Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘actually existing media bias

Tuesday Night Links!

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* Call for applications: The Le Guin Feminist Science Fiction Fellowship.

* Happy birthday, OEB.

* Coming soon at Marquette: “Barrel Rides and She-Elves: Audience and “Anticipation” in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy.” And this Thursday: Marquette English alum Adam Plantinga reads from his book 400 Things Cops Know.

* Great syllabus at Temple: Cli-fi: Science fiction, climate change, and apocalypse. The students’ blog is really good too, though I’m embarrassed that between the time I found this link and the time I posted it they added a post about me to the front page.

* “These are the best college majors if you actually want a job after graduation.” That “actually” is a great example of the kind of ludicrous framing that plagues these discussions; it’s talking about the difference between 90 and 95% employment.

* On the job market while pregnant, or, maybe the worst abuse of the famously abusive academic job market.

None of my new colleagues spoke to me as if I were a junior professional working my way through the tough lean days of youth. Most of them spoke to me, if at all, like I was a dog. Carrie Shanafelt on adjunctification in/and/as the profession.

* Peter Railton’s Dewey Lecture.

* International Adjunct Walkout Day is tomorrow. More links below the map.


So Your Fic is Required Reading.

* The Grand Wes Anderson Playlist.

* Paging Dr. Crake: “Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet.” A friend on Facebook who works on climate and energy told me that there’s even a theory that first contact with the Americas and the resulting mass death may have led to global cooling in the 16th and 17th centuries due to reforestation.

Officials Urge Americans To Sort Plastics, Glass Into Separate Oceans.

* The law, in its majestic equality: People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge.

Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site. This is insane.

* UW, Morality, and the Public Authority.

The High Price of a Public Authority in Wisconsin.

If the public authority is actually an idea worth pursuing, then UW leadership should push to get it off the fast track. And it must give some substance to its so far empty defense of Chapter 36.

* Letter from an adjunct at UW.

Legislative staffers report that total UC spending from all sources of revenue went up 40 percent from 2007-08 to the present fiscal year — far greater growth than seen in other large state institutions. This undercuts Napolitano’s claims of poverty and shores up critics who say UC has slack, unfocused management. Amazingly, officials struggle to detail exactly where much of UC’s current $26.9 billion budget goes. They can’t say how many faculty members primarily engage in research and how many primarily teach students — which is supposed to be UC’s core function.

Institutions Adrift: Dealing with Declining State Appropriations at Kentucky’s Regional Comprehensive Universities.

* UNC moves to crush its poverty center.

Idaho financial aid officer arrested for offering students scholarships in exchange for sex. Whenever I see a story like this I think about how many signatures they make me get to be reimbursed for things they told me to buy.

SUNY grad says school made her prosecute her own sex attacker.

Marquette economist says there’s no economic reason to argue for right to work in Wisconsin. Hahahahahahaha.

* Privilege and the madness of chance.

Supermarket shoppers are more likely to buy French wine when French music is playing, and to buy German wine when they hear German music. That’s true even though only 14 percent of shoppers say they noticed the music, a study finds.

Researchers discovered that candidates for medical school interviewed on sunny days received much higher ratings than those interviewed on rainy days. Being interviewed on a rainy day was a setback equivalent to having an MCAT score 10 percent lower, according to a new book called “Everyday Bias,” by Howard J. Ross.

Those studies are a reminder that we humans are perhaps less rational than we would like to think, and more prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences. That’s something for those of us who are white men to reflect on when we’re accused of “privilege.”

* Why Just Filling the Pipeline Won’t Diversify STEM Fields.

These dream guns indicate the depth of white America’s fear of black resistance. But black people are allowed to take part “safely” in gun culture if we agree to become the avatars of respectable, state-sanctioned violence, with military recruiters in our high schools and colleges, and police recruiters outside subway stations and unemployment offices.

The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings.

* The most important legal scholar you’ve likely never heard of.

At New York Private Schools, Challenging White Privilege From the Inside. I think Freddie’s comments on this were pretty smart.

These people become invulnerable, their commodification impregnable: there is no critique from within privilege theory that they cannot turn around on others, and no critique from outside of it that they cannot dismiss as itself the hand of privilege.

* Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is up for reelection tomorrow, promising to continue his campaign against public education in the city.

