Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘empire

Tuesday Links!

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* FiveThirtyEight has been doing a great series on Mars colonization. Today’s entries are all about space sex. Also: Everything About Mars Is The Worst.

* Also at FiveThirtyEight: The Odds You’ll Fill Out A Perfect Bracket.

* TRAPPIST-1 seems like a no-go for humanity, but three of the worlds are close enough for life to hop between them.

New York 2140 vs. The Collapsing Empire: Which New Sci-Fi Novel Is for You?

* ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Turns 20, from my Buffy at 20″ co-organizer James South.

* On the coming apocalypse (and other’s people’s babies).

* What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders?

* From the archives: Snow Days Under Socialism.

No, big snowstorms like this aren’t normal.

* America elected a parasite. Let’s take away health insurance from 24 million people. Or 26 million, who’s counting. This Level of Corruption Is Unprecedented in the Modern History of the Presidency. Gotta save money to steal money. “Senate Democrats prepare for spring battle over Trump’s border wall.”

Remember the People America’s Healthcare System Has Already Killed.

* The university in ruins, Trump edition.

* The Party of Eugenics. They both are, honestly, but the GOP is just so much more vulgar about it.

At every moment when Trump might have been stopped, when he might have been forced into bankruptcy, had his credit denied, had his loans called in, his licenses revoked, at every juncture where he might have been convicted of a crime or sent to jail—and, again, this is well before he makes his successful bid for the White House—some unplanned and unintended conspiracy of economic reason and political lowlifery mobilizes to protect him. (And it really is unplanned and unintended. The genius of the American system is how the Invisible Hand works to produce systemic vice rather than incidental virtue.)

* Must be nice.

* We’re heading towards something very ugly: Employers can ban staff from wearing headscarves, European court rules.

* American Empire: The Reboot.

Seeing red: Membership triples for the Democratic Socialists of America.

* The Onion struggling to lampoon Trump.

* Museums and activism.

* Violent video games found not to affect empathy, again.

* The hype for Logan seems to be reaching comical proportions, but still, you’d be hard-pressed to find another recent superhero movie that was worth emulating.

* Behold, the super-agers.

Should a Chimpanzee Be Considered a Person?

* MMMBop: Hanson announces 25th anniversary tour as your death rapidly approaches.

The economics of airline classes.

Bowie impersonates other singers like Springsteen, Lou Reed. Everything has been bullshit since Bowie died.

* Because you demanded it! Young Sheldon.

* USA Today discovers Hello from the Magic Tavern. They’ve hit a real stride lately as story events have allowed them to move away from their standard format — and they were great before.

Every Author on Your English Syllabus, Summed Up in a Single Sentence.

It’s Donald Trump’s Fault Iron Fist Is Bad, Not Marvel’s, Says Star Finn Jones. If you say so.

* A People’s History of the Marvel Universe. Via Abigail Nussbaum’s second Hugos post.

* And a nation turns its lonely eyes to Veep.

March 1 Links! March 1 Only and Then They’re Gone!

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tumblr_om224d56iq1sqep2mo1_500Contemporary African literature as taught in today’s classrooms is pathetically 20th century. The keepers of those gates overwhelmingly think of contemporary African literature as the three A’s: Achebe, Adichie, Abani. When pressed, they add Habila. It is pathetic, really. The bulk of our literature is on the Internet and ancient professors are still photocopying what Achebe wrote in 1958.

We are possibly witnessing the implosion of American capitalism (i.e., neoliberalism) and hopefully its empire as well. Liberals, those who are protesting today, did not protest the mass incarceration and forceful expulsion of individuals who had been in this country for decades, did not protest the drone wars and illegal killings and fomenting of civil wars and mass displacement under our auspices ever since 9/11. The Obama presidency is destined to go down in history as a footnote; we are simply picking up fascist steam now from where we left off in 2003, before the Iraq War started going awry. The world war that began on 9/11 has resumed. We never left it in the intervening years, because we never sought accountability. The case for moral disengagement from politics in the age of Trump. I found this a brutal, sobering read. Obviously we have to fight in whatever ways we can fight — but I’m sorry to say the predictions laid out here seem much more likely to me than any notion of heroic #Resistance on the part of institutional Democrats or liberals more generally.

* Meanwhile, the media.

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The basic critique of Bruenig et al is right: The leadership of the Democratic Party, nationally and in most states, has resisted acknowledging the failures of the Obama years.

Now seems like a fine time to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s sermon on nuclear annihilation.

* Keep America weird: Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge wins UFO Researcher Of The Year award.

* The Hunt for the Perfect Sugar.

