Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Canavan’s Razor

#SFRA2017 Links for All Your #SFRA2017 Needs!

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* Watch #SFRA2017 for all the tweets from SFRA2017! I’ll be presenting this afternoon in the 4 PM session: “No, Speed Limit: Hyperspace in the Anthropocene,” mostly talking about John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire but also hitting Octavia Butler, Cixin Liu, Kim Stanley Robinson, Margaret Atwood, H.G. Wells, and others.

* And just in time for #SFRA2017, SFFTV 10.2 is now available! A special issue on the SF films of Stephen King.

* From Canavan’s Razor to Kotsko’s Hammer: If you believe that you have caught your enemy in a contradiction, you are mistaken. At best, you have misjudged their real priorities and goals. At worst, you have fallen for a deliberate smokescreen, designed to confuse and distract you.

* CFP: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at 200 (Science Fiction Studies, Special Issue).

Emma Watson has been hiding copies of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale around Paris, with a handwritten note inside each one.

The City University of New York picked the worst time to raise the salaries of its top administrators to as much as $402,700 — the same day it cut the operating budgets of its four-year colleges and raised tuition.

* Can’t you see? Star Wars needs mediocrity.

* Return of the travel ban. Return of the lawsuits. The travel ban going into effect would have saved zero lives from terrorist attacks in the last 20 years. It’s going to get worse.

* This seems normal and fine.

Gun Sales Are Plummeting and Trump Wants to Help.

GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn.

Republican Health Care Bill Cuts Medicaid 24 Percent By 2036. Trumpworld’s push to get a Senate health deal. Senate GOP Health Care Surrender Watch.

* “California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth”: The maternal mortality rate in the state is a third of the American average. Here’s why.

The Case for Paying Less Attention to Donald Trump. And Now the Trump Presidency Begins to Fail for Real. MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski say President Trump and his White House used the possibility of a hit piece in the National Enquirer to threaten them and change their news coverage.

* Hell yes, Rep. Barbara Lee.

* Normally I’d say “teach the controversy,” but these allegations are simply too serious to treat flippantly: NASA Denies That It’s Running a Child Slave Colony on Mars.

* Cyberattack attacks Chernobyl radiation monitoring station.

* On desistance and detransition.

* Global warming will intensify regional inequality in the United States, according to a revolutionary new economic assessment of the phenomenon.

* Two brothers, two deaths.

Illinois Approaches 3rd Year Without Budget.

US quietly publishes once-expunged papers on 1953 Iran coup.

SCP-3008-1 is a space resembling the inside of an IKEA furniture store, extending far beyond the limits of what could physically be contained within the dimensions of the retail unit. Current measurements indicate an area of at least 10km2 with no visible external terminators detected in any direction. Inconclusive results from the use of laser rangefinders has lead to the speculation that the space may be infinite. SCP-3008-1 is inhabited by an unknown number of civilians trapped within prior to containment. Gathered data suggests they have formed a rudimentary civilisation within SCP-3008-1, including the construction of settlements and fortifications for the purpose of defending against SCP-3008-2.

* Just what is happening at Disney?

* Rick and Morty season three, at last, by God.

And Jurassic Park but with the dinosaurs from the 90s TV show Dinosaurs, forever and ever amen.

Oops, Forgot a Title Links

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* I have a review out today of Aurora and Seveneves (both great!) in The Los Angeles Review of Books. My review actually has a lot in common with two other reviews they’ve run recently, one from Tom Streithorst on Mad Max: Fury Road and the other from Sherryl Vint on Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife.

* I always said the point of the five-year Ph.D. was “produce more adjuncts,” but UC Irvine has gone and formalized it.

* RT @cnewf: USC fundraising staff: 450. USC TT faculty in Arts & Sciences:460.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Arizona State.

University of Iowa Receives 18,000 Volume Science Fiction Library.

* The Toast interviews @AfAmHistFail.

* On working dads.

#charlestonsyllabus

* Sweet Briar lives. Joy Over Sweet Briar’s Reopening Is Tempered by Questions About the Road Ahead. Lessons from Sweet Briar. Sweet Briar Savors the Promise of Revival, but Fund-Raising Challenge Is Vast. Sweet Briar’s ‘No Nonsense’ New President Faces a Tall Task. Reinventing Sweet Briar. I just want someone to look into all their weird investment losses and figure out what was happening there.

How to Teach Your White Kids to Fight Racism.

* The flag might actually come down.

