Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘dystopia

Wednesday Links!

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(…though Tuesday’s links are still perfectly good…)

* I’m really excited to see that the Jameson talk on the army as a figure for utopia I talked about at the end of my Battle: Los Angeles essay is becoming a book (with some collected responses).

* One of my favorite Ted Chiang stories, “Understand” has been adapted as a radio drama at the BBC. Go listen!

* If you’re local, don’t forget! Mad Max: Fury Road discussion on campus today at 5 PM!

We Don’t Need to Reform America’s Criminal Justice System, We Need to Tear It Down.

Superheroes in a Time of Terror: Rushdie’s 1001 Nights.

Language and the Postapocalyptic World.

Doctors Without Borders airstrike: US alters story for fourth time in four days.

The FBI’s probe into the security of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail has expanded to include a second private technology company, which said Tuesday it plans to provide the law enforcement agency with data it preserved from Clinton’s account.

Against Joe Biden.

* Two great tastes: For decades, researchers have debated whether a major asteroid strike or enormous volcanic eruptions led to the demise of dinosaurs almost 66 million years ago. According to a new study, the answer might be somewhere in between: The asteroid impact accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes, and together, these catastrophes led to the mass extinction.

The Vancouver public-speaking and drama instructor sees his reasons for assigning Alcor US$80,000 of life insurance benefits to have his brain cryopreserved as strictly pragmatic.

* Kristof said that more preschoolers are shot dead each year than are on-duty police officers. For children aged 0-4, that is accurate for the past six years. For children aged 3-5, the statement is true in most years, but not in every year. We rate the claim Mostly True.

* Twenty-first century problems: Can Crowdfunding Save This Town from White Supremacy?

Yale Just Released 170,000 Incredible Photos of Depression-Era America.

* Free college, pro and con.

* Stay classy, Milwaukee.

Texas’s war on birthright babies.

A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board that looks at what role credit scores play in committed relationships suggests that daters might want to start using the metric as well. The researchers found that credit scores — or whatever personal qualities credit scores might represent — actually play a pretty big role in whether people form and stay in committed relationships. People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and marriages and then stay in them. In addition, how well matched the couple’s credit scores are initially is a good predictor of whether they stay together in the long term.

* This might be even worse than the drill bits: Greenfield Police Using Pink Handcuffs, Wearing New Pins For Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

* Get a head start on next week: “It’s time to abolish Columbus Day.”

* And at this point I have no idea what sort of milk I should be drinking. Thanks, Obama.

Wherein a Former Academic Blogger Emerges from Book Jail, Weary and Bleary-Eyed, to Discover He Has 300 Open Tabs

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* I had a short interview with the writing center journal Praxis go up this week: “Working Out What’s True and What Isn’t.”

* Can Faculty Deal with Policy Drift? A List of Options.

We know what happened next. After 2008, this paradigm has made it easier for governors and legislatures to cut and not restore, since it established a “new normal” that defined down the limits of reasonable budget requests.  The results have been predictable.  A recent report concluded that “forty-seven states — all except Alaska, North Dakota, and Wyoming — are spending less per student in the 2014-15 school year than they did at the start of the recession.”

* University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime. An addendum.

Now That We Have Transformed Our Institutions to Compete with the University of Phoenix, It’s on Life Support.

* Academic Freedom among the Very Serious People.

If Colonialism Was The Apocalypse, What Comes Next?

* Digitizing the fanzine collection at the University of Iowa’s science fiction collection.

* Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction.

An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

* Ursula K. Le Guin on China Miéville’s latest.

* “City of Ash,” by Paolo Bacigalupi. Part of a “cli-fi” series at Medium alongside this essay from Atwood: “It’s Not Climate Change, It’s Everything Change.”

19490141502_c48e8b967b_o* Modernist — really, brutalist — sandcastles.

* Early reports are calling Fantastic Four the worst superhero hero movie of all time. Grantland elegizes. Josh Trank points the finger.

* Steven Salaita has won a major victory against UIUC, on the same day that Chancellor Phyllis Rise resigns (to a $400K resignation bonus) amid the revelation that she misused her private email to secure his firing.

