Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Adams

Weekend Links!

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* Clear your calendars for the An und für sich Star Trek: Discovery blog event, beginning Monday!

* A student project from my Tolkien class gets a great writeup at Marquette’s Digital Scholarship Lab.

* KSR’s next book has a cover.

* The MCU vs. America. What Black Panther can teach us about international relations. Weapons of Black Panther. And Žižek shows up two weeks late with a Killmonger-was-right take.

* The science of late sleepers.

* Why I’m Writing Captain America (And Why It Scares the Hell Out of Me).

* Mueller news you can use: almost all the Mueller leaks are from witnesses and tell us little or nothing about the true scope of the investigation or its likely outcomes.

* Hardware Wars: A People’s History.

* Wildcat teachers’ strike in West Virginia (but not on MSNBC). Onward to Oklahoma!

* Phew! Lucky coincidence.

Too Big to Tax?

* Buying a gun around the world. How Defective Guns Became the Only Product That Can’t Be Recalled. The Florida legislature’s push to arm teachers, explained.

* “The vast majority of healthcare wonkery is brainstorming new ways to rescue private insurers from collapsing every time they’re asked to do the one thing they exist to do.”

Public schools have been re-segregating for decades.

Florida Public School Teacher Has A White Nationalist Podcast.

NASA releases time-lapse of the disappearing Arctic polar ice cap. The age of climate migration.

* LEGO in the Anthropocene.

* Homelessness in the Magic Kingdom.

* Hitchhiker’s, back again.

Consumers Are Revolting Against Animal Cruelty — So the Poultry Industry Is Lobbying for Laws to Force Stores to Sell Their Eggs.

* This is you.

* Great story about retirees who cracked the lottery.

Brooklyn man wins nearly $1M lawsuit after NYPD cop tried to frame him on DWI charge.

* I’m Gen X again, maybe for good.

* I predicted this would happen: There is no psychohistory, and there never will be.

* I’ve used this as a hypothetical in class for years; let’s say I’m skeptical.

* The last word in Firefly fan physics: The Ultimate Solar System.

A right-wing online “university” is on track for a billion views in 2018, its professors are some of the best-known conservatives in media, and its founder wants to put it in real schools. So how come you’ve never heard of it?

* Memory is a virus.

* And your micro-game of the week: Post/Capitalism.

Seven Pounds of Sunday Links in a Three-Pound Bag

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cr2zpcrw8aa7gey* If you missed it, my contribution to the thriving “Star Trek at 50″ thinkpiece industry: “We Have Never Been Star Trek.” And some followup commentary on First Contact and the Rebootverse from Adam Kotsko.

* Elsewhere: To Boldly Imagine: Star Trek‘s Half Century. 13 science fiction authors on how Star Trek influenced their lives. 50 Years of Trekkies. Women who love Star Trek are the reason that modern fandom exists. What If Star Trek Never Existed? In a World without Star Trek The Star Trek You Didn’t See. How Every Single Star Trek Novel Fits Together. What Deep Space Nine does that no other Star Trek series can. Fighter Planes vs. Navies. Fifty years of Star Trek – a socialist perspective. Star Trek in the Age of Trump. Star Trek Is Brilliantly Political. Well, It Used To Be. Sounds of Spock. A Counterpoint. Catching Up with Star Trek IV’s Real Hero. The Workday on the Edge of Forever. A few of the best images I gathered up this week: 1, 2. And of course they did: CBS and Paramount Royally Screwed Up Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary.

* And some more Star Trek: Discovery teasing: Time to rewatch “Balance of Terror.” And Majel might even voice the computer.

Deadline Extended for the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship. The Foundation Essay Prize 2017.

* CFP: Speculative Finance/Speculative Fiction. Editors David M. Higgins and Hugh Charles O’Connell. Call for Chapters: Transmedia Star Wars. Editors Sean A. Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest.

* Not a CFP, but I’m glad to see this is coming soon: None of This is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer.

* Polygraph #25, on sound and the modes of production, is now available.

* Tolkien once said that fantasy can’t work on stage. Katy Armstrong argues that The Cursed Child only works on stage. Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* On Utopia and Reaction.

* Poetry and Class Struggle.

