Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels

Break v. Spring: Dawn of Thursday Links

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* Coming up in two weeks! “After Humanity: Science Fiction After Extinction” will be the topic at the 2016 Robert W. Hamblin Lecture April 6 at Southeast Missouri State University.

* CFP: “Queers Read This!”: LGBTQ Literature Now, a Special Issue of GLQ. And a stray thought not-really-apropos of that:

UWM introduces plan to cut $41.25 million from budget. That includes the end of the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. But there’s always money in the job security stand:

“We have a fundamental tension between job security and the ability for this university to continue to be viable,” Mone said. “Those are inherent tensions. The reality is, when I talk about numbers, when I talk about budgeting, what we’re really talking about is people. And we’re talking about the ability to continue to operate as effectively and as efficiently as possible given the environmental changes that we have.”

California Regents Reject Broad Condemnation of Anti-Zionism as Discrimination.

Twitter creates ‘new academic hierarchies’, suggests study.

* Shock of shocks: The NFL has been lying about concussions.

* Batman vs. Superman is apparently in that delicious category of film so terrible that the critics compete to deal it the cruelest blow. FilmFreak. GQ. BMD. AV Club. Deadpan. The Guardian. Village Voice. And the rest! But I give the round to A.O. Scott:

For fun there are shots of the heroes shirtless and of Lois Lane in the bath. But the point of “Batman v Superman” isn’t fun, and it isn’t thinking, either. It’s obedience. The theology is invoked not to elicit meditations on mercy, justice or sacrifice, but to buttress a spectacle of power. And in that way the film serves as a metaphor for its own aspirations. The corporations that produce movies like this one, and the ambitious hacks who sign up to make them, have no evident motive beyond their own aggrandizement. Entertainment is less the goal than the byproduct, and as the commercial reach of superpower franchises grows, their creative exhaustion becomes ever more apparent.

But it sounds like Justice League will somehow be even worse.

* Cuomo v. CUNY.

* Garner (not really) v. Affleck. This is actually a really interesting longread on the crafting of celebrity persona, despite your assumptions to the contrary.

* As a child I was unsatisfied with the world, already looking for ways out. I read some online pamphlet about Advaita Vedanta and decided I believed in it; I made myself a little diagram of the cosmos, within and without Māyā, dotted lines connecting Brahman to Atman to my own confined and unhappy self far across the limits of observable reality; I was weird. I liked things that weren’t really real; not pure fantasy but all those lenses that made the world bearable in its new capacity to be somehow otherwise, that gave me a kind of conceptual power to change things that I didn’t have in daily life. Conspiracy theory, pseudohistory, socialism, faith. I think it wasn’t long after my grandfather died that I found a collection of alternate histories, little stories told by pop-historians about what might have happened if one battle or another had gone the other way, a prism of worlds that never were. I don’t remember the title; it was actually a fairly stupid book (one account described the result of Lenin’s assassination on the way to St Petersburg: the Bolsheviks are effortlessly sidelined and we get a happy, prosperous, liberal-democratic twentieth century). The cover was utterly inevitable: a black and empty sky, and a swastika flag on the Moon. But that really did happen. The space programme that sent the first people to the Moon was the Nazi space programme, all those scientists snatched up in Operation Paperclip, effortlessly swapping Hitler for Washington. Watch the dialectic at work, preserving what it negates, proceeding as always by its bad side. It’s not that the Nazis are another example of Benjamin’s defeated of history; how could they be, when putting a swastika on the cover is still the best way to sell a book? But the litter that chokes our planet remains, all the bones remain, and one day we are promised the resurrection. This is why utopia is always melancholic, the refusal to simply mourn, the tight grip of the living to the dead.

* Obama legacy watch: How can a man who has weaponized the planet at a historic rate be championed as a purveyor of peace?

* A Conversation on Title IX, in the Yale Law Journal. First up: Nancy Gertner’s “Complicated Process.”

* Miracles and wonders: Controlling diabetes with a skin patch.

Lead ink from scrolls may unlock library destroyed by Vesuvius.

Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?

* North Carolina in ruins, again. Abolish the states.

* STEMJ: Researchers have long noticed that an oddly large number of jihadists have engineering backgrounds. Recently two social scientists, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog, scrutinized the numbers and concluded that, yes, the proportion of terrorists who are engineers far outpaces expectations.

* Elsewhere on the terrorism and statistics beat: American Mormon, 19, left with burns and shrapnel injuries in Brussels attack also survived Boston and Paris bombings.

* On the Origin of “African Proverbs.”

* On the Politics of Marvel’s Black Panther.

* The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!

* I guess the Singularity really is near: Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI turns into a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.

* The latest in the letting-the-superintelligent-AI-out-of-the-box subgenere: ANA.

* And, from the archives, some change we can all believe in: Abolish Caillou.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

European-Style Photoblogging

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I’ve finally thrown up some photos from our European vacation on Flickr, including (among other things) a lot of shots of those Belgian comics murals we were so taken with. Enjoy, if you’re so inclined…

Written by gerrycanavan

September 1, 2010 at 1:06 am

Sunday Night in Brussels

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* We’re in Brussels tonight, which as I mentioned on Twitter is my kind of town: obsessed with french fries, chocolate, and comic books. We’ve really been enjoying the comics murals walking tours and I’m hoping to snag all 38 by the time we leave. We should have time, because unbeknownst to the person who planned our trip the entire country of Belgium shuts down on Mondays. Somebody really Belgiumed this thing up big time.

* Stay in the same expensive hotels. Don’t live close to the people. Produce lots of stories and make money. Pull up in your rented SUV to a camp of people who lost their homes, still living under the wind and rain. Step out into the mud with your waterproof boots. Fresh notepad in hand. That ragged-looking woman is yelling at you that she needs help, not another foreigner taking her photo. Her 3-year-old boy is standing there, clinging to her leg. Her arms are raised, mouth agape, and you can’t understand her because you don’t speak Haitian Creole. How to write about Haiti, via MetaFilter.

* It’s rare to see Malthusian arithmetic drawn out so explicitly. How many of the world’s poor do we need, really?

* Somebody finally let the New York Times know that the Roberts court is ultraconservative. Via OpenLeft.

* Ph.D. Comics is visiting Comic-Con (1, 2). Part 3 will be posted tomorrow, I think.

* And thirty-forty-five years ago today, Bob Dylan betrayed us all. See also. Via Neil.