Fired University of Akron painter spills the details of president’s $951,824 house remodel. Meanwhile, on the other side of town…

Bullying, I propose, represents a kind of elementary structure of human domination. If we want to understand how everything goes wrong, this is where we should begin.

* The Problem We All Live With.

* This is the sort of adjunct-issue reporting that always frustrates me: it seems to me that it is engaging with the issue entirely on an emotional, rather than structural, basis, in the process more or less accepting entirely the think-like-an-administrator logic of forced choices that paints every laborer as the enemy of every other.

Refusing to foreground the actual monetary costs of academic labor in the current economy is a kind of grad-student gaslighting, and a form of abuse.

Why Your Rent Is So High and Your Pay Is So Low.

* The art of the rejection letter. Personally I think the only thing that is ever going to approach “universally acceptable” here is a very short “We’re sorry, but the position has now been filled.”

* Shoutouts to my particular demographic: A paper forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Research identifies a segment of customers, dubbed the “harbingers of failure,” with an uncanny knack for buying new products that were likely to flop.

India’s Auroville was envisioned as an international community free of government, money, religion, and strife. It hasn’t exactly worked out quite as planned.

* Students under surveillance.

Instead of a multiple-choice test, try ending the semester with one last, memorable learning experience.

Nevada is the uncanny locus of disparate monuments all concerned with charting deep time, leaving messages for future generations of human beings to puzzle over the meaning of: a star map, a nuclear waste repository and a clock able to keep time for 10,000 years—all of them within a few hours drive of Las Vegas through the harsh desert.

The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here.

Startups have figured out how to remove carbon from the air. Will anyone pay them to do it?

California Has Lost the Equivalent of an Entire Year’s Worth of Rain.

* Ghost Town Emerges As Drought Makes Nevada’s Lake Mead Disappear.

The Bureaucrats Who Singled Out Hiroshima for Destruction.

* Going to give this effort a C-: Environmental Protection Agency Dumps a Million Gallons of Orange Mine Waste into a Colorado River.

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery.”

Here Are the Internal Documents that Prove Uber Is a Money Loser. How Uber hides behind its algorithm.

iTunes Really Is That Bad.

* “You May Know Me from Such Roles as Terrorist #4.”

There have been 204 mass shootings — and 204 days — in 2015 so far.

Vermont Struggles With Renewables.

Eight Years After Student’s Unjust Expulsion from Valdosta State U., $900K Settlement Ends ‘Barnes v. Zaccari.’

Doug Williams used to give polygraph exams. Now he’s going to prison for teaching people how to beat them.

* Elsewhere on the legal beat: Lawyer seeks trial by combat to resolve lawsuit.

* Fitbit as confession.

No Charges For Two Officers Who Backed False Version Of University Of Cincinnati Shooting. Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence. How a philosophy professor with ‘monklike tendencies’ became a radical advocate for prison reform. Univ. of California Academic Workers’ Union Calls on AFL-CIO To Terminate Police Union’s Membership.

* Instapundit is terrible, but I think he’s right about jury nullification. More here.

* Campus police, off campus. How the 1960s created campus cops.

* The Milwaukee Bucks boondoggle makes Last Week Tonight.

* Transportation research group discovers 46% of Milwaukee’s roads are in poor condition. I hope it studies the other 54% next.

* The Milwaukee Lion could be an escaped exotic pet rather than a wandering cougar.

MarshallProj_2015-Aug-07* Milwaukee cops are going to GPS-tag cars rather than engage in high-speed pursuit.

* Milverine: Behind the Brawn.

* Chomsky in Jacobin.

Watch what happens when regular people try to use handguns in self-defense.

* Tressie McMillan Cottom: “I Am Not Well.”

* Good kids make more money. Bad kids make more money. Losers make more money. So that should clear it up.

* Game of the weekend: Ennuigi.

* House of Picards.

* Vox interviews Bernie Sanders.

* Two centuries of Chicago’s rivers being super gross.

* On Clinton and Cosby. Speaking of which, my hiatus also covered the amazing New York Magazine spread of the accusers.

* On the other side of things, there’s this from Freddie deBoer, on sexual assault accusations and the left.

