Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘efficiency

Christmas Hangover Links

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* This was fun: My Tolkien/The Force Awakens mini-essay got picked up by Salon.

* Is Star Wars setting up Poe Dameron as its first queer protagonist? Rey is not a role model for little girls. The prior texts against which this film needs to be judged are not those long-ago movies, but rather the trailers for this new movie. And bah humbug! Double humbug! Double triple bah humbug!

* And for the devotee: How Did This Get Made? covered The Star Wars Holiday Special this week — with bonus oral history.

A Christmas Carol: Dedicated to Scrooge, And His Art Collection.

* New York University is known for bestowing lavish perks on its leaders. Its new president, Andrew Hamilton, will be no exception. NYU sort of hitting it out of the park this week generally. The latest extravagances in the college sports arms race? Laser tag and mini golf.

Economists Say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to Christmas Presents.

Phylogeny of elves finds that santa’s workers are actually dwarves.

* The death of the Wisconsin idea: Under the proposed policies, faculty members could be laid off for financial reasons or if academic programs are discontinued for education reasons, including long-term strategic planning that includes “market demand and societal needs.”

* Let this be our Christmas story. Why? Well, that requires some explaining and perhaps even a stronger rationale than I’m yet able to muster. Because it has no cheer, redemption or family bonding. It’s about power, money, greed, recklessness and what can only be termed the sort of roughshod ridiculousness and surreal unintentional comedy that comes from being powerful enough or serving people with sufficient power that the ordinary sort of fear of getting caught and having to explain yourself simply doesn’t apply.

* Call for ideas: the Museum of Capitalism.

* From Bleeding Heart Libertarians: “Universities may indeed be exploiting adjuncts, but they cannot rectify this mistake without significant moral costs.”

* What really happened in the Christmas truce of 1914? The Real Story Behind the 1914 Christmas Truce in World War I.

* The Typical American Lives Only 18 Miles From Mom.

* The strange case of Case Western Reserve University law school.

* El Niño, explained: A guide to the biggest weather story of 2015. Records smashed on East Coast’s warmest ever Christmas Eve.

African-Inspired Space Opera Yohancé Is Going To Be Our Next Obsession.

‘Unprecedented’ gas leak in California is the climate disaster version of BP’s oil spill.

* I knew cheese was a drug.

* And no. Just no. Disagree.

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Wednesday Links!

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Fans aren’t the irrational ones. They know how to seize pleasure from the world and hold tight even as it hurts them. If fandom is simply an obedient response to the signals of the consumer market, it is an obedience which threatens to overrun its master while saying yes.

* On unprofessional bodies.

* Another “I’m a professor” essay.

What my experience has taught me must become every instructor’s priority — that is, if we are in the profession because we want to develop engaged citizens. I have learned to teach students to notice how they are being groomed to join a “docile and contingent workforce” whenever they are not encouraged to think in ways that feel like a challenge. I couldn’t do this if I were busy cowering to avoid complaints. Besides, I want my students to be passionately engaged and to feel empowered about speaking up both inside and outside of my classroom. The real question, then, is: how can professors broach controversial topics in a way that does not lend itself to complaints that are grounded more in emotion than in intellectual inquiry? The solution is simple, but implementing it requires courage and tenacity: professors need to directly discuss power and power differentials, no matter the subject area.

Tenure, Fairness, and Fear(lessness).

But that is not really something that makes professors special. Rather, it is good for people to make their lives less fearsome and their minds less fearful. Those of us who have some of that privilege in our working lives should hold our heads high and try to be allies to others who are working to get their share of it. There’s no shame in having security, only in keeping other people from it.

In the wake of the UW System Board of Regents’ decision last week to “pretend to have tenure,” System leaders are coming to acknowledge more and more in their public statements the correctness of the worries they have simultaneously attempted to depict as alarmist. The very grave problem posed by section 39 of the JFC omnibus motion is finally on the public radar of UW administrators, though they continue to soft-pedal its severity.

Can the University of Wisconsin Survive Governor Walker?

* Unless you are in highly unusual circumstances, really, do not think of adjuncting as a long-term career.

* What different colleges could do with $400 million.

In Heated State-Budget Fights, Students Strive to Be Heard.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Cooper Union: Five Trustees, Including Daniel Libeskind, Abruptly Resign.

