Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘essays

Tuesday Morning Links!

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On April 10th-12th, 2015, UF will be hosting its 11th annual Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, “Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media.”

The Review of Capital as Power (RECASP) announces an annual essay prize of $1,000 for the best paper on the subject of capital as power. Open to anyone who does not currently hold a Ph.D. (including current graduate students).

* Happy belated Labor Day: The True Story Of How One Man Shut Down American Commerce To Avoid Paying His Workers A Fair Wage. Labor Day against Work.

* Non-published, non-peer-reviewed study concludes that college football coaches must be worth the money because otherwise they wouldn’t be paid that much. Glad that’s sorted.

So what happened to the GOP, from the time of Nixon to the present, to turn an environmental leader into an environmental retrograde? According to a new study in the journal Social Science Research, the key change actually began around the year 1991—when the Soviet Union fell. “The conservative movement replaced the ‘Red Scare’ with a new ‘Green Scare’ and became increasingly hostile to environmental protection at that time,” argues sociologist Aaron McCright of Michigan State University and two colleagues.

* UIUC will forward Salaita’s appointment to the Board of Trustees after all. Sadly I suspect this is a CYA maneuver after realizing they were in material breach of their contract — though I suppose it’s for the lawyers to decide if they have take-backs on that issue or not.

* From the archives: How Higher Education in the US Was Destroyed in 5 Basic Steps.

* The Darren Wilson fundraiser mystery.

* Guantanamo Defense Lawyer Resigns, Says U.S. Case Is ‘Stacked.’

* The terrifying true story of the garbage that could kill the whole human race.

Man Nearly Dies In Ice Bucket Challenge After Plane Drops Water On Him.

* Are domestic airlines making money by fleecing consumers? No! That’s not true! That’s impossible!

Archaeologists Confirm That Stonehenge Was Once A Complete Circle.

* The A.V. Club reviews David Mitchell’s latest, The Bone Clocks.

* I’ll give you this: Censoring the books your kid reads does seem pretty dystopian. “Divergent” and “Hunger Games” as capitalist agitprop. Utopia and Anti-Utopia.

* How to ruin a protest.

* And Did Stan Lee Confirm a Black Panther Movie? Please?

20140901

Monday Morning Links

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* Local police deploying SWAT teams against friendly poker games and barbering without a license. Insanity.

Over the past year and a half, in the wake of Thomas Philippon and Ariel Resheff’s estimate that 2% of U.S. GDP was wasted in the pointless hypertrophy of the financial sector, evidence that our modern financial system is less a device for efficiently sharing risk and more a device for separating rich people from their money–a Las Vegas without the glitz–has mounted.

Inside the multimillion-dollar essay-scoring business.

* How the University Works, 1965: Football Game Continues as School Burns. More links below the picture.

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Russian Billionaire Dmitry Itskov Plans on Becoming Immortal by 2045.

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Human Evolution.

I’m nursing a pet theory. Which is that there are actually four main political parties in Westminster: the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Ruling Party.

The Ruling Party doesn’t represent the general electorate, but a special electorate: the Alien Invaders and their symbiotes, the consultants and contractors and think-tank intellectuals who smooth the path to acquisition of government contracts or outsourcing arrangements — the government being the consumer of last resort in late phase consumer capitalism — arrangements which are supported and made profitable by government subsidies extracted from taxpayer revenue and long-term bonds. The Ruling Party is under no pressure to conform to the expectations of the general electorate because whoever the electors vote for, representatives of the Ruling Party will win; the only question is which representatives, which is why they are at such pains to triangulate on a common core of policies that don’t risk differentiating them in a manner which might render them repugnant to some of the electorate.

To make matters even worse for restaurant workers and diners, a spate of “preemption bills”—which bar localities from makings laws requiring paid sick leave—has been surging through state legislatures with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Restaurant Association, one of ALEC’s members. The first of these bills was passed in May 2011 in Wisconsin. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed Florida’s version into law, making it the eighth state to preemptively block paid sick leave for its workers (and the 13th to try) in just two years.

A depiction of the logical (and historical) tendency of the capitalist system to collapse.

