Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence

Wednesday Links!

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* Cura personalis: Whereas Arnold hoped culture would replace religion, Deresiewicz, though not religious himself, wonders if religion might rescue culture: Students are no longer “equipped to address the larger questions of meaning and purpose … that come so inevitably in young adulthood. Religious colleges, quite frankly—even obscure, regional schools that no one’s ever heard of on the coasts—often do a much better job in that respect.”

* Catholic Colleges Greet an Unchurched Generation.

* Alien vs. Predator: Harvard University says it can’t afford journal publishers’ prices.

Video Gamers Are Having A Bizarre Debate Over Whether Sending Death Threats To Women Is A Serious Issue Or Not. #Gamergate Trolls Aren’t Ethics Crusaders; They’re a Hate Group. The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate. Anita Sarkeesian has canceled a planned talk at Utah State University after university officials refused to secure the venue following a mass shooting threat. In which gamers yell at a dumb chat bot from 1966 that someone wired up to twitter, because they think it’s a woman.

* Another Obama triumph: Since 2008, the District’s homeless population has increased 73%.

* The Americas in 1491. 9 reasons Christopher Columbus was a murderer, tyrant, and scoundrel. The Real Christopher Columbus. And it gets worse: The Sopranos only ever made one bad episode and it was all Christopher Columbus’s fault.

* It’s Columbus Day. Let’s talk about geography (and Ebola).

* Ebola threatens world chocolate supply.

What if Columbus had sailed off the edge of the world? How would that have affected U.S. history and economic growth?

* White People Are Unironically Talking About the White Experience in New PBS Documentary.

For Indigenous nations to live, capitalism must die. And for capitalism to die, we must actively participate in the construction of Indigenous alternatives to it.

Where Should We Bury the Dead Racist Literary Giants?

* Quick, everybody switch positions about civility and academic freedom.

* The Gates Foundation has a plan to save higher education through creating artificial enrollment crises exciting new efficiency metrics!

* The For-Profit College That’s Too Big to Fail.

George Mason Grad Students Release Adjunct Study.

* The National Science Foundation has awarded grants of $4.8 million to several prominent research universities to advance the use of Big Data in the schools. Your dystopian term of art is “LearnSphere.”

Uber Calls Woman’s 20-Mile Nightmare Abduction an “Inefficient Route.”

What Do We Do With All These Empty Prisons? Oh, I’m sure we’ll think of something.

Cops Charge 10-Year-Old Boy as Adult in Slaying of 90-Year-Old Woman. Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial. South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence. Why Are Police Using Military-Grade Weapons in High Schools?

* There’s always money for murder and torture, but we need to crowdfund Ebola research.

* Jimmy John’s has noncompete clauses. Jimmy John’s.

Comic Books Are Still Made By Men, For Men And About Men.

* SF short of the night: Forever War.

* The Kids These Days Know More Than You Probably Think. The meat of the post is about a bogus “declining vocabulary” test that is used to fuel critics of schools.

* The nation’s largest union of flight attendants took the Federal Aviation Administration to court on Friday, arguing that the agency should have upheld a ban on the use of smartphones and tablets during takeoff and landing. Lawyers for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA argued that the devices distracted passengers from safety instructions and could fly out of their hands, becoming dangerous projectiles, the Wall Street Journal reports.

* Freddie de Boer against carceral feminism: The burden of expanding the police state’s power to prosecute sex crimes will fall on the poor and the black.

* Meanwhile, in utterly inexplicable results that will probably always be a mystery: Income is more predictive than race for early college success.

* We don’t even know which way solar panels should be facing.

* Naughty Marvel: It’s Tragic and Disappointing That Marvel Is Canceling Fantastic Four.

* Nice Marvel: And with Robert Downey Jr. signing on it sounds like Captain America 3 will be Civil War. I’d never have guessed that the Captain America movies would be the ones that really connected with me, but here we go…

* David Lynch’s Los Angeles.

* We are become old.

* Milwaukee’s incredible shrinking art scene.

* Karen Russell on the greatness of The Martian Chronicles.

[Stephanie Palumbo]: How does Bradbury use human activity on Mars as a metaphor?

KR: He’s writing against patriotism during the Cold War. Humans land on Mars and then destroy it. Not much time elapses between landfall on Mars and the annihilation of all Martians.

SP: There’s a haunting image in one story, where a little boy is playing with a white xylophone that turns out to be a Martian ribcage.

KR: The planet is basically wiped clean of its indigenous people. I was shocked by the descriptions of these ancient, bone-white cities on Mars, and it took me an embarrassing length of time to recollect that people can visit ruins anywhere on our planet, too. It’s a case where sci-fi holds up a funhouse mirror to our own history. In case we have amnesia about the horror of the frontier, here we see another frontier and xenophobia, paranoia, aggression, madness. But we see people be really good to each other too. Bradbury seemed to be such a humanist at the same time that he is calling us out on our most despicable qualities.

* And being the indispensable shining city on the hill is confusing. If you ask me we should just let the biker gangs handle this.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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So Many Wednesday Links It Is Guaranteed to Make You Sick

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* Brian Thill on academia, labor, and the prestige economy.

* Freddie de Boer on the unbearable wretchedness of higher education journalism.

