Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Arthur C. Clarke

All the Weekend Links (100%)

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* Jaimee has one of her phobia poems up at Drunken Boat’s “funny” issue: “Derrida Eats a Dorito.”

* CFPs: ICFA 36: The Scientific Imagination. Joss Whedon’s Comics. Assemble! The Making and Re-Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Human-Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction.

* MLA Subcon is trying to raise some money for its operations at indiegogo.

* New Study Links Polar Vortex to Climate Change. Speaking for all of Wisconsin: this does not bode well.

* I have to say I really like what Freddie says about privilege and merit here.

Instead, the point should be to ask people to see the ways in which all of our lives are conditioned by vast forces we cannot control, that these forces in general work to the benefit and hindrance of certain broad groups of people in a way that conflicts with our conceptions of justice, and that we can build a more just, more equitable world if we acknowledge that no one’s life is the product only of their work ethic and intelligence.

The long-term project of those who decry the role of unearned advantage in human society should not be to try and parse who is most and least privileged. The project should be to deny the salience of “merit” as a moral arbiter of material security and comfort. The very notion of just deserts– the notion that some people have legitimate accomplishments that we must celebrate because they represent “merit,” whatever that is, distinct from their privileges– is what has to die. There is no space where privilege ends and legitimate accomplishment begins. There is, instead, a world of such multivariate complexity that we can never know whose accomplishments are earned and whose aren’t. Instead, we should recognize the folly of tying material security and comfort to our flawed perceptions of other people’s value, and instead institute an economic system based on the absolute right of all people to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.

* Kazuo Ishiguro to publish first novel since Never Let Me Go. I am on board. More links below the photo!

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* And on the other side of the spectrum: Margaret Atwood’s new work will remain unseen for a century.

* Shock, horror: Most college classes cost more online than on campus.

* The Classroom of the Future.

Q. How did you make the transition from professor to president? A. Maybe some of our problems in education today stem from the fact that someone like me is considered an unconventional choice. Maybe academic institutions should be run by academics, the way they used to be.

* Wisconsin inches closer to dubious obesity milestone.

* On Christopher Tolkien protecting The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales from New Line. I hadn’t realized that Peter Jackson was prohibited from making reference to those works in his films; that’s fascinating…

* If Pearson were trying to strike back against a researcher who told legislators that they were paying $100 million a year for tests that mostly measure test-taking ability, it would look an awful lot like what is happening to Walter Stroup.

* “If I could rearrange the alphabet, I’d put ‘u’ and ‘i’ in the same eight-person, windowless office.”

* The New York Times pans a novel for being insufficiently pro-conquistador. The Economist wrings its hands over whether maybe we’re not being fair to slaveowners.

* The Justice Department will investigate the entire Ferguson police force. How municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., profit from poverty. Twitter Headquarters Has Painted #Ferguson On Its Office Wall.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson lied when he said he had received “many” specific requests for the videotape that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store, according to a new report.

* Feisal G. Mohamed and Cary Nelson debate the Salaita firing. Salaita and the Accreditors.

* This Is What It’s Like To Sit Through An Anti-Union Meeting At Work.

Gaming doesn’t have a problem; capitalism has a problem. Rather than seeing them simply as immoral assholes or deluded consumerists, we should take gaming’s advanced wing of hateful trolls seriously as representatives of the reactionary shock troops that will have to be defeated in order to build a more egalitarian society in the games industry or anywhere else.

* Five myths about California’s drought. The news is not good, friends.

* Here’s Who Really Controls California’s Water.

* Staff at an Arizona gun range reportedly told investigators that the release forms signed by the family of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed her instructor with an Uzi last week were unavailable because they had been “blown away by the wind.” I’ve head less convincing excuses, I guess.

* Biden’s warning to ISIS militants: ‘We will follow them to the gates of hell.’ 200 U.S. troops headed to Ukraine for ‘peace-keeping exercise’ as Obama condemns Russian aggression.

Brave Teen Refuses to Attend Middle School, Chooses Jail Instead.

* Today in the rule of law: Missouri May Have Lied Under Oath About What Drugs It Used To Kill People And When.

* But don’t worry: The system works. Antonin Scalia’s Favorite Murderer Is Innocent.

* Death Row Guard Has Always Had Soft Spot For The Innocent Ones.

L.A. Times Reporter Basically Let the CIA Edit His Stories on the CIA.

NYPD Pays $33K to Settle Suit After Mistaking Jolly Ranchers for Meth.

* Police telling victims to solve crimes by themselves.