Why You Can’t Ever Call an Enslaved Woman a “Mistress.”

* This actually raises a ton of questions for me about how C-3PO’s mind works, how protocol droids prioritize their storage resources, and what people in the Star Wars galaxy consider “communication.”

* Some investigative details on the horrifying wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish centers.

* If you’re really asking: yes.

* And it’s not all bad news: Black Holes Devour Stars a Lot More Frequently Than We Thought.

 

Rage, Rage against the Dying of the Links

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* Some of my own stuff from the weekend: Making America Great Again with Octavia Butler and the formal, official, can’t-take-it-back-now release of Octavia E. Butler in Kindle, hardback, and paperback. CFP: Buffy at 20. Jaimee’s election poem at the New Verse News: “Donald Trump, Kate McKinnon, Leonard Cohen.”

* CFP: Capital at 150. CFP: Marxist Reading Group: Genre and the Crisis of Narrative.

* Jerome Winter on the new space opera.

* Other books I’d rather be reading: In a Galaxy 90 Miles Away: The View from Cuban Science Fiction. No Mind To Lose: On Brainwashing.

How I Wrote Arrival (and What I Learned Doing It). A Ted Chiang profile in The Guardian.

* A history of Chinese science fiction. An Islam and Sci-Fi Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson.

* The Two Americas.

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* www.holyfucktheelection.com

* Shirtless Trump Saves Drowning Kitten. The Trump Meltdown Begins. There is no way to predict where this is heading. (Okay, maybe we can predict a little bit.) How Trump Won. The counties that flipped parties to swing the 2016 election. It probably wasn’t voter suppression (except maybe in Wisconsin). We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions. Yeah, good luck. It Can’t Happen Here in 2016. The Plot Against America in 2016. Sixteen Writers on Trump’s America. Preparing for the Worst: How Conservatives Will Govern in 2017. Trump takes to Twitter to blast ‘hater, loser’ children; vows retribution. Where the Democrats Go From Here. How to Build an Exit Ramp for Trump Supporters. Amazing what a week can do. Blue Feed, Red Feed. Abolish the Electoral College. Post-Election College Grading Rubric. Google Emoluments Truth. The nine liberals you meet in hell.

* He might as well try: Obama Can and Should Put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton’s Vaunted GOTV Operation May Have Turned Out Trump Voters. The Democrats’ Real Turnout Problem. Clinton Aides Blame Loss on Everything but Themselves. Comey! The Clinton Campaign Was Undone By Its Own Neglect And A Touch Of Arrogance, Staffers Say. Epic. This didn’t have to happen. They Always Wanted Trump: Inside Team Clinton’s year-long struggle to find a strategy against the opponent they were most eager to face. Twilight of the Messageless Candidate. Blame the Clintons. Obama after Obama. Whatever happened: The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble. 2009: The Year the Democratic Party Died. The decimation of the Democratic Party, visualized. Does the Democratic Party Have a Future? Well, have you met the Democrats? The Worst Possible Leader at the Worst Possible Time. These are the key governors’ races the Democrats will blow in 2018. Blueprint for a New Party.

* DNC Aiming To Reconnect With Working-Class Americans With New ‘Hamilton’-Inspired Lena Dunham Web Series.

* From the archives: Umberto Eco on Ur-Fascism.

* Historians under Hitler. When Hitler Pivoted. Autocracy: Rules for Survival. What Is The “Alt-Right”? A Guide To The White Nationalist Movement Now Leading Conservative Media. Prepare For Regime Change, Not Policy Change.

Why FiveThirtyEight Gave Trump A Better Chance Than Almost Anyone Else. More from Nate’s Twitter. And from another angle entirely: Things look an awful lot like they would if we decided elections by coin flip.

So many more examples could be given, but it’s getting late, and one general takeaway from the 2016 Election seems clear: our popular media, from those producing it to those sorting it with editors and algorithms, are not up to the task of informing us and describing reality. This won’t happen, but those people who got Trump sooo consistently wrong from the primaries to Election Day should not have the job of informing us anymore. And if you were surprised last night, you might want to reconsider how you get information.

* The New Inquiry has been all over the Trump Resistance. Waking up in Trump’s America. Lose Your Kin. Against Extinction. Fuck. The Gamble. And the struggle goes on: “Thanksgiving is the festival of white reconciliation.”

* No President. What a proper response to Trump’s fascism demands: a true ideological left.

* Richard Rorty, 1998.

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* Do any laws bind electors to vote along with their state? Not really. But this cuts both ways, and basically ruins any sort of “hack the Electoral College scheme” from the jump too. Meanwhile, let’s hack the Electoral College, because what could possibly go wrong.