America Has Been At War 93% of the Time – 222 Out of 239 Years – Since 1776.

* “Let’s stop pretending going to Mars is for mankind.”

Much scientific discovery is for the betterment, amusement and curiosity of a lucky few in this world. Those without water, meanwhile, are temporarily forgotten

The sad part is we’re rich enough to do both and we choose to do neither.

* Rortyblog: Everyone should take it easy on the robot stuff for a while.

Steven Spielberg Has Been Thanked More Than God in Oscar Acceptance Speeches. God actually only clocks in at #6.

Dead for 48 minutes, Catholic Priest claims God is female. Oh, that must be why.

Archaeologists Discover a Cheese That’s Almost 2,000 Years Older Than Jesus.

* When Instagram brings down your congressman.

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher. GASP.

Jeb Bush Conveniently Started Promoting Fracking After Investing In It. GAAAAAAASP.

Žižek on Syriza. He’s also being interviewed at LARoB this week.

* Meanwhile, in Jacobin: The strategy of Syriza’s leadership has failed miserably. But it’s not too late to avert total defeat.

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

* Starbucks to consider maybe possibly abolishing the “clopening” unless employees want to “step up.”

* The 2014 Nebula Award nominees have been announced.

How did Twitter become the hate speech wing of the free speech party?

* Sexism and the tech industry: Women are leaving the tech industry in droves.

* The other other side of sperm donation: Sperm Donors Are Winning Visitation Rights.

* Comedy Bang! Bang! and WTF remember Harris Wittels. I thought Scott’s opening to Harris’s last CBB was especially good.

* Another big outlet takes a trip inside the men’s rights movement.

Algorithmic States of Exception.

Holy Hell This Power Rangers Reboot Is Dark As F*ck. Vimeo has taken down the NSFW version but you can still get it in the embed at Joseph Kahn’s Twitter for some reason.

* On a less disturbing note, I watched The Ecstasy of Order for my games class on Tetris today, and it was great.

blog_work_family_conflict* Men Complain Far More Than Women About Work-Family Conflicts.

*‘Two and a Half Men’: TV’s Worst Sitcom Ends As Terribly As It Lived, and I Watched Every Episode.

Two and Half Men hit a new low every season and then continued to sink even further underground.

* Birdman is your best movie of all time apparently. It’s already paying dividends. OR IS IT.

* “Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence.” Oh, come on, it wasn’t Grand Budapest but it was fine.

* I really needed to see this again today.

* Glenn Reynolds goes full Heinlein. Never go full Heinlein.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Over Five And A Half Billion Uruks Have Been Slain In Shadow of Mordor.

“Mass Incarceration, Deportation, Stop and Frisk: The Urban Ecology of the Prison-Industrial Complex.”

* And Britons would rather be an academic than a Hollywood star. Me too, but maybe I’ll hear Spielberg out.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links Absolutely Positively Guaranteed to Help You Find Love This Valentine’s Day

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Was this a luxury? Sure. But it was also the steppingstone to a more aware, thoughtful existence. College was the quarry where I found it.

* Move over, Wisconsin, North Carolina wants in: Tea Party Legislature Targets University of North Carolina In Major Assault On Higher Learning.

Walker aide: UW System cuts are flexible, complaints unwarranted. Oh, okay.

The Art of the Deal, or the Man Who Would Be King: University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross.

The UW: Update from the Struggle.

How is it anything more than laughable that an otherwise reasonable person could believe that this shooting had more to do with a parking space than skin color and religion? How could it be that there is not only silence but active efforts to complicate and explain away something as utterly predictable as white man plays God? Any single instance of white supremacy, whether it is this shooting or the maintenance of de facto segregation in my city, is over-determined. There are dozens of “just so” arguments that stand ready to supplant a direct identification of racial violence at work. White supremacy itself is a coward who hides behind historic contingencies.

Inside Edition Used The Chapel Hill Homicides To Set Up A Segment On How To Find Parking At The Mall.

The study, published this week in Science Advances, is based on hand-curated data about placements of 19,000 tenure-line faculty members in history, business and computer science at 461 North American institutions with doctoral programs. Using a computer-aided, network-style analysis, the authors determined that just 25 percent of those institutions produced 71 to 86 percent of tenure-line professors, depending on discipline. Here’s a link to the full article, which has a definition of “merit” (as/against “prestige”) I can’t make heads or tails of.