In New York, a human rights lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after she was arrested for blocking the sidewalk while waiting for her husband and kids to use the bathroom at a Times Square restaurant.

* The call to demilitarize police overlooks the longstanding link between policing and empire.

The Worst Airbnb in the Universe: 22 Beds in One Apartment. Imagine this being your home. Imagine this being your neighbor.

* The fight for the Senate is getting weird y’all.

* For Parents Of Young Black Men With Autism, Extra Fear About Police.

* A horrifying new study says one in five women have been raped.

* “After the football season ended.”

* Vox says your revolution is over, the bums lost.

* Our congresswoman was arrested today at a fast food workers’ strike.

* The killable horde.

* For the first time ever, neuroscientists have demonstrated the viability of direct — and completely non-invasive — brain-to-brain communication in humans. Remarkably, the experiment allowed subjects to exchange mentally-conjured words despite being 5,000 miles apart.

* Science fiction classics in the news: Syfy Greenlights Six-Hour Miniseries Childhood’s End.

BP May Be Fined Up to $18 Billion for Spill in Gulf. Almost 18 days revenue, less than a year’s profit…

Workers At Coal Waste Landfill Told That Coal Ash Is ‘Safe Enough To Eat,’ Lawsuit Says.

Joan Rivers Always Knew She Was Funny. Joan Rivers and today’s comediennes.

Downloaded Games Have A Larger Carbon Footprint Than Blu-Ray Discs. There’s some really questionable assumptions in here, but the argument that theres’s some point where this is true is an important one.

* A Child Helps Your Career, If You’re a Man.

Ms. Budig found that on average, men’s earnings increased more than 6 percent when they had children (if they lived with them), while women’s decreased 4 percent for each child they had. Her study was based on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 2006, which tracked people’s labor market activities over time. Childless, unmarried women earn 96 cents for every dollar a man earns, while married mothers earn 76 cents, widening the gap.

* Here’s why CVS stopped selling cigarettes.

* Here’s why Twitter shouldn’t algorithmize users’ feeds.

* This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe.

* Bold new directions: Shazam will differ from other DC movies by being fun.

* Every popular text eventually gets an “it was all just a hallucination” rewrite. Today it’s Harry Potter’s turn.

New Girl at School Had to Wear “Shame Suit” After Dress Code Violation.

* Werner Herzog will guest star on Parks And Recreation.

* Nothing good will happen anymore: Actually, HBO didn’t commission more Flight Of The Conchords.

* Here’s something I should probably waste all my money on.

* New Miracleman Comics Stories (Including One by Grant Morrison) Coming Soon.

* This Map Shows How Hunting Wiped Out Whales In Less Than A Century.

* And FiveThirtyEight is there with a hot take: If Tony Survived The ‘Sopranos’ Finale, He’s Probably Alive Today.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 6, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Links

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* There’s always money in the banana stand: After closing 50 schools, Chicago Public Schools has proposals for 31 new Charter Schools. This is how much your kid’s school’s budget has been cut (state-by-state averages). “The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students.”

* Fiduciary duty: Shareholder sues IBM for spying on China, wiping $12.9B off its market cap.

* Can Science Fiction Survive in Saudi Arabia?

Incarceration rate per 100,000 Black males in South Africa under apartheid (1993) 610: 851. Incarceration rate per 100,000 African-American males in the United States under George W. Bush (2001) 611: 4,848. The Bush tag is such a redding herring there. This is a bipartisan consensus.

What crimes did prisoners commit?

Almost two-thirds of court admissions to state prison are for property and drug offenses, including drug possession (16 percent), drug sales (15 percent), burglary (9 percent), and auto theft (6 percent).

Christmas in Prison.

Then, she says, the prosecutor began rattling off names and showing photographs of people, asking about their social contacts and political opinions. Olejnik guesses he asked “at least 50 questions” in that vein, compared to the four about May Day. That’s when she shut down, refused to answer, was found in contempt of court, and was sent to SeaTac FDC.

Texas Judge Who Resigned After Allegedly Colluding With Prosecutor Now Running For Prosecutor.

* If a Drone Strike Hit an American Wedding, We’d Ground Our Fleet. How NY Times Covers Yemen Drone Strikes.

A Tale of Two Cities: America’s Bipolar Climate Future. New York City and New Bern, North Carolina both face the same projected rise in sea levels, but while one is preparing for the worst, the other is doing nothing on principle.

Scientists Turn Their Gaze Toward Tiny Threats to Great Lakes.

* Iowa Republican’s 2-year investigation finds no statistically significant evidence of voter fraud.

