Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Coen Brothers

Monday Links! Quite a Few!

leave a comment »

* I had a review of Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest in The Los Angeles Review of Books last week. Can’t wait for Death’s End.

* “Star Trek style teleportation would take billions of years.” Not if you reverse the polarity of the inertial dampeners, you nitwits!

* The same website has a piece hyping cryonics, so you know it’s legit.

* Meanwhile: AI ‘could leave half of world unemployed.’

Trek at 50: The quest for a unifying theory of time travel in Star Trek.

* The Discovery of Gravitational Waves. Gravitational Waves and Neoliberalism.

* The Mount St. Mary’s situation is even more astounding than you’d think when you refocus attention back on the “culling” survey itself. A Violation of Trust. From embarrassing to appalling to surreal. Twenty-first-century legal paradoxes: You can’t re-hire me, I wasn’t legally fired.

Cleveland Files Claim Against Tamir Rice’s Family For Unpaid EMS Bill.

Fathers and Childless Women in Academia Are 3x More Likely to Get Tenure Than Women With Kids.

* The Crisis Facing America’s Working Daughters.

For gifted children, being intelligent can have dark implications.

* Antonin Scalia, in memoriam.

* The end of SCOTUS. Laying out the recent vote totals like that really does give credence, alas, to the idea that Democrats started it and now Republicans are going to finish it.

* Term Limit the Supreme Court. Don’t Term Limit the Supreme Court. No, I Mean It, Term Limit the Supreme Court.

* The end of Louisiana. Worth it for, what, fourteenth place in the GOP primary?

* The end of Berkeley.

* A Rallying Cry for A Second-Chance School: The Fight to Save Chicago State.

Antitrust Case Against Duke and UNC May Move Forward.

Schools Are Doing a Terrible Job Teaching Your Kids About Global Warming.

* Climate and Empire. (Sounds like a book Asimov would write today if he were still alive.)

* On Killing Dogs.

How this company tracked 16,000 Iowa caucus-goers via their phones.

* “Killing a million people was just the sort of thing a superpower had to do.”

* Bernie Sanders and Palestine. The Washington Post found a political scientists who thinks he wouldn’t get blown out. Could Superdelegates Really Stop Bernie Sanders? Clinton now managing exceptions in Nevada, and has shockingly few staffers in South Carolina. And it’s fine. It’s fine. 

* Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department. To be fair, though, those don’t seem super hard to get.

* The skills gap: still a fraud to lower labor costs.

* The Internet ruins everything, even Jeopardy!.

* From the nice-work-if-you-can-get-it files: Concordia executive gets $235,000 in severance after 90 days on the job. No public bidding on major University of Nebraska contracts. Michigan Coach’s jet travel valued at more than $10,000 a day.

* Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina: They found BoShek. Hyperspace Maps, Graphs, and Trees.

* Are you an academic superhero?

* Adjuncts and/as freelancers.

Why So Few American Indians Earn Ph.D.’s, and What Colleges Can Do About It.

When Is Campus Hate Speech No Longer Protected Speech?

The Coen Brothers and the defeat of the American left. I knew it was them.

Marvel’s The Vision Is Telling a Story Unlike Any Superhero Comic I’ve Ever Read.

* Day late, buck short: Suffragette valentines.

The EPA calls it the most severe exposure to a hazardous material in American history. The only people in Libby, Montana, who didn’t see it coming were the victims, who are dying to know if it’s really possible to poison an entire town and get away with it.

“I’m too old to do things I don’t enjoy”: An interview with Margaret Atwood.

* And SMBC catches on to my philosophical method.

1455121279-20150210

Written by gerrycanavan

February 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday Night Links

with one comment

* The way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself, down through the generations: Tara Reid Says She’s Going To Be Filming The Big Lebowski 2 Later This Year.

* It is snowing everywhere and it will never stop. PS: Tell your winger relatives extreme winter storms are perfectly consistent with rising global temperatures. Trust me; they don’t already know.