* For every “justifiable” gun homicide, there are 34 criminal gun homicides, 78 gun suicides, and two accidental gun deaths.

Rhodesia and American Paramilitary Culture.

The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why.

* CCC, call your PR office.

The brutal truth is that most of American political history is an experiment in seeing what will happen if national political elites agree not to offend white supremacist Southern white men.

* “Sanders surge is becoming a bigger problem for Clinton.”

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, she leads Sanders by 47 percentage points.

Surge!

But set Obama’s impressive electoral victories aside and the Democrats look less like an emerging majority and more like a party in free fall: Since Obama was sworn in six years ago, Democrats have suffered net losses of 11 governorships, 30 statehouse chambers, more than 900 statehouse seats, and have lost control of both houses of the U.S. Congress. They’re certainly finding every possible way to blow it.

* Scenes from the charter school scam: Milwaukee Public Schools edition.

For as long as women have been doing time, prisons have had to contend with the children they carry.

The Martian Author Andy Weir Explains All the Ways Mars Wants to Kill You.

* Erasmus Darwin, supervillain.

* Think Progress on suicide and trans* identity.

* Use/Mention distinction really hits the big time.

* What happens when the sea swallows a country?

* It’s just impossible to elect anyone who is actually on the left. Look what happens.

* It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of McDonalds.

* Amazon developing exciting new ways to destroy publishing.

Clash of Clans is made by the Finnish game studio Supercell. It launched in August 2012 and rapidly became one of the top five highest-grossing titles in Apple’s App Store. In 2013, when Yao and his invitation-only clan, North44, were at their peak, Clash of Clans helped create $555 million of revenue for the company. The next year, Supercell’s revenue tripled to $1.7 billion — a seemingly inexplicable sum produced by a roster of games that, like Clash, are free to download and can be played without spending a dime. So how is Supercell generating all that money? By relying on players who don’t simply want to enjoy the game but who want to win. Players who, like Yao, are willing to spend a great deal of cash.

* Against porn. May have spoken a bit too directly to me given that I read it while watching the Rashida Jones documentary Hot Girls Wanted, which is utterly, soul-crushingly depressing.

‘Star Trek’ Fan Invited to Pitch ‘Star Trek Uncharted’ TV Series to Paramount. The best part: it actually sounds like a good idea.

* And the arc of history is long, but Walter White From ‘Breaking Bad’ Will Appear in a Future Episode of ‘Better Call Saul.’

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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‘The Case for Faculty Self-Governance’

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In my ideal system, literally no university would ever do an outside search for dean or provost, ever, and there would be a minimum time served requirement before any new faculty hires could do administrative tasks. This would ensure that all administrators are absolutely tied to the future of their current institution and would be anticipating rejoining the regular faculty in the future. If they screwed over their colleagues, they would have to live among them as a peer for decades to come.

Adam has a post building on my mismanagement post from yesterday arguing for maximally strong faculty governance as the solution to the administrative class’s production of permanent crisis. I agree wholeheartedly. The class of transient, careeriest administrators has brought waste, looting, and an irresponsible boom-bust cycle to higher education everywhere they have taken hold, regardless of how nice or good any individual administrator is. Hence my satirical, wildly unpopular proposal for reverse tenure for admin: they only get to leave with faculty approval, otherwise they have to stay and deal with the fallout from whatever short-sighted stat-juking they instituted while they were polishing their CV.

But Adam’s proposal is what I would actually implement systemwide if I could snap my fingers and just do it: limited admin terms for tenured faculty, constitutionally behold to faculty senates, would produce a class of administrators invested in the institution’s long-term health rather than its very-short-term movements and manipulations, without producing pocket fiefdoms or another class of unaccountable gods to contend with down the road. As Adam says:

This system would also presumably inculcate broader loyalty to academia as such, pushing against the destruction of the teaching profession via adjunctification, etc., etc. But even if it didn’t have such wide-ranging effects, it would at least keep administrators from actively destroying their own institutions, simply out of self-interest.

Check out his whole post.

Thursday Links!

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* In case you missed it yesterday: “Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis.”

Chomsky: How America’s Great University System Is Being Destroyed.

* “Faculty and Students Are Walking Out Today for Catholic Identity.”

* CFP: Porn Studies Special Issue: Porn and Labour.

