Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Dubai

Tuesday Night Links!

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* Climate Fiction Short Story Contest judged by Kim Stanley Robinson. Fall fiction contest judged by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer.

* Whoa: Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel.

* Whiteness, Political Economy, and the MFA.

The majority of these reasons have to do with student desire. It is obvious that people have to want the degree for universities to feel motivated to create programs. But there are many economic pressures that induce colleges and universities to expand and aggressively advertise and recruit for programs in creative writing. We do not think it is an overstatement that, prior to the 1990s and the intensifying financial pressures that brought about the corporatization of the university, English departments tended to have a studious lack of interest that bordered on disdain about the teaching of creative writing. And top-tier schools still tend to not offer graduate degrees in creative writing. Of the top 10 universities according to USNWR rankings, only Columbia has an MFA program.

The story of how these financial pressures show up in the college where we work — a small liberal arts college that admits self-identified women and people assigned female at birth who do not fit into the gender binary — might provide a useful illustration here. In 1990, the board of the college voted to go co-ed. In response, students went on a strike that they won after two weeks; the board backed down and the school did not go co-ed. Despite the outpouring of support, the college still had significant enrollment issues. Administration responded to this in the 90s by focusing on co-ed graduate programs. Between 1990 and 2013, graduate students went from 25 percent of the total enrollment at the college to 40 percent. The MFA in creative writing was targeted for growth. During the same period, the number of MFA graduates in the creative writing program more than doubled, from an average of 13 to 34 annually. This growth was not under department control. In 2005, after a long discussion, the department decided that they wanted to admit a smaller, more selective class. It was clear that “targeted for growth” meant adding more students, not more resources. But the president of the college held the acceptance letters until the department agreed to admit everyone on the fairly large wait list. This resulted in the largest class ever admitted.

* An excerpt from Claire Vaye Watkins’ upcoming novel, Gold Fame Citrus, “a sweeping, apocalyptic vision of the Southland after the water wars turn California into a roaming sand dune sea.”

Interdepartmental research shows that during that 12-month period when body cameras were in use, instances of some types of force by San Diego police officers actually rose by 10%.

* If You Live In These States You’ll Soon Need A Passport For Domestic Flights. I can’t imagine that this will actually come to pass, but I just got my driver’s license renewal and Wisconsin is treating its default ID as not-airplane-ready.

In honor of the ten years since speculative fiction author Octavia Butler’s untimely transition, the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network and the Octavia E. Butler Society are joining forces to create simultaneous West and East coast events February 25-28, 2016 in L.A. and at Spelman College in Atlanta respectively. The two organizations will also be collaborating on a special edition of the academic journal Palimpsest that highlights her written work and impact on humanity.

The majority of white people who take the implicit association test (IAT) for racial bias do demonstrate biases against dark-skinned people.

* Higher education as Veblen good.

Dispatches From the Future’s Past: How a collection of sci-fi fanzines helps us understand the prehistory of the Internet.

A Newspaper Report on Administrative Bloat: Some Remarks on the Sum of the Details and on Some of the Specific Details.

Why Is College So Expensive if Professors Are Paid So Little?

* “Canada’s oldest independent arts university has struggled financially in recent years, and currently faces a $13-million debt.” So of course the solution is to build a new campus for $25 million.

Cornell’s Pitch to Humanities and Social-Sciences Ph.D.s: All of You, Apply Here.

If 2008 taught us anything, it’s that the whole culture has followed the economic quants far enough down the complexity rabbit hole. I would argue that it might be the scholarship that neoclassical economists dismiss most forcefully that we should look to for help in questioning the self-interested models that the financial sector asserts are real. As these books help us realize, it is humanists who are best trained to pull back the curtain on what we are talking about when we talk about finance.

* Criminal charges for Volkswagen? A CEO just got 28 years in prison after nine people died from his salmonella-tainted peanuts, and VW probably killed more people than that in California alone.

* Men haven’t gotten a raise in forty years.

* Sheboyganfreude: Scott Walker suspends presidential campaign.

* Eleanor Rigby, greenlit for six seasons and a movie.

One dad’s sad, expensive, and brief encounter with Ron Weasley.

* “Hit Charade: Meet the bald Norwegians and other unknowns who actually create the songs that top the charts.”

I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai.

* Disproving Godwin.