The accusations against Mr. Walker, one of several new claims of academic misconduct involving Texas athletes, illustrate how the university has appeared to let academically deficient players push the limits of its policy on academic integrity as it has sought to improve its teams’ academic records.

* On disliking poetry.

But the emerging field of Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election is something else altogether. Of the dozen or so people who have declared or are thought likely to declare, every one can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.

* And then there was Rand, scooping the Democrats again.

“We will make them appear less Asian when they apply,” he says. “While it is controversial, this is what we do.”

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5-year-olds. Chief among its features is a most old-fashioned concept: play.

* From infancy to employment, this is a life-denying, love-denying mindset, informed not by joy or contentment, but by an ambition that is both desperate and pointless, for it cannot compensate for what it displaces: childhood, family life, the joys of summer, meaningful and productive work, a sense of arrival, living in the moment.

How Utah Became A Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter For Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.

* New government research shows that female military veterans commit suicide at nearly six times the rate of other women, a startling finding that experts say poses disturbing questions about the backgrounds and experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

Apple is finally fixing the reason your Mac and iPhone’s Wi-Fi sucks.

The constant cycle of phone upgrades — in which consumers buy phones once a new model comes out every two or so years — is having serious effects on the environment, according to a new study.

Why These Tiny Island Nations Are Planning To Sue Fossil Fuel Companies.

* music is inefficient beep bop boop

Why Franklin Richards Is The Most Ridiculous Character In All Of Comics.

* Information wants to be free! With regard to the pornographic material Osama Bin Laden had in his possession at the time of his death, responsive records, should they exist, would be contained in the operational files. The CIA Information Act, 50 U.S.C 431, as amended, exempts CIA operational files from search, review, publication, and disclosure requirements of the FOIA. To the extent that this material exists, the CIA would be prohibited by 18 USC Section 1461 from mailing obscene matter.

Six days in North Korea.

* “Officer Involved.”

Iceland put bankers in jail rather than bailing them out — and it worked.

* And Germany’s oldest student, 102, gets PhD denied by Nazis.

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Sunday Night Links!

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But trains loaded with millions of gallons of crude oil thread the thickly populated areas of some of the nation’s biggest cities. Including Milwaukee.

Love Song for a Neoliberal University: StarbucksU.

* Corinthian Colleges Inc. shut down its remaining 28 for-profit career schools, ending classes for about 16,000 students, in the biggest collapse in U.S. higher education.

* I’m not anti-technology, or anti-innovation. And I think traditional colleges are deeply flawed. But I am very, very much against expanding the money-laundering side of our financial aid system. And that is the coal mine into which the ASU-EdX canary is being lowered.

* Surge Pricing for Your Entire Life.

On the deep grammar of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner.

* Hell didn’t exist, so we built it: the Alcatraz of the Rockies.

What It’s Like to Be a Girl in America’s Juvenile Justice System.

* Baltimore “has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers brazenly beat up alleged suspects. One hidden cost: The perception that officers are violent can poison the relationship between residents and police.”

* The myth of police reform.

A Residence With Locking Doors And A Working Toilet Is All That’s Needed To Justify A No-Knock Warrant.

This is the toxic tribalism that repeats itself over and over throughout the West. Western victims are mourned and humanized, while victims of Western violence are invisible and thus dehumanized. Aside from being repugnant in its own right, this formula, by design, is deeply deceptive as propaganda: It creates the impression among Western populations that we are the victims but not the perpetrators of heinous violence, that terrorism is something done to us but that we never commit ourselves, that “primitive, radical and inhumanely violent” describes the enemy tribe but not our own.

When George Packer gets bored, I get worried. It means he’s in the mood for war.

* Tom DeLay: People keep forgetting that God ‘wrote the Constitution.’

Can We Preserve the Ferguson QuikTrip? Ferguson’s Fortune 500 Company.

Entire Treasury Department Competing For Same Goldman Sachs Job Opening.

Ex-NBA player who made $60 million explains what really happens to your money when you sign an 8-figure contract.

23 maps and charts on language.

Before And After: Earthquake Destroys Kathmandu’s Centuries-Old Landmarks.

How Well Does ‘Daredevil’ Handle Disability Issues?

