Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Wednesday Links!

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tumblr_nirowmOALX1qmyzbvo1_r1_1280* This is the only movie franchise Disney should produce from now on.

* On indigenous futurism.

* It’s not time to degree, it’s time from degree.

* Horrifying, tragic triple murder in Chapel Hill.

Professors and other university employees wouldn’t be able to criticize or praise lawmakers, the governor or other elected officials in letters to the editor if they use their official titles, under a bill introduced in the Legislature. Having solved every other problem in existence, the Legislature now turns its eyes towards…

* The University of Wisconsin cuts as queen sacrifice.

* What University Administrators Gain from $300 Million in Cuts. Notes from the conspiracy against UW.

 * How our paths have diverged from that August afternoon in 1986. True story: it was freshman orientation just outside Memorial Union. We were two of a couple thousand new Marquette University freshman wistful about what our futures held. Four years later, I graduated from Marquette and later became Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. You never graduated, and you became the Governor of the State of Wisconsin bent on dismantling public education. Ironic, isn’t it? Situational irony at its best. I’d laugh if its ramifications weren’t so utterly destructive for the state of Wisconsin.

* First Louisiana, then Wisconsin, now South Carolina ups the ante. Now they want to shut it down for two years. Would it shock you if I told you this was a historically black college? Would it completely blow your mind?

What Even is African Literature Anyway.

SOFIA SAMATAR: Lately I have been thinking about African literature as the literature that becomes nothing.“African subjectivity…is constituted by a perennial lack: lacking souls, lacking civilization, lacking writing, lacking responsibility, lacking development, lacking human rights and lacking democracy. It is an unending discourse that invents particular ‘lacks’ suitable for particular historical epochs so as to justify perpetuation of asymmetrical power relations and to authorize various forms of external interventions into Africa.” (Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Empire, Global Coloniality And African Subjectivity)This was kicked off when I read Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni on lack. We know that all literary works are copies, but Africanliterature is a copy in a way that obliterates it (Ouologuem, Camara Laye, whatever, choose your plagiarism scandal). All literature is political, but African literature is political in a way that makes it cease to be literature (it’s “too political,” “didactic,” etc.). All literature is produced to suit a market, but African literature is produced to suit an illegitimate, inauthentic, outside market (it’s always in the wrong language). Its market also makes it nothing…

Crumbs is a new feature-length film project from award-winning Addis Ababa-based Spanish director Miguel Llansó boldly touting itself as “the first ever Ethiopian post-apocalyptic, surreal, sci-fi feature length film.” Its cryptic official trailer, which we first spotted over on Shadow and Act, takes us deep into a bizarre universe inhabited by the beautiful Candy (played by Ethiopian actress Selam Tesfaye) and her diminutive scrap collecting partner Birdy (played by Ethiopian actor Daniel Tadesse Gagano), who sets out on a journey to uncover strange happenings in their otherwise desolate surroundings.

In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up.

* Jon Stewart quits. Brian Williams suspended. Tough times in fake news.

* Another preview of Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules.

* To all the young journalists asking for advice.

I asked Mr. Trachtenberg if it was morally defensible to let students borrow tens of thousands of dollars for a service that he himself had compared to a luxury good. He is not, by nature, one for apologies and second-guessing. “I’m not embarrassed by what we did,” he said. “It’s not as if it’s some kind of a bait and switch here. It’s not as if the faculty weren’t good. It’s not as if the opportunities to get a good degree weren’t there. There’s no misrepresentation here.” He seemed unbowed but also aware that his legacy was bound up in the larger dramas and crises of American higher education.

Whatever happened to the teenage entrepreneurs whom Peter Thiel paid to forgo college?

* Jesus Christ: The University of Oregon illegally pried through the medical records of a female student who was expected to file a sexual assault-related lawsuit against the school, a staff therapist claims.

* The salary gap at Berkeley.

For centuries we the taxpayers have paid to maintain the nation’s treasures and institutions. It would be madness to hand over our archives now.

I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles.

