* Harris Wittels has died. I really loved his appearances on Earwolf, but the one I keep thinking about is his appearance on “You Made It Weird” last November, where he spoke about his addiction at length. The humblebrag.
* Oliver Sacks writes about his terminal cancer diagnosis in the New York Times.
* The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference began today. This year’s theme is “Animacy” and both Lee Edelman and Lauren Berlant are keynotes.
* TNI has a great excerpt from the beginning of Creepiness.
* A President’s Day remembrance of Ona Judge.
* Neill Blomkamp is making an Alien. The Man In The High Castle Gets Series Order From Amazon. Amazon should greenlight this next.
* The City and the City may be a BBC drama. I would have said it was unfilmable, but sure, let’s give it a try.
* Boston’s winter from hell. What the massive snowfall in Boston tells us about global warming.
* A Siberian blast—seriously, this air is from Siberia—has turned the eastern U.S. into an icebox featuring the most extreme cold of anywhere on Earth right now. Looking ahead, there’s plenty more where that came from.
* Rudy Giuliani, still horrible.
* Melodrama is so powerful, then, because by promising heroic emancipation from terrorist villainy, it implies that US citizens can overcome their feelings of diminished political agency and lost freedom. Melodrama promises that both the US state, and individual Americans, will soon experience heroic freedom by winning the War on Terror. They will cast off their feelings of vulnerability and weakness through heroic action—even when the villain they attack is not the primary cause of their powerlessness or suffering.
* The fastest way to find Waldo. You’re welcome.
* Would you like to understand how the “new” Harper Lee novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication? Would you like to get a glimpse into how clever marketing and cryptic pronouncements have managed to produce an instant bestseller, months before anyone has read it?
* Republicans think this is their moment to kill higher education in America. And they might be right.
* Congressman Says We Don’t Need Education Funding Because ‘Socrates Trained Plato On A Rock.’ Checks out.
* The outlook for the rest of Illinois isn’t much better. We Need Syriza in Illinois.
* That there are any homeless children anywhere in the country is an unthinkable national tragedy.
* Save the Wisconsin Idea. You may have to save it from its saviors.
* The inexorable tuition explosion that will result is proving to be politically untenable, and Walker has moved immediately to head it off, consequences be damned. And UW leadership, having adopted a posture of supporting the public authority on principled grounds, is left in the politically deadly position of having to fight for the power to raise tuition arbitrarily.
* Meanwhile let’s kill all the state parks too.
* Meanwhile Milwaukee is one of America’s poorest cities. Though it still has one thing going for it.
* “Scott Walker says he consults with God, but his office can’t provide documents to prove it.”
* Thank goodness we were able to take all that valuable real estate we were wasting on schools and turn it profitable again.
* Ideology Seen as Factor in Closings in University of North Carolina System. No! It can’t be!
* New Education Initiative Replaces K-12 Curriculum With Single Standardized Test.
* The best and worst presidents. The hottest U.S. presidents. The beardiest presidents.
* Mother Jones loves Minnesota governor Mark Dayton.
* Gender and J School.
* The visiting professor scam.
* We don’t need more STEM majors. We need more STEM majors with liberal arts training.
* “The academic atmosphere, produced mainly by the humanities, is the only atmosphere in which pure science can flourish.”
* Academic interviews are horrible, mealtime edition.
* Oklahoma Lawmakers Vote Overwhelmingly To Ban Advanced Placement U.S. History.
* The end of Miami.
* The West Coast cargo strike.
* Charting the Bechdel Test.
* DWYL, porn industry edition.
* Defund DHS.
* What is going to happen to all of those African-languages-speaking, archive-obsessed, genre-discovering graduate students? Listen, I have some terrible news.
* The death cult called the MLA wants you to have hope for some reason though. Really strange study.
* Florida Passes Plan For Racially-Based Academic Goals.
* Meanwhile, affirmative action for men in college admissions.
* “A Superbug Nightmare Is Playing Out at an LA Hospital.”
* In the current movement against white supremacy and the police we can see the beginnings of a new Black Arts Movement.
* But one of America’s ugliest secrets is that our own whistleblowers often don’t do so well after the headlines fade and cameras recede. The ones who don’t end up in jail like Manning, or in exile like Snowden, often still go through years of harassment and financial hardship. And while we wait to see if Loretta Lynch is confirmed as the next Attorney General, it’s worth taking a look at how whistleblowers in America fared under the last regime.
* Boston Using Prison Labor To Shovel Heaps Of Snow In Frigid Temperatures For Pennies.
* Revealing scenes from the deranged thinking in the tech industry.
* SMBC messing with the primal forces.
* LARoB reviews Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble and Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1.
* Clarissa Explains White Supremacy.
* Iceland begins to jail bankers.
* “College Apologizes for Way It Gave M&Ms to Children.”
* “Can There Be Too Many Museums?”
* “Which sexual positions are more likely to break your penis?”
* Giant Ron English art-book: Status Factory.
* An excerpt from David Graeber’s The Rules of Utopia.
* Oral histories of the early days of the HIV epidemic.
* National Adjunct Walkout Day is growing near. It’s Time to Review Your Adjunct Employment Policies.
* Trying to create a promotion track outside the tenure stream at Denver.
* The adjunct unionization movement. And more on that.
* Campus cops prepare for National Adjunct Walkout Day.
* Here’s a thing about @OccupyMLA that uses me as its stooge for part of it. Yay?
* Interesting Kickstarter: “Pioneers of African-American Cinema.”
* “DoJ report on Montana justice: Don’t get raped in Missoula, even if you’re only five years old.”
* Justice Department ‘seriously examining’ Ferguson race case.
* Another piece on the rise of the Title IX industry. Provocative Harvard Law Review forum on Title IX overreach. However bad we’re doing, though, we can certainly always do worse.
* Perhaps with each tuition bill, students should receive a breakdown of how their dollars are spent.
* Academic hiring: The Trading Places hypothesis.
* How Arizona State Reinvented Free-Throw Distraction.
* Best wishes, Ed Balls.
* The Oscars and racism. The Oscars and sexism.
* The Brazilian town where the Confederacy lives on.
* DC Comics is bringing back Prez, this time as a teenage girl who gets elected president by Twitter.
* Holding Out For a Heroine: On Being a Woman and Loving Star Wars.
* 10 Worst Misconceptions About Medieval Life You’d Get From Fantasy Books.
* A rare piece from NRO worth linking: The Right-Wing Scam Machine.
* Former Nazi Guard Charged with 170,000 Counts of Accessory to Murder. Take the plea deal!
* The CIA asked me about controlling the climate – this is why we should worry.
* To misappropriate the prophecy of another technological sage: the post-human dystopia is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed yet.
* Mark Bould has another post on Jupiter Ascending trying to wrangle its treatment of gender. Lots of good discussion of Princess Leia here too.
* Plans to whip us up into another invasion in the Middle East are proceeding apace.
* When horrific child abuse becomes quirk.
* Florida police officer: “Planting evidence and lying in your reports are just part of the game.”
* Cuteness in history. Why when you see something cute you (sometimes) want to destroy it.
* Another Reason To Worry About The Measles.
* Wearable Workplace “Mood Monitors” Are About To Become A Thing.
* A People’s History of Franklin.
* Asexuals and Demisexuals in Wired.
* Five-alarm nerd alert: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality has begun its final arc.
* Settlers of Catan: The Movie.
* And in case that’s not enough here’s some more proof we as a nation are still capable of great things.