Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Monday Afternoon Links!

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* A prediction: China will produce some of the world’s most interesting scholarship on American literature within a generation. A secondary effect of this production will be a boost for the humanities, if from a most unexpected quarter.

* The Meta-Anthropocene: Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? A look at the available evidence.

* The Anthropocene and the Theater of Disappearance.

* Dialectics of Jacobin: The Socialist Case against the SAT.

* Language in a time of climate change.

* The cruel optimism of college football.

5 Takeaways From Turning Point’s Plan to ‘Commandeer’ Campus Elections.

Here’s to Unsuicide: An Interview with Richard Powers.

* Making the rounds again, but worth rereading: The Invisible Labor Of Minority Professors.

How Soviet Artists Imagined Communist Life in Space.

Mark Carney warns robots taking jobs could lead to rise of Marxism.

* James Comey is not a hero. (UPDATE: Seriously.)

In Racine County, neatly maintained homes and dream houses are being designated ‘blighted’ to make way for Foxconn.

* 10 years after the Wire.

First, socialism – the belief that the earth belongs to labor – is my moral being.  In fact it is my religion, the values that anchor the commitments that define my life.  Second, ‘old school’ implies putting in work year after year for the good cause.  In academia one runs across people who call themselves Marxists and go to lots of conferences but hardly ever march on a picketline, go to a union meeting, throw a brick or simply help wash the dishes after a benefit.

Alexa Is a Revelation for the Blind.

How Much Is a Word Worth?

The narrative that will become widely understood is that Donald Trump did not sit atop a global empire. He was not an intuitive genius and tough guy who created billions of dollars of wealth through fearlessness. He had a small, sad operation, mostly run by his two oldest children and Michael Cohen, a lousy lawyer who barely keeps up the pretenses of lawyering and who now faces an avalanche of charges, from taxicab-backed bank fraud to money laundering and campaign-finance violations. Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency.

So to recap: the most terminally insecure president ever sits in the White House, advised by one of the most war-crazy hacks in the history of federal service, at the outset of a fully avoidable proxy war with an enemy that possesses thousands of lethal thermonuclear warheads aimed directly at us.

The history of the left in the United States is in large part a history of betrayal: of the repeated embrace of imperial ventures for the sake of shortsighted aims, always coming back to haunt the left and the empire’s victims. It is a history blighted by the self-serving conceit that the domestic and the foreign, or what was once the interior and the frontier, can be understood apart from each other. And until very recently, it was a history forged by white elites too sheltered from the racial consequences of their choices to anticipate the havoc they would unleash.

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn. Probably will work itself out.

* Too real.

* And this is arguably what went wrong with humans too: The Lebowski theorem: No superintelligent AI is going to bother with a task that is harder than hacking its reward function.

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