Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘English

Wednesday Links!

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* People are figuring out that the “anthology” era of Star Wars was a bad idea. And a chilling report from the set of Han Solo: Ron Howard Once Defended Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Calling It “Truly Amazing.”

Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Drama.

* The Year of Octavia.

* In the same vein, the proliferating but ever meaningless distinctions between the “bad” Uber and the “good” Lyft have obscured how destructive the rise of ride-sharing has been for workers and the cities they live in. The predatory lawlessness that prevails inside Valley workplaces scales up and out. Both companies entered their markets illegally, without regard to prevailing wages, regulations, or taxes. Like Amazon, which found a way to sell books without sales tax, this turned out to be one of the many illegal boons.

* Democrats and the working class.

Senate postpones health care vote as critical mass of Republicans defect. Keep calling! Tens of thousands per year. Trumpcare kills.

This chart shows the stunning trade-off at the heart of the GOP health plan.

* Democrats Help Corporate Donors Block California Health Care Measure, and Progressives Lose Again.

* Destroying the university in Illinois.

Chaffetz calls for $2,500 legislator/month housing stipend.

* Sometimes ideology critique just writes itself.

And Now Director Jon Watts Claims Peter Parker Was In Iron Man 2.

Someone’s Trying to Adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series Again.

* I say teach the controversy.

* Communism — for kids!

As Lake Chad vanishes, seven million people are on the brink of starvation.

The inside story of how TMZ quietly became America’s most potent pro-Trump media outlet.

* So what is lectureporn? It is the media spectacle of a lecture whose audience is the opponent of the lecture’s intended target.

Trinity Suspends Targeted Professor. And U Delaware. Why can’t free speech advocates ever defend adjunct professors and people of color? Stop firing professors for having controversial views, says academic.

 But as the land enters its 120th year in the family, the Allens are struggling to hold on to it. Because of ambiguities surrounding the land’s title, there is no primary owner of the property; all of the heirs of the original owners—and there are more than 100 known heirs—are legally co-owners. As such, the land is classified as “heirs’ property,” a designation that makes it vulnerable to being sold without the family’s full consent. As the Allens attempt to overcome a stacked legal system—exacerbated by corrupt lawyers and predatory developers—they are at the center of a decades-long fight to retain black-owned land across the South.

* Social media won’t let toxic grudges die.

* Trump’s EPA won’t let toxic pesticides die.

Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize.

* Amazing the stories that don’t even rate as scandals in this trainwreck administration.

* As predicted, the Super Nintendo Classic is on its way.

The Tory-DUP Deal Proves the Magic Money Tree Is Real.

* Lynching and the sick history of the death penalty.

In Sumterville, Florida, in 1902, a black man named Henry Wilson was convicted of murder in a trial that lasted just two hours and forty minutes. To mollify the mob of armed whites that filled the courtroom, the judge promised a death sentence that would be carried out by public hanging—despite state law prohibiting public executions. Even so, when the execution was set for a later date, the enraged mob threatened, “We’ll hang him before sundown, governor or no governor.” In response, Florida officials moved up the date, authorized Wilson to be hanged before the jeering mob, and congratulated themselves on having “avoided” a lynching.

* Huge Star Trek: Discovery scoop: the entire series is a Holodeck program Riker is running during a commercial break.

* When you don’t want your hip retro soundtrack to be scooped.

* “Nuclear power plant faces backlash after choosing interns by way of a bikini competition.” Photos at the link, of course; this is the Internet, after all…

The ‘i before e, except after c’ rule is a giant lie.

* The weird logic of Facebook’s hate speech algorithms.

* SF short of the night: They Will All Die in Space.

* An AI Generates the Inspirational Posters We Need Right Now.

* And because you demanded it, it’s back up at An und für sich: Why remake The Handmaid’s Tale now? Gilead as ISIS.

Seven Pounds of Sunday Links in a Three-Pound Bag

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cr2zpcrw8aa7gey* If you missed it, my contribution to the thriving “Star Trek at 50″ thinkpiece industry: “We Have Never Been Star Trek.” And some followup commentary on First Contact and the Rebootverse from Adam Kotsko.

