Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘elites

Monday Morning Links (The Kind You Don’t Take Home to Mama)

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* CFP: The Evolution of Evil in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Academia Lunare.

But the other thing that strikes me – we were talking early on about the history of modernity as connected in a structural way to the history of slavery, of capitalism, to histories of ordering and wasting – when I read that long history, a striking thing is capitalism’s impulse to abolish limits. From a capitalist’s standpoint, there are simply no limits. In regard to almost anything and everything, limitlessness is the law. Another striking thing is that capitalism aims to abolish some of the key dualisms without which the very idea of society as we understand it would have been unimaginable. To some extent, capitalism is the only religion without taboos humans have ever invented.

The way it works is that, once the first settlers on a new planet demonstrate that they won’t die horribly from allergies, pathogens, or getting buried under the excrement of herds of titanosaurs, they then spread out to build mining settlements all over the planet, high-grade all the most accessible mineral deposits, drill for oil, and grow the infrastructure needed to build starships. With starhips built and trade links established, they grow into a mature colony over the course of a few centuries, all the while founding as many daughter colonies on new planets as possible. Eventually, they run into serious pollution problems, loss of usable mineral deposits, changing climate (both natural through the equivalent of Milankovich cycles, and anthropogenic), and a biosphere that coevolves to exploit the colony, because that’s just what life does (think pesticide resistant bugs, coyotes, superweeds…). At that point, the colony starts to fall apart. Interstellar trade shifts away from it (after all, whatever’s causing them to collapse them might be contagious). Ultimately the survivors hang on to become a truly resilient indigenous population in a backwater world–or all die horribly as their critical infrastructure fails. Their fate doesn’t matter to our interstellar civilization, because it has literally already moved on to new frontiers, boldly going where no man has gone before. So long as they can find new worlds to conquer, they can go on forever.

Hard to argue with this reading of Harry Potter, honestly.

“Eco-Philosopher Fails Hurricane Test, Crawls Under Rock.”

* Scenes from the trade war.

* A mere couple of hours away till the end of America, get excited.

* MSNBC is bad for you.

* Still, God help me, I can’t get enough of this stuff: What if Donald Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987?

Madeleine Albright: ‘The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad.’ Yeah, that’s what I keep saying!

* America is catastrophically incapable of holding its elites responsible for their crimes, and that’s supposed to be the good news.

* Meanwhile, the Trump Foundation was a comically illegal slush fund and it just doesn’t matter.

* A Mexican couple was turned over for deportation this week when they tried to visit a New York military base to celebrate the Fourth of July with their son-in-law, who is an army officer. They had lived in Brooklyn for decades. More here.

The couple’s son-in-law is a sergeant in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. According to the family, the Department of Defense won’t let him intervene in the case.

“Most worrying is the fact that both parents have recently undergone surgery and need medication,” the report said. “The Silvas say they have gotten calls from their mother, who said she was denied her medication. They say they have not heard from their father.”

This is a different army base in Brooklyn than the one that called ICE on a pizza delivery guy a few weeks ago.

* ICE has kidnapped a journalist in retaliation for his negative coverage of the Memphis Police Department.

Trump admin won’t reunite all migrant families, will place some kids in foster care.

Illinois governor profits off ICE detention center contracts.

The Power of “Abolish ICE.”

* Not for nothing. Of course you’ve heard me sing this song before.

* Notes from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign.

* Even “being drunk” is culturally specific.

Introducing the Marvel Curriculum: A look at film history via the MCU.

* What if HBO, but super, super creepy?

How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?

* Elon Musk’s submarine is nonsense. Meanwhile.

* Brexit vs. Gibraltar. Brexit vs. Britain. Brexit vs. the Tories. Brexit vs. Brexit.

* Privileging the lie.

I happened to listen to NPR for a few hours this morning, and I heard three stories that are very much connected to climate change without anyone on the radio mentioning climate change even once.

U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials.

* Like Pizzagate but it actually happened.

* 150 Cheers for the 14th Amendment.

* Killing all the whales and turtles to own the libs.

* Zero, explained.

* Actually existing media bias watch: 1, 2.

* Siri: show me fragile masculinity.

* And the headline reads: “Fake sultan was scamming a Miami billionaire. Then he ate pork.”

Wednesday Links!

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* CFP: Embodiment in Science Fiction and Fantasy Interdisciplinary Conference, May 2018. CFP: The Future of Fandom. CFP: J. G. Ballard and the Sciences.

The Rise of Brittle Paper: The Village Square of African Literature.

* The Library of America’s Story of the Week is an Ursula K. Le Guin classic, “The Day Before the Revolution.”

