Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Just Another Saturday Night Linkdump

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CFP: Medical Humanities and the Fantastic. CFP: Edited Collection, Fan Studies: Methods, Ethics, Research. CFP: Reclaiming the Tomboy: Posthumanism, Gender Representation, and Intersectionality. CFP: Special Issue on Indigenous and Sovereign Games. CFP: The Age of the Pulps: The SF magazine, 1926–1960. CFP: Productive Futures: The Political Economy of Science Fiction, Bloomsbury, London, 12-14 September 2019.

* Awesome #altac job watch: Humanities Editor at Minnesota Press.

* The second half of the Women’s Studies issue on Octavia E. Butler, featuring my article of Parable of the Trickster, is now officially out. Check it out!

* Find out when someone started crying during Endgame, and you’ll find out who they’ve lost. (Really, though, it doesn’t make any sense.) “Avengers: Endgame” is not just the culmination of the 22-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also represents the decisive defeat of “cinema” by “content.” In Praise of Poorly Built Worlds. The Avengers are the heroes of ‘Endgame,’ but Disney was the villain all along. But this time, we’re talking about a tragedy beyond what could possibly be commemorated through memorial sites. It would land somewhere closer to mass suicide and total infrastructural collapse–and where Endgame is concerned, there are no tragedies, there is only Marvel. Eco-Villains: Thanos and the Night King. To put it bluntly, and in Deleuze’s terms, superhero films are action films for people who no longer believe in action, for whom the capacity to act has been overtaken by the spectacle. It’s probably the best version of what an Avengers movie can be. And even that turns out to be silly, sloppily written, and to require massive amount of suspension of disbelief. Is it really too much to hope that Marvel stops debasing its characters and stories with events that can never live up to the MCU’s individual pieces? Interview With A Local Man Returning After Thanos’ Snap.

* MCU continuity enters its “fuck you, that’s why” period.

An analysis of both side’s tactics in the Battle of Winterfell, from a military strategist. A counterpoint.

* Hate to agree with Ross Douthat, but it really does seem to be the case that hype aside Martin is just warmed-over Tolkien, but worse in every particular. Bonus Twitter thread goodness on GoT and colonialism.

* America is a horror: on Jordan Peele’s Us.

* Vox celebrates the great James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon).

* Keeping company with my Audible app over lunch, I’ve come to see it as the buddy our tech overlords have granted me in the isolation that they help to impose. I feel this way about podcasts.

* Report Realism: Tentative Notes on Contemporary Kenyan Writing.

Genres that strain realism—the gothic and neo-gothic, fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, and so on—are conspicuously absent in Kenyan writing, even as they are incredibly well represented in Kenyan book consumption. We are not writing what we are reading; even the very popular Christian-themed fiction about fighting demonic forces, which is really a variation of the horror novel, remains relatively sparse in terms of what we write or, perhaps more accurately, what we choose to make public of our writing. The believable and the realistic are bounded by NGO narratives and perspectives. And too many writers believe that the only writing worth anything is the believable and the realistic: to be a “committed” writer requires adhering to report realism.

Report realism believes in the power of “truth,” whether contemporary or historical, with a faith that borders on fundamentalism. In report realism, the truth will set us free. Report realism confirms objective NGO reports and affirms what Kenyans feel to be the truth of a particular condition. In report realism, for instance, the Kenyan prostitute is always a morally degraded figure looking for a way out to a respectable moral life. This realism is celebrated and supported by the NGO organizations who fund writing competitions and publish winning entries devoted to describing the real Kenya and by mainstream publishers who have the conservative mission of producing appropriately moral literature.

* ‘It drives writers mad’: why are authors still sniffy about sci-fi?

* The saddest story ever told, beating Hemingway out by one word: Esports Part-Time Online Instructor.

Yes, you will get a job with that arts degree. With that history degree, too!

Storm Clouds Over Tulsa: Inside the academic destruction of a proud private university.

6 Majors Were Spared the Ax at Stevens Point. But the Damage Might Be Done.

* Students and (not) doing the reading.

