Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Sunday Night Links! Probably Too Many!

with 9 comments

17644_10101690572456291_9124726088155968029_n* Upcoming appearances: I’ll be speaking at the Environments & Societies workshop at UC Davis next Wednesday. And of course we’ll be debating whether Harry Potter is a dystopia (it is) this Wednesday here at Marquette.

* This is nice: Green Planets is a finalist for the ASLE book prize.

* CFP: The Contemporary: Culture in the Twenty-First Century.

* CFP: Jim Gordon as Batman is dumb.

* The Dolphin Trainer Who Loved Dolphins Too Much.

* The cult of the Ph.D. I suppose I’m a hopeless curmudgeon on this at this point, but I just don’t see how any attempt to reform graduate schools can ignore the fact that “the primary, overarching purpose of doctoral programs is to produce professors.” Alt-ac can save a few, but it can’t save everyone, or even most.

Everything We Learned About The Force Awakens At Star Wars Celebration. Look, I’m not made of stone.

* And then there was (sigh) DC. Double sigh.

* There still aren’t any states where women earn as much as men.

PayGap2Did Yoda And Obi-Wan Screw Princess Leia Over?

But in choosing a hero to defeat Vader, they sent Luke to Dagobah, not Leia. They sent the whiny uneducated hick whose greatest ambition until very recently had been to *join the Empire* instead of the smart, sophisticated, and well-educated woman with the political connections and Rebel cred?

It was only the last time I watched Return of the Jedi that I finally realized “that boy is our last hope / no, there is another” refers to Anakin, not Leia. So I’m pretty on board with this, especially now that the possibly exculpatory Expanded Universe context has been retconned out of existence.

Citi Economist Says It Might Be Time to Abolish Cash. This is a truly stunning document: the argument is that we need to abolish cash because otherwise bankers won’t be able to force everybody to accept negative interest rates.

* New from the new TNR: We’re Checking the Wrong Privilege.

* Heinlein shrugged.

America’s wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

155,000 New York kids boycott standardized tests.

Preserving the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz.

It is a moral stance with specific curatorial challenges. It means restoring the crumbling brick barracks where Jews and some others were interned without rebuilding those barracks, lest they take on the appearance of a historical replica. It means reinforcing the moss-covered pile of rubble that is the gas chamber at Birkenau, the extermination camp a few miles away, a structure that the Nazis blew up in their retreat. It means protecting that rubble from water seeping in from the adjacent ponds where the ashes of the dead were dumped.

And it means deploying conservators to preserve an inventory that includes more than a ton of human hair; 110,000 shoes; 3,800 suitcases; 470 prostheses and orthopedic braces; more than 88 pounds of eyeglasses; hundreds of empty canisters of Zyklon B poison pellets; patented metal piping and showerheads for the gas chambers; hundreds of hairbrushes and toothbrushes; 379 striped uniforms; 246 prayer shawls; more than 12,000 pots and pans carried by Jews who believed that they were simply bound for resettlement; and some 750 feet of SS documents — hygiene records, telegrams, architectural blueprints and other evidence of the bureaucracy of genocide — as well as thousands of memoirs by survivors.

* There’s jobs, there’s dirty jobs, and then there’s being Joseph Goebbels’s copyright lawyer.

Ewald Engelen, a professor of finance and geography at UvA who spoke about the perils of the financialization of higher education at the Maagdenhuis occupation, explained in a coauthored article, published in 2014, how rendementsdenken became the ruling logic – and logic of rule – at his university. After a 1995 decision transferring public ownership of real estate to universities like UvA, he and colleagues argued, education and research considerations started taking a backseat to commercial concerns regarding real estate planning. The state’s retreat from management of real estate demanded tighter account of “costs, profits, assets and liabilities” at the university, setting “in motion a process of internal reorganization to produce the transparent cash flow metrics that were required to service the rapidly growing real estate debt,” the academics wrote.

Neither the Brostrom or the Campos side focuses on the fact that privatization increases expenses as well as revenues. In reality, privatization forces the mission creep of multiplying activities, “businesses,” funding streams, capital projects and other debt-funded investments, which increase all sorts of non-educational costs and also administration.  Private partnerships, sponsors, vendor relations, and so on bring in new money but also cost money, require institutional subsidies, and in many cases lose money for the university.

The Education Department Is Working On A Process For Forgiving Student Loans.

* Sweet Briar didn’t die, it was put down. If he puts his mind to it, Jamshed Bharucha has the ability to effectively destroy whatever future remains for Cooper Union.

* I really wish we could get famous people to stop talking this way about autism.

* Towards a disability version of the Bechdel Test.

A disability version of the “Bechdel Test,” maybe?
1) There’s a disabled character visible
2) Who wants something, and tries to get it,
3) Other than a) Death, b) Cure, or c) Revenge.

* Cuomo’s master plan to turn SUNY into a startup factory has created 76 jobs.

Large Pile Of Cash Announces US Presidency Bid.

* The BBC has adapted The Left Hand of Darkness.

* I’m very much in favor of “they” as a generic singular pronoun, but “they are,” please, not “they is.”

Private Company Conspired With Police To Hold Poor People For Ransom, Lawsuit Charges.

Ex-Drug Cop: Drug Squad Stole Cash And Planted Drugs Too Many Times To Count.