Four book series that are shaping the future of science fiction on television. Butler! Okorafor! Jemisin!

* The next eclipse.

We all know it is ending.

Trump is not an aberration. There will be no “return to normal.” The damage has been done. America is over.

For years, Richard Florida preached the gospel of the creative class. His new book is a mea culpa.

* Something has gone wrong with our atheists.

The Ludicrous Prepper Plans of the Super Rich.

* Today’s “dominant cultural elite”—those Currid-Halkett has labeled “the aspirational class”— “reveal their class position through cultural signifiers” instead of material possessions, as was the custom during the golden age of conspicuous consumption. Ownership of relatively luxurious products (large electronics, SUVs) is now so widely accessible that the new elites eschew material things not because they’re reluctant to publicly display their affluence but because material goods no longer offer enough distinction. The hottest commodity for this group, whose members range from “partner[s] in a law firm” to “unemployed screenwriter[s],” is participation in a value system with the imprimatur of moral excellence: the conviction that they are living in the best (most responsible, most mindful, most objectively right) ways. These consumers are united by “shared cultural capital” as opposed to similar financial standing. “This new elite,” she contends, “is not defined by economics.”  

How Mic.com exploited social justice for clicks, and then abandoned a staff that believed in it.

Soviet Pseudoscience: The History of Mind Control.

The Mind-Set List, Faculty Edition.

* What is antifa? Who are the antifa?

Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right supporters. The results are unsettling.

* Down the Breitbart hole.

* Now you can see what Donald Trump sees every time he opens Twitter. Inside Trump’s obsession with cable TV. A bizarre memo by an administration official suggests why Trump was so hesitant to blame white nationalists for the fatal violence in Charlottesville. Trump and his party continue to creep ever closer to a destination that once seemed unthinkable. And three and a half years of his term remain. Optimist. McConnell, in Private, Doubts if Trump Can Save Presidency. The President of Blank Sucking Nullity. “We tried to stop him.” Losing Mitt. If you want a vision of the future.

7 things Republicans could do to check Trump without ditching conservative policy.

* Was it worth it, America? Was it?

* No thanks.

* Forever and ever amen. How the Forever War Brought Us Donald Trump. Trump’s Afghanistan buildup is revealing a rift among Democrats.

* Whose heritage? Lee comes down at Duke.

How Trump Ruined My Relationship With My White Mother.

Catholic priest steps down after revealing he was a Ku Klux Klan member decades ago.

I Used To Be a Neo-Nazi. Charlottesville Terrifies Me.

* If you’re one of the more than 140,000 people doing time in a Texas state prison, you’re not allowed to read books by Bob Dole, Harriet Beecher Stowe or Sojourner Truth. But you’re more than welcome to dig into Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” or David Duke’s “My Awakening.”

Leaving town at rush hour? Here’s how far you’re likely to get from America’s largest cities.

* “Buffy at 20″ will have to find some way to reckon with Joss Whedon at 53. Joss Whedon was never a feminist. Joss Whedon and the Feminist Pedestal: A Reading List.

* Infographic of the far future.

* Machine learning and misogyny.

* Afrofuturism has finally been gentrified.

The CEOs Won’t Save Us.

* This deal is getting worse all the time. Because you demanded it.

* Not to be outdone.

Marvel’s Black Panther Has Been Fighting White Supremacists For Decades and He’s Not About To Stop.

Marvel Superheroes Who Basically Only Protect New York City, Ranked.

* In the future every franchise will be revived for fifteen minutes.

* Game of Thrones is definitely collapsing under its own weight. Bady and Mesle. Game of Thrones has become a terrible show. “Straining plausibility.” Game of Thrones‘ “Instantaneous Westeros Travel” Fallacy Is Driving Me Insane. Game of Thrones’ Drive to the Finish Line Is Crippling Its Ability to Tell a Story.

Dogs Are Turning Blue in India for the Saddest Reason.

Astronaut Pee and Sweat Could Be the Key to Getting Humans to Mars.

* RIP, Village Voice.

* RIP, Brian Aldiss.

The Moana syllabus.

A Future of Genetically Engineered Children Is Closer Than You’d Think.

Family Jumps Rising Drawbridge in Car, Lands on Other Side.

* A bonus episode of Thor: The Lightning and the Storm for your listening pleasure.

* These are grim times.

* And the arc of history is long, but Chuck E. Cheese is phasing out its animatronic bands.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

Happy First Day of School Links!