* Everything old is new again: Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval.

Meet Rachel Law, a 25-year-old graduate student from Singapore, who has created a game that could literally wreak havoc on the online ad industry if released into the wild.

* A visual history of Bruce Springsteen.

NSA Rejecting Every FOIA Request Made by U.S. Citizens. The innocent have nothing to fear…

The Southwest’s Forests May Never Recover from Megafires.

* And another great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. I could post one of these every day.

20130707

Getting What You Pay For

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Though Farley and his fellow team leaders were fudging the numbers, even he was shocked when a representative from a southeastern state’s Department of Education visited to check on how her state’s essays were doing. As it turned out, the answer was: not well. About 67 percent of the students were getting 2s.

That’s when the representative informed Farley that the rubric for her state’s scoring had suddenly changed.

“We can’t give this many 1s and 2s,” she told him firmly.

The scorers would not be going back to re-grade the hundreds of tests they’d already finished—there just wasn’t time. Instead, they were just going to give out more 3s.

No one objected—the customer was always right.

Inside Minnesota’s essay-scoring sweatshops. Via MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Monday 1

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Monday!

* The trailer for the SF-infused Paul-Giamatti-as-Paul-Giamatti comedy Cold Souls causes io9 to ask whether “Charlie Kaufman” is officially a genre yet.

* Kari in the comments directs us to a defense of Holden Caulfield against the spurious assertions of irrelevance I blogged about yesterday.

* Bruce Schneier: SF Writers Aren’t a Useful Aspect of National Defense—a followup to an article I posted last month. Via Boing Boing.

* Also not useful: classifying “protests” as “low-level terrorism activity.”

* The Art of the Title Sequence considers the end of Wall-E. Via Kottke.

* What’s wrong with the American essay? I’m not sure anything is, but certainly not this:

The problem, of course, is not merely our essayists; it’s our culture. We have grown terribly—if somewhat hypocritically—weary of larger truths. The smarter and more intellectual we count ourselves, the more adamantly we insist that there is no such thing as truth, no such thing as general human experience, that everything is plural and relative and therefore undiscussable. Of course, everything is plural, everything is arguable, and there are limits to what we can know about other persons, other cultures, other genders. But there is also a limit to such humility; there is a point at which it becomes narcissism of a most myopic sort, a simple excuse to talk only about one’s own case, only about one’s own small area of specialization. Montaigne thought it the essayist’s duty to cross boundaries, to write not as a specialist (even in himself) but as a generalist, to speak out of turn, to assume, to presume, to provoke. “Where I have least knowledge,” said the blithe Montaigne, “there do I use my judgment most readily.” And how salutary the result; how enjoyable to read—and to spar with—Montaigne’s by turns outrageous and incisive conclusions about humankind. That everything is arguable goes right to the heart of the matter.

“The next best thing to a good sermon is a bad sermon,” said Montaigne’s follower and admirer, the first American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. In a good sermon we hear our own “discarded thoughts brought back to us by the trumpets of the last judgment,” in the words of Emerson’s essay “Self-Reliance.” In a bad sermon we formulate those thoughts ourselves—through the practice of creative disagreement. If an author tells us “love is nothing but jealousy” and we disagree, it is far more likely we will come up with our own theory of love than if we hear a simple autobiographical account of the author’s life. It is hard to argue with someone’s childhood memory—and probably inadvisable. It is with ideas that we can argue, with ideas that we can engage. And this is what the essayist ought to offer: ideas.

It doesn’t seem to me at all that American letters suffers from a lack of hypotheses confused for certainties.

* And Shia Labeouf may live to ruin Y: The Last Man after all.

Good Writing, Free

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What are some of your absolute favourite online essays, articles and other pieces of non-fiction writing? One of the Best AskMes Ever has the best essays available on the Internet, including such classics as:

* Politics and the English Language (Orwell)
* In the Beginning Was the Command Line (Stephenson)
* A Person Paper on Purity in Language (Hofstadter)
* Notes on Camp (Sontag)

and many others.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2008 at 8:31 pm

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