* Elsewhere: To Boldly Imagine: Star Trek‘s Half Century. 13 science fiction authors on how Star Trek influenced their lives. 50 Years of Trekkies. Women who love Star Trek are the reason that modern fandom exists. What If Star Trek Never Existed? In a World without Star Trek The Star Trek You Didn’t See. How Every Single Star Trek Novel Fits Together. What Deep Space Nine does that no other Star Trek series can. Fighter Planes vs. Navies. Fifty years of Star Trek – a socialist perspective. Star Trek in the Age of Trump. Star Trek Is Brilliantly Political. Well, It Used To Be. Sounds of Spock. A Counterpoint. Catching Up with Star Trek IV’s Real Hero. The Workday on the Edge of Forever. A few of the best images I gathered up this week: 1, 2. And of course they did: CBS and Paramount Royally Screwed Up Star Trek‘s 50th Anniversary.

* And some more Star Trek: Discovery teasing: Time to rewatch “Balance of Terror.” And Majel might even voice the computer.

Deadline Extended for the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship. The Foundation Essay Prize 2017.

* CFP: Speculative Finance/Speculative Fiction. Editors David M. Higgins and Hugh Charles O’Connell. Call for Chapters: Transmedia Star Wars. Editors Sean A. Guynes and Dan Hassler-Forest.

* Not a CFP, but I’m glad to see this is coming soon: None of This is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer.

* Polygraph #25, on sound and the modes of production, is now available.

* Tolkien once said that fantasy can’t work on stage. Katy Armstrong argues that The Cursed Child only works on stage. Harry Potter and the Conscience of a Liberal.

* On Utopia and Reaction.

* Poetry and Class Struggle.

* This LARB essay on scholars fighting about King Lear is as spellbinding as everyone said.

Here is a list of things that I am including in this book. Please send me my seven-figure advance. An Easy Guide to Writing the Great American Novel.

Concerns Over Future of UMass Labor Center.

Lockout at LIU. The Nuclear Option. Unprecedented. This is the first time that higher-ed faculty have ever been locked out. Lockout Lessons. Students Walkout. As Lockout Continues at Long Island U., Students Report Meager Classroom Instruction. This has been, to say the least, an amazing story.

Decline of Tenure for Higher Education Faculty: An Introduction.

Salaita’s Departure and the Gutting of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois.

Inmates Are Planning The Largest Prison Strike in US History. ‘Incarcerated Workers’ stage nationwide prison labor strike 45 years after 1971 Attica riot. Your Refresher on the 13th Amendment.

The long, steady decline of literary reading. History Enrollments Drop. Werner Herzog Narrates My Life as a Graduate Student. My dirty little secret: I’ve been writing erotic novels to fund my PhD.

Quebec’s massive student strikes emerged from an organizing model that constantly trains new generations of activists.

Retirement Plan Roulette.

* The First Trans*Studies Conference.

* Donna Haraway: “Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene.”

The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures.

A bit more here.

* Elsewhere in the Anthropocene: Montana declares state of emergency over pipeline spill, oily drinking water. The Gradual Atlantis (and see Dr. K.S. Robinson for more). Fast Fashion and Environmental Crisis. The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says. The Oceans Are Heating Up. A Monument to Outlast Humanity. New genus of bacteria found living inside hydraulic fracturing wells. And from the archives: Louisiana Doesn’t Exist.

The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. What Should a Four-Year-Old Know? How to Raise a Genius.

* Michael R. Page on the greatness of The Space Merchants. Bonus content from University of Illinois Press: Five Quotes from Frederik Pohl.

The problem with this reasoning, at least as it relates to graduate students, is that we have had fifty years to find out if unions destroy graduate education. They don’t.

How Unions Change Universities. Scabbing on Our Future Selves.

Of Moral Panics, Education, Culture Wars, and Unanswerable Holes.

The Death of ITT Tech, Part One: What Happened?

* Audrey Watters on the (credit) score.

* Clemson’s John C. Calhoun Problem. And Jack Daniels’s.

* Welcome to Our University! We’re Delighted to Have You, But If You Think We’re Going to Cancel the Ku Klux Klan Rally, You’ve Got Another Think Coming. Cashing in on the Culture Wars: U Chicago.

* The things English speakers know, but don’t know they know.

* Raymond Chandler and Totality.

* Writing Like a State.

Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde.

Capitalist Saboteurs.

Why ‘The Stranger’ Almost Didn’t Get Published.

It’s Getting Harder and Harder to Deny That Football Is Doomed.

After Richmond Student Writes Viral Essay About Her Rape Case, the University Calls Her a Liar.

* Milwaukee vs. Pikachu. The World’s Most Dangerous Game: Pokémon’s Strange History with Moral Panics.

Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives.

