Posts Tagged ‘1990s’
Most important, once the faculty converts its courses to courseware, their services are in the long run no longer required. They become redundant, and when they leave, their work remains behind. In Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Player Piano the ace machinist Rudy Hertz is flattered by the automation engineers who tell him his genius will be immortalized. They buy him a beer. They capture his skills on tape. Then they fire him. Today faculty are falling for the same tired line, that their brilliance will be broadcast online to millions. Perhaps, but without their further participation. Some skeptical faculty insist that what they do cannot possibly be automated, and they are right. But it will be automated anyway, whatever the loss in educational quality. Because education, again, is not what all this is about; it’s about making money.
* Wisconsin State Sen. Glenn Grothman: There’s no need for an Equal Pay Law because money is more important for men. Scott Walker’s on board. What decade is this? Honestly.
* One of my earliest political disillusionments was discovering how bad Clinton’s trumpeted “welfare reform” really was. Everything old is new again.
* And Ze is back. Hooray for everything.
* The line on Obama’s jobs plan from establishment bloggers is that Obama’s new mode is “no compromise.” We’ll see. At the very least we could get another wonderful debt ceiling clash out of all this, allowing my beloved debt ceiling alignment chart another chance to go truly viral.
* The questions we don’t ask: Science Lags as Health Problems Emerge Near Gas Fields. Thanks for the link, Fiona…
* And the questions we do: A class-action lawsuit was filed Thursday against a prominent Baltimore medical institute, accusing it of knowingly exposing black children as young as a year old to lead poisoning in the 1990s as part of a study exploring the hazards of lead paint. (via)
* And Netflix utterly determined to destroy itself. Unbelievable.
If nothing else, Buffy reminds us how much ’60-style youth rebellion was premised on an assumption of security and prosperity: Why put up with all this stodginess when life could be so good? Today’s rebellious youth, rather, are reduced to struggling desperately to keep hell from entirely engulfing the earth. Such, I suppose, is the fate of a generation that has been robbed of its fundamental right to dream of a better world. The very notion of being able to take part in a relatively democratically organized group of comrades, engaged in a struggle to save humanity from its authoritarian monsters, is now itself a wild utopian fantasy–not just a means to one. But cynics take note: If the mushrooming success of Buffy means anything, it’s that this is one fantasy which surprising numbers of the Slacker Generation do have.
From the archives: ‘Rebel without a God.’
* For me the most discomforting aspect of today’s big East Coast earthquake was the presence of the Lake Ana nuclear power plant near the epicenter. Recently named the 7th-most at-risk nuclear power plant in the country, the plant lost external power after the quake, but it looks like safety systems worked and everything is fine.
* Is welfare reform working? Not if it was supposed to make life better for the poor. So yes, it’s working perfectly.
* Yet rather than poke further holes, much of the climate science that’s been published since 2007 appears to have strengthened the consensus, not weakened it. Another synthesis eport published last May by Britain’s Met Office, looking at more than 100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies, found that the case for human influence has been bolstered: “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings.”
* And Mother Jones has a special issue this month on the FBI informant program. It’s going just about exactly like you’d expect.