Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘documentary

Thursday Links!

with one comment

Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day.

Is it too late? The long view offers reason to hope. From Kim Stanley Robinson.

Mourning and Melancholia in the Anthropocene.

U.S. to Retire Most Chimps From Research.

The long road to marriage equality. Adam Kotsko: Marriage and Meritocracy.

In a previous post on this site I announced a plan for the creation of MOOA, or massive, open, online administrations that would supplant the thousands of separate administrations currently managing the affairs of America’s colleges. The MOOA idea was, of course, satire. However, I must report that two educational consultants contacted me to offer their services in bringing my MOOA to the market. Additionally, three separate reporters called to discuss the MOOA concept. When I explained that MOOA was a satire, one asked, “Are you sure?”

What we need instead, I think, is a study of neoliberal bias in the university, particularly since the rhetoric of neoliberalism has now become ubiquitous, the lingua franca of administrators and even many faculty. In the 1990s Bill Readings observed that the new rationale of the university was the amorphous, technocratic one of “excellence,” rather than the traditional ones of disciplinary reason or national culture. The incantation of “excellence” no longer has quite the same currency; the new neoliberal mantra includes the buzzwords “disruption,” “innovation,” and “choice.” Part of their force is that they seem self-evident goods: who would be against innovation or choice? But I think that they sidestep some of the crucial problems of higher education, especially regarding equality. According to all the statistical markers, college is subject to a steeper class divide than it was 40 years ago, and academic jobs show a sharper stratification. This violates the best hope of the American university. What good is innovation if it brings us a more inequitable world? 

* The latest update on Capturing the Friedmans.

* …given what we know from the big picture, I think it’s safe to say that ostensible reason for the long-term collapse in humanities enrollment has to do with the increasing choice of women to enter more pre-professional majors like business, communications, and social work in the aftermath of a) the opening of the workplace and b) universal coeducation suddenly making those degrees relevant. You’d have to be pretty tone-deaf to point to their ability to make that choice as a sign of cultural malaise.

* I used to maniacally play Solitaire Tic-Tac-Toe to keep myself sane in high school. If I’d known about Tic-Tac-Toe2, I might never have graduated.

* And good news everyone! The housing bubble is back!

19-late-game1-1

Monday Morning Links

with 4 comments

* The baby from Salt of the Earth works at Wal-Mart.

Some 74 percent of professors aged 49-67 plan to delay retirement past age 65 or never retire at all, according to a new Fidelity Investments study of higher education faculty. While 69 percent of those surveyed cited financial concerns, an even higher percentage of professors said love of their careers factored into their decision.

“Studies show that about 30 percent of the cost increases in higher education over the past twenty-five years have been the result of administrative growth,” Ginsberg noted. He suggested that MOOA can reverse this spending growth.  “Currently, hundreds, even thousands, of vice provosts and assistant deans attend the same meetings and undertake the same activities on campuses around the U.S. every day,” he said.  “Imagine the cost savings if one vice provost could make these decisions for hundreds of campuses.”

Our great, global cities are turning into vast gated citadels where the elite reproduces itself.

Philadelphia Closes 23 Schools, Lays Off Thousands, Builds Huge Prison.

The conclusions are inescapable: In our zeal to dehumanize criminals we have allowed our prisons to become medieval places of unspeakable cruelty so far beyond constitutional norms that they are barely recognizable.

* Life for a 31-year-old after fifteen years in jail.

These Photos Of NYC’s Subway Project Are Astonishing.

* I think I’ve done this one before, but hey, it’s summertime: 30 Beautiful Abandoned Places.

GPS maps reveal where cats go all day.

Six Fairy Tales for the Modern Woman,

* Imagine there’s no bees.

* And David Simon comes to his senses. UPDATE: Nope. See comments.

Sunday, Sunday

leave a comment »

CPBB_Per_Student_Spending_Cuts(some links via Aaron’s Sunday Reading, which as always has so much more)

* The greatest nation in the world: A few nights a year, Tennessee holds a health care lottery of sorts, giving the medically desperate a chance to get help.

* A Truly Devastating Graph on State Higher Education Spending.

* In sentencing the boys to a minimum of one year in juvenile jail, Judge Thomas Lipps doled out some advice to their peers on how to avoid the same fate. He urged them “to have discussions about how you talk to your friends; how you record things on the social media so prevalent today; and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends.” Tweeting wasn’t exactly the problem in Steubenville, though, now was it.