Rosa Parks — because of her arrest, because of her activism — loses her job at the Montgomery Fair department store, where she was an assistant tailor. She wasn’t fired, they just let her go. And Raymond Parks also loses his job as well. And neither one of them is able to find sustainable employment in Montgomery after that — because of their activism, absolutely. They are basically boycotted. …

This is a 1955 tax return, and of course her arrest is in December of that year, and their combined income is $3,749. So they’re, you know, the working poor, but they’re holding their head above water. And here is their tax return in 1959 when they’re living in Detroit. Their combined income is $661. They have descended into deep, deep poverty.

On June 30th, 1974, Alberta Williams King was gunned down while she played the organ for the “Lord’s Prayer” at Ebenezer Baptist Church. As a Christian civil rights activist, she was assassinated…just like her son, Martin Luther King, Jr.

* BREAKING: People with Stronger Writing Skills Are Better at Their Jobs, Get Paid More, Better Looking, Less B.O., Just Better Period.

* Five Dials has a special issue devoted to Richard McGuire’s amazing comic Here.

Review: Jupiter Ascending Is The Worst Movie Ever Go See It Immediately.

* So what would have made Jupiter Ascending work?

* NASA’s latest budget calls for a mission to Europa. OK I think as long as we attempt no landings there.

* Milwaukee streetcar boondoggle project approved.

Secret Teacher: exams have left my students incapable of thinking. “Incapable” is a bit strong, but elites have certainly turned education into a nightmare.

* TOS for Samsung’s exciting new 4o-inch telescreen.

What appears to happen during this time—the years I look at are 1994 to 2008, just based on the data that’s available—is that the probability that a district attorneys file a felony charge against an arrestee goes from about 1 in 3, to 2 in 3. So over the course of the ’90s and 2000s, district attorneys just got much more aggressive in how they filed charges. Defendants who they would not have filed felony charges against before, they now are charging with felonies. I can’t tell you why they’re doing that. No one’s really got an answer to that yet. But it does seem that the number of felony cases filed shoots up very strongly, even as the number of arrests goes down.

2013 record heatwave ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change, Climate Council of Australia report says.

* Text adventure micro-game of the day: 9:05.

* Fantasy short of the day: “The Two of Us.”

Sharing companies use their advertising to build a sort of anti-brand-community brand community.  Both sharing companies and brand communities mediate social relations and make them seem less risky. Actual community is full of friction and unresolvable competing agendas; sharing apps’ main function is to eradicate friction and render all parties’ agenda uniform: let’s make a deal. They are popular because they do what brand communities do: They allow people to extract value from strangers without the hassle of having to dealing with them as more than amiable robots.

38 Percent Of Women Earn More Than Their Husbands.

The Worst Commutes In America.

* “I was keenly aware of my Jewishness when I enrolled at Hogwarts in that faraway fall of 1949.”

* The-price-is-too-high watch: Study says smelling farts may be good for your health.

Black girls are suspended from school 6 times more often than white girls.

* From the archives: The New Yorker‘s 2013 profile of American Sniper Chris Kyle.

* Human sociality and the problem of trust: there’s an app for that.

* Adnan Syed is getting an appeal.

Detroit needs Sun Ra more than ever.

But Manson, 80, does not want to marry Burton and has no interest in spending eternity displayed in a glass coffin, Simone told The Post. “He’s finally realized that he’s been played for a fool,” Simone said. Poor guy.

“This AI can create poetry indistinguishable from real poets.” Finally, we can get rid of all these poets!

* Peace in our time: Marvel and Sony have concluded a deal that will allow Spider-Man to appear in Avengers movies.

Zoo Security Drills: When Animals Escape.

Ming the clam, the world’s oldest animal, killed at 507 years old by scientists trying to tell how old it was. RIP.

* Jonathan Blow says The Witness, his followup to Braid, is finally almost done.

* The other Apollo speeches.

* The news gets worse, academics: Your lifetime earnings are probably determined in your 20s.

* And presenting the world’s most delicious diamond.

2015-02-10 12.14.58 pm

Written by gerrycanavan

February 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Local News: Wes Anderson and/in the Anthropocene

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* I’m giving a short talk at 1 PM tomorrow in the Marquette Hall commons as part of the English Faculty Research series. The title is “Science Fiction and Utopia in the Anthropocene.” If you miss it, don’t worry, I’ll be giving another version of the same talk for the Environments & Societies Workshop at UC Davis at the end of April. We can fly over together.