* The only situation in which one would treat free speech as an end would be one in which there were no fundamental problems: no iniquities, immiseration, exploitation. No need for free speech as means. So we might say Dirks is speaking from the position of campus-as-utopia, a campus of nothing but speech, where the sun always shines and all other issues have been resolved happily for all. A campus wherein there was no privatized public education, no massive debt- and labor-loads for students, no shitty working conditions for campus workers, no cops being called in to beat or pepper-spray students and faculty into the hospital. No struggle over BDS, no systematic racism, no burying of rape statistics and accompanying leniency for perpetrators — struggles in which the administration is an aggressive antagonist, a side.

* Remember the other day when I linked to that piece about colleges recruiting lacrosse players as a proxy for wealth? Totally and absolutely unrelatedly, colleges are now giving out athletic video game scholarships.

* Steven Salaita has now spoken publicly at UIUC about his firing by UIUC.

* The New Inquiry 32: Back to School.

School is the alibi for class society. Passage through it is supposed to be what makes the unequal distribution of violence and luxury in the bourgeois world a fair outcome, what makes the bodies it disposes of earn their disposal. It is also the house of knowledge and so a powerful node of induction into the mysteries of this bloody society. Those who want to approach the knowledge held there must also internalize its mechanisms. Some go on to help it reproduce itself, as teachers. Unexpected success in this self-­transformation is sometimes called class mobility, but to celebrate those who are capable of moving admits that the majority are fixed in place.

How long will we have to wait for the poll finding that most Americans “regret” having supported this new war in Iraq and Syria and view it as a “mistake”, as they prepare, in a frenzy of manufactured fear, to support the next proposed war? Even the liberal Kevin Drum hopes Obama can stop Obama before Obama invades Iraq.

* Against TFA: “I am, I am asking you to quit.”

* Crisis for the crisis in the humanities. The full report is here.

* Scalia wept: Death penalty fans reel as one of their go-to examples for the necessity of capital punishment turns out to involve two innocent men.

* Hell in Rotherham.

Just 13, and Working Risky 12-Hour Shifts in the Tobacco Fields.

* Too rich to punish.

* From the archives: Almost everything in Dr. Strangelove was true. Capitalism Whack-a-Mole.

* Almost All the Books People Say Influenced Them Were Written for Children.

* Steve Almond on quitting football.

* Segregation forever: Share of white kids attending majority white schools. More links after the map.

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UC Berkeley police have obtained more than a dozen M16 rifles via the 1033 program, as of June 2014. That’s outrageous. I can’t imagine them needing more than four or five tops.

* The Economist Has a Slavery Problem. Reagan reviews Roots, 1977.

A new portrait of the founding father challenges the long-held perception of Thomas Jefferson as a benevolent slaveholder. No! No! I simply won’t believe it!

* Logistics, Capitalist Circulation, Chokepoints.

* Cuomo (and de Blasio) after Teachout.

Where MacArthur fellows were born and where they lived at the time of the award.

How Much Carbon Dioxide Is in the Atmosphere? A Massive Increase in 2013 Sets a Record. “We are running out of time.”

* Milwaukee wept: Meteorologists Predict Record-Shattering Snowfall Coming Soon.

Almost Half Of North American Bird Species Are Threatened By Climate Change.

* Amazon Indian Warriors Beat and Strip Illegal Loggers in Battle for Jungle’s Future.

* Louisiana doesn’t look like Louisiana anymore.

* The oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years.

* Whiteness and conservation.

Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal. People Who Live Near Fracking More Likely To Become Sick, Study Finds.

* Twilight for alumni donations. As someone remarked on Twitter, this piece seriously undercounts the rise of student debt and twentysomething un- and underemployment as factors here.

* Dystopia now: Airlines have never been better at making certain your flight is full.

Forty Percent of Police Families Experience Domestic Violence.

Peacekeepers Sexually Exploited And Abused Women And Girls In Somalia.

Video Shows NYPD Officers Taking Turns Beating Man After He Asked Why He Was Being Searched.

Cops Are Sorry They Keep Losing Cool Guns That the Military Gives Them.

“Driving while black” is, indeed, a measurable phenomenon. Look, if we’re going to make this about facts…

* BREAKING NEWS: Gambling is terrible city planning.

* License to kill: CBP Requests Federal Court Keep Identity of Border Patrol Agent Who Killed Teen Secret.

* Court rules Yelp has no obligation to publish positive reviews.

For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. Turns out you actually have to teach the kids to get results. Crazy.

* And on the complete other end of the positivity spectrum: Teacher Allegedly Locked Kids in Closet to Teach Them “How to Survive.”

* Millennials aren’t using credit cards, and it might come back to haunt them.

* Now that I’m a parent, it’s hard for me to understand how roller coasters are allowed to exist.

* Silicon Valley’s Cult of Male Ego.

* Reddit is a failed state.

* The service, which launches September 16 in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, works with a fleet of women drivers and will only be available to female passengers. Drivers are hailed with an iOS app—like Uber or Lyft—and arrive wearing “hot pink pashmina scarves,”according to the New York Times.

* Marriage counseling before feminism.

* Today in the voter fraud fraud.

Striking down Pennsylvania’s voter ID law in January, its state court found “no evidence of the existence of in-person voter fraud in the state.” Plus, the state failed to establish any connection between photo identity cards and the integrity of elections. Courts in Texas, Arizona, and Arkansas ruled similarly.