* Gambling! In a casino! Wealth doesn’t trickle down – it just floods offshore, research reveals.

* Gasp! Middle class parents use ‘glass floor’ to ensure their children succeed over poorer peers, report finds.

* What could explain it? Millennials Who Are Thriving Financially Have One Thing in Common.

At 12 years and 9 months, she remains the youngest girl ever executed in the United States.

* I shared What Happens One Hour After Drinking A Can Of Coke last week, now I’m duly shamed.

* Science ain’t an exact science with these clowns: When Researchers State Goals for Clinical Trials in Advance, Success Rates Plunge.

* Is fat a sixth taste?

What on Earth is Fake Cream Made Out Of?

Man born with “virtually no brain” has advanced math degree.

* Chaos on the Bridge: When Gene Roddenberry Almost Killed Star Trek.

A fucking interesting history of swearing on television.

* The prisoner’s dilemma as pedagogy.

* Class and free will.

Dystopic stories are attractive. They appeal to a readership that feels threatened — economically in an age of downward mobility, and politically in an age of terror. But we need to be asking what kinds of stories about living and working with media these influential narratives offer. How do the stories orient young peoples to the potential power and danger of media use? What kinds of literacy practices are sponsored in them?

Kids in the Aftermath: Katrina in Young Adult Fiction.

The Cherry’s on Top: Celibacies and Surface Reading.


* …there is a profound link between literature and evil.

* A brief history of Tijuana Bibles.

Man Creating Women’s-History Museum Decides Last Minute to Make It Serial-Killer Museum Instead.

Are you holding your own daughter back? Here are 5 ways to raise girls to be leaders.

* The cutthroat world of competitive bagpiping.

* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards degoogleplusification.

The long, repressed history of black leftism.

* The austerity delusion.

* Clickhole has the series bible for Breaking Bad. Amazing how much the series changed from its original conception.

* Also at Clickhole: 7 Words That Have No English Translation.

* A dark, gritty Little Women reboot.

* Another scene from the dark, gritty Subway reboot.

* A delightful pitch for a Matrix prequel.

* There is hope — plenty of hope, infinite hope — but not for us.

* The future looks great: Facebook patents technology to help lenders discriminate against borrowers based on social connections.

* Woody Allen finally found a way to characterize his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn that’s even more sickening than “the heart wants what it wants.”

Twitter Asks: What if Hogwarts Were an HBCU?

* #FreeJudyGreer.

* #FreeBritneySpears.

* #BanCarAlarms.

* Do people start off crazy, or just end up that way?

What’s it like to be a top Magic: The Gathering player?

How do you plan on spending the $1 tax cut WI Republicans gave you?

* Everyday evil.

* Review is back. Life is sweet again. Four and a half stars.

* PS: Andy Daly and Paul F. Tompkins interview each other in honor of the occasion.

When your self-driving car crashes, you could still be the one who gets sued.

* And don’t even get me started on what happens if your robot umpire crashes.

* The World Turned Upside Down, or, The Folly of Man Exemplified in Twelve Comical Relations upon Uncommon Subjects.

* The latest in Twitter’s executives working overtime to destroy it.

* Decadence watch: KFC’s new chicken bucket is also a Bluetooth photo printer.

* Decadence watch: Solitaire now has in-app purchases.

* statementofteachingphilosophy.pdf.

* Say goodbye to Jon Stewart the Adam Kotsko way.

* Because you demanded it! Soviet-era erotic alphabet book from 1931.

* And you don’t have to take my word for it! That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket.


Written by gerrycanavan

August 8, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Every Tuesday Link! Every One!

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* Just a reminder that I’ll be in DC for a debate, Resolved: Technology Will Take All Our Jobs.

* The sad story of the São José.

* Against this backdrop, UW System leaders’ public statements in response to JFC’s omnibus bill—statements whose overriding tone is one of gratitude undergirded by obsequiousness—make perfect sense, even as they alternately disgust and infuriate the rest of us. Amid the general calamity for faculty, academic staff, classified staff, and students, there is an alignment of legislative priorities with administrative interests.

