Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Live from a Hotel Room in Philadelphia – Saturday Links!

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* Climate work and despair. It’s a tough problem in the classroom, too. Climate change conflicts somehow with an assumed, mandatory pedagogical optimism; the lack of a solution or even a “hope spot” often leaves the class feeling somehow incomplete.

* Today our president was trolled on Twitter by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Vicente Fox.

* Ted Chiang in the New Yorker. Great piece.

Beyond this narrow Wikipedian territory, Chiang is reluctant to venture. Although he is amiable and warm, he is also reticent and does not riff. Over several conversations, I learned, in addition, that he owns four cats, goes to the gym three times a week, and regards a small cylindrical seal made of hematite sometime around 1200 B.C. as one of his most treasured possessions—it was a gift from his sister, a reference to “Tower of Babylon.” He told me that, when he was a child, his family celebrated Christmas but wasn’t religious. When I asked Chiang if he had hobbies, he said no, and then, after a long pause, admitted that he plays video games. He refused to say what he eats for breakfast. Eventually, I sent him an e-mail with twenty-four questions that, I hoped, might elicit more personal details:

Do you have a favorite novel?
There isn’t one that I would want to single out as a favorite. I’m wary of the idea of a favorite anything.

You’ve spent many years living near the water. Do you like the sea?
Not particularly. I don’t actually spend much time on the coast; it’s just chance that I happened to move here.

What was the last work of art that made you cry?
Don’t know.

Do you consider yourself a sensitive person?
Yes.

Required Reading: 50 of the Best Sci-Fi Comics.

A Sober Utopia.

* Conspiracy theories we can believe in: the 19A0s, the suppressed decade between the 1970s and 1980s whose memory has been repressed.

Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not. This article certainly supports my implicit bias against these sorts of studies.

* Trumpism: The Devil We Know.

* Today in the hopeless search for some Trump upside: the end of the campus sex bureaucracy.

* How could it possibly get worse? Oh.

* Tilikum has died.

* From December: UN opens formal discussions on AI-powered autonomous weapons, could ban ‘killer robots.’

* Dogs! In! Space!

* Wisconsin, no. Bad.

I Can’t Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems.

* In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.

A Practical Guide to Teaching Children Basic Math Concepts Using LEGO Bricks.

* Vegetarianism and mood.

* And meanwhile, in the other universe…

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Friday Links!

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* Speaking of which! This Saturday morning! Infinite Jest at 20! Join us!

* In my mailbox: Fueling Culture: 101 Words for Energy and the Environment. I’m a contributor; my word was “addiction.”

Four Futures: using science fiction to challenge late stage capitalism and Thatcher’s “no alternative.”

* CfP: The 14th Annual Tolkien Conference at University of Vermont.

* Rebekah Sheldon: Save Us.

* How did the Soviet Union imagine 2017?

When Colleges Rely on Adjuncts, Where Does the Money Go?

Another Big Drop in History Majors.

* Make College Football LD Again.

A mystery player causing a stir in the world of the complex strategy game Go has been revealed as an updated version of AlphaGo, the artificial-intelligence (AI) program created by Google’s London-based AI firm, DeepMind.

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* GOP legislators in Wisconsin basically want line-item approval over syllabi at this point.

Obama Leaves the Constitution Weaker Than He Found It.

Registered Voters Who Stayed Home Probably Cost Clinton The Election.

* James Joyce and the Jesuits.

* Republicans want to kill the mortgage interest deduction. So I’m bankrupt now, I think.

House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1.

But while cinephiles have long become used to shelling out their hard-earned wonga to watch the same movie several times over, a new interview with the editors of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hints that Hollywood’s habit of regurgitation goes further than we imagined. It reveals the film’s initial “cut”, designed to map out the movie before any shooting took place, was cobbled together by editor Colin Goudie using footage from hundreds of other existing films.

George Lucas Can’t Give His $1.5 Billion Museum Away.

Princess Leia Was Going to Play a Large Role in Star Wars: Episode IX.

* Some details on the supposed twelve-movie plan for Star Wars I’d never seen before.

* On chicken intelligence.

* Today in “virtually”: The storage chamber would be much deeper than Lake Huron and the company says there is virtually no chance of radioactive pollution reaching the lake, which is less than a mile away. This is a nice variant on the theme: Democrats to Fight Almost Any Trump Supreme Court Nominee: Schumer.

* Teaching the controversy: MIT Researchers Say 2016 Didn’t Have More Famous Deaths Than Usual. Give 2017 some exciting room to expand.

We don’t, in fact, know what works in teaching composition. This one was more polemical, but good too I thought: The costs of social capture.

Among other things, whiteness is a kind of solipsism. From right to left, whites consistently and successfully reroute every political discussion to their identity. The content of this identity, unsurprisingly, is left unexamined and undefined. It is the false foundation of the prototypically American model of pseudo-politics.

The Troublesome Women of Sherlock.

* Modularity and the Seinfeld theme.

* A horrific hate crime in Chicago.

* Drugs and the spirit of the times.

