Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Cat's Cradle

Sunday Morning Links!

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* Released yesterday: Grad School Vonnegut #11, Cat’s Cradle with Patrick Iber! We had some minor but annoying audio problems with this one, so the editing took a bit longer than usual — so please enjoy, and look forward to, well…

* Apocalypse Now: Covid-19 and the SF Imaginary: Gerry Canavan, Jennifer Cooke and Caroline Edwards in conversation with Paul March-Russell.

* Registration for the “Beyond Borders: Empires, Bodies, Science Fictions” conference is now open. Call for Papers: Journal of Posthumanism. And ICYMI: SFFTV’s Call for Reviewers.

* Polygraph has a new issue! Marxism and Climate Change.

USPS changes blamed for deliveries of thousands of dead chicks: ‘We’ve never had a problem like this before.’ ‘Like Armageddon’: Rotting food, dead animals and chaos at postal facilities amid cutbacks. Washington Postal Workers Defy USPS Orders And Reinstall Mail Sorting Machines. How a viral photo of USPS collection boxes became a lesson in misinformation. The barn door will now be closed.

* Starting to regret my vote for Trump: In secretly recorded audio, President Trump’s sister says he has ‘no principles’ and ‘you can’t trust him.’ Senate committee made criminal referral of Trump Jr., Bannon, Kushner, two others to federal prosecutors. Inside the chaotic, desperate, last-minute Trump 2020 reboot. What happens if when Donald Trump fights the election results? We Shouldn’t Have to Remind People George W. Bush Was a Terrible President.

* The K-Shaped Recovery. Coronavirus stimulus: Loss of extra $600 unemployment benefits leads to 44% drop in spending. Economists foresee an unemployment “tsunami” coming. The COVID economy means millions of Americans are at risk of food insecurity. Nearly 30 million Americans told the Census Bureau they didn’t have enough to eat last week. Evictions are expected to skyrocket as pandemic protections come to an end.

* New York lays off hundreds of EMTs amidst historic budget crisis.

* Joe Biden’s Campaign Is Making It Very Clear: They Will Push Austerity in the White House. Biden to ABC’s Robin Roberts: ‘I don’t want to defund’ the police, but Trump does. Joe Biden: An Old Man Trying to Lead a Young Country. Prepare yourself for the Biden century.

* Wisconsin lacks ideal coronavirus testing capacity for reopening of college campuses, schools, top health official says. Trending the wrong way. Wisconsin unemployment rate drops, still double last year. ‘The system is not built for problems:’ Attorneys point to Gov. Walker reforms amid unemployment delays. Wisconsin Is a Microcosm of America’s Democratic Decline.

* But it’s not all bad news! Sculpture Milwaukee 2020 works now on display. A Brief History of Frozen Custard, Wisconsin’s Favorite Dessert.

* University Staff Are Worried Their Recorded Lectures Will Be Used Against Them. The Neoliberal University Is Failing on Coronavirus. How Covid-19 United the Higher-Ed Work Force. Company that builds and maintains student housing sent letters to public universities in at least two states in May as they weighed in-person fall classes, reminding them of hundreds of millions of debt. Deserted College Dorms Sow Trouble for $14 Billion in Muni Bonds. Records from before reopening show experts warned UNC of COVID-19 outbreaks. UNC fiasco reveals truth about reopening colleges. Early Movers to Online Don’t Regret Decision. Will Shame Make Students Stop Socializing? News from the Daily Tarheel. Don’t make us write obituaries. Blaming students at Syracuse, UNC, NC State. University of Michigan professors have ‘no confidence’ in administration’s plan to contain coronavirus. Michigan State, Notre Dame Back Off From Fall Reopening Plans. Detroit Teachers Authorize ‘Safety’ Strike Over School Reopening Fears. ‘I just can’t do this’: UI student who tested positive for COVID-19 recounts school response. Alabama goes from 1% positivity to as high as 29% in one week. NYU students use TikTok to expose the school’s bleak quarantine meal plan. Inside the Slow-Moving Disaster of Students Returning to College Campuses. ‘They put us all in danger.’ Georgia State QB Mikele Colasurdo diagnosed with heart condition linked to COVID-19. Marquette in-person class decision detrimental to non-tenure faculty, TAs. Marquette University’s reopening plan draws backlash. Faculty, Students Protest at MU President’s House. “Christian Colleges Ask: Would God Want Us to Reopen?” The New College Drop-Off. Remote learning: a poem. True shamelessness. This is everyone’s fault but mine.

