Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘anti-utopia

Tuesday Morning Links!

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On April 10th-12th, 2015, UF will be hosting its 11th annual Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.”

The Review of Capital as Power (RECASP) announces an annual essay prize of $1,000 for the best paper on the subject of capital as power. Open to anyone who does not currently hold a Ph.D. (including current graduate students).

* Happy belated Labor Day: The True Story Of How One Man Shut Down American Commerce To Avoid Paying His Workers A Fair Wage. Labor Day against Work.

* Non-published, non-peer-reviewed study concludes that college football coaches must be worth the money because otherwise they wouldn’t be paid that much. Glad that’s sorted.

So what happened to the GOP, from the time of Nixon to the present, to turn an environmental leader into an environmental retrograde? According to a new study in the journal Social Science Research, the key change actually began around the year 1991—when the Soviet Union fell. “The conservative movement replaced the ‘Red Scare’ with a new ‘Green Scare’ and became increasingly hostile to environmental protection at that time,” argues sociologist Aaron McCright of Michigan State University and two colleagues.

* UIUC will forward Salaita’s appointment to the Board of Trustees after all. Sadly I suspect this is a CYA maneuver after realizing they were in material breach of their contract — though I suppose it’s for the lawyers to decide if they have take-backs on that issue or not.

* From the archives: How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps.

* The Darren Wilson fundraiser mystery.

* Guantanamo Defense Lawyer Resigns, Says U.S. Case Is ‘Stacked.’

* The terrifying true story of the garbage that could kill the whole human race.

Man Nearly Dies In Ice Bucket Challenge After Plane Drops Water On Him.

* Are domestic airlines making money by fleecing consumers? No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!

Archaeologists Confirm That Stonehenge Was Once A Complete Circle.

* The A.V. Club reviews David Mitchell’s latest, The Bone Clocks.

* I’ll give you this: Censoring the books your kid reads does seem pretty dystopian. “Divergent” and “Hunger Games” as capitalist agitprop. Utopia and Anti-Utopia.

* How to ruin a protest.

* And Did Stan Lee Confirm a Black Panther Movie? Please?

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Commencement Weekend Links!

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* Commencement speech bingo. More links below!

ut_bingo_f* Pro-tip: apparently it only counts as free speech if you’re already powerful.

* ICYMI: My guest post at SF Signal on dystopia, anti-utopia, and the end of the world.

College is a promise the economy does not keep.

Of Course Women Are Getting Sexually Harassed by Drones.

* CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Rethinking Monopoly for neofeudal capitalism.

Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries. Well, yes, I’m definitely worried. That’s madness.

“Hood disease.” My God, don’t call it that.

* It places the United States in the top spot, ahead of Sweden and Canada, which come in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Yet when the scores are adjusted for national levels of income, the United States drops to 15th place, behind such developing countries as China and Serbia.

* If you want to help low-income students succeed, it’s not enough to deal with their academic and financial obstacles. You also need to address their doubts and misconceptions and fears.

* The proposed rule would cut off student aid to career-focused programs at for-profit and nonprofit colleges if the program’s student-loan default rate reached 30 percent or if half of its graduates failed two student-loan debt standards.

* Kansas and the death of academic freedom.

* The NCAA will allow Boise State to help its homeless player.

MRA city councilman files Title IX complaint on behalf of U Oregon players arbitrarily kicked off team after DA slow-walks the process to protect their eligibility for March Madness and then declines to bring charges, thereby completing the circle of shitshow.

According to faculty accounts, deans received an email from the administration on the evening of May 5, alerting them to a meeting the next day about staffing issues. At that meeting, deans in certain colleges were told they needed to cut a prescribed number of full-time faculty positions. Of 16 total cuts, 11 were to come from the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty members said. Deans were given two days – until Thursday – to consult with their department chairs about which faculty members to terminate. Affected instructors were notified that day.

* Kate Hayles and Mark Kruse have developed a model for humanities/STEM cooperative teaching.

* U.S. Cities Under 12 feet of Sea Level Rise.

* The Forever Drought.

