Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘corpocracy

Monday, Monday

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* The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

* The exciting return of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional,” and friends, this one could be a doozy. Here Is What Will Happen If The Supreme Court Strikes Down Obamacare’s Subsidies. And from the archives: Halbig, King, and the Limits of Reasonable Legal Disagreement.

* George W. Bush, meritocrat.

* It’s baaaaack: A totally legal, totally shady way that Republicans could ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

* The Quest for Restoration, or, Gone Girl and Interstellar Considered as the Same Film.

* As a society, we are somewhat obsessed with the risks of dying – from car crashes, cancer, terrorists, Ebola, or any of the thousands of mortal terrors that haunt our nightly newscasts. But we’re less accustomed to consider the risks of living long – of outliving our retirement savings.

* Is Serial problematic? Serial: listeners of podcast phenomenon turn detectives – with troubling results. What Is An Ending? ‘Serial’ And The Ongoing Story Of Wanting Too Much. Alas, I listened to this this weekend and got hooked despite all my critical detachment.

* Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew Is Real, PepsiCo Confirms. This is unfathomable. There are some lines never meant to be crossed.

* Can anyone even remember postmodernism?

* World Cup Watch: North Koreans working as ‘state-sponsored slaves’ in Qatar.

* Against spoiler alerts, in the LARoB.

The rise of spoiler-free criticism seems like a move away from criticism as art — and a move toward criticism as an arm of fandom marketing. It’s fine to not want spoilers in your criticism. But there is something distasteful about the assumption that providing spoilers is some sort of lapse in ethics or etiquette. If you don’t treat art first as a consumer product, the spoiler-free doctrine seems to suggest, you’re being cruel and unfair. But critics really are not under any obligation to like what you like or to treat art with one particular kind of reverence. In the name of preserving suspense, the command to remain spoiler-free threatens to make criticism and art more blandly uniform, and less surprising.

* On artificial intelligence in board games.

* Wikipedia’s list of deleted articles with freaky or inappropriate titles.

* Tig Notaro, national treasure.

For example, research in economics has shown that the wage gap between lighter- and darker-skinned African Americans is nearly as large as the gap between African Americans and whites. In our analysis of data from theNational Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we found that the darkest-skinned African American girls were three times more likely to be suspended at school than their lighter-skinned counterparts — a disparity that is again roughly equal to the gap between blacks and whites. Alternatively put, while African American girls are three times more likely to be suspended than white girls, the darkest-skinned African American girls are several times more likely to experience suspension.

* A boy was accused of taking a backpack. The courts took the next three years of his life.

Frenzied Financialization: Shrinking the financial sector will make us all richer. Finance as a New Terrain for Progressive Urban Politics.

Former Football Player Sues UNC Over Fake Courses. A University President’s Comments on Rape. Brown University Student Tests Positive For Date-Rape Drug at Frat Party.

* Occasion #7 is all about debt.

* Cloud computing: the race to zero.

* Telepathy is now possible using current technology.

* White men as institution.

* Let me pause and say here: of course I love many literary dudes. They are not, all of them, smug and condescending. But let me say something else: I thought for a while that the really terrible ones were time limited — that they were products of the 1950s, of a particular time period, and that it really was a viable strategy to just talk about snacks until they all retired. But I have now realized this is not true; new terrible smug dudes are coming up through the ranks. Hydra-like, smug dude attitude keeps springing forth from itself.

* The corals that came back from the dead.

* Billboard ads are expensive to construct, maintain and rent, but they don’t serve any functional purposes — so Michal Polacek redesigned them to house the homeless. The next best thing to just abolishing homelessness.

In 2012, DiMaggio released the results of his own Safe Routes to School program. Child pedestrian injury rates had plummeted, falling to half their original numbers. “We showed that kids can still be kids,” says DiMaggio. “They can walk and bike to school and be safe.” The project’s federal funding expired last year, however, and no plans exist to extend the initiative to areas beyond the immediate vicinity of the selected schools.

You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being.

* Obama endorses net neutrality.

* Incredibly misleading ad placement at Amazon inside the book description makes every book seem like it was an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year.

* “But a deep look at Mars One’s plan and its finances reveals that not only is the goal a longshot, it might be a scam.” No! No! I won’t believe it!