Wisconsin federal district court Judge Lynn Adelman in Aprilstruck down that state’s voter ID law for violating the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Adelman found about 9 percent of registered voters – about 300,000 – lacked the government-issued ID required for casting a ballot under the Wisconsin law, enough to change election results.

‘Unprecedented’ Outbreak Of Rare Virus Strikes Hundreds Of Children In The Midwest.

The Leaky Nuclear Waste Dump and the Town That Loves It Anyway.

* The kids are all right: LEGO Is Now the Biggest Toymaker on the Planet.

8 Things We Can Do Now to Build a Space Colony This Century.

* And Harvard has received a record $350 million donation. So glad those guys will be able to keep the lights on.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Spring Break So Close You Can Taste It Links

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* Sing to me, Muse, of Fredric Jameson. I’ve never understood the “worst writer” slam against Fred; alongside all the other good things I’d have to say about his work I think he’s actually very clear and precise.

* CFP for the 2014 Marxist Literary Group at the Banff Centre: Energy, Environment, Culture.”

* CFP: Bruce Springsteen Studies.

* Once upon a time in America this was called advocating for justice. But in today’s America, it’s deemed a miscarriage of justice.

* Meanwhile. My god. And my god. And my god. And my god. The US courts are just a bottomless nightmare.

Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims. Yes we can!

* Freddie deBoer on the unbearable lightness of always voting Democrat.

* The unbearable whiteness of Project X.

* 25 Years of Declining State Support for Public Colleges. Many Colleges ‘Hoard’ Endowments During Rough Economic Times. The Rising Cost of Not Going to College.

* Service, Sex Work, and the Profession.

* The SATs have been provably racist and classist for decades with no improvements; Canavan’s Razor would suggest that’s the entire point. But this time…

The “trigger warning” has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped? Content Warnings and College Classes. The Trigger Warned Syllabus. We’ve gone too far with ‘trigger warnings.’ I think this kind of “trigger warning” — and even offering alternative assignments when circumstances warrant — is very often good pedagogy on the level of the individual classroom; I did so this semester when teaching Lolita, somewhat reluctantly, but I’d come to feel it was necessary. I’m very skeptical it would ever be a good idea at the level of administration or policy.

An Elegy for Academic Freedom.

* 10 Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People.

* Tendrils of the invisible web: the undersea cables wiring the Earth.

“Wearing Google Glass automatically means that all social interaction you have must be not just on yours, but Google’s terms,” Adrian Chen wrote at Gawker almost a year ago, when we all first cringed in fear.

* You know every cop is a criminal: David Cameron’s porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children.

* Child in wet bathing suit made to stand in -5F weather because school policy forbade her from waiting in teacher’s car.

* The Civ V files: Never Move Your Settler?

The Fetishization of Lupita Nyong’o.

* Who owns the Oscar selfie?

* Zombie Studies in the WSJ.

Why Sweden has so few road deaths.

* Durham school board joins teacher tenure lawsuit.

According to a New Study, Nothing Can Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind.

Activists Erect A Monument To Rape Survivors On The National Mall.

How Gun Violence is Devastating the Millennial Generation.

* Sea Level Rise Threatens The Statue Of Liberty And Hundreds Of Other Cultural Heritage Sites. Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse. But don’t worry! President Obama’s New Budget Is Peppered With Efforts To Tackle Climate Change. Peppered!

Milwaukee shuts down Little Caesars for day over rodent droppings. A whole day! That’ll show ’em.

Cheerleader Sues Parents for Refusing to Pay College Tuition. Gambler sues, says he lost $500,000 playing drunk. Having not heard any of the evidence or consulted any of the relevant laws, Canavan Court rules in favor of both plaintiffs!

* How do you remember a massacre?

* How did DC manage to cast anyone but Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor — much less Jesse Eisenberg? It’s a crime.

* Pretty mediocre hoax. Everyone knows Mattel has had working hoverboards since the 80s anyway.

A Letter From Ray Jasper, Who Is About to Be Executed.

* And I try not to get sucked into the wingnut-said-something-crazy! scene anymore, but every once in a while: my god.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Monday Night Links

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* Communists attempt to play climate change movie in North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, heroic museum director stops them.

* I was neither a drug addict nor an alcoholic, nor was I a criminal. But I had committed one of the more basic of American sins: I had failed. In eight years, my career had vanished, then my savings, and then our home. My family broke apart. I was alone, hungry, and defeated.

* From the archives: a 1998 piece on adjunctification from Salon asks whether “going adjunct” will be the next “going postal.” We’ve come a long way, I guess?

* UW’s flexible degree program begins accepting applications today.

* FFS: Texas Conservative Student Group To Hold ‘Catch An Illegal Immigrant’ Game.

The postdoc stage, when you’re doing your best impersonation of a human pinball, usually comes about in your late 20s or early 30s. It’s a time when it seems like all your non-academic friends are buying houses, getting married, having babies, and generally living what looks like a regular grown-up life. Meanwhile, chances are you’re residing in a single room in a short-term rental, wondering which country you’ll be living in next year. If you’re a woman, you might be keeping an eye on the latest research on fertility in older mothers, and mentally calculating how long you actually need to know someone before deciding to reproduce with them, because by the time you’re in one place long enough to think about settling down you’ll be, at best, pushing 40.