* Building a tunnel under the Hudson just can’t be done, and honoring contractual obligations to public-sector workers would of course be socialism, but at least New Jersey still has plenty of cash to blow on casinos.

* waxy.org has a huge list of metagames, proceeding from the abusive to the downright bizarre.

* These days Superman wouldn’t even qualify for in-state tuition.

* Great Recession watch: 11% of American homes are vacant.

* Nemesis watch: James Franco will be teaching a course about James Franco.

* When hippies ruined all the books. Why, hippies, why?

* And clowns are getting women pregnant. Stay safe out there ladies.

Thurs. 3

with one comment

* Bart Stupak’s reign of terror may finally be over.

* “Christians urged to boycott Glenn Beck.”

* “Someone should not be able to walk into a restaurant and order a plate of an endangered species”: Whale sushi illegally sold in California. Like Tim I’m disappointed to find out this was only a misdemeanor.

* The good guys are losing the messaging war on climate climate. More on these unfortunate poll results from Peter Daou, Kevin Drum, Amanda Marcotte, and Aaron Wiener.

* And Star Wars, by the Coen Brothers.

Friday Night

with 2 comments

* Breaking news: TPM is reporting right this second that Obama has brokered a climate deal with China.

* Also breaking at this hour: I will never get a job.

* Trinity College entrance exam, 1900-1901. Via Mitch.

* Two more Avatar reviews, here and here.

Yes, on one level it’s a crock: predictable, sentimental, and tin-eared. It’s an attempt to rewrite (and reanimate) American history in the form of a barely disguised parable of Native Americans triumphing against white imperialists who would drive them from their ancestral lands — aided by a white imperialist (a Marine) who has Gone Native. Set in the year 2154 on Pandora, a moon of the vast gas planet Polyphemus in Alpha Centauri, it’s Dances With Thanators (and Banshees and Direhorses and Hexapedes and Hammerhead Titanotheres and Leonopteryxs). The narrative would be ho-hum without the spectacle. But what spectacle! Avatar is dizzying, enveloping, vertiginous … I ran out of adjectives an hour into its 161 minutes.

* Muhammed Ali fought 50 men. Only one disappeared.

* And There Will Be Blood wins movie of the decade on Gawker’s meta-list. Surprised to see Eternal Sunshine and the Lord of the Rings series as such close seconds, and found this observation noteworthy: “If the Pixar movies had been one series, it would have won the decade. Easily.” PS: Quentin, Wes, Alfonso, Chris, and the Coens wuz robbed.

Ecolinks!

leave a comment »

Still working through a backlog of open tabs. First up: ecology and the environment.

* There’s no such thing as clean coal. Just ask the Coen brothers. Also at Grist: dealing with the fact of environmentalism’s soft public support.

As I have argued before, our attention to wide but weak public support is misplaced, leaving us vulnerable to the cycles of an ADD media and alienating our potential core. It is increasingly evident that the vast scale of climate risk provokes a number of numbing psychological responses — pre-conscience cognitive dissonance and buffering in various forms — which exacerbates the usual forces of diffusion.

The only means by which a worldview and solution that is significantly at odds with majority public opinion may be driven onto the public agenda is through the agency of “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens” — in other words, a determined, partisan core.

* George Will: still lyin’.

* ‘Hacking the planet: The only climate solution left?’ First up: a sunshield. I guess it’s true what they say: from the dawn of time mankind really has yearned to block out the sun.

* Sympathy for the Unabomber? Don’t open any packages from Kevin Kelly for a few days.

* Times Square and several blocks of Broadway are being shut down to cars for most of the year in the name of traffic management and pedestrian malls. Awesome.

* Nuke your city. Via BLDG BLOG (which has a lot of examples) and io9. Of course, we’ve already done Durham.

Late Night

leave a comment »

Late night.

* ‘Our Phony Economy’: Why measuring GDP doesn’t tell us much of anything we need to know. In Harper’s, via MeFi.