* It’s sad to say that when the administrators shut down any possibility for dialogue, when administrations withdraw into cocoon-like gated communities in which they’re always on the defensive, I think that it’s probably not unreasonable to say that this is not just about an assault, this looks like a war strategy. It looks like power is functioning in such a way as to both stamp out dissent and at the same time concentrate itself in ways in which it’s not held accountable.

* Bureaucracy: why won’t scholars break their paper chains?

* Recrimination in the language of the university is the image of a ruined hope that things would be different.

* Who’s getting Koch money today? University edition.

* Dispatches from dystopia. And one more from LARoB: Gender and the Apocalypse.

* Under these weird meritocratic dynamics, bourgeois characteristics make you more valuable not because they are good characteristics in themselves, but merely because they are bourgeois characteristics, and therefore relatable to the top of the economic hierarchy that directs the resources top spots in top firms are competing to get. This poses obvious problems for social mobility, which is the direction people usually take it, but it poses even deeper problems for the idea of “skills” more generally. Where “skills” refers, not to some freestanding objective ability to produce, but rather to your ability to be chummy and familiar to those with the money, they don’t actually seem to be “skills” in the sense most people imagine the term. Upper crust professionals no longer appear to be geniuses, but instead people who went to boarding school and whose manner of conducting themselves shows it.

* When a child goes to war. We talked about the Dumbledore issue a ton in my magic and literature class this semester. Stay tuned through the end for what is indeed surely the greatest editorial note of all time:


* That Oxford decides its poetry chair by voting is just the craziest thing in the world to me.

* Mass Effect, Personal Identity, and Genocide.

* Ghostwriters and Children’s Literature.

* Shaviro: Discognition: Fictions and Fabulations of Sentience.

* Recent Marquette University grads staging Shakespeare in 13 state parks.

* The map is not the territory (from the archives): The Soviet Union’s chief cartographer acknowledged today that for the last 50 years the Soviet Union had deliberately falsified virtually all public maps of the country, misplacing rivers and streets, distorting boundaries and omitting geographical features, on orders of the secret police.

* When My Daughter Asks Me if She Looks Fat.

* Some discussion of the Hastert case that explains why his supposed “blackmailers” may not be facing any charges: it’s legal to ask for money in exchange for not suing somebody.

* Body Cameras Are Not Pointed at the Police; They’re Pointed at You.

* Of course FIFA knew.

* Wes Anderson’s The Grand Overlook Hotel.

* The poison is the cure: Amid the ruins of its casino economy, NJ looks to build more casinos. And that’s only the second-most-ridiculous debate currently rocking the state.

* “Do we really want to fuse our minds together?” No! Who wants that?

* The Time War was good, and the Doctor changing it was also good. Take my word for it, I’m an expert in these matters.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: Michael Dorn is still pitching Captain Worf.

* Uber, firmly committed to being the absolute worst, in every arena.

* The Learning Channel, horror show.

* And after a very uneven season the Community series (?) finale is really good. The end.

Sunday Morning Links!

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As Marquette’s faculty gathers in the basement of the Bradley Center for commencement, some links…

* I have sat in philosophy seminars where it was asserted that I should be left to die on a desert island if the choice was between saving me and saving an arbitrary non-disabled person. I have been told it would be wrong for me to have my biological children because of my disability. I have been told that, while it isn’t bad for me to exist, it would’ve been better if my mother could’ve had a non-disabled child instead. I’ve even been told that it would’ve been better, had she known, for my mother to have an abortion and try again in hopes of conceiving a non-disabled child. I have been told that it is obvious that my life is less valuable when compared to the lives of arbitrary non-disabled people. And these things weren’t said as the conclusions of careful, extended argument. They were casual assertions. They were the kind of thing you skip over without pause because it’s the uncontroversial part of your talk.

* There’s tons of great stuff in issue 17 of Jacobin, from the Peter Frase editorial on automation to a call to democratize the universe to ruminations on edutopia and the smartphone society.

Mad Max: Fury Road Is the Feminist Action Flick You’ve Been Waiting For. 3 Brief Points on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Alastair Reynolds Says What It’ll Take To Colonize Other Planets.