* Being Yanis Varoufakis.

The grievously neglected American poet Winfield Townley Scott, who had once loved Lovecraft’s work and written beautifully about it, eventually came to feel that Lovecraft’s fiction was “finicky,” “childish,” and “antagonistic to reality.” But its very childishness and hatred of reality are central to it. If, as Thornton Wilder once claimed, no true adult is ever really shocked, that being “shocked” is always a pose, then Lovecraft never achieved adult status. But he held on tightly to the truths of adolescence: that the universe does not wish us well; that love is not to be found anywhere; and resurrection, if it ever truly occurs, would be a catastrophe.

* If you aren’t reading Jason Shiga’s Demon, you really should start; chapter 11 just went out to subscribers and it’s great.

The social network’s ideal model is for ads to make up about one in 20 tweets that the average user sees — the same level that Facebook strives for. “We’re well below that now,” he said. I’m sure if you keep up what you’re doing you’ll get there faster than you think.

* Also on the comics beat: The few that have been able to reach him believe him to be a deity – one who turned the scorched desert into a lush oasis. They say he can bend matter, space, and even time to his will. Earth is about to meet a new god. And he’s a communist.

Universities are struggling to determine when intoxicated sex becomes sexual assault.

An undergraduate student was found responsible for sexually assaulting Camila Quarta, CC ’16, in April 2013. Since then, 481 undergraduate students have taken courses in which he has served as a teaching assistant. I have mixed feelings about the desire to use employment as a proxy for justice, but preventing this sort of thing from happening does seem to me to fall well within the requirements of Title IX.

* At LARoB, the deeply unpleasant task of historicizing incest.

To Restore Academic Integrity in Sports, Hold Head Coaches Accountable. “Restore.” You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means…

* Shocked, shocked to find out admissions are being manipulated at a university.

I’m Brianna Wu, And I’m Risking My Life Standing Up To Gamergate.

When Girls of Color Are Policed Out of School.

* MetaFilter post on the Coup in Yemen.

Why Jon Stewart Was Bad for the Liberals Who Loved Him. I’ve come around to the inevitable conclusion that this is all just a very clever viral marketing campaign for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. 

* Do humans need air to live? Look, I’m not a scientist.

Tricknology is the word she used to describe how the AHA got its way. Hightower and her neighbors wanted to see an end to the stigma associated with living in public housing. They wanted the projects to become as they once were: stable family neighborhoods where “you didn’t know you were poor.” But the AHA had other plans. It had chosen to view public housing as unfixable.

* Good Magazine has your guide to the legendary Saved by the Bell Hooks Tumblr.

* Hey, gadgets: stop snitchin’.

The Weird Specifics Of Marvel And Sony’s Secret Spider-Man Deal.

The FBI is targeting tar-sands activists.

By Age 40, Your Income Is Probably as Good as It’s Going to Get. I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on Twitter and Facebook in the last few days about the extent to which this applies to (a) academics in general (b) tenure-track academics (c) tenure-track academics in the humanities (d) tenure-track academics in the humanities today as opposed to a generation ago. But I’ve resolved to go ahead and be completely depressed by this fact simply in the interest of precaution and due diligence.

* Uber and Airbnb monetize the desperation of people in the post-crisis economy while sounding generous—and evoke a fantasy of community in an atomized population.

South Carolina Inmate Receives 37 Years In Solitary Confinement For Updating Facebook.

“If a South Carolina inmate caused a riot, took three hostages, murdered them, stole their clothes, and then escaped, he could still wind up with fewer Level 1 offenses than an inmate who updated Facebook every day for two weeks,” the EFF said in its report.

*Chief backs up officer who shot at suspect, failed to report incident.

The police officer was wearing a body camera during the incident but it was not turned on.

Oh, what terrible luck!

NYPD Beat the Shit Out of a Brooklyn Street Vendor, Then Lied About It.

Mother Has Miscarriage After Cop Beats Her Because He Didn’t ‘Appreciate Her Tone.’

The Imprisoner’s Dilemma.

* Silicon Valley as cult.

Casting some bodies as inherently rational and others as incapable of true speech makes those with bodies most at risk for harm unable to protest.