* We’re also having the first of our English department Pop Culture Nights on Wednesday, February 18, at 5 PM, in honor of The Grand Budapest Hotel almost certainly not winning the Oscar. I plan to bend everyone to the inexorable will of the Wes Anderson Power Rankings 2015…

wes anderson wes anderson2

Weekend Links

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* Because you demanded it! The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction is now available in Kindle format as well for just $9.99.

* SFRA CFP: “The SF We Don’t (Usually) See: Suppressed Histories, Liminal Voices, Emerging Media.” June 25-27 at Stony Brook.

* Mark Bould on African Science Fiction 101.

The Moral Hazard of Big Data.

* Racism, monuments, and historical memory.

The Anthropocene Project. An Encyclopedia (2014–).

* The Crusades: Teach the controversy!

Friendship Is Complicated: Art, commerce, and the battle for the soul of My Little Pony.

* “In math, the girls outscored the boys in the exam graded anonymously, but the boys outscored the girls when graded by teachers who knew their names.”

Now, a union that’s been rapidly organizing adjuncts around the country thinks that number should quintuple. Last night, on a conference call with organizers across the country, the SEIU decided to extend the franchise with a similar aspirational benchmark: A “new minimum compensation standard” of $15,000. Per course. Including benefits. To put this in perspective, a tenure-track professor earning $50,000 on a 4/4 (100% teaching, no research, no service) is paid $6250 a course — so this is definitely a realistic target.

12 Tech Fads in Higher Ed.

Auburn Approves $14-Million Scoreboard, College Football’s Largest.

Scott Walker thinks my university has fat to trim. Yet my department is barely scraping by.

* Scott Walker amends the Girl Scout Oath. From otherscottwalkeredits.tumblr.com.

The disjuncture then comes when I consider how we are encouraged to carry ourselves in the academy. I feel a lot of pressure to professionalize, and the prescriptions for professionalization often run counter to my way of being in the world. I also struggle with the directive that I am supposed to professionalize my students. I don’t hold with the idea that I should train students to be better workers, because the content of “better” — more obedient, more efficient, whatever — runs counter to what I want to teach. In my feminist theories courses, I say, “Yeah, I  just gave you assignments with deadlines! But I also want to say to you, what’s so great about work? Why do we believe work is supposed to be edifying? Should we always have to be productive? Why do we imagine work as something that gives us dignity? What if it’s just wearing us down?” My history in punk totally informs these attempts to practice other ways of being in a classroom, and other ways of being a professor.

Jury Awards $400,000 to Professor Laid Off by Clark Atlanta U. This is an amazing result especially considering that there are 53 other people eligible for a payout.

Thousands Of Dominicans Woke Up This Week Without Citizenship In Any Country.

How Science Fiction Will Help Us Go to Mars.

* Paging J. Walter Weatherman: Family arrested in fake kidnapping plot to teach 6-year-old stranger danger, police say.

And here is where we see the true malignant force that drives the Internet: It is the purest mechanism yet through which everyone can express every idiot opinion they have about everything to everyone else.

* Ableism, neurotypicality, and the vaccine debate.

* Mississippi, #1 in vaccination. The Anti-Vaccine Movement Should Be Ridiculed, Because Shame Works.

Rufus King named one of the most challenging high schools in America.

We Can Now Build Autonomous Killing Machines. And That’s a Very, Very Bad Idea. I say teach the controversy!

* Dibs on the screenplay: Half the DNA on the NYC Subway Matches No Known Organism.

* Science is magic: Engineers Developing a Retainer That Could Let the Hearing Impaired Experience Sound With Their Tongue.

Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.

The Beginning of Mein Kampf, as Told by Coca-Cola. Alas, nothing gold can stay.

* Why every member of the crew should have been courtmartialed after Generations.

Parents who raise their kids without religion are doing just fine, studies say, possibly even better. Overall, not believing in God seems to make people and their offspring more tolerant. Less racist. Less sexist. Enviro-friendly. And their kids care less about what’s cool, which—say it with me—only makes them cooler.