* I feel sure I’ve made this joke before: It’s a Wonderful Life Sequel in Development.

An oil company will pay a $60,000 penalty for discharging fracking fluid into an unlined pit in Kern County. Why not fine them $1 and be done with it?

* Meanwhile: House To Vote On Bill That Would Impose $5,000 Fee For Protesting Drilling Projects.

* Wal-Mart now accepting donations for their own employees following a mere $12 billion dollars in profit last year.

* How Not To Be A Male Feminist.

* Why do colleges tie academic careers to winning the approval of teenagers? When Students Rate Teachers, Standards Drop. (Thanks for the link, dad!)

* George Zimmerman arrested again.

* Tyler Cowen for one welcomes our new robot overlords.

* Happy days are here again!

* And Bernie is threatening to run for president in 2016.

Thursday!

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It seems likely to me that at some point in the postwar era, the world had actually collectively created something like “the material conditions for full communism” — but powerful people made choices that led to a voluntary continuation of the logic of scarcity even when we were no longer physically constrained by actual-existing scarcity. The result has been a squandering of those resources in such a way as to set up environmental catastrophes that will almost certainly return us to a condition of real scarcity.

Adjunct Professors at Tufts Organize with SEIU.

Dumb, pointless boondoggle halted after obvious thing happens.

What’s going on in Colorado is an outstanding case study in what happens when a black market becomes a legal one, and it’s something we probably won’t see again in any of our lifetimes.

America’s three biggest jail systems, with more than 11,000 prisoners under treatment on any given day, represent by far the largest mental-health treatment facilities in the country.

* The United States of Shame: What Is Your State the Worst At?

Choose Your Own Adventure Books Based on Breaking Bad.

* Seusstastic Park, A Jurassic Park/Doctor Seuss Mashup.

ObamaCare List Hits 313 As 54 Colleges Cut Adjunct Hours.

* At the University of Toronto, students have created their own exchanges where they can pay students who are enrolled in a class which is full to drop out, thus opening space for themselves.  In other words, a secondary market in class spaces has spontaneously emerged (as markets do).

* Marissa Alexander has been awarded a new trial.

What happens when calling 911 could cost you your home.

* Randolph County Board of Education backs down.

* Doctor Who minisodes: 1, 2.

* ABC teases exciting Agents of Shield post-credits gimmick.

* And even Joss Whedon thinks his work for Marvel is kind of a bummer.

All the Sunday Links

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* Outrageous even by the bargain basement standards of the war on the terror: the United Kingdom held Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow (and seized all his electronics) purely for the purposes of harassment. More from Greenwald himself.

* “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.”

* Speaking of which, ugh.

Domestic violence victims in Milwaukee faced eviction for calling police, study finds.

 “Since 1998, 92% of white males who were considered for tenure got it.  During the same period of time only 55% percent of women and minority candidates were granted tenure.  Looking at ethnicity alone, USC granted tenure to 81% of its white candidates but only to 48% of its minority candidates.”

* The New York Times runs what amounts to an unpaid* ad for Georgia Tech’s new all-MOOC master’s degree. * At least I assume it’s unpaid.

As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK’s diplomatic and economic hopes.

Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

* Are liberals finally ready to oppose neoliberal education reform?

Vietnam and Historical Forgetting.

In general, the right seems committed to some mixture of denying the atrocities in Vietnam, claiming that everyone did it or the misdeeds were somehow justified by what the North Vietnamese did, and blaming the hippies. Latterday liberals acknowledge that bad things happened, but mostly don’t want to open up the can of worms, for fear that they’d be accused of being unpatriotic and hating the troops or something. The result is a strange form of historical forgetting, where there’s a general sense that bad things happened, but no understanding of how general these bad things were, nor desire to hold people accountable for them.

Can America face up to the terrible reality of slavery in the way that Germany has faced up to the Holocaust?

By comparison: can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall? Suppose you could walk down the street and step on a reminder that this building was constructed with slave labour, or that the site was the home of a Native American tribe before it was ethnically cleansed? What we have, instead, are national museums of Native American and African American culture, the latter scheduled to open in 2015. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian boasts exhibits showing superbly crafted Pueblo dolls, the influence of the horse in Native American culture, and Native American athletes who made it to the Olympics. The website of the Smithsonian’s anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture does show a shackle that was presumably used on a slave ship, but it is far more interested in collecting hats worn by Pullman porters or pews from the African Methodist Episcopal church. A fashion collection is in the making, as well as a collection of artefacts belonging to the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; 39 objects, including her lace shawl and her prayer book, are already available.

* The combination of drought and fracking are leaving Texas communities with no water.

* “Thornsbury is the county’s only judge.”

* Two from Buzzfeed (sorry): 25 Facts And Tidbits About The Muppets That Might Blow Your Mind. 21 “Breaking Bad” Easter Eggs That Will Blow Your Mind.

* At Reddit: What is a “dirty little (or big) secret” about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?

* History becomes more sensible when you imagine its participants as any other mammal.

Two Timelines of Slang for Genitalia, from 1250 Through Today.

A Map of the Lands Actually Discovered by European Explorers.

* And a damn good science fiction pitch from Tumblr. I’d love to see this optioned as a film.

Midweek Links!

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Thursday!