* There’s always money in the banana stand, part two: Highest paid college presidents.

Two House Democrats Lead Effort to Protect For-Profit Colleges, Betraying Students and Vets.

* Son of a: A New Study Suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young.

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder.

* Postscript on the Societies of Control, life insurance edition.

* I’ve been saying this for years: Online advertising has a fraud problem. Millions of ad impressions are being served to bots and non-human traffic, and ad tech companies are doing little to stop it.

The Kellers are caught up in a little-known horror of the U.S. housing bust: the zombie title. Six years in, thousands of homeowners are finding themselves legally liable for houses they didn’t know they still owned after banks decided it wasn’t worth their while to complete foreclosures on them.

* True crime: 100 cited in Wisconsin probe of illegal ginseng harvesting.

* The Walker miracle: The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 4,420 people in Wisconsin filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of November. That is more claims than the next two highest states combined: Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538.

* Israel, BDS, and delegitimization. ASA Members Vote To Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel.

* The Pope: Not a Marxist!

What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.

Public Influence: The Immortalization of an Anonymous Death.

* And how Arthur C. Clarke responded to crackpots.

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He Will Always Be There in the Story’s Final Moments to Taunt Us with the Question We Shall Never Answer

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Written by gerrycanavan

January 8, 2011 at 8:35 am

My God, It’s Full of Stars

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 16, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Thursday Is The Cruelest Month

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Friday

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* The headline reads, “Nigeria to charge Dick Cheney in $180 million bribery case, issue Interpol arrest warrant.

* Death comes to Celebration.

The owner of a failed security business barricaded himself in his soon-to-be foreclosed home, shot at deputies and then killed himself in this well-groomed Central Florida town built by Disney. The 14-hour standoff came just days after the town’s first-ever homicide, unsettling residents who moved to the community for its safety and small-town values even though authorities said the two were not connected.

* Today’s worst person in the world: Oleg Nikolaenko, the 23-year-old Russian responsible for 10 billion spam emails a day.

* Or maybe it’s still Jan Brewer.

* Chris Christie, conservative of the year.

* Deconstructing “Gimme Shelter.” Really neat.

* And the best science fiction for each of the eight planets, with appearances from long-time favorites Kim Stanley Robinson (Mars), Olaf Stapledon (Neptune), Kubrick/Clarke (Jupiter), and Pohl/Cornbluth (Venus). Notably absent: Vonnegut (Mercury, Mars, Saturn…) and poor benighted Uranus.

Quick Links

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Quick links.

* At a newly revitalized Bitter Laughter: 73% of American Medical Association doctors want a public option.

* In the New Yorker, two takedowns of GOP insanity and obstructionism.

* Wal-Mart: actually not so great. Via MeFi, which includes a bonus link to a nice take-off on Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from socialism Soviet-style state capitalism.

* Also via MeFi: The New York Times’s Toxic Waters: “A series about the worsening pollution in American waters and regulators’ response.”

* And the thing from my lists I most enjoyed reading today just happens to be online: Thomas Pynchon’s “Is it O.K. to be a Luddite?” (UPDATE: My drive towards procrastination compelled me to write a brief HASTAC post on this.)

By 1945, the factory system — which, more than any piece of machinery, was the real and major result of the Industrial Revolution — had been extended to include the Manhattan Project, the German long-range rocket program and the death camps, such as Auschwitz. It has taken no major gift of prophecy to see how these three curves of development might plausibly converge, and before too long. Since Hiroshima, we have watched nuclear weapons multiply out of control, and delivery systems acquire, for global purposes, unlimited range and accuracy. An unblinking acceptance of a holocaust running to seven- and eight-figure body counts has become — among those who, particularly since 1980, have been guiding our military policies — conventional wisdom.

To people who were writing science fiction in the 50’s, none of this was much of a surprise, though modern Luddite imaginations have yet to come up with any countercritter Bad and Big enough, even in the most irresponsible of fictions, to begin to compare with what would happen in a nuclear war. So, in the science fiction of the Atomic Age and the cold war, we see the Luddite impulse to deny the machine taking a different direction. The hardware angle got de-emphasized in favor of more humanistic concerns — exotic cultural evolutions and social scenarios, paradoxes and games with space/time, wild philosophical questions — most of it sharing, as the critical literature has amply discussed, a definition of “human” as particularly distinguished from “machine.” Like their earlier counterparts, 20th-century Luddites looked back yearningly to another age — curiously, the same Age of Reason which had forced the first Luddites into nostalgia for the Age of Miracles.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 15, 2009 at 3:34 am