Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Nolan

Weekend Links!

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* I liked this brief addendum to my academic job market as “game” piece from the other day.

One thing I might add is that the game metaphor also helps us see the job market as something that could be improved. If we view the market as a system of pure luck, then there’s nothing we can do to fix it. And if we think of it as a meritocracy, then we don’t have any reason to. But if the job market is a game, structured, as Canavan says, by “a set of rules that may not make sense, much less be desirable, rational, or fair,” then those in positions of power in the academy (including people on hiring committees) could work to change the rules. In large and small ways they could work to make it a more rational and fair game.

I agree the game framing suggests change is possible in a way that neither merit nor lottery does. I’d hoped I made that point at the end (“make alliances, change the rules, overturn the table”) but perhaps I could have put more emphasis on it.

* I’ve always been really skeptical of Rolling Jubilee, so I’m a sucker for any time Naked Capitalism dumps on it.

So while it is impressive to hear of the large amounts of debt being forgiven, the fact is that the people who are finding their debts erased more than likely won’t care much because they are either no longer under any legal obligation to pay the note and have long since forgotten about it, or never intended to pay the note in the first place, and never would! So these borrowers won’t likely be gushing with praise and thanks, and frankly won’t be helped much if at all by the repurchase of the debt. I suspect that people learning of their debt being purchased and erased were, instead of relieved and grateful, were more perplexed as to why anyone would go to the trouble of clearing up debt that they themselves had forgotten about long ago! By far, the happiest participant in these transactions, are the banks/collection companies who are thrilled to get anything for the loans!

* But the elusive nomads who wander that desert say California was once a paradise.

Courts do not give justice, because they do not try. They follow a formal procedure, at best.

* Run the university like a business, you know, have such radically lax oversight that one person can steal $700,000.

* When I was talking the other day about the similarities between my childhood plan to become a priest for the free housing and lifetime tenure and my current profession as a secular monk performing textual exegesis at a Catholic school, 1, 2, 3, 4, I guess I didn’t think you’d take it so literally.

The Pharmacy School Bubble Is About to Burst.

Cutinella is the third high school football player to die in less than a week.

* On the life of PhDs working outside the US and Europe.

* Capitalism in 2014: “Payment is on an unpaid basis.”

* At least they got to waste all that money first: MOOC fever has broken.

* A gender-neutral pronoun is taking over Sweden.

* Elsewhere in the-Scandinavian-kids-are-all-right: How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play.

Maps Of Modern Cities Drawn In The Style Of J.R.R. Tolkien. No Milwaukee, but he did do Cleveland, Boston, and DC. Many more links below the image; you’re not getting off that easy.

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* Damn, Interstellar.

* I can’t figure out if Ascension is let’s-do-BSG-with-a-competent-showrunner or let’s-do-BSG-on-the-cheap. Mad Men in Space, though, so fine.

* Museum of Science Fiction Selects Design for Preview Museum.

We Still Don’t Know If This Tribe Discovered In The ’70s Was Real.

* An Apple Store employee has written the follow-up to I Am Legend.

* Ideology watch: “Let. Her. Go.” movie supercut.

* America was founded as a white supremacist state. You’ll never believe what happened next.

* Here’s a lawsuit that seems deliberately calibrated to freak everybody out: Black sperm incorrectly delivered to white lesbian couple.

Talking White: Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

* D.C. Attorney May Use FBI Headquarters As Leverage In Statehood Lawsuit.

* People are saying Homeland might be good again, but don’t you believe it. That’s exactly what they want us to think.

* Elsewhere in ideology at its very very purest. Mad Men: Lady Cops.

* The White Women of Empire.

* BREAKING: Startup Funding Is Given Almost Entirely To Men.

* Just imagine what England might accomplish if it ever gets a second actor.

* Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Controversial, really? Can’t imagine why.

* Freedom’s just another word for a $1200 machine that lets anyone manufacture a gun.

* Human civilization was founded as a human supremacist state. You’ll never believe what happened next.

* Earth crosses the walrus threshold.

* Paid leave watch: Florida cop placed on leave after using taser on 62-year-old woman.

Today, former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, who was convicted of lying about torturing over 100 African-American men at stationhouses on Chicago’s South and West Sides, will walk out of the Butner Correctional Institution, having been granted an early release to a halfway house in Tampa, Florida.