* This LARB essay on scholars fighting about King Lear is as spellbinding as everyone said.

Here is a list of things that I am including in this book. Please send me my seven-figure advance. An Easy Guide to Writing the Great American Novel.

Concerns Over Future of UMass Labor Center.

Lockout at LIU. The Nuclear Option. Unprecedented. This is the first time that higher-ed faculty have ever been locked out. Lockout Lessons. Students Walkout. As Lockout Continues at Long Island U., Students Report Meager Classroom Instruction. This has been, to say the least, an amazing story.

Decline of Tenure for Higher Education Faculty: An Introduction.

Salaita’s Departure and the Gutting of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois.

Inmates Are Planning The Largest Prison Strike in US History. ‘Incarcerated Workers’ stage nationwide prison labor strike 45 years after 1971 Attica riot. Your Refresher on the 13th Amendment.

The long, steady decline of literary reading. History Enrollments Drop. Werner Herzog Narrates My Life as a Graduate Student. My dirty little secret: I’ve been writing erotic novels to fund my PhD.

Quebec’s massive student strikes emerged from an organizing model that constantly trains new generations of activists.

Retirement Plan Roulette.

* The First Trans*Studies Conference.

* Donna Haraway: “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene.”

The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.

A bit more here.

* Elsewhere in the Anthropocene: Montana declares state of emergency over pipeline spill, oily drinking water. The Gradual Atlantis (and see Dr. K.S. Robinson for more). Fast Fashion and Environmental Crisis. The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says. The Oceans Are Heating Up. A Monument to Outlast Humanity. New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells. And from the archives: Louisiana Doesn’t Exist.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. What Should a Four-Year-Old Know? How to Raise a Genius.

* Michael R. Page on the greatness of The Space Merchants. Bonus content from University of Illinois Press: Five Quotes from Frederik Pohl.

The problem with this reasoning, at least as it relates to graduate students, is that we have had fifty years to find out if unions destroy graduate education. They don’t.

How Unions Change Universities. Scabbing on Our Future Selves.

Of Moral Panics, Education, Culture Wars, and Unanswerable Holes.

The Death of ITT Tech, Part One: What Happened?

* Audrey Watters on the (credit) score.

* Clemson’s John C. Calhoun Problem. And Jack Daniels’s.

* Welcome to Our University! We’re Delighted to Have You, But If You Think We’re Going to Cancel the Ku Klux Klan Rally, You’ve Got Another Think Coming. Cashing in on the Culture Wars: U Chicago.

* The things English speakers know, but don’t know they know.

* Raymond Chandler and Totality.

* Writing Like a State.

Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde.

Capitalist Saboteurs.

Why ‘The Stranger’ Almost Didn’t Get Published.

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Deny That Football Is Doomed.

After Richmond Student Writes Viral Essay About Her Rape Case, the University Calls Her a Liar.

* Milwaukee vs. Pikachu. The World’s Most Dangerous Game: Pokémon’s Strange History with Moral Panics.

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives.

British artist Rebecca Moss went aboard the Hanjin Geneva container ship for a “23 Days at Sea Residency.” But the company that owns the ship went bankrupt on August 31, and ports all over the world have barred Hanjin’s ships because the shipping line is unable to pay the port and service fees. Artist-in-residence stuck on bankrupt container ship that no port will accept.

* Christopher Newfield talks his new book on the collapse of the public university, The Great Mistake.

Bill de Blasio’s Pre-K Crusade.

* The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.

* FiveThirtyEight: What Went Wrong?

The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Black Defendants Punished Harsher After A Judge’s Favorite Football Team Loses.

* Fred Moten on academic freedom, Palestine, BDS, and BLM.

* Being Nadja Spiegelman.

* The Night Of and the Problem of Chandra.

The Book of Springsteen. Relatedly: Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List.

* Defining Unarmed.

New research suggests that humans have a sixth basic taste in addition to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s starchiness.

* Against Theory.

Differently from philosophy, which functions under long, frustrating timings, and very rarely reaches any certainty, theory is quick, voracious, sharp, and superficial: its model is the “reader,” a book made to help people make quotations from books that are not read.

* The largest strike in world history?

* The Walrus has an absolutely wrenching piece on stillbirth.

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead.