University of Wisconsin flunks the financial transparency test.

* Juxtaposition watch: Maryland governor vetoes $11 million for schools, approves $30 million for jails.

The awful truth about climate change no one wants to admit.

Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her. The next couple years are going to be a bottomless exercise in humiliation for Democrats.

People Who Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning Are The Best Americans.

* History is a nightmare for which I’m trying to hit the snooze: NJ Republican Introduces Resolution Condemning ‘Negative’ AP History Exam.

City leaders approve plan for National Slave Ship Museum.

“Do something that will force reviewers compare this movie favorably to the ending of Man of Steelwhether they want to or not.”

Let the Kids Learn Through Play.

Why Are Palo Alto’s Kids Killing Themselves?

There is no f*cking way that you can hack a plane’s engines from the in-flight TVs. I won’t accept it.

* “He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.”

* I also won’t accept that Someone Did a Shit So Bad On a British Airways Plane That It Had to Turn Around and Come Back Again.

* “DesJarlais, a former physician, voted for the ban despite allegedly pressuring his mistress and ex-wife to get abortions.”

When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?

If Catch-22 appeared a few years before Americans were ready to read it, Something Happened jumped the gun by decades, and the novel was already forgotten when its comically bleak take on upper-middle-class life became a staple of fiction.

Jurors In The Boston Bombing Case Had To Agree To Consider The Death Penalty Before Being Selected. This is a very strange requirement of the law that seems to strongly interfere with the “jury of your peers” ideal.

How a police department tried to save a failing Rust Belt town by luring all the local drug dealers to one party.

* Deleted scene from Infinite Jest. So bizarre.

* Dibs on the young-adult dystopia: Teenagers who show too much leg face being sent into an “isolation room” for breaching the new uniform code.

New Zealand Legally Recognises Animals as ‘Sentient’ Beings.

Schools are failing boys because lessons have become “feminised”, says a leading academic who wants to see outdoor adventure given greater emphasis in the curriculum. That’ll solve it!

What Even Can You Even Say About The Princess-Man of North Sudan?

What Would You Do If You Could Censor Your Past? A Visit to the UK’s Secret Archives.

The Ecotourism Industry Is Saving Tanzania’s Animals and Threatening Its Indigenous People.

* “On the occasion of David Letterman’s retirement after 33 years of hosting a late-night talk show, Jason Snell presents his take on Letterman’s significance, told with the help of a few friends.”

* Friends, they may call it a movement.

* And I’ll see you again in twenty-five days.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 17, 2015 at 8:45 am

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Sunday Night Links! Probably Too Many!

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17644_10101690572456291_9124726088155968029_n* Upcoming appearances: I’ll be speaking at the Environments & Societies workshop at UC Davis next Wednesday. And of course we’ll be debating whether Harry Potter is a dystopia (it is) this Wednesday here at Marquette.

* This is nice: Green Planets is a finalist for the ASLE book prize.

* CFP: The Contemporary: Culture in the Twenty-First Century.

* CFP: Jim Gordon as Batman is dumb.

* The Dolphin Trainer Who Loved Dolphins Too Much.

* The cult of the Ph.D. I suppose I’m a hopeless curmudgeon on this at this point, but I just don’t see how any attempt to reform graduate schools can ignore the fact that “the primary, overarching purpose of doctoral programs is to produce professors.” Alt-ac can save a few, but it can’t save everyone, or even most.

Everything We Learned About The Force Awakens At Star Wars Celebration. Look, I’m not made of stone.

* And then there was (sigh) DC. Double sigh.

* There still aren’t any states where women earn as much as men.

PayGap2Did Yoda And Obi-Wan Screw Princess Leia Over?

But in choosing a hero to defeat Vader, they sent Luke to Dagobah, not Leia. They sent the whiny uneducated hick whose greatest ambition until very recently had been to *join the Empire* instead of the smart, sophisticated, and well-educated woman with the political connections and Rebel cred?

It was only the last time I watched Return of the Jedi that I finally realized “that boy is our last hope / no, there is another” refers to Anakin, not Leia. So I’m pretty on board with this, especially now that the possibly exculpatory Expanded Universe context has been retconned out of existence.

