* 2016! Bernie’s threatening to run. As always, you should take every drop of energy you’d put into a quixotic 3rd-party run for president and put it towards a new Constitution instead.
* Duke Energy Must Immediately Stop Polluting Groundwater In North Carolina, Judge Rules. The arc of history is long but oops everything is already polluted, bye.
* Huge Coal Company To Pay Largest-Ever Fine After 6,000 Clean Water Violations In 7 Years. In terms of the company’s valuation and the damage done the fine might as well have been $1.
* As Mary Sue Coleman, the university’s president, called for increased enrollment of students “paying the full freight,” enrollment from outside Michigan reached 46 percent last fall. The result is that the university not only reflects the race and class inequities inherent in our society, it actually reinforces and aggravates them.
* After three years in which private college and university administrators led their public counterparts in salary gains, the publics are on top in 2013-14. I can’t wait for next year!
* Psychiatry, all along, knew that the evidence wasn’t really there to support the chemical imbalance notion, that it was a hypothesis that hadn’t panned out, and yet psychiatry failed to inform the public of that crucial fact.
* And the headline reads: “Your porn is not Canadian enough, CRTC warns erotica channels.” I wrote a little one-act.
* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.
* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.
* The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.
* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.
* “Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.
* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.
* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?
* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!
* Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ‘em.
* Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!
* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.
* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.
* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.
* CFP reminder: “SF/F Now” and “Irradiating the Object” at the University of Warwick, August 2014. Proposals due March 31.
* Legendary science fiction editor Gardner Dozois once said that the job of a science fiction writer was to notice the car and the movie theater and anticipate the drive-in – and then go on to predict the sexual revolution. I love that quote, because it highlights the key role of SF in examining the social consequences of technology – and because it shows how limited our social imaginations are.
* We need to update our nightmares: Zeynep Tufekci on the Internet.
* Curators at the new art museum at Kennesaw State University had some last-minute work to do before its grand opening Saturday night. They had to quickly pack up an installation — one the art museum had commissioned — after university administrators ordered it killed for being insufficiently “celebratory” for the event.
* …one of the gravest threats the FBI saw in the Black Panther movement was their Free Children’s Breakfast Program.
* But at least one university says it has already begun denying admission to “risky” applicants — those who don’t meet the institution’s typical minimum standards for SAT scores and GPA — over fears of how it would be rated under the Obama ratings proposal.
* “That hurt.” On being Chevy Chase.
* Hitting rock bottom: they’re rebooting Santa Claus.
* And just one Oscar link is all you need: Lupita Nyong’o.
Are we seriously supposed to be talking about invading THE UKRAINE now? Can’t you horrible fantasists just play Risk or something?—
Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) March 01, 2014
“Breaking news tonight, another country exists. How should we invade it? Our team of deranged nihilists reports.” -American media—
Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) March 01, 2014
* By allying us with its protagonist, Gravity universalizes its image of exploited female labor, sells it back to its entire audience, men and women alike. Gravity shows a contemporary ideal of femininity still more sinister than the pinup. It presents woman as an intricate machine, strapped to dozens of wires, working her ass off with the goal of appearing weightless.
* “While the entire U.S. population has increased about one-third over the last 30 years, the Federal prison population has increased at a staggering rate of 800 percent, currently totaling nearly 216,000 inmates and currently operates at a 33 percent overcapacity. One-half of those Federal prison populations are drug offenses. While some of them are truly dangerous persons, as Deputy Attorney General Cole said, many of them are first-timers, and by possession only, wound up under Federal laws, the crack cocaine laws, in the Federal system”, she said.
* The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from: Wachowskis prepping new Matrix prequel trilogy.
BREAKING: Climate change has just invaded class struggle! This could be make-it or break-it time for President NightmareOfHistory!—
Gerry Canavan (@gerrycanavan) March 01, 2014
* The craziest thing you’ll see today: public opposition to a statue in Charleston, SC, honoring black abolitionist Denmark Vesey, on grounds that are frankly baffling.
* To test the dispersal of those weapons, they found a US city that resembled those cities in the USSR, and gassed it.
* Young scholars are compelled to transform themselves into academic entrepreneurs, creating a brand that they promote through their blogs, tweets, and online profiles.