* How to Be a Better Online Teacher.

Getting a Game Studies PhD: A Guide for Aspiring Video Game Scholars. Game Boys: The “gamer” identity undermines the radical potential of play.

Sexual harassment is pervasive in US physics programmes.

The Disciplines Where No Black People Earn Ph.D.s. Being a Black Academic in America.

‘It’s an Aristocracy’: What the Admissions-Bribery Scandal Has Exposed About Class on Campus.

Swarthmore Fraternities Disband.

* Marquette faculty, students and community members rally for unionization. Unionization effort at Marquette leaves organizers, administration in a stalemate.

The University Is a Ticking Time Bomb. A Moral Stain on the Profession.

* “Student loan debt is crushing millions of families. That’s why I’m calling for something truly transformational: Universal free college and the cancellation of debt for more than 95% of Americans with student loan debt.”

Anxiety ‘epidemic’ brewing on college campuses, researchers find.

* Stanford keeps Stanford University Press alive… for one year.

Charles Koch gave $25m to our university. Has it become a rightwing mouthpiece? George Mason University’s Donor Problem and the Fight for Transparency.

Grad Students at Private Colleges Were Cleared to Unionize 3 Years Ago. Here’s What’s Changed.

* How America’s College-Closure Crisis Leaves Families Devastated.

* Meanwhile every teacher in the country is constantly confronted with the possibility that they’ll be asked to die for their students.

All Literature Is Climate Change Literature. The Green New Deal Costs Less Than Doing Nothing. Ecuador Amazon tribe win first victory against oil companies. ‘Death by a thousand cuts’: vast expanse of rainforest lost in 2018. Vietnam just observed its highest temperature ever recorded: 110 degrees, in April. ‘Decades of denial’: major report finds New Zealand’s environment is in serious trouble. Alaska’s in The Middle of a Record-Breaking Spring Melt, And It’s Killing People. The Folly of Returning to Paradise, California. Policy tweaks won’t do it, we need to throw the kitchen sink at this with a total rethink of our relationship to ownership, work and capital. Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse. “You did not act in time.” We Asked the 2020 Democrats About Climate Change (Yes, All of Them). Here Are Their Ideas. The Billionaire’s Guide to Hacking the Planet. What if air conditioners could save the planet? The collapse of the industrial economy is, in all likelihood, the only remaining way to prevent the mass destruction of life on Earth. ‘The Time To Act Is Now,’ Says Yellowing Climate Change Report Sitting In University Archive. A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet. Between the Devil and the Green New Deal. Five years. And here comes eco-fascism.

* Down and Out in the Gig Economy: Journalism’s dependence on part-time freelancers has been bad for the industry—not to mention writers like me.

But for most of us, freelance journalism is a monetized hobby, separate from whatever real income one earns. The ideal relationship for a freelance journalist to their work becomes a kind of excited amateurism. They should hope for professional success and acceptance but always keep a backup plan or three in mind. They will likely not be welcomed past the gates of full-time employment. By year five or six, they might be rebranding themselves as “editorial consultants” or “content strategists,” realizing that any genuine fiscal opportunity lies in shepherding corporate content to life.

* ‘Two-Tiered Caste System’: The World of White-Collar Contracting in Silicon Valley. The Future of Unions Is White-Collar. We Just Remembered How to Strike.

These five charts show how bad the student loan debt situation is.

* “I am a woman and I am fast.” The ongoing harassment of Caster Semenya is simply incredible.

* Ten years later, police lies about Oscar Grant come to light. And elsewhere on the police beat: We found 85,000 cops who’ve been investigated for misconduct. Now you can read their records. New York City’s DAs Keep Secret Lists Of Cops With Questionable Credibility. Virginia police sergeant fired after being linked to white supremacy.

Border Patrol Holds Hundreds of Migrants in Growing Tent City Away From Prying Eyes. Emails Show Trump Administration Had No Plan to Track and Reunite Separated Families. Militia in New Mexico Detains Asylum Seekers at Gunpoint.