* Truly, only the superrich can save us now.

* Beginning to look a lot like Christmasttime: UPS strike. O’Hare strike.

* Rise of the Sanctuary Campus.

And yet, to my knowledge, no one has explained clearly enough that globalization is over, and that we urgently need to reestablish ourselves on an Earth that has nothing to do with the protective borders of nation-states any more than the infinite horizon of globalization.

* Being Productive in Scholarly Publishing: Advice from Jason Brennan. No one said you’d like it.

* A GoFundMe for SEK’s medical bills. I only wish the prognosis were better.

The New Intellectuals: Is the academic jobs crisis a boon to public culture?

* Title IX is effectively finished, at least in its current form. More here. “College” as a concept may not be all that far behind.

* On toxifying, rather than repealing, the ACA.

Trump Will Have Access To Personal Info Of “Dreamers” For Deportation Efforts. This precise possibility, of course, was raised as an objection to Obama’s action at the time.

* Democrats, 2016, preserving the state, and the man of lawlessness.

* After a tweet blaming this all on Bill Clinton, Steve Shaviro provided a time-travel novel to soothe my pain: The X-President.

* The coming Democratic defeat on infrastructure.

What Women Used Before They Could Use the Law.

* Trans in Trump’s America.

* Passing the baton.

* I want things to be different.

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* This world is so messed up. Let’s go do something good.

* How to Reverse Engineer Smells.

november_2016* The Official November 2016 Guide for Making People Feel Old.

* The 100-Year-Old Man Who Lives in the Future.

* Why kids need recess.

Fact-checking doesn’t ‘backfire,’ new study suggests. Calling people racist might, though.

Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* What if X-Men were a Gothic novel?

* Calexit.

The economists are leveraging their academic prestige with secret reports justifying corporate concentration. Their predictions are often wrong and consumers pay the price.

* Next crash brewing.

* Huge, if true: Report finds many graduate students are stressed about finances.

* An Oral History of My So-Called Life.

* The Fate of Reading in a Multimedia Age.

* I think I did this one a few months ago, but at least somebody has a plan: Optimal search path for finding Waldo.

* We asked eighty-six burglars how they broke into homes.

* New research suggests the Earth’s climate could be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than thought, raising the spectre of an ‘apocalyptic side of bad’ temperature rise of more than 7C within a lifetime. With Trump’s election I think any hope of solving this without geoengineering is over, and perhaps all hope period.

The North Pole is a mere 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends. Give it a chance!

Stephen Hawking says we’ve got about 1,000 years to find a new place to live. So you’re saying we have 999 years before we even need to think about this.

* But it’s not all bad news! Blood from human teens rejuvenates body and brains of old mice.

* And the thrilling conclusion to the thisisfine.jpg trilogy, truly the epic of our times.

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Fall Break Links!

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* CFP: The Fourth Annual David Foster Wallace Conference, June 2017. CFP: The Marxist Reading Group 2017.

* Tolkien news! Beren and Lúthien coming in 2017. Elsewhere in things from my childhood that I’ll almost certainly repurchase: Inside the new D&D Monster Manual.

* “Whoa,” said the gangster/minotaur, awed at how close he’d just come to losing his forearm. He was beginning to understand that this wasn’t the relatively straightforward world of street-level dope dealing anymore; this was Dungeons and Dragons.

* I’m glad somebody finally paged KSR: “Why Elon Musk’s Mars Vision Needs ‘Some Real Imagination.'”

* Forget Mars. Here’s Where We Should Build Our First Off-World Colonies.

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” This is how computer scientist Pedro Domingos sums up the issue in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm. Even the many researchers who reject the prospect of a ‘technological singularity’ — saying the field is too young — support the introduction of relatively untested AI systems into social institutions.

* TFW you cut down a 600-year-old tree.

* On translating Harry Potter. Harry Potter by the Numbers. And did you know Harry Potter was nearly a major cultural phenomenon?

* On The Strange Career of Steve Ditko.

* If you want a vision of the future.

* Mistake on a Lake: In Michigan, privatization and free-market governance has left 100,000 people without water.

* One teaching artist sees it differently. “There will always be bad artists with a lot of money who want to go to art school,” she said. On the Future of the MFA.

* The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity — Then Lost Her Job.

2016_1018b_2* The Secret History of Leftist Board Games.

* There’s More to Life Than Being Happy: On Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning. Relatedly: The World’s Happiest Man Wishes You Wouldn’t Call Him That.