The purpose of an economy is to meet human needs in such a way that life becomes in some respect richer and better in the process. It is not simply to produce a lot of stuff. Stuff is a means, not an end. Yet current modes of economic measurement focus almost entirely on means. For example, an automobile is productive if it produces transportation. But today we look only at the cars produced per hour worked. More cars can mean more traffic and therefore a transportation system that is less productive. The medical system is the same. The aim should be healthy people, not the sale of more medical services and drugs. Now, however, we assess the economic contribution of the medical system on the basis of treatments rather than results. Economists see nothing wrong with this. They see no problem that the medical system is expected to produce 30 to 40 percent of new jobs over the next thirty years. “We have to spend our money on something,” shrugged a Stanford economist to the New York Times. This is more insanity. Next we will be hearing about “disease-led recovery.” To stimulate the economy we will have to encourage people to be sick so that the economy can be well.

* Springfield Punx Simpsonizes celebrities and superheroes. At right: Tobias Fünke.

* Al Giordano says Tim Kaine is growing on him for VP.

The number one rule in choosing a vice presidential nominee is “first, do no harm.” If you’re a presidential nominee, you don’t want a running mate that will distract from you, commit gaffes, speak off-message, or that secretly thinks he or she is too good to be number two.

And the second rule is, “then, do some good.” You want a VP that will reinforce your messages and make voters more comfortable with you.

Kaine is so far passing both tests with flying colors.

I’m not there yet—as I’ve mentioned before, just about everything I hear about Kaine turns me off—but Al’s instincts have never steered me wrong. I guess we’ll see.

* What are the essential reads in literary fantasy? Personally I’d have to start my list with heavy-hitters from the twentieth century (and my bookshelf) like Kafka, Borges, García Márquez, and Calvino…

* Mission accomplished, corporations! Wal-Mart employee voluntarily enforces her entirely false belief that “copyright lasts forever.”

* And will Burn After Reading, the new Coen Brothers comedy, be the new greatest movie of all time? All signs point to yes:

Politics on the Mind

leave a comment »

Politics on the mind.

* Is impeachment still off the table, Madame Speaker? Rob Suskind reports that “the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.” Via MeFi.

* You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry: Barack pushes back hard on the energy issue, and it makes me happy. And that’s not the only thing he’s pushing back on:

They’re very good at negative campaigning. They’re not so good at governing.

* Al Giordano plays veepstakes, but won’t make a bet.

* Al Franken’s latest schtick: drawing a map of the United States from memory. He’s pretty good—for a celebrity.

* Raising Arizona and the H.I. McDunnough theory of John McCain.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Magazine Catchup 2

leave a comment »

I’m still flipping through the last six months of magazines after a long and trying semester. A few highlights from New Yorkers past:

* “Numbers Guy”: Exploring the way our brains process math.

One morning in September, 1989, a former sales representative in his mid-forties entered an examination room with Stanislas Dehaene, a young neuroscientist based in Paris. Three years earlier, the man, whom researchers came to refer to as Mr. N, had sustained a brain hemorrhage that left him with an enormous lesion in the rear half of his left hemisphere…

Dehaene also noticed that although Mr. N could no longer read, he sometimes had an approximate sense of words that were flashed in front of him; when he was shown the word “ham,” he said, “It’s some kind of meat.” Dehaene decided to see if Mr. N still had a similar sense of number. He showed him the numerals 7 and 8. Mr. N was able to answer quickly that 8 was the larger number—far more quickly than if he had had to identify them by counting up to the right quantities. He could also judge whether various numbers were bigger or smaller than 55, slipping up only when they were very close to 55. Dehaene dubbed Mr. N “the Approximate Man.” The Approximate Man lived in a world where a year comprised “about 350 days” and an hour “about fifty minutes,” where there were five seasons, and where a dozen eggs amounted to “six or ten.” Dehaene asked him to add 2 and 2 several times and received answers ranging from three to five. But, he noted, “he never offers a result as absurd as 9.”