British artist Rebecca Moss went aboard the Hanjin Geneva container ship for a “23 Days at Sea Residency.” But the company that owns the ship went bankrupt on August 31, and ports all over the world have barred Hanjin’s ships because the shipping line is unable to pay the port and service fees. Artist-in-residence stuck on bankrupt container ship that no port will accept.

* Christopher Newfield talks his new book on the collapse of the public university, The Great Mistake.

Bill de Blasio’s Pre-K Crusade.

* The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.

* FiveThirtyEight: What Went Wrong?

The Lasting Impact of Mispronouncing Students’ Names.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Black Defendants Punished Harsher After A Judge’s Favorite Football Team Loses.

* Fred Moten on academic freedom, Palestine, BDS, and BLM.

* Being Nadja Spiegelman.

* The Night Of and the Problem of Chandra.

The Book of Springsteen. Relatedly: Bruce Springsteen’s Reading List.

* Defining Unarmed.

New research suggests that humans have a sixth basic taste in addition to sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s starchiness.

* Against Theory.

Differently from philosophy, which functions under long, frustrating timings, and very rarely reaches any certainty, theory is quick, voracious, sharp, and superficial: its model is the “reader,” a book made to help people make quotations from books that are not read.

* The largest strike in world history?

* The Walrus has an absolutely wrenching piece on stillbirth.

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead.

“Science thought there was one species and now genetics show there are four species,” Dr. Janke said. “All zoos across the world that have giraffes will have to change their labels.”

The Mysterious Ending of John Carpenter’s The Thing May Finally Have an Answer.

* Teach the controversy: No Forests on Flat Earth.

* The clash of eschatologies.

Wisconsin appeals Brendan Dassey’s overturned conviction.

* Abolish the iPhone. How Apple Killed the Cyberpunk Dream. It’s not much better over there.

* Atwood and comics.

The NEH’s chairman, Bro Adams, tries to make a case for the humanities. Is anyone listening?

* Britain isn’t doing a super great job with Brexit.

* No other image has better captured the struggle that is simply living every day: Drunk Soviet worker tries to ride on hippo (Novokuznetsk, in Kemerovo, 1982). Yes, there’s still more links below.

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* The DEA vs. Kratom. Why Banning the Controversial Painkiller Kratom Could Be Bad News for America’s Heroin Addicts.

*Never-Ending Election Watch: How Donald Trump Retooled His Charity to Spend Other People’s Money. Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general. A Tale of Two Scandals. That Clinton Foundation Scandal the Press Wants Exists, But they Won’t Report it Because it’s Actually About the Trump Foundation. Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘honorary chancellor’ of a for-profit college. No More Lesser-Evilism. And Vox, you know, explaining the news.

* Dominance politics, deplorables edition.

* And put this notion in your basket of deplorables: Darkwing Duck and DuckTales Are in Separate Universes and This Is Not Okay.

How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

* Yes, Here Comes Trump TV.

* Corporal Punishment in American Schools.

* Black Teachers Matter.

* I say jail’s too good for ’em: US library to enforce jail sentences for overdue books.

Bugs Bunny, the Novel, and Transnationalism.

* Understanding Hellboy.

* The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad. The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes.

* What’s the Matter with Liberals?

* Alan Moore Confirms Retirement from Comic Books. An interview in the New York Times where, lucky for me, he talks a lot about David Foster Wallace.

The Need For Believable Non-White Characters — Sidekicks, Included.

What Your Literature Professor Knows That Your Doctor Might Not.

Geologic Evidence May Support Chinese Flood Legend.

Fully Autonomous Cars Are Unlikely, Says America’s Top Transportation Safety Official.

* Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal roundup: The Clockmaker. Science Journalism. I Am No Longer a Child. Teach a Man to Fish. How Stress Works. On Parenting. You haven’t hit bottom yet. Keep scrolling!

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* Today in unnecessary sequels: Mel Gibson confirms Passion Of The Christ sequel. And elsewhere on the unnecessary sequel beat: We Finally Know What the Avatar Sequels Will Be About.

* At least they won’t let Zack Snyder ruin Booster Gold.

* Poe’s Law, but for the left? Inside the Misunderstood World of Adult Breastfeeding.

* The Revolution as America’s First Civil War.

* Mike Konczal on Eviction.

* What Happens When We Decide Everyone Else Is a Narcissist.

45,000 Pounds of Would-Be Pennies Coat Highway After Delaware Crash.

* ‘Illegal’ Immigration as Speech.

