* The local beat! The day Milwaukee almost killed the NFL.
* A Bonus Keyword for the Age of Austerity this week: Meritocracy.
* I don’t want to tell anyone how to do their jobs, but this seems sacrilegious to me.
What a time to be alive.
* Teach the controversy: thebeatlesneverexisted.com
* The latest from KSR: What Will It Take for Humans to Colonize the Milky Way?
* The game’s afoot! Something Is Killing Off America’s Orange Supply.
* Throw a save against narcissistic self-regard: “Role-playing Gamers Have More Empathy Than Non-Gamers.”
* 2016 pessimism watch: Democrats are in more trouble than they think. And changing demographics won’t save them.
* Jack Hamilton on “Under Pressure.” When Bowie Met Springsteen. David Bowie’s Radicalism. The International Marxist Group, “In Defense of Bowie.” A Good Looking Mugshot. David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books. David Bowie’s Dark Past. Last Words. The Longreads. Almost Elrond. “Will Brooker is studying David Bowie by trying to live like him for a year.” We Won’t See His Like Again.
* MLA is dead; long live MLA.
* Between 2009 and 2013, public universities reported increasing their annual expenditures on football to more than $1.8 billion — a 21 percent jump in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Knight Commissiondata reviewed by International Business Times. In that same time period, public universities’ reported debt on their athletic facilities has grown to $7.7 billion — up 44 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars in that time. In all, two thirds of Division I public universities increased their spending on football or athletic facilities in that time period — when average tuition and student fees at public universities have risen more than 40 percent in the last decade. The payoff for all that investment? Nearly three quarters of all Division I football programs now run deficits, which are eventually covered by the rising tuition and student fees.
* Like Harry, though, I’ve never intended to let that happen. I have no interest in trying to tell other people what to do if they find themselves close to death, but my choice has always been clear: I don’t want to die in pain—or drugged into a stupor by pain meds—all while connected to tubes and respirators in a hospital room. When the end is near, I want to take my own life.
* Meanwhile: This Doctor Wants to Treat Your Crippling Fear of Death With Uncut Ecstasy. Okay, dammit, I’m in.
* Alternatively, maybe the fact that El Chapo—who we can probably assume has someone in his employ who does, in fact, speak English—didn’t exercise his veto is as damning an indictment of such an arrangement (or, more specifically, the product of such an arrangement) as if he had and the magazine acquiesced. The 14 weirdest moments from Sean Penn’s El Chapo interview. Reality truly is a hoax.
* You had me at Hello: Arrested Development Season 5 will echo Making a Murderer and Trump.
* Trinity Cube was created by melting these two forms of glass together into a cube, then installing the cube back into the Fukushima Exclusion Zone as part of the Don’t Follow the Wind project. The artwork will be viewable by the public when the Exclusion Zone opens again, anytime between 3 and 30,000 years from the present.
* Against Serial season two. I think there’s a lot more one could say about what’s seemed to go wrong this time around, but on the level of why the show seems so boring now this is a good start.
* And on the local beat: South Milwaukee man behind homemade fireworks launcher escapes citation.
* I’m at MLA this week, giving a paper on Saturday evening on Richard McGuire’s fantastic graphic novel Here for a panel on “The Anthropocene and Deep Time in Literary Studies.”
* Facebook ran experiment to see how long users would wait before giving up and going elsewhere, but people ‘never stopped coming back.’
* Keywords for the Age of Austerity 24: Sullen. Also, here’s John Pat’s current syllabus on Innovation: A Cultural History of the Contemporary Concept.
* I think this one is old, but maybe it’s not old to you: Soc 710: Social Theory through Complaining.
* That’s when New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman filed an amended lawsuit against the two companies, this time asking for them to give back all the money they made in New York State, to give it back to those who lost money and to pay a fine of up to $5,000 per case.
* Four years later, Liss-Riordan is spearheading class-action lawsuits againstUber, Lyft, and nine other apps that provide on-demand services, shaking the pillars of Silicon Valley’s much-hyped sharing economy. In particular, she is challenging how these companies classify their workers. If she can convince judges that these so-called micro-entrepreneurs are in fact employees and not independent contractors, she could do serious damage to a very successful business model—Uber alone was recently valued at $51 billion—which relies on cheap labor and a creative reading of labor laws.
* Tufts in the news! Researchers Teaching Robots How to Best Reject Orders from Humans.
* The novelistic sublime: Joseph Heller’s handwritten outline for Catch-22.
* Through the looking glass: Game of Thrones author George RR Martin misses last TV deadline for new book.
* The Sherlock special “The Abominable Bride” was terrible. Has this show completely lost its way? My DVR, in a noble effort to save my sanity, opted not to record it.
* When Gene Roddenberry’s computer died, it took with it the only method of accessing some 200 floppy disks of his unpublished work. Here’s how this tech mystery was solved.
* And of course there’s always more Star Wars links: The Feminist Frequency Review. Editing The Force Awakens. Listening to Star Wars. The Original Star Wars Concept Art Is Amazing. A Not-So-Brief History of George Lucas Talking Shit About Disney’s Star Wars. Is Han Solo Force-Sensitive? The Bigger Luke Hypothesis. Cross Sections of TFA Spaceships and Vehicles. Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate. Are droids slaves? Rey & BB8. Reading Anakin Skywalker after Jessica Jones. If you want a vision of the future.