr., “Houston, Houston, Do You Read?” [ARES]

in class: Ursula K. Le Guin: “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

in class: film, “The Space Traders” (1994)

W July 22 Mark Bould, “The Ships Landed Long Ago” [ARES]

Samuel R. Delany, “The Star Pit” [ARES]

in class: TV, Star Trek: Deep Space 9: “Far Beyond the Stars” (1998)

M July 27 Octavia E. Butler, Dawn (parts one and two)
W July 29 Octavia E. Butler, Dawn (part three)
M August 3 Octavia E. Butler, Dawn (whole book)

in class: excerpt from Octavia E. Butler, Adulthood Rites

W August 5 Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead, Volumes 1 & 2

in class: zombie film and television, zombie games

LAST DAY OF CLASS

M August 10 TAKE HOME FINAL DUE TO D2L BY 12:00 PM

Parrots and the Fermi Paradox

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 12, 2015 at 8:21 am

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