Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘collapse

All the Weekend Links, Existential Despair on the Side

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* In case you missed it: the call for papers for SFFTV‘s special issue on the Mad Max franchise. And our Star Trek special issue is still open, too!

* Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.

* Horror in Charleston.

What that means is that in South Carolina, the Confederate flag abides by its own rules. While governors—as well as the president—can usually order that all state and national flags within their jurisdiction be flown at half-staff, this one is exempt. Instead, the Confederate flag’s location can be changed only by a two-thirds vote by both branches of the General Assembly. “In South Carolina, the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag,” said a press secretary for Haley. “Only the General Assembly can do that.” Take down the flag.

* Confederate flag in Orlando to be burned in symbolic burial.

* Denmark Vesey, Forgotten Hero. A recent flashback.

Meet Debbie Dills, Florist Who Called in Tip that Led to Dylann Roof’s Arrest.

* It’s Juneteenth.

* We still need to talk about white male pathology.

* The Treasury is going to put a woman on the $10. That’ll fix it!

* Poverty and the brain.

What Would Happen If We ALL Stopped Paying Our Student Loans, Together?

California Says Uber Driver Is Employee, Not a Contractor.

* Tech isn’t really making a “sharing” economy. So what is it making? The Servitude Bubble.

Reasonable Doubts About the Jury System.

hemingway* Hemingway’s rough drafts.

We Regret to Inform You That in 4 Days You and Your Family Will Be Deported to Haiti.

Women’s soccer will only achieve greater growth when we have a FIFA not run by sexist men.

Performance-Based Funding Can Be Fickle, One University’s Close Call Shows. Florida State would have lost $16.7 million if its median graduate had earned just $400 less.

7 Seriously Bad Ideas That Rule Higher Education.

* “When a non-tenure-track lecturer position is the fairy tale reward for a PhD and more than 7 years on the job market, it’s time to break things.”

* The Cult of Jurassic Park.

* The sheep look up: don’t drink the water edition.

* Did abortion cause the drought? I say teach the controversy.

* It’s a weird, weird world: Obama is going to be on WTF. I’ll never accept this is real.

* Theses on Hating.

11. Enthusiasts have hitherto only loved the world in various ways; the point is to hate it (too).

* Precarity rising.

* Maladministration killed Sweet Briar, says former board member.

The Best And Worst Airlines, Airports And Flights, Summer 2015 Update.

‘Screen Time’ For Kids Is Probably Fine.

Your Children Won’t Be Able To Live In Space, Without A Major Upgrade.

* Another pedagogy gimmick, but at least it’s cheap: roleplaying games.

* Science explains why you hate the word “moist.”

There Have Only Been 9 Days This Year When Police Didn’t Kill Someone.

* Another piece on the trolley problem and the self-driving car.

* Vermont vs. the Affordable Care Act.

* Euthanasia and non-terminal illness.

* Harris Wittels’s sister remembers her brother.

SethBling wrote a program made of neural networks and genetic algorithms called MarI/O that taught itself how to play Super Mario World. This six-minute video is a pretty easy-to-understand explanation of the concepts involved.

* X-Men and the spectrum.

* Making the world safe from Marjane Satrapi.

Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation.

* A people’s history of Singled Out.

* Game of Peanuts.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: please god don’t ever let Captain Worf happen.

No pricey pension plans, some argued. No promotions based solely on seniority. No set hours for a given workweek. No prohibitions against layoffs. Unions! Catch the fever!

* The arc of history is long, but Mitch Horwitz is doing a Netflix comedy series with Maria Bamford.

* Didn’t we do this one already? All six Star Wars films at once.

* And if you want to know why there’s no future for our civilization, just read this.


Written by gerrycanavan

June 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* Marquette English’s course offerings for summer and fall 2015, including my courses on Science Fiction as Genre, J.R.R. Tolkien, and American Literature after the American Century.

* Speaking of my courses, this is such an incredible answer to the last few weeks of my cultural preservation course I almost feel as though I somehow made it up.

* An amazing late comment on my Universities, Mismanagement, and Permanent Crisis post, including some great commentary on the Simple Sabotage Field Manual.

* My review isn’t coming for a few months, but I really loved Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora. I can’t wait to talk to people about it. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll keep my mouth shut for now.