* Second Thoughts of an Animal Researcher.

* Conspiracy Corner: Obama and the Jesuits.

On Sept. 16 the opera “Happy Birthday, Wanda June,” based on Vonnegut’s play, will have its world premiere in Indianapolis. A dayslong celebration of, and reflection on, the best-selling author’s works called Vonnegut World will precede it.

* The Unseen Drawings of Kurt Vonnegut.

* The Science of Loneliness. Loneliness can be depressing, but it may have helped humans survive.

* Once more, with feeling: On the greatness of John Brunner.

* Let us now praise Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.

* Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: Man Dies, Leaving Behind a Sea Of Big-Boobed Mannequins. Yes, it’s a Milwaukee story.

Play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Video Game Free Online, Designed by Douglas Adams in 1984.

* Taking a Stand at Standing Rock. Life in the Native American oil protest camps.

* Earth First: The Musical.

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile.

* Hitchens wept.

* Rebel propaganda. All the Ewoks are dead.

* Finally.

* Salvador Dali Illustrates Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

* Where the Monsters Are. The Wonderful World of Westeros.

* And I’ll be bookmarking this for later, just in case: A lively new book investigates the siren call—and annoying logistics—of death fraud.

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Written by gerrycanavan

September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday, Wednesday

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p0hzpqghfzua11sjdckyNOAA just released its summer outlook, predicting which areas are going to see unusually hotter temperatures this year. Unsurprisingly for those who have been watching the string of heat records that have been falling like dominoes, almost every area of the United States is included. Things Have Gotten Much Worse Since An Inconvenient Truth.

Love in the time of climate change: Grizzlies and polar bears are now mating.

How highways wrecked American cities.

The amount of money it would take to eliminate extreme poverty is now lower than the amount of money spent on foreign aid every year.

Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation.

* The Democratic primary has entered its Gnostic phase.

The Marijuana Industry’s War on the Poor.

* Scenes from the class struggle at Oberlin. A reasonably good ethnographic study of a subject which seems to have become utterly impossible to talk about dispassionately.

* And speaking of “impossible to talk about dispassionately”: The canon of English literature is sexist. It is racist. It is colonialist, ableist, transphobic, and totally gross. You must read it anyway.

Diversity as a Tenure Requirement?

The Baylor board of regents fired school president Ken Starr on Tuesday amid the sexual assault scandal involving the Bears football team, according to HornsDigest.com. Baylor not commenting on reports of President Kenneth Starr’s firing.

Enrollments Slide, Particularly for Older Students.

The terms “World Science Fiction” or “Global Science Fiction” are becoming legitimate fields of interest at a time where human life is indistinguishable from technological interference and scientific thought. We are technology. We are post-human. And we understand both the “global” and “world” adjectives only through the eyes and screens technology has afforded us. If we loosely understand science fiction as the imaginative exercise with which we deal with science and technology, then it becomes a major tool in understanding a reality that increasingly grows less believable and more fragile, in which crisis has become our quotidian condition. We are desperately looking for others because, in a globalized culture and economy, they might not exist anymore. We might have exterminated them, and we fear our genocidal complicity.

Soviet Brutalist Architecture, Photographed By Frederic Chaubin.

* Some truly crazy news about Peter Thiel and Gawker today.

But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil of secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.

Here’s the thing: from where I live, the world has drifted away. We aren’t precarious, we’re unnecessary. The money has gone to the top. The wages have gone to the top. The recovery hasgone to the top. And what’s worst of all, everybody who matters seems basically pretty okay with that. The new bright sparks, cheerfully referred to as “Young Gods” believe themselves to be the honest winners in a new invent-or-die economy, and are busily planning to escape into space oracquire superpowers, and instead of worrying about this, the talking heads on TV tell you its all a good thing- don’t worry, the recession’s over and everything’s better now, and technology is TOTES AMAZEBALLS!

* Twitter’s death drive.

* The end of passwords.

* Freddie Gray verdict: US police officers who kill rarely get punished, but they might get rich.

The Do Not Call list was supposed to defeat telemarketers. Now scammy robocalls are out of control. What happened?

* Understanding intelligence.

Would the U.S. Drop the Bomb Again?

* John Scalzi has a new space opera.

Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?, or, “Johnny B. Goode in the Anthropocene.”

