Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Friday Friday!

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Killing tenure is academia’s point of no return. Wisconsin’s Fight Over Faculty Rights: What’s at Stake, and What’s Next. What’s Gone Wrong in Wisconsin? Prof says Regents failure to protect tenure is the beginning of the end of UW. Why Wisconsin Matters to You.

One College’s Method to Prove Its Value: Scanning Students’ Brains. Sure, that’ll solve it!

A University Banks on Ph.D. Stipends to Better Compete With Its Peers. Seems wise!

Secret Aerial FBI Program Uncovered By 23-Year-Old Journalist.

* After Water.

What Happens When The First Texas Town To Run Out Of Water Gets Record Rainfall.

Before Lego Ripped Off Minecraft, Minecraft Ripped Off Lego.

How did “rabbit hole,” which started its figurative life as a conduit to a fantastical land, evolve into a metaphor for extreme distraction?

* When Rebecca Schuman interviewed Arne Duncan about for-profit colleges.

* Fermat’s Last Theorem watch: How Math’s Most Famous Proof Nearly Broke.

* Solidarity or ally-ship?

* The chess sublime.

* And our debate yesterday was a blast. Thanks to FutureTense for the invitation! Next resolution: does it still count as winning if you sway more voters to your side, but still don’t clear 50%. I’ll take the aff…

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Resolved: Thursday Links Will Take All Our Links

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* Tonight! DC! 6:30! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs!

* Help, University Administration Is Terrible! Kids these days.

Statement by PROFS in response to JFC omnibus motion #521, item #39. Foxes in the Henhouse: The Republican Takeover of the University of Wisconsin System. A turning point for the UW Colleges.

* Han’s wife shot first.

Forgetting Lolita: How Nabokov’s Victim Became an American Fantasy.

* Michael Bérubé and Jennifer Ruth: Time for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes.

Every United Airlines flight was grounded this morning in the US.

More People Work at Fusion Than Are Reading Its Most Popular Post.

The problem is that the IRB system is so fundamentally misconceived that it is virtually a model of how to regulate badly.

French Court Rules It Is Unconstitutional To Cut Off Water To Anybody.

Teen got arrested after cop tried to pick her up, failed. Warrants issued for people who cheered at Senatobia graduation. In the last seven years at least 29 police K-9s have sweltered to death after officers left the dogs inside hot patrol vehicles.

School kitchen manager fired for giving lunches to hungry students.

* Sepp Blatter resigns. Something something joke about George Lucas character names.

The Secret 1949 Radiation Experiment That Contaminated Washington.

How Ridic Are the New Scrabble Words?

* How Ridic Are Call-In Shifts?

Alternative Idea for Resolving Sexual-Assault Cases Emphasizes Closure. “Administrators promised to keep her charges confidential and to protect her from retaliation.” For what it’s worth, I had some general thoughts on Title IX earlier this week that I Storified on the off-chance anyone is interested. I don’t think the outlook is good.

The inside story of how the Clintons built a $2 billion global empire. Is Hillary Clinton in trouble?

* Draft, uh, let’s say Bloomberg.

* The Tampon: A History.

* Google NBA Jam truth.

New Study Confirms Self-Evident Truth: Time Warner Is Literally The Worst.

* Hell is working at the Huffington Post.

* Teach the controversy.

* And the arc of history is long, but Arrested Development season five will air in spring 2016.

Every Tuesday Link! Every One!

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* Just a reminder that I’ll be in DC for a debate, Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.

* The sad story of the São José.

* Against this backdrop, UW System leaders’ public statements in response to JFC’s omnibus bill—statements whose overriding tone is one of gratitude undergirded by obsequiousness—make perfect sense, even as they alternately disgust and infuriate the rest of us. Amid the general calamity for faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students, there is an alignment of legislative priorities with administrative interests.

* It’s sad to say that when the administrators shut down any possibility for dialogue, when administrations withdraw into cocoon-like gated communities in which they’re always on the defensive, I think that it’s probably not unreasonable to say that this is not just about an assault, this looks like a war strategy. It looks like power is functioning in such a way as to both stamp out dissent and at the same time concentrate itself in ways in which it’s not held accountable.

* Bureaucracy: why won’t scholars break their paper chains?

* Recrimination in the language of the university is the image of a ruined hope that things would be different.

* Who’s getting Koch money today? University edition.