Igbinedion’s production company Igodo Films recently shared Oya: Rise of The Orishas in full online. They also revealed that the Oya project has been adapted for the silver screen with principal photography on the feature-length film version scheduled to begin later this year in Brazil. The London-based filmmaker shared in a recentinterview that he made the short film in order to prove that there is a market for sci-fi films revolving around African characters and storylines. In this regard, Oya joins Ethiopian post-apocalyptic flick Crumbs in forging a path for future film projects from the continent within the realm of speculative fiction. In addition to the full-length project, Oya‘s creators have also confirmed plans for a comic book adaptation of the film, which is currently available for pre-order.

* Neil Gaiman reviews Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. Sounds bizarre and great.

Study: Killers are less likely to be executed if their victims are black. What could explain it?

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims.

* London, the city that privatised itself to death.

* Once-homeless Baylor player ineligible, allegedly for accepting a place to live.

How Facebook is changing the ways we feel.

The creators of that (great!) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fan film might be in trouble.

* Meanwhile everything old is new again: Duck Tales, Inspector Gadget, even Danger Mouse.

* The day we all feared is upon us.

It’s important that the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots succeed, either at achieving an outright ban or at sparking debate resulting in some other sensible and effective regulation. This is vital not just to prevent fully autonomous weapons from causing harm; an effective movement will also show us how to proactively ban other future military technology.

Meet Your Republican 2016 Front-Runner.

* Canada, petrostate.

Thousands of oil refinery workers are striking for safer working conditions. Their fight is central to the struggle against climate change.

* Choose Your Own Adventure: So You’ve Accidentally Gotten Pregnant in South Dakota.

* And xkcd maps the future and the past.

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Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis

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Some loose, probably incautious thoughts, adapted from a couple of Twitter rants essays I’ve been writing the last few days.

A multi-generation, multimillion-dollar institution (like a college) that has to administrate by emergency decree has in nearly every case been grotesquely failed by its leadership. And in the US today that describes nearly every college and university, in management rhetorics and policies dating back at least to the mid-2000s (when I first entered the profession as a graduate student).

If your college faced drastic emergency cuts after 2008, it was mismanaged. You expanded on an unsustainable basis, made the wrong commitments, spent too much.

If your college faces drastic emergency cuts now because enrollments will tick (slightly) downward in the 2010s, it was mismanaged. You had 18 years warning that this demographic wave was going to hit, 18 years to plan for what to do when it did.

As every college administration invokes generalized, free-flowing “emergency” as its justification for arbitrary policy after arbitrary policy — all of which need to be implemented now, en toto and without debate, even the ones that contradict the other ones — they are arguing that their management up to now has been so wildly and irredeemably poor that the university has been thrown into total system crisis. And yet the solution to the emergency is, inevitably, always more (and more draconian) administrative control, always centralized under the very same people who took us over the cliff in the first place!

Nor is there ever any accountability, or so much as an explanation, for how the crisis was ever allowed to happen in the first place. (Very often, of course, the guilty parties have already fled the state.)

Eternal organizations designed to last forever simply should not have to implement policy on a crisis basis — much less be forced to implement every policy in this way. Colleges and universities should have been managed so carefully up to now so that they can afford to phase in new policy changes over time, running experiments and pilot programs where necessary to ensure success. That’s what neoliberal shibboleths like “nimble” and “flexible” would actually mean in a world of rational management — graceful, deliberate movements, not wild lurching and uncontrolled crash-landing.

Careful management, good management, is the full and sole justification for the administration class that has bloated so entirely over the college landscape since the 1980s (and whose growth is still accelerating, even in the face of permanent cuts everywhere else). Simply put the promise of the management class was that they could manage colleges better than faculty. Even by their own estimation they have completely failed at this task on every possible level. Thirty years of running it like a sandwich has every college in the country living admission cycle to admission cycle, cutting budgets and services and wages every year, careening from supposed emergency to supposed emergency without any stabilization or improvement.

Even bracketing endowments and donations altogether, generally speaking colleges have a built-in client base, already own all the land and buildings, can borrow freely, and don’t pay taxes. I could devise a harder test of management acumen. So it seems to me the approximately 100% of college administrations that are now claiming emergency and desperation year after year need to cop either to their own incompetence, or else their dishonesty, or else their active malice.

Canavan’s Razor would tell us that permanent crisis is a management strategy, the unacknowledged goal of every plan. But whichever precise combination of incompetence, dishonesty, and malice best describes a particular university administration is irrelevant. The management class simply has no reason to exist at all if their interventions in the university produce not stability but crisis, after crisis, after crisis, after crisis, after crisis…

 

Spring Break So Close You Can Taste It Links

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* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.