But it did guarantee that one rock song will exist even if the earth is spontaneously swallowed by the sun: “Johnny B. Goode,” by Chuck Berry. The song was championed by Ann Druyan (who later become Sagan’s wife) and Timothy Ferris, a science writer and friend of Sagan’s who contributed to Rolling Stone magazine. According to Ferris, who was the album’s de facto producer, the folklorist Alan Lomax was against the selection of Berry, based on the argument that rock music was too childish to represent the highest achievements of the planet. (I’m assuming Lomax wasn’t too heavily engaged with the debate over the Sex Pistols and “Saturday Night Fever” either.) “Johnny B. Goode” is the only rock song on the Voyager disc, although a few other tunes were considered. “Here Comes the Sun” was a candidate, and all four Beatles wanted it to be included, but none of them owned the song’s copyright, so it was killed for legal reasons.

The Pitch Meeting for Animaniacs.

How One in Ten Humans Could Be Wiped Out Within the Next Five Years.

The Business of Too Much TV.

On the Trail of Nabokov in the American West.

* And presenting Reverse CAPTCHA.

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Friday Links!

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* CFP: 21st Century Englishes Graduate Student Conference. CFP: Premodern Ecologies. CFP: 41st Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, “Harbors and Islands: Explorations of Utopia, Past and Present.” CFP: To the Ends of the Earth.

* TGIF: These Are the Most Serious Catastrophic Threats Faced by Humanity.

Toward a New Theory of the Bad Dad and Husband. Next time, Slate, say it to my face!

* I’m adding Professor of Future Crimes to my supervillain flourish, right after “Master of Magnetism.”

* Meanwhile, in crimes against the future: Evidence points to widespread loss of ocean oxygen by 2030s. That’s bad.

Mother driving down Milwaukee highway is shot dead by two-year-old son in backseat.
Wisconsin Ranks 48th In Nation In Arts Spending.

* Octavia Butler and Beyoncé.

Nintendo’s next console is coming March 2017, and Zelda along with it.

Socialism and Fantasy: China Miéville’s Fables of Race and Class.

Last Year’s Hugo Award Drama Is Not Going Away Any Time Soon.

Imre Szeman: From Petrocultures to Other Cultures.

Mind F*ck Alert: Plants May Have Memories.

* Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Oh My God You’re Terrible: Hastert becomes the single most powerful member of the House. He uses that power to earmark money for a project that vastly increases the value of land he secretly owns. This gives him the millions he will need to buy silence from some he sexually abused as a youth, thus enabling him to stay in power for years.

How To Cheat For 20 Years In The NCAA And (Almost) Get Away With It. Who’s Going to Be Punished for the Worst Academic Scandal Anyone Can Remember?

In Florida prisons, mentally ill inmates have been tortured, driven to suicide, and killed by guards.

* On being undocumented at Marquette.

* There comes Hamilton: The Movie.

Words are the Weapons, the Weapons Must Go: The Cuban Revolution and the American Left.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on investigatory leave due to ‘serious questions.’

* Bioviva press release announces Bioviva is great: Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of Bioviva USA Inc. has become the first human being to be successfully rejuvenated by gene therapy, after her own company’s experimental therapies reversed 20 years of normal telomere shortening.

* “When debating women’s “frailty” was worthy of a ticketed event in the gym: 1929 flyer for MU/ Harvard debate.”

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

* The war on elephants.

How Medicaid forces families like mine to stay poor.

Over 9,000 Years Later, Kennewick Man Will Be Given a Native American Burial.

The First Neoliberals.

LEGO Imperial Star Destroyer: the ISD Tyrant.

Grant Morrison’s Superman Stories: A Reconfigured Reading Order.

Mother’s Day gets the mother of all critical maulings.

When Your Dream Project Is A Financial Failure: Disney’s Treasure Planet.

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Break v. Spring: Dawn of Thursday Links

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* Coming up in two weeks! “After Humanity: Science Fiction After Extinction” will be the topic at the 2016 Robert W. Hamblin Lecture April 6 at Southeast Missouri State University.

* CFP: “Queers Read This!”: LGBTQ Literature Now, a Special Issue of GLQ. And a stray thought not-really-apropos of that:

UWM introduces plan to cut $41.25 million from budget. That includes the end of the Center for Urban Initiatives and Research. But there’s always money in the job security stand:

“We have a fundamental tension between job security and the ability for this university to continue to be viable,” Mone said. “Those are inherent tensions. The reality is, when I talk about numbers, when I talk about budgeting, what we’re really talking about is people. And we’re talking about the ability to continue to operate as effectively and as efficiently as possible given the environmental changes that we have.”