Degree programs in French, geology, German, philosophy and women’s studies are suspended, effectively immediately. Eight additional majors within existing departments, six teaching programs and four graduate programs have been shut down. The university is planning a teach-out program for currently enrolled students. Tenured faculty members in affected programs will be reassigned to different departments. The future of the campus’s nursing, dental education and medical imaging programs is still under discussion. Degree programs in environmental geology and environmental policy were cut previously, in July.

* Advice for how to use Twitter as an academic. Of course, as everyone knows, the only winning move is not to play.

* From David M. Perry: “My non-verbal son communicates through ‘Hamilton.'”

* From Adam Kotsko: From his rebellious debut to modern day, the devil has always been a political figure.

* Dylan, Christ, and Slow Train Coming. Teaching the controversy: Kurt Vonnegut in 1991: “Bob Dylan Is the Worst Poet Alive.” Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce. Local Boy Makes Good. But not too good: The Nobel Prize Committee Have Given Up on Trying to Get in Touch with Bob Dylan.

* Game of Thrones is even whiter than you think.

* The self-driving car, Baudrillard, and America.

* On the history of fantasy scholarship.

* Free speech and the kids.

* David Letterman and his beard.

* My friend Sam.

* The LSAT and class struggle.

* Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks. ‘What Kind of Mother Is 8 Months Pregnant and Wants an Abortion?’ No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions.

The notion that American literature might have an imperial bent—that it might be anything other than a string of lightly co-influential works of “imaginative power,” and might itself reflect our national desire to dominate—is lost on its critics, both right and left.

* America dreams of rivers.

* Another gerrymandering primer. I’m inclined to make a joke about Obama’s proceduralism even ruining his post-presidency but this really is a major issue worth throwing his weight against.

* Texas?

In The Hollow: The changing face of Appalachia—and its role in the presidential race.

Derek Black, 27, was following in his father’s footsteps as a white nationalist leader until he began to question the movement’s ideology.

* The Anthropocene and Empire.

* How Trump’s Casino Bankruptcies Screwed His Workers out of Millions in Retirement Savings.

* Atlas Obscura: The Land of Make Believe.

* A People’s History of John Stewart, Green Lantern.

Fear of a Feminist Future.

* And then there’s this one: Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown.

* Breastfeeding as captivity narrative.

* The Fear of Having a Son.

* Joss supports Spuffy.

* I’ll allow it, but know that you’re all on very thin ice.

By 2050, it’s likely that plastic in the oceans will outweigh all the oceans’ fish. Some reports predict 850-950 million tons of plastic (the equivalent in weight of 4.5 million blue whales).

* Thank god the Mac version isn’t ready yet: Civ VI is out.

* A dark, grittier Captain Planet: Leonardo DiCaprio wants to make a Captain Planet movie.

* Hungerford makes Infinite Jest represent how commercial publishers and their enablers in the mainstream media engineer a novel into a canonizable success. The market is corrupt, she says. But is it any more corrupt or distasteful than the publication and marketing of her university press book? “Post 45” is a scholarly association; Hungerford is one of nine Board members. Two other Board members are the series editors for the “Post 45” imprint. The “Advance Praise” for Making Literature Now includes effusive comments by two people whom Hungerford praises in the book, a blurb by a former colleague at Yale, and other comments so hyperbolic that they appear to have been written under the influence of laughing gas. Hungerford put out a misleading trailer for the book in the Chronicle, excising the misogyny charge that’s essential in her closing chapter, perhaps because she feared anyone who had read Infinite Jest would see through that charge and not order Making Literature Now. Her title is grandiose because her data is extremely limited. Rather than the survey that the title implies, Making Literature Now is literary tourism combined with two takedowns.

* Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference.

* Student writing in the digital age.

* Live long and trick or treat.

* I’m telling you, the simulation is crashing.

* And ours is truly a fallen world.

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Written by gerrycanavan

October 22, 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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London Calling to the Faraway Links

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Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.20.29 AM* accessiblesyllabus.tulane.edu.

* Global Markets in Chaos After UK Votes to Leave EU. Five terrifying immediate reactions to Brexit from the markets. Results Map. All this and the vote wasn’t even legally binding. (Though the EU is saying no-takebacks.) David Cameron will go down in history now as one of the legendarily bad prime ministers. And just because you might be feeling down: “The Socialist Case for Leave.”

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign announced Thursday that he has forgiven more than $50 million in loans he made to finance his presidential bid, converting them into contributions in an effort to reassure GOP donors that he is personally invested in the effort.

* How Obama can break the SCOTUS logjam on his own.