* Dispatches from dystopia. And one more from LARoB: Gender and the Apocalypse.

* Under these weird meritocratic dynamics, bourgeois characteristics make you more valuable not because they are good characteristics in themselves, but merely because they are bourgeois characteristics, and therefore relatable to the top of the economic hierarchy that directs the resources top spots in top firms are competing to get. This poses obvious problems for social mobility, which is the direction people usually take it, but it poses even deeper problems for the idea of “skills” more generally. Where “skills” refers, not to some freestanding objective ability to produce, but rather to your ability to be chummy and familiar to those with the money, they don’t actually seem to be “skills” in the sense most people imagine the term. Upper crust professionals no longer appear to be geniuses, but instead people who went to boarding school and whose manner of conducting themselves shows it.

* When a child goes to war. We talked about the Dumbledore issue a ton in my magic and literature class this semester. Stay tuned through the end for what is indeed surely the greatest editorial note of all time:

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* That Oxford decides its poetry chair by voting is just the craziest thing in the world to me.

* Mass Effect, Personal Identity, and Genocide.

* Ghostwriters and Children’s Literature.

* Shaviro: Discognition: Fictions and Fabulations of Sentience.

* Recent Marquette University grads staging Shakespeare in 13 state parks.

* The map is not the territory (from the archives): The Soviet Union’s chief cartographer acknowledged today that for the last 50 years the Soviet Union had deliberately falsified virtually all public maps of the country, misplacing rivers and streets, distorting boundaries and omitting geographical features, on orders of the secret police.

* When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat.

* Some discussion of the Hastert case that explains why his supposed “blackmailers” may not be facing any charges: it’s legal to ask for money in exchange for not suing somebody.

* Body Cameras Are Not Pointed at the Police; They’re Pointed at You.

* Of course FIFA knew.

* Wes Anderson’s The Grand Overlook Hotel.

* The poison is the cure: Amid the ruins of its casino economy, NJ looks to build more casinos. And that’s only the second-most-ridiculous debate currently rocking the state.

* “Do we really want to fuse our minds together?” No! Who wants that?

* The Time War was good, and the Doctor changing it was also good. Take my word for it, I’m an expert in these matters.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: Michael Dorn is still pitching Captain Worf.

* Uber, firmly committed to being the absolute worst, in every arena.

* The Learning Channel, horror show.

* And after a very uneven season the Community series (?) finale is really good. The end.

Sunday Won’t Procrastinate Itself: Links!

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A City Where Everyone Works, There Is No Police, And The Salary Is 1200 Euros.

This piece and the comments (read both) constitute one of the only serious or substantive discussions of Laura Kipnis’s CHE pieces I’ve seen. I just finished a long and frustrating but possibly ultimately consensus-building Facebook debate about the minutiae of this thing, so I’m basically an expert on the case now.

* “With its new flavor, Save Our Swirled, Ben & Jerry’s is urging fans to dig their spoons into climate change activism.” That’s solve it!

California’s Snowpack Is Now Zero Percent of Normal.

* It’s so hot in India the roads are melting.

For those who want to build a stronger left in the US, there is no substitute for the work — however slow and painstaking it might be — of building social movements and struggles at the grassroots and of organizing a political alternative independent of the Democratic Party.

‘American Universities Are Addicted to Chinese Students.’

Black dolls and American culture.

* Jessica Springsteen, born to jump.

How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals.

PROFS Statement on Joint Finance Committee Action on UW System Budget. UW Struggle: Final Update. An Idiot’s Guide to the Tenure Process. Don’t mourn, organize. In all its glory.

* And then there’s Texas.

* Can academics really “have it all”?

* The fall of Rome.

To understand why and how often these shootings occur, The Washington Post is compiling a database of every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty. The Post looked exclusively at shootings, not killings by other means, such as stun guns and deaths in police custody.

* Boing Boing covers Rashida Jones’s “amateur porn” documentary Hot Girls Wanted.

* Science proves music really was better back then.

* It also proves nothing likes being eaten.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and Philosophy: 1, 2.

* The Wire, but for Israel/Palestine.

* And the arc of history is long, but production on TRON 3 has been shut down.