* Please be advised: Jacobin 15/16 looks especially great.

* Even baseball knows baseball is dull.

* And a UF study suggests peanut allergies could soon be a thing of the past. That’d be pretty great news for a whole lot of people I know.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 3, 2014 at 7:52 am

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Thursday Night Links

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Having a monetary value tied to human incarceration and justice creates a deeply perverse incentive that should not exist in the world of commerce. When the for-profit prison industry places the iron fist of criminal justice in the invisible hands of the market and sells it as a cost-cutting measure, it is hard not to interpret as anything but the predatory capitalism of a self-perpetuating slave state.

* Law school skips right past adjunctification and non-monetary compensation all the way to a pay-to-work scheme.

* Just end the filibuster. This is a no-brainer.

What Will It Take to Solve Climate Change?

Gorilla Sales Skyrocket After Latest Gorilla Attack.

Following the events of last week, in which a crazed western lowland gorilla ruthlessly murdered 21 people in a local shopping plaza after escaping from the San Diego Zoo, sources across the country confirmed Thursday that national gorilla sales have since skyrocketed.

“After seeing yet another deranged gorilla just burst into a public place and start killing people, I decided I need to make sure something like that never happens to me,” said 34-year-old Atlanta resident Nick Keller, shortly after purchasing a 350-pound mountain gorilla from his local gorilla store. “It just gives me peace of mind knowing that if I’m ever in that situation, I won’t have to just watch helplessly as my torso is ripped in half and my face is chewed off. I’ll be able to use my gorilla to defend myself.”

* 56 Up now playing in the US. I can’t wait.

How To Fix Maternity Leave.

For the fiscal year, which for most schools ends this June, 18% of 165 private universities and 15% of 127 public universities project a decline in net tuition revenue. That is a sharp rise from the estimated declines among 10% of the 152 private schools and 4% of the 105 public schools in fiscal 2012.

* Turns out the brain isn’t very much like papyrus after all.

* Google will now translate into Flanders. (Not really-a-doodly.)

* Ezra Klein plays Biden  ’16 make-believe. At least he’s making sense on the platinum coin.

* What’s your preferred gender pronoun?

* Horrifying: On zombie foreclosure.

* And on the science fiction beat: Joss Whedon Directing SHIELD Pilot Right Now, Already Working On Scripts For Later In The Series. Christopher Nolan’s next movie is called Interstellar. For the 50th anniversary, five Doctors and a cavalcade of Companions will reunite…on an audio specialFan hopes science will prove tragic Firefly death never happened. And Y: The Last Man has a director: the unknown fan director of that Portal fan film.

All the Midweek Links There Are

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* My media empire: I have a piece on climate change and science fiction in the new New Inquiry issue on weather, which has gone out to subscribers but isn’t online yet. I’ll let you know when you can read it, though for a mere $2 you could read it this very minute.

* “It’s one of those situations where everybody says it’s an issue but the people who have the most influence and the most ability to do something about it are not acting on it,” said Gary Rhoades, professor of higher education at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and director of the Center for the Future of Higher Education, a virtual think tank supported by faculty and labor groups. He called the adjunct issue a “widely acknowledged challenge” with deep, interwoven roots – many of which pit administrative prerogatives against labor concerns and educational outcomes.

IRS Says Colleges Must Be ‘Reasonable’ When Calculating Adjuncts’ Work Hours. What if the adjuncts shrugged?

* Yesterday marked the 202th anniversary of the largest slave revolt in US history.

* Game of the day: run from Michel Foucault. Do not become enamored of power.

* Another great rundown of science fiction in China. Via io9.

* zunguzungu is gathering notes towards a canon of post-9/11 literature. I contributed Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” as well as the inevitable science fictional treatments: Battlestar Galactica, District 9, Nolan’s Batman…

* Warmest Year On Record Received Cool Climate Coverage. It’s so hot in Australia they’ve had to add a new color to the weather map.

* This paper uses annual variation in temperature and precipitation over the past 50 years to examine the impact of climatic changes on economic activity throughout the world. We find three primary results. First, higher temperatures substantially reduce economic growth in poor countries but have little effect in rich countries. Second, higher temperatures appear to reduce growth rates in poor countries, rather than just the level of output. Third, higher temperatures have wide-ranging effects in poor nations, reducing agricultural output, industrial output, and aggregate investment, and increasing political instability. Analysis of decade or longer climate shifts also shows substantial negative effects on growth in poor countries. Should future impacts of climate change mirror these historical effects, the negative impact on poor countries may be substantial.