* Trump vs. the CIA: whoever wins, we lose. Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Is A Security Disaster Waiting To Happen. And then there’s this.

* How in Milwaukee’s cold hell did we only get #7?

* And the Monty Hall Problem, explained.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* Some CFPs I posted yesterday: Buffy at 20! SFFTV Call for Reviewers! And Paradoxa 28: “Global Weirding” has officially appeared in the world as well; see a table of contents and our introduction, and then get one of your very own…

* I’m still gathering the loooooing list for the Pioneer Award — so let me know if you know of a peer-reviewed edited collection in SF studies broadly conceived, published in 2016, or a peer-reviewed article on SF published in a non-SF-studies journal, also in 2016!

* Visiting MLA 2017? Can I interest you in #s444?

444. Infinite Jest at Twenty

Saturday, 7 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 112A, Pennsylvania Convention Center

A special session

Presiding: Gerry Canavan, Marquette Univ.

1. “Infinite Jest‘s Near Future,” Lee Konstantinou, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

2. “Aesthetics of Trauma in Infinite Jest,” Carrie Shanafelt, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ., Teaneck

3. “No Year of Glad: Infinite Jest after 9/13/2008,” Gerry Canavan

Responding: N. Katherine Hayles, Duke Univ.

* I shared that one, so here’s the debunking: The Bad Research Behind the Bogus Claim That North Carolina Is No Longer a Democracy. I guess I relied on the journalistic summaries (classic blunder) didn’t realize how bad the base research was. North Carolina is still not a legitimate democracy, though.

* And while we’re on the subject: The Constitution has strangled American democracy for long enough. We need a constituent assembly.

Drexel, Twitter and Academic Freedom.

* Oh boy: A Turning Point in the Campus Culture Wars? For Some, Trump Raises Hopes.

* Rethinking the legacy of writers who worked with the CIA.

Why saving the congressional ethics office isn’t as big a victory as it seems. At least it was a win!

* Here’s How We Prepare to be Ungovernable in 2017. Six policy ideas that can lay the groundwork for a more progressive America.

Why liberals need to get a grip on Russia.

The coming restaurant crash.

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism.

Rogue One editors reveal which scenes were part of reshoots. Women’s Health and the Fall of the Galactic Republic.

An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton.

The 16 Black Panthers Still Behind Bars.

* Twilight of the curly quote.

47% of Jobs Will Disappear in the next 25 Years, According to Oxford University.

* Counterpoint: Why Star Trek: Discovery Belongs on CBS All Access.

* An oral history of the Sokal hoax.

* Towards an abolition ecology.

* Darkest timeline watch: Wisconsin Senate leader says he’s open to toll roads.

* And with 2016 over, a toddler has now shot a person every week in the US for two years straight. We did it, everyone. We did it.

PARADOXA 28 Is Here!

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28coverParadoxa 28 is here! I got my copy in the mail yesterday. A table of contents, submitted for your approval:

* “Introduction” by Gerry Canavan and Andrew Hageman

* Mark Bould, “Not Just Some Viggo Mortensen of Desolated Left Politics: An Interview with China Miéville”

* Andrew Hageman, “The Sick One-Sentence Joke Version of the Last 12,000 Years: A Conversation between Timothy Morton and Jeff VanderMeer” (excerpted at LARB)

* Siobhan Carroll, “The Terror and the Terroir: The Ecological Uncanny in New Weird Exploration Narratives”

* Mindi McMann, “‘There were endings, but none of them were happy’: Exploitation and Authority in Hanya Yanagihara’s The People in the Trees

* David Higgins, “Slow Weird Reverse Colonization: Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Trees

* Gerry Canavan, “After Humanity: Science Fiction after Extinction in Vonnegut and Simak”

* Matt Schneider, “Translating the Unthinkable: Global Weirding in A Dark Room,

* Andrew Brown, “Reading Lovecraft at the End of World”

* Salma Monani, “Feeling and Healing Eco-social Catastrophe: The “Horrific” Slipstream of Danis Goulet’s Wakening”

* Alison Sperling’s “Second Skins: A Body-Ecology of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy

* Stephen Shapiro, “The Weird’s World-System: The Long Spiral and Literary-Cultural Studies”

…as well as reviews of Chris Pak’s Terraforming, The Age of Lovecraft edited collection, Lucile Hadžihalilović’s Evolution, and Fredric Jameson’s An American Utopia. Check it out! I’m biased but I think it’s great.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 4, 2017 at 8:00 am

“BUFFY at 20” Conference — Extended Deadline Reminder!

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Also, just a reminder that the “Buffy at 20” deadline was extended to this Friday! Get your proposals in; this is shaping up to be an awesome event.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

SCIENCE FICTION FILM AND TELEVISION — Call for Reviewers!

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Science Fiction Film and Television invites reviewers of science fiction films and television series that premiered in 2016. Please note that these are academic reviews for an academic journal; regrettably, the journal does not pay its contributors.

If you are interested, please send an interest email to gerrycanavan@gmail.com, including the film or films you’d like to review as well as a CV.