* “Friend Game”: Life in the wake of the famous Megan Meier MySpace suicide.

Shortly after Steve Pokin’s story broke in the Suburban Journals, Tina Meier ran into Lori Drew at a shopping center. Tina followed Lori to a pizzeria. When Lori walked out, Tina entered the store and spoke to the owner.

“Do you advertise with The Drew Advantage?” Tina asked. “If so, I advise you to take a look at the Journals. The girl involved was my daughter.” She did the same thing when Lori went to Divine Nails, several doors down.

“Tina, just please stop this,” Lori said, in the parking lot.

“Stop this? Lori, I will never stop this.”

* They’re horrid and useless. Why do pennies exist?

* Understanding the Coen Brothers.

* Fixing the planet ain’t easy.

n 1977, Jimmy Carter told the American people that they would have to balance the nation’s demand for energy with its “rapidly shrinking resources” or the result “may be a national catastrophe.” It was a problem, the President said, “that we will not solve in the next few years, and it is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century. We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.” Carter referred to the difficult effort as the “moral equivalent of war,” a phrase that was widely ridiculed (along with Carter himself, who wore a cardigan while delivering his speech, to underscore the need to turn down the thermostat).

Carter was prescient. We are going to have to reduce our carbon footprint rapidly, and we can do that only by limiting the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere. But what is the most effective—and least painful—way to achieve that goal? Each time we drive a car, use electricity generated by a coal-fired plant, or heat our homes with gas or oil, carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases escape into the air. We can use longer-lasting light bulbs, lower the thermostat (and the air-conditioning), drive less, and buy more fuel-efficient cars. That will help, and so will switching to cleaner sources of energy. Flying has also emerged as a major carbon don’t—with some reason, since airplanes at high altitudes release at least ten times as many greenhouse gases per mile as trains do. Yet neither transportation—which accounts for fifteen per cent of greenhouse gases—nor industrial activity (another fifteen per cent) presents the most efficient way to shrink the carbon footprint of the globe.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 18, 2008 at 4:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Entertainment News

leave a comment »

Entertainment news!

* The writers’ strike is now officially over, which means the Daily Show and Colbert writers will be back tonight. You can watch with a clear conscience now.

* High off their comeback success on No Country for Old Men, the Coens are going to adapt and direct Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union.

* One interesting consequence of the strike: Showtime’s Dexter, a show I’ve talked up in the past, will be on CBS this spring, starting this Friday.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 13, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Best Film of 2007?

leave a comment »

Roger Ebert says Juno is the best film of 2007, while blucarbnpinwheel says it’s just okay at best. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m inclined to trust Ben, especially insofar as we apparently had the exact same reaction to Napoleon Dynamite right down to the Rushmore comparison. (Although in fairness to N.D. I have grown a little more fond of it in retrospect and upon a subsequent viewing.) In Ebert’s plus column, he does note the greatness of No Country for Old Men, which I’ve been meaning to write about but am having trouble improving upon the Candleblog review: Holy crap. I was just punched in the face by the Coen brothers. Every single individual moment of this film is perfect. I am in awe. How dare they make this film?

But Ebert maliciously and incorrectly snubs by omission The Darjeeling Limited, obviously my choice for best film of Oh Seven, almost as if he’s deliberately trying to provoke me into a blind rage. Winner: blucarbnpinwheel!

I’m still hoping I like Juno, though. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, literally everything Michael Cera does makes me laugh, so the outlook is good.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 23, 2007 at 5:00 pm

leave a comment »

Le Conversazioni: The writers’ conference so elite you’ve never even heard of it. Last year Zadie Smith, David Fosty Wally, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides, and some other guy met on the Isle of Capri to talk about language and identity. Next week it happens again with Ethan Coen, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Chuck Palahniuk, and Claire Messud, talking about the intersection between literature and cinema.

YouTube has clips of last year’s event, but the real meat is at the leconversazioni.it site itself.

Via MeFi. I’m going to be looking through this all day.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 31, 2007 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,