“Science thought there was one species and now genetics show there are four species,” Dr. Janke said. “All zoos across the world that have giraffes will have to change their labels.”

The Mysterious Ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing May Finally Have an Answer.

* Teach the controversy: No Forests on Flat Earth.

* The clash of eschatologies.

Wisconsin appeals Brendan Dassey’s overturned conviction.

* Abolish the iPhone. How Apple Killed the Cyberpunk Dream. It’s not much better over there.

* Atwood and comics.

The NEH’s chairman, Bro Adams, tries to make a case for the humanities. Is anyone listening?

* Britain isn’t doing a super great job with Brexit.

* No other image has better captured the struggle that is simply living every day: Drunk Soviet worker tries to ride on hippo (Novokuznetsk, in Kemerovo, 1982). Yes, there’s still more links below.

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* The DEA vs. Kratom. Why Banning the Controversial Painkiller Kratom Could Be Bad News for America’s Heroin Addicts.

*Never-Ending Election Watch: How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money. Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general. A Tale of Two Scandals. That Clinton Foundation Scandal the Press Wants Exists, But they Won’t Report it Because it’s Actually About the Trump Foundation. Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college. No More Lesser-Evilism. And Vox, you know, explaining the news.

* Dominance politics, deplorables edition.

* And put this notion in your basket of deplorables: Darkwing Duck and DuckTales Are in Separate Universes and This Is Not Okay.

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

* Yes, Here Comes Trump TV.

* Corporal Punishment in American Schools.

* Black Teachers Matter.

* I say jail’s too good for ’em: US library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books.

Bugs Bunny, the Novel, and Transnationalism.

* Understanding Hellboy.

* The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad. The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes.

* What’s the Matter with Liberals?

* Alan Moore Confirms Retirement from Comic Books. An interview in the New York Times where, lucky for me, he talks a lot about David Foster Wallace.

The Need For Believable Non-White Characters — Sidekicks, Included.

What Your Literature Professor Knows That Your Doctor Might Not.

Geologic Evidence May Support Chinese Flood Legend.

Fully Autonomous Cars Are Unlikely, Says America’s Top Transportation Safety Official.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal roundup: The Clockmaker. Science Journalism. I Am No Longer a Child. Teach a Man to Fish. How Stress Works. On Parenting. You haven’t hit bottom yet. Keep scrolling!

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* Today in unnecessary sequels: Mel Gibson confirms Passion Of The Christ sequel. And elsewhere on the unnecessary sequel beat: We Finally Know What the Avatar Sequels Will Be About.

* At least they won’t let Zack Snyder ruin Booster Gold.

* Poe’s Law, but for the left? Inside the Misunderstood World of Adult Breastfeeding.

* The Revolution as America’s First Civil War.

* Mike Konczal on Eviction.

* What Happens When We Decide Everyone Else Is a Narcissist.

45,000 Pounds of Would-Be Pennies Coat Highway After Delaware Crash.

* ‘Illegal’ Immigration as Speech.

* Second Thoughts of an Animal Researcher.

* Conspiracy Corner: Obama and the Jesuits.

On Sept. 16 the opera “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” based on Vonnegut’s play, will have its world premiere in Indianapolis. A dayslong celebration of, and reflection on, the best-selling author’s works called Vonnegut World will precede it.

* The Unseen Drawings of Kurt Vonnegut.

* The Science of Loneliness. Loneliness can be depressing, but it may have helped humans survive.

* Once more, with feeling: On the greatness of John Brunner.

* Let us now praise Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

* Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Man Dies, Leaving Behind a Sea Of Big-Boobed Mannequins. Yes, it’s a Milwaukee story.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Video Game Free Online, Designed by Douglas Adams in 1984.

* Taking a Stand at Standing Rock. Life in the Native American oil protest camps.

* Earth First: The Musical.

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile.

* Hitchens wept.

* Rebel propaganda. All the Ewoks are dead.

* Finally.

* Salvador Dali Illustrates Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* Where the Monsters Are. The Wonderful World of Westeros.

* And I’ll be bookmarking this for later, just in case: A lively new book investigates the siren call—and annoying logistics—of death fraud.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Thursday Links!