Teen mom sends breast milk to baby she gave up for adoption. Dad Refuses to Give Up Newborn Son With Down Syndrome. Armenia, we need to talk.

How Men’s Rights Leader Paul Elam Turned Being A Deadbeat Dad Into A Moneymaking Movement.

* DC Comics will rebrand, again. More details.

Fewer Top Graduates Want to Join Teach for America. I’ve seen a lot of celebration of this fact that seems not to see the improving economy as a factor.

* Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews: This interactive chart lets you explore the words used to describe male and female teachers in about 14 million reviews from RateMyProfessor.com. Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender.

Canada’s Highest Court Affirms The Right To Doctor-Assisted Suicide.

We Are Watching Brian Williams’ Entire Career Implode.

* And it’s a little unbelievable that it’s taken this long: Netflix reportedly developing new live-action series based on Legend of Zelda.

Thursday Night Links!

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* [Deletes blog, deletes Twitter, unplugs phone, burns everything]

* A little bit on the nose, don’t you think? Scott Walker Strikes ‘Truth,’ ‘Human Condition’ from Wisconsin Idea. The Walker administration has now backed off the plan. The Power of the Wisconsin Idea.

Top 11 things to know about the proposed budget.

* Meet the Regents, Wisconsin, or Welcome to Our New University System Overlords.

* Ursula Heise on what happens when dystopia becomes routine.

* The FCC clears the deck on net neutrality, possibly for good.

* Questions for Harper Lee’s editor. Be suspicious.

From Ph.D. to the professorship, the market moves downward. Of the graduates who get tenure-track jobs, most end up at universities ranked lower than the ones they attended. Virtually no one moves up. Even moving from a fourth-tier Ph.D. program to a tenure-track professorship at a third-tier one is nearly unheard of.

3 Things Academic Leaders Believe About Online Education.

To portray Samus’ sudden refusal to carry out her genocide mission, the game has the player nurture and nourish life instead of ending it. The fundamental nature of Metroid’s game-design ethos is subtly changed to reflect the altered tone. Paths are no longer opened with destructive weapons; instead, progress can only be made when the player provides life-giving nourishment to a newborn whose entire family they’ve just killed. The significance is that the player cannot stand idly by while the metroid child eats; they must lead the child to the food and take part in feeding them. Understanding Metroid II.

* Frozen vs. the patriarchy.

* Trains and safety.

The FRA gave the site of Tuesday’s crash a probability of 3.1 percent — or, all things being equal, about one crash every 32 years. (Ironically, the last crash at the intersection was just over 30 years ago.)

But in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, there’s a New Jersey Transit crossingwith a predicted-collision probability of 49.6 percent — a coin flip, more or less. In total, 31 crossings in the New York area have probabilities above 10 percent, plus another 31 in Chicago.

* Ursula K. Le Guin on the future of the left. Ursula K. Le Guin on men.

* Presenting the original pitch for Game of Thrones, with unspeakably gross Arya-Jon incest plot.

* The original pitch for The Muppet Show. More links after the clip!

Why Transparent Has Lost The Trust Of The Trans Community.

* It’s time to stop letting sports team owners blackmail taxpayers for new stadiums.

* “Let’s talk about sex in English class.” Okay but let me get tenure first.

* “What Roman slave owners knew about managing staff.” Um.

As Parents Get More Choice, S.F. Schools Resegregate. But only artisanal segregation is good enough for my kids. Meanwhile, in Mississippi: A School District That Was Never Desegregated.

NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon.

* Strange Maps takes up The Man in the High Castle.

The Truth About What Went Wrong With The Third Season Of Star Trek. Roddenberry himself takes most of the blame in this telling.

The Amazing Village in The Netherlands Just for People with Dementia.

* Singlism and married privilege.

* Two takes on language and activism at Ravishly and Student Activism.

* Jonathan Chait and the Overton Window.

Yung found that, during the government audits, the number of sexual assaults reported by those schools increased by about 44 percent. But after the audits were over, the number of reports dropped back down to their previous levels. The study also found that the vast majority of participating schools frequently reported zero cases of annual off-campus sexual assaults, even though the Clery Act requires officials to make a “good faith” effort to work with local police to get that data.