* The Seven Lady Godivas: Dr. Seuss’s Little-Known “Adult” Book of Nudes.

* io9 celebrates the classic tabletop role-playing game Paranoia.

* The American Prospect considers the legal hyperformalism the GOP has embraced in the face of longterm demographic crisis and declining real power.

What all these efforts have in common is that they are all perfectly legal,  and yet they all violate the norms of how American politics had been practiced for decades or even for centuries. All of them exploit some loophole in the law or the Constitution to give Republicans some immediate advantage in the basic ground rules of how political issues are contested.

* National Geographic’s photographs of 2012.

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* The great moral question of our time: On heckling.

* The Superhero Delusion: How Superhero Movies created the Sad Perfect Badass Messiah, and what that says about America.

* Television as narcissism.

* Installing the blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History.

* Science catches up to what the poets always knew: Our perception of time changes with age, but it also depends on our emotional state. Research is steadily improving our understanding of the brain circuits that control this sense, opening the way for new forms of treatment, particularly for Parkinson’s disease.

* Debating that rape viral infrographic.

* Great moments in advertising: the UC spends $4.3 million to attract a single student.

* The forever war on women: Under Obama, a Skew Toward Male Appointees.

* And Mitch Hurwitz teases the new Arrested Development. I am…optimistic?

Batman Is At Least Fascist-Curious

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In my humble opinion, this act — this decision to not end poverty because you might release a weapon into the public sphere — demonstrates the real driving force for the movie’s morality, sense of history, and its understanding of civic virtue: the violence within, which must be contained. On the one hand, to say that we could solve all problems of human need and want, but we won’t, because it might become a bomb, is to assert that inequality is not what creates the specter of violence (it’s also, oddly, a lot like the argument that “people don’t kill people; guns kill people!”). The threat of violence is prior and separate from complaints over inequality, however much they might claim to motivate it. And indeed, this was the lesson of the first movie, the lesson Bruce Wayne learned from the death of his parents: you can build an awesome Keynesian super-train and fix Gotham’s economy forever, but some random street criminal will still murder you, because. Better to invest in a secret police force.

Like the Batman himself, Aaron “zunguzungu” Bady returns from self-imposed exile for one last rip-roaring caper.

Wednesday Night

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* Those communists at the ACLU are at it again; they say the president can’t just have people murdered any time he wants. Check your Constitution, hippie!

* Only the cameraman didn’t volunteer: Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb.

* Some refreshing honesty: Cheney, 71, said defense spending is “not a spigot you can turn on and turn off, that you need to keep money flowing in a predictable way so you can plan for the next war,” Graham said after the Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon.

* Okay, points there: Director Christopher Nolan says he has a simple explanation for why he refused to shoot The Dark Knight Rises in 3D: He doesn’t know anyone who actually enjoys it.

* It’s just as good as real learningEven as traditional universities have embraced massive free courses, those institutions have drawn a line on the matter of offering credit. Some professors send a letter of recognition to students who succeed in the free, online versions of their courses, but the universities have refrained from offering those students course credits that count toward the completion of a traditional degree. So far the only way students might redeem their success in MOOCs for formal college credit is by seeking validation through prior-learning assessment apparatuses.

* When David Brin met Orson Scott Card at Comic-Con.

Bryan Fuller’s mystery Pushing Daisies project may be a musical.

* And will UNESCO protect Tranquility Base from nonexistent space tourists? Tune in tomorrow, Moon Rangers, for the exciting conclusion!

Enter Strange

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Ruining ‘Superman’ One Day at a Time

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In the Christopher Nolan produced reboot, Kent’s “a young journalist, traveling for the globe, who would rather solve problems and help people without resorting to using his special powers.”

Oy.

In the same article, they also dropped the name of Anne Hathaway as a possible candidate for Lois Lane.

Double oy.

True story: a few weeks ago we actually mentioned Anne Hathaway by name as one of the actresses we least wanted as Lois Lane. I should have known then it was inevitable.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 23, 2010 at 9:33 pm