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Wisconsinned

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In short, Wisconsin Republicans have declared total war on public education. Both the K-12 bill and the UW bill were negotiated and written totally in secret by committee Republicans, with the details released to the public only hours before the final, fore-ordained votes were held. Moral and political commitments aside, this leaves one to wonder whether those legislators who are quickest to cite “market-based” considerations have even a basic understanding of what Wisconsin’s comparative advantage is. Wisconsin has a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation for its excellent public schools and universities. Without those, what is the point of living in Wisconsin as opposed to some other state? Set aside the fact that no UW campus will ever be able to recruit a top-tier scholar again. Why would anyone choose Wisconsin as a place to raise their family? Why would anyone in their right mind move to Wisconsin after this budget? More from Chuck Rybak and the Journal-Sentinel itself.

Weekend Mega-Links, Please Use Responsibly

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In 2015, we will open applications for Tiptree Fellowships. Fellowships will be $500 per recipient and will be awarded each year to two creators who are doing work that pushes forward the Tiptree mission. We hope to create a network of Fellows who will build connections, support one another, and find collaborators.

* It’s a small exhibit, but I really liked A Whole Other World: Sub-Culture Craft at the Racine Art Museum, as well as the Consumer Couture exhibit running at the same time.

A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend. Hey, it worked for me!

* I went off on a little bit of a tear about dissertation embargoes and grad-school gaslighting the other day: part 1, part 2. Some “highlights”:

* Next week in DC! Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs. A Future Tense Debate.

Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? NPR has the official odds.

What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

Shields said these perceptions of race were the focus of his work and he aimed to deconstruct them through imagery that reflected a striking role-reversal. Not only do the individuals in this particular lynching image reflect a distinct moment or period in history, they are positioned as opposing players in a way that delivers a different message than those previously shared. This one of a cop is amazing:

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19 Pop Songs Fact-Checked By Professors.

For those who didn’t go to prestigious schools, don’t come from money, and aren’t interested in sports and booze—it’s near impossible to gain access to the best paying jobs.

So, going by (17) and (18), we’re on the receiving end of a war fought for control of our societies by opposing forces that are increasingly more powerful than we are.

New Grads Can’t Really Afford To Live Anywhere, Report Finds.

Uber hard at work on effort to replace drivers with machine.

Uber: Disability Laws Don’t Apply to Us.

* The prison-industrial complex, by the numbers. Cleveland police accept DOJ rules you can’t believe they didn’t already have to follow. Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration. The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration. How to lock up fewer people. The Myth of the Hero Cop.

* Poverty, by the numbers.

* Science Fiction: For Slackers?

CGI7dHpU0AAOtHr* Presenting Matt Weiner’s wish-list for the final season of Mad Men.

How to be a fan of problematic things.

* Bernie as the official opposition. And then there’s the issue of the bench.

* A new day for the culture war, or, the kids are all right.

* Can Americans update their ideas about war?

* “I often wonder if my forefathers were as filled with disgust and anger when they thought of the people they were fighting to protect as I am.” Would you like to know more?

The Political Economy of Enrollment.

Now, the UC administration claims that the cost of instruction is greater than in-state tuition. But these claims are at best debatable and at worst simply not credible, because as Chris Newfield and Bob Samuels have shown they include research and other non-educational expenses in order to inflate the alleged instructional cost. (It’s gotten to the point that, as Samuelsobserves, the administration literally claims it costs $342,500 to educate one medical student for one year.) According to Newfield, a more reasonable estimate of the cost of instruction for undergraduates would be somewhere between 40-80 percent of the administration’s figures. Even using the higher rate, then, the administration still generates a net profit for every extra student they bring in.

LIBOR for the universities?

UW System faculty’s role in chancellor picks could be diminished. Also let’s make tenure not a thing. Also, no standards for teachers, just while we’re at it.

* Meanwhile, Wisconsin to burn $250M on famously losing basketball team.

Board of Governors discontinues 46 degree programs across UNC system.

How Poor And Minority Students Are Shortchanged By Public Universities.

How NYU squeezes billions from its students—and where that money goes.

What’s Left After Higher Education Is Dismantled.

Midcareer Melancholy: life as an associate professor.

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors.

* Academia and legitimation crisis. This situation (and distrust/abuses from both sides) is going to get worse yet.

* Parenthood (and especially motherhood) in the academy.

* The cost of an adjunct.

* On opposing capitalism on its good days, too.