* Stunning narrative of decades-long abuse (of all kinds) in a New York City high school. The level of administrative incompetence (shading into malice) is just one of the shocking parts of this story; I finally watched Bully last night and couldn’t believe this was how school administrators would act in general, much less when they knew they were being filmed.

* March Madness as class struggle.

* Do Corporations Enjoy a 2nd Amendment Right to Drones?

* So what exactly was in all those old fallout shelters?

* The Iraq war is notable not only for journalistic weakness, but for journalistic futility: the futility of fact itself. Fact could not match the fabrications of power. Eventually, our reality shifted to become what they conceived. “I could have set myself on fire in protest on the White House lawn and the war would have proceeded without me,” wrote Bush speechwriter David Frum. That was the message of the Iraq war: There is no point in speaking truth to power when power is the only truth.

* Rand Paul Is Right On Marijuana, And That Should Scare Democrats Into Action.

* University of Wisconsin professor warns of dangers of reintroducing extinct animals. Spoilsport!

* The world’s first LEGO museum is coming.

* And all about the next board game I’d like to learn to play, Twilight Struggle.

Last Chance

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2013 at 9:07 am

Wednesday Night Links

leave a comment »

Stanford freshman’s documentary chronicles Huntington’s disease decision. Spoiler alert. Indiegogo fundraising. Twitter.

* My particular demographic: Study Finds Vegetarians Will Live Longer, Are Boring.

* The new governor of North Carolina wants to destroy the state’s crown-jewel educational system.

McCrory echoed a crack the radio show host made at gender studies courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, a top tier public university. “That’s a subsidized course,” McCrory said, picking up the argument. “If you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

I’m certain that those classes more than pay for themselves, as the humanities always do.

Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs.

Average Student Debt Has Ballooned 58 Percent In The Last Seven Years.

* Damn you, President Romney! Office Working to Close Guantánamo Is Shuttered.

* The Top Five Truths You Won’t Hear Any U.S. Official Admit.

41903836365A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration last week was shot dead Tuesday while hanging out with friends in bullet-scarred Chicago. Meet The 9 Year-Old Girl Who Likely Would Be Alive Today If High-Capacity Magazines Were Illegal. Gaby Giffords’s notes for her testimony before Congress; the video is amazing. There was a mass shooting during her testimony.

One Step Closer To Compensation For College Athletes.

This is what happens when you give people license to unleash their Inner Authoritarian, when you encourage them in thinking that the arbitrary enforcement of irrational codes of behavior designed to keep a labor force unpaid that is making you billions of dollars are somehow on an equal footing with actual criminal and civil law.

A newly elected Ohio Supreme Court justice who achieved the unlikely feat of ousting an incumbent without accepting any campaign contributions is not wasting any time in asserting his opposition to the death penalty.

* Teenage Girl Blossoming into Beautiful Object.

Nearly half of Americans are one emergency from financial ruin.

GOP’s Electoral Vote Scheme Already On Life Support.

* Frank R. Paul art gallery. Yes please.

The Subtle Code of Inequality in Children’s Books.

* There’s a monster at the end of this tweet.

Five Female Characters Who Should Star In Star Wars Episode VII.

* A website for the US judicial system states that jurors are “not expected to speak perfect English”: Cat ordered to do jury service.

* It is often claimed that renewables are still too costly and not yet competitive with conventional energy sources. But what costs are incurred when renewable energies are not used? Every day during which potential renewable energy sources are not utilised but exhaustible fossil fuels burnt instead speeds up the depletion of these non-renewable fuels. Using burnt fossil fuels for nonenergy related purposes (e.g. in the petro-chemical industry) in the future is obviously impossible. Thus, their burning – whenever they could have been replaced by renewables – is costly capital destruction. This study concludes that, estimated conservatively, the future usage loss resulting from our current oil, gas and coal consumption is between 3.2 and 3.4 trillion US Dollars per year.

* You are living in a simulation: New $1.6 billion supercomputer project will attempt to simulate the human brain.

*  A Russian family that disappeared into the Siberian wilderness in 1936 and had no contact with other people for more than 40 years.

* In-depth, stage-by-stage, exhaustive examinations of classic 8-bit game design: Castlevania, Castlevania II, The Legend of Zelda, and Castlevania III.

* And an epic game of tag that has been going on for 23 years.

The Yes Men Are Revolting

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

October 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

Monday Links

with 3 comments

* Welcome to the future: Another grandmother gives birth to her own grandchild.

* Whiteness and Breaking Bad: America isn’t flooded with pure meth, and it’s not because our chemists are too ethical. The illegal drug market simply doesn’t reward peerless expertise in the same way celebrity cooking shows do.

