Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Choose Your Own Adventure

Friday Night Links

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* I’ve been so busy with the move I haven’t even had time to put up a James Gandolfini RIP post. I was really surprised, and bummed out, by this news. Goddamnit, I loved that show.

I know a lot of die hard fans of the original are pissed off, but JJ’s managed to make a totally cool, totally new movie that’s totally true to the spirit of the original: J.J. Abrams reboots The Godfather (2019).

* I have to admit I was somewhat pleased to see myself quoted in this end-of-the-world piece in Jacobin. And as an optimist, no less!

By the latter end of the 21st century, Miami became something else entirely: a popular snorkeling spot where people could swim with sharks and sea turtles and explore the wreckage of a great American city.

Is Obama About to Get Serious on Climate Change? Oh, honey.

* Now China, on the other hand…

China has introduced “harsher punishments” for breaking the nation’s environmental protection laws: reckless violators of pollution standards in the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economy now face execution.

“With regard to the student-athlete,” wrote a senior NCAA executive in an email, “I think the focus on exploitation may be misplaced, and maybe it is not our duty to protect the student-athlete.” Preach! What have student-athletes ever done for the NCAA?

All 185 Choose Your Own Adventure Books Ranked From Most to Least Awesome-Sounding. All-Time Gerry Canavan Maximum Nightmare Fodder Space Vampire clocks in at #4.

Welcome to the Ph.D. Placement Project.

A map showing the original meanings of place names in North America. More links below the image.

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The Government Files Espionage Charges Against Edward Snowden. Naomi Wolf has the conspiracy behind the conspiracy. And that’s exactly what they WANT us to think!

* TNI on Total Information Awareness.

* Jedediah Purdy: Seven Ways of Looking at a Charge Sheet: or, My First Arrest.

Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs? Not for College Students.

The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.

It’s long been suspected that ratings agencies lie Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it.

* Science fiction studies CFP: A group of scholars from Deakin University, Melbourne is setting up the forum entitled Deletion and is calling for both papers and creative pieces.

Official casting call reveals the characters in Star Wars: Episode VII.

* How to Use Math to Dominate at Monopoly. I’m somewhat pleased with how much of this my brother and I generated on our own as kids.

Deep anxiety about the ability to have children later in life plagues many women. But the decline in fertility over the course of a woman’s 30s has been oversold. Here’s what the statistics really tell us—and what they don’t.

* Man of Steel easter egg setting up the sequel? This reminds me a bit of the script flub that launched a thousand Deckard-is-a-replicant fan theories. And it would be — gasp — a new story.

* And io9 says the general mediocrity and total obvious superfluousness of Monsters University marks the end of the Golden Age of Pixar. We mourn.

Friday Links! Soviet Choose Your Own Adventure, World Tetris Competition, Gödel vs. the Constitution, and More

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In 1987, an anonymous team of computer scientists from the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic wrote a series of children’s books based on the popular Choose Your Own Adventure series. The books were hastily translated into English and a small number were exported to America, but the CIA, fearing a possible Soviet mind control scheme, confiscated them all before they could be sold. Now declassified, the books have been lovingly converted to a digital hypertext format and put online for the English-speaking world to enjoy. Via MeFi, which has some highlights from You Will Select a Decision:

“If you follow the bear immediately, turn to page 35.
If you follow the bear after some hesitation, wait for ten seconds and then turn to page 35.”

“If you say yes, turn to page 18
I will not permit you to say no. Turn to page 18.”

Gödel, in his usual manner, had read extensively in preparing for the hearing. In the course of his studies, Gödel decided that he had discovered a flaw in the U.S. Constitution — a contradiction which would allow the U.S. to be turned into a dictatorship. Gödel, usually quite reticent, seemed to feel a need to make this known. Morgenstern and Einstein warned Gödel that it would be a disaster to confront his citizenship examiner with visions of a Constitutional flaw leading to an American dictatorship.

Scenes from the World Tetris Championship.

This week, Europol, the European Union’s criminal-intelligence division, announced that its investigation into match-fixing, codenamed “Operation Veto,” had uncovered 680 suspicious games from 2008 to 2011. It’s huge news, not because the results are particularly surprising — there’s plenty of other evidence, even recent evidence, that match-fixing is rampant in global soccer — but because the sheer extent of the allegations means that we can no longer delude ourselves about what’s happening. This is what’s happening: Soccer is fucked. Match-fixing is corroding the integrity of the game at every level.

