Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Stross’
* CFP: The Science Fiction Research Association Annual Conference, June 2016, Liverpool, England. I’ll be there, talking in some way or another about the world of the great Wisconsin SF writer Clifford D. Simak.
* #altac: Seattle to pay poet to live in a bridge.
The poet cannot actually live in the bridge… the room where the “living” would take place is not well heated and there is no running water.
* The very weird Dem primary is really heating up. Face It: A Vote for Hillary Clinton Is a Vote for War. That Clinton hasn’t easily put away Sanders should be very worrying for the people assuming she can defeat anyone the Republicans put up.
2007 is when the human species accidentally invented telepathy (via the fusion of twitter, facebook, and other disclosure-induction social media with always-connected handheld internet devices). Telepathy, unfortunately, turns out to not be all about elevated Apollonian abstract intellectualism: it’s an emotion amplifier and taps into the most toxic wellsprings of the subconscious. As implemented, it brings out the worst in us. Twitter and Facebook et al are fine-tuned to turn us all into car-crash rubberneckers and public execution spectators. It can be used for good, but more often it drags us down into the dim-witted, outraged weltanschauung of the mob.
* Springsteen covers “Rebel, Rebel.” Returning a favor, as he says in the video: The real find for that link is probably the Bowie cover of “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City.”
* And another one I fear I may have done before: The Soviet Hobbit (1976).
* I’m at MLA this week, giving a paper on Saturday evening on Richard McGuire’s fantastic graphic novel Here for a panel on “The Anthropocene and Deep Time in Literary Studies.”
* Facebook ran experiment to see how long users would wait before giving up and going elsewhere, but people ‘never stopped coming back.’
* Keywords for the Age of Austerity 24: Sullen. Also, here’s John Pat’s current syllabus on Innovation: A Cultural History of the Contemporary Concept.
* I think this one is old, but maybe it’s not old to you: Soc 710: Social Theory through Complaining.
* That’s when New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman filed an amended lawsuit against the two companies, this time asking for them to give back all the money they made in New York State, to give it back to those who lost money and to pay a fine of up to $5,000 per case.
* Four years later, Liss-Riordan is spearheading class-action lawsuits againstUber, Lyft, and nine other apps that provide on-demand services, shaking the pillars of Silicon Valley’s much-hyped sharing economy. In particular, she is challenging how these companies classify their workers. If she can convince judges that these so-called micro-entrepreneurs are in fact employees and not independent contractors, she could do serious damage to a very successful business model—Uber alone was recently valued at $51 billion—which relies on cheap labor and a creative reading of labor laws.
* Tufts in the news! Researchers Teaching Robots How to Best Reject Orders from Humans.
* The novelistic sublime: Joseph Heller’s handwritten outline for Catch-22.
* Through the looking glass: Game of Thrones author George RR Martin misses last TV deadline for new book.
* The Sherlock special “The Abominable Bride” was terrible. Has this show completely lost its way? My DVR, in a noble effort to save my sanity, opted not to record it.
* When Gene Roddenberry’s computer died, it took with it the only method of accessing some 200 floppy disks of his unpublished work. Here’s how this tech mystery was solved.
* And of course there’s always more Star Wars links: The Feminist Frequency Review. Editing The Force Awakens. Listening to Star Wars. The Original Star Wars Concept Art Is Amazing. A Not-So-Brief History of George Lucas Talking Shit About Disney’s Star Wars. Is Han Solo Force-Sensitive? The Bigger Luke Hypothesis. Cross Sections of TFA Spaceships and Vehicles. Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate. Are droids slaves? Rey & BB8. Reading Anakin Skywalker after Jessica Jones. If you want a vision of the future.
* Another good one from Charlie Stross: Let’s put the future behind us.
Anyway, this is the future, folks. It’s built from the bones of the past, it’s unevenly distributed, and it’s already here. And while it’s an interesting place to visit, I’m not sure I’d want to stay.
* Benghazi Is Over, But the Mainstream Media Just Yawns. Well, there’s an Ebola crisis to co– oh? really? Well, there’s Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration to cover!
Across town at Marquette University, three fraternities last spring received official warnings after reports of sexual misconduct. Complaints against fraternity members were handled through student misconduct channels, and the university ordered the fraternitiesto undergo training.
* UVA Suspends Fraternities Following Rolling Stone Campus Rape Investigation. As is usual with these sorts of things, what’s stunning is how clear it is they’re only doing this because they got caught. They knew everything Rolling Stone reported before RS reported it; the only difference is now everyone knows those things.
* The University of Virginia’s selection of an independent counsel to investigate rape allegations turned out to have been a member of the fraternity that is the subject of the accusations.
* I tell you, the ethical shambles that is today’s Young Person. Watching live college football — college football paid for by your tuition dollars, whether you like it or not — is not a right! It’s not even a privilege! It’s an obligation.
Right offhand, a number of notable trends pop out. First, this looks like a terrible job season so far. Over at the Smoker, Zombie has tallied only 110 tenure-track jobs [note: now, going back all the way to June, it doesn’t look quite so bad–though most AOS are still in the single digits). Second, the most in-demand AOS this year are ethics (37 listings), applied ethics (35) jobs, open (37), and social-political (20). So, value theory’s looking comparatively good. Third, it’s surprising (to me, at any rate) how few jobs are in the “core”, though Mind isn’t doing too bad (15 listings).
