Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Tuesday Links!

with 3 comments

* Reminder: the deadline for abstracts for SFRA 2016 is the end of the month. MLA CFP: Science Fiction Comics. CFP: “Academic Insecurities: Precarious Labour and the Neoliberal University.”

* Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Sara Goldrick-Rab, the outspoken University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who vowed after tenure protections were changed by state lawmakers last year to leave Wisconsin, announced on her blog Monday night that she has accepted a job at Temple University and will start July 1.

* Black Study, Black Struggle.

* The end of Houston.

* Huge, if true: Universities Run Into Problems When They Hire Presidents From The Business World.

Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes.

* Why Do Colleges Still Use Grades?

* No other discipline of comparable size in the humanities is as gender-skewed as philosophy. Women still receive only about 28% of philosophy PhDs in the United States, and are still only about 20% of full professors of philosophy — numbers that have hardly budged since the 1990s. And among U.S. citizens and permanent residents receiving philosophy PhDs in this country, 86% are non-Hispanic white. The only comparably-sized disciplines that are more white are the ones that explicitly focus on the European tradition, such as English literature.

* Northwestern University students who qualify for financial aid no longer will have to borrow to pay for their education, part of a plan announced Thursday to make the school more affordable and prevent students from being saddled with debilitating debt.

* How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel?

* Rowling explores the magical history of America.

* My deep wound is video games. In the same way Bell “pretended to be someone else whenever [he] stepped outside of the house” and learned “to never talk about computer games in class or on the school bus,” I learned that my love for video games was excessive and embarrassing. I was swept away by those worlds in a way that nobody else seemed to be, and I walked around with my head full of pixels and quests and ideas. Video games made me very happy and very lonely.

Dilbert creator Scott Adams tells Fox News Trump “isn’t just changing politics, he’s changing the human condition.”

* Case Western in the ne– oh.

This isn’t the first time that an idea in psychology has been challenged—-not by a long shot. A “reproducibility crisis” in psychology, and in many other fields, has now been well-established. A study out last summer tried to replicate 100 psychology experiments one-for-one and found that just 40 percent of those replications were successful. A critique of that study just appeared last week, claiming that the original authors made statistical errors—but that critique has itself been attacked for misconstruing facts, ignoring evidence, and indulging in some wishful thinking.

* Marquette in the — oh come on.

* Milwaukee in the etc.

* How a mistranslation made you think your tongue had ‘taste zones.’

* This simulation helps show you what it’s like to have dyslexia.

* Maps Show Where Bloomberg Aides Thought He Would Have Been Competitive.

* Meritocrats and Egalitarians.

* Reparations isn’t a political demand.

* Some Birds Are Just As Smart As Apes.

* The Future Of Telltale Games.

* “Some supporters of Rubio say bad strategy, poorly run campaign killing his chances.” What do the rest of them think is killing his chances?

* Meanwhile: Report Raises New Questions About Trump’s Ties To N.J. Mob-Linked Figure. Yes, Mitt Romney Could Actually Become The Republican Presidential Nominee.

* The remarkable persistence of the Green Man.

* Dang. Too real.

* “What I wish I’d known before I had gender-affirming surgery.”

* Daughter of Civil War vet still getting a pension.

* Actually existing media bias: The Washington Post ran 16 negative stories about Bernie Sanders in 16 hours. Going for the record!

* The Problematic Rape Reporting On ‘This American Life.’

* We want dead bodies to be in the right place. Caring for the dead is a foundational human activity, and so the wrong dead body in the wrong place, or bodies abandoned or desecrated, is considered an affront to the moral order. Why We Need the Dead.

* Mr. Spock and the autism spectrum.

Is Luke Skywalker Gay?

* This is for you: an oral history of The Golden Girls.

* Abolish homework.

* Rise of the hiking game: The Witness and Firewatch.

* What could go wrong? U.S. military spending millions to make cyborgs a reality.

* On Poverty.

The neoliberal university will grind us down until there’s nothing left. Choose solidarity.

Three Thoughts on Westerosi Political Economy.

* Slavoj Žižek and The Twilight Zone.

* And I don’t know about the other two law, but the third law of politics here is pretty much literally the predicament academia and most other public institutions find themselves in in 2016:

The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 8, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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3 Responses

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  1. So I can’t get past the paywall at the Chronicle. But I presume that the reason that colleges still use grades is that their major (effective) economic function is to provide sorting for businesses about quality (by their standards) of students, in partnership with admissions offices. For these purposes, grades strike me as quite reasonable measures (can you do what your told? be disciplined? be creative, but only within properly defined bounds? absorb the socialization necessary to advance in the business world?)

    Naturally, college doesn’t just RANK these skills, but teaches them. But ranking them is crucial to their main economic function.

    (One might counter that the economic function of colleges is instead to reproduce the class system in a formally egalitarian democracy, but I actually think that’s part and parcel of the above: those are the values of today’s upper class, taught in their private and walled-off suburban public schools since kindergarten, and so they mostly know them & do well. And proles who can master those skills are allowed to rise — good as a safety valve and to maintain the illusion of fairness & equity.)

    Write this off as the bitter rantings of a no-longer-working-as-an-adjunct academic if you like, but even when I was teaching full time I thought that, whatever we THOUGHT we were doing, what we WERE doing was some effective preliminary work for business’s hiring bureaus (again, with the crucial support of admissions offices).

    Stephen Frug

    March 10, 2016 at 7:50 am

    • But their sorting function is significantly muted by the fact that almost no businesses actually ask for transcripts, much less take the individual grade distribution seriously, right? Even overall GPA is basically only self-reported, if at all. It’s something colleges are really doing primarily for their own consumption, internally and on behalf of postgraduate admissions…

      gerrycanavan

      March 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

      • Well, you’ve got a good point. I suppose the self-reported GPA does something, although probably not much. Probably the main sorting function is postgraduate/professional school admissions: where you end up on the hierarchy depends upon what college you go to, a bit, but also what law/business/med/whatever school you go to; and for *those* grades matter, a lot. So maybe the main point of collegiate grades is to keep the sorting going on the next level.

        (By this hypothesis, grad/professional schools wouldn’t need to give out grades. And my (fairly shaky) sense is that this is true of, e.g., some elite business schools, Yale law school, etc. But also, I suspect that grades do matter in eg professional schools, if only for next tier placement (which medical residency, judicial clerkships, etc).

        Stephen Frug

        March 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm


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