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milwaukee-wis--blacks-live-exclusively-in-the-northwest-hispanics-stay-in-the-southern-inner-city-near-humboldt-park-and-white-people-live-on-the-edges-and-in-the-suburbs* Milwaukee on the list of 21 highly segregated cities in America.

Milwaukee’s black-white dissimilarity score is 79.6, according to a study of 2010 Census data by professors John Logan and Brian Stult of Brown and Florida State University. A score above 60 on the dissimilarity index is considered very high segregation.

The red dots show white people, blue is black, orange is Hispanic, green is Asian, and yellow is other, according to maps of 2010 Census data by Eric Fischer.

* Students build mock prison on Duke’s East campus to protest Guantánamo.

The current distinction between drugs classes as legal and illegal has little to do with their substance per se and everything to do with a confluence of court rulings, prison expansion, and business interests.

* Shut Up or Get Out: PA City Punishes Domestic Violence Victims Who Call the Police.

* Against the AP exam.

* Oh, Congress, don’t ever change: Lawmakers, aides may get Obamacare exemption.

Even Candy Land Isn’t Safe From Sexy: The little-kids’ board game, like so many other classic toys, has gotten a makeover.

Although Americans were 270 times more likely to die a workplace accident than a terrorist attack in 2011, the Department of Homeland Security’s budget that year was $47 billion, while OSHA’s budget was only $558 million. But FREEDOM.

* And from the too-good-to-resist file: At best, one could chalk Yglesias’ attitude up to the neoliberal worship of free trade, but ascribing any ideology to Yglesias is like trying to pin a Bad Citizenship medal on fog.

Friday!

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15 Geeky College Courses You Won’t Believe Actually Exist. The Tolkien class I’m inheriting is #8. Fall 2014!

“The rich get education and the poor get training,” Carnevale said. “It’s a way of reproducing class. The higher education system is now in cahoots with the economy to reproduce class.” Already, he added, “there are a lot of kids who are not getting a real education any more. They’re getting training.”

Double Majors Produce Dynamic Thinkers, Study Finds. That’s why I majored in both English and Philosophy.

When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago this month, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss—all 400,000 of them.

The NYPD will arrest you for carrying condoms, but that depends entirely on who you are.

* More in NYPD-related travesties: Women who report domestic violence are exposing themselves to arrest under a new NYPD directive that orders cops to run criminal checks on the accused and the accuser, The Post has learned.

* The Washington Post is shocked, shocked to find money driving decisions in the NCAA.

* Now fourteen adults have been “functionally cured” of HIV.

* Well, there you have it: The Vatican lashed out at what it called a “defamatory” and “anti-clerical left-wing” campaign to discredit Pope Francis over his actions during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military junta, saying no credible accusation had ever stuck against the new pope.

Rob Thomas: I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for “Pushing Daisies.”

“Jesus, Grampa, what did you read me this thing for?”

* And in local news: A Wisconsin court has banned a local man from all the libraries on the planet after he was caught openly masturbating inside the Racine Public Library.

Thursday Night Links

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* Merit and the academy. Challenging, thoughtful post from Timothy Burke.

* My beloved alma mater found out about MOOCs. Meanwhile, the New York Times kind of buries the lede: “So far, most MOOCs have had dropout rates exceeding 90 percent.”

* The Atlantic argues the student loan crisis ain’t no thang. I suspect they’re quite literally cribbing from Adam.

* What could possibly go wrong? Utah considering bill to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

According to the Times, the ACLU compiled a 5,000 page report on the SAO, a group of former Minutemen and other right-wingers and violent home-grown fascists, for the benefit of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “alleging the Federal Bureau of Intelligence recruited a band of right-wing terrorists and supplied them with money and weapons to attack young antiwar demonstrators.”

Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set.

Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey results suggested that people who rejected climate science were more likely than other respondents to reject other scientific or official findings and buy into assorted fringe theories: that NASA faked the moon landing, that the Central Intelligence Agency killed Martin Luther King Jr., that the AIDS virus was unleashed by the government, and so forth.

This piece of research appeared in a specialized journal in psychological science, but it did not take long to find its way onto climate skeptics’ blogs, setting off howls of derision.

A theory quickly emerged: that believers in climate science had been the main people taking Dr. Lewandowsky’s survey, but instead of answering honestly, had decided en masse to impersonate climate contrarians, giving the craziest possible answers so as to make the contrarians look like whack jobs.

* Forget it, Jake, it’s Pretoria: The South African police replaced the lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius homicide case on Thursday after embarrassing revelations that he was facing seven charges of attempted murder himself.

* Zombies and the bomb.

Why Gender Equality Stalled. This country hates rational health care distribution, too. America!

Prison and the Poverty Trap.

* Doctors are the next career to be deskilled and deprofessionalized. Ah, progress!

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

It Wouldn’t Surprise You If This Headline Was About 318 People Being Shot In 12 Different Public Places.

* A sea change for mass culture: Nielsen Ratings Will Add Streaming Data For Fall 2013.

* Tumblr of the day: Shit Rough Drafts.

Emory President Censured.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.

Slavoj Žižek vs. capitalism, round 200. This is almost literally a full rerun.

* Florida, after two years of Tea Party Rule. But even he isn’t a real conservative…

* Ezra Klein: Obamacare is winning.

The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years. Women who kill their partners are sentenced on average to 15 years, despite the fact that most women who kill do so in self-defense.