* Ted Underwood on text-mining and distant reading: We don’t already know the broad outlines of literary history.

* Hitchcock intended Psycho as a comedy.

* The end of NBC?

* Are Republican elites finally purging the hucksters?

* Does every life form get a billion heartbeats?

Could the Next Doctor Who Showrunner Already Be Chosen?

Should Students Be Encouraged to Pursue Graduate Education in the Humanities?

Historic Blizzard Poised to Strike New England: What Role Is Climate Change Playing?

Fund snidely concludes: “But, of course, as you know there is no voter fraud. Pay no attention to that lightning coming out of Ohio.” While voter fraud does rarely exist, fighting these sorts of “lightning” with strict photo ID laws that disenfranchise legitimate voters is like banning orange juice to prevent jaywalking.

The main point here: Germany doesn’t get all that much sunlight. In fact, it gets about as much direct solar-energy as Alaska does each year. Just about every single region in the continental United States has vastly more solar resources than Germany.

* Top college football prospect Alex Collins spent Wednesday trying to track down his mother, who had intercepted his letter of intent to attend the University of Arkansas. (Apparently she did not want him to attend college far from home.) Colleges cannot accept commitments from players under 21 without the signature of a parent or guardian. Eventually Collins’ father signed the form, but aren’t 18-year-olds legally entitled to make their own decisions?

* And TNI is giving out its weather issue (the one I was in) for free in honor of the blizzard. Enjoy!

Thursday Links

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* IQ ‘a myth,’ study says. You mean almost everybody who lived a hundred years ago wasn’t learning disabled by contemporary standards?

Among the study’s other findings:

• While aging has a detrimental effect on reasoning and short-term memory, it leaves verbal abilities “completely unimpaired.”

• Smoking has a negative impact on verbal abilities and short-term memory but does not affect reasoning skills.

• People who play video games performed “significantly better” in terms of both reasoning and short-term memory.

• Products that are advertised to improve brain function aren’t effective. “People who ‘brain-train’ are no better at any of these three aspects of intelligence than people who don’t,” Owen said.

* Big MetaFilter post on Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

* We need DNA tests before you can vote: Iowa’s GOP Election Official Has Found Only 6 Examples Of Voter Fraud Out Of 1.6 Million Votes Cast.

* Why Nate Silver is Not Just Wrong, but Maliciously Wrong.

* Joe Lieberman’s last act as a senator is surprisingly not all that malicious or destructive.

* Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement.

* Dinosaur Comics creator’s Choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet beats all Kickstarter publishing records.

* And Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up.

S+U+Nd4+Y Li+N+K+S

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Post *All* the Links

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A big post, catching up from most of last week:

* With the success of 2009’s “District 9” still fresh in their minds, producers are cherry-picking South African sci-fi properties, making it one of hottest genres this side of Swedish crime fiction.

* Science fiction on the BBC: A brief history of all-women societies.

Top Five Most Destroyed Canadian Cities in the Marvel Universe.

* News from MLA! Dissing the Dissertation. Anguish Trumps Activism at the MLA.

* News from my childhood: Another new version of Dungeons & Dragons is on the way. MetaFilter agonizes.

* News from the Montana Supreme Court: “Corporations are not persons. Human beings are persons, and it is an affront to the inviolable dignity of our species that courts have created a legal fiction which forces people — human beings — to share fundamental, natural rights with soulless creatures of government…”

* News from the future right now: Record Heat Floods America With Temperatures 40 Degrees Above Normal.

How College Football Bowls Earn Millions In Profits But Pay Almost Nothing In Taxes.

* Colbert vs. Colbert.

* Matt Taibbi vs. Iowa.

And what ends up happening there is that the candidate with the big stack of donor money always somehow manages to survive the inevitable scandals and tawdry revelations, while the one who’s depending on checks from grandma and $25 internet donations from college students always winds up mysteriously wiped out.

* Learning From The Masters: Level Design In The Legend Of Zelda.

How The Cave of Time taught us to love interactive entertainment.

* Inside the Shel Silverstein archive.

* While genomic research on the super-old is in its very early stages, what’s fascinating is what the researchers are not finding. These people’s genomes are fundamentally the same as other people’s. They are clearly very special, but not in ways that are obvious.

* What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2012? Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1955.