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* I have a short piece up at the Cambridge UP blog: “We’re Sorry, the Final Frontier is Closed.” It talks a bit about the recent revival of space frontier and space opera fantasy in big-budget films like Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Interstellar…

Scientists determine the nation’s safest places to ride out a zombie apocalypse.

Woodland ‘fairy door’ tradition ‘out of control.’

Now the trustees of Wayford Woods have announced ‘fairy control’ methods which will curb the “profusion of elfin construction”.

Trustee Steven Acreman said the trend was “in danger of getting out of control” but stressed he was not “anti-fairies”.

“It’s a very complex situation and nobody’s admitting that they’re evicting the fairies,” he said.

“These beliefs persisted into recent times,” says Butler. “For example, in 1895 Michael Cleary convinced his family and community that his wife, Bridget, was a changeling. This was confirmed by a traditional fairy doctor, who attempted a herbal cure. When that didn’t work, they threatened her with fire, doused, and finally burned her to death.” Well, that’s certainly less charming.

So by all means, criticize teachers when it is warranted. But resist education reformers at all costs, particularly when they rationalize their reforms as a way to address the problems of the teaching force. Education reformers, no matter their intentions, are the enemies of a unionized teaching force. They are the enemies of public education.

Sweet Briar’s Sudden Closure Plans Leave Students and Employees Scrambling.

“The faculty and staff,” Mr. Brown said, “are feeling traumatized by this—not just by the loss of the institution, but by the way it has been handled. They seem to have no answers about anything, and that is what feels so deeply troubling.”

I hadn’t even thought about how impossible it will be for Sweet Briar faculty to sell their homes. What a nightmare.

Who Gets the Endowment? I really hope higher ed media watches the dispersal of Sweet Briar’s endowment and property very closely.

* And of course Forbes has a handwavey plan to save Sweet Briar by firing all the faculty and replacing them with MOOCs.

The Woman Behind #NAWD.

* Neoliberalism and magic.

Indeed, at the heart of the standard capitalist narrative is magic, as if the will to realize the abstract ideal of a cornucopia for all will itself — through fervent wishing and belief that can only be called religious — bring about the imagined state. It is the “invisible hand” idea from Adam Smith — the conviction that there really is a hidden force that given free rein sets everything aright. It is the God meme in capitalism and its writings, Smith’s among them, that is to capitalism what the Torah is to Judaism, the Gospels to Christianity, and the Koran to Islam: holy texts whose authenticity and reality must not be challenged or questioned unless as an adolescent moment of doubt, eventually subsumed by the re-embrace of total belief.

* I’ve always wanted a Trek anthology series. And with the ever-lowering cost of CGI effects it could be finally be done…

* In the short term, the contract faculty who teach the majority of courses at York University are striking for higher wages. In the long run, contract teaching needs to be abolished.

* The Unintended Consequences of Borrowing Business Tools to Run a University.

In some cases, regulation, not deliberative choice, has led campus leaders to rely on business advice. For example, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights II, signed into law in 1996, requires many of us to hire compensation consultants to ensure that “disqualified persons”—presidents, provosts, vice presidents for finance and administration, etc.—have not received an “excessive benefit” such as inappropriate compensation.In all situations that I have observed, this process has had unintended consequences. Using sophisticated tools developed for industry, the consultants have demonstrated that many higher-education leaders are undercompensated.

GASP! NO ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED! I wonder if a “compensation consultant” has ever, in history, determined that a CEO was receiving “excessive benefit.”

Raped on Campus? Don’t Trust Your College to Do the Right Thing. I’d see the story about Oregon’s admin raiding the campus health center for ammo to use against its own students, but I’d never seen the outrageous legal justification for it before now.

If you are a student and seek counseling at your college’s counseling center, your medical records are most likely not protected by the typical medical-privacy laws, otherwise known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Instead, they fall under the aegis of Ferpa, just as Oregon said. And compared with Hipaa, Ferpa is about as protective as cheesecloth.

This Is What It’s Like To Go To Court In Ferguson, Missouri. DOJ Finds Ferguson Police Routinely Discriminate. Ferguson Police Tolerate Sexual Harassment of Female Officers. What Is Wrong With the Ferguson Police Department? Particular lowlights from the DoJ report.

* Ferguson, Inc: The city’s protest movement tries to find a path forward.

