Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

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Monday Morning Links!

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Call for Papers: “Reframing Science Fiction.”

* Chris Ware: Why I Love Comics.

* Ghosts of Marquette.

Utopias, past and present: why Thomas More remains astonishingly radical.

* I just can’t believe “crip theory” is really a brand with staying power, but it’s showing up in job titles now.

Margaret Atwood on our real-life dystopia: “What really worries me is creeping dictatorship.” Oh, if only it were “creeping!”

* All Things Must Pass: McDonald’s franchisees say the brand is in a ‘deep depression’ and ‘facing its final days.’

Who’s to Blame for Mass Incarceration?

* Teach the controversy: Is UC spending too little on teaching, too much on administration? More links below the chart.

The Plan to Make California Wet By Bringing Back Beavers.

Monica Morrison has now let herself be named in her lawsuit against the University of Miami for its mishandling of Colin McGinn’s harassment.

Buck Rogers and the Copyright Trolls.

* Free the cheese bandits. Free all political prisoners.

* I still think Democrats are severely discounting the possibility that Clinton gets indicted.

* Vox, the website that explains the news, suggests Nordic genetic superiority might explain Denmark’s social institutions. Interesting, but not dispositive! I get that this is supposed to be a troll, but all the same…

Wealth therapy tackles woes of the rich: ‘It’s really isolating to have lots of money.’

Fukushima Looks Like An Apocalyptic Ghost Town 4 Years After The Nuclear Disaster.

A few days ago, a reddit user posted a thought-experiment about living in Las Vegas and working in San Francisco, commuting four days a week by airplane. Their back-of-the-envelope calculations have them saving about $1100/month.

* I’ll allow it: Larry David Fulfills Destiny, Plays Bernie Sanders In SNL Cold Open. Bonus David Content! Larry David’s Daughter’s Instagram Will Make You Wish She was Your Best Friend.

* Beowulf vs. Satan vs. Grendel vs. Dracula.

* I’ve seen this movie: Aer Lingus Passenger Flips Out, Bites Fellow Passenger, Dies.

* And somehow I always knew it would end like this: Japan Engineers Design Robotic Bear to aid in Assisted Suicide.


Weekend Links!

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* I have a short essay in the New Orleans Review‘s science fiction issue. Check it out! (Sorry, it’s not online.)

* CFP: Special Issue of American Literature: “Queer about Comics.”

* Academics of color experience an enervating visibility, but it’s not simply that we’re part of a very small minority. We are also a desired minority, at least for appearance’s sake. University life demands that academics of color commodify themselves as symbols of diversity—in fact, as diversity itself, since diversity, in this context, is located entirely in the realm of the symbolic. There’s a wound in the rupture between the diversity manifested in the body of the professor of color and the realities affecting that person’s community or communities. I, for example, am a black professor in the era of mass incarceration of black people through the War on Drugs; I am a Somali American professor in the era of surveillance and drone strikes perpetuated through the War on Terror.

Universities love a flagship building that sets them apart from the rest. But are they being designed with learning and research in mind?

Cornell Grad Students Form Unrecognized Union.

* The Irony of Catholic Colleges.

* The end of content.

* The end of tenure.

* Fake traffic is rotting the Internet.

* So weird: John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress.

* The College President-to-Adjunct Pay Ratio.

* The Journal of Academic Freedom has a special section devoted to Steven Salaita.

* Science proves you like being ripped off by airlines.

Fordham, Marquette rescind honorary degrees they gave Cosby.

Here’s More Evidence That Galactic Super-Civilizations Don’t Exist. Yet!

What a massive sexual assault survey found at 27 top U.S. universities. Counterpoint: The latest big sexual assault survey is (like others) more hype than science. Counter-counterpoint: The University of Chicago’s message to the Class of 2019: Don’t be a rapist.

* Speech and the campus newspaper at Wesleyan. And from the Southern Poverty Law Center: Campus Newspaper Thefts since 2000.

* Today in the apocalypse: Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.

* Ahmed’s Clock, Banneker’s Clock, and the Racial Surveillance of Invention in America.