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The Japanese have a word for blogs that have fallen into neglect or are altogether abandoned: ishikoro, or pebbles. We live in a world of pebbles now. They litter the internet, each one a marker of writing dreams and energies that have dissipated or moved elsewhere. What Were Blogs?

* Phew, that was a close one: In a new book, conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith argues there’s no such thing as time wasted online.

* …successful universities – surely including the University of Chicago – are congeries of safe spaces that factions of scholars have carved out to protect themselves from their intellectual enemies. More concretely – the University of Chicago has both a very well recognized economics department and a very well recognized sociology department. There is furthermore some overlap in the topics that they study. Yet the professors in these two departments protect themselves from each other – they do not, for example, vote on each other’s tenure decisions. They furthermore have quite different notions (though again, perhaps with some overlap) of what constitutes legitimate and appropriate research. In real life, academics only are able to exercise academic freedom because they have safe spaces that they can be free in.

Graduate Students Are Workers: The Decades-Long Fight for Graduate Unions, and the Path Forward.

The problem with revolutionary politics, in short, is that it tends to be naïve about political institutions.

* From prison to campus.

* Median income vs. public university tuition, 2000-2016.

What Colleges Can Do Right Now to Help Low-Income Students Succeed.

* Secrets of my success: Yes, Students Do Learn More From Attractive Teachers.

Health Experts Recommend Standing Up At Desk, Leaving Office, Never Coming Back.

The long, strange history of John Podesta’s space alien obsession.

With a shift in martial arts preferences, the rise of video games — more teenagers play Pokémon Go in parks here than practice a roundhouse kick — and a perception among young people that kung fu just isn’t cool, longtime martial artists worry that kung fu’s future is bleak.

The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History.

All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

Paris Is Redesigning Its Major Intersections For Pedestrians, Not Cars.

* Vice: All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump’s Alleged Involvement with the KKK.

Louisiana, for instance, made headlines earlier this summer when it was revealed that the state had spent more than $1 million of public funds on legal fees in an attempt to defend its refusal to install air conditioning on death row at Angola prison — even though the air conditioning would cost only about $225,000, plus operating costs, according to expert testimony. That astonished U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson. “Is this really what the state wants to do?” Jackson asked, calling the bill “stunning.” “It just seems so unnecessary.”

* The Baton Rouge flooding (and the Milwaukee riots) proves just how little coastal elites care about the rest of America.

* The deep story of Trump support. The New York Times And Trump’s Loopy Note From His Doctor. Donald Trump has a massive Catholic problem. Trump might already be out of time. It’s Too Soon For Clinton To Run Out The Clock.

* When Steve Bannon ran BioDome.

The Welfare Reform Disaster.

Obama the Monument Maker. Obama Just Quadrupled The World’s Largest Natural Sanctuary.

* Tumblr of the year: The Grad Student. Keep scrolling! School hasn’t started yet.

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The Average Joe Accused of Trying to Sell Russia Secrets.

* The short, unhappy life of the Soviet Jet Train.

The first theory of evolution is 600 years older than Darwin.

Forget about drones, forget about dystopian sci-fi — a terrifying new generation of autonomous weapons is already here. Meet the small band of dedicated optimists battling nefarious governments and bureaucratic tedium to stop the proliferation of killer robots and, just maybe, save humanity from itself.

* They say the best revenge is a life well-lived. There’s a study out this year that suggests Frenchmen can feel pain. I don’t wanna be one of those people who think everything got worse around the time he hit his mid-twenties.

* My statement of teaching philosophy.

* Happy 101st, Alice Sheldon. Kirby’s 99th.

Ursula Nordstrom and the Queer History of the Children’s Book.

* “No Man’s Sky is an existential crisis simulator disguised as a space exploration game.”

* Great moments in FOIA requests.

Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery.

* Big data, Google and the end of free will.

* Being Chuck Tingle.

* The logistical sublime: A Map Showing Every Single Cargo Ship In The World.

Why There’s a Media Blackout on the Native American Dakota Oil Pipeline Blockade.

Year-Long Simulation of Humans Living on Mars Comes To an End.

* Replication projects have had a way of turning into train wrecks. When researchers tried to replicate 100 psychology experimentsfrom 2008, they interpreted just 39 of the attempts as successful. In the last few years, Perspectives on Psychological Science has been publishing “Registered Replication Reports,” the gold standard for this type of work, in which lots of different researchers try to re-create a single study so the data from their labs can be combined and analyzed in aggregate. Of the first four of these to be completed, three ended up in failure.

Under pressure to perform, Silicon Valley champions are taking tiny hits of LSD before heading to work. Are they risking their health or optimising it? I reject the premise of the question.