What’s happening here is fundamentally simple: the surveillance state enforcing surveillance as the normative form of care. The state cannot teach its citizens, because it has no idea what to teach; it can only place them under observation. Perfect observation — panopticism — then becomes its telos, which is justifies and universalizes by imposing a responsibility to surveil on the very citizens already being surveilled.

Lao Science Fiction On the Rise.

* 1906 novel predicted what New York would be like in 2015 exactly.

CSU profs: Stagnant pay pushing us out of middle class.

American Airlines To Phase Out Complimentary Cabin Pressurization.

* More Companies Are Run By Men Named “John” Than By Women. Just lean in!

Writers Block: TV Writers’ Rooms Have Even Fewer Women, Minorities Than Last Year.

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Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration.

The power of play: The effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on cognitive and noncognitive skills.

Lots of Cases of Synesthesia Are Based on Alphabet Magnets.

Where’s The Funding For Women’s Soccer?

* Why Don’t Men Kick Each Other in the Balls?

Stop Calling Children’s Gun Deaths “Accidental.”

* A singular event that has never happened in history before: Kenosha officer admits to planting evidence in homicide case.

* 2016 watch: Bernie’s Reasons Why Not.

* And Boing Boing has your gallery of Star Trek comic book covers.

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Monday Night Links!

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* CFP for every online academic I know but me: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal.

* I think this problem goes beyond just academia, though academic life is a particularly hypertrophic version of it. Basically every professional career left in America requires you to completely reboot your life at least three times between high school and your first job.

* Dana Carvey on Harmontown is an amazing episode, but honestly I’d turn it off after Carvey leaves unless you’re a real Harmontown diehard. It’s a pretty big bummer of an episode otherwise.

* BREAKING: Coca-Cola is delicious poison.

* This is what Pangaea would look like with modern borders.

This article takes as its starting point the observation that neoliberalism is a concept thatis ‘oft-invoked but ill-defined’. It provides a taxonomy of uses of the term neoliberalismto include: (1) an all-purpose denunciatory category; (2) ‘the way things are’; (3) an insti-tutional framework characterizing particular forms of national capitalism, most notablythe Anglo-American ones; (4) a dominant ideology of global capitalism; (5) a form of gov-ernmentality and hegemony; and (6) a variant within the broad framework of liberalismas both theory and policy discourse. It is argued that this sprawling set of definitions arenot mutually compatible, and that uses of the term need to bedramatically narrowed fromits current association with anything and everything that a particular author may findobjectionable.

* Is our bloated, monstrous prison system failing its teenage inmates? The New York Times is on it.

* Could a Single Marine Unit Destroy the Roman Empire? Popular Mechanics is on it.

The American Studies Association’s executive committee has called on the United States government to withdraw all support from the state of Israel, citing attacks on Palestinian universities, including a recent strike on the Islamic University in Gaza City.

* Too much power for any one man: Scientists reconstruct speech through soundproof glass by watching a bag of potato chips.

* First, they came for consumers of child pornography, and I said nothing because a Google bot passively uncovering child pornography on its email server didn’t seem like all that serious a privacy violation to me…

* Obama administration happily screwing up the legitimacy of humanitarian aid for absolutely no reason.

* Are fish far more intelligent than we realize?

* Who’s the richest person in your state?

What Real-Life Plants Could Groot Have Evolved From?

In fact, modern text-speak bears a striking resemblance to the system of abbreviations and shorthand present in medieval manuscripts, what I’ve termed here “quill speak.”

* There Is A “Bomb Gaza” Game On The Google Play Store And It’s Pretty Awful.

* Athletics Is Said to Drive Culture of Rape, Drug Use at Air Force Academy.

* They’re trying so hard to ruin the new Spider-Man franchise but test audiences keep saving us.

* 5000 words have been added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, because ours is an age of weaklings.

* They Benghazi’d the Benghazi inquiry, now we’ll never know who Benghazied the Benghazi at Benghazi.

* Getting a bit ahead of ourselves, perhaps.

* But what was the Mad Hatter doing before he met Alice?

* Cruel optimism.

* Cruel optimism, part two: Chronicle scribe Max Landis to bring Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently novels to TV.