* World’s greatest Venn diagram: Chemical Elements vs. US States.

The NCAA, an organization with such open-decision making practices and clear accountability as to provide lessons to the mafia, is forcing a University of Minnesota wrestler to give up his music career or be declared ineligible for profiting off his own image.

* From the too-good-t0-check files: Young Japanese Women Rent Out Their Bare Legs as Advertising Space.

The New York State Thruway Project, Social Issue Signage Disguised as Historical Markers.

And we’re going to burn every drop of oil and destroy the future. Gleefully. Enjoy your weekend!

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Lots of Wednesday Links

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* It’s damn cold in Chicago: water is freezing to the sides of burning buildings.

* The reality of being an adjunct. MOOCs for Credit. Why We Should Talk About the Football Coach’s Salary When Faculty are Let Go. Please consider not doing a PhD.

  • According to this link (which has information I cannot independently verify), the athletic budget for 2011 was $16 million, a 9.2% increase over the previous year. $9 million of that budget came from student fees.
  • The reduction in faculty is expected to save $5.2 million.

* Lynda Barry’s course at the University of Wisconsin. I should be taking this.

Liberal pundits and Republican congressmen agree: Barack Obama’s second inaugural was the most liberal speech of his presidency. They may be right. But just what kind of liberalism is this?

Obama’s speech was a far cry from the message of the modern Republican Party. But much of it would fit snugly in a handbook from Human Relations: Discrimination will not be tolerated. Active citizenship is everyone’s responsibility. Work harder.

Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. Would he, though? Would he really?

* Cheat to win: Virginia wants to rig the Electoral College too.

In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state…

It’s also worth noting, again, that this constitutes a massive disenfranchisement of African American and other nonwhite voters, who tend to cluster near urban areas. When you couple this with the move on Monday to redraw the state’s electoral maps — eliminating one state senate district and packing black voters into another, diluting their strength — it’s as if Virginia Republicans are responding to Obama’s repeat victory in the state by building an electoral facsimile of Jim Crow.

Brain scans performed on five former NFL players revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players. The impending death of pro football. See also: Junior Seau’s Family Is Suing The NFL.

There’s a gold rush going on right now. Man is breaking the earth, looking for natural gas — just as we always have. It’s a mad scene, with hucksters on every side of the issue. And that’s just on the surface. You won’t believe what’s happening underground. Thank You for Fracking.

U.S. scientists will retire most research chimps.

House Republican Leader Blames Gun Violence On ‘Welfare Moms.’

* Searching for Star Wars artifacts in the California desert.

* Rejected movie ideas: Age-Reversed Home Alone Reboot.

* Internet argument perfect storm: The woman who hired a hitman to murder her abusive husband.

* Happy Objectify A Man in Tech Day.

* Supreme Court upholds radical notion that the Environmental Protection Agency has the right to protect the environment.

* Loyalty oaths in Arizona high schools.

How it feels to be stalked.

* War machine decides blood is blood: Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat.

* The LA that never was.

* And from the too-good-to-check file: The Fascinating Business Cards of 20 Famous People.

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Links for the Weekend

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What Search Committees Wish You Knew. This is a reasonably good article with one piece of deeply terrible advice. Do not tell a search committee anything about your personal life or your relationships that will harm your chances until after you have received a written offer. Being open and honest about your two-body problem will not help you in the least. UPDATE: When I posted this on Twitter, @academicdave had a much harsher take, and found the piece pretty wanting. I don’t know. I think it’s useful for applicants to try to humanize their imagination of the search committee a bit (which can be hard). And then of course once you’ve done that you have to put brakes on that impulse, because they’re still not your friends, and they don’t really care about you much at all.

* Ads without Products has a great pedagogical post on teaching writing and critical perversity. I think I’m going to steal some of this language for my course next semester.

So how do I teach “practical criticism”? In the seminar groups that I lead, I model and encourage the following “flow chart” of thought: Anticipate what other intelligent readers of this piece might say about it. Try to imagine the “conventional wisdom” about it that would emerge as if automatically in the minds of the relatively well-informed and intelligent. And then, but only then, figure out a perverse turn that you can make within the context of but against this conventional wisdom. “Of course that seems right, but on the other hand it fails to account for…” “On first glace, it would be easy and to a degree justifiable to conclude that…. But what if we reconsider this conclusion in the light of….”

Students tend to demonstrate resistance, early on, to this practice. For one thing, especially in the first year, they don’t really (and couldn’t possibly) have a fully developed sense of what the “conventional wisdom” is that their supposed to be augmenting, contradicting, perverting. At this early stage, the process requires them to make an uncomfortable Pascalian wager with themselves – to pretend as though they are confident in their apprehensions until the confidence itself arrives. But even if there’s a certain awkwardness in play, it does seem to exercise the right parts of the students’ critical and analytical faculties so that they (to continue the metaphor) develop a sort of “muscle memory” of the “right” way to do criticism. From what I can tell, encouraging them to develop an instinct of this sort early measurably improves their writing as they move through their degree.