From what I can gather of the contemporary philosophy discipline a lion’s share of those ethics jobs (themselves now the supermajority of the field!) are in interdisciplinary attempts to make ethics “relevant” to science, medicine, business, etc. If you want a vision of the future of the humanities…
* Your poem of the day: Tracy K. Smith, “Sci-Fi.”
* If you want a vision of the future: Tenure-track jobs in YA lit and science fiction studies at the University of Calgary.
* This is not to diminish the exuberant commitment of the participants. At the same time, we must reckon with the fact that pop culture really likes to be agreeable along with its thrills. It likes to say yes, and makes endless conciliations to do so. It is safer to say yes. Yes can be deeply pleasurable. History is made by those who say no. Extinction Pop.
* David Graeber has published the piece comparing Rojava to the Spanish Civil War that he and I argued about on Twitter the other day. I have to say I find Richard Seymour’s take much more persuasive.
So if we have no way to make the slogan effective, what is it for? If it is genuinely intended to pressure imperialist states to “arm the Kurds”, then it is at best unthinking sentimentality. At its most sophisticated, though, the idea could be to ‘intervene’ in an argument taking place in imperialist countries around the region’s uprisings and military intervention, to attack the weak points in the dominant ideology and open a space in which a leftist argument can be made to a popular audience. In this view, Kobane represents both the most progressive front of struggle in the region at the moment, and the weakest point ideologically for imperialist ruling classes who have no desire to see the PYD/PKK prevail. In this sense, the demand to “arm the Kurds” is a sort of feint, akin to a ‘transitional demand’ in that it is both seemingly ‘reasonable’ in light of the dominant ideology and also impossible for the ruling class to deliver.
“Post-post-colonial” — and that’s just because I can’t think of something wittier right now — I think is a new generation of, well, new-ish generation of writers, where we’re not driven by our dialogue with the former mother country [the United Kingdom]. The hovering power for us when growing up in the ’70s and ’80s was not the U.K. It was the States, it was America. And it wasn’t an imperialistic power, it was just a cultural influence. I’m sure if this book was written in the ’70s or the ’60s, the characters would have ended up in London. They wouldn’t have ended up in the Bronx.
For us [as opposed to the post-colonial writers], for example, identity is not necessarily how to define ourselves in the relation of colonial power, colonial oppressor — so now it’s a matter of defining who you are as opposed to who you’re not.
* Remember: Obama cannot fail, he can only be failed.
* BREAKING: Wall Street is still looting the whole country.
* Big news for a small number of academic writers and artists: Judge Overturns IRS on Artist Tax Deductions.
* Here’s the plot, in a nutshell: Sinatoro follows a necronaut who is sent into the afterlife to save Earth from destruction. It draws influences from the western genre and the classic American highway Route 66. It’s something Morrison considers his magnum opus of sorts, and we’re glad he’ll finally get a chance to tell it.
* This is literally unbelievable: Fracking company teams up with Susan G. Komen, introduces pink drill bits “for the cure.” I find it difficult to even conceive of anything more absurd than this.
* And judging from the resounding crickets that followed this announcement this feels like a year that maybe I really could have won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
* This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed. The Year We Broke the Internet.
* But who gets to write in The New York Times — and to whom is The New York Times accessible? If we’re talking about accessibility and insularity, it’s worth looking at The New York Times’s own content generation cycle and the relationship between press junkets and patronage.
* Lately, some people have suggested that doctoral programs should take somemodest steps in order to keep track of what happens to their Ph.D.s after graduation. It’s a good idea, and these suggestions are made with the best of intentions, even if they’re coming about 50 years too late. They are, unfortunately, looking in the wrong place as far as you are concerned. You can’t just count up how many of a program’s graduates end up as professors—otherwise, the best qualification you could get in grad school is marrying a professor of engineering or accountancy who can swing a spousal hire for you. Instead, there is just one thing you should be looking at: What percentage of a program’s graduates are hired for tenure-track jobs through competitive searches?
Rutgers University, already the most prolific subsidizer of sports of all Division I public institutions, gave its athletics department nearly $47 million in 2012-13, USA Today reported, a 67.9 percent increase over the 2011-12 subsidy of $27.9 million. Rutgers athletics is $79 million in the red, but officials say that the university’s move to the Big Ten Conference will generate close to $200 million over its first 12 years as a member. The most recent subsidies make up 59.9 percent of the athletics department’s total allocations, and total more than the entire operating revenues at all but 53 of Division I’s 228 public sports programs.
* State-by-state misery index. Wisconsin’s doing pretty all right, and that’s counting the existence of Wiscsonin winters…
* Down an unremarkable side street in Southwark, London, is a fenced lot filled with broken concrete slabs, patches of overgrown grass and the odd piece of abandoned construction equipment. Its dark history and iron gates separate this sad little patch from the outside world. Lengths of ribbon, handwritten messages and tokens weave a tight pattern through the bars of the rusty gates … all tributes to the 15,000 Outcast Dead of London. Thanks, Liz!
* Geronrockandrolltocracy: On average, the Rolling Stones are older than the Supreme Court.
* The financially strapped University of California system is losing about $6 million each year due to risky bets on interest rates under deals pushed by Wall Street banks.
* Department of Mixed Feelings: Marquette likely to get its own police force.