* Kickstarter: Designers & Dragons is a four volume book series of RPG industry awesomeness, meticulously researched and prettily packaged. Author Shannon Appelcline guides you company by company through the history of tabletop starting in the 1970s all the way up to present day. This series is chock full of fascinating insider tidbits, company profiles, and yes—enough drama to fuel a hundred campaigns.

* This computer program can predict 7 out of 10 Supreme Court decisions. Sadly, the model still can’t identify who has more money in the remaining 30% of cases.

* And my thinkpiece on Guardians of the Galaxy has been scooped. Alas.

Late Night Monday

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* In a post-employment economy, many are working simply to earn the prospect of making money.

John Scalzi: 

So when a publisher comes to you and says “We like your book, can we buy it?” do not treat them like they are magnanimously offering you a lifetime boon, which if you refuse will never pass your way again. Treat them like what they are: A company who wants to do business with you regarding one specific project. Their job is to try to get that project on the best terms that they can. Your job is to sell it on terms that are most advantageous to you.

When People Write for Free, Who Pays?

* Kafka wept:

Oakland Police kept a man on its Most Wanted list for six months though he was not wanted for anything, the man claims in court.

And the most amazing part:

After “nearly a week of hiding in fear,” Van turned himself in on Feb. 13, “to resolve this devastating mistake,” the complaint states.

He was held for 72 hours, never charged with anything, then released, according to the complaint.

Yet on Feb. 14, the Oakland Police Department released a statement, “Most Wanted Turns Himself In,” which began: “One of Oakland’s four most wanted suspects has been taken off the streets. Last week, Oakland’s Police Chief Howard Jordan named Van Chau as one of the City’s four most wanted criminals. Today, the Oakland Police Department reports that Van Chau is off the streets of Oakland and is safely behind bars after turning himself in due to media pressure. Chief Howard Jordan said, ‘A week ago I stood with community members and asked the community to stand with me to fight crime and today we have one less criminal on our streets. Today a victim is one step closer to justice.'”

Via @zunguzungu.

The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem. Good conscience! Good conscience! Hilarious.

The Inevitable 2014 Headline: ‘Global CO2 Level Reaches 400 PPM For First Time In Human Existence.’ The melting of Canada’s glaciers is irreversible.

Arizona’s Law Banning Mexican-American Studies Curriculum Is Constitutional, Judge Rules.

*  “It’s not for everyone”: working as a slavery re-enactor at Colonial Williamsburg.

Where banks really make money on IPOs. Via MeFi, which has more.

* Nation’s Millionaires Agree: We Must All Do More With Less.

* The world’s most useless governmental agency, the FEC, is still trying to figure out fines for crimes committed three elections ago.

* Anarchism: illegal in Oklahoma since 1919!

* Also from the Teens: Dateline 1912: The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about “vast thinking vegetable” on Mars.

Teacher Accidentally Emails Students Secret School Document Revealing What Faculty Members Really Thought About Them.

* Marvel declares war on the local comic shop, offers unlimited access to their comics for $10.

* Charlotte Perkins Gilman was right: New Experiment Suggests Mammals Could Reproduce Entirely By Cloning.

* Does the loneliest whale really exist?

* The Senate is the worst, and the New York Times is ON IT. Meanwhile, really, the Senate is the absolute worst.

* Neil Gaiman remembers Douglas Adams.

11 More Weird & Wonderful Wikipedia Lists. Don’t miss the list of fictional ducks and the list of films considered the worst.

CLEAR Project Issues Report on Impact of NYPD Surveillance on American Muslims.

* And let freedom ring: Judge strikes down NYC ban on supersized sodas.

Still Unhappy About It

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Let Us Think the Unthinkable, Let Us Do the Undoable, Let Us Prepare to Grapple with the Ineffable Itself and See If We May Not Eff It After All

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Hitchhikers, be glad: The BBC has announced a Dirk Gently TV show.

UPDATE: Hitchhikers be doubly glad; I’ve fixed the link.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

Sunday Night in Brussels

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* We’re in Brussels tonight, which as I mentioned on Twitter is my kind of town: obsessed with french fries, chocolate, and comic books. We’ve really been enjoying the comics murals walking tours and I’m hoping to snag all 38 by the time we leave. We should have time, because unbeknownst to the person who planned our trip the entire country of Belgium shuts down on Mondays. Somebody really Belgiumed this thing up big time.