* The arc of history is long, but Harvard professors are now barred from having sex with undergraduates.

* Twitter CEO admits Twitter is terrible.

* What Happens When a Prominent Male Feminist Is Accused of Rape?

* Former Teacher At Elite L.A. Girls School Arrested For Sex Crimes.

* Twilight of the fraternities.

* You had me at “sci-fi alterations of 19th century portraits.”

Believing that life is fair might make you a terrible person.

* Oculus Rex.

* “My dad, the pornographer.”

* And the kids aren’t all right.

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One Thousand and One Wednesday Links!

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I’ve been incredibly busy lately, and things are only going to get worse in the next few weeks. But for now, some links!

* I made a Twitterbot that I’m pretty pleased with: @LOLbalwarming. It’s the only authentic voice left to us in these tough times.

* Book plug: Shaviro’s No Speed Limit: Three Essays on Accelerationism is really good. It’s the #3 book you should buy right now after the longstanding #1 and #2.

* And while I’m hawking stuff on Amazon: they discontinued my Swiss Army canvas wallet, so I had to find a new one. It’s leather, alas, but this Fossil wallet is everything else I want. It’s great.

* Submitted without comment: Letters in support of John McAdams from FIRE and AAUP.

* The shame of America’s parental leave.

Why, in this day and age, is there even a Save command in any application? Its very presence implies — indeed, guarantees — that the default state of the world is unsafe. This breaks the rule our ancestors learned over billions of years of interaction with the objective world: when you do something, it stays done, until undone. Saving considered harmful. After what happened to me the other week, I am 100% on board with this.

Manifesto of the Committee to Abolish Outer Space.

On Weird Fiction and the Interstitial.

Chris Ware, The Art of Comics No. 2.

* Great job alert: Associate/Full Professor/Shell Oil Endowed Chair (Shell Oil Endowed Chair in Oceanography/Wetland Studies/Tenure-Track/Tenured).

Salaita Goes After University Donors in Lawsuit Over Job Loss at Illinois. UIUC responds.

The Medicalization of Reasonable Accommodation.

* Facebook vs. the News Feed.

* Against professors as mandatory reporters.

Scott Walker budget cut sparks sharp debate on UW System. Deep cuts in Wisconsin. Anticipating budget cuts, nervous UW System tried to strike deal. Republican UW Professor Has Sharp Words For Walker Over Faculty Comment. Scott Walker’s State of Ignorance. A reckless proposal. A self-inflicted wound. Be skeptical. Chasing away UW’s stars. Cut athletics.

* Of course there’s time to kill primary and secondary ed, too.

* From the archives, apropos of absolutely nothing: Stalin, CEO.

“No Crisis” is a Los Angeles Review of Books special series considering the state of critical thinking and writing — literary interpretation, art history, and cultural studies — in the 21st century. A new installment to the series will be released at the beginning of each month through the fall of 2015. Our aim, as our introductory essay explains, is to “show that the art of criticism is flourishing, rich with intellectual power and sustaining beauty, in hard times.”

As an opening gambit, I want to suggest that undergraduate students do not care about digital humanities. I want to suggest further that their disinterest is right and even salutary, because what I really mean is that undergrads do not care about DH qua DH.

* Exciting new degradations: Bill Would Allow Texas Teachers To Kill Students.

Howard Middle School Teachers Fired for Teaching Black History.

Detroit Cop Who Killed 7-Year-Old Aiyana Stanley-Jones While She Slept Walks Free.

Texas school suspends 9-year-old for making ‘terroristic threats’ with magic ‘Hobbit’ ring.

Kermit Elementary Principal Roxanne Greer told the Odessa American that she could not comment on the suspension, because “all student stuff is confidential,” but Steward said that she told him that any and all threats to a child’s safety — including magical ones — would be taken seriously by the school.

* Harper Lee to publish new novel, 55 years after To Kill a Mockingbird. Her editor tries to put a good spin on what for all the world looks like elder abuse.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 15, Cont’d: “Wellness” and the Anti-Vaxxers.