* The college of about 600 undergraduates announced last month it will eliminate 22 of its 52 faculty positions; it has cut 23 staff members and 16 of its 31 academic programs. How Much Can Be Cut?
* From the archives: The Digital Humanities Postdoc.
* Throughout human history, people have done these ridiculously difficult one-way voyages for one reason: because where they lived was so awful they were willing to get on a little wooden vessel that might sink and go across an ocean to some unknown place that they would probably never return from because it was so crummy where they were. Maybe we’ll do that for ourselves. We’ll make the world so miserable that living in some harsh environment on Mars might seem attractive.
* I don’t understand (1) why this is legal (2) why a governor would be supervising hiring and firing at such a low level.
* Why are they sending paratroopers against Godzilla? Also, must admit I’m taking Godzilla’s side here.
* Despite Harold Ramis’ death, Ghostbusters 3 is still moving forward. Is there a single person alive or dead who wants this movie to be made? Besides Dan Akyroyd.
* New head canon: Andy’s Mom and Toy Story.
* And Daleks have now been invented. What could possibly go wrong?
* This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. The Year We Broke the Internet.
* But who gets to write in The New York Times – and to whom is The New York Times accessible? If we’re talking about accessibility and insularity, it’s worth looking at The New York Times’s own content generation cycle and the relationship between press junkets and patronage.
* Lately, some people have suggested that doctoral programs should take somemodest steps in order to keep track of what happens to their Ph.D.s after graduation. It’s a good idea, and these suggestions are made with the best of intentions, even if they’re coming about 50 years too late. They are, unfortunately, looking in the wrong place as far as you are concerned. You can’t just count up how many of a program’s graduates end up as professors—otherwise, the best qualification you could get in grad school is marrying a professor of engineering or accountancy who can swing a spousal hire for you. Instead, there is just one thing you should be looking at: What percentage of a program’s graduates are hired for tenure-track jobs through competitive searches?
Rutgers University, already the most prolific subsidizer of sports of all Division I public institutions, gave its athletics department nearly $47 million in 2012-13, USA Today reported, a 67.9 percent increase over the 2011-12 subsidy of $27.9 million. Rutgers athletics is $79 million in the red, but officials say that the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference will generate close to $200 million over its first 12 years as a member. The most recent subsidies make up 59.9 percent of the athletics department’s total allocations, and total more than the entire operating revenues at all but 53 of Division I’s 228 public sports programs.
* State-by-state misery index. Wisconsin’s doing pretty all right, and that’s counting the existence of Wiscsonin winters…
* Down an unremarkable side street in Southwark, London, is a fenced lot filled with broken concrete slabs, patches of overgrown grass and the odd piece of abandoned construction equipment. Its dark history and iron gates separate this sad little patch from the outside world. Lengths of ribbon, handwritten messages and tokens weave a tight pattern through the bars of the rusty gates … all tributes to the 15,000 Outcast Dead of London. Thanks, Liz!
* Geronrockandrolltocracy: On average, the Rolling Stones are older than the Supreme Court.
* The financially strapped University of California system is losing about $6 million each year due to risky bets on interest rates under deals pushed by Wall Street banks.
* Department of Mixed Feelings: Marquette likely to get its own police force.
…some number pilfered from Aaron Bady!
* “None of my friends are working on nukes anymore,” he says. “This is the most evil place on the planet, and nobody’s talking about it.”
* The fire next time: geoengineering and nationalism.
* To speak of disaster communism is to recognise that if communism is to emerge, it will do so in the anthropocene. As capitalism accelerates climate change, ‘possible’ reforms become utopian and ‘impossible’ revolution becomes realistic. We live in strange times. The bourgeoisie is blasting and ruining not just its world, but the Earth systems which sustain human civilisation. We are going to inherit ruins and abandoned cities, there is only the slightest doubt about that. But we still also know how to build, and to build better.
* What adjuncts do. The difference between large schools and small schools, and between large and small departments, becomes extremely important here. We cannot continue to talk about “academic labor” as if it were only one thing that is the same everywhere.
* To that end, it must be remembered that this current crisis in American public higher education and the larger Great Recession did not result from an absolute scarcity of money but rather from an unwillingness to safeguard, manage, and fund some of this country’s most basic public goods.
* Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980.
* Headlines from the apocalypse: Packs of Chihuahuas running loose in Phoenix neighborhood cause concern.