* CFP for the 2014 Marxist Literary Group at the Banff Centre: Energy, Environment, Culture.”

* CFP: Bruce Springsteen Studies.

* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.

* Meanwhile. My god. And my god. And my god. And my god. The US courts are just a bottomless nightmare.

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims. Yes we can!

* Freddie deBoer on the unbearable lightness of always voting Democrat.

* The unbearable whiteness of Project X.

* 25 Years of Declining State Support for Public Colleges. Many Colleges ‘Hoard’ Endowments During Rough Economic Times. The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.

* Service, Sex Work, and the Profession.

* The SATs have been provably racist and classist for decades with no improvements; Canavan’s Razor would suggest that’s the entire point. But this time…

The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.

An Elegy for Academic Freedom.

* 10 Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People.

* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.

“Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.

* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.

* Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher’s car.

* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?

The Fetishization of Lupita Nyong’o.

* Who owns the Oscar selfie?

* Zombie Studies in the WSJ.

Why Sweden has so few road deaths.

* Durham school board joins teacher tenure lawsuit.

According to a New Study, Nothing Can Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

Activists Erect A Monument To Rape Survivors On The National Mall.

How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation.

* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!

Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ’em.

Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!

* How do you remember a massacre?

* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.

* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed.

* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Friday Links!

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* On the docket in Cultural Preservation today: David Graeber, “The Sadness of Post-Workerism, or, ‘Art and Immaterial Labour’ Conference: A Sort of Review” (main reading); Michael Bérubé, “American Studies without Exceptions” and Graeber, “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs” (optional).

* A great postdoc, if you’re looking: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for 21st Century Studies Provost Postdoc Fellow, “Humanities Futures.”

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

* To reform higher ed, we need a federal job guarantee.

* 2013 Is the Fourth Hottest Year on Record. 37 years straight of above-average temperatures. Soon, Sochi Won’t Be Cold Enough To Reliably Host The Winter Olympics.

* BREAKING: Rich people are ludicrously rich, everyone else totally broke. It’s fantastic.

* I had no idea cheerleaders were so radically underpaid. I’d always thought it was waged, full-time work — like being a mascot is.

There Has Been An Average Of One School Shooting Every Other School Day So Far This Year.

* Woman Takes Short Half-Hour Break From Being Feminist To Enjoy TV Show. Nation Back On Board With SeaWorld Following Awesome Orca Trick.

* Officials looking for info on second chemical in WV spill. Behind West Virginia’s Massive Chemical Spill, A History Of Poverty And Pollution. ‘We live in a human sacrifice zone.’

The FBI Just Busted the King of Revenge Porn.

Obama Promises Governmentwide Scrutiny of Campus Rape.

Booz Allen Hamilton Looking To Hire Snowden Catchers. I bet Edward Snowden would be great at this job.

* The allure of the map.

* Durham police practices under microscope by Human Relations Commission.

* Low-Wage Federal Workers Walk Off Job.

The Academic Job Cover Letter I Wanted to Write.

* These 11 Popular Sodas Tested Positive for a Potential Carcinogen. Pepsi One Won’t Give You Cancer as Long as You Don’t Drink a Whole Can.

* CNN is now officially the worst.

* New Hampshire is considering institutionalizing jury nullification. I’m strongly in favor of all good uses of jury nullification and strongly opposed to all bad uses of it, so I’m pretty torn here.

* Obummer Watch: Southern leg of Keystone XL opens in U.S.

* My friend Jennifer Whitaker reviews my friend Allison Seay’s poetry collection, To See the Queen.

Bob Dylan is either the most public private man in the world or the most private public one.

* The duties of professors at college and universities.

Adjunct Unionization.

Chicken Soup for the Neoliberal Soul.

* Why breaking is funny, and when it isn’t.

Researchers predict Facebook will die out “like a disease.”

* Breaking the Facts of Life.

* Canavan’s Razor comes to Superman comics.

* Revolution: A Guide.

“Yale College seeks smart students from poor families. They’re out there—but hard to find.” More here.

As part of a settlement between the Archdiocese of Chicago and the victims of 30 pedophile priests, a cache of 6000 documents has been made public, detailing the Catholic Church’s efforts over many years to cover up sexual abuse and protect accused priests.

* If there must be a surveillance state, at least let it be steampunk.

* Chessmate-in-one puzzles on the iPad.

* And the last place on Earth without human noise.

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