* “Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges.”

A recent study suggests that acetaminophen—found in Tylenol, Excedrin and a host of other medications—is an all-purpose damper, stifling a range of strong feelings. Throbbing pain, the sting of rejection, paralyzing indecision—along with euphoria and delight—all appear to be taken down a notch by the drug.

Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software. Volkswagen hires BP’s Deepwater defense team as the lawsuits start. But it’s not all bad news.

Stojcevski was sent to the Macomb County Jail in Mt. Clemens, Mich., on June 11, 2014, to serve a 30-day sentence after failing to appear in court over a ticket for careless driving, according to the lawsuit. During the 16 days between his imprisonment and his death, the lawsuit alleges, staff at the jail knowingly allowed him to suffer through “excruciating” acute withdrawal without treatment.

Inside the collapse of Scott Walker’s presidential bid.

* Inside Retraction Watch.

* Inside Salvador Dali’s Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Rather than fighting for more and better work, we should fight for more time to use as we please. Proposals like a universal basic income may well lead to this. Most importantly, in thinking about the time bind, we should keep in mind what it would mean to be really free from it. We should keep in mind the full possibilities of liberation: what we want is not to be allowed to work more or in better conditions, but to be allowed to live as we see fit.

* Counterpoint: Against UBI.

* I had nightmares like this: What If the Answer Isn’t College, but Longer High School?

* A Urine Collection Bag from Apollo 11 marked with the initials “NA.”

* The Bowe Bergdahl case is a weird choice for Serial season two, but I suppose nearly anything would be.

Netflix Data Reveals Exactly When TV Shows Hook Viewers — And It’s Not the Pilot.

* DC reboots the Spectre.

* Happy Birthday, everyone.

* …the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.

* Honestly this would work pretty well for academics too.

* Listen, this is just getting silly now.

We have burned all the furniture for fuel and we’re starting to chop away at the deck. We are a terrible, dispirited society and we finally have the terrible, dispirited Muppets we deserve.

What Can ‘Star Trek’ Teach Us About American Exceptionalism?

* Rude hand gestures from around the world.

* And I’m devoting the rest of my career to the Mysteries of the Unknown books, now that I’ve been reminded they exist.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

What Day Is It? Links

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* Later today, at UC Davis: Environments & Societies: Gerry Canavan, “Science Fiction and Utopia in the Anthroposcene.”

Marquette Protest on Diversity, University Seal.

The LAO and Permanent University Austerity.

* Proclaims British economist Noreena Hertz, who recently surveyed more than 1,000 teenage girls in the United States and England: “This generation is profoundly anxious.”

* Failing the entire class.

* Rebirth of the Research University.

* Our research indicates children learn 4% more efficiently when being slowly boiled alive.

* Natalia Cecire on resilience and unbreakability.

2015-04-29 12.20.23 amThe Brutality of Police Culture in Baltimore. The Mysterious Death of Freddie Gray. Nonviolence as Compliance. Images of the Unrest in Baltimore. “I Blame The Department.” “Those Kids Were Set Up.” The Baltimore Riots Didn’t Start the Way You Think. In Freddie Gray’s Baltimore neighborhood, half of the residents don’t have jobs. Why Baltimore Rebelled.

How Often Do Officers Lie Under Oath?

Police Cadet Turns in Cop for Turning Body Cam Off Just Before Pummeling his Victim.

Sneaky crosswalk law in Los Angeles is a tax for the crime of being poor.

How Photography Was Optimized for White Skin Color.

The disturbing differences in what men want in their wives and their daughters.

* It was a group assignment for four of them, but one of them did any actual work.

The Shining, Retold as an Atari 2600 Game.

If a bug in a slot machine says you’ve won $41.8m, can you claim it? Not in the case of Pauline McKee, 90, denied the payout after Iowa’s supreme court sided with the house.

* I didn’t become a doctor for the money.

* Netflix’s numbers are much less impressive than you would have thought.

I will burn this fucking place to the ground before I get rid of that mirror.