The white guy who enters a world supposedly beneath him where he doesn’t belong yet nonetheless triumphs over the inhabitants is older than talkies. TV Tropes calls it “Mighty Whitey,” and examples range from Tom Cruise as Samurai and Daniel Day Lewis as Mohican, to the slightly less far-fetched Julia Stiles as ghetto-fabulous. But whether it’s a 3-D marine playing alien in Avatar or Bruce Wayne slumming in a Bhutanese prison, the story is still good for a few hundred million bucks. The story changes a bit from telling to telling, but the meaning is consistent: a white person is (and by extension, white people are) best at everything.

* Paging Kim Stanley Robinson: NASA seems to have violated its own Prime Directive by failing to consult its Planetary Protection Officer on the Curiosity mission.

Teachers are striking in Chicago. Meanwhile: How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party. Thank goodness Obama’s winning, so he can finally crush the teachers’ unions once and for all!

* Solitary confinement in schools? Jesus Christ.

* Richard Posner is making sense: The notion of using the criminal law as the primary means of dealing with a problem of addiction, of misuse, of ingesting dangerous drugs — I don’t think that’s sensible at all.

* Debt Collectors Cashing In on Student Loan Roundup.

“I couldn’t believe the accumulated wealth they represent — for our industry,” the consultant, Jerry Ashton, wrote in a column for a trade publication, InsideARM.com. “It was lip-smacking.”

Meanwhile, America’s defaulted student loans total more than yearly tuition at public colleges.

* Star Trek 2 has a title: Star Trek Into Darkness. Early returns: Pretty terrible! Star Wars on Poverty. Lord of the Rings That Bell.

* James Cameron always envisioned Avatar as 19 films.

I have an idea for a fourth. I haven’t really put pen to paper on it, but basically it goes back to the early expeditions of Pandora, and kind of what went wrong with the humans and the Na’vi and what that was like to be an explorer and living in that world. Because when we drop in, even in the first film in ‘Avatar 1,’ as it will be known in the future, we’re dropping into a process that’s 35 years in to a whole colonization.

But what happened before that? And before that? And…

* The director of Looper has a metaphor for a model of time travel logic I don’t think I’ve seen before: the universe as a body with an immune system that seeks to push out foreign objects.

The problem isn’t that this is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life; the problem is that it’s seven of the worst films I’ve ever seen in my life glued together haphazardly, their inexorable badness amplified by their awkward juxtaposition. Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski wanted to make a movie unlike any other, and they certainly did: Cloud Atlas is a unique and totally unparalleled disaster.

*  Study: There is enough wind on this planet to meet our entire energy needs.

* Tressie McMillan Cottom reviews the captivating documentary The Queen of Versailles, which I caught at the local independent movie house this weekend. It’s quite good—a stunning portrait of the wealthy’s perspective of the “normal” workings of the economy and of the 2008-2009 economic collapse.

* And when polls fail: Do 15% of Ohio Republicans really think Romney killed bin Laden? Probably not.

Sunday Night Links

with 6 comments

* Famous movies, behind the scenes.

* Austerity doesn’t work, Iceland edition.

* Time to Get Angry Again: All About Pussy Riot.

* I Was a Teenage Narc.

* Missouri’s next senator, ladies and gentlemen.

Senate Candidate and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) told a local television station on Sunday that “legitimate rape” rarely produces pregnancy because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin cited conversations with unnamed doctors for the bizarre claim.

Nate Silver says there’s hope this lunacy could erase Akin’s lead overnight. Growing Number Of Conservatives Call On Akin To Withdraw After ‘Legitimate Rape’ Comments.

* Elsewhere in American politics: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.” I mean really.

* The headline reads, “Inmates forced into Gladiator-style fighting by St. Louis jail guards.” WHAT THE HELL AMERICA.

* College Degrees Cost 1,120 Percent More Than They Did 30 Years Ago.

* At home with Alison Bechdel.

* The birth of critical university studies.

Lenin’s Tomb tries to split the baby on Assange.

* More Mitt Romney tax return follies: he still hasn’t released his full returns for 2010. And another why-won’t-he-just-release-them theory: voter fraud!

* A Lesson Is Learned but The Damage Is Irreversible is coming back. Amazing.

* When Robert Wood Jr. disappeared in a densely forested Virginia park, searchers faced the challenge of a lifetime. The eight-year-old boy was autistic and nonverbal, and from his perspective the largest manhunt in state history probably looked like something else: the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.