* Why does light have a top speed?

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears.

A Glossary of Gestures for Critical Discussion.

* Gymnastics and the abusers. Incredible, incredibly disturbing read.

* “Preventing Ethnic Fraud.” Should Universities Be Policing Professors’ Ethnicity Claims?

Games connect you with the sublime infinity of the mathematical universe, but they intersect with the real world only in secret and for pretend. Only in your head.

A new scandal, though, is putting Johnson’s rise at serious risk. It involves the mayor replacing civil servants with private citizens funded by the Wal-Mart empire and tasked with the twin purposes of working to abolish public education and bring in piles of cash for Kevin Johnson. The rising star, it seems, set up a fake government—and some people are starting to notice.

The Road to a 100% Clean-Powered Planet.

The rise, and rise, of literary annotation.

Selfies Killed More People Than Sharks This Year.

* And it was certainly nice of them to name the whole generation after my kid.

All the Wednesday Links!

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“Universities do not seem to care if staff and faculty are parents unless legally obligated to do so,” said my colleague Richard King, a professor of critical culture, gender, and race studies at Washington State University. “Do the work. Have kids on your own time. Any conflict is your responsibility to manage so long as you prioritize us over them.”

What Do 2,358 College Administrators Do? More at reclaimUC.

The UC administration constitutes a parasitic bureaucracy that grows and expands by consuming those elements of the university that remain outside of it. It can only survive by extracting tuition from students and wages from university workers. In return, it does not grow the university—it grows only itself. While budget cuts at the state level are an important piece of the crisis of higher education, the administrative bureaucracy at both campus and system level is by no means an innocent actor. It is the UC administration that must be held responsible for expanding, intensifying, and accelerating the processes of privatization.

* Misogyny nightmare at USC.

  • [USC student Tucker] Reed, the lead complainant, said USC dismissed her claim that her ex-boyfriend had raped her, despite her providing audio recordings of him admitting to it. At one point, Reed said, a USC official told her the goal was to offer an “educative” process, not to “punish” the assailant.
  • When a student went to the DPS to report a sexual assault at a frat, an officer told her and a friend, also a sexual assault survivor who had accompanied her, that women should not “go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped.”
  • A DPS detective told one student that the campus police determined that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm.

Why I Didn’t Go to Dubai.

A university is not a bubble to which you invite the best faculty members and the best students from all over the world and expect to share and produce cutting-edge knowledge. A university that is cut off from its immediate environment, that has no links with neighboring institutions of higher learning, that does not engage with the social, economic and political problems of the society in which it is embedded does not deserve the title of  “university.” Sadly, I believe that most U.S. universities working in the Gulf suffer from these fatal problems: They are hermetically sealed establishments that have little or no contact with the societies they are in. The latest episode of censorship belies this philosophy. It is as if the UAE government is saying “You can have the most impressive campuses, with cutting edge scientific labs, libraries and sports facilities, but you have no right to discuss the pressing political and cultural issues of the society just beyond the campus gates.”

* Shock! Horror! Emails show Detroit’s emergency managers always intended to declare bankruptcy.

* America Has a Stadium Problem: Despite every number suggesting they shouldn’t, why do American cities keep building sports stadiums funded with public money? They’re even promising to save the stadiums even as they let the rest of Detroit go under.

The NCAA’s History With Concussions: A Timeline.

Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, children’s free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article documents these historical changes and contends that the decline in play has contributed to the rise in the psychopathology of young people. Play functions as the major means by which children (1) develop intrinsic interests and competencies; (2) learn how to make decisions, solve problems, exert self-control, and follow rules; (3) learn to regulate their emotions; (4) make friends and learn to get along with others as equals; and (5) experience joy. Through all of these effects, play promotes mental health.  Key words: anxiety; decline of play; depression; feelings of helplessness; free play; narcissism; psychopathology in children; suicide

This is a perfect demonstration of why the entire budget battle is nothing more than an excuse to slash necessary programs for average people. There’s always money for military boondoggles whether it’s “missile defense” or border security or another already obsolete piece of expensive hardware.

They Finally Tested The ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ On Actual Prisoners. The true finding of game theory is that the most sociopathic people in society become economics theorists.

* Full faith and credit: Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage.