* Ghouls, ghouls, ghouls.

* Andrew Cuomo, Leader.

Study suggests ‘horrifying’ rise in domestic violence during pandemic. Long-Haulers Are Redefining COVID-19.

* Evidence grows that children may play a larger role in transmission than previously believed.

9 reasons you can be optimistic that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be widely available in 2021.

* Are You Overpraising Your Child?

* America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine Worse. Blow up plans for the school year and get creative, you fools. Understatement of the year: Working parents face tough decisions as schools reopen. Scientists warn it may be years before students can return to school without masks, social distancing.

* The Lesson Americans Never Learn.

* What Happens If the 2020 Census Fails?

* “Fears about Peak Oil are gone. Now we plan for Peak Demand.”

* Millennial Futures Are Bleak. Incarceration Is to Blame.

* Looking for Solace and Solidarity in a Broken-Hearted World.

Black newborns more likely to die when looked after by White doctors.

* California is burning, again. The state is suffering from a severe lack of firefighters due to the COVID-19 depleting the ranks of prisoners who normally do the work for $3/day (and then are barred from being firefighters after release). Severe inhumanity.

* The Mysterious Life of Birds Who Never Come Down.

* The Enduring, Pernicious Whiteness of True Crime.

* TOS FTW. ‘The Before Time’: A Sci-Fi Idea That Has Made Its Way to Real Life.

* The Evolution of Ransomware.

* This week’s thing we’re supposed to bicker about on Twitter is just absurd. I’m still not over last week’s thing.

* There’s friendship, and then there’s friendship.

* A new theory of historical fantasy from N.K. Jemisin.

* The QAnon Century. A Primer. How three conspiracy theorists took ‘Q’ and sparked Qanon. Trump’s Cloud of Gossip Has Poisoned America. The Republican Embrace of QAnon Goes Far Beyond Trump.

How UFO culture took over America.

* Never a good thing to star in your own dystopian fiction.

* Twilight of DC Comics. But they’re bringing Milestone back!

* In search of Bombadil.

(Behold?) The Vision’s Penis: The Presence of Absence in Mutant Romance Tales.

* #MLA21 goes virtual.

* What about the bad job offers?

* ‘Watchmen’ Writer Cord Jefferson on Fresh Air.

* ‘The mystery is over’: Researchers say they know what happened to ‘Lost Colony.’

* I could listen to anything on eight cellos, it turns out.

* The latest in my recurring series of grad school advice tweets.

* J. G. Ballard’s book for children were not a success.

* And I believe America’s best days are still in front of it.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2020 at 9:55 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Grad School Vonnegut #11: CAT’S CRADLE! (with Patrick Iber)

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Like boko-maru for your ears, it’s episode 11 of Grad School Vonnegut, on Cat’s Cradle, with UW’s Patrick Iber!

Written by gerrycanavan

August 22, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Finely Curated May Fifth Links (Aged to Perfection)

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* I’ve had a couple of short pieces of writing go up in the last few weeks: a piece on the often overlooked epilogue to The Handmaid’s Tale at LARB and a followup piece on Infinity War and franchise time at frieze.

* Maybe my favorite Infinity War take. Bady! Nussbuam! Loofburouw! Scalzi! Dreyfuss! We’re the good guys, right? Pop Culture Won’t Save UsHow one movie genre became the guiding myth of neoliberalism.

* There’s also been a couple other good pieces lately pushing on whether Handmaid’s Tale really should have had a second season.

* Two from Jaimee: “Frosted Palm” and “The Books in the Bushes.”

* The 2018 Marquette Literary Review is up. And so is SFRA Review #324!

CFP: Third Issue of The New Americanist/ Special Feature Section: “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory.”

* CFP: An Anthology on Carrie Fisher.

* CFP: Special Double Issue: Disability Studies and Ecocriticism.

* Wakandacon 2018.

The 2018-2019 NESFA Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Story Contest is open from Spring 2018 through July 31, 2018.

* Twitter thread: we already live in a boring dystopia.

* Most-Liked Tweets of Famous Poets.

* Welcome to Midwestworld.

* Fred Moten in the New Yorker!

* Janelle Monáe in Rolling Stone! 

* Maybe the best “there’s just one story and we tell it over and over” I’ve ever done.

Channeling the anti-Trump #Resistance, a slew of recent books seeks to reduce democracy to a defense of political “norms.” But overcoming today’s crisis will take more political imagination.