* If you want a vision of the future: Sweet Briar College, Citing ‘Financial Challenges,’ Will Close Its Doors in August. (More, more.Clarkson U., Union Graduate College Explore Merger. It’s Final: UNC Board of Governors Votes To Close Academic Centers. Jindal cuts higher ed by 78%.

Where has all the money gone? The decline in faculty salaries at American colleges and universities over the past 40 years.

* It’s always “the end of college.”

* “De-tenure.” Don’t worry, it’s just another regrettable drafting error!

Why we occupy: Dutch universities at the crossroads.

The academic-fraud scandal at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has focused largely on how fake undergraduate classes helped athletes maintain their eligibility to compete. In an article in The News & Observer over the weekend, a former UNC official says athletics officials also sometimes asked the university’s graduate school to bend the rules to admit athletes in order to extend their eligibility.

* This is the best Dean of Eureka Moments post yet. Maybe literally the best possible.

* College admissions and former inmates.

* Nine out of ten startups fail, which is why every institution in society should be converted to the startup model immediately.

The Search for a Useable Past: An Interview with Paul Buhle on Radical America.

* The politicization of even the idea of knowledge.

Michigan Frat’s 48-Hour Rager Wrecks Resort, Causes $430,000 in Damages.

* Le Guin vs. Ishiguo: “Are they going to say this is fantasy?”

* The United States of Megadrought: If you think that California is dry now, wait till the 2050s.

US sea level north of New York City ‘jumped by 128mm.’

A Major Surge in Atmospheric Warming Is Probably Coming in the Next Five Years.

* Vox considers the end of American democracy: 1, 2.

* Against the West Wing.

* Against “learning styles.”

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules. Hillary Clinton’s personal email account looks bad now. But it was even worse at the time.

* …whose frown / And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command / Tell that its sculptor well those passions read / Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things…

Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail.

When A Newspaper Gave Blade Runner‘s Replicant Test To Mayor Candidates.

* “An ode to Juiceboxxx, a 27-year-old rapper from Milwaukee no one’s ever heard of.”

* “When Your Father Is the BTK Serial Killer, Forgiveness Is Not Tidy.”

Scott Walker Wants To Stop Funding Renewable Energy Research Center. Of course he does.

Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American Sites To Mining Company.

The forgotten masterpieces of African modernism.

Man gets life in prison for selling $20 worth of weed to undercover cop.

* Justice department determines Ferguson is a terrible place.

* Wrong way Obama?

* The Americans and austerity.

* Two ways of looking at income inequality.

* How a French insurer wrote the worst contract in the world and sold it to thousands of clients.

* Teach students about consent in high school.

Vermont Town May Allow 16- And 17-Year-Olds To Vote In Local Elections.

* Crunching the numbers: How Long Can A Spinoff Like ‘Better Call Saul’ Last?

What Marvel Characters End Up Being Called In Other Languages.

Panpsychism’s Labyrinth.

* Careers of the future: professional dumpster diver.

* It’s where those parallel lives diverge, though, that might provide a lasting new insight. Beginning on the day in 1968 when Jack was drafted and Jeff was not, Jack suffered a series of shifts and setbacks that his brother managed to avoid: two years serving stateside in the military, an early marriage, two children in quick succession, a difficult divorce, and finally, in the biggest blow of all, the sudden death of his teenage son. After these key divergences in their lives, Jack went on to develop not only Parkinson’s but two other diseases that Jeff was spared, glaucoma and prostate cancer. The twins place great stock in these divergences, believing they might explain their medical trajectories ever since. Scientists are trying to figure out whether they could be right.

* The globalist sublime.

Mars One colonists better off eating frozen pizza than local veggies.

Local Lab In Berkeley Accidentally Discovers Solution To Fix Color Blindness.

Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One.

How the MFA Glut Is a Disservice to Students, Teachers, and Writers.

But there’s another breed of MFA program out there, proliferating constantly. These programs have nearly 100% admittance rates, fund zero percent of their students, collect outrageously high tuition, and often pay their instructors very little. And because there are so many people (rightly or wrongly) clamoring for MFAs, they have no incentive for standards, either—no incentive to reject any person, no matter how badly they write. One person’s money is as green as the next, after all. If you’ve received an undergraduate degree and can type on a computer, you’re in.

