Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Friday!

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* Euro 2012 starts today! Here’s your calendar and your tournament map.

Chaos Theory: A Unified Theory of Muppet Types. So now I have to spend the whole afternoon trying to figure out if I’m a Bert or an Ernie.

* Damon Lindelof is being brought in to rewrite World War Z after it’s already been shot. I’ll be brutally honest: That’s not a great sign…

* A brief history of the university.

* Lauren Berlant explains her new book, Cruel Optimism.

I’ll focus here on three matters.  The first is the concept of cruel optimism (what’s optimism, what’s cruel about it).  The second is on a particular scene—the end of the postwar good life fantasy and the rise of neoliberalism in the U.S. and Europe—in which the consequences of cruel optimism are lived collectively.  The third is about the need for a realism that embeds trauma and suffering in the ordinary rather than in a space of exception, given that the crises of exhaustion and knowing how to live are problems saturating ordinary life.

* So what does American politics cost, anyway?

* Pixar’s rules on how to write a story.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

* The crooks are ruining my lake! Power Plant Mercury Emissions Poisoning the Great Lakes.

Federal data released Thursday show the United States has had its warmest spring, its warmest year to date, and warmest 12-month stretch on record.

* Salon covers the class action lawsuit against student loan agency Sallie Mae.

* Expressing both public and private frustration with Pakistan, the Obama administration has unleashed the CIA to resume an aggressive campaign of drone strikes in Pakistani territory over the last few weeks, approving strikes that might have been vetoed in the past for fear of angering Islamabad.

Now, said a senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in discussing sensitive issues, the administration’s attitude is, “What do we have to lose?” What indeed! See also: Media, drones and rank propaganda. And also: International law and drone strikes. And also.

Conservatives never liked left-wing, government-run solutions to problems like unaffordable health care and climate change. These days they don’t seem to like right-wing, market solutions, either.

* Why Johnny Q. Public can’t learn: What’s surprising about these results is that even after we internalize a scientific concept—the vast majority of adults now acknowledge the Copernican truth that the earth is not the center of the universe—that primal belief lingers in the mind. We never fully unlearn our mistaken intuitions about the world. We just learn to ignore them.

* And Mr. Rogers Remixed. Because there’s still a good and decent kid inside you somewhere, dammit.

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