* The arc of history is long, but: Putin Banned From ‘Mighty Taco’ Restaurant.

* Also the arc of history is long, etc., Little League Team Stripped of Title.

* Arc of history etc. etc. Montana GOP Legislator Wants to Ban Yoga Pants.

* Oh, I give up: Internet Neo-Nazis Are Trying to Build a White Supremacist Utopia in Namibia.

* All-time classic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereals, Hitler edition.

* An oral history of that scene on last week’s The Americans. Standard rules apply, do not click, pretend it never happened.

The Lincoln Memorial could have been a pyramid. See all the forgotten proposals. Wash that “good Vox” taste out of your mouth with this “bad Vox” chaser: The best hope for federal prison reform: a bill that could disproportionately help white prisoners.

Amazing Photo Of An Intoxicated Gorilla About To Punch A Photographer. Exactly what it says on the tin.

* Hulu thoughtfully removes any obligation you may have felt to care about its upcoming 11/23/63 adaptation.

* Somber news this Valentine’s Day.

* And the premiere for the improbably effective Better Call Saul is up on YouTube, if you missed it and want to hop aboard the think piece train before it leaves the station.


Written by gerrycanavan

February 14, 2015 at 8:18 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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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.



Written by gerrycanavan

February 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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* The commentators calling $3,000 salaries evil a century ago would have an aneurysm at the sight of coaching contracts today. Deadspin found last year that college football coaches were the highest-paid state employees in twenty-seven states. (Basketball coaches held that status in another thirteen.) The salary inflation is a direct product of increasing college sports revenue, thanks in large part to massive television deals. Because the colleges and their athletic departments are nonprofit, they need to spend the money they bring in, and since they can’t pay players, there are only so many places that money can go. Head coaches and other athletic staffers are direct beneficiaries.

* My Favorite Graph of 2014: The Rise and Rise of the Top 0.1 Percent.

* Americans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion.

* Elsewhere in the richest society ever in the history of the world.

* David Harvey and Leo Panitch: Beyond Impossible Reform and Improbable Revolution.

* North Korea, Sony, and stenography.

* The successful attempt to reduce fat in the diet of Americans and others around the world has been a global, uncontrolled experiment, which like all experiments may well have led to bad outcomes. What’s more, it has initiated a further set of uncontrolled global experiments that are continuing. Editorial in the British Medical Journal.

A new study from Stanford looks at what happened in Italy, when a 1961 law doubled the number of students in STEM majors graduating from the country’s universities.

* …when people claim that the “free market” system outproduced Soviet Communism, what they are saying is that markets more effectively produced discipline. It was more successful at imposing patterns of human action and restriction conducive to military and economic production than a command economy was capable of imposing.

“Why Is My Curriculum White?”

When Rioting is Rational.

* If Tom Joad is alive after 1945, what is his future? Am I the only who sees him becoming a conservative like most of his fellow ex-sharecropper migrants and voting for Goldwater in 64? Grapes of Wrath fanfic at LGM.

* Neill Blomkamp’s Secret Alien Movie Looks So Good We’re Furious.

Math Suggests Most Cancers Are Caused By “Bad Luck.”

* Florida: We’re The Worst. Arizona: Not So Fast.

* And then there’s Wisconsin. Pregnant woman challenging Wisconsin protective custody law.

At the clinic, a urine test showed Loertscher was pregnant, and also revealed her past drug use. Another test confirmed she had a severe thyroid condition.

Medical officials shared the findings with the county social services personnel, who subsequently went to court and had a guardian ad litem appointed for Loertscher’s 14-week-old fetus.

Social workers asked Loertscher repeatedly to release her medical records to county officials, and said that if she didn’t, she would be jailed until she had her baby, which would then be put up for adoption.

* Is the Gates Foundation Still Investing in Private Prisons?

* UNC-Chapel Hill Firing Professor Over Academic Fraud Scandal.

* Lines mankind was never meant to cross: LEGO Awarded 3D Printing Patent, May Allow Users to Print Own Bricks.

* The NYPD is Ironically Proving that Most of Their Police Work is Completely Unnecessary. The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests.

* The eclipse of democracy.

* And Traci Reardon and J.W. Stillwater have a good old fashioned New Year’s Sentiment Off.