10-Year-Old Math Genius Studying for University Degree.

* The Last Man on Earth really shouldn’t work. And yet…

Officials at Arizona State University probably weren’t expecting the full Stormfront treatment when its English department advertised a spring semester class exploring the “problem of whiteness.”

No shades of grey in teaching relationships.

* Pendulum keeps swinging: Now Americans Should Drink Much More Coffee.

* But not Keurig.

* It’s been so long so I posted one of these I haven’t even linked to anything about the dress yet.

In 1971, William Powell published The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to making bombs and drugs at home. He spent the next four decades fighting to take it out of print.

* Why Americans Don’t Care About Prison Rape.

Robear: the bear-shaped nursing robot who’ll look after you when you get old. What could possibly go wrong?

* The invention of blue.

In the 1800s, Courts Tried to Enforce Partnerships With Dolphins.

* The 16 Strangest Dragons In Dungeons & Dragons.

* Mark your everythings: Community comes back March 17.

* First the gorilla who punched the photographer, now this.

* Wes Anderson’s X-Men.

* Abra kazam.


* And the arc of history is long, but: North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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NYE Links!

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* Finally, my moment has arrived: Smuggling LEGO is the new smuggling diamonds.

The New Brand of Jesuit Universities.

* On Optimism: Looking Ahead to 2015.

* From climate denialism to climate cashing-in with nothing in between. Are We Approaching the End of Human History?

Thanks to energy drilling operations, northern New Mexico is now covered by “a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud.”

* Serial, episode thirteen: 1, 2, 3 coming today or tomorrow I think. A sort-of out-there blog post on what it could all mean: The Serial Podcast: The Possible Legal Implications of Jay’s Interview for Jay & Adnan.

UI Chancellor Responds To Salaita Report. This is actually a fairly significant walk-back of Wise’s position — I think she’s actually more progressive on academic freedom than Cary Nelson now — though since she’s still pretending Salaita wasn’t actually hired it doesn’t do much good for him.

Professors are teaching less while administrators proliferate. Let’s find out how all that tuition is being spent. Colleges Need a Business Productivity Audit. Of course the actual text of the article zeroes in on instruction first, which is not the source of the problem…

* It’s the original sin of college football, and you’ll never guess what it is. In Harbaugh hire, excessive pay would send wrong message. How one former coach perpetuated a cheating scheme that benefited hundreds of college athletes. Shut down middling college football programs and shift the money back to instruction.

* The arc of history is long, but: New Michigan Law Bars College Athletes From Unionizing.

* Another angle on the growing Title IX mess: Mothers of accused college rapists fight back.

Rise of the Simulations: Why We Play At Hard Work.

* Brent Bellamy reviews Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway’s The Collapse of Western Civilization.

* 538 profiles the best damn board game on the planet, Twilight Struggle.

* Really interesting idea from Bleeding Cool about what might be happening with Marvel’s sliding timescale. I could honestly see them doing this, or something like it, at least until they start getting some rights back.

Profit from Crisis: Why capitalists do not want recovery, and what that means for America.

Anthropology and the rise of the professional-managerial class.

Is Wisconsin destined to be a Rust Belt backwater?

Why Idris Elba Can’t Play James Bond.

* Seriously, though, sometimes you can’t just switch the skin tones and have the story turn out the same.

* Brands saying “Bae.”

Seven ‘great’ teaching methods not backed up by evidence.

.* BREAKING: Twitter Reaction to Events Often at Odds with Overall Public Opinion.

* Counterpoint: Black and African writers don’t need instructions from Ben Okri.

* To Discipline and Punish: Milwaukee Police Make Late Night Visits.

* I say teach the controversy: Kids and Jails, a Bad Combination.

High School Basketball Team Banned From Tournament Over ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts.

* This Deadspin piece has really made me regret softening my anti-Vox stance in recent months.

* Sounds like the Afghanistan war has ended again. This is #3 or #4 at least, right?

* How to destroy a city: just build a highway.

* The CDC is saying we’re all going to get the flu.

* And as if the IMF wasn’t bad enough.

“Why should the legality of a sale of secrecy depend entirely upon who initiates the transaction? Why is bribery legal but blackmail not?”

* Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People.