California Regents Reject Broad Condemnation of Anti-Zionism as Discrimination.

Twitter creates ‘new academic hierarchies’, suggests study.

* Shock of shocks: The NFL has been lying about concussions.

* Batman vs. Superman is apparently in that delicious category of film so terrible that the critics compete to deal it the cruelest blow. FilmFreak. GQ. BMD. AV Club. Deadpan. The Guardian. Village Voice. And the rest! But I give the round to A.O. Scott:

For fun there are shots of the heroes shirtless and of Lois Lane in the bath. But the point of “Batman v Superman” isn’t fun, and it isn’t thinking, either. It’s obedience. The theology is invoked not to elicit meditations on mercy, justice or sacrifice, but to buttress a spectacle of power. And in that way the film serves as a metaphor for its own aspirations. The corporations that produce movies like this one, and the ambitious hacks who sign up to make them, have no evident motive beyond their own aggrandizement. Entertainment is less the goal than the byproduct, and as the commercial reach of superpower franchises grows, their creative exhaustion becomes ever more apparent.

But it sounds like Justice League will somehow be even worse.

* Cuomo v. CUNY.

* Garner (not really) v. Affleck. This is actually a really interesting longread on the crafting of celebrity persona, despite your assumptions to the contrary.

* As a child I was unsatisfied with the world, already looking for ways out. I read some online pamphlet about Advaita Vedanta and decided I believed in it; I made myself a little diagram of the cosmos, within and without Māyā, dotted lines connecting Brahman to Atman to my own confined and unhappy self far across the limits of observable reality; I was weird. I liked things that weren’t really real; not pure fantasy but all those lenses that made the world bearable in its new capacity to be somehow otherwise, that gave me a kind of conceptual power to change things that I didn’t have in daily life. Conspiracy theory, pseudohistory, socialism, faith. I think it wasn’t long after my grandfather died that I found a collection of alternate histories, little stories told by pop-historians about what might have happened if one battle or another had gone the other way, a prism of worlds that never were. I don’t remember the title; it was actually a fairly stupid book (one account described the result of Lenin’s assassination on the way to St Petersburg: the Bolsheviks are effortlessly sidelined and we get a happy, prosperous, liberal-democratic twentieth century). The cover was utterly inevitable: a black and empty sky, and a swastika flag on the Moon. But that really did happen. The space programme that sent the first people to the Moon was the Nazi space programme, all those scientists snatched up in Operation Paperclip, effortlessly swapping Hitler for Washington. Watch the dialectic at work, preserving what it negates, proceeding as always by its bad side. It’s not that the Nazis are another example of Benjamin’s defeated of history; how could they be, when putting a swastika on the cover is still the best way to sell a book? But the litter that chokes our planet remains, all the bones remain, and one day we are promised the resurrection. This is why utopia is always melancholic, the refusal to simply mourn, the tight grip of the living to the dead.

* Obama legacy watch: How can a man who has weaponized the planet at a historic rate be championed as a purveyor of peace?

* A Conversation on Title IX, in the Yale Law Journal. First up: Nancy Gertner’s “Complicated Process.”

* Miracles and wonders: Controlling diabetes with a skin patch.

Lead ink from scrolls may unlock library destroyed by Vesuvius.

Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?

* North Carolina in ruins, again. Abolish the states.

* STEMJ: Researchers have long noticed that an oddly large number of jihadists have engineering backgrounds. Recently two social scientists, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog, scrutinized the numbers and concluded that, yes, the proportion of terrorists who are engineers far outpaces expectations.

* Elsewhere on the terrorism and statistics beat: American Mormon, 19, left with burns and shrapnel injuries in Brussels attack also survived Boston and Paris bombings.

* On the Origin of “African Proverbs.”

* On the Politics of Marvel’s Black Panther.

* The politics of failure have failed! We must make them work again!

* I guess the Singularity really is near: Microsoft’s ‘teen girl’ AI turns into a Hitler-loving sex robot within 24 hours.

* The latest in the letting-the-superintelligent-AI-out-of-the-box subgenere: ANA.

* And, from the archives, some change we can all believe in: Abolish Caillou.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

Weekendin’!

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* Posted earlier this morning: The Lives of Animals, Part Two and My Upcoming Courses at Marquette. And apropos of that second link, and today’s start of Infinite Winter: Everything About Everything: David Foster Wallace’s ‘Infinite Jest’ at 20.