Citi Economist Says It Might Be Time to Abolish Cash. This is a truly stunning document: the argument is that we need to abolish cash because otherwise bankers won’t be able to force everybody to accept negative interest rates.

* New from the new TNR: We’re Checking the Wrong Privilege.

* Heinlein shrugged.

America’s wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

155,000 New York kids boycott standardized tests.

Preserving the Ghastly Inventory of Auschwitz.

It is a moral stance with specific curatorial challenges. It means restoring the crumbling brick barracks where Jews and some others were interned without rebuilding those barracks, lest they take on the appearance of a historical replica. It means reinforcing the moss-covered pile of rubble that is the gas chamber at Birkenau, the extermination camp a few miles away, a structure that the Nazis blew up in their retreat. It means protecting that rubble from water seeping in from the adjacent ponds where the ashes of the dead were dumped.

And it means deploying conservators to preserve an inventory that includes more than a ton of human hair; 110,000 shoes; 3,800 suitcases; 470 prostheses and orthopedic braces; more than 88 pounds of eyeglasses; hundreds of empty canisters of Zyklon B poison pellets; patented metal piping and showerheads for the gas chambers; hundreds of hairbrushes and toothbrushes; 379 striped uniforms; 246 prayer shawls; more than 12,000 pots and pans carried by Jews who believed that they were simply bound for resettlement; and some 750 feet of SS documents — hygiene records, telegrams, architectural blueprints and other evidence of the bureaucracy of genocide — as well as thousands of memoirs by survivors.

* There’s jobs, there’s dirty jobs, and then there’s being Joseph Goebbels’s copyright lawyer.

Ewald Engelen, a professor of finance and geography at UvA who spoke about the perils of the financialization of higher education at the Maagdenhuis occupation, explained in a coauthored article, published in 2014, how rendementsdenken became the ruling logic – and logic of rule – at his university. After a 1995 decision transferring public ownership of real estate to universities like UvA, he and colleagues argued, education and research considerations started taking a backseat to commercial concerns regarding real estate planning. The state’s retreat from management of real estate demanded tighter account of “costs, profits, assets and liabilities” at the university, setting “in motion a process of internal reorganization to produce the transparent cash flow metrics that were required to service the rapidly growing real estate debt,” the academics wrote.

Neither the Brostrom or the Campos side focuses on the fact that privatization increases expenses as well as revenues. In reality, privatization forces the mission creep of multiplying activities, “businesses,” funding streams, capital projects and other debt-funded investments, which increase all sorts of non-educational costs and also administration.  Private partnerships, sponsors, vendor relations, and so on bring in new money but also cost money, require institutional subsidies, and in many cases lose money for the university.

The Education Department Is Working On A Process For Forgiving Student Loans.

* Sweet Briar didn’t die, it was put down. If he puts his mind to it, Jamshed Bharucha has the ability to effectively destroy whatever future remains for Cooper Union.

* I really wish we could get famous people to stop talking this way about autism.

* Towards a disability version of the Bechdel Test.

A disability version of the “Bechdel Test,” maybe?
1) There’s a disabled character visible
2) Who wants something, and tries to get it,
3) Other than a) Death, b) Cure, or c) Revenge.

* Cuomo’s master plan to turn SUNY into a startup factory has created 76 jobs.

Large Pile Of Cash Announces US Presidency Bid.

* The BBC has adapted The Left Hand of Darkness.

* I’m very much in favor of “they” as a generic singular pronoun, but “they are,” please, not “they is.”

Private Company Conspired With Police To Hold Poor People For Ransom, Lawsuit Charges.

Ex-Drug Cop: Drug Squad Stole Cash And Planted Drugs Too Many Times To Count.

* Only for certain values of “justice”: The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

* It seems like the deputy isn’t the person who should be charged with Eric Harris’s murder. This person never should have been working as a cop, for myriad reasons.

* The only way this can work: California Assembly panel approves legislation preventing police from viewing body camera footage.

Labeling the market natural and the state unnatural is a convenient fiction for those wedded to the status quo.

White parents in North Carolina are using charter schools to secede from the education system.

Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children.

All 3 Oregon Basketball Players Suspended Over Sexual Assault Find New Teams.

* Shocked, shocked: Leaked videos suggest Chevron cover-up of Amazon pollution.

* The Atlantic covers graduate student unionization.

Los Angeles school district demands multi-million dollar refund from Apple.

Centuries of Italian History Are Unearthed in Quest to Fix Toilet.

* “All I know is the end is coming for all of us.”

* On not hate-watching, but hope-watching.

* George R. R. Martin: Once More, into the Kennels.

The Atlanta teachers’ trial: A perfect example of America’s broken justice system.

* How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.

The Quest to Boot Old Hickory Off the $20.

Why the Vatican’s crackdown on nuns ended happily. Pope Francis’s Populist War on the Devil.

Latchkey children age restrictions by state. Wisconsin, you’re probably asleep at the switch here. But Illinois, you guys relax.

A Scan Of 100,000 Galaxies Shows No Sign Of Alien Mega-Civilizations. Okay, but let’s scan the next 900,000 just to be sure.

That aliens would have imperial ambitions is taken as natural. Far from being the historical outcome of a specific organization of capital in the latter half of the second millennium, these signatories assume that the ideology of capitalist imperialism is inevitable across the galaxy. To be fair, though, the Fermi Paradox is a “it just takes one” claim, not a “all societies are alike” claim.

* If you’re so smart, why aren’t you terrified all the time?

Chase nightmares with behind-the-scenes photos from Return To Oz.

The Photo Hitler Doesn’t Want You to See.

* More on how Game of Thrones deviates from the books. And a fun flashback: The first pilot for Game of Thrones was so bad HBO almost passed on the entire series.

* It’s almost like Batman didn’t think this thing through.

* Dumb, but maybe my favorite Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal of all time.

* And teach the controversy: Tim Goodman says the Waitress arc on Mad Men might not be stupid and pointless.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

*, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.


Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Playing Monday Catch-Up Links

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* Jaimee finally has a webpage! You can see all her online poems here.

Announcing the Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities.

* Reminder: Mullen fellowship applications are due April 1.

Relativism: The spontaneous ideology of the undergraduate.

* The trolley and the psychopath.

Tired of the same old dystopias? Randomized Dystopia suggests a right that your fictional tyranny could deny its citizens!

What if we educated and designed for resistance, through iterative performance and play?

* A good start: The University of Phoenix has lost half its students in the last five years.

I began pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 2006. My incoming cohort had nine students–seven in English Language and Literature, two in English and Women’s Studies. When we entered the program, all of us aspired to the tenure-track. The last of us just defended her dissertation this January, making ours the first cohort in several years with a 100% completion rate. Nine years out, only one of us has a tenure track professorship.

* #altac: Northeastern University seeks an intellectually nimble, entrepreneurial, explode-the-boundaries thinker to join the Office of the President as Special Assistant for Presidential Strategy & Initiatives. This job ad truly is a transcendent parody of our age, down to the shameless sucking up to the president of the university that constitutes 2/3 of the text.

* Budget cuts kill The Dictionary of American Regional English.

The Long, Ugly History of Racism at American Universities.

I Saw My Admissions Files Before Yale Destroyed Them.

Confessions of a Harvard Gatekeeper.

The Unmanageable University.

What NYU Pays Its Top Earners, And What Most Of Your Professors Make.

“There is no point in having that chat as long as the system is mismanaged,” said Steven Cohen, president of the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, which represents most faculty. Cohen pointed to central office costs that are rising as faculty numbers decline.

Letter from Amsterdam.

The war against humanities at Britain’s universities.

On NYU and the future of graduate student unionism.

I teach philosophy at Columbia. But some of my best students are inmates.

Why Is So Much of Our Discussion of Higher Ed Driven by Elite Institutions?

It’s Time to End Tuition at Public Universities—and Abolish Student Debt.

* Following up on the future of rhetoric and composition. I also liked this one from Freddie: “It’s that mass contigency– the dramatic rise of at-risk academic labor like adjuncts and grad students– that creates the conditions that Cooke laments on campus. In the past, when a far higher portion of college courses were taught by tenured professors, those who taught college courses had much less reason to fear reprisals from undergraduates.”