* Stay in the same expensive hotels. Don’t live close to the people. Produce lots of stories and make money. Pull up in your rented SUV to a camp of people who lost their homes, still living under the wind and rain. Step out into the mud with your waterproof boots. Fresh notepad in hand. That ragged-looking woman is yelling at you that she needs help, not another foreigner taking her photo. Her 3-year-old boy is standing there, clinging to her leg. Her arms are raised, mouth agape, and you can’t understand her because you don’t speak Haitian Creole. How to write about Haiti, via MetaFilter.

* It’s rare to see Malthusian arithmetic drawn out so explicitly. How many of the world’s poor do we need, really?

* Somebody finally let the New York Times know that the Roberts court is ultraconservative. Via OpenLeft.

* Ph.D. Comics is visiting Comic-Con (1, 2). Part 3 will be posted tomorrow, I think.

* And thirty-forty-five years ago today, Bob Dylan betrayed us all. See also. Via Neil.

Lots of Black Friday Links

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* You can listen to a segment of the Slavoj Žižek essay on contemporary apocalypticism that will appear in our upcoming issue of Polygraph here. (via Verso)

* The headline reads, Cigar-Shaped “Mothership” Plunges Argentinian Town Into A Blackout.

* 15 Toys Not to Buy Your Child This Christmas. Of course, science proves you shouldn’t buy anyone gifts at all. (Both links via Neil.)

* Is the public option now too watered-down to fight for? Matt Yglesias and Steve Benen join Josh Marshall in thinking this over. I feel exactly how I did on Monday: the point is to pass anything so it can be improved without a filibuster.

* North Carolina in the news! Kay Hagan is the Senate’s 17th wealthiest senator (via), while Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina has gotten itself in big trouble for improper issue advocacy against the public option.

* Other politics quick hits: HIV travel ban finally lifted. The national GOP has money problems. They’re talking about a war tax. Despite what you may hear in the press, Obama is pretty good at this whole international diplomacy thing. And Dubai is collapsing; couldn’t have happened to a nicer country.

* The New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2009” list is already out.

* ‘Are Fake Academic Conferences the New Nigerian Prince Scam?’

* Little-used geek measurements.

Sheppey (distance)
I have to include Douglas Adams’ co-creation (with John Lloyd) here — It’s from The Meaning of Liff, their dictionary of things there aren’t any words for yet. All the words in the dictionary are British place names (the Isle of Sheppey is off the Kent coast). One sheppey is the closest distance at which sheep are still picturesque, and is about seven-eighths of a mile.

* Thor, a Marvel comics character I’m still pretty sure has to be an elaborate joke, will redefine what a superhero movie can be.

* Black Friday LEGO nostalgia.

* Ah, that explains it: that badly timed Dollhouse ARG turns out to be the work of overzealous fans.

* Paging George Michael Bluth. (via)

Increasingly Inaccurately Named

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Douglas Adams’s widow has asked Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series of children’s books, to write a sixth Hitchhiker’s novel. Allow me to officially state my opposition to this sort of thing, for the record, here and now—and I say this as a person who still vividly and mournfully remembers the best dream of my life, a dream about discovering a sixth Hitchhiker’s novel called Oh No, Not Again in the back shelves of a library and reading it all in one go before waking up.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 17, 2008 at 7:05 pm

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Fifty Best Cult Books

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The Telegraph has the fifty best cult books. I’m really not sure about a definition of “cult” strained enough to encompass On the Road and To Kill a Mockingbird, but aside from that it’s a pretty solid list with a surprising number of personal favorites. Calvino! Adams! Hofstadter! Vonnegut! Someone in a club tonight has stolen my ideas. (via)

Written by gerrycanavan

April 27, 2008 at 5:54 am

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This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.

Jared Diamond once called agriculture the worst mistake in the history of the human race, but Daniel Ben-Ami at spiked online still thinks we can just invent our way out of scarcity.