In France, police bravely defend liberal democracy from an eight-year-old boy.

The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland.

* Why is there no Norton Anthology of Paperwork?

Grace has Type 1 diabetes, for which there is no cure. Now 15 years old, she has endured approximately 34,000 blood tests, 5,550 shots and 1,660 medical tubing injections to keep her alive.

* “Soldiers familiar with social media sought for 77th Brigade, which will be responsible for ‘non-lethal warfare.’”

* The War Photo No One Would Publish.

* On running and street harassment.

* Bring the Jubilee: Croatia Cancels Debts For Tens Of Thousands Of Its Poorest People.

* Boing Boing reviews David Graeber’s The Utopia of Rules.

* Understanding The Man in the High Castle.

In the TV pilot, Juliana finds a banned newsreel called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which portrays a world in which the Allies won the war. The idea that this might be true fills her with an almost religious, tearful enthusiasm. In Dick’s version, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a book. Juliana discovers that that book is true—but her reaction is not exactly fervor. Instead, it’s a mixture of hope, bafflement, and a kind of displaced, distant fear. “Truth, she thought. As terrible as death.” That truth, or at least one possible truth suggested by Dick, is that there is no radical disjunction between his alternate history and our own. The TV show encourages us to congratulate ourselves on our horror at the Nazis, and our distance from them. But Dick’s novel suggests, disturbingly, that the defeat of the Nazis did not, in fact, truly transform the world. Their evil was not banished; it’s still here with us, a dystopia we can choose, and that many of us do choose, every day.

The Institute for Dark Tourism Research aims to advance knowledge about the act of visitation to tourist sites of death, disaster or the seemingly macabre.

* Jupiter Ascending is the latest movie to prove there’s no movie so bad the Wachowskis won’t be allowed to make another one.

Americans Are Working So Hard, It’s Actually Killing People.

* The kids aren’t all right.

ecjrirbclmfyo1s1jzswStudy: You Can’t Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

* Roald Dahl vs. the measles.

* Let’s politicize vaccines because why not.

* But friends, I’m here to tell you: it gets worse.

Although there were negligible differences among the racial groups in how frequently boys committed crimes, white boys were less likely to spend time in a facility than black and Hispanic boys who said they’d committed crimes just as frequently, as shown in the chart above. A black boy who told pollsters he had committed just five crimes in the past year was as likely to have been placed in a facility as a white boy who said he’d committed 40.

* Great read about one of the founders of the Men’s Rights Movement, a former national feminist.

* Inside that creepy Nationwide ad. “Show a gun. Show a gun. Show a gun.”

Which Racist UNC Building Are You Today? The University of North Carolina’s Silent Sam Statue Represents a Legacy of White Supremacy.

Clergy Send In Photos To Replace Images Of Black Youth Police Were Using For Target Practice.

Food Not Bombs Sues Fort Lauderdale Over Homeless Feeding Law.

* A brief history of the Star Wars expanded universe.

* A brief history of the Super Bowl points spread.

* The shame of the Patriots fan. They even managed to sneak in one more on their way to the championship last weekend.

Study Links Playing Tackle Football Before Age 12 To Cognitive Impairment.

Watching football after a traumatic brain injury.

Football has become a sport of science fiction, one that inhabits a world that only exists on television.

* The last days of football.

Florida says parents can’t opt out their kids from standardized tests.

The Cops Don’t Care About Violent Online Threats. What Do We Do Now?

* BREAKING: Politicians listen to rich people, not you.

* Propaganda has gotten way more sophisticated since the old days.

Man Wakes Up From Bender With Financial Problems Solved.

Consumption Of Buncha Crunch Reverently Paused During Unsettling Scenes Of ‘American Sniper.’

Report: Most Americans Can’t Even Name Their State’s Shadow Lord.

* Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Totally Unrelated to Gender.

* Student evaluations are terrible, episode 281.

Transgender Kids Identify With Their Gender As Completely As Cisgender Kids.

Coming out as poor at an elite university.

* Probably wouldn’t be my first choice if I had that kind of cash, but: The Vatican Will Offer Free Shaves And Haircuts To Rome’s 3,276 Homeless People.