* How Much of a Difference Did New Voting Restrictions Make in 2014’s Close Races?

* And Jacobin remembers 1917.

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Happy Monday

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* Secret origins of gonzo journalism: “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” by Hunter S. Thompson.

What’s so frustrating about really upper class kids who go on to become elite pundits and write stupid stuff about this topic is that, had they any self-awareness whatsoever, they should know all about intergenerational class entrenchment. In most cases, their parents have done everything they can to make sure social mobility remains a myth.

* When a campus building is named for a famous white supremacist. Oh, hi, Duke!

The Melancholy, Crumbling Remains Of Great Socialist Murals.

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* The failures of Title IX. How a Title IX Complaint Is Processed.

Which states have the highest levels of student debt?

How Athletic Departments (And The Media) Fudge The Cost Of Scholarships.

* Partisan politics, segregation, and Milwaukee.

* I worry a bit that giving the 1% the option to become literal vampires might not work out great.

* Samuel R. Delany reviews Star Wars.

A collision of greed, neglect, and mismanagement is endangering young people in America’s college capital while enriching some absentee investors — landlords who maximize profits by packing students into properties — and universities that admit many more students than they can house.

* Devo and Kent State.

* Mad Men and social change.

Where the show has faltered — and where it comes up against its contradictions — is when it attempts to look at those who are no longer living in the Before. So effective in detailing the quiet terrors of the old order, it has been largely unable or unwilling to present anyone who stands for this challenge in a serious way.

* Today in the rule of law: The Harris prohibition has resulted in law enforcement agencies using the stingrays without obtaining a court warrant, because the agencies have interpreted the contract to mean they cannot even tell a judge about their intent to use the devices.

* Milwaukee officer shoots man after struggle at Red Arrow Park. Drunk NYPD Officer Allegedly Shot a Stranger 6 Times.

* Meanwhile people are just straight-up setting up murder traps now in Stand Your Ground states.

The Incidental State: Coercion in the Age of Big Data.

But it turns out that if you consider the facts reported; he wasn’t a genius.  His violations of anti-trust law were obvious crimes.  Instead, his key characteristic was the one we always emphasize is critical about the most fraudulent CEOs – audacity.  Jobs had gotten away with committing so many crimes that he came to believe he was immune from prosecution.

* On crafting a nonwhite Spider-Man. Spider-Man execs kill our dreams of seeing Miles Morales on the big screen. They must really hate money.

To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand.

Want to Go to Mars? It’s Not That Expensive.

* Vulture: Is television art yet?

Path to student loan debt relief for adjuncts just got a little easier–but still a long way to go.

* Ross Douthat hates your loose libertine morals so much he’ll even become a communist to oppose them.

Gun That Can Only Be Fired By Owner Exists but No One Will Sell It Because of New Jersey.

How Much Source Material Does HBO’s Game of Thrones Have Left to Work With? The worst news is: it seems like it’s all Jon Snow stuff…

For ‘Game of Thrones,’ Rising Unease Over Rape’s Recurring Role.

* The secret history of White Coke.

Louis C.K. versus the Common Core.

The Ocean Floor Is Littered with Humanity’s Garbage.

“Let It Go” was inspired by Prince, who also contributed its most memorable line.

* Should we be teaching him civics at such a young age?

* The oldest man on earth lives on the Upper West Side. Take that, Okinawa!

* Fanwanking a reason why there doesn’t seem to be many women in the Star Wars universe.

* Presenting the Wes Anderson cruise.

* And Slate celebrates the world’s best statues.

Grand Byakue, Takazaki, Japan, 137 ft, built in 1936

Tuesday Night!

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* Reviews of Disability in Science Fiction at Tor and wordgathering focus on my chapter in particular, each taking up a different half of it; read them together and you get a pretty good sense of what I was on about.

* Confirm your suspicions about who the worst people at Gawker are: What Should Be Done About Detroit? A Gawker Internal Debate.

* The corporate university and permanent crisis.

Radicalizing Fantasy and the Power of Disidentification.

UConn Is Under Federal Investigation For Allegedly Mishandling Rape Cases.

American Companies Made No Progress In Gender Diversity On Boards For 8 Straight Years.

Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels.

* The good-looking are different from you and me.

Remembering Nelson Mandela and His Fight for Climate Justice.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.’

Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler. “Zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers.”

