Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Links!

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Fans aren’t the irrational ones. They know how to seize pleasure from the world and hold tight even as it hurts them. If fandom is simply an obedient response to the signals of the consumer market, it is an obedience which threatens to overrun its master while saying yes.

* On unprofessional bodies.

* Another “I’m a professor” essay.

What my experience has taught me must become every instructor’s priority — that is, if we are in the profession because we want to develop engaged citizens. I have learned to teach students to notice how they are being groomed to join a “docile and contingent workforce” whenever they are not encouraged to think in ways that feel like a challenge. I couldn’t do this if I were busy cowering to avoid complaints. Besides, I want my students to be passionately engaged and to feel empowered about speaking up both inside and outside of my classroom. The real question, then, is: how can professors broach controversial topics in a way that does not lend itself to complaints that are grounded more in emotion than in intellectual inquiry? The solution is simple, but implementing it requires courage and tenacity: professors need to directly discuss power and power differentials, no matter the subject area.

Tenure, Fairness, and Fear(lessness).

But that is not really something that makes professors special. Rather, it is good for people to make their lives less fearsome and their minds less fearful. Those of us who have some of that privilege in our working lives should hold our heads high and try to be allies to others who are working to get their share of it. There’s no shame in having security, only in keeping other people from it.

In the wake of the UW System Board of Regents’ decision last week to “pretend to have tenure,” System leaders are coming to acknowledge more and more in their public statements the correctness of the worries they have simultaneously attempted to depict as alarmist. The very grave problem posed by section 39 of the JFC omnibus motion is finally on the public radar of UW administrators, though they continue to soft-pedal its severity.

Can the University of Wisconsin Survive Governor Walker?

* Unless you are in highly unusual circumstances, really, do not think of adjuncting as a long-term career.

* What different colleges could do with $400 million.

In Heated State-Budget Fights, Students Strive to Be Heard.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Cooper Union: Five Trustees, Including Daniel Libeskind, Abruptly Resign.

The accusations against Mr. Walker, one of several new claims of academic misconduct involving Texas athletes, illustrate how the university has appeared to let academically deficient players push the limits of its policy on academic integrity as it has sought to improve its teams’ academic records.

* On disliking poetry.

But the emerging field of Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election is something else altogether. Of the dozen or so people who have declared or are thought likely to declare, every one can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.

* And then there was Rand, scooping the Democrats again.

“We will make them appear less Asian when they apply,” he says. “While it is controversial, this is what we do.”

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play.

* From infancy to employment, this is a life-denying, love-denying mindset, informed not by joy or contentment, but by an ambition that is both desperate and pointless, for it cannot compensate for what it displaces: childhood, family life, the joys of summer, meaningful and productive work, a sense of arrival, living in the moment.

How Utah Became A Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter For Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.

* New government research shows that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women, a startling finding that experts say poses disturbing questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

Apple is finally fixing the reason your Mac and iPhone’s Wi-Fi sucks.

The constant cycle of phone upgrades — in which consumers buy phones once a new model comes out every two or so years — is having serious effects on the environment, according to a new study.

Why These Tiny Island Nations Are Planning To Sue Fossil Fuel Companies.

* music is inefficient beep bop boop

Why Franklin Richards Is The Most Ridiculous Character In All Of Comics.

* Information wants to be free! With regard to the pornographic material Osama Bin Laden had in his possession at the time of his death, responsive records, should they exist, would be contained in the operational files. The CIA Information Act, 50 U.S.C 431, as amended, exempts CIA operational files from search, review, publication, and disclosure requirements of the FOIA. To the extent that this material exists, the CIA would be prohibited by 18 USC Section 1461 from mailing obscene matter.

Six days in North Korea.

* “Officer Involved.”

Iceland put bankers in jail rather than bailing them out — and it worked.

* And Germany’s oldest student, 102, gets PhD denied by Nazis.

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