* Emoji and the law.

* Disability, the state, and minimum wage.

* Pettiness and the human condition.

* UVM Recognizes “Neutral” as a Gender Identity.

Police Reform Is Impossible in America.

* How to tell if you are in a soft science fiction novel.

Fun With Conspiracy Theories: Did the Chernobyl Disaster Cover Up Something Even Worse? WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!

* New York cooks up a special unit for kicking hippies.

When Cops Break Bad: Inside a Police Force Gone Wild.

Meet the Two New Yorkers Who Are Starting a Preschool for Adults.

* When you stare too long into the abyss.

The #1 reason people die early, in each country.

Useless but Interesting Facts About America’s Married Couples.

* No, you’re lonely and depressed and lack self-control.

The United States is becoming a terrible place for air travel. “Becoming.”

* Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is back.

* And you can always spot the children of sociologists.

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Written by gerrycanavan

February 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Richard Grusin on the End of UW

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Although all of the details are not filled in, it looks like Scott Walker’s bold presidential campaign move for 2016 will be the transformation of the university system from a state agency dependent on taxpayer funding to a quasi-independent “public-service corporation,” thus legalizing in practice what has already been happening in theory, the corporatization of the University of Wisconsin System. By granting the System autonomy and freedom to make its own administrative/business decisions and therefore, or so the neoliberalism of the ALEC playbook goes, Walker and his Republican allies will enable the System to find “efficiencies” and raise revenues that will compensate for the cuts in state funding, which according to an announcement on January 27, will return to their 1998 levels with a $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System in the upcoming biennial. In addition to these devastating cuts, the first year of which for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee would be equivalent to the entire budget of the Lubar School of Business, the danger of this transformation to semi-private corporation is that System employees and faculty would lose their statutory protections (things like tenure, faculty governance, job security, and academic freedom are currently protected by state statutes) in favor of the contractual protections offered by the Board of Regents, who will now have almost complete authority over the UW System.

The problem with this change, of course, is that 16 of the 18 Regents are political appointees (appointed by the governor)—two ex-officio and 14 on staggered seven-year terms—as opposed to being elected, say, as they are (on a campus-by-campus basis) in Michigan, where I formerly taught. That means, four years into the Walker administration, that more than half of the governor-appointed Regents are Walker appointees; before the end of Scott Walker’s second term all of them will be. So by the end of this next biennial budget (2017), tenure and faculty governance, as well as such decisions like the appropriate number of campuses needed for the System, will be at the whims of a board made up entirely of Scott Walker appointees. The political brilliance of this move (make no mistake, Walker and his handlers are brilliant electoral politicians) is that if and when these protections are stripped in the next couple of years, the blame will not go to the Governor or the legislature but to the Walker-appointed Board of Regents, who will claim to have acted responsibly and in the system’s interests to make changes to deal with the terrible crisis caused by the Republican tax cuts. When tuition is raised and campuses closed, it will not be the state government that did it, but those egg-headed academics and their Board of Regents.

Lots more important context at the link.

Wednesday Links!

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* The end of UW: Gov. Scott Walker to propose 13 percent cut, more freedom for UW System. UW System predicts layoffs, no campus closings under budget cuts. Layoffs, Building Closures, Slowdown on Admissions. But “few details.”

* But there’s always money in the banana stand.

In praise of zombies. A response to yesterday’s anti-Canavanist IHE polemic.

Giving students access to an important, brilliant, historically significant corpus of art seems to be an entirely appropriate activity for the undergraduate classroom at a university. After you have taken a Zombie Course, you may discover you have actually just taken a Great Books (or in the case of Ware, a Great Box) course without realizing it, and you may also decide that any Great Books course worthy of its name cannot afford to ignore the recent surge of brilliant zombie art. If anything, we need more Zombie Courses than we have, and one hopes — in time — even full-blown Zombie Majors (or at the least Zombie Double-Majors).

* Multiple Choice and Testing Machines: A History.

“What I would say about the university today,” he says, “is that we’re living through an absolutely historic moment – namely the effective end of universities as centres of humane critique, an almost complete capitulation to the philistine and sometimes barbaric values of neo-capitalism.”

