Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.
* Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.
* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!
* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.
* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?
* It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.
* The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”
* An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.) This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.
* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.
* Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.
* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…
* Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.
* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.
* “These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.
But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.
When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.
* There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.
* I want to complain to the studio execs who commissioned the current season of “21st century”; your show is broken.
* But maybe a big reboot is coming! Astronomers may have found giant alien ‘megastructures’ orbiting star near the Milky Way.
* Another potential redirection for the series: Women who sniff this Hawaiian mushroom have spontaneous orgasms.
* Potentially major finding: Huntington’s disease protein controls movement of precious cargo inside cells, study finds.
* Speaking my language: A strong El Niño may mean a warmer, drier winter in southern Wisconsin.
* You can time travel with Marquette another way, too: here’s a sneak preview of our Spring 2016 course offerings.
* First-year composition, in other words, is more than a course in grammar and rhetoric. Beyond these, it is a course in ethical communication, offering students opportunities to learn and practice the moral and intellectual virtues that Aristotle identified in his Nicomachean Ethics as the foundation for a good life. And that’s why America is such a paradise today.
By the same token, I know that an emphasis under a major has the same student-learning outcomes as the parent major, so I can create a new program without expanding the number of assessment reports that I have to do. This just means that a major is basically a magical bag of holding for emphases: I can fit as many emphases as I want inside a major without becoming encumbered by more paperwork!
* Die Hard was the gold standard of unprequelizable films. Kudos to all involved in this important project.
* Wayne Simmons, a regular Fox News commentator who claimed to have worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for almost three decades, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly fabricating his agency experience.
* Žižek, social reformist: The lesson here is that the truly subversive thing is not to insist on ‘infinite’ demands we know those in power cannot fulfil. Since they know that we know it, such an ‘infinitely demanding’ attitude presents no problem for those in power: ‘So wonderful that, with your critical demands, you remind us what kind of world we would all like to live in. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where we have to make do with what is possible.’ The thing to do is, on the contrary, to bombard those in power with strategically well-selected, precise, finite demands, which can’t be met with the same excuse.
* I’m so glad this turned out to be the case: Standing Desks Are Mostly Bullshit.
* Just don’t tell Shia: FX is turning Y: The Last Man into a TV series.
* And teach the controversy: Your Favorite Band Sucks.
(…though Tuesday’s links are still perfectly good…)
* I’m really excited to see that the Jameson talk on the army as a figure for utopia I talked about at the end of my Battle: Los Angeles essay is becoming a book (with some collected responses).
* One of my favorite Ted Chiang stories, “Understand” has been adapted as a radio drama at the BBC. Go listen!
* If you’re local, don’t forget! Mad Max: Fury Road discussion on campus today at 5 PM!
* The FBI’s probe into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail has expanded to include a second private technology company, which said Tuesday it plans to provide the law enforcement agency with data it preserved from Clinton’s account.
* Two great tastes: For decades, researchers have debated whether a major asteroid strike or enormous volcanic eruptions led to the demise of dinosaurs almost 66 million years ago. According to a new study, the answer might be somewhere in between: The asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes, and together, these catastrophes led to the mass extinction.
* The Vancouver public-speaking and drama instructor sees his reasons for assigning Alcor US$80,000 of life insurance benefits to have his brain cryopreserved as strictly pragmatic.
* Kristof said that more preschoolers are shot dead each year than are on-duty police officers. For children aged 0-4, that is accurate for the past six years. For children aged 3-5, the statement is true in most years, but not in every year. We rate the claim Mostly True.
* Twenty-first century problems: Can Crowdfunding Save This Town from White Supremacy?
* A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board that looks at what role credit scores play in committed relationships suggests that daters might want to start using the metric as well. The researchers found that credit scores — or whatever personal qualities credit scores might represent — actually play a pretty big role in whether people form and stay in committed relationships. People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and marriages and then stay in them. In addition, how well matched the couple’s credit scores are initially is a good predictor of whether they stay together in the long term.
* This might be even worse than the drill bits: Greenfield Police Using Pink Handcuffs, Wearing New Pins For Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
* Get a head start on next week: “It’s time to abolish Columbus Day.”
* SFFTV 8.3 is out! With:
Kathleen McHugh, “Seeking a film for the end of the world”
Mark Young, “Xenochrony: aural media and neoliberal time in Shane Carruth’s Primer”
Lars Schmeink, “Frankenstein’s offspring: practicing science and parenthood in Natali’s Splice”
J.P. Telotte, “Sex and machines: the ‘buzz’ of 1950s science fiction films”
* Great stuff coming from the UCR Sawyer Seminar on Alternative Futurisms:
October 6: Panel on Asian American Speculative Fiction
October 16-17: Revising the Past, Remaking the Future Conference
* And elsewhere on the academic job market watch: how long am I marketable?
* USC has an exciting fix for contingent employment in academia: contingent employment in academia.
* Steven Salaita: Why I Was Fired.
* I just had to do one of these with my daughters’ preschool. The twenty-first century is awful.
* DraftKings Employee With Access To Inside Info Wins $350K At FanDuel. This is an insane story.
* Our economy is broken. Could a universal basic income, child allowances, and worker-owned cooperatives fix it? I’m so old I can remember when “New New Deal” was Obama’s brand.
* “Whole Foods To Stop Profiting From Prison Labor.” You know, in these tough times, most companies would be happy to just break even with prison labor.
* Noncitizens and the census. This is a really interesting problem for which the proper solution — let noncitizen permanent residents vote — is of course entirely off the table.
* Justine Siegal Becomes First Female Baseball Coach In MLB History. That’s… recent.
* Tesla’s new Model X has a ‘bioweapon defense mode’ button. “This is a real button,” Musk says.
* NASA Has Already Hired Someone To Make Sure We Don’t Destroy Mars, Too. Teach the controversy: does Mars even exist?
* Here comes the gender-bent Twilight. I’m actually fascinated by this project.
* The Algorithm and the Watchtower: “The form of power that Big Data employs is not so much panoptic as it is pan-analytic.”
* This is the only movie franchise Disney should produce from now on.
* It’s not time to degree, it’s time from degree.
* 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…
* 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?
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* NASA’s latest budget calls for a mission to Europa. OK I think as long as we attempt no landings there.
* Secret Teacher: exams have left my students incapable of thinking. “Incapable” is a bit strong, but elites have certainly turned education into a nightmare.
* 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.
* 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.
* The-price-is-too-high watch: Study says smelling farts may be good for your health.
* 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.
* 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!
* The news gets worse, academics: Your lifetime earnings are probably determined in your 20s.