Monday Links!

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* Somebody thinks 2015 could be a doozy: Treasury Department Seeking Survival Kits For Bank Employees.

* Trends We Can Work With: Higher Ed in 2015.

* Remembering the reason for the season: During Holiday Season, City Erects Cages To Keep Homeless People Off Benches.

Christmas Eve Document Dump Reveals US Spy Agencies Broke The Law And Violated Privacy.

But, are they more likely to precipitate police violence?  No. The opposite is true. Police are more likely to kill black people regardless of what they are doing. In fact, “the less clear it is that force was necessary, the more likely the victim is to be black.”

Ending excessive police force starts with new rules of engagement.

What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police?

How to Survive a Cop Coup: What Bill de Blasio Can Learn From Ecuador.

“It has been alleged that Officer Kattner has used his position as a peace officer to contact known female prostitutes and compel them to perform sexual acts while working an extra job.”

And whether or not people accept it, that new normal—public life and mass surveillance as a default—will become a component of the ever-widening socioeconomic divide. Privacy as we know it today will become a luxury commodity. Opting out will be for the rich.

“Enhanced interrogation” is torture, American style. Exceptional torture. Torture that insists it is not torture. Post-torture? This uniquely American kind of torture has six defining characteristics.

* “The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled”: In praise of The Usual Suspects.

* Decades of Bill Cosby’s shadow ops.

Justice Denied to Steven Salaita: A Critique of the University of Illinois Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure Report. This was my reaction as well.

* Anti-intellectualism is taking over the US.

* Are ideas to cool the planet realistic? Meanwhile: Pope Francis Could Be Climate’s Secret Weapon Next Year.

The architecture of dissent.

* The red state economic miracle that wasn’t.

* Airlines want you to suffer.

* Games are ancient, and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. But their stock is not rising at the rate that their fans’ Twitter streams and Web forums might suggest. Instead of a ludic age, perhaps we have entered an era of shredded media. Some forms persist more than others, but more than any one medium, we are surrounded by the rough-edged bits and pieces of too many media to enumerate. Writing, images, aphorisms, formal abstraction, collage, travesty. Photography, cinema, books, music, dance, games, tacos, cats, car services. If anything, there has never been a weirder, more disorienting, and more lively time to be a creator and a fanatic of media in all their varieties. Why ruin the moment by being the one trying to get everyone to play a game while we’re letting the flowers blossom? A ludic century need not be a century of games. Instead, it can just be a century. With games in it.

* Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed. Migrant World Cup workers in Qatar are reportedly dying at alarming rates.

* Enterprise, TOS, and “the scent of death” on the Federation.

* How Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks.

I am no fan of the North Korean regime. However I believe that calling out a foreign nation over a cybercrime of this magnitude should never have been undertaken on such weak evidence.

* Longreads best crime reporting 2014.

A Drone Flew Over A Pig Farm.

The black and African writer is expected to write about certain things, and if they don’t they are seen as irrelevant. This gives their literature weight, but dooms it with monotony. Who wants to constantly read a literature of suffering, of heaviness? Those living through it certainly don’t; the success of much lighter fare among the reading public in Africa proves this point. Maybe it is those in the west, whose lives are untouched by such suffering, who find occasional spice and flirtation with such a literature. But this tyranny of subject may well lead to distortion and limitation.

* I’m a pretty big fan of “Jean & Scott”: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

* A profile of David Letterman from 1981.

How Colonel Sanders Became Father Christmas in Japan.

* The Song of Saruman.

The filmmakers’ cartoonishly evil vision of Saruman is unfortunate, as it deprives a fascinating narrative of its complexity, while also being untrue to Tolkien’s own vision. Jackson and his team seem incapable of imagining that a person can be wrong without also being evil. For example, the Master of Lake-town in The Hobbit was greedy, but he was an elected official, generally well regarded by the community (at least until he absconds with the municipal funds, a fact revealed only on the last page of the book); in the film The Desolation of Smaug, he is a murderous tyrant who opposes even the idea of elections. An even worse example is the case of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, who in the books has been driven mad by grief and despair, partly owing to the cruel machinations of Sauron himself; in the film (The Return of the King), he is made so irredeemably evil that Gandalf actually attacks him, while we the viewers are expected to cheer. If this is what Jackson does to weak and pitiable characters, what must he do to Saruman, who is a legitimate “bad guy” in The Lord of the Rings?