* Three Identical Strangers, a dark documentary about identical triplets who were separated-at-birth. Amazing story. I wish I’d waited for the movie before Googling it.

How a tiny protest at the U. of Nebraska turned into a proxy war for the future of campus politics.

* Sexism and academia.

* Just in time for my summer syllabi: Junot Diaz #MeToo Accusations Surface. No Nobel Prize in Literature in 2018.

* Michigan State. Michigan State. Michigan Goddamn State. SIU. Columbia. University of Illinois at Chicago. George Mason. UNC. And in some rare good news: Oregon.

* There is no campus free speech crisis: a look at the evidence.

“The root cause of the F.B.I. investigation are the N.C.A.A. rules limiting — actually, prohibiting — compensation for players,” he said. “And none of the recommendations speak to them — none of them.”

What does a non-academic job search look like for a rhet/comp PhD student? I put compiled some numbers to illustrate my experience over the last 3 months.

What Jack Kirby proposed for the plaques on the Pioneer space probes.

* Infiltration into left-wing groups is just the sharp edge of an entire armory of political policing.

Chicago’s drinking water is full of lead, report says. Newark Water Tests Show High Lead Levels, Prompting Threat of Lawsuit.

* Vaccine refusal is contagious — and there’s no cure.

What’s Wrong With Growing Blobs of Brain Tissue?

One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true.

* The arc of history is long, but Somehow, Jaxxon the Ridiculous Green Space Rabbit Has Made It to the New Star Wars Canon.

How a Genealogy Site Led to the Front Door of the Golden State Killer Suspect.

New Documents Reveal How ICE Mines Local Police Databases Across the Country.

* ICE held an American man in custody for 1,273 days. He’s not the only one who had to prove his citizenship.

Is the US Border Patrol Committing Crimes Against Humanity?

Chisholm concluded there was “no basis to conclusively link” the death of Trammell, which occurred in May, to the officers’ actions.

LEGO crime boss busted in Portland. No jury in the world would convict him.

* Escapism and Springsteen.

* Happiness begins at 50.

* AI as alchemy.

$5,751.

Lessons From Rust-Belt Cities That Kept Their Sheen.

The Mighty Thor’s conclusion signals the end of a Marvel Comics era. What an odd comic this was. And meanwhile: This is the Dark Side of the Rainbow of our time.

Enjoy a tarantula burger in Durham, North Carolina.

Six Animal Rights Activists Charged With Felonies for Investigation and Rescue That Led to Punishment of a Utah Turkey Farm.

* In New Jersey, the top lobbying spenders are from the following industries: energy, healthcare, insurance, and… balloons.

A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.

* eFterlife. Batmen and Robins. Natural selection. Good grief.

‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Interactive Movie in the Works at Fox.

* Two years old, but who cares: “It smelled like death”: An oral history of the Double Dare obstacle course.

* And sure, let’s make ice-nine, at this point why not.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 5, 2018 at 10:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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No, *These* Are the Weekend Links

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Sunday Links!

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* Don’t miss my flash review of The Avengers: Age of Ultron! As I say in the update, thanks to my friend Ryan Vu for priming the pump (and look for his brilliant review of Captain America 2 in a few months in SFFTV).

Why Avengers: Age of Ultron Fills This Buffy Fan With Despair. Nerd Plus Ultron: There Has to Be More to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Than Printing More Money.

* Notes on the coming DC disaster: In the early going, some in Hollywood are questioning whether Warners has acted too much in haste without having fleshed out the world on which so much hinges.

These Imaginative Worlds and Parallel Universes Will Forever Change How You Think About Africa.

2030 is set largely in the titular year, 100 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. The initial title card establishes that 80% of the population has been evacuated due to the rising sea level as an effect of global warming.

* Great university boondoggle reporting from Freddie deBoer.

Late last week, using the hashtag #talkpay, people began tweeting about how much money they make—a radical thing to do in a culture that treats disclosing your salary as the ultimate taboo.

Dear Superprofessors: The experiment is over.

I’ve been buried in final book manuscript revisions, and have been noticing that I’m increasingly using the term “management” rather than “administration” in my analyses of university governance.  Part of the reason is that my employer, the University of California, uses Senior Management Group as a formal employment classification. But it’s also because the friendlier aspects of the term “administration” seem decreasingly part of everyday academic life. Friendliness was administration as support structure, as collaborator, as partner, as the entity that did not take orders from obnoxious egocentric faculty prima donnas the way that frontline staff often had to do, but that accepted balanced power relations  and a certain mutual respect that could make decisions move relatively quickly and equitably. It would avoid command and control of the kind that prevailed in the army and in most corporations, where executive authority consisted of direct rule over subordinates.