Here’s how that would work. The president has nominated Garland and submitted his nomination to the Senate. The president should advise the Senate that he will deem its failure to act by a specified reasonable date in the future to constitute a deliberate waiver of its right to give advice and consent. What date? The historical average between nomination and confirmation is 25 days; the longest wait has been 125 days. That suggests that 90 days is a perfectly reasonable amount of time for the Senate to consider Garland’s nomination. If the Senate fails to act by the assigned date, Obama could conclude that it has waived its right to participate in the process, and he could exercise his appointment power by naming Garland to the Supreme Court.

Presumably the Senate would then bring suit challenging the appointment. This should not be viewed as a constitutional crisis but rather as a healthy dispute between the president and the Senate about the meaning of the Constitution. This kind of thing has happened before. In 1932, the Supreme Court ruled that the Senate did not have the power to rescind a confirmation vote after the nominee had already taken office. More recently, the court determined that recess appointments by the president were no longer proper because the Senate no longer took recesses.

* News you can use: The Game of Thrones Character That Embodies Each State.

New Jersey: Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. Lurks on the outskirts of and envious of great power, and always gives off the vibe that he’s about to do something unseemly.

Got our number there.

* Actually existing media bias: CNN’s Newest Paid Commentator Legally Prohibited From Criticizing Donald Trump. Worth every penny!

“You’re not buying news when you buy The New York Times. You’re buying judgment.”

Experts says a ‘space base’ halfway between the Moon and Earth could be built in 10 years.

* Some for-profit colleges may be too big to fail.

* Emails today, emails tomorrow, emails forever.

The Crazy Plan to Clean Up a Giant Island of Trash Might Actually Happen.

* I never realized innumeracy was the major driver of economic growth.

* And Disney is still trying to figure out what Rogue One even is.

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Big Tuesday Links!

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* Sadly always relevant: How the Media Inspires Mass Shooters. So There’s Just Been a Mass Shooting. I bought an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in Philly in 7 minutes.

Since, in fact, we lack the ability to realise even a single one of these demands in the foreseeable future, and since all other apparent solutions are unavailing, the unwelcome thought begins to insinuate itself — we are going to live in a world with Daesh and its massacres no matter what we do.

* Presenting The Bee. Exciting new “Beyond Criticism” project from Lili Loofbourow.

* Along the way to a world of driverless cars there are many potential roadblocks: infrastructure issues, different technical standards, restrictive state licensing policies, and more. But something more problematic might be the one most likely to derail this important technology: excessive lawsuits. To avoid the chilling effect that excessive litigation might have on this life-saving innovation, Congress may need to provide a certain amount of legal immunity for creators of driverless car technologies, or at least create an alternative legal compensation system for when things go wrong. 

* There are no ifs, maybes or caveats allowed in American sports and now in American culture—you’re either a champion or you’re a loser: a nothing.

We Finally Know Why Birds Are So Freakishly Smart. The tragedy of the pit bull. Fugitive capybara captured in Toronto park 19 days after zoo escape.

* I thought Captain America: Civil War held together reasonably well until I considered the movie from Baron Zemo’s point of view.

The Ecstatic Experience: “Hamilton,” “Hair,” and “Oklahoma!” “Hamilton” and History’s Darkened Rooms.

* Keep El Centro, CA weird.

Moving as a child can change who you are as an adult.

Aldermen call for hearings on lead in water at Chicago schools.

* The Blacklist: Here are the media outlets banned by Donald Trump.

Sad! These three campaign gurus for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had some time to reflect on their loss to The Donald. And do they ever have stories to tell.

The case for, and the case against, Elizabeth Warren as Clinton’s VP pick. Democrats vs Democrats. Clinton running even in Utah.

* Curb returns. So does Clementine.

* The VR X-Wing experience.

* Harrison Ford is moving to one of the five or six cities I call home: Burlington, Vermont.

* Not all heroes wear capes: Traveler sues TSA for missed flight.

* Abolishing Daylight Savings Time in California.

* If you want to understand the contemporary moment. Why Trump Now? It’s the Empire, Stupid.

Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.

For example, the White House, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes sulk.held.raves; the Tokyo Tower is located at fans.helpless.collects; and the Stade de France is at reporter.smoked.received.

Why, it couldn’t be simpler!

* Porn and the future.

* First, let’s vote out all the lawyers.

* Video is terrible, is almost certainly the future of everything.

* And the future just isn’t very stable: Carbon nanotubes have been pegged as the wonder material that could finally allow us to build a space elevator. A discouraging new study suggests these microscopic strands aren’t as resilient as we thought—and all it could take is a single misplaced atom to bring the whole thing crashing down.

 

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