Quiz: Find out how your salary stacks up against other American workers. You know, fun.

L.A. studio to restore venerable ‘King’s Quest’ to its gaming throne.

* Is the anti-vax movement finally dying?

* You can’t beat the media at its own game.

* America’s own 7 Up: Johns Hopkins’s Beginning School Study.

* Sober People against New Year’s Eve SuperPAC.

* And of course you had me at Grant Morrson’s All-New Miracleman Annual #1.



All Your Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.

According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.

Die-ins demand that we bear witness to black people’s fears that they’ll be next.

* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”

* For Tamir, who was stolen.

* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.

“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser.

Charges Expected To Be Filed Against MOA Protest Organizers.

* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.

* Which is not to say that the security state isn’t somehow finding ways to stretch even the long leash it’s been given.

* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”

Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.

There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.

* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.

How Vermont’s single-payer health care dream fell apart.

* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.

* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Depression?

* What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.

* An empirical study of heterosexual college sex practices based on a six-year survey.

* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.

* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.

* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury.

The Best New Webcomics Of 2014.

* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.

* The Malfoys, after the war.

* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”

Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”

That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.

* Star Trek as anti-Smartest-Guy fiction.

* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…

Wednesday Links! Some Especially Good Ones!

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* Paradoxa 26, “SF Now,” is on its way, and has my essay on Snowpiercer and necrofuturism in it. Mark Bould and Rhys Williams’s introduction to the issue is online.

* Extrapolation‘s current call for reviewers.

* UCR is hiring: Jay Kay and Doris Klein Science Fiction Librarian.

* African SF: Presenting Omenana 1.1. Of particular note: “The Unbearable Solitude of Being an African Fan Girl.”

* Nnedi Okorafor, Ytasha Womack, Isiah Lavender, and Sigal Samuel discussion #BlackStormTrooper.

NASA Officially Announce Plans To Put Humans On Mars With Orion Space Capsule.

* UAB shuts down its football program. Of course, the reason is austerity:

“The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the athletic department and UAB,” Watts said in a statement released by the university. “As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the athletic department, football is simply not sustainable.”

We just can’t afford to throw bricks at students’ heads any more — not in these tough times.

* Teaching fellows strike at the University of Oregon.

* “Hypereducated and On Welfare”: The adjunct crisis hits Elle.

* Stefan Grimm and academic precarity: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile: College Hilariously Defends Buying $219,000 Table.

* Work, the welfare state, and what counts as “dignity.”

* It really pains me to say it, because I think the consequences for anti-rape activism will be dire, but significant questions have been raised about Rolling Stone‘s UVA story that neither the journalist nor the magazine have good answers to. It’s a good day to think carefully about what Freddie deBoer says here: “…it’s an inevitable result of associating the work of progressive politics with having a hair trigger, with demonizing those who ask us to be careful and restrained, and of treating overwhelming digital character assassination as a useful political tool.”

Imagine a World Without Prisons: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Superheroes, and Prison Abolition.

* Against New Atheism: The “New Atheists” have gained traction because they give intellectual cover to Western imperialism.

* The mass transit system Milwaukee didn’t know it needed. Now, if you could just snake another couple lines up the lake side… More links below the map.


* The Ferguson PD victory lap continues: Ferguson Police investigating whether Michael Brown’s stepfather intended to incite a riot.

How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street.

How One Woman Could Hit The Reset Button In The Case Against Darren Wilson.

Utah’s Insanely Expensive Plan To Seize Public Lands. “…a price tag that could only be paid if the state were able to increase drilling and mining.” Oh, so not insane, then, just evil.

* There are boondoggles and there are boondoggles: Federal prosecutors subpoenaed dozens of records and documents relating to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s iPad program, including emails, proposals and score sheets dealing with the bids that led to a multi-million Apple contract with the district.

* For $5 I promise not to orchestrate this situation, and for $25…

* Why I Am Not Coming In To Work Today.

* Keeping Kayfabe.

* And the market for Girl Scout cookies is about to be disrupted. I gained ten pounds just reading this story.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 3, 2014 at 10:54 am


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