TSA Agents Say They’re Not Discriminating Against Black Women, But Their Body Scanners Might Be.

* Against prison.

* France Debates How to Rebuild Notre-Dame, Weighing History and Modernity. An art historian explains the tough decisions in rebuilding Notre Dame. How Digital Scans of Notre Dame Can Help Architects Rebuild the Burned Cathedral. The billionaires’ donations will turn Notre Dame into a monument to hypocrisy.

* Researchers Made 3,900-Pound Boulders They Can Move by Hand, Giving More Insights Into Ancient Engineering.

* Mental health minute: Researchers say there’s a simple way to reduce suicides: Increase the minimum wage. The challenge of going off psychiatric drugs. The kids are not all right.

* The Rise of Useless Health Insurance. High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment. American Prescription Drug Prices Are Out of Control. One Man’s Furious Quest to Get to the Bottom of It.

* Rich guys are most likely to have no idea what they’re talking about, study suggests.

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population.

* A new Gallup poll says that America is home to some of the most stressed people in the world, reporting extraordinary levels of anger and anxiety that could be cause for concern, say doctors.

Workers Should Be in Charge.

I Work With Suicidal Farmers. It’s Becoming Too Much to Bear.

* On crunch time in the games industry.

Instagram Memers Are Unionizing.

* How Dungeons & Dragons somehow became more popular than ever.

Fantastic Autistic: Neurodiversity, Estrangement and Playing with the Weird.

* Re-reading the Map of Middle-earth: Fan Cartography’s Engagement with Tolkien’s Legendarium.

Why Won’t Twitter Treat White Supremacy Like ISIS? Because It Would Mean Banning Some Republican Politicians Too.

* Believe them when they say they want to kill us.

* Children of the Children of Columbine.

* My parents didn’t tell me they skipped my vaccines. Then I got sick.

* How a mall dies, Milwaukee edition.

* The hunt for rocket boosters in Russia’s far north.

* Job-hunting will only get worse.

* Of course I believe in hell. I vote for Democrats.

* Biden biden biden biden

* The gamification of fascism.

* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, fandom, and anti-fandom.

* My feckless Googling had reaped a monstrous reality that I knew was going to haunt me for the rest of my life. I asked myself: Is there something righteous in facing reality, or would it have been better to stay ignorant? A surfeit of ugly knowledge is a feature of our age, a result of the internet carrying to our doorstep, like a tomcat with a dead rat, all manner of brutal information. How many others have flippantly Googled an old friend and discovered something ghastly? This was not knowledge as power; it was knowledge as sorrow.

* “Australia Is Deadly Serious About Killing Millions of Cats.”

* The oldest known tree in Wisconsin.

* A Video Game Developed To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Seems To Be Working.

* Decolonizing Oregon Trail.

* How “Liberal” Late-Night Talk Shows Became A Comedy Sinkhole.

Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden. Women suffer needless pain because almost everything is designed for men. What Good Dads Get Away With.

When Measles Arrives: Breaking Down the Anatomy of Containment.

* Despite being legally required to conduct audits since the early 90s and holding a staggering  2.2 trillion in assets, the Pentagon held its first-ever audit this week — which it, unsurprisingly, spectacularly failed.

* I have so little faith in the holders of the Star Trek IP I can’t greet any of this news with pleasure. Even the realization that Discovery is (finally) going to do something truly original in its third season just fills me with dread. And I don’t know how to feel about this at all: Star Trek: Picard Series May Not Reunite TNG Cast. Star Trek: Discovery’s Depiction of Captain Pike’s Disability is a Betrayal of Roddenberry’s Utopian Vision. My mini-tweetstorm on the subject.

* Sundown on Deadwood: David Milch, battling Alzheimer’s, finally finishes his TV Western.

* Professional obligation watch, god help me.

Jeopardy Wasn’t Designed for a Contestant Like James Holzhauer.

* Tolkien estate disavows forthcoming film starring Nicholas Hoult.

* John Lennon’s 15 year old report card.

* Colonizing Condiments: A (Very) Short History of Ketchup.