But still (and here, finally, I’m getting to the point of this post) there’s a big problem with all of this. I warn the students of this very early on – generally the first time I run one of their criticism seminars. There’s a big unanswered question lurking behind this entire process. Why must we be perverse? What is the value of aiming always for provocative difference, novelty, rather than any other goal?  Of course, there’s a pragmatic answer: Because it will cause your writing to be better received. Because you will earn better marks by doing it this way rather than the other. Because you will develop a skill – one that can be shifted to other fields of endeavour – that will be recognised as what the world generally calls “intelligence.” But – in particular because none of this should simply be about the pragmatics of getting up the various ladders and depth charts of life – this simply isn’t a sufficient response, or at least is one that begs as many questions as it answers. What are, after all the politics of “novelty”? What are we to make of the structural similarity between what it takes to impress one’s markers and what it takes to make in “on the market,” whether as a human or inhuman commodity? What if – in the end – the answers to question that need (ethically, politically) answering are simple rather than complex, the obvious rather than the surprising?

* A possible example of critical perversity from Deadspin: Everything You Need To Know About Pennsylvania’s Lawsuit Against The NCAA (And Why You Should Support It). Though frankly I’m pretty sympathetic to the claim that the NCAA has no jurisdiction over criminal conspiracies, much less that it followed a rational procedure to adjudicate competing claims in this case.

Bousquet asked the audience why police departments are far more diverse than English departments, by and large. Noting the silence in the audience following his question, Bousquet noted, “We have made it too difficult for those who are not advantaged” to enter the profession. Asked whether he believes faculty diversity is a priority for elite institutions, such as the one he now teaches at, Bousquet said such institutions are “constantly trying to work on the question of diversity.

“For me, the question is why do they fail so much, despite all of those efforts. And I think one of the reasons, amongst many, is the irrationalism of faculty compensation.” Bousquet adds, “Eighty percent of faculty are working like for $15,000 a year” taking into account adjuncts and graduate students.

* “Sustainable Teaching Fail”: The conditions of non-tenure-track faculty are setting us up to be failures as effective pedagogues.

* Lincoln explains the modern GOP.

“Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.”

* But don’t worry! There’s a hack for that! The self-evident Calvinball lunacy of this trillion-dollar-coin thing is all the proof I need that our system is broken and our elites are insane.

Politicians Should Learn Bigger Lessons From Their Pet Causes.

But too many politicians, and this especially includes self-described fiscal conservatives, simply can’t draw the obvious conclusion from all this: namely that you shouldn’t support help for the poor and the sick and elderly only if you personally happen to know someone who’s poor or sick or elderly. All of these people exist whether or not they happen to be family members.

* Blue Mars: What Mars would look like with oceans and life.

* A California appeals court has found that raping a sleeping woman isn’t illegal if she’s unmarried. I swear to God, I don’t even know where to begin with this bullshit anymore.

* Elsewhere in rape culture atrocities: Basically an entire town colludes to protect their football team from rape prosecution.

House GOP lets the Violence Against Women Act expire for first time since 1994. I mean really.

* Inside Chernobyl’s Abandoned Hospital.

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* More Evidence Shows That Pro Sports Teams Don’t Boost The Economy.

* There Are Two Law School Grads for Every Lawyer Job.

* The Original Star Wars Trilogy As Maps.

Commander Riker lorem ipsum.

* Everything that’s wrong with football, in ten seconds. WHAT A HIT! I’M SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN WAIT TO SEE IF THE PLAYER HAS BEEN HURT OR KILLED! VIOLENCE! EXCITEMENT! YELLING!

* Google is not an illegal monopoly, so they can go on ruining all their products with dumb attempts to monetize your data. Hooray!

* And George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year. Sold!

Thursday Night Links

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* Sandy moves the needle: Michael Bloomberg Endorses Obama, Citing Climate Change As Main Reason.

* Without prior approval from his higher-ups, KHON2 morning show co-anchor Jai Cunningham, a victim of domestic violence himself, responds to the alleged murder of a friend at the hands of her husband by vowing to shave his head on the air every time a woman or child dies as a direct result of domestic abuse.

* Without Electricity, New Yorkers on Food Stamps Can’t Pay for Food. The Hideous Inequality Exposed by Hurricane Sandy. It Will Only Cost $7 Billion To Build A Storm Surge Barrier For New York. Photos Before and after Sandy. Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Arrested Protesting Keystone XL Pipeline: ‘I’m Here To Connect The Dots.’

* My expectation of control over my body is something that children do not have—from the second they wake up until the second they go to bed, children’s bodies are subject to the authorities around them. Of course David is pissed.

* David Graeber: This essay is not, however, primarily about bureaucracy—or even about the reasons for its neglect in anthropology and related disciplines. It is really about violence. What I would like to argue is that situations created by violence—particularly structural violence, by which I mean forms of pervasive social inequality that are ultimately backed up by the threat of physical harm—invariably tend to create the kinds of willful blindness we normally associate with bureaucratic procedures. To put it crudely: it is not so much that bureaucratic procedures are inherently stupid, or even that they tend to produce behavior that they themselves define as stupid, but rather, that are invariably ways of managing social situations that are already stupid because they are founded on structural violence.

* In the face of this situation — as much as it pains me to say this — you are failing. Your so-called “objectivity,” your bloodless impartiality, are nothing but a convenient excuse for what amounts to an inexcusable failure to tell the most urgent truth we’ve ever faced.

* Gurenica talks Lord of the Rings and This Is How You Lose Her with board-certified genius Junot Díaz.

* 7 polling models that predict an Obama victory. Obama’s Electoral College ‘Firewall’ Holding in Polls.