* The best way to think of the dilemma is keeping in mind the three things Obama wants his regulations to accomplish: He wants them to effectively reduce carbon pollution, he wants them not to cost consumers too much, and he wants to be sure they can survive legal challenge. The trouble is that he can only pick two of these. And the primary question weighing on administration regulators as they make their decision will be how to read the mind of Anthony Kennedy.

* To turn the US-Mexico border into “The Border,” America had to erase its Caribbean history.

An article about secrecy and the death penalty in Missouri got the May edition of St. Louis Magazine banned from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

* Meanwhile the New York Times is a complete mess.

The Rise of the Voluntariat.

The voluntariat performs skilled work that might still command a wage without compensation, allegedly for the sake of the public good, regardless of the fact that it also contributes directly and unambiguously to the profitability of a corporation. Like the proletariat, then, the voluntariat permits the extraction of surplus value through its labor.

But unlike the proletariat’s labor, the voluntariat’s has become untethered from wages. The voluntariat’s labor is every bit as alienable as the proletariat’s — Coursera’s Translator Contract leaves no doubt about that — but it must be experienced by the voluntariat as a spontaneous, non-alienated gift.

* Will roads made out of solar panels save us?

Playing football is even worse for players’ brains than we thought.

* An Oral History of The West Wing.

* Medical nightmare of the week: Morgellons disease.

* Speculative genetic explanations for social phenomena have an old and undistinguished history, some of which Wade reviews superficially, presumably to demonstrate his skill at reviewing topics superficially. The common thread, though, is that such explanations have always been (1) put forward to establish a bio-political point, to draw imaginary limits around the social progress of certain human groups; (2) accompanied by the dissimulation that they are not political statements, but merely value-neutral science; and (3) false.

* The Bay Area author of an upcoming book shatters the image of California’s historic missions as idyllic sites where Franciscan friars and Indians lived in harmony. Speaking before about 100 people Saturday at the American Indian Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, Elias Castillo, author of “A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions,” said in reality the missions were “death camps.”

* Save your research in the cloud, they said.

* Viggo vs. Lord of the Rings.

The New York Pizza Project, Documenting New York City’s Pizza Shops in Photos and Interviews.

He also had a theory about colonizing the solar system using nuclear bombs. We could terraform other planets, he argued, by pulverizing them and then moving them closer or further from the sun. What could possibly go wrong?

* So maybe it’s for the best that Russia’s just evicted us from space.

Bad Monkeys, Fallen, Wicked Souls

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What is the political charge of an eco-apocalypse like climate change, or ocean acidification, or Peak Oil? How are we to understand these visions of bad futures as they come to us from scientific projections and risk calculation spreadsheets? Is the coming catastrophe the dystopian clarion that warns us we must change-or is it the anti-utopian proof that we will refuse to change, even at the cost of civilization, or the planet itself?

I have a not-exactly-an-excerpt from Green Planets over at SF Signal, pontificating on the distinctions between utopia, anti-utopia, dystopia, and anti-dystopia…

utopia-anti-utopia

Literally and Precisely 100% of Friday Night’s Links

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Modest Requests From a Pair of Job Seekers.

* The University of Arizona is pleased to announce a cluster hire of 4 tenure-track faculty positions in transgender studies over the next two years. Two positions are being offered this year in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), with a start date of fall 2014. Two positions to be based elsewhere in the university will be advertised next year, with a start date of fall 2015. This cluster hire is one element of the University of Arizona’s unprecedented investment in the field of transgender studies. Other elements include support for a new peer-reviewed journal, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, which will be published by Duke University Press starting in 2014, with the editorial office housed at the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies; a new interdisciplinary Center for Critical Studies of the Body; and an anticipated graduate degree program in transgender studies.

* Nein! Nein! Nein! Bill seeks to make English official language of Wisconsin.

Scottish Castles Are Cheaper than New York Apartments.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and The Bismarck Tribune revealed that the man, Paul Craig Cobb, 61, has been buying up property in this town of 24 people in an effort to transform it into a colony for white supremacists.

* Alabama wants to ban The Bluest Eye? That’s nuts. Makes me wish I were teaching it this semester.