Pay hike at McMaster University for female faculty.

Lawmakers back away from increased course loads for UNC professors.

Fewer professors, more managers work on Cal State campuses.

* …Carey has produced a sloppy polemic, a revenge fantasy that tries to turn personal resentment and cynicism into public policy.

* Horrifying, literally unbelievable story of peer review gone awry. More here.

* Well, I guess that settles it: In 50-49 vote, US Senate says climate change not caused by humans.

Study: Climate Change Threatens One in Six Species With Extinction.

Babies born 3 miles apart in New York have a 9-year life expectancy gap. 15 Baltimore neighborhoods have lower life expectancies than North Korea.

The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Protest, 1965-1975.

Rikers Island meatloaf did have rat poison.

An Empty Stadium in Baltimore. A Brief History of Pro Sports Played in Empty Stadiums.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 18: Descending into Violence.

‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture.

New ACLU Cellphone App Automatically Preserves Video of Police Encounters.

The particularity of white supremacy.

* It’s hard out there for a gifted kid.

* “No one has walked on the moon in my lifetime,” I told them. “Yet you try to tell me that it’s my generation who has lost their wonder?  That it’s the young people of today who have let everything slip and fall into ruin? You don’t understand. You had the dream and the potential and the opportunities, and you messed it all up. You got hope and moon landings and that bright, glorious future. I got only the disasters.”

In some ways Ex Machina may be considered a feminist film by sheer dint of our low standards, the scarcity of stories that explore female desire beyond the realm of sex and romance.

Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’ to Be Developed as TV Series By IM Global.

The Secret Mountain Our Spies Will Hide In When Washington Is Destroyed.

A 7-Year-Old Girl Got A New 3D-Printed Left Hand For The Wonderful Price Of $50.

This 5-year-old girl knows a lot more about presidents than you do. At this point I say put her in charge.

If you’re 33 or older, you will never listen to new music again—at least, that’s more or less what a new online study says. The study, which is based mainly on data from U.S. Spotify users, concludes that age 33 is when, on average, people stop discovering new music and begin the official march to the grave.

How Old Is Old? Centenarians Say It Starts in Your 80s; Kids Say Your 40s.

“How Does a Stand-Up Comedian Work?”

* Whiteness and the Apple Watch.

* The arc of history is long, but Cheez-Its is finally going to sell a box of just the burned ones.

* The same joke but with this Iceland law allowing anyone to murder any Basque on sight.

* “NASA has trialled an engine that would take us to Mars in 10 weeks.”

* The most racist places in America.

* Daddy, there’s a monster under the bed.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine James Cameron directing Avatar sequels, forever.

* And the same joke but with 21 Jump Street sequels.

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Rereading Cat’s Cradle

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In other words, this novel is not a foursquare, detailed, and plausible construction, and shouldn’t be judged as one. It is a funny and despairing vision of the last judgment done in comic-book style, and Vonnegut’s modesty as an artist combines with his dismay as a man to prevent him from lavishing too much careful portraiture on people not long for a world that’s about to crack up anyway. It arrives like the punch line to one of Vonnegut’s jokes when you realise that the most realistic feature of Cat’s Cradle is the idea of a technology capable of destroying civilisation in a day.

Rereading Cat’s Cradle, in the Guardian.

In a happier world, Cat’s Cradle might remain a period piece, an anthology of 1960s nightmares and fantasies out of place in a new world order of international law, shared prosperity, and spreading peace. How nice it would be to return to this novel (one I first read, as an adolescent, just before the Berlin wall came down), and discover that the old fears had melted away, without any new terrors to take their place. No such luck. Reading it, you want to reject Vonnegut’s pessimism as too easy and comprehensive, like the sour negativity of adolescents – always Vonnegut’s best and most devoted readers – but it’s not evident that the 21st century will grant us very strong grounds on which to do so. Eight years in, even the silly coinages of Bokonon seem to have taken on, for Americans at least, a certain utility and precision:

Duffle, in the Bokononist sense,
is the destiny of thousands upon
thousands of persons when
placed in the hands of a stuppa.
A stuppa is a fogbound child.

Written by gerrycanavan

April 26, 2008 at 4:08 pm