Our DVD and streaming television reviews run 1000-2000 words; when the situation warrants we expand these reviews to 2000-4000 word “review essay” length. Reviews should be written so as not to require a bibliography.

We are especially interested in reviews of global SF cinema, as well as reviews of independent SF film.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

New Year’s Links!

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* A nice endorsement of Octavia E. Butler from Steve Shaviro. Some bonus Shaviro content: his favorite SF of 2016. I think Death’s End was the best SF I read this year too, though I really liked New York 2140 a lot too (technically that’s 2017, I suppose). I’d also single out Invisible Planets and The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, both of which had some really good short stories. In comics, I think The Vision was the best new thing I’ve seen in years. There’s a lot I bought this year and didn’t have time to look at yet, though, so maybe check back with me in 2019 and I can tell you what was the best thing from 2016.

* Kindred: The Graphic Novel.

* Introducing the David Foster Wallace Society, including a CFP for the inaugural issue of The Journal of David Foster Wallace Studies.

Call for Papers: The Poverty of Academia.

* Oh, fuck this terrible year.

30 essential tips for succeeding in graduate school.

* The University in the Time of Trump.

Making the grade: a history of the A–F marking scheme.

* Who’s Afraid of the Student Debt Crisis?

Duke warns professors about emails from someone claiming to be a student, seeking information about their courses — many in fields criticized by some on the right. Some Michigan and Denver faculty members have received similar emails but from different source.

* The age of humanism is ending.

The New Year and the Bend of the Arc.

* The Front of the Classroom.

Marina Abramović and Kim Stanley Robinson perform “The Hard Problem.”

Osvaldo Oyola reads Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther.

* Leia Organa Solo: A Critical Obituary.

* Trump’s Arrival.

* Let them drink blood.

* BREAKING: There Is No Such Thing as “White Genocide.” Academic Freedom, Again. Buffalo skulls.

* I don’t think Children of Men was ever actually “overlooked” — and I’m shocked it was considered a flop at a time — but it certainly looks prescient now.

From Tape Drives to Memory Orbs, the Data Formats of Star Wars Suck. Remembering Caravan of Courage, the Ewok Adventure Star Wars Would Rather You’d Forget. Anti-fascism vs. nostalgia: Rogue One. How to See Star Wars For What It Really Is. And a new headcanon regarding the Empire and its chronic design problems.

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin.

* How did A&E let this happen?

* On fighting like Republicans, or, the end of America.

* Scenes from the class struggle in Berkeley. And in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The seduction of technocratic government—that a best answer will overcome division, whether sown in the nature of man or ineluctable in capitalist society—slides into the seduction in the campaign that algorithms will render rote the task of human persuasion, that canvassers are just cogs for a plan built by machine. And so the error to treat data as holy writ, when it’s both easier and harder than that. Data are fragile; algorithms, especially when they aggregate preferences, fall apart. Always, always, power lurks. The technocrats have to believe in mass politics, believe for real that ordinary people, when they organize, can change their own destinies. Whether that happens depends on the party that gets built, and the forces behind it.

Four Cabinet nominations that could blow up in Donald Trump’s face. Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances. Why Donald Trump Might Not Be All That Good for Art. How Journalists Covered the Rise of Mussolini and Hitler. This all certainly seems on the up-and-up. And today in teaching the controversy: Nuclear diplomacy via Twitter is a bad idea.

* Democrats: Time to Win! Why the Democrats’ 2017 comeback dream is like nothing we’ve seen before.

The Russia Conundrum: How Can Democrats Avoid Getting Entangled in a Losing Issue?

House Republicans will ring in the new year with a plan to permanently cripple government.

Characters Are Not A Coloring Book Or, Why the Black Hermione is a Poor Apology for the Ingrained Racism of Harry Potter.

The Great Harvard Pee-In of 1973.

* Against jobs.

* Against Batman.

The UBI already exists for the 1%.

* The arc of history is long, but Google Search will not longer return Holocaust-denying websites at the top of page one.

* Same joke but about not being allowed to ban plastic bags in Michigan anymore.

The Champions of the 401(k) Lament the Revolution They Started.

* “It was a pleasure to cull.”

* Geoengineering could ruin astronomy.

* Haiti and the Age of Revolution.

* A Utopia for the Deaf in Martha’s Vineyard.

Why the ‘Ghost Ship’ Was Invisible in Oakland, Until 36 Died.

Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death.

* The American bison is the new U.S. national mammal, but its slaughter was once seen as a way to starve Native Americans into submission.

* It wasn’t just your imagination: more famous people did die in 2016.

* How long can Twitter go on like this?

* The Porn Business Isn’t Anything Like You Think it Is. The Attorney Fighting Revenge Porn.

* Special ed and the war on education.

My Little Free Library war: How our suburban front-yard lending box made me hate books and fear my neighbors.

* Becoming Ugly.

* Happy Public Domain Day 2017.

Intricate Star Trek Klingon Warship Using 25,000 LEGO Bricks.

* And the scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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