* The struggle is real: Zoo Keeper Helps Constipated Monkey Pass Peanut By Licking Its Butt For An Hour.

* Your Tumblr of the day: Samplerman.

* “Sucralose, better known as Splenda, and acesulfame potassium, which is often called Ace K”: parent, talk to your kids about drugs.

Men Accused of Sexual Assault Face Long Odds When Suing Colleges for Gender Bias.

Jane Goodall Says SeaWorld ‘Should Be Closed Down.’

* Wisconsin’s roads are the third-worst in the nation. That’s pretty grim: how could two different states possibly be worse?

* Sounds like Age of Ultron will disappoint you twice.

* Scenes from the class struggle in California.

Who created Caitlin Snow on #TheFlash? According to @DCComics, nobody.

* And why not him? The Bernie Sanders Decade.



Weekend Links!

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South Carolina Officer Is Charged With Murder of Walter Scott. The police can’t police themselves. And now the public is too scared to cooperate with them. Police Reform Is Impossible in America. The Police Are America’s Terrorists. Man Who Recorded Walter Scott Murder Is Worried Police May Kill Him. White America’s Silence on Police Brutality Is Consent.

Montreal professors stare down riot cops.

Colleges are raising costs because they can.

How self-segregation and concentrated affluence became normal in America.

How to survive a mega-drought.

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct.

None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use.

In The Midst Of Toxic Oil Spill, Vancouver Announces It Will Go 100 Percent Renewable.

Report: Hillary Clinton Overlooked Labor Violations After Millions in Donations. Guess what I’m #ready for?

* Is Hillary Clinton even any good at running for president?

The Assistant Economy.

Elizabeth Warren Is Right About Everything.

The Columbia Report on Rolling Stone‘s Rape Story Is Bad for Journalism.

The Brontosaurus Is Back. Take that, science!

A Map Showing UFO Hot Spots Across The United States.

The analysis concluded that, over the past 10 years, the five pension funds have paid more than $2 billion in fees to money managers and have received virtually nothing in return, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in an interview on Wednesday.

The man who was accidentally released from prison 88 years early.

What Was On a 1920s Membership Application for the KKK?

Haunted by The Handmaid’s Tale.

* On correcting the Bible.

Wired proves the laws of physics don’t apply to Legolas.

Videogame Publishers: No Preserving Abandoned Games, Even for Museums and Archives, Because All “Hacking” is Illegal.

* Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to get even more boring spinoff. If that’s possible.

Memorial for the “Unknown Deserter” – Potsdam, Germany.

The Photographer Who Took This Picture Barely Escaped With His Life.

This Probably Made Up Reddit Story About a Potato Is Incredibly Good.

* There’s nothing sweet in life.

* Lili Loofbourow takes the bait on the “is that all there is?” Mad Men and boredom thinkpiece. Also from Lili: You Should Be Watching ‘Fortitude,’ A Murder-Mystery That Makes Climate Change The Real Villain.

Arrested Development returning for 17 episodes, according to Brian Grazer.

* A cheat sheet for figuring out where in the US you are by recognizing the background from movies.

12 Ways Humanity Could Destroy The Entire Solar System.

* And I really hope they catch him this time.


Thursday Morning Links!

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voxdotcom_2015-Mar-11* Report: Only 20 Minutes Until Introverted Man Gets To Leave Party.

* Silicon Valley’s “Thunder Lizards” Want to “Hack” America’s Broken Universities. But are they vultures instead?

* Momentum is building to establish a new geological epoch that recognizes humanity’s impact on the planet. But there is fierce debate behind the scenes.

* Wheeeee! Some top Democrats are alarmed about Clinton’s readiness for a campaign.

* A police shooting in Madison, WI, highlighted the city’s alarming racial disparities.

* Twitter Just Banned Revenge Porn and Doxxing. Good, but, uh — they weren’t already banned?

* The situation at UC Irvine just seems totally surreal to me. ROTC standing guard over the flag? Really?


* From the archives: U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths.