When we say we want to critique privilege, we mean that we want to critique the privilege of ordinariness. How awkward that sounds. Even impossible. But it is what we mean. More concisely, we want to critique the experience of “ordinariness” that permits daily life, permits civic engagement, even permits civil disobedience. And it becomes difficult to critique the experience of “ordinariness” because it is a moving target: ordinariness experienced in one location is not the same as ordinariness in another. My ordinariness in Nairobi is not the same as my ordinariness in Baltimore, although both depend on the presence of majority black populations.

* SyFy is destroying America: the only thing worse than a pointless 12 Monkeys TV series would be Warriors of Oz.

* North Carolina not even bothering to pretend post-VRA-evisceration.

Hollywood Actress Has Played a 17-Year-Old for Over 17 Years.

Francis Ford Coppola’s potential cast list for The Godfather.

* I know I link to it a lot, but Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal consistently has the best SF going.

* And we’re gonna need a bigger moral panic: science demonstrates poverty is much worse for babies than crack cocaine.

Friday Links

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* Our music was terrible, our fashion was terrible, our movies were corny as fuck and no meaningful growth took place: How to be 1990s.

* How to argue on the Internet. In the spirit of Derailing for Dummies.

Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch as “transreal SF.”

*Headline of the week: “Professor charged with peeing on colleague’s door.”

* And alas, Dubai.

As Goes Dubai

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Now Greece is threatening bankruptcy.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 8, 2009 at 6:47 pm

A Few for Wednesday

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I hate to bury the more important Afghanistan posts, but I’ve been working hard to avoid my work this morning and I wanted to memorialize my efforts with a linkdump.

* Via The Rushmore Academy, Richard Brody says The Darjeeling Limited is the second-best film of the decade. Coming as this does just one day after a lunchtime argument with Ryan over whether Wes Anderson is a “serious” filmmaker, I think my affirmative case has now been definitively proved.

* Matt Yglesias had a good post this morning on the way institutional pressures in the military-industrial complex drag America’s foreign policy to the right no matter who is president.

* Bad behavior from conservative Democrats in the Senate has put Snowe and Collins’s votes back in play on health care.

* UC-San Diego’s Gordon H. Hansen: Despite all this, illegal immigration’s overall impact on the US economy is small. Low-skilled native workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants are the clearest losers. US employers, on the other hand, gain from lower labor costs and the ability to use their land, capital, and technology more productively. The stakes are highest for the unauthorized immigrants themselves, who see very substantial income gains after migrating. If we exclude these immigrants from the calculus, however (as domestic policymakers are naturally inclined to do), the small net gain that remains after subtracting US workers’ losses from US employers’ gains is tiny. And if we account for the small fiscal burden that unauthorized immigrants impose, the overall economic benefit is close enough to zero to be essentially a wash. The bolded phrase represents the reason why, despite ongoing shrieking nativism from the Republican party base, immigration reform never actually occurs. (via @mattoyeah)

* Kottke: Photos of Dubai in decline are the new photos of Detroit in decline. Have to admit I laughed at Stewart’s sad “It’s now Du-sell” pun last night.

* And Scott Lemieux has today’s deep thought.

I am absolutely shocked that, despite a near-total lack of precedent, a wealthy professional athlete has engaged in sexual relations with persons to whom he is not married, and I hope that cable news will devote more time to these remarkably surprising and important revelations.

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)

Super Happy Insomnia Linkdump

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Super Happy Insomnia Linkdump.

* Here come your Simpsons stamps.

* Thomas Lennon says The State DVD is finally coming out this July. Meanwhile, State alums Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter have a new show and a new blog.

* Only 53% of Americans think capitalism is better than socialism. What happens when we cross 50%? Does it mean over-educated literary theory PhDs suddenly get to be in charge? I certainly hope it means that.

* The dark side of Dubai. Ugly, ugly stuff.

* On the neuropsychology of zombies. Via Pharyngula.

* A good post I forgot to link to a few days ago from FiveThirtyEight.com: Nate Silver predicts when various states will legalize gay marriage. My expectation is that a federal court ruling will make gay marriage a nationwide reality via the full faith and credit clause long before Mississippi—a state sweltering with the heat of injustice—gets its chance in 2024.

* And Part 4 of Matt Zoller Seitz’s Wes Anderson documentary is up. This part’s on J.D. Salinger.