* Tetris: The Unauthorized Biography.

An Abandoned Island in The Middle of NYC.

Native Hawaiians are fighting off an invasion of astronomers. The Heart of the Hawaiian Peoples’ Arguments Against the Telescope on Mauna Kea.

* And some local interest from the Decolonial Atlas: The Great Lakes in Ojibwe.

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Wednesday Links!

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

* Catholic Colleges Greet an Unchurched Generation.

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

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

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

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

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

* Ebola threatens world chocolate supply.

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

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

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

Where Should We Bury the Dead Racist Literary Giants?

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

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

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

George Mason Grad Students Release Adjunct Study.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* SF short of the night: Forever War.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* David Lynch’s Los Angeles.

* We are become old.

* Milwaukee’s incredible shrinking art scene.

* Karen Russell on the greatness of The Martian Chronicles.

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

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

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

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

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

Written by gerrycanavan

October 15, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wed!nes!day! Links!

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* The greatest Tumblr of all time forever: Wes Anderson’s X-Men. Above: Bill Murray as sad Professor X.

* A Snowpiercer Thinkpiece, Not to Be Taken Too Seriously, But For Very Serious Reasons.

* Ours is truly an age of miracles: How to cut a bagel into two interlocking rings.

* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Cheered by tourists, tolerated by regulars, feared by those who frown upon kicks in the face, subway dancers have unwittingly found themselves a top priority for the New York Police Department — a curious collision of a Giuliani-era policing approach, a Bloomberg-age dance craze and a new administration that has cast the mostly school-age entertainers as fresh-face avatars of urban disorder.

Visionary Vintage Children’s Book Celebrates Gender Equality, Ethnic Diversity, and Space Exploration.

* Feminist Science Fiction Is the Best Thing Ever.

* BREAKING: Law school is the absolute worst.

When and how did modern governments decide to outsource all operational aspects of geopolitical strategy to marauding gangs of robbers and murderers?

* The Ebola epidemic has reached Lagos. That’s horrifying.

* How NCAA’s Concussion Deal Affects Current, Former, and Future Athletes.

* Spending Shifts as Colleges Compete on Students’ Comfort.

The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth owes $200,000 in damages to a professor of English who says she was denied a promotion based on her race and gender, a state equal opportunity board has ruled. That’s on top of the board-ordered back pay and promotion the university has already awarded Lulu Sun.

Can World of Warcraft Save Higher Education? Can it? Can it?

* Write Your Own Irish Memoir!

* Yes we can: Sonic Cannons Are Going To Wreck US East Coast Ecology In Search Of Oil.

* There is ‘No Constitutional Right Not to Become an Informant.’

* The net affect of the ordinance is that most of Milwaukee is off-limits to sex offenders.

* Over the past few weeks the stories of child refugees fleeing unspeakable violence in Central America, as well as their uncertain fate in the hands of U.S. policymakers, has been the focus of headlines around the country. What has been more difficult to follow is what is happening to the influx of refugee mothers who have recently fled to the U.S. with their children, many just toddlers and babies. I went down to Artesia, New Mexico last week to see for myself what has become of these vulnerable families.

* On sticking to your guns: Hess’s Triangle.

* Kapitalism, With Kim Kardashian.

* And, alas, it’s not all good news: BP Oil Spill Is Much Worse Than People Think, Scientists Say.

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Thank God It’s Thanksgiving Week Links – 3

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* After years of leaning on tuition increases to make up for declining state support, about four in 10 public universities now report tuition revenue is not keeping pace with inflation, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service. Probably should cut funding some more and see if that helps.

“MOOCs are over,” she said. “Administrators haven’t figured it out yet, but everyone else knows.”

Initially, the university’s consultants claimed that AST would render a savings of $17 million. Over time that figure shrunk to $5 million, and by some accounts now is reputed to be as low as $2 million. Yet the university has already reportedly spent at least $3 million on this effort with even more spending on the horizon.

What should be happening is the immediate cancellation of all “Third World” debt, just as the US government forgave far larger sums and bailed out its own banks after the 2008 financial crash. Moreover, developed nations actually have to add money for climate change induced “loss and damage” to the balance sheets of developing countries, rather than subtract it. Understanding Warsaw: Capitalism, Climate Change and Neocolonialism.