Women my age weren’t called ‘autistic’ growing up. We were awkward or ‘rude.’ And we missed out on services.

* “We are not interested in the reason for why the people are killed,” he wrote. “But if she is your wife or some family member, we can do it in your city as well.”

The Stolen Kids of Sarah Lawrence.

* Obituary corner: Gene Wolfe Was the Proust of Science Fiction. Before the Labyrinthine Lore of ‘Dark Souls,’ There Was Gene Wolfe.

Before Gamergate, before the 2016 election, they launched a campaign against Twitter trolls masquerading as women of color. If only more people had paid attention.

* Medicine is magical and magical is art / The boy in the bubble / And the baby with the baboon heart.

* Scientists Restore Some Function In The Brains Of Dead Pigs.

* The Great Pornwall of Britain Goes Up July 15.

* The United States of Conspiracy: An Interview with Anna Merlan.

* ok ok I’ll bite what’s coal

* what piece of cosmo sex advice most haunts your waking hours

* If you want a vision of the future: Netflix ‘buys 50 literary projects in last year.’

* It was in autumn that the happy face arrived. Death of a Salesman. No mathematics, no science can ever predict the human soul. Where do you want to eat tonight?

2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest.

* And only mass surveillance can save us now! Rough news day for Oxford if you ask me.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 4, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Canavan vs. Endgame, Dawn of Thinkpiece

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I’ve got a short piece up about Endgame up at Frieze, if you’re interested: Why Avengers: Endgame Doesn’t Have to Make Sense. And a bonus after-the-credits observation here, for the true fans…

Big link post coming soon! Just didn’t want this one to die on the vine in the meantime.

Tuesday Morning Links!

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Active shooter drills are scaring kids and may not protect them. Some schools are taking a new approach.

* The adjunct underclass.

* Fire at Notre Dame. Fire was the scourge of medieval cathedrals. But they rebuilt from the ashes. Conspiracies and hoaxes. A warning from 2017. What’s Been Saved and What’s Been Lost. Rebuilding Notre Dame.

* Palpatine post-ROTJ in the new EU.

* Homestuck may be the most important work of twenty-first-century art I genuinely do not have the time to try and figure out.

* 17 Writers on the Role of Fiction in Addressing Climate Change.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine having a runny nose — forever.

* Weld is the first major intra-party challenger against a sitting president since Pat Buchanan took on George H.W. Bush.

* ICE deports spouse of U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan. Their daughter is now left parentless.

A new policy proposal by the Trump administration calls for the surveillance of disabled people’s social media profiles to determine the necessity of their disability benefits. The proposal, which reportedly aims to cut down on the number of fraudulent disability claims would, monitor the profiles of disabled people and flag content that shows them doing physical activities. When it comes down to it, the policy dictates that disabled people shouldn’t be seen living their lives for fear of losing vital financial aid and, possibly, medical care. Veterans too.

United States added to list of most dangerous countries for journalists for first time.

* Two’s a trend: Just two weeks after Burger King announced it was partnering with Impossible Foods to offer a new meatless burger, Del Taco has announced it’s partnering with Beyond Meat to offer new meatless tacos.

* Heroes with feet of clay.

Artist Reimagines David Bowie Songs as Old Pulp Fiction Book Covers.

* I’m afraid the Dewey Decimal System… is cancelled.

Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Here’s how that turned out.

* I’m on it, Suze!

* I think Bernie should boycott Fox, but it couldn’t have gone better for him.

* Shoot a ninth season, you cowards. broke: Bran ruined the story. woke: Bran is the story.

* #10 really tells a story.

* And Gene Wolfe has died.

Take a Long Lunch on Me with these Monday Afternoon Links

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* CFP: Paradoxa 32, Comics and/or Graphic Novels.

* CFP: Energy Pasts and Futures in American Studies.

* The Museum of the Moving Image Announces a Series on Latin American Science Fiction Cinema of the 21st Century.

* A City on Mars Could Descend Into Cabin Fever and Nationalism. Just because that’s what happened on Earth doesn’t mean it would happen on Mars!