* Moral panic watch: The bill does, however, make the school liable to any cisgender (nontrans) student who “encounters a person not of the student’s biological sex” in a bathroom, locker room, or shower. Every student who successfully proves the school violated this would-be law “shall be awarded … exemplary damages in the amount of $2,000.” That sum does not include the “actual damages,” which the bill notes includes “damages for mental anguish even if an injury other than mental anguish is not shown.”

* When Tim Morton met Björk.

* Gasp! Welfare drug tests fail to save expected cash.

* The “Blurred Lines” Verdict Is Bad News, Even If You Hate Robin Thicke.

* Video games and breast physics. Potentially NSFW link at Kotaku.

* The headline reads, “Mount Everest’s Poop Situation Is About To Go From Bad To Worse.”

* Vince Gilligan says to quit throwing pizzas on the roof of the Breaking Bad house. You’ve changed, man.

* Unemployment up in all Wisconsin counties, major cities. Chachi shrugged.

* Meanwhile, this exists: Charles in Charge: The Novelization.

* NCAA nearly topped $1 billion in revenue in 2014. Nice work if you can get someone to do it for you without wages.

* Seeking a friend for the end of the world.

* What every state is best at. Take that Vermont, though “longest cat lifespans” remains tantalizingly out of reach…

* And in a world without heroes, there was… Mystery Man Suspected Of Pooping On At Least 19 Cars In Ohio.


Rise and Shine, It’s 2015! Links

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2014 Kinda Sucked: A Look at Our Slow Descent Into Dystopia. I didn’t think it was all that slow.

* That annual tradition: What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?


* B^F: “Ryan North reviews George Gipe’s insane novelization of Back to the Future, published before the book was released.”

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 14.5: “Errors in Judgment.”

This City Eliminated Poverty, And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It.

* How to be politically optimistic in Wisconsin.

In an alternate universe, the New York Police might have just solved the national community-policing controversy. Routine harassment of citizens is down as much as 94%!

* I say teach the controversy: No matter what vernacular is employed, the time has come for other alternatives to the handcuffs, leg irons and waist chains routinely used on incarcerated youth in the District.

* Carcetti for President: Maryland Governor Will Commute All Remaining Death Sentences To Life Without Parole.

“DA Who Failed to Indict Killer Cop Now GOP Front Runner for Congress.” 2015 starting out great!

* “Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie.” Oh, Target.

* What was Ello?

Look, I get that the football players are angry. I even get that all the boosters who hadn’t stepped up before are now swearing that they would have donated millions of dollars to keep the program alive if only Watts had asked them. But the Faculty Senate? At a bare minimum, shouldn’t they have had the back of a president who wanted to stop draining money from academics into football, even if no one else did? Yeesh.

* “This book review by 13-year-old Eve Kosofsky (later Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, known for her brilliant work on queer theory) appeared in the January 1964 issue of Seventeen. You’re welcome.”

Researcher: Sony Hack Was Likely an Inside Job by a Woman Named “Lena.”

U.S. Solar Is 59 Percent Cheaper Than We Thought It Would Be Back In 2010.

* Salon’s charter school scam roundup for January 1.

White Flint isn’t completely dead, but the outlook is not good. The only stores still in operation are a Lord & Taylor and a P.F. Chang’s. On Jan. 4, the P.F. Chang’s will close. Why I’m Mourning The Death Of A Mall.

* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal rings in the New Year right with the Uncomfortable Truthasaurus.



All Your Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* 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.

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

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.

Die-ins demand that we bear witness to black people’s fears that they’ll be next.

* “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.”

* For Tamir, who was stolen.

* 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.

“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser.

Charges Expected To Be Filed Against MOA Protest Organizers.

* 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.

* Which is not to say that the security state isn’t somehow finding ways to stretch even the long leash it’s been given.

* 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.

How Vermont’s single-payer health care dream fell apart.

* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.

* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Depression?

* What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.

* An empirical study of heterosexual college sex practices based on a six-year survey.

* 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!

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury.

The Best New Webcomics Of 2014.

* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.

* The Malfoys, after the war.

* 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.

* Star Trek as anti-Smartest-Guy fiction.

* 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…


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