Posts Tagged ‘CIA’
* The new issue of Extrapolation is out! This one was put together before I was an editor, but it’s still really great stuff.
* Dear English Major: A 7-Step Guide to Your Final Semester as an English Major.
* It’s syllabus prep week at universities all across America. Here’s a provocative one from Vanderbilt: PHIL 213: Police Violence and Mass Incarceration.
* Give me the child at 18 or so, and I will give you the man: Nine Percent of 114th U.S. Congress Are Alumni of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
* Why we can’t have nice things, 2015 edition: The Senate’s 46 Democrats got 20 million more votes than its 54 Republicans.
* I say teach the controversy: “Creationist: Aliens Will Go to Hell and Not Even Jesus Can Save Them.”
* Actual Supreme Court decisions: To remain silent, one must first speak.
* Dog bites man: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far.
* On the 60th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” the Los Angeles Review of Books has assembled a group of female authors, artists and performers who, dedicated to examining the faces, bodies and voices of the young girl, consider the significance of Nabokov’s pubescent protagonist as both a literary conceit and an object of patriarchal fetish.
* As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ‘em free.
* People diagnosed with serious mental illness — schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression — die 20 years early, on average, because of a combination of lousy medical care, smoking, lack of exercise, complications of medication, suicide, and accidents. They are the most discriminated-against and neglected group in the U.S., which has become probably the worst place in the developed world to be mentally ill.
* “The little girl come to my door,” 71-year-old Larry Wilkins told NBC News. “She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. She asked if she could stay here.”
* “I’m no longer watching television in which middle-aged men figure out how to be men. I’d rather watch shows about teenaged girls figuring out what it means to be a monster.”
* A team of researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute surveyed 43,000 Americans and found that, by some wide margin, the rich were more likely to shoplift than the poor. Another study, by a coalition of nonprofits called the Independent Sector, revealed that people with incomes below 25 grand give away, on average, 4.2 percent of their income, while those earning more than 150 grand a year give away only 2.7 percent. A UCLA neuroscientist named Keely Muscatell has published an interesting paper showing that wealth quiets the nerves in the brain associated with empathy: If you show rich people and poor people pictures of kids with cancer, the poor people’s brains exhibit a great deal more activity than the rich people’s. (An inability to empathize with others has just got to be a disadvantage for any rich person seeking political office, at least outside of New York City.) “As you move up the class ladder,” says Keltner, “you are more likely to violate the rules of the road, to lie, to cheat, to take candy from kids, to shoplift, and to be tightfisted in giving to others. Straightforward economic analyses have trouble making sense of this pattern of results.”
* I can’t believe I’d never read this before: the original script to Back to the Future is wonderfully bananas, including the “nuke the fridge” scene from Crystal Skull thrown in as a sweetener.
* Peak neoliberalism: eventheliberal Kevin Drum says an AI revolution that will be “pretty brutal for the 90 percent of the population that occupies the middle classes and below” will be a “basically positive” development.
* PS: Drum might have been overestimating the timetable here. In 10 years, your job might not exist.
* The paper makes no claims about in-person classes or very large online courses, but says that the study’s findings provide “the first evidence that increasing class sizes in the online context may not degrade the quality of the class.” And the paper says that “these results could have important policy and financial implications.”
* Anti-terror plan to spy on toddlers ‘is heavy-handed.’ Well, that’s debatable.
* Police say at least 30 people are sleeping permanently in Madrid airport’s terminal 4 but the number goes up in winter.
* In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law a “Vision Zero” plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and injuries altogether. “We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries on our roads,” says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at the same time.
* Science fiction poetry: “Sci-Fi Violence.”
* It’s good to get ahead of things: Should Martians Pay U.S. Taxes?
* And the winner of the Worst Thing Written in 2015 has been announced. Thank you for your interest and we hope to see you again in 2016.
* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.
According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.
* The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.
* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”
* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.
* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.
* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”
Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:
* The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.
* There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.
* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.
* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.
* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.
* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.
* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.
* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.
* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.
* The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.
* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!
* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.
* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”
Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”
That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.
* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…
* One weird trick to actually get a cop fired for brutally assaulting someone. You’ll never guess what makes this case special!
* Meanwhile: Grand Juries Should Be Abolished.
* Even if you think that IQ tests are unscientific mumbo-jumbo, it’s amazing to learn that some US police departments don’t, and furthermore, that they defended their legal right to exclude potential officers because they tested too high.
* Today’s science fiction, tomorrow’s light switch: 22 unexpected sources of power that will exist in the future.
* Ultimately, the Lovecraft statue must go. He may be replaced by Butler, or Carrie Cuinn’s sea serpent wrapped around the world idea or any of the many other options, but the fantasy community cannot embrace its growing fanbase of color with one hand while deifying a writer who happily advocated for our extermination with the other.
* The College Rape Overcorrection. I know this article is infuriating a lot of people, but I must admit I found it informative, and challenging despite its flaws.
* Scenes from the charter school scam: an exciting opportunity for administrative bloat.
* You thought you had Frozen Fever before.
* “I can even go back to being Ronnie Bridgeman, but I’m not,” he said. “They killed Ronnie Bridgeman. They killed his spirit. They killed everything he believed in, everything he ever wanted. I wanted to be something, too. I could have been a lawyer possibly. I could have been Barack Obama. Who knows?”
* From the McSweeney’s archives: I’m an English Professor in a Movie.
* Marquette University, with a generous grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, is pleased to announce a request for proposals on the topics of “The Self, Motivation, and Virtue,” Approximately ten research proposals at $190,000 each will be funded through this initiative. The grant competition has four primary aims…
* If you’re going to MLA and are a graduate student or contingent faculty member, don’t forget to apply for travel support.
* We are ruled by maniacs: West Virginia Plans To Frack Beneath Ohio River, Which Supplies Drinking Water To Millions.
* The Great Death: Earth lost 50% of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF.
* Perhaps the job market news isn’t so bad, and graduates are right to think college mostly worked for them. Arum and Roksa then turn to the high share of young graduates still living with their parents. At 40 percent, it’s twice the rate of the 1960s. Another third of recent graduates live with friends, and 70 percent of young graduates get some money from their families — as do 75 percent of all 18-25 year olds. But again, is this really the fault of college? Further, how do we know that these living situations are bad? Are these graduates really adrift, or are they showing self-discipline by cutting expenses in a bad economy? There is one clear tie to college: we know that this generation is servicing students debt of a size that their parents can barely imagine, and that this may be dampening home buying. We also know that the reigning “new economy business model” promises them neither job security nor stable income growth. So rather than missing the “markers of adulthood,” these cautious at-home students are more likely hitting them. They are the markers of Great Recession adulthood — house sharing, public transportation, deferred buying, and reliance on family.
* Late last year I started a series called “The Thick Blue Line,” based on documented, widespread, and ongoing police impunity in the United States. At the end of each month (here are the first, second, and third installments) I compiled national “no charges against police officer” cases verbatim from reported incidents.
* How to read Star Wars, by way of David Fincher: I always thought of Star Wars as the story of two slaves [C-3PO and R2-D2] who go from owner to owner, witnessing their masters’ folly, the ultimate folly of man… I thought it was an interesting idea in the first two, but it’s kind of gone by Return Of The Jedi.
* UMass police helped keep student’s addiction secret. Crazy story.
* The Hidden Costs of E-books at University Libraries. I hate this trend.
* ‘Time-Outs’ Are Hurting Your Child. Well, that was the last thing that wasn’t.
* Teachers are among the most dedicated, passionate and hardworking professionals – a few of the qualities that make the best Uber partner drivers.
* Confessions of a former internet troll. It used to be about the art, apparently.
* Data in everything: Statistician Creates Model To Predict What’s Next In Game Of Thrones.
* And Jon Hamm will be on the Black Mirror Christmas special, which is the best news I’ve heard in years.