No Charges for Police Chief Who Used Badge to Try and Intimidate Teen into Posing Nude.

* …but believe it or not it is possible for a cop to get fired over a fatal shooting.

LAPD Launches Investigation Into ‘Dead, Dead Michael Brown’ Song Sung at Retired Cop’s Party.

The labor movement should rally against police violence, whether police unions like it or not. I think we should let this whole work stoppage thing play out personally.

* Emails and Racist Chats Show How Cops and GOP Are Teaming Up to Undermine de Blasio. The headline actually undersells the severity of a story where they talk about planting drugs on his daughter.

Horrifying civil liberties predictions for 2015.

* Elsewhere in the richest city in the richest nation ever in the history of the world.

Military Turns To Prison Labor For $100 Million In Uniforms — At $2-Per-Hour Wages.

What Stalled the Gender Revolution? Child Care That Costs More Than College Tuition.

* North Dakota to eliminate taxes because fracking fracking fracking forever fracking. What could go wrong?

* Real life Alien vs. Predator: Cuomo vs. the New York State Legislature.

But Cuomo has insisted he would agree to a pay hike only if the Legislature addressed a long series of criminal and ethical charges against many of its members by passing several reforms, such as a limit on outside incomes earned by lawmakers and a system of publicly financed campaigns.

The legislative leaders, however, responded that Cuomo was making demands he knew were unacceptable in a politically motivated effort to appear as a reformer because he’s under federal investigation for dismantling his anti-corruption Moreland Commission panel.

“Before we did this study, it was certainly my view that the dark net is a good thing.”

* Streetcars, maybe not so great?

* Heartbreaking story of a trans teen’s suicide, based on a suicide note that went viral. Now go hug your kid.

* Exciting new pioneers in research:

A Few Goodmen: Surname-Sharing Economist Coauthors
ALLEN C. GOODMAN (Wayne State University)
JOSHUA GOODMAN (Harvard University)
LUCAS GOODMAN (University of Maryland)
SARENA GOODMAN (Federal Reserve Board)

We explore the phenomenon of coauthorship by economists who share a surname. Prior research has included at most three economist coauthors who share a surname. Ours is the first paper to have four economist coauthors who share a surname, as well as the first where such coauthors are unrelated by marriage, blood or current campus.

* Company selling brain poison offers free public transportation on Brain Poison Day to prevent brain-poison-related driving mishaps.

* Bat-Kierkegaard: The Dark Knight of Faith.

* Want to feel old? This Is What the Cast of Doug Looks Like Now.

* For its first Star Wars spinoff Disney has selected the impossible task of recasting Harrison Ford. They chose… poorly.

* Austerity in everything: Science proves once-in-a-lifetime moments will just make you more depressed.

* And there’s more! You’re more likely to die on your birthday.

Living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide.

* “Deputies said the shooting appears accidental”: Idaho toddler shoots and kills his mother inside Walmart.

* Wake up, sheeple! Back to the Future predicted 9/11.

* From io9Physics students at the University of Leicester claim to have calculated the amount of energy required to transform water into wine.

* Speaking in front of a white supremacist organization is what I did, but it’s not who I am. Those aren’t the values in my heart.

Celebrities That Look Like Mattresses.

* And I guess I always knew I’d die on a roller coaster.


Written by gerrycanavan

December 31, 2014 at 7:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wed!nes!day! Links!

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* The greatest Tumblr of all time forever: Wes Anderson’s X-Men. Above: Bill Murray as sad Professor X.

* A Snowpiercer Thinkpiece, Not to Be Taken Too Seriously, But For Very Serious Reasons.

* Ours is truly an age of miracles: How to cut a bagel into two interlocking rings.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Cheered by tourists, tolerated by regulars, feared by those who frown upon kicks in the face, subway dancers have unwittingly found themselves a top priority for the New York Police Department — a curious collision of a Giuliani-era policing approach, a Bloomberg-age dance craze and a new administration that has cast the mostly school-age entertainers as fresh-face avatars of urban disorder.

Visionary Vintage Children’s Book Celebrates Gender Equality, Ethnic Diversity, and Space Exploration.

* Feminist Science Fiction Is the Best Thing Ever.

* BREAKING: Law school is the absolute worst.