Poverty Has Same Effect On The Brain As Constantly Pulling All Nighters.

To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

* And RIP, Seamus Heaney. MetaFilter’s been gathering poems and remembrances.

Lots of Monday Links But In My Defense They Are All Fascinating

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* Margaret Thatcher dies. Glenn Greenwald on speaking ill of the dead. We’re still living in Thatcher’s world. We Are All Thatcherites Now. “If I reported to you what Mrs. Thatcher really thought about President Reagan, it would damage Anglo-American relations.” Thatcher on the climate. Obama on Thatcher.

Will Democrats destroy the planet? And pretty gleefully, too, it looks like.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that not a single one of our major institutions, within government or without, is capable of confronting this problem. And if we can’t, that’s rather the ballgame, isn’t it?

The Methane Beneath Our Feet.

ExxonMobil, FAA, Arkansas cops establish flight restriction zone, threaten reporters who try to document Mayflower, AR spill.

* It’s Art Pope’s nightmare, North Carolinians just live in it.

Imagine for a moment if a loved one found themselves in legal jeopardy in some foreign country that had a 99% conviction rate.  You might ask what kind of illegitimate system are they up against.  You would likely conclude that any system where conviction is nearly-assured is stacked against the accused.  Yet this is exactly what the situation is in federal courts in the United States, the alleged bastion of liberty that does not hesitate to hold itself out as a beacon of freedom and poses as the benchmark of fairness that other nations are encouraged to follow.

* Pornokitsch considers one of my childhood favorites, Dragonlance Chronicles.

Searching for Bill Watterson.

How to make $1,000,000 at Rutgers. Rutgers Practices Were Not a Hostile Work Environment.

Average Faculty Salaries, 2012–13. The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2012-13. Colleges Begin to Reward Professors for Doing Work That Actually Matters to Them.

And with stretched budgets and public pressure to keep costs down, many colleges and universities are cutting back on tenure and tenure-track jobs. According to the report, such positions now make up only 24 percent of the academic work force, with the bulk of the teaching load shifted to adjuncts, part-timers, graduate students and full-time professors not on the tenure track.

* The dark side of open access.

Is Stanford still a university? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than a dozen students—both undergraduate and graduate—have left school to work on a new technology start-up called Clinkle. Faculty members have invested, the former dean of Stanford’s business school is on the board, and one computer-science professor who taught several of the employees now owns shares. The founder of Clinkle was an undergraduate advisee of the president of the university, John Hennessey, who has also been advising the company. Clinkle deals with mobile payments, and, if all goes well, there will be many payments to many people on campus. Maybe, as it did with Google, Stanford will get stock grants. There are conflicts of interest here; and questions of power dynamics. The leadership of a university has encouraged an endeavor in which students drop out in order to do something that will enrich the faculty.

‘Social Entrepreneurs’ Bring New Ideas, New Conflicts to Colleges.

Coursera Takes a Nuanced View of MOOC Dropout Rates.

Steinberg’s bill will undermine public education by entrenching private capital; Block’s overestimates the educational effectiveness of online for its target population and therefore helps foreclose more imaginative uses of the digital and the allocation of necessary resources to the CCC and the CSU.

How the Location of Colleges Hurts the Economy.

So imagine my surprise — and envy — upon learning that these networkers moonlight in a profitable little business using Shakespeare to teach leadership, strategy and management to businesses and organizations. For $28,000 a day!

The relentless drive for efficiency at U.S. companies has created a new harshness in the workplace. In their zeal to make sure that not a minute of time is wasted, companies are imposing rigorous performance quotas, forcing many people to put in extra hours, paid or not. Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service call.

The Problem with Nonprofits.

* A brief history of public goods.

New York Is Shelving Prison Law Libraries.

* An editor rejects The Left Hand of Darkness.

* Game of Thrones as subway map.

* Dear Television premieres at TNR with a review of the Mad Men premiere.

* Bill Cosby will speak at the 2013 Marquette commencement.

* And your single-serving-site of the day: How far away is Mars?

‘Omelas State University’

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At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.