* The many lives of Frédéric Bourdin.

Over the years, Bourdin had insinuated himself into youth shelters, orphanages, foster homes, junior high schools, and children’s hospitals. His trail of cons extended to, among other places, Spain, Germany, Belgium, England, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Bosnia, Portugal, Austria, Slovakia, France, Sweden, Denmark, and America. The U.S. State Department warned that he was an “exceedingly clever” man who posed as a desperate child in order to “win sympathy,” and a French prosecutor called him “an incredible illusionist whose perversity is matched only by his intelligence.” Bourdin himself has said, “I am a manipulator. . . . My job is to manipulate.”

More from MeFi.

And Sir Patrick Stewart, soliloquy on the letter B. I almost feel better.

None Dare Call It Sunday Reading

with 2 comments

* How is copyright ruining your fun today? Well, for one thing, it’s keeping you from reading The Last Ringbearer. Via an Atlantic piece on technology in Tolkien, via MetaFilter.

* In the L.A. Times: The human race at 7,000,000,000.

* This won’t go well: science perfects the 3D-printed gun.

* Esquire goes to Altamount, 1970.

* The New York Times interviews the great Alison Bechdel.

* Bombshell: Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution.

* Documentarians who later wished they’d intervened.

* Perry Anderson on democracy in India.

* Meanwhile, in American democracy:

Probably the first post I ever wrote that got actual attention was this one, figuring out just how badly you could lose the popular vote and still win the presidency. (I made a couple minor mistakes, so for the sake of correctness the actual answer is that up to 78.05% of the population can vote for the losing candidate.)

I’d note in particular two things: 1) during the last two months of the 2008 election, just four states got more than half of the time and money from the candidates, at the expense of the rest of the country, and thirty-two states got no visits at all! And 2) the electoral college has failed for more than 5 percent of presidential elections! That’s preposterous. A great nation shouldn’t pick its leader by some goofy hairbrained scheme that breaks down one time in twenty.

That said, the proposed solution (the National Popular Vote compact) is also a goofy, hairbrained scheme that would collapse into crisis the second it ever made a difference. Perhaps a “great nation” shouldn’t be hopelessly bound by two-hundred-year-old political compromises whose terms are effectively impossible to alter or amend.

* Also at Washington Monthly: inflation is really not our problem right now.

We find that electorates punish presidents and governors for severe weather damage. However, we find that these effects are dwarfed by the response of attentive electorates to the actions of their officials.

* The headline reads, “There will be no more professional writers in the future.”

* And just for fun: Miniature People Living in a World of Giant Food by Christopher Boffoli.

Tuesday Night

leave a comment »

* kimstanleyrobinson.info has your 2312 interviews and reviews. I’ll have a review of this in the Los Angeles Review of Books next month.

* John Scalzi and Jonathan Coulton talk “Still Alive.”

* Lindsey Thomas rounds up the season’s bleak articles on the state of graduate education in the humanities with a focus on the issue that nearly everyone overlooks: “Graduate students, especially in the humanities, are not just students, endlessly toiling away in our foxholes/ivory towers (depending on which side of the “debate” you’re on) in our lurching quests for new knowledge. No; we are also instructors, and along with the ever-growing numbers of adjunct and non-tenure-track faculty, we  constitute over 70% of the postsecondary instructional workforce nationwide.”

* Erik Loomis reviews If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.

* And Facebook may have botched its IPO in much more dramatic fashion than originally thought.

Saturday Night!

with one comment

Lots of Monday Links

with 2 comments

* Thanks for the kidney, and you’re fired.

* Someone in the New York Times is stealing my ideas: How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death.

* In the comments on Friday my friend b scolded me for being flip about New York’s genuinely terrible state assessment exams. Today Gawker has more.

* 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed.

* Program for the Center for 21st Century Studies’ “The Nonhuman Turn” conference in Milwaukee (next week!).

* It’s great to see Harvard pushing open-access academic publishing, but there’s something deeply absurd about them crying poverty to do it.

* I’m already deeply nostalgic for Cavendish bananas. The Goldfingers look terrible.

* Academic freedom watch: Jammie Price, a tenured professor of sociology at Appalachian State University, was suspended last month after showing a documentary about pornography in her introductory sociology class.

Price said the film, which she checked out from the university library, was graphic at times but academically relevant to that week’s topic of gender and sexuality. A Wheelock College professor who helped make the movie said it was “ludicrous” to discipline an instructor for showing the documentary, noting that interviews with gender studies scholars figure prominently in the film, which is critical of the porn industry but also includes brief explicit scenes of porn.

