Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Thursday Links!

with 6 comments

* I’ll be speaking next Thursday at “Between Activism and Apocalypse: The Work of Margaret Atwood” at Indiana University. The schedule for the symposium is here.

* CFP: Stage The Future 2: The Second International Conference on Science Fiction Theatre.

* SF short-short of the day: Isaac Asimov’s “Silly Asses.”

* Here’s the calendar of events for C21 this semester.

* Cheryl Abbate has a blog post on the vicious hate mail she’s received after being thrust into the media spotlight.

* “Things like computer vision are starting to work; speech recognition is starting to work There’s quite a bit of acceleration in the development of AI systems,” says Bart Selman, a Cornell professor and AI ethicist who was at the event with Musk. “And that’s making it more urgent to look at this issue.” AI Has Arrived, and That Really Worries the World’s Brightest Minds.

* Of course it’s already worse than you think.

* Elsewhere in mad billionaire news: Internet! in! Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

* Gender Differences in the Road to the Doctoral Degree. Less support, more debt, more time to degree.

* Forbidden Planet reviews Richard McGuire’s incredible graphic novel Here.

* Hours After State Of The Union, Senate Targets National Parks. Once again, it’s always worse than you think.

* Saul Goodman, the last difficult man.

* A smart observation from Peter Paik: “Common Core teaches students that there is only one way to read a text (to glean information) but there are many ways to solve a math problem (the target of much outrage on social media).”

* Some Colleges Are Moving Past Eve Ensler’s “Cisnormative” ‘Vagina Monologues’ — And That’s OK.

* Occupy the Syllabus.

* Milestone Media rides again.

* How ‘Harry Potter’ fans won a four-year fight against child slavery.

* English professors combine areas of study for new specialization.

The department, known for its expertise in disability and LGBT studies, is looking to newer faculty to blend the two topics into a common subject area.Robert McRuer, who chairs the English department, said he was the first scholar to combine LGBT studies with disability studies and call it “crip theory.” The theory looks at the histories of and issues within the LGBT and disabled communities, which have both faced marginalization. “Crip” is a term that people with disabilities have “reclaimed,” he said.

Personally I’d send that name back for another round of workshopping, but what do I know.

* Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia.

* I actually always thought Joss should have had a David Boreanaz cameo in the background of the Firefly pilot and then never mention it again.

* Marvel is teasing a big Crisis-on-Infinite-Earths-style reboot, for the first time in its history.

* Simon Pegg is co-writing Star Trek 3. [raises one eyebrow]

* And great news for KSR fans: J. Michael Straczynski To Write Spike TV’s ‘Red Mars’ Drama Series Project.

This is a supercut of all the moments in A New Hope where characters interacted with machines, doors, screens, levers, knobs and buttons.

* Violent crime on college campuses is decreasing, but the number of sworn and armed police officers on campuses continues to rise, according to a new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics… Nearly 70 percent of colleges and universities operated full law-enforcement agencies in 2012, and 94 percent of those officers are authorized to use a firearm.

* Meanwhile, on the town and gown beat: NYU decided not to report an attempted murder to the police.

* Abolish college sports watch: Before Gary Andersen goes on, he wants to make one thing clear. A part of his surprising departure from Wisconsin had to do with admission standards.

* When choosing between doing good and doing evil, don’t forget there’s always a third option.

* Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.

* And a reminder that SFFTV is looking for your submission for its Star Trek at 50″ special issue.


6 Responses

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  1. “great news for KSR fans”: Genuinely unclear if you’re being sarcastic here.

    I was a big B5 fan back in the day (although I think it went off the rails somewhat earlier than most people think, and once it did I was bothered by all the flaws I’d previously been willing to overlook…). But JMS ain’t not KSR, nor anywhere near his league. IMHO. (“All right. I’m not all that humble.” — The Bunk)

    Stephen Frug

    January 22, 2015 at 9:17 am

    • I wasn’t being sarcastic, maybe just a little wide-eyed. As far as I know Stan was never going to write the series; I never thought that was on the table. So I was more happy to see a big-name person sign on to the project as an indication that it was actually going to happen, be promoted, given leeway to grow an audience, etc…

      Babylon 5 is still really respected, and people have been mostly happy with his recent comic work, I think. So I think it’s mostly good news.


      January 22, 2015 at 9:21 am

      • #uncharacteristicoptimism


        January 22, 2015 at 9:21 am

      • I wasn’t hoping for KSR (not sure he’d do well at TV anyway: medium matters). I was hoping for someone in his league as a writer. If you’d said “Joss Whedon” I’d be happy (notwithstanding some of his recent missteps).

        JMS’s sensibility is far more adolescent, far more clichéd, far more wrapped in the sort of romanticism that prides itself on realistic toughness, far less subtle, far less political, and far less *interesting* than KSR’s. If he makes it more likely it’ll happen, I think he makes it far more likely that we’ll wish it hadn’t.

        So put me down for characteristic pessimism.

        PS: Have you ever watched B5? Way you put it, sounds like not. Maybe I’m overreading…

        Stephen Frug

        January 22, 2015 at 9:40 am

      • I haven’t, actually! That’s probably bad news for my optimism given what you say. B5 hit big when I was in high school and my (actually somewhat limited) SF attention span was entirely taken over by Star Trek. So I never watched it, and when I tried to a few years ago it just looked hopelessly dated to me. Maybe this is a reason to give it another shot. It has its serious fans…


        January 22, 2015 at 11:09 am

      • I was as serious a fan of B5 as there was back in the day. Everyone now agrees that S5 (with the exceptions of the Neil Gaiman-penned episode, and the final ep actually filmed with S4) is best forgotten. But I have a long essay in my head about how the real problems with B5 — the ones that show, fundamentally, why it failed to live up to its promise (even ignoring S5, i.e. taking S1-4 as the unit) — manifest at the end of S3. Now maybe I’ll have to write it…

        But yeah, parts are great. I loved it. But I stand by what I said about the limitations of JMS’s sensibility/aesthetic vis-a-vis KSR. Still fun to watch despite that (but skip S5, save for those two).

        Stephen Frug

        January 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

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