When and how did modern governments decide to outsource all operational aspects of geopolitical strategy to marauding gangs of robbers and murderers?

* The Ebola epidemic has reached Lagos. That’s horrifying.

* How NCAA’s Concussion Deal Affects Current, Former, and Future Athletes.

* Spending Shifts as Colleges Compete on Students’ Comfort.

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth owes $200,000 in damages to a professor of English who says she was denied a promotion based on her race and gender, a state equal opportunity board has ruled. That’s on top of the board-ordered back pay and promotion the university has already awarded Lulu Sun.

Can World of Warcraft Save Higher Education? Can it? Can it?

* Write Your Own Irish Memoir!

* Yes we can: Sonic Cannons Are Going To Wreck US East Coast Ecology In Search Of Oil.

* There is ‘No Constitutional Right Not to Become an Informant.’

* The net affect of the ordinance is that most of Milwaukee is off-limits to sex offenders.

* Over the past few weeks the stories of child refugees fleeing unspeakable violence in Central America, as well as their uncertain fate in the hands of U.S. policymakers, has been the focus of headlines around the country. What has been more difficult to follow is what is happening to the influx of refugee mothers who have recently fled to the U.S. with their children, many just toddlers and babies. I went down to Artesia, New Mexico last week to see for myself what has become of these vulnerable families.

* On sticking to your guns: Hess’s Triangle.

* Kapitalism, With Kim Kardashian.

* And, alas, it’s not all good news: BP Oil Spill Is Much Worse Than People Think, Scientists Say.



Thursday Afternoon Links

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* Fast Food Workers Walk Off the Job in Milwaukee.

Massive solar flare narrowly misses Earth, EMP disaster barely avoided. Phew! Civilization saved.

Long story short, for every degree Celsius that global average temperature rises, we can expect 2.3 meters of sea-level rise sometime over the ensuing 2,000 years. (U.S. translation: for every degree Fahrenheit, 4.2 feet of rising seas get locked in.) We are currently on track to hit 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, if not sooner. That means locking in 9.2 meters, or 30 feet, of sea level rise. Suffice to say, that would wipe out most of the major coastal cities and towns in the world.

The unemployment rate for recent grads with a degree in information systems is more than double that of drama and theater majors, at 14.7% vs. 6.4%, according to a recent Georgetown University study. Even for computer science majors, the jobless rate for recent grads nears 9%.

How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish. More links follow the graph.


* Thank China for the Pacific Rim sequel.

[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from? They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa. What the hell is quinoa, they asked. … Google ‘Pressure Cookers’ and ‘Backpacks,’ Get a Visit from the Cops.

* How the NSA is spying on you.

The NSA’s Massive Call Record Surveillance Program Barely Accomplishes Anything.

* Highest-Ranking Black NYPD Police Chief Stopped and Frisked.

Conservative Catholics Recoil at Francis Papacy. Federal Judge: Catholic Church Has A Constitutional Right Not To Compensate Victims Of Sex Abuse.

Uruguay Poised To Become First Country To Legalize Marijuana.

* How the Republicans will retake the Senate.

The states include four Democratic held seats — Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — and two GOP-held seats — Kentucky and Georgia. And Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) made the case that Republicans will have to come close to running the table.

* Oxymoron alert! Democrats To Introduce Supreme Court Ethics Bill.

* Amazon will sell officially licensed Kurt Vonnegut fan fiction.

* And in local news: Wisconsin DOT has a plan to fix the worst stretch of road in the city… a decade from now.

Friday Night Linkdump

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* The future’s already here, it’s just not evenly distributed: “Dizzy and sick”: McDonald’s workers strike after enduring 110 degree heat.

Richest 300 Persons on Earth Have More Money Than Poorest 3 Billion.

* Neill Blomkamp hypes Elysium.

Jimmy Carter Says NSA Scandal Shows America Has No Functioning Democracy.

* Detroit declares bankruptcy. The U.S. cities that have filed for bankruptcy, in one map. Only Wall Street Wins in Detroit Crisis Reaping $474 Million Fee. Race and ethnicity 2010: Detroit.Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%. Dirty tricks from Governor Snyder.But not so fast.

After Trayvon: Will There Be Justice for Florida’s Other Stand Your Ground Victim?