* Actually existing media bias: The Liberal Media has consistently given more positive coverage to likely Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney compared to President Barack Obama, according to a new survey of media coverage from the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism Project.

* Elizabeth Drew games out 2012 in the New York Review of Books.

* Alas, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Saw The Largest Decrease In Employment In The Last 12 Months.

* 33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer. Spoiler alert: more like five.

* mightygodking: Why the Silver Age Was Better.

What better way to fulfill Brando’s legacy and promote Native American rights than with a $250 million Lone Ranger remake/reboot about mystical werewolves murdering people? I really can’t on any level believe this is actually being made.

Joss Whedon, John Hughes, and Torture Porn.

* Rich. Weird. Romney.

A brief history of the late, unlamented revenge-porn site Is Anyone Up.

* Salk wept: American Airlines to air anti-vaccination programming in-flight.

* RIP, Facts.

* The regime for the poor and those within the criminal justice system is both policed and punitive and–in accordance with behavior that exists outside natural, market ordered society–heavily regulated and ordered by the state. Welfare and aid programs become a disciplinary mechanism for the working poor, with government monitoring and sanctioning taking an increasing role in guiding behavior. According to law professor William Stuntz, the courtroom has become a factory for processing; 95 percent of criminal convictions now come from a guilty plea, avoiding a trial. Arrests have risen almost sevenfold with only 60 percent more prosecutors needed. Meanwhile, prosecutors have been able to pull off the impressive trick of increasing the number of plea bargains while also raising the average length of imprisonment during this time period. The lived experience of prisons is also more punitive. Our current prison system is characterized by severe overcrowding, inadequate medical care, infection rates for HIV, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and staph far higher than on the outside world, the degradation of the custodial experience, high costs of keeping social ties intact, punitive long-term isolation, and the ever-present threat of violence and rape.

The extensive government regulation of behavior extends after the prison. As UCLA law professor Sharon Dolovich argues in “Creating the Permanent Prisoner,” those leaving prison enter into a dense web of government management, simultaneously punitive and neglectful. People who leave prison face “[b]ans on entry into public housing, restrictions on public-sector employment, limits on access to federal loans for higher education, and restrictions on the receipt of public assistance… The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section recently embarked on a project to catalogue all state and federal statutes and regulations that impose legal consequences on the fact of a felony conviction. As of May 2011, the project had catalogued over 38,000 such provisions, and project advisers estimate that the final number could reach or exceed 50,000.” Together, these create a new kind of subject, someone who exists permanently on the outside of our civilization, never meant or able to reintegrate back into our social spaces.

* American Nuns Reject Vatican’s Orders – Say They Are Not Going To Stop ‘Caring For The Least Among Us.’

* And In Focus has your pictures of Earth from above.

The Umbrella Man

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

November 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

Tuesday Morning

with one comment

10 Films You Should See at the Raindance Film Festival 2011. My cousin Chris’s brilliant Afghanistan documentary Where My Heart Beats clocks in at #9.

* Europocalpyse now: Greek Default Almost Assured. More here.

* And speaking of money: David Graeber vs. the Austrians.

* In these two books, we have two versions of school reform. One is devised by Wall Street financiers and politicians who believe in rigidly defined numerical goals and return on investment; they blame lazy teachers and self-interested unions when test scores are low. The other draws on the deep experience of a compassionate teacher who finds fault not with teachers, unions, or students, but with a society that refuses to take responsibility for the conditions in which its children live and learn—and who has demonstrated through her own efforts how one dedicated teacher has improved the education of poor young people.

Bringing the number of planets discovered outside our solar system to 645, the 50-planet haul includes 16 super-Earths (planets with a mass between one and ten times that of Earth), including one that orbits at the edge of the habitable zone of its star). Sounds like it’s time to bring freedom to the HD85512bians.

* PKD Watch: The police department in Santa Cruz, California, has begun an experiment that uses a mathematical algorithm to predict when and where certain crimes will be committed, and puts police on the scene before they happen.

* And North Carolina really is going to try to ban gay marriage. Again.

State law already bans same-sex marriage, and opponents of a constitutional amendment contend that it is unnecessary. North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without such a provision in its constitution.

We cannot allow a discrimination gap. Rally in Raleigh this afternoon. Unfortunately I have a commitment on campus at noon or I’d go myself.

First Contact

with one comment

MetaFilter has what is purported to be video of the first contact between the Toulambi people of New Guinea and the outside world. I believe the video is from 1993.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2011 at 9:57 pm