* National Adjunct Walkout Day is coming soon.

Higher Education Is Not a Mixtape.

The Climate Science Behind New England’s Historic Blizzard. Massive Blizzard Exposes How Decrepit New York City’s Infrastructure Is.

All Our Grievances Are Connected.

* How the Left Won Greece.

* Forget immoral; the latest legal challenge to Obamacare is still nonsense.

Punch-Drunk Jonathan Chait Takes On the Entire Internet. It’s a terrible op-ed that makes an important point badly in the midst of saying a bunch of incorrect things, all in the service of a fundamentally bad framing — so of course it’s all we can talk about.

To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients.

It was a guardianship petition filed by the nursing home, Mary Manning Walsh, asking the court to give a stranger full legal power over Mrs. Palermo, now 90, and complete control of her money.

Few people are aware that a nursing home can take such a step.

* Associate Dean of What?

Drone, Too Small for Radar to Detect, Rattles the White House.

Defending those accused of unthinkable crimes.

* One aspect of that danger is the “abstract authority” of astrologers, now mirrored by the black-box algorithms of the cloud. The opacity of the analytic method lends forecasts their appearance of authoritative objectivity. In “Astrological Forecasts”, Adorno notes “the mechanics of the astrological system are never divulged and the readers are presented only with the alleged results of astrological reasoning.” “Treated as impersonal and thing-like,” stars appear “entirely abstract, unapproachable, and anonymous” and thus more objective than mere fallible human reason. Similarly, as Kate Crawford pointed out in an essay about fitness trackers for the Atlantic, “analytics companies aren’t required to reveal which data sets they are using and how they are being analyzed.” The inaccessible logic of their proprietary algorithms is imposed on us, and their inscrutability masquerades as proof of their objectivity. As Crawford argues, “Prioritizing data—irregular, unreliable data—over human reporting, means putting power in the hands of an algorithm.” As Adorno puts it, “The cult of God has been replaced by the cult of facts.” 

* America and fractal inequality.

100% of the women of color interviewed in STEM study experienced gender bias.

Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies.

* Reasons You Were Not Promoted That Are Totally Unrelated to Gender.

Today, more U.S. women die in childbirth and from pregnancy-related causes than at almost any point in the last 25 years. The United States is the one of only seven countries in the entire world that has experienced an increase in maternal mortality over the past decade.

* Marissa Alexander is out of jail after three years.

What has happened before will happen again, subprime auto edition.

Huckabee Complains That Women Can Cuss In The Workplace: ‘That’s Just Trashy.’

Oklahoma GOP wants to restrict marriage to people of faith.

* Corey Robin, against public intellectuals.

* I linked to a story about this the other day, but here’s the resolution: Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Raping Unconscious Student. Of course the next horrifying story in this wretched, endless series is already queued up.

* American Sniper focuses in tight on one man’s story of trauma, leaving out the complex questions of why Kyle was in Iraq being traumatized in the first place. The Iraqis in the film are villains, caricatures, and targets, and the only real opinion on them the film offers is Kyle’s. The Iraqis are all “savages” who threaten American lives and need to be killed. There’s some truth in this representation, insofar as this is how a lot of American soldiers thought. Yet the film obviates the questions of why any American soldiers were in Iraq, why they stayed there for eight years, why they had to kill thousands upon thousands of Iraqi civilians, and how we are to understand the long and ongoing bloodbath once called the “war on terror.” It does that precisely by turning a killer into a victim, a war hero into a trauma hero.

Freakishly Old System Of Planets Hint At Ancient Alien Civilizations. Okay, I’m in for three films with an option on a television reboot.

* Vulture says Jason Segel is good as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour, but I’ll never accept it.

The Psychology of Flow: What Game Design Reveals about the Deliberate Tensions of Great Writing.

The Politics Of The Next Dimension: Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?

* It’s finally happening, and of course it’s starting in Florida: ‘Zombie cat’ crawls out of grave.

* And while this may be of interest only to those whose children have made them watch untold hours of Dora the Explorer, it’s certainly of interest to me: Swiper the Fox has a totally bananas backstory.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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