* Psychological research using the D&D Monster Manual.

* Another shoe drops at Penn State.

* Romney gets away with it.

* There was no one out when I was in high school, either. Class of 1998.

* The world’s last Nazi hunter.

Saturday!

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Today, Trina is one of approximately 470 prisoners in Pennsylvania serving life without parole for crimes they committed as teenagers. I was pretty cranky about this the other day on Twitter with respect to the Mitt Romney bullying story (on which subject fellow UNCG MFA alum Steve Almond gets biblical here).

Activists say Argentina now leads the world in transgender rights after giving people the freedom to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures beforehand. Great!

Brazilian politicians and journalists were not placated. “We’re going to show this gang that they can’t come down here and create whatever environmental mess they want,” Carlos Minc, a co-founder of Brazil’s Green Party and environmental secretary of Rio state, told the newspaper O Globo. “I want to see the CEO of Chevron swim in that oil.” Great!

The free market as more efficient than central planning, case 751.

All of the current administrative solutions are perverse and/or unsustainable.  Public universities cannot solve their financial problems by raising tuition even more quickly in the face of the tuition bubble, the student debt bubble, public anger after decades of similar annual increases at 3-4 times inflation, a pro-education president who is campaigning to punish tuition increases with further funding cuts, and mounting damage to an entire academic generation symbolized by the recent tripling of the number of PhDs on food stamps. 

* Funny how this works: Saying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.

* Taibbi: Obama versus Romney is the worst reality show on TV since the Tila Tequila days. The characters are terrible, there’s no suspense, and the biggest thing is, it lacks both spontaneity and a gross-out factor.

* A quick note from Jameson about base and superstructure.

* The Lego Lord of the Rings Videogame Is Really Happening. I’ll take one of each applicable video game system, please.

* Wes Anderson Tumblr blogs. It’s early going, but “Directed by Wes Anderson” may eventually be your winner here.

* And I’d have paid good money to see a Maurice Sendak Avengers.

Tons of Weekend Links

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* “Austerity is not inevitable”: France falls to the Red Menace.

* Podcast of the weekend: Global science fiction on WorldCanvass, with Brooks Landon, Rob Latham, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, and others.

* Charlie Stross prophesies the death of science fiction.

But anyway, to summarize: my point is that our genre sits uneasily within boundaries delineated by the machinery of sales. And that creaking steam-age machinery is currently in the process of being swapped out for some kind of irridescent, gleaming post-modern intrusion from the planet internet. New marketing strategies become possible, indeed, become essential. And the utility of the old signifiers—the rocket ship logo on the spine of the paperback—diminish in the face of the new (tagging, reader recommendations, “if you liked X you’ll love Y” cross-product correlations by sales engines, custom genre-specific cover illustrations, and so on).

* Tom Hayden remembers the Port Huron Statement (or at least the compromise second draft).

* Joe Biden endorses marriage equality for about fifteen minutes.

Black Studies Hitpiece Leads to Chronicle of Higher Ed Twitter Trainwreck. Why Is the Chronicle of Higher Education Publishing A Racist Hack? Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies. The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject. Anti-intellectualism, déjà vu.

When copyright term-extension meets infinite life-extension.

* A tribute to Disneyland’s secret restroom.

* Connecticut continues its recent spate of being decent its citizens, legalizes medical medicine.

* Stand for your ground: A Florida woman faces prison after firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband.

* Nerds assemble! Joss Whedon finally made something everybody likes. An interview. Another. Whedon on Batman. Whedon on Wonder Woman.

* The Avengers: Will superhero movies never end?

What I see in “The Avengers,” unfortunately, is a diminished film despite its huge scale, and kind of a bore. It’s a diminishment of Whedon’s talents, as he squeezes himself into an ill-fitting narrative straitjacket, and it’s a diminished form that has become formula, that depends entirely on minor technical innovations and leaves virtually no room for drama or tragedy or anything else that might make the story actually interesting. To praise the movie lavishly, as so many people have done and will continue to do, basically requires making endless allowances. It’s really good (for being a comic-book movie). It’s really good (for being almost exactly like dozens of other things). It’s really good (for being utterly inconsequential).

* Today’s single chart that explains everything.

* The football suicides. More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Will the NFL still exist in 20 years?

* The internship scam.

How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone.

* Save the Holocene! Why “the Anthropocene” might not be a useful construct.

* Do you remember Frank Kunkel? How about Frank Nowarczyk? John Marsh or Robert Erdman? Johann Zazka? Martin Jankowiak? Not even Michael Ruchalski? Do you remember the call “Eight hours for labor, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation?” The names are those of the seven of the nine people killed in 1886 in Bay View, Wisconsin for demanding eight hour work days.

* On Colorado’s policy of sending kids to adult court.

* A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.

* Consider the case of Toby Groves.

* New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters.

* North Carolina’s Ban on Gay Marriage Appears Likely to Pass.

* Since Mexico’s legislative body passed sweeping climate change legislation on April 19, Mexico joins the UK as the only two countries in the world with legally binding emissions goals to combat climate change.

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* American Airlines channels Darth Vader: We are altering the deal. Pray we do not alter it further.

* And Stephen Colbert’s employment of the comedic stylings of German Ambassador Hans Beinholtz continues to be my absolute favorite thing of all time.