Philip K. Dick’s Unfinished Novel Was a Faustian Fever Dream.

* Some timely content for my games class: can colonialism and slavery ever be game mechanics?

* Reading ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ in Baghdad: What Vonnegut taught me about what comes after war.

One of his legacies is a famous passage in “Slaughterhouse-Five.” It’s about planes flying in reverse, where shrapnel flies out of people, back into the bombs and the planes take off backward from their runways, and so on, until everyone is just a baby again.

Vonnegut is saying it would be nice if the wisdom learned from a war could be used to reverse engineer the entire thing and keep it from happening at all. That is a nice thought.

* The bargaining phase of climate crisis: why don’t you just move to Duluth?

This Is How Human Extinction Could Play Out.

* Matthew Dean Hindman is reporting from the neoliberal gutting of the University of Tulsa.

* Faculty, students and community members rally for unionization at Marquette. More from Wisconsin Public Radio.

* How College Professors Turned Into Uber Drivers.

* Low-Income Students Told Brown U. That Textbook Prices Limited Their Choices. Here’s What the University Is Doing About It.

* A new study confirms that fraternity men and athletes are committing more sexual assaults than are those in the general student population — and that repeat offenders are a major problem.

I have a hunch, which is that professors are considerably less good at teaching than they think they are. And the hunch is based on the fact that we don’t train teaching assistants to teach, that we select and hire professors without any regard to their ability or potential as teachers, and that we don’t then give them further training or professional development. A hunch you say.

* Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund.

* Faced with an unprecedented moral emergency in the Trump presidency, the Democrats have wisely decided to… play chicken with their base.

* Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. Meanwhile.

* ‘Fox News brain’: meet the families torn apart by toxic cable news.

* Yemeni bodegas boycott New York Post over attacks on Ilhan Omar.

* Inside One Woman’s Fight to Rewrite the Law on Marital Rape.

* David Perry talks about antidepressant withdrawal.

* In Grand Rapids, Michigan, an unidentified man, age 40 is suing his parents for $87,000 for dumping his porn collection.

* Anti-beardism: the last acceptable prejudice?

* LARB considers Born in the USA.

* Can we build non-sexist and non-racist cities?

Bird scooters last less then a month and each one costs the company an average of $300.

* Played as anything but a goof, Quidditch is incredibly dangerous.

* The Dunbar number is probably wrong.

He Helped Wrongfully Convict a Vegas Man. Two Decades Later, His Daughter Worked on a Law to Make Amends.

* Today in dialectics: Are Plastic Bag Bans Garbage?

* Today in 21st century news: How to Scan Your Airbnb for Hidden Cameras.

* How Do Hospitals Stop the Spread of Drug-Resistant Superbugs Like C. Auris?
By ripping out floor tiles, reconfiguring pipes, and maybe deploying a hydrogen peroxide–spraying robot. Plus, a lot of bleach.

* I have a little scoop today: Pepsi says it wants to monetize the night sky by using satellites to project an artificial constellation that’ll advertise an energy drink.”

* Online trolls are harassing a scientist who helped take the first picture of a black hole. And you’ll never guess why!

* YouTube and racism, part a million.

* Hmm, weird, but I’m sure it’s fine.

* “Fewer clearer examples of Mark Fisher’s assertion that capitalism now only exists to block the emergence of common wealth than the fact that Google have apparently digitised every book in the world, and made them accessible to everyone, only with half the pages missing.”

* How ‘Game of Thrones’ linguist David J. Peterson became Hollywood’s go-to language guy.

* Now that’s commitment to a bit.

* And I have a bad feeling about this.

(and so on)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 15, 2019 at 11:03 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Friday Morning Links!

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Bard & Bourbon is dedicated to performing beautiful, fully staged productions of classical works with a touch of irreverence.  Each production features small non-traditional casts playing multiple parts while getting one actor very drunk over the course of the show.

* Climate Chaos Is Coming — and the Pinkertons Are Ready.

* Amazon says it’s a leader on fighting climate change. 5,000 employees disagree.