* Only for certain values of “justice”: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

* It seems like the deputy isn’t the person who should be charged with Eric Harris’s murder. This person never should have been working as a cop, for myriad reasons.

* The only way this can work: California Assembly panel approves legislation preventing police from viewing body camera footage.

Labeling the market natural and the state unnatural is a convenient fiction for those wedded to the status quo.

White parents in North Carolina are using charter schools to secede from the education system.

Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children.

All 3 Oregon Basketball Players Suspended Over Sexual Assault Find New Teams.

* Shocked, shocked: Leaked videos suggest Chevron cover-up of Amazon pollution.

* The Atlantic covers graduate student unionization.

Los Angeles school district demands multi-million dollar refund from Apple.

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet.

* “All I know is the end is coming for all of us.”

* On not hate-watching, but hope-watching.

* George R. R. Martin: Once More, into the Kennels.

The Atlanta teachers’ trial: A perfect example of America’s broken justice system.

* How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.

The Quest to Boot Old Hickory Off the $20.

Why the Vatican’s crackdown on nuns ended happily. Pope Francis’s Populist War on the Devil.

Latchkey children age restrictions by state. Wisconsin, you’re probably asleep at the switch here. But Illinois, you guys relax.

A Scan Of 100,000 Galaxies Shows No Sign Of Alien Mega-Civilizations. Okay, but let’s scan the next 900,000 just to be sure.

That aliens would have imperial ambitions is taken as natural. Far from being the historical outcome of a specific organization of capital in the latter half of the second millennium, these signatories assume that the ideology of capitalist imperialism is inevitable across the galaxy. To be fair, though, the Fermi Paradox is a “it just takes one” claim, not a “all societies are alike” claim.

* If you’re so smart, why aren’t you terrified all the time?

Chase nightmares with behind-the-scenes photos from Return To Oz.

The Photo Hitler Doesn’t Want You to See.

* More on how Game of Thrones deviates from the books. And a fun flashback: The first pilot for Game of Thrones was so bad HBO almost passed on the entire series.

* It’s almost like Batman didn’t think this thing through.

* Dumb, but maybe my favorite Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal of all time.

* And teach the controversy: Tim Goodman says the Waitress arc on Mad Men might not be stupid and pointless.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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9 Responses

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  1. “It was only the last time I watched Return of the Jedi that I finally realized “that boy is our last hope / no, there is another” refers to Anakin, not Leia.”

    Ok, so it explicitly says the contrary:

    “Yoda spoke of another.”
    “The other he spoke of was your twin sister.”

    I’m assuming that you caught this, and therefore have some reading which means Obi-Wan is lying about that? Or something? But I must admit I’m puzzled by this claim.

    Stephen Frug

    April 20, 2015 at 7:13 am

    • Well, if the wizard is always right and prophecies always come true, having Leia be the other hope doesn’t pay off at all (especially for the EU, where she isn’t really Force Sensitive in the same way Luke is). Leia’s status as a second hope does nothing. It’s Anakin who is the other hope in the only sense that does pay off narratively: he intervenes to defeat the emperor when Luke can’t.

      gerrycanavan

      April 20, 2015 at 7:56 am

      • I don’t see that as overriding the explicit reading of the line (“the other he spoke of was…”).

        It’s also not clear to me that the wizard is always right. Certainly not in the films.

        Obviously the way it played out was that Anakin was the savior: that he did, in the end, “bring balance to the force”. But while that may well be what that (non Yoda/Obi-Wan) prophecy meant, I don’t see any reason to assume Yoda was speaking in some sort of code. Easier to say he was wrong.

        Stephen Frug

        April 20, 2015 at 8:10 am

      • Obi-Wan and Yoda lie CONSTANTLY, though. They say the first part when it’s just the two of them, the callback is when Obi-Wan is talking to Luke.

        gerrycanavan

        April 20, 2015 at 9:50 am

      • I saw a revisionist reading of the films years ago, and haven’t been able to find it since, that argued that Obi-Wan and Yoda know Luke is useless and throw him at the Emperor BECAUSE they know only Vader can kill him. Luke is just their stooge. That’s more persuasive to me than anything that actually happens in the movies.

        gerrycanavan

        April 20, 2015 at 9:56 am

      • Not quite sure how you’d decide between a “they’re wrong” and “they’re lying” reading. Nothing seems dispositive to me either way.

        As for the “they knew Luke was useless…”: maybe. I seem to recall David Brin going with a “they @#$%ed everything up”. Sort of the same distinction.

        Maybe it’s precisely the pleasure of Star Wars — like that of biblical narrative — that it both demands interpretation and is open to such contradictory ones.

        Stephen Frug

        April 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

  2. And that Heinlein letter should have a trigger warning on it. Good Lord.

    Stephen Frug

    April 20, 2015 at 7:31 am

    • Seriously.

      gerrycanavan

      April 20, 2015 at 7:57 am

      • Years later, the missing first page was found:

        “Buz, I’ve been having some doubts about this whole libertarian thing. It’s just too racist. Look, I’ll prove it to you: I’ll write a letter that hews strictly to the libertarian ideological line, and nevertheless manages to include every single racist trope now common in American culture. Watch and see if I missed any! Ok? Here goes:”.

        Stephen Frug

        April 20, 2015 at 8:13 am


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