* A special issue of Transatlantic devoted to Exploiting Exploitation Cinema.”

So last night, on a whim, I started collecting links to doctoral dissertations written by members of the House of Commons, and posting them on the Twitter.

* The Guardian reviews the new edition of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the New Millennium.

* Missed this somehow in June: rumors of the four-point shot in the NBA. I’m not much of a sports person, but this fascinates me just as a lover of games.

* Marvel has released its charming “Where was Thor during Captain America: Civil War?” Comic-Con video.

* Le Guin honored by the Library of America (while still alive).

King Camp Gillette introduced his safety razor, with disposable double-­edge blades, around the turn of the 20th century. But before he was an inventor, Gillette was a starry-­eyed utopian socialist. In 1894, he published “The Human Drift,” a book that, among other things, envisioned most of the population of North America living in a huge metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. Production would be fully centralized, making for the greatest efficiency, while all goods would be free to everyone. That’s the only way Gillette saw to ensure that the benefits of technological development would be shared. “No system can ever be a perfect system, and free from incentive for crime,” he wrote, employing a prescient metaphor, “until money and all representative value of material is swept from the face of the earth.” His blade was a model socialist innovation: Gillette replaced toilsome sharpening labor with the smallest, most easily produced part imaginable. The very existence of the Gillette Fusion is an insult to his memory.

The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies.

Soviet sci-fi movies in English online.

* Your one-shot comic of the week: Ark.

* And, finally, my story can be told.

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Written by gerrycanavan

August 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Brecial Brexit Brexddendum

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Friday Links Are Just a Party and Parties Aren’t Meant to Last

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51yLZieyZIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_* Out today, a project very close to my heart: my edited 2016 rerelease of Darko Suvin’s Metamorphoses of Science Fiction. Here’s the Amazon order page, for you or your favorite academic library!

* The Ever-Tightening Job Market for Ph.D.s. The Mobile Academic.

The strange story of Hugo Gernsback, who brought science fiction magazines to America.

* Just in time for finals! MLA Eighth Edition: What’s New and Different.

* At LARoB Rebecca Evans reviews the reissue of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital series, Green Earth. David Perry reviews The Secret Life of Stories. Against Star Wars. Inside the Coetzee Collection.

* My desire to see The Twilight Zone has boomeranged on me in the most ironic possible way.

* An independent researcher claims to have discovered a lost civilization in China.

Existential Depression in Gifted Children.

* Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man. Buzzfeed’s The Most Powerful Writing about Prince. Nation Too Sad To F*ck Even Though It’s What Prince Would Have Wanted.

The Secret Life of Novelizations.

The Hidden Economics of Porn.

Five Hundred Years of Utopia.

Harriet Tubman once staged a sit-in to get $20. The Treasury just gave her all of them. You have no idea how hardcore Harriet Tubman really was.

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The smug style in American liberalism.

* How Chicago elites imported charters, closed neighborhood schools, and snuffed out creativity.

How Seattle Gave Up on Busing and Allowed Its Public Schools to Become Alarmingly Resegregated.

How to Blow $9 Billion in 6 Months.

* Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.

Why America’s Schools Have A Money Problem. Related: 25 Best Wisconsin High Schools: U.S. News Rankings 2016.

Against Activism.

For forty years, liberals have accepted defeat and called it “incremental progress.” Bernie Sanders offers a different way forward. How Sanders fell short. The real scandal.

12 Reasons Not to Write Lord of the Rings.

I Talked to the Kid Whose Mom Used Craigslist to Find Him a Feminism Tutor, and It Got Weird.

* Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea. Insects Are Conscious and Egocentric.

* Our foundation of Earth knowledge, largely derived from historically observed patterns, has been central to society’s progress. Early cultures kept track of nature’s ebb and flow, passing improved knowledge about hunting and agriculture to each new generation. Science has accelerated this learning process through advanced observation methods and pattern discovery techniques. These allow us to anticipate the future with a consistency unimaginable to our ancestors. But as Earth warms, our historical understanding will turn obsolete faster than we can replace it with new knowledge. Some patterns will change significantly; others will be largely unaffected, though it will be difficult to say what will change, by how much, and when.

Details arise about U.S. Bank robbery in the Alumni Memorial Union.

* Behold, the Hasbro Cinematic Universe.

* The Tragic History of RC Cola.

U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High.

Hamilton just won the Pulitzer for drama. Here’s why it matters for American musicals. And congrats to Emily Nussbaum!

This map shows every place in the US that has ever had a woman in Congress.

The Average 29-Year-Old.