* The headline reads, “Quadriplegic Undocumented Immigrant Dies In Mexico After Being Deported From His Hospital Bed.”

Dallas teen missing since 2010 was mistakenly deported.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Arkham Asylum.

Pepsi Says Mountain Dew Can Dissolve Mouse Carcasses. Keep in mind: that’s their defense.

“Out of the crooked timber of humanity,” Kant wrote, “no straight thing was ever made.” Not even an iPad.

Obama Openly Asks Nation Why On Earth He Would Want To Serve For Another Term.

* Romney: Elected office is for the rich.

* What if Obama loses?

* How banks and debt collectors are bringing dead debt back to life.

People who stop paying bills earn lousy credit ratings but eventually are freed of old debt under statutes of limitations that vary by state and range from three years to 10 years from the last loan payment.

But if a debtor agrees to make even a single payment on an expired debt, the clock starts anew on some part of the old obligation, a process called “re-aging.”

So if borrowers again fall behind on their payments, debt collectors can turn to their usual tools: letters, phone calls and lawsuits. By restarting a debt’s statute of limitations, the collectors have years to retrieve payments.

* A Q&A with Louis C.K.

* Wells Tower: In Gold We Trust.

* Epic Doctor Who Timeline. More here.

* Battlestar Galactica: Totally planned. See also.

* How to Get a Nuclear Bomb.

The cast of Community plays pop culture trivia.

* “White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars.”

Classified docs reveal why Tolkien failed to win ’61 Nobel Prize!

* Solve the Fermi Paradox the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal way.

* And you probably already saw Paypal’s latest outrage, but man, it’s a doozy.

And Some Other Stuff

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* Here’s an interactive widget (link fixed) that lets you slice 100 billion out of the discretionary federal budget. It’s not easy, because this money really isn’t being wasted—so let’s not.

* On gender bias in New Yorker bylines.

* Foreclosing on Wells Fargo. Now they’re interested in talking to him. Via MeFi.

* Slate remembers Choose Your Own Adventure, including this tidbit:

The no-gender policy proved difficult to maintain when Bantam hired artists to draw covers and illustrations for the series. “In the text I was always extremely rigorous never to have anyone refer to the reader as ‘he.’ ” Packard says. “But Bantam insisted it be a boy because they had market research that said girls would identify with boys but boys would never read a book where ‘you’ was a girl. That was a big problem because most of the covers were of boys and most of the illustrations were of boys.”

It was a move that Packard believes lost readers: “I think we lost a huge number of girls to The Babysitter’s Club.

* And the headline reads, “Permafrost Meltdown May Herald Climate Catastrophe.” Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday!

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Wednesday!

* In Galileo’s time, science was clashing with religion; today, Robinson believes, we’re living in a “Galilean moment” again, in which climate change means science has become politicised. This time, though, the clash is with capitalism. “There are cultural forces in our society which say, you can save the world or else you can make a profit, and they’ll say sorry, we have to make a profit. So we have a strange religion now.” As his global-warming-themed trilogy, which ends with 2007’s Sixty Days and Counting, shows, a major theme for Robinson is ecological sustainability, and he stresses today his belief that “the climate crisis is an emergency.” Another interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, this one focusing on his new time travel novel, Galileo’s Dream.

* Fun graphic analysis of Choose Your Own Adventure novels, including Inside UFO 54-40, the only CYOA with an impossible-to-reach ending.

* The rhetoric of Google’s suggested searches. Via Ezra Klein, who summarizes:

For instance: the most popular searches beginning with “how 2 …” are “how 2 get pregnant” and “how 2 grow weed.” Searches beginning with “how might one” tend to be about music or, weirdly, Andrew Jackson.

More titillatingly, people asking “is it wrong to” tend to have something sexually indecent in mind. The top results are “sleep with your cousin,” “sleep with your stepdad after your mom has died,” and “like your cousin.” Searches beginning with “is it unethical to” tend to be about white-collar crime and animal rights.

One notes, at least in my geo-targeted region of the world, the top suggested result for “is it wrong to” is actually “is it wrong to sleep with your sister.”

* Yesterday’s Daily Show had a pair of fantastic clips: one on the Berlin Wall and another on Sean Hannity flagrantly lying (with video!) about the size Michelle Bachmann’s health-care protest.

* Chart of the Day: Rock Music Quality vs. U.S. Oil Production.