But the pervasive cynicism towards popular prosperity still has a negative effect. It makes it harder to enjoy or make the most of what we have got. It is also a barrier against making things better still. In this context, it is important to remember that there are still many billions of people in the world who live in poor countries. And yet the prospect of everyone having access to the best the world has to offer is commonly seen as an environmental nightmare rather than a worthwhile goal.

That there may in fact be practical limits to growth, or that we may be fast approaching those limits, is something Ben-Ami seems not to consider.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 28, 2007 at 12:36 pm

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And we’re back. A number of people asked me if my bosses at TIP made me take the blog down for the month I was teaching, and the answer is no—it was my own call, based upon the near-certainty of my teenage students reading my blog and bad things happening as a result. (Discretion is the better part of valor, etc. etc.)

In any event, we’re back, and I have nearly a month’s worth of backed-up links to upload in a single hugely massive and largely incoherent posting. So here goes nothing:

* Jaimee’s teacher and friend (and former BCR contributor) Isaac Cates has a new blog, Satisfactory Comics, as do my good friends Eric the Red and Jason Haserodt, currently about a third of the way through their 3000-mile bike trip across America.

* While I was gone Tim had a thought-provoking post up about the 9/11 generation that I wanted to gesture towards as well.

* I don’t care what sort of reviews it gets, I’m going to see The Darjeeling Limited as soon as I possibly can. The first trailer’s out.

* On the subject of Harry Potter, I feel like I regrettably missed the moment to comment on it, so I’ll just point to a slightly spoilery sentence from the Salon review that basically says it all:

As for the ending, and the strange, widespread and literarily autistic obsession with who does and doesn’t die in it, suffice to say that some sympathetic characters are killed and that everything — the configuration of the horcruxes, the true colors of Severus Snape, the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort — turns out in the only way it possibly could if you thought about it for more than two seconds.

If you’re feeling especially literarily autistic, however, J.K. has even more unnecessary epilogue for you to chew on.

* There’s also something to Megan McArdle’s take on the economics of Harry Potter, in which she argues that it’s J.K. Rowling’s failure to ever really think through the world she’s created that keeps the franchise from ever reaching the heights achieved by J.R.R. Tolkien or even C.S. Lewis.

* The State is finally coming to DVD. Toothbrush! You came back to me! And you’ve started a family.

* Joyce Carol Oates reviews Austerlitz, among other things, in the New York Review of Books, while Geoffrey O’Brien takes on the conclusion to The Sopranos.

* Here’s the full text of Alan Moore’s awesome proposal for the ultimate D.C. Comics miniseries, Twilight of the Superheroes.

* Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks.

* The American Canon of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure, Vol. II.

* They solved checkers.

* Douglas Adams, “Is There An Artifical God?”

* The Murakami Dictionary.

* Post-mortem photography, the absolute creepiest thing the Victorians were up to.

* Awesome maps (as always) from Strange Maps: China’s alleged 1418 world map and Inverted World.

* A Brief History of the Lobotomy.

* Say a prayer for Bat Boy, wherever he is: The Weekly World News has shut down.

* Carl “Tinker” West: the most influential New Jerseyan you never heard of.

* Conventional wisdom has it that people who commit suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge travel from around the globe to end their lives in San Francisco Bay, but a new study of death leaps shows that the average jumper is a 41-year-old white man from the Bay Area.

* And, last but not least, some games to waste time by, especially now that you can’t play checkers anymore: The Four Color Problem and Gravity Pods.

If you’ve actually read this far, the only suitable reward is this photo of my Phantom Fiction class, the TIPiest bunch of TIPsters who ever TIPed. You’ll note the devil horns; I taught them that.

(Accidentally.)

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It’s been six years, but man, I still wish Douglas wasn’t dead.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 1, 2007 at 1:59 pm

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All four parts of a three-part 1979 interview with Douglas Adams are up at Darker Matter.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Take heart, recent MFAs!

‘I left Cambridge and got in with the Pythons and everyone said “God, he’s doing terribly well.” Then everything fell down, desperately hard, and I thought “Here I am, aged 24, and I’m totally washed up. This is it.”

‘At that stage, I felt the last two years or so had been a total waste of time. I hadn’t got anywhere and nothing had happened. I thought: “I’m not a writer. I can’t survive in this business.”‘

Via MetaFilter.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 1, 2007 at 1:43 pm