That’s not what the Left wants. We want to give people the chance to do something else with their lives, something besides merely tending to it, without having to take a 30-year detour on Wall Street to get there. The way to do that is not to immerse people even more in the ways and means of the market, but to give them time and space to get out of it. That’s what a good welfare state, real social democracy, does: rather than being consumed by life, it allows you to make your life. Freely. One less bell to answer, not one more.

‘Revenge porn’ site creator charged with extorting victims to have nude photos removed.

* And Obamacare is still a huge, huge bummer, forever and ever amen.

The Monday Morning Links Market Is Ripe for Disruption

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* This man owed $134 in property taxes. The District sold the lien to an investor who foreclosed on his $197,000 house and sold it.

Stanford Is Now Basically a Venture-Capital Fund With Some Dorms.

* Remaking the University: Rather than accept further gutting and the corporate solutions that are a domestic version of structural adjustment, we should work to meet our actual needs.

Intellectual property and the struggle over value.

The six ways we talk about a teenage girl’s age. “The ‘unreliable narrator‘ of Nabokov’s Lolita infuses our media and apparently permeates parts of our judicial landscape”:

When you consider the many ages of adolescent girls, it is clear that our cultural imagination encourages boys and men to think of young girls as fair game. By the time a girl is 12, she isn’t even seen as a whole human being, but regarded for her parts. She’s “forbidden fruit,” “a temptress,” “a man trap” and “asking for it.” All she has to do to be targeted sexually is go for a walk. If she wears skimpy clothes, is overly friendly with a teacher, dances with abandon, especially if she’s a girl or young woman of color, she might be blamed for her own assault. This is a male fantasy.

* Teaching naked, parts 1 and 2.

I had my students fill out mid-semester evaluations last fall.  No big deal, just answer these four questions: 1) What am I doing to help you learn? 2) What could I be doing better to help you learn? 3) What are you doing to help yourself learn? and 4) What could you be doing better to help yourself learn?  I had them turn the evaluations in anonymously to allow more genuine feedback.

Later that afternoon, I started going through the responses. It was encouraging to see that, in general, responses to the first two questions indicated I was getting better, which was gratifying given the amount of time and energy I spent re-developing the class. For the most part, students were surprisingly honest when responding to questions 3 and 4, showing they understood their responsibility in their progress, or lack thereof. Somewhere towards the end of the ~160 evaluations, I came across one that answered question #2 with: “Teach naked.”

What’s Killing Poor White Women?

Most Americans, including high-school dropouts of other races, are gaining life expectancy, just at different speeds. Absent a war, genocide, pandemic, or massive governmental collapse, drops in life expectancy are rare. “If you look at the history of longevity in the United States, there have been no dramatic negative or positive shocks,” Olshansky says. “With the exception of the 1918 influenza pandemic, everything has been relatively steady, slow changes. This is a five-year drop in an 18-year time period. That’s dramatic.”

NSA Revelations Cast Doubt on the Entire Tech Industry.

* Book Crooks “exposes a (zero-day?) vulnerability in Google Books that allows us to download entire books/novels/textbooks.”

* Anthology of “21st Century Science Fiction” Coming November 5.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden and David Hartwell have edited Twenty-First Century Science Fiction , a 250,000-word anthology of short fiction by writers who came to prominence since the turn of the century. The authors include “Vandana Singh, Charles Stross, Paolo Bacigalupi, Neal Asher, Rachel Swirsky, John Scalzi, M. Rickert, Tony Ballantyne, David Levine, Genevieve Valentine, Ian Creasey, Marissa Lingen, Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, David Moles, Mary Robinette Kowal, Madeleine Ashby, Tobias Buckell, Ken Liu, Oliver Morton, Karl Schroeder, Brenda Cooper, Liz Williams, Ted Kosmatka, Catherynne M. Valente, Daryl Gregory, Alaya Dawn Johnson, James Cambias, Yoon Ha Lee, Hannu Rajaniemi, Kage Baker, Peter Watts, Jo Walton, and Cory Doctorow.

* Scientists are losing confidence that climate change will increase the frequency of hurricanes. I’m sure the reporting on this will be balanced and responsible, dedicated to getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.

* Does the dog die? Check before you view.