This supposed opposition serves the interests of both sides, however violent their conflict may appear. Helped by their control of the means of communication, they appropriate the general interest, forcing each person to make a false choice between “the West or else Barbarism”. In so doing, they block the advent of the only global conviction that could save humanity from disaster. This conviction—which I have sometimes called the communist idea—declares that even in the movement of the break with tradition, we must work to create an egalitarian symbolisation that can guide, regulate, and form the stable subjective underpinning of the collectivisation of resources, the effective disappearance of inequalities, the recognition of differences—of equal subjective right—and, ultimately, the withering away of separate forms of authority in the manner of the state.

Ecology against Mother Nature: Slavoj Žižek on Molecular Red.

* Stunning photos of the California drought.

The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheroes Forever.

Why Are You Still Washing Your Clothes In Warm Water?

Rickrolling is sexist, racist and often transphobic in context.

Carbon Nanotubes Were An Ancient Superweapon.

Amazon rolls out free same-day delivery for Prime members.

* Breaking: The Web is not a post-racial utopia.

* Breaking: it’s all downhill from 29.

* The waning thrills of CGI.

* Horrible: DC to Begin Placing Ads on Story Pages. Even more horrible: the end of Convergence is the dumbest universal reboot yet.

* The science of awe.

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares. Interesting, but really flattens a lot. It’s not geography that constrains kids’ futures, it’s class.

* The World Cup and prison labor. The World Cup and slavery. The World Cup and total universal corruption.

* They say Charter Cable is even worse than Time Warner. I don’t believe such a thing is possible.

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany.

U.S. Preparation Lagging to Battle Potentially Devastating EMP.

The Ethical Game: Morality in Postapocalyptic Fictions from Cormac McCarthy to Video Games.

10 bizarre baseball rules you won’t believe actually existed.

* Congrats to John Scalzi.

So you’re related to Charlemagne? You and every other living European…

Timeline of the American Transgender Movement.

* Judith Butler: I do know that some people believe that I see gender as a “choice” rather than as an essential and firmly fixed sense of self. My view is actually not that. No matter whether one feels one’s gendered and sexed reality to be firmly fixed or less so, every person should have the right to determine the legal and linguistic terms of their embodied lives. So whether one wants to be free to live out a “hard-wired” sense of sex or a more fluid sense of gender, is less important than the right to be free to live it out, without discrimination, harassment, injury, pathologization or criminalization – and with full institutional and community support. That is most important in my view.

* The PhD: wake up sheeple! Still more links after the image, believe it or not.

phd052215s* Muppet Babies and Philosophy.

* Broken clock watch: Instapundit says fire administrators to fix higher ed.

* Became self-aware, etc: campus climate surveys said to be triggering.

Penn State administrators announced Wednesday that a fraternity that maintained a well-curated secret Facebook page full of pictures of unconscious, naked women will lose its official recognition until 2018, pretty much ruining senior year.

The Proof That Centrism is Dead.

* Against consensus.

* Understanding Sad Girl Theory.

* Dialectics of union activism. I’ve been really fascinated by what’s been going on at Gawker Media.

Someone Has Done A Statistical Analysis Of Rape In Game Of Thrones.

* The arc of history is long, but that Florida community college will no longer force its students to practice transvaginal ultrasounds on each other.

* Trigger warnings, still good pedagogy, still bad administrative policy.

* A fetish is born: Porn actors must wear protective goggles during shoots.

* Ring Theory: The Hidden Artistry of the Star Wars Prequels.

* This roundtable from Amy Schumer, Lena Dunham, and others on sexism and comedy is pretty dynamite.

* The age of miracles: New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function.

* How to Bash Bureaucracy: Evan Kindley on David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules.

The ongoing legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic.

* Teaching pro-tips from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

* Google Drought Truth.

Moore’s Law Keeps Going, Defying Expectations.

* The morality of robot war. Counterpoint: Killer robots will leave humans ‘utterly defenceless’ warns professor.

* Parental leave policies don’t solve capitalism. You need to solve capitalism.

* Against Mars.

The Nuclear Freeze campaign prevented an apocalypse, so can the climate movement.

* Honestly, you get used to the taste after a while.

* And at last it can be told! The real story behind the Bill Murray movie you’ve never seen.

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 29, 2015 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Memorial Day in the Backwards Universe

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Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn’t in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.

–Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, chapter four

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