Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn

Monday Night Infinite Jest (and More)

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* The MLK Memorial opened today on the Washington Mall. Pretty visually stunning.

* zunguzungu has your Libya links.

* The headline reads, “The Scramble for Access to Libya’s Oil Wealth Begins.”

* Kaufman, who has a lifelong passion for American folk music, has just written a biography of Guthrie. And, much more unusually for an academic, he is singing his way across the US to promote it. He is performing Guthrie’s songs, which he mixes with short lectures and projected images in what Kaufman calls a “live musical documentary.”

* Grant Morrison: The Rolling Stone interview. More here. Via Bleeding Cool.

* The New Yorker profiles Clarence Thomas. Via just about everybody.

* Also via literally everybody: The Decembrists’ new Infinite-Jest-themed music video.

* Don’t miss Brad DeLong’s brief history of the Obama administration. Via Digby.

* 2010: Detroit apocalypse porn. 2011: Detroit is the new Brooklyn.

* Inside the mind behind Feminist Hulk. If you’d bet the account was owned by a graduate student in English literature, pick up your money at the front desk.

* Inside the Tea Party: a UNC professor has polled Tea Party supporters to determine that the Tea Party’s core values are “authoritarianism, fear of change, libertarianism and nativism.” I can’t imagine anyone anywhere will find this study remotely controversial.

* Kevin Drum asks: Can we fix the economy? Sign me up for Krugman’s Lament (first comment); we can fix this, we just won’t.

* Wikileaks implodes.

* And a look inside how Scrabble warps your brain.

Competitive Scrabble players’ visual word recognition behavior differed significantly from non-experts’ for letter-prompted verbal fluency (coming up with words beginning with a specific letter) and anagramming accuracy, two Scrabble-specific skills. Competitive players were faster to judge whether or not a word was real. They also judged the validity of vertical words faster than non-experts and were quicker at picking up abstract words than non-competitive players. These findings indicate that Scrabble players are less reliant on the meaning of words to judge whether or not they are real, and more flexible at word recognition using orthographic information.

Big Monday Links

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* Lost Back to the Future audition tapes. You win this round, SNL.

* Then and Now with Goofus and Gallant.

* zunguzungu has some final thoughts on the Rally to Restore Sanity taking Andrew Sullivan’s glowing endorsement as his departure point.

Americans who want to emphasize that “politics isn’t all there is to life” are people who don’t feel very keenly the sting of injustice or the anxiety of uncertainty or the horror of what this country does in our name. When you lose your job because of politics, or can’t afford to go to school because of politics, or are denied full citizenship because of politics, or die because of politics, the idea that “politics isn’t all there is to life” will be cold comfort to you.

But what if, for example, you look out into the world and see not a basic normality of everyday justice and brotherhood and comity and happy cookies but, rather, a massively inequitable system getting both steadily worse and more deeply enmeshed into our everyday reality? An America which has, for example, rendered it normal to be conducting military operations in multiple theatres for no publicly acknowledged or agreed upon purpose? Where 10% unemployment is normal? Where immigrants are presumed guilty until documented innocent? What if you think things actually are completely fucked up?

* On not being obliged to vote Democrat. We voted last Thursday, straight ticket as always, but I confess I didn’t take much pleasure in it.

* What happens after Republicans win tomorrow? For one thing, Virginia’s climate witch-hunts will go national. Via Boing Boing.

* What happens after Republicans win tomorrow, Nevada edition: Angle victory means return of Yucca nuclear waste dump.

* Should the left try to use our democracy’s systemic biases towards military spending to drive a progressive spending agenda? Ezra and Matt take aff and neg. I give the decision to Ezra—let’s take our victories where we can get them.

* Corporate synergy, the Fox News way.

* UN Convention on Biodiversity: Climate-related geo-engineering activities [should not] take place until there is an adequate scientific basis on which to justify such activities and appropriate consideration of the associated risks for the environment and biodiversity and associated social, economic and cultural impacts.

* Cornell President David Skorton wants to save the humanities.

* How can this many colleges charge over $50,000 a year for tuition? That’s completely insane.

* From the campus newspaper: What’s Duke’s policy towards undocumented immigrants?

* Another great Strange Map: an alternate New York City with a filled-in East River where Manhattan and Brooklyn merge. Via Kottke.

* And rest in peace, Ginny Sack.

Wish I Lived in Brooklyn

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Monday Night Links

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* Tonight’s big news: Rahm Emanuel will leave the White House to run for mayor of Chicago, likely by the end of the week. I already made the obvious spend-more-time-with-his-family joke on Twitter, so I’ll just leave it at good riddance.