The impact of recession is clear in countries with the most severe economic problems. In Greece, for example, suicides rose by 17 per cent and murder rates more than doubled between 2007 and 2011. Half of new HIV infections between 2009 and 2011 are estimated to have been self-inflicted to secure monthly benefits of €700. That second stat seems very hard for me to accept.

Superintendent and three school employees indicted in Steubenville rape case.

Teen Jailed At Rikers For 3 Years Without Conviction Or Trial.

Techbros for Bronarchy: Rise of the Neobroactionaries.

Silicon Valley Isn’t a Meritocracy — And It’s Dangerous to Hero-Worship Entrepreneurs.

* And Democrats say sanctions forever. Forever, damnit!

Exactly 100% of the Sunday Links

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Hundreds of children have been killed by American drones. These were some of their names, written down and erased.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The Sound of Terror: Phenomenology of a Drone Strike. Give Skynet a Chance. Forever War Turns Its Hungry Gaze to Africa.

The Counterreformation in Higher Education.

* Another review of Ebony & Ivy, on the connection between slavery and the university. Study faults UCLA’s handling of faculty’s racial bias complaints.

* Were Brutalist Buildings Really Designed to Thwart Student Riots? I’ve been to UWM; you’ll never convince me otherwise.

* The New York Times says it will slowly, laboriously, exhaustively roll out a simple and obvious change to dramatically improve their reporting.

* The story of Phone Story.

Apple’s email to Molleindustria apparently claimed that four such lines were crossed: two lines related to “charities and contributions,” and two further “crossed lines” that suggested the game had depicted “violence or abuse of children” and “excessively objectionable or crude content.” With a curious bit of irony, the letter from Apple focuses on the very trendy discourse of protecting children from the moral hazards of the Web — a trend also picked up by the current Tory government in the UK, which promotes various protective methods to ensure kids are safe from/in the online world. Indeed, one is tempted to connect such a moral panic discourse to a wider neglect of other types of surely more direct abuse of children, as well as other vulnerable groups of workers worldwide. Protect the kids, if they get online — but not if their labor helps you get online and support the digital economy slightly further away from the actual cognitive work.

* Scenes from the BART strike: two workers killed by management-driven train.

I think one of the most damaging effects America’s omnipresent racism has on a person’s psyche isn’t the brief pang of hurt that comes from being called a slur, or seeing a picture of Barack Obama portrayed by a chimpanzee. Those things are common and old-fashioned, and when they happen I tend to feel sadder than angry, because I’m seeing someone who engages with the world like a wall instead of a human being. Rather, I think what’s far more corrosive and insidious, the thing that lingers in the back of my mind the most, is the framework of plausible deniability built up around racism, and how insane that plausible deniability can make a person feel when wielded. How unsure of oneself. How worried that you might be overreacting, oversensitive, irrational.

The Insidious Power of Not-Quite-Harassment.

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners And Modern Management.

A Field Guide to the North American Responsibility Troll.

LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers.

* Breathing ruled more dangerous than passive smoking, with risk highest in places like China.

Cheney Had Heart Device Disabled To Prevent Terrorists From Sending Fatal Shock.

* A brief history of the Washington Racial Slurs.

* Masculinity, patriarchy, violence.

Woman’s Abortion Used As ‘Proof’ She’s Unfit To Raise Kids. Female DUI Suspects in Washington Were Made to Strip for Their Jailers.

* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.

* Why Teachers Quit.

* In retrospect, even though I have no reason to doubt Yanomamo ferocity, at least under certain circumstances, I seriously question the penchant of observers (scientific and lay alike) to generalize from small samples of our unquestionably diverse species, especially about something as complex as war. On just-so stories and evolutionary explanations of history.

* The ne plus ultra of Americans’ irrational free speech absolutism: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse.

At the rate things are going, tens of millions of us could end up as temps, contract employees, call-center operators, and the like: The Task Rabbit Economy.

* Moral panics we can believe in: Salsa Overtakes Ketchup as Most Popular Condiment. I don’t think this is even the first time this happened.

“The 1979 conclusion by the House Select Committee on Assassinations is wrong,” Sabato said.

* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?

* Two Rich People Hate Health Care for the Normals, Won’t Ever Drop It.

* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!