* One of the First Known Chemical Attacks Took Place 1,700 Years Ago in Syria. Obama will appear on TV six times this week to hype the war, just like he did all those times to push the public option, economic stimulus, infrastructure spending, climate change legislation, closing Guantánamo…

Bloomberg lets the mask slip. Yikes.

Why Big Pharma should be scared of the gaming industry.

Much of the height in Earth’s tallest towers is useless space.

Overworked America: 12 Charts That Will Make Your Blood Boil.

What Are Students Tweeting About Us?

* Prove me wrong, boy. Prove me wrong.

* And Angus Johnston concludes his series on the most important student activism stories to watch in 2013-2014: Part 3, 4.

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A Few More Tuesday Links While I Procrastinate

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* Penn Puts Hiring Ban on Smokers.

* A team of scientists led by chemist Richard Kaner had just finished devising an efficient method for producing high-quality sheets of the Nobel-prize winning supermaterial known as graphene — with a consumer-grade DVD drive. That was groundbreaking in and of itself, but the real surprise came when Maher El-Kady, a researcher in Kaner’s lab, wired a small square of their high quality carbon sheets up to a lightbulb.

* Talkin’ TNG at Grantland and An und für sich.

* Fraternities on the side of good. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria.

* More massive profits for banks. I guess the crisis really is over!

* Tennant says he’s starting to ‘give up hope’ for Who 50th return. You bastards. This was a gimme.

* And a massive, massive LEGO Hogwarts.

Saturday Morning Links

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* Foreman Says These Jobs Are Going Boys, and They Ain’t Coming Back: Bob Dylan Lays Off 2,000 Workers From Songwriting Factory.

“This is a rapidly evolving industry, and frankly, there’s no way we can compete by relying on equipment and a manufacturing process that haven’t changed much since the 1970s,” said Valentine, noting that Watchtower’s board of directors had already broken ground on piano and Hammond organ facilities in Taiwan. “Despite our best efforts to continue assembling songs the old-fashioned way, we can’t overlook the increased efficiencies offered by fully automated symbolism generators and the use of mass-produced chorus components.”

* Toxic lies about culture are afoot in Silicon Valley. But I suspect other industries will recognize themselves in this discourse too.

We make sure to hire people who are a cultural fit
What your culture might actually be saying is… We have implemented a loosely coordinated social policy to ensure homogeneity in our workforce. We are able to reject qualified, diverse candidates on the grounds that they “aren’t a culture fit” while not having to examine what that means – and it might mean that we’re all white, mostly male, mostly college-educated, mostly young/unmarried, mostly binge drinkers, mostly from a similar work background. We tend to hire within our employees’ friend and social groups. Because everyone we work with is a great culture fit, which is code for “able to fit in without friction,” we are all friends and have an unhealthy blur between social and work life. Because everyone is a “great culture fit,” we don’t have to acknowledge employee alienation and friction between individuals or groups. The desire to continue being a “culture fit” means it is harder for employees to raise meaningful critique and criticism of the culture itself.

* Michelle Obama and the evolution of Mom dancing.

* A brief history of marketing, from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

* Star Wars we can believe in: LucasArts rumored to be developing a Knights of the Old Republic film.

* And a Montana Bill Would Give Corporations The Right To Vote. Not an Onion link! Not an imaginary story!

Democracy ‘Has a Hidden Failure Mode, We’ve Landed in It, and We Probably Won’t Be Able to Vote Ourselves Out of It’

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The great Charlie Stross, elaborating on his sense that we are living in the aftermath of an alien invasion:

Overall, the nature of the problem seems to be that our representative democratic institutions have been captured by meta-institutions that implement the iron law of oligarchy by systematically reducing the risk of change. They have done so by converging on a common set of policies that do not serve the public interest, but minimize the risk of the parties losing the corporate funding they require in order to achieve re-election. And in so doing, they have broken the “peaceful succession when enough people get pissed off” mechanism that prevents revolutions…

So the future isn’t a boot stamping on a human face, forever. It’s a person in a beige business outfit advocating beige policies that nobody wants (but nobody can quite articulate a coherent alternative to) with a false mandate obtained by performing rituals of representative democracy that offer as much actual choice as a Stalinist one-party state. And resistance is futile, because if you succeed in overthrowing the beige dictatorship, you will become that which you opposed.

Via MeFi.

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