* How not to talk about the crisis in higher education. A great post from zunguzungu on academic neoliberalism from last April, via his great post on Matt Yglesias’s neoliberalism from earlier this morning.

* I regret the juvenile context, but I can’t resist this list of inventors killed by their own inventions.

How not to write about science.

* Joss Whedon promises to make The Avengers movie America is crying out for: Glengarry Glen Ross. Superpowers are for closers.

* Judas! Like Dylan going electric, Jonathan Lethem trades Brooklyn for California.

* And the New York Times has your literary map of Manhattan.

Friday Night Everything

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* The long-awaited (but oddly dissatisfying) Lost epilogue has appeared online, though who knows for how long or with whose permission.

* Decadence watch: municipalities are cutting back on public transit, de-paving roads, cutting back on education and even city lights, and closing public libraries. Naturally, the wars continue apace.

* Elena Kagan post-mortems from Jonathan Chait and Glenn Greenwald.

* Neal Stephenson talks SF at Gresham College. The link has another, shorter talk from David Brin as well. Thanks to Melody for the link.

* Silly games of the night: Epic Coaster and Color Theory.

* Visiting the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

* Power stations of the retrofuture.

* Marmaduke (by Franz Kafka).

* America’s first test-tube baby has turned her back on her heritage.

* You had me at huge Back to the Future trilogy timeline.

* Google says there are 129,864,880 books In existence. I swear, I swear, mine’s coming.

* And neither English nor philosophy makes this list of the ten lowest-paying college majors. Take that, everyone I knew in college!

Saturday! 2

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* You had me at “worst sci-fi/fantasy covers.”

* You might not like him when he’s angry: Obama flexes his muscles with the first recess appointments of his term. And Kevin Drum points out a nice detail:

This is pretty fascinating. Years ago, after Republicans filibustered a Carter nominee to the NLRB, the two parties made a deal: the board would have three appointees from the president’s party and two from the other party. So after he took office Obama nominated two Democrats and one Republican to fill the NLRB’s three vacant seats and got support from a couple of Republicans on the HELP committee for the entire slate. But when it got to the Senate floor John McCain put a hold on Becker, and his nomination — along with the others — died.

Fast forward today and Obama finally decides to fill the board using recess appointments. But what does he do? He only appoints the two Democrats. This is not what you do if you’re trying to make nice. It’s what you do if you’re playing hardball and you want to send a pointed message to the GOP caucus. You won’t act on my nominees? Fine. I’ll appoint my guys and then leave it up to you to round up 50 votes in the Senate for yours. Have fun.

* No wonder the intensity gap between Republicans and Democrats is starting to close.

* Rachel Maddow takes out full page ad to debunk Scott Brown’s fantasies break my heart.

* Glenn Beck tearing Fox News apart?

* “I want to know what the Vatican knew and when they knew it,” said William McMurry, who is representing alleged abuse victims in the Kentucky case. “Whether it’s letters from bishops or conversations with bishops. I want to know what [the Vatican’s doctrinal office] knew and what they instructed U.S. bishops to do. We’re trying to get what’s never been uncovered before — documents only the Vatican has. That’s the linchpin of liability.” Taibbi had an epic rant on this subject earlier today.

* What if the United States had the population density of Brooklyn, NY? For one, we’d all fit inside New Hampshire.

* Presenting the human hair additive in your food.

* And 10 great medical inventions. Below: the birthing centrifuge.

On Gehry

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Like many utopian visions that someone is crazy enough to attempt to realize, modernist architecture has always contained an element of fascism. It wasn’t just that a cuckoo notion like Le Corbusier’s “radiant city,” those celery stalks of lone skyscrapers surrounded by a verdant wasteland, was meant to simplify life, but that it was in some basic sense meant to replace it.

Charles Taylor considers contemporary architecture and its “starchitects” in the context of the controversy surrounding Frank Gehry’s latest and largest project, the planned Atlantic Yards stadium in Brooklyn for the New Jersey Nets.

Gehry might have taken The Life and Death of Great American Cities as an anti-text. With its interior “public space,” its super-blocks, its potential for creating what Jacobs called “border vacuums” and the attendant crime that always accompanies such areas, in the way it cuts itself off from the neighborhoods around it and cuts them off from each other, Atlantic Yards represents the sort of thinking Jacobs discredited nearly fifty years ago.

Atlantic Yards is the largest project Frank Gehry, now seventy-eight, has ever undertaken. And if it proves to be his last large project, it will be a fitting capstone to a career utterly blind to the public function of architecture. For how better to assert your dedication to personal expression over context than to have your distinct visual style serve as the emblem for the death of two Brooklyn neighborhoods?

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2008 at 11:37 am