The biggest tech platforms you can name – Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit – serve up this kind of poison on an industrial scale, mushrooming and expanding at a rate that makes catching up with the spread almost impossible. The early neo-Nazi webforum Stormfront is on life support, largely because there is no need for the far-right to stay in an online cul-de-sac; they have free run of the world now. Worst of all, those consuming this economy of hate, which has exploded into an epidemic over the past ten years, are still mostly boys. Meaning, we as a society are going to be living with the effects of this radicalization for the rest of our lives.

* The job market has recovered so completely that young people are looking for jobs that won’t make them miserable again.

* Thirteen trail markers of the conservative outrage machine.

* The case for free college.

* After Cuts, Jesuits End Ties to Wheeling Jesuit.

* UW-Stevens Point backs away from controversial plan to cut several liberal arts majors.

* College-Admissions Hysteria Is Not the Norm: A focus on highly selective schools obscures the experience of the vast majority of American undergraduates.

* The Professor and the Adjunct.

* Congrats to the Duke grad union for winning 12-month contracts.

A decade after the financial crisis, economists still have not rethought macroeconomics. A new history takes on the field’s unrepentant hubris.

* For every government plot and dark scheme, someone will eventually show up claiming to have been part of it. The Politics of UFOs.

* I was reminded last night that this is a plot point in The Turner Diaries: White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes.

* When the Koch brothers train journalists.

Texas estimates it may owe feds $223 million after illegally decreasing special education funding.

* Dempocalypse watch: Inside Biden and Warren’s Yearslong Feud. Joe Biden May Be Less Electable Than He Looks.

* Trump’s sister quietly retired in February, and it’s actually a really big deal.

* Shock finding: the corporations write the laws.

* Is Game of Thrones the Last Show We’ll Watch Together?

* The Long, Troubled, and Redemptive History of Latinx Superheroes.

* The first issue of Them magazine profiles the great Janelle Monae.

* Today, there’s a name for the genre Parks and Rec pioneered: hopepunk. According to Alexandra Rowland, coiner of the term, hopepunk is “about DEMANDING a better, kinder world, and truly believing that we can get there if we care about each other as hard as we possibly can.” It’s a melodramatic framing perfect for a cultural moment that treats posting online as a form of ideological warfare. On the dead-end optimism of Parks and Recreation. With a surprisingly long cameo appearance by David Foster Wallace.

* “A quest to understand how human intelligence evolved raises some ethical questions.” Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter.

* Biting my tongue so hard it hurts.

* And I can’t believe this was worth it. What a journey.

Saturday Links! Maybe It’s Won’t Be a Month Between Linkposts Every Time!

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* CFP (Journal of Futures Studies): “When is Wakanda? Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity.”

* Summer Course! ENGL 4717: “Twenty-First Century Comics”! Fall Courses! ENGLISH 3000 (“Magic and Literature”) and ENGLISH 6820/8282 (“Monsters of Theory”)!

All the Dem candidates as Michael Scott is the most accurate thing I have ever seen.

But a couple of scientists who study Mars are trying to burst that hermetically-sealed, oxygen-recirculating, radiation-shielded bubble. If a new analysis is correct, conditions on Mars make it impossible for existing technology to turn it into a garden of Earth-like delights.

* Trump Is Trying To Change The Meaning Of Instructor, And It’s Not Good.

* Flooding at an Air Force Base Exposes a Growing Threat to the US Military. The Midwest floods are going to get much, much worse. Terrifying map shows all the parts of America that might soon flood.

Interviewers are increasingly making absurd demands on applicants’ time. Here’s what to do if you’re asked to work for free.

* Struggling to stay alive: Rising insulin prices cause diabetics to go to extremes.

* ‘I made $3.75 an hour’: Lyft and Uber drivers push to unionize for better pay.

* liberalism.jpg

* politics.jpg

First leaks coming out now from the Mueller report and it’s not looking good.

* And Barbara Streisand has some of the most odious opinions on any subject I’ve ever seen. I’m still floored hours later.