* CFP for the the second issue of the Museum of Science Fiction’s new journal. Special Issue on Online Misogyny: Call for Papers.

Your Dissertation Begins in Your First Seminar.

Chicago State U Declares Financial Exigency.

Study shows Wisconsin suffered second highest decrease in higher education in nation.

UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system. More from Remaking the University.

J.K. Rowling announces four new wizarding schools you’ll never get to attend. On Uagadou, the African Wizarding School.

* The President says he’s talking about opportunities, but he’s also talking about outcomes. It’s one thing to want all kids to have access to advanced classes, music instruction, sports teams and volunteer work. It’s another to expect them to take advantage of all of them at the same time. President Obama described Antonio as “doing his part” with his full load of curricular and extracurricular activities, but every student can’t be prepared for college: There just aren’t enough seats. Because admission is limited and competitive, only the top two-thirds or so can be, by definition, prepared for higher education. No matter how hard they work, how brilliant they are, the lowest-scoring cohort will be labeled unprepared and accused of not “doing their part.” 

* The university in ruins: The number of job postings the AHA received in 2014-15 was down 8 percent from the prior year. This is the third straight year for which the association is reporting a decline. Job listings are down 45 percent from the 1,064 that the association reported in 2011-12.

* Less than $1 of every $100 in revenue generated by major college athletic departments at public colleges is directed to academic programs, according to a Chronicle analysis of NCAA financial statements.

How impossible is it for Democrats to win back the House? This impossible.

* Disabled people need not apply.

Good News! China Miéville Has Written a Bad Book. Either way I’m still really looking forward to The Last Days of New Paris.

How Long Could the U.S. Go Without Electricity?

We’ll never know for sure exactly what The Owl In Daylight would have looked like had Philip lived to put the story to paper, but it sounds like it would have been a rare happy ending in the Dick canon. “He considered this a sort of capstone to his career,” Tessa says. “The first novel that ends on a note of hope and love.”

* The 27th Amendment Was Ratified Primarily for Revenge.

Wife crashes her own funeral, horrifying her husband, who had paid to have her killed.

* Matt Yglesias is Making Sense: This is a party that has no viable plan for winning the House of Representatives, that’s been pushed to a historic low point in terms of state legislative seats, and that somehow lost the governor’s mansions in New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

It’s a party, in other words, that was clearly in need of some dialogue, debate, and contestation over what went wrong and how to fix it. But instead of encouraging such a dialogue, the party tried to cut it off.

* The Luxembourg government on Feb. 3 announced it would seek to jump-start an industrial sector to mine asteroid resources in space by creating regulatory and financial incentives.

* Fan theory of the week: “Leia was sent to Tatooine not only to recruit Obi-Wan but also to be trained as a Jedi.”

* Game of the week: From the makers of the fantastic rymdkapsel, Twofold, Inc.

* The MLArcade: Ten Multimedia Projects on the Rhetoric of Pinball.

Foucault That Noise: The Terror of Highbrow Mispronunciation.

English is Surprisingly Devoid of Emotionally Positive Words.

‘Hundreds’ of masked men beat refugee children in Stockholm.

Uriel, the Universe’s Best-Dressed Spiritual Leader.

An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Liberals Who Love Him.

‘Eyewash’: How the CIA deceives its own workforce about operations.

We Shall Overcome: An Oral History of the Bernie Sanders Folk Album.

* Magic still happens.

MIT Dean Takes Leave to Start New University Without Lectures or Classrooms. Or professors…

Earth is actually two planets, scientists conclude. BUT FOR HOW LONG.

Equation shows that large-scale conspiracies would quickly reveal themselves.

* “Homicides soar in Milwaukee, along with many theories on cause.”

* The next Flint, Michigan, could be a suburb.

* How the original Star Wars trilogy fooled everyone with matte paintings.

* New horizons in cycling cheating.

Unemployed, Myanmar’s Elephants Grow Antsy, and Heavier.

* $8 Billion Ponzi Scheme in China.

* And I truly find every aspect of this just totally mind-boggling: At Simon Fraser U, professors were stunned by video university posted on its website that suggested female faculty members could be viewed as sex objects — in the name of saving energy.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

Mondayish Reading

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In the past five years, public universities pumped more than $10.3 billion in mandatory student fees and other subsidies into their sports programs, according to an examination by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post. The review included an inflation-adjusted analysis of financial reports provided to the NCAA by 201 public universities competing in Division I, information that was obtained through public-records requests. The average athletic subsidy that these colleges and their students have paid to their athletic departments increased 16 percent during that time. Student fees, which accounted for nearly half of all subsidies, increased by 10 percent.

Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies.

TV archive discovers couple who beat Kirk and Uhura to first interracial kiss.

* Marquette is hiring a sustainability coordinator.

* “Why I’m Teaching a Netflix Class.”

* What Do You Have to Make in a Year to be in the Top 1% of Your State?

* Videogames without Players.

The Death and Life of Simulated Cities.

You could call it Rahm’s revenge—the whole point of passing a more ambitious, more politically risky version of Obamacare was to get enough healthy people to buy coverage, and that’s exactly what hasn’t been happening.

Anti-proliferation advocates have accused U.S. officials of disguising the fact that they have built a new weapon, breaking President Obama’s promise not to construct new nuclear bombs.

Syracuse thought that by building a giant highway in the middle of town it could become an economic powerhouse. Instead, it got a bad bout of white flight and the worst slum problem in America. How to Decimate a City.

* On science fiction and post-scarcity economics.

20130126* I suppose I’ve always been ahead of the curve.

Junot Díaz talk discusses social activism in academia.

* To be sure, anger over Western policies is among the drivers of recruitment for groups like IS, but IS is not a purely reactive organisation: it is a millenarian movement with a distinctly apocalyptic agenda. As Elias Sanbar, a Palestinian diplomat in Paris, points out, ‘One of the most striking things about Islamic State is that it has no demands. All the movements we’ve known, from the Vietcong to the FLN to the Palestinians, had demands: if the occupation ends, if we get independence, the war ends. But Daesh’s project is to eliminate the frontiers of Sykes-Picot. It’s like the Biblical revisionism of the settlers, who invent a history that never existed.’

Penn State Cancels Recreational Class Trips To NYC & DC Due To “Safety Concerns.”

* Star Wars, before the EU. Alan Moore’s Star Wars. Hang the Jedi.

* A brief history of judicial dissent.

* On Woodrow Wilson. Wilson’s racism wasn’t the matter of a few unfortunate remarks here or there. It was a core part of his political identity, as indicated both by his anti-black policies as president and by his writings before taking office. It is completely accurate to describe him as a racist and white supremacist and condemn him accordingly.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder — the sheriff’s deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner. And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

Meet the outsider who accidentally solved chronic homelessness.

What was it like to be a Nintendo game play counselor?

* Antonin Scalia, fraud, part 87.

* The rich are better.

* The struggle is real.

* They live, weesa sleep.

* The rise of “white student unions.” They’re probably fake.

Use of High-Tech Brooms Divides Low-Tech Sport of Curling.

* When administrations co-opt student movements, Duke edition. Also at Duke: debate over continuation fees.

* CNN, still the worst, forever and ever amen.

* Trump has aggressively weaponized the ability of right-wing politicians to lie with impunity. Though you always wonder if there’s still some limit after all.

* The further I get into my thirties, the more depressed I become.

* Women in Hollywood.

* Music stops, everybody switch positions on free speech.

Colbert Drops to 3rd Place Behind Kimmel as New Poll Shows CBS Host Alienating Audiences. I’ve never understood CBS’s plan here.

* English is not normal.

* The McDonaldization of Medicine.

* The Unholy Alchemy behind Cheetos.

* Come along, Susan.

* Super-excited to trust my kids to the wisdom of the public school system.

In the first majority-Muslim U.S. city, residents tense about its future.

‘Hunger Games’ Box Office: Why $101M Weekend For ‘Mockingjay 2’ May Be Cause For Despair.

A “lost” James Bond movie written by Peter Morgan, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Frost/Nixon and The Queen, would have seen Daniel Craig’s 007 forced to kill Judi Dench’s spymaster M in a shock finale, according to a new book.

* Required classes, y’all.

* The tech economy, still a bad joke.

All U.S. Lab Chimps Are Finally Going To Paradise: A Retirement Home in the South Somewhere.

* Enjoy it while it lasts: Coffee’s good for you again.

* Elsewhere in science facts that are definitely going to hold up forever and ever: Scientists Say Psychopathic People Really Like Bitter Food.

* SyFy wants a Black Mirror too. Syfy is Releasing a Film, De-Rebranding, and Becoming Super Interesting.

* What crime is the founding of a bank, compared to the founding of a police department?

* But just in case you had any ideas that this wasn’t going to be a super-depressing list: Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of ‘post-antibiotic era.’

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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