* Milwaukee’s Appeals, Vibrant and Cheap.

First Criminal Charges Handed Down After Flint Water Crisis.

* A man once described as a “perfect donor” at an August, Georgia sperm bank and who fathered at least 36 children around the world is actually a mentally ill felon whose lies on his donor forms went undiscovered for more than a decade.

We owe Rey and Finn’s friendship to Harrison Ford’s broken leg.

Love It Or List It sued over shoddy renovations, ridiculous falsehoods.

As A Father Of Daughters, I Think We Should Treat All Women Like My Daughters.

* Hello, from the Magic Tavern watch! There’s two noncanonical podcasts from Foon-16 over at One Shot. There’s also a band new, slightly less… rigorous improv podcast from some of the principals involved called Siblings Peculiar.

The U.S.’s Best High School Starts at 9:15 a.m.

Lab Mice Are Freezing Their Asses Off—and That’s Screwing Up Science.

New Evidence Suggests That Limbs and Fins Evolved From Fish Gills.

* How to Shakespeare.

* Cards Against Humanities.

* And rejoice, comrades! Twilight Struggle has come to Steam.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 22, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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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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Monday Morning Links!

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* You’ve been waiting for it: the inevitable “Too Many Cooks” followup, “Unedited Footage of a Bear.” Here’s your instant criticism on the Adult Swim infomercial phenomenon.

* I got hooked on this after a Facebook recommendation, so why shouldn’t you? Papers, Please.

* No one could have predicted: Cuban Oil May Prove A Boon For U.S. Companies.

* NYT: Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses.
* Andrew Liptak at Kirkus has your brief history of the Culture.

* UW-Superior to suspend 5 academic programs.

* Your guide to academic interviewing from The Professor Is In: The Question Is Not the Question. It’s a little hard for me to believe how absolutely clueless I was about all this back when, but this lesson was by far the most helpful thing I learned from my mock interview. Absolutely do a mock interview if you have the option.

* M.F.A.s: An Increasingly Popular, Increasingly Bad Financial Decision.

* Dissent on the invention of jaywalking.

* Tragedy in Brooklyn as two police officers are assassinated. Aside from how horrible this event is in itself, I’ve been stunned how immediately and how viciously this has been politicized, not just by known bad actors like Giuliani but even by middle-of-the-road empty suits like Pataki.

* NYPD Officer Repeatedly Punches 12-Year-Old Black Boy As Colleagues Subdue Him, And A Lawyer Sees The Whole Thing. Prosecutor Says He Knew Some Witnesses Were Lying To The Ferguson Grand Jury. Meet the Pro-Slavery Fairview Park Auxiliary Cop. Family of toddler critically injured by SWAT team facing $1 million in medical bills. Woman Tries To Trademark ‘I Can’t Breathe’ To Sell Merchandise. “I Can Breathe,” and the Occasional Fear of Covering Protests.

High incarceration may be more harmful than high crime.

* Appeals Court Rules People Institutionalized for Mental Illness Still Have Right to Guns.

* If Apple Were A Worker Cooperative, Each Employee Would Earn At Least $403K.

* In Defense of Economic Disobedience.

* Justine Sacco Is Good at Her Job, and How I Came To Peace With Her.

* #realtalk: Serial Sucked And Wasted Everyone’s Time. I’ll allow it, SNL.

How the NFL leaves players broken — and broke.

* Incognito mode: Americans aren’t getting married, and researchers think porn is part of the problem.

* It’s almost 2015, which means it’s time to convince ourselves that the Obama administration hasn’t been a complete and total disaster. Over to you Matt.

Indeed, this is one of the crowning lessons of Pay Any Price: that the United States is suffering from a widespread crisis of accountability, one that transcends distinctions between the public and private sectors and that encompasses both. The sources of power, real power, seem more remote and mysterious to Americans than ever before. It is no coincidence that this November’s midterm elections saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years (a pathetic 36.3 percent). Most Americans now spend their lives hostage to forces they can neither understand nor control nor hope to shape in any meaningful way. People see themselves as objects to be acted upon, not as thinking subjects. If the architects of our post-9/11 politics believed they were subverting democracy in order to save it, that we should pay any price to keep our people safe, they should be applauded for succeeding in at least one, crucial, part of their proposition. We have paid, again, and again, and again.

Is string theory revealing reality’s deep laws? Or, as some detractors have claimed, is it a mathematical mirage that has sidetracked a generation of physicists?

* An orangutan held in an Argentine zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported on Sunday.

* And why do you hate the South? I don’t! I don’t hate it! I don’t hate it!