On Twitter, Jim Henley suggested that we view these laws as a variation on deputization — but it’s a weirdly open-ended form, a kind of freelance self-deputization. It’s recruiting potentially every white male (along with everyone who identifies culturally with the white male power structure over against minority groups) to appoint himself a police deputy and join in the ongoing war on minorities that we euphemistically call “law enforcement” in this country.

* Obama speaks.

* More details on San Jose State’s rejection of MOOCs: University Suspends Online Classes After More Than Half the Students Fail.

* Tufts adjuncts file for union. 6 Current Players Join Antitrust Lawsuit Against The NCAA.

* Megan Erickson in Jacobin against unschooling. Gary Cohn at Firedoglake against colocation.

Sequestration Cuts To Research ‘Like A Slowly Growing Cancer.’

* Texas Monthly profiles Wendy Davis and the Democrats’ fight to flip Texas.

* Five-year-old shoots two-year-old sister dead with “My First Rifle.”

* Scientists have found the biggest viruses known, and these pandoraviruses have opened up entirely new questions in science—even suggesting a fourth domain of life, a new study says.

* Death and dying in America: 1, 2.

 * Collapse, 1200 BC.

* Save the Cat! Why Every Hollywood Movie is Exactly the Same.

Saturday Links!

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* Does the BBC want Moffat off Who? Well, then, I guess that’s pretty much everyone.

* The AV Club argues the American Office, to the end, was a great television show about how terrible love can be.

So you survived the apocalypse. Here’s what would it take to rebuild the world.

* How to Avoid Toxic Chemicals.

* But it’s not only the Globe. This failure is repeated across the mainstream media landscape — the product of a mindset in which climate change is simply another environmental problem, albeit a particularly complex one for which we’ll eventually find a technical fix, mainly by doing more or less the same things we’re doing now, only more efficiently and with better technology. It’s nothing to get too excited about. It’s certainly not anything to sacrifice your career over.

* Mark Fisher on affective labor. Warning: The ultimate imagistic reference is pornographic, if that’s unpleasant for you.

Being exploited is no longer enough. The nature of labour now is such that almost anyone, no matter how menial their position, is required to be seen (over)investing in their work. What we are forced into is not merely work, in the old sense of undertaking an activity we don’t want to perform; no, now we are forced to act as if we want to work. Even if we want to work in a burger franchise, we have to prove that, like reality TV contestants, we really want it. The notorious shift towards affective labour in the Global North means that it is no longer possible to just turn up at work and be miserable. Your misery has to be concealed – who wants to listen to a depressed call centre worker, to be served by a sad waiter, or be taught by an unhappy lecturer?

Yet that’s not quite right. The subjugatory libidinal forces that draw enjoyment from the current cult of work don’t want us to entirely conceal our misery. For what enjoyment is there to be had from exploiting a worker who actually delights in their work? In his sequel to Blade Runner, The Edge of Human, K W Jeter provides an insight into the libidinal economics of work and suffering. One of the novel’s characters answers the question of why, in Blade Runner‘s future world, the Tyrell Corporation bothered developing replicants (androids constructed so that only experts can distinguish them from humans). “Why should the off-world colonists want troublesome, humanlike slaves rather than nice, efficient machines? It’s simple. Machines don’t suffer. They aren’t capable of it.  A machine doesn’t know when it’s being raped. There’s no power relationship between you and a machine. … For the replicant to suffer, to give its owners that whole master-slave energy, it has to have emotions. … . The replicant’s emotions aren’t a design flaw. The Tyrell Corporation put them there. Because that’s what our customers wanted.”

* And the only way to win is not to play: In part, this is how all solitaire games work. The solitaire aesthetic in general is about taking rational content and form — apparent in the effort to model the range of a T-37 turret gun in the game’s structure — and giving it metaphysical expression and feeling in a game-play design. It is a constructed channel of experience, with clearly defined player operations, yet completely undefined in terms of how the player experiences it. Even though you are rolling a die and consulting a results table, you see the battle in terms beyond paper and dice; your mind creates a narrative in which the enemy is repulsed or surges forth, where a battle-scarred unit makes the break-through or where defeat is quickly assured when a leader is cut down in the opening hellfire of bullets. A string of successful rolls translates into cosmic kismet, failed rolls into a series of punches putting you on the ropes.


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