There is certainly an important and urgent conversation to be had about academic freedom and whether that is being constrained by trigger warnings and the like, but the discourse of students’ self-infantilization misdirects us from the larger picture. That, I think, is definitely not a story of student-initiated “cocooning,” but rather the transformation of the category of “student” into “consumer” and “future donor.”

How Sweet Briar’s Board Decided to Close the College. But don’t worry, there’s a plan: Faculty Propose Sweet Briar Shift Focus to STEM.

Law School Dean Average Tenure Is 2.78 Years, An All-Time Low.

* #disrupt morality: “America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business.”

3 Cops Caught On Tape Brutally Beating Unarmed Michigan Man With No Apparent Provocation. Private Prison Operator Set To Rake In $17 Million With New 400-Bed Detention Center. Teen Was Kept In Solitary Confinement For 143 Days Before Even Facing Trial. Inside America’s Toughest Federal Prison.

* What are your chances of going to prison?

Dollars, Death and the LAPD.

The officers sued the LAPD for discrimination for keeping them in desk jobs. Last week a jury awarded them $4 million. In other words, the refusal to let them go back to the streets to shoot more people is, in the eyes of our court system, worth more than four times as much as the life of an innocent man. Much more than that when you consider that they drew and continue to draw near six figure salaries for sitting at a desk.

* Tolkien and surveillance.

* The TSA Checklist.

The Radical Humaneness of Norway’s Halden Prison.

UN erects memorial to victims of transatlantic slave trade.

* Inside Firefly.

* World’s most honest headline watch: Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion.

Antarctica Recorded Hotter Temperatures Than They’ve Ever Seen This Week.

Framing China as an environmental villain only serves to excuse American inaction.

Even with California deep in drought, the federal agency hasn’t assessed the impacts of the bottled water business on springs and streams in two watersheds that sustain sensitive habitats in the national forest. The lack of oversight is symptomatic of a Forest Service limited by tight budgets and focused on other issues, and of a regulatory system in California that allows the bottled water industry to operate with little independent tracking of the potential toll on the environment.

Too Bad, That Rumor About A New Star Trek TV Show Is Absolutely False. But it’s not all bad news: they may have tricked Idris Elba into playing a Klingon.

The True Story of Pretty Woman’s Original Dark Ending.

* The Deadly Global War for Sand.

* SMBC vs. the Rebus. And vs. modernity.

I Started Milwaukee’s Epic Bloody Mary Garnish Wars.

* Photographer Johan Bävman documents the world of dads and their babies in a country where fathers are encouraged to take a generous amount of paternity leave.

Dean Smith Willed $200 to Each of His Former Players to ‘Enjoy a Dinner Out.’ You’ll never believe what happened next. But!

* Teaching human evolution at the University of Kentucky.

* Being Jason Shiga.

Scientists Discover the Reason That Indian Food Tastes So Good and How It Differs From Western Cuisine.

We Should Be Able To Detect Spaceships Moving Near The Speed Of Light.

* Snowpiercer forever: Russia unveils plan for superhighway from London to Alaska.

Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes.

* The future is now: Miles Morales and Kamala Khan join the female Thor and Captain “The Falcon” America as Avengers post-Secret Wars.

Things Marvel Needs to Think About for the Black Panther Movie.

Marxists Internet Archive: Subjects: Arts: Literature: Children’s Literature.

Ruins found in remote Argentinian jungle ‘may be secret Nazi hideout.’

15 Secrets Hiding in the World of Game of Thrones.

Listen to part of Carlin’s Summerfest 1972 show — before he got arrested.

This 19th Century ‘Stench Map’ Shows How Smells Reshaped New York City.

* The ethics of playing to lose.

* Today in ultimate selfies.

* And make mine del Toro:

You say horror is inherently political. How so?

Much like fairy tales, there are two facets of horror. One is pro-institution, which is the most reprehensible type of fairy tale: Don’t wander into the woods, and always obey your parents. The other type of fairy tale is